Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday night quick hits

You'd swear teams are working together to start the holiday shortened work week off with a bang. Lots of Bad Baseball around the league from Monday night, so let's dive right in.

The Pirates watched a ninth inning lead slip away as Matt Capps blew his fourth save of the year to the Reds. He allowed two runs on two hits - one of which was Ken Griffey Jr's walk off home run - without recording an out . . .

Orioles closer George Sherrill picked up blown save number five on the year against the visiting Royals; he allowed a ninth inning, pinch hit, game tying homer to Miguel Olivo . . .

Why stop there with the blown saves? Nationals closer Jon Rauch blew his fifth on the road against the Marlins. He allowed two runs on two hits. The first hit was a solo shot by Hanley Ramirez in the ninth, and the second was a walk off job from Josh Willingham. Effective, sort of. And it must've been tougher to watch for the Nats than normal; they found out that last year's closer Chad Cordero will miss the rest of the season to undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum. . . .

Sometimes teams are so bad that they make each other look great when they meet up. Such was the case in Colorado. Padres starter Greg Maddux was roughed up for eight runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings. Jorge De La Rosa was equally unimpressive in his start for the Rockies; he allowed six runs on 11 hits in five innings of work. The real loser (literally, in this case)? Easy: Rockies closer Brian Fuentes. He allowed five runs (of the seven the Padres scored in the ninth inning) on five hits to drop to 1-4 on the season . . .

Last, and certainly least, was Barry Zito. He picked up loss #12 (making his 2008 record 3-12) against the Cubs. Zito allowed four runs on five walks and five hits. I know they're paying him a ton of cash to start, but you've gotta think that at some point the Giants will cut their losses and either convince Zito to take a minor league assignment or move back to the bullpen. The All-Star break can't come soon enough for the guy.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A look ahead, a look back

Another weekend has come and gone, leaving plenty of Bad Baseball in it's wake. Lets recap...

Friday: The Mets jumped all over the cross town Yankees in the first of their three game in the interleague Subway Series. Dan Giese started for the Yanks and allowed six runs on five hits in four innings of work. Not to be outdone, Ross Ohlendorf managed to give up six runs on five hits in just an inning and a third of relief. . . In the second Yanks-Mets game of the day, Yankees starter Sidney Ponson embarrassed the Mets, throwing six shut out innings of ball. Kei Igawa also made a scoreless appearance. The Mets must've been tired . . .Cubs starter Ryan Dempster struggled against the White Sox; he allowed eight runs on seven hits in just two and a third innings pitched.

Saturday: It was a slugfest in Houston for the Red Sox - Astros game. The two teams combined for 21 runs and 27 hits. The Astros came away on top 11-10, if you're wondering . . . There were blown saves from both sides in the Rockies - Tigers game. First up was Detroit closer Todd Jones; he allowed four runs on five hits while recording just two outs. Didn't matter, because he was bailed out by his offense as the Tigers rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth against Rockies closer Brian Fuentes; Fuentes allowed the two runs on two hits, picking up both his fourth blown save of the year and his third loss.

Sunday: Brandon Lyon blew his third save of the year for the Diamondbacks against the Marlins. He allowed two runs on three hits in the 9th . . . A's starter Joe Blanton lost his 11th game of 2008 in his start against the Giants. He allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings of work. Lots of Bad Baseball in the bay area, apparently; Blanton and Barry Zito both have 11 losses on the year . . . The 32-51 Padres were swept by the 31-50 Mariners. Sunday's losing pitcher Jake Peavy surrendered 10 hits before handing the ball over to reliever Bryan Corey, who allowed four runs on four hits without recording an out. I have a feeling their race for the worst record in '08 will come down to the wire.

I feel like I need to wash my hands after recapping that mess . . . ok, all clean. Lets look ahead to this week's Bad Baseball game of the week: Wednesday night, Padres at Rockies in a battle for last place in the NL West. What, you expected me to point out Zito's start Monday night against the Cubs? Let's just say it's an honorable mention. But Randy Wolf (Padres; 5-7, 4.13 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies; 2-8, 4.71 ERA) is too ugly to pass up.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Friday!

Ah, Friday afternoon. Nothing better than a John Daly video to take us into the weekend. Enjoy!

Thursday night recap

Just a few bad performances around the league to hit on...

Cardinals reliever Mike Parisi walked in the winning run with the bases loaded against the the Tigers to lose his 4th game of the year. It happened in the 10th inning, to boot . . . The Blue Jays showed that Reds starter Edinson Volquez might actually be human; they roughed him up for six hits and five runs over 4.1 innings. Not the worst performance ever, but Volquez's ERA of 2.08 (and 10-3) record makes it a relative train wreck . . . Cubs starter Jason Marquis had a tough day against the Orioles; he allowed seven runs on seven hits over four innings of work.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Down for the count

Let's say your performance is suffering at work. You've been so bad, in fact, that a demotion is imminent. You know it, your co-workers know it, your friends know it... it's not a secret. So the day comes when your boss walks to your desks and asks you to follow him to his office for a "chat". You have three choices:

1) Peacefully go with him
2) Stall. Think of a reason to postpone the meeting and the impending demotion
3) Choke slam the guy into the ground

Most civilized human beings would likely go with option #1. The move is inevitable, and some pay is better than no pay, right? I can even understand option #2. Maybe you can come up with a reason why you should stay in your current role.

Shawn Chacon chose #3. Astros General Manager Ed Wade supposedly went up to Chacon in the dining room before the team's match up against the Rangers, instructing the struggling starter to follow him to his (Wade's) office. Chacon - never one to want to miss a meal - told Wade that whatever needed to be said could be said in front of everyone.

After some back and forth yelling, here's what Chacon, in his own words, said happened next:

"So at that point I lost my cool and I grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground. I jumped on top of him. Words were exchanged."

Words were exchanged? He couldn't have just gone with the old school pin-the-guy-against-a-wall move? The choke slam seemed excessive if all Chacon wanted to do was talk, no?

The troubling part of the story is Chacon's refusal to accept any blame for the incident, and almost seems to try to justify his reaction:

"Maybe it shouldn't have happened, but when you do those things and you're yelling at somebody and you're cussing you better know what type of person you're dealing with. If there's any regret, I just wish they had just let me alone. I wish they had left me alone."

Wade may not be the best GM in baseball; pretty far from it. But he certainly never deserved to be slammed down by an upset player. And it's not like Wade's decision to remove Chacon from the rotation can even be disputed. On the year, Chacon is 2-3 with a 5.04 ERA.

I'm sure there are legions of fans, both in Houston and Philadelphia (Wade's former employer) who'd love to see bad things happen to the GM, but not this. This is another sad case of spoiled, entitled athletes not knowing how to carry themselves like decent human beings. The whole thing reminded me of this travesty from a few years ago.

The Astros have placed Chacon on waivers. Should he clear them (meaning every other team declines to acquire him), he'll be released without pay. Chacon is concerned that he may never pitch in the majors again.

I'd be concerned if he did.

As bad as it gets... literally

For those that aren't too familiar with college football scheduling, schools often sign contractual agreements to a series that'll take place over the course of 3 or 4 years.

Some are fun, like last year's USC - Nebraska match up, or this year's Nebraska - Virginia Tech game. Others end up lopsided as one school builds a strong program while another can't build a team to save its life. Such is the case with the Duke - Louisville series.

An agreement was reached between the two schools that they'd meet four times between 2002 and 2009. The first game, in '02, ended ugly for the Blue Devils; they lost in a 40-3 blowout. Seeing the discrepancy in talent - and not wanting to essentially punish their program with three more contests - Duke backed out of the deal and the remaining three games (one which was originally scheduled for last season, the others in '08 and '09).

The only problem is the $150,000 fine built in to the contract for each game Duke backed out of if Louisville was unable to find a replacement opponent after a "good faith" effort was made. The only catch: the replacement had to be a team of similar stature.

Apparently, Louisville struggled with its search and filed a lawsuit against Duke, asking for $450,000 in damages for the three games they were missing out on.

This is where Duke took one on the chin.

Duke lawyers actually argued that the Blue Devils program was so bad, and that their performance on the field was so poor, that any Division 1 team would suffice as a replacement! Judge Phillip J. Shepherd agreed:

"At oral argument, Duke persuasively asserted that this is a threshold that could not be any lower. Duke's argument on this point cannot be reasonably disputed by Louisville."

Duke won in court, which means there was an actual, official court ruling that Duke football is literally as bad as it gets in Division 1 football.

And that is Bad Baseball (and other sports!) worthy.

In other Bad Baseball news from Wednesday night...
The Indians lost at home to Barry Zito, so you know they were bad . . . The Rays scored 10 runs in the 5th inning against the Marlins. Ryan Tucker got the start for Florida, lasting four innings and allowing seven runs on eight hits. Eulogio De La Cruz came on next but was pulled before recording an out. He allowed five runs on three hits . . . The Mets avoided a sweep by the lowly Mariners, pouncing on M's starter Miguel Batista for five hits, five walks, and eight runs (though only four were earned, for what it's worth).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The other side of Imus

The Don Imus piece generated a bit of feedback. I have posted an email I received to shed some light on perhaps a lesser known side of Don Imus.

I have to admit that I have listened to (Imus) for years and have gotten used to his "style". He refers to people ranging from the President to the Pope in "off color" ways. I have been surprised over the years that he has not been sued by anyone... it is pure satire, intended to be harmless satire. Most of the high profile folks he talks about realize that; maybe that is how he has avoided litigation. But there is a side to him that the casual listener doesn't are some facts:

- He is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic (which he openly discusses regularly)
- He is a family man...has a son who is about 10
- He single handedly lead a campaign to get a burn unit built in San Antonio for vets returning from Iraq (he harangued senators and governors for months to get this done)
- He and his wife operate a (non profit) ranch in New Mexico where they host kids with cancer all summer long (he is on the air at 3 a.m. mountain time for his show)
- He and his wife are leading an effort to find the cause of autism (an effort to ban the use of mercury in vaccines)
- He and his wife founded a center for pediatric oncology at a hospital in New Jersey

Like most media personalities he has an air of arrogance but again, I think people read too much in to that. His comments about the Rutgers basketball team were over the line...he apologized, they accepted and I think that would have all passed away if it had not been for Al Sharpton. All that said I do not believe that he is a racist. I may be wrong.....but I just don't see how a man as generous as he is with his time and money could harbor bad feelings toward anyone.

There you go; two sides to an often misunderstood individual.

Shaq is whack

It may have been four years since the two shared a locker room, but Shaquille O'Neal is still taking shots at former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant.

This time, Shaq channeled is "Diesel" days and called out Bryant via rap:

"You know how I be, last week Kobe couldn't do without me."

There's only one "Shaq", right? So this is the same guy who was sitting at home watching the finals on TV? This is the same guy who was brought to an already talented Phoenix Suns team, for the sole purpose of being the missing piece needed to beat the San Antonio Spurs, but was unable to do it?

That's what I thought.

This is hardly the first "incident" between the two superstars. In 2004, Bryant told sources that O'Neal had paid up to a million bucks to get more than one woman to stay quiet about his own extramarital affairs.

But you didn't think that'd be left out of O'Neal's rap, did you?

"I'm a horse. Kobe ratted me out, That's why I'm getting divorced. He said Shaq gave a [woman] a mil. I don't do that 'cause my name's Shaquille. I love 'em, I don't leave 'em. I got a vasectomy, now I can't breed 'em."

O'Neal finished the rap by singing (or rapping, or whatever it's called) "Kobe, you can't do without me," over and over.

Shaq has since gone on record stating that it was all done in fun and has no issues with Bryant. But his good time came at a steep price: he will lose his special deputy's badge in Arizona's Maricopa County.

Said County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, "I want his two badges back. Because if any one of my deputies did something like this, they're fired. I don't condone this type of racial conduct."

Two thoughts here. One, if any of his deputies pulled this same stunt, would it actually make national headlines? I doubt it. Who would the rap be about? An overrated parter not pulling his weight on the streets? And second, "racial" conduct? I hope he's talking about the "B" word Shaq dropped, because black people aren't the only people who rap.

I'm sure Shaq is real upset about losing the badge. Not sure where the lesson is in all of this... don't drink and freestyle rap? Don't tell secrets to Kobe?

Here's the video, but you may want to keep the volume low. Some parts are censored but others still may not be appropriate for work:

In other Bad Baseball news from Tuesday night...
Two consecutive "other sports" entries, but I couldn't pass up either one. Back to baseball now, and the worst of the worst from Tuesday . . . Yankees - Pirates, in Pittsburgh; Yanks starter Darrell Rasner struggled, allowing 10 hits on 7 runs in five innings of work. LaTroy Hawkins wasn't much better in relief, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits over 2.2 innings . . . In Arizona, the Red Sox scored four runs in the 8th inning to beat the Diamonbacks. Chad Qualls blew his 5th save of the year, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, recording just two outs . . . Reds starter Bronson Arroyo struggled in his start north of the border against the Blue Jays. He actually posted a triple-double; he allowed 10 runs (all 10 earned) on 11 hits in just an inning of work . . . Padres closer Trevor Hoffman picked up his 5th loss of the season against the Twins when he allowed two homers in the 9th.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How out of touch with reality is he? There you go.

Don Imus is back, both on air and in the news. This time it's over comments he made on his show regarding Adam "Don't call me PacMan any more" Jones. Here's the transcript:

Sportscaster Warner Wolf: Defensive back Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys — here’s a guy suspended all of 2007 following a shooting in a Vegas nightclub

Imus: Well, stuff happens, you’re in a nightclub for God’s sake. What do you think's gonna happen in a nightclub? People are drinking and doing drugs, there are women there, and, uh, people have guns. ...

Wolf: He’s also, he’s been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.

Imus: What color is he?

He’s African-American.

Imus: Oh, well, there you go. Now we know.

Listen for yourself here:

Hey, Don? Shut up. I understand that racism runs deep in this country, and that this guy has had problems with it before, most notably with female basketball players. And no, Adam Jones has been anything buy a stand-up, classy guy since entering the league in 2005. But Imus makes you almost sympathetic towards him, doesn't he?

I particularly like the comments about the night club atmosphere. Now, I'm no expert here. In fact, I don't know if I've ever been to an actual club unless you count Attitudes in Blacksburg, VA. It had dancing... so close enough. There was definitely drinking (um, hello, it was a bar), but certainly no drugs or guns. Has Imus ever even gone outside at night?

Anyhow, Imus is now frantically trying to cover his ass, telling the Associated Press that he was trying to make a sarcastic point. Riiiiiiiiiight...

Said Imus:

"What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason. I mean, there's no reason to arrest this kid six times. Maybe he did something once, but everyone does something once."

I'm sure that's straight from Imus's heart.

Jones commented on being upset with the remarks, stating the obvious when he said that "Obviously, Mr. Imus has problems with African-Americans... I will pray for him."

If you have nothing nice to say, Don, do us all a favor and don't say anything at all.

In other Bad Baseball news from Monday night...

Only a handful of games around the league, and only one particularly bad outing. The honor goes to Rockies starter Jeff Francis against the Royals. He allowed 7 runs on 7 hits in 4.1 innings pitched.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekend recap

OK, I sorted through all of the Bad Baseball from the weekend, so let's recap:

Friday: More struggles for the Braves bullpen against the visiting Mariners. Will Ohman recorded just two outs and allowed 5 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks.

Saturday: The Cubs scored nine runs in the fourth inning against their cross-town rival Chicago White Sox. Sox starter Jose Contreras was to blame; he allowed 9 runs on 10 hits in 3.1 innings pitched . . . The Indians exploded for six runs in the 11th inning against the Dodgers. Cory Wade and Scott Proctor did the honors, combining for 1.1 innings, 5 hits, and 6 runs . . . The Astros blew a 9th inning lead to the Rays. Doug Brocail was the losing pitcher, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits . . . Tough 7th inning for the Nationals bullpen against the visiting Rangers; Charlie Manning and Brian Sanches combined to record just 2 outs and allow 7 runs on 6 hits.

Sunday: Who knew the Royals - Giants match up would turn into a fireworks display? The two teams combined for 30 hits and 21 runs. The Royals came away on top by a score of 11-10, but I'll let you decide which of the 11 pitchers used should take the blame.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A look ahead

A full weekend recap will be posted sometime Monday morning, I promise, but for now let's take a look ahead to this week's Bad Baseball featured match-ups.

Yup, match-ups, plural, and both come Wednesday night.

The first is when the Yankees travel to Pittsburgh, giving the hapless Pirates their first look at Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain, fresh off a 9 strikeout performance, should have a field day with this one. Poor Pirates.

Unfortunately, on what will surely be a happy day for Yankees fans everywhere, Giants fans get to bust out the brown paper bag hats for Barry Zito's outing against the Cleveland Indians. Zito, who is 2-11 on the year, will surely have a tough go of it against a talented - if underachieving - Tribe squad.

So there you go. Halfway through the week, with the weekend in plain sight, you get a couple of guaranteed ugly games to hold you over. Enjoy, and check back for a weekend recap in the morning.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Which side are you on?

The Yankees took steps to fix both their rotation and their bullpen woes when they drafted righty/lefty Pat Venditte in the 20th round in the First Year Player Draft earlier this month.

You read that right, righty-lefty. Venditte is ambidextrous.

According to Creighton coach Ed Servais, Venditte can reach up to 90 mph when throwing right handed, and 82 mph left handed with a nasty slider.

The pick couldn't have come at a better time for the Yanks, with Joba Chamberlain's move to the rotation leaving their bullpen sorely lacking any semblance of a quality arm and Chien-Ming Wang's season ending injury depleting even further a make-shift rotation that has battled injury problems all year long.

So will Venditte be the 4th and 5th pitcher in the rotation? Throw righty one day and lefty the next? Will he come in in relief of himself? Will he switch sides on a batter to batter basis? Does he get to sign two contracts? So many possibilities...

The most likely scenario is that Venditte is nothing more than a novelty who won't make the show from any side of the mound, but see the video below for clips of him already wreaking havoc in low level ball for the Staten Island Yankees. If you go here, you can watch an extended version of the at-bat. Good stuff, happy Friday.

In other Bad Baseball news from Thursday night...

Brewers starter Dave Bush nearly watched a gem of an outing go up in flames thanks to the Crew's bullpen horrendous support in relief against the Blue Jays. Bush took a no hitter into the 8th inning only to watch Tim Dillard and David Riske combine for two outs, 4 hits, and 6 runs. Salomon Torres was needed to save the day... literally. He picked up the save, which never should have been needed. Jays starter A.J. Burnett also struggled, allowing 8 runs on 8 hits over 5 innings of work.

Things got ugly in Chicago for the Pirates - White Sox match-up. Bucs starter Phil Dumatrait allowed 9 runs on 11 hits in 5 innings, and John Grabow kept things alive in the 6th when he allowed 4 runs on 3 hits in an inning of relief. For the White Sox, of the 8 runs they gave up, only 2 were earned.

The Cubs bullpen was out of control against the Rays. Carlos Marmol was on record for 4 runs without even allowing a hit, walking two and hitting two. Scott Eyre allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and recorded the only out between the two pitchers in the seventh inning.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Willie never saw it coming

You always hate to kick a man when he's already down, but ex-Met's manager Willie Randolph isn't making it easy.

In a statement made to various New York area newspapers, Randolph said he was "stunned" by his firing.

What planet are you living on, Willie?

He also commented that the firing happened "way, way too early."

After the Mets historical collapse to end 2007, he was lucky to even be brought back in 2008, especially considering the way New Yorkers demand success. If you don't remember, the Mets had a 7 game lead in the NL East with only 17 games to play, yet lost 12 of their final games to watch the Phillies surge past them, right into the playoffs.

Add to that a slow start in '08 and a sub .500 record, and you get an unemployed manager. Speculation of his termination had been floating around for weeks, and the firing surprised nobody.

Except Willie, apparently.

Wednesday night quick hits

Lots of Bad Baseball around the league on Wednesday night. Mid-week blues, I guess. Let's jump right in...

Barry Zito lost his 11th game of 2008 for the Giants. He allowed 5 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks to the Tigers. Zito's season ERA rose to 6.32 after the outing.

Not to be out done by his cross-bay counterpart, Oakland's Joe Blanton lost his 10th game of the year to the Diamondbacks. He allowed 8 runs on 7 hits in 3 innings of work.

Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick had a rough outing against the visiting Red Sox. He allowed 6 runs on 6 hits over 3 innings of work.

The Angels bullpen choked away their game against the Mets. Francisco Rodriguez blew just his second save of the season, allowing the game to go to extra innings after giving up a run on two hits in the 9th. Justin Speier sealed the deal in bonus play, allowing a run on a hit to pick his 4th loss of '08.

More bad bullpen work in the Nationals - Twins bonanza. Nats relievers combined for 2 innings, 8 hits, 8 runs, and 4 walks. Saul Rivera, Jesus Colome, and Brain Sanches were the culprits - a real "Who's who" of mop-up duty relievers.

Last and least: Rangers reliever C.J. Wilson struggled in the 9th inning against the Braves. He was pounded for 3 runs (though just one was earned) on 2 hits and a walk to pick up his second loss of the season.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wanted: professional baseball player

You know your farm system is in trouble when talent is so scarce you need to hold a public tryout to fill roster spots. "Ha!", you say. "Those crazy independent leagues will do anything for publicity!"

If only that were the case.

The future looks bleak if you're an Astros fan, because today in Salem, Virginia they're hosting open tryouts. To the public. To anyone with a glove. Ever wanted to be a pro ball player? This is your chance! I've attached the press release that is posted on the home page for the Salem Avalanche, the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. I'll give my two cents at the end of the article.

Salem, VA (June 17, 2008) - The Houston Astros will hold an open tryout camp for prospective professional baseball players [today], June 18, from 11AM - 2PM at Lewis-Gale Medical Center Field at Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium. Registration will begin at 10:30AM sharp.

The camp will be under the direction of Houston Astros scout JD Alleva. Participants must be at least 16 years of age, with proof of age required at the time of registration.

No players selected by a Major League team other than the Houston Astros in the 2008 June free-agent draft will be eligible to participate in the camp. American Legion players are required to have a letter from their coach or post commander granting permission to attend the camp.

Players must furnish their own uniforms, gloves, and shoes. Bats, balls and catching equipment will be furnished by the Astros. No dressing areas will be available, and players should arrive at the park in uniform and ready to begin the tryout. The club will not be responsible for any lost/stolen valuables or personal belongings of the participants.

Wow. I wonder if Jay Gibbons reads this site, I hear he's looking for work. Barry Bonds, too. And who is the scout, JD Alleva? Is the talent pool so shallow that he really thinks he might find a solid prospect or two? I mean, really? And I thought Bill Bavasi was a terrible GM in Seattle. Astros GM Ed Wade has set the bar at an all time low if this was his idea.

But with the Astros already 12 games back in the NL Central division, I suppose it can't hurt. Consider the panic button officially pushed.

In other Bad Baseball news from Tuesday night...

The A's routed Brandon Webb and the Diamondbacks by a score of 15-1. Webb lasted just three and a third innings and allowed 7 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks. All four relievers after Webb allowed at least one run . . . The White Sox dropped 16 runs on the Pirates. Bucs starter Ian Snell allowed 7 runs on 9 hits and 6 walks in 4 innings of work. Not to be outdone by the D-Backs pen, the Pirates relief corps also allowed at least a run per pitcher. Particularly bad was Marino Salas, who allowed 5 runs on 5 hits, recording just a single out . . . The Mets lost new manager Jerry Manuel's debut . . . and from a different sport, the Lakers lost decisive game six by a score of 131-92. Yeah, that's 39 points. Ouch. I'll save the breakdown of the meltdown for Ryan should he feel up to it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Evidence that baseballs are juiced

Not sure how I stumbled across this gem on the internet... chalk it up to a slow afternoon, I guess. Enjoy!

Monday night recap; Randolph fired

Not much action around the league, so I'll use this space to mention the New York Mets classless firing of manager Willie Randolph along with coaches Rick Peterson and Tom Nieto. I mean, I get it. It's New York, expectations are sky high, and the Mets weren't delivering. Someone had to answer for the mess, and why should that person be the General Manager, Omar Minaya, who has made a countless number of poor transactions in his tenure as GM?

But they sure could've handled the situation better.

It's been obvious that Randolph has been on the hot seat in New York ever since their late season collapse in 2007. Speculation has been rampant that Randolph would let go for weeks, with the Mets slow start to 2008 only exacerbating problems. So what'd the Mets do? They waited until they flew cross country to Anaheim, won a game (after having won 3 of their last 4), and fired their manager at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning.


Were they scared of letting Randolph go on Father's Day? The move was inevitable, I'm sure Randolph actually would have preferred the day off. Why wait until he flies to the other side of the country?

And did the Mets save money by flying Randolph and his coaches back across the country in business class? JetBlue? Or perhaps *gulp* ... Greyhound?

At least he won't have to be a part of another dreadful week of interleague baseball.

You stay classy, New York.

Monday, June 16, 2008

See ya, Sidney

The struggling Texas Rangers - 7.5 games back in the A.L. West - cut ties with starter Sidney Ponson Monday, despite his 4-1 record and 3.88 ERA in what is arguably the worst starting rotation in the majors.

The reason? Bad attitude. Jon Daniels, Rangers GM, said they rid themselves of Ponson because he was "disrespecting teammates and club personnel."

With some airlines pondering charging customers by weight to alleviate increased costs from fuel prices, this is a logical cost-cutting move for the Rangers organization.

Although Ponson was knighted in Aruba, someone must've forgotten to tell him he still has to play by the rules in America.

With the Yankees reportedly losing Chien-Ming Wang for 10+ weeks, and likely the rest of the season, could Sir Sidney possibly return to The Bronx, where he made a brief appearance in 2006? He sported a Bad Baseball-esque 10.47 ERA in 3 starts (5 total appearances), so it certainly won't cost much to bring him back.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekend recap, a look ahead

I truly hope fathers every where had an enjoyable weekend, and that days weren't ruined by favorite teams blowing late leads. That being said, let's take a look back on Bad Baseball from the weekend.

Friday: The Phillies scored 20 runs against the Cardinals, so it's tough to blame any one pitcher for the mess. Todd Wellemeyer allowed 8 runs on 8 hits in 3.1 innings. Ron Villone came on next, only to watch 6 runs cross the plate on 5 hits. Next up: Mark Worrell, who allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in 2 innings. Russ Springer only recorded a single out, but only allowed a single run. But it wasn't over! Ryan Franklin allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in just a third of an innings. Ironically, second baseman Aaron Miles was lights out, pitching an inning of perfect baseball . . . Giants starter Barry Zito finally reached double digit losses in his outing against the A's. He allowed 4 runs on 4 walks and 6 hits in 5.2 innings pitched. He's on pace to easily lose 20+ games.

Saturday: Rough outings for both starters in the Dodgers - Tigers interleague bonanza. Brad Penny (Los Angeles) allowed 7 runs on 7 hits 3.2 innings. His Tigers counterpart, Eddie Bonine, allowed 6 runs on 9 hits in 5.1 innings, which was good enough (or not bad enough) for the win . . . The Twins scored 5 runs in the 12th inning to beat the Brewers, thanks largely to Julian Tavarez and his 4 runs allowed on 4 hits . . . Ugly 9th inning in Baltimore for the Pirates - Orioles (ah, the beauty of interleague play!) game. Matt Capps blew his save chance for the Bucs by allowing 2 runs on 2 hits while recording just 2 outs. George Sherrill had blown his save already, also allowing 2 runs on 2 hits, but was bailed out by that juggernaut O's offense . . . Late inning win for the Padres, too, against the Indians. Tribe reliever Edward Mujica allowed 5 runs on 3 hits to pick up his first loss of the year.

Sunday: Nothing too crazy around the league to report on here, though the Yankees lost another starter to injury. This time it was Chien-Ming Wang, who left after spraining his foot running the bases. No word yet on how long he'll be out. No worries though; off-season acquisition Johan Santana will pick up the... oh wait, they didn't get him. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, the two guys the Yanks were unwilling to part with will just... oh wait, thats not working out, either. It's your move, Brian Cashman. What's your plan? . . . Ramon Vazquez had a big day for the Rangers. The bad in that? ESPN now has to post this mugshot on it's top performers line.

So now let's take a look ahead. This week's featured Bad Baseball match up: Wednesday afternoon, Tigers at Giants. Might as well keep tabs on Barry Zito, as he's on pace for a historically bad season. They must have scheduled this at 12:45 pm San Francisco time on purpose - nobody planned on going to it, anyways, so might as well save electricity costs and play it during the day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thanks, Dad

I tend to occupy myself with things other than the blog on weekends, so I wanted to take today's entry to say "Happy Father's Day" to dads everywhere. Because dad is, after all, the man who introduced us all to the wonderful game of baseball (and other sports on occasion).

I want to especially thank my own dad.

Growing up, he made sure I never missed a Padres - Mets game at Jack Murphy Stadium, so I could see my idol Darryl Strawberry. I can't remember why he became my favorite player; perhaps it was his last name that I found funny as a 5 year old, or maybe the fact that he was so tall.

Thank you for my 1987 Topps collection. I always knew that when Dad picked me up from preschool we'd stop by Grand City in Brunswick, Maine (I grew up a military kid) to pick up a pack of cards, after which I'd tear through them, asking if each player was "good." Looking back, the answer to 75% of that set is an obvious no, but the memories of it are priceless.

I remember sandlot baseball on an empty lot in Coronado, California, where I imagined I was Strawberry at the plate, and probably Dwight Gooden on the mound (I say probably because I may have thought Strawberry was so elite that he could pitch, too). The area we played in doesn't seem so big when I revisit it as an adult.

I remember all of the card shows, where I've met lots of famous (and some infamous) athletes: Strawberry (pretty sure he called me "buddy"), Gooden, Maury Wills, Greg Maddux, Pete Rose, Joe Pepitone (who cleverly asked me how to spell "Joe", which amused me at the time), Gaylord Perry, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (I worried I'd miss him entering the room; I didn't realize he was 12 feet tall) among countless others.

I remember every other ball game I've been to with him, including Wilson Alvarez's no-hitter in Baltimore.

I've been taught the game of golf and the beauty of gimme puts and mulligans - but not counting them against your score. Because golf is really just about the chance to spend quality time together.

For all of that and so much more, thank you.

So happy Father's Day to every father out there. Let dad kick back, relax, and watch a truly awful match-up - a father's day special, if you will - between the Nationals (26-42) and Mariners (24-42) on Sunday.

He deserves it.

Choke job

Hello… My name is Ryan, and I am a Homer. I am a child of the 80’s and growing up in San Diego, it was either the Clippers or the Lakers, so the choice was pretty easy… I am a Homer for the Los Angeles Lakers. Well, them and the Washington Wizards, but that’s like being a Padres fan… But I digress. I just share this little tidbit so that you’ll understand how hard this next part is.

I don’t normally comment on specific games, but rather bigger issues reflecting “bad” aspects of other sports in the news. The focus of this blog is bad baseball, and Joe (the landlord in these parts) does a superlative job of highlighting particularly poor performances night-to-night, but I just couldn’t let last night’s NBA game go peacefully into the night. The Lakers performance was so epically bad, they deserve honorable mention with baseball’s bumblers.

Let me put this in perspective for you… After the first quarter, they were up 35-14. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that is 21 points… AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER! The words “enfuego” and “unstoppable” actually came out of my mouth at that point. In fact, the Lakers were able to push their lead to as many as 24 at one point in the first half over the seemingly hapless Celtics. And while they became more human in the second quarter, allowing Boston to get three points closer by halftime, they still went to the locker room with an 18 points lead, at home, in a game they MUST win to have a shot at the Title. But, unfortunately, the team that came out of that locker room was not the Lakers (a team whose proud traditions of winning are among the most honored in basketball history), but rather the aforementioned Clippers, and the biggest collapse ever in a must-win game got underway. Not only did the Lakers fail to hold their enormous lead, but they lost the game by six points, and earned the distinction of having lost the largest lead in NBA Finals history (in the shot clock era).

This is the equivalent of the Patriots taking a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl and losing by two scores. This is the equivalent of Tiger blowing a 4-shot advantage in a Major to lose by three strokes on a day he is wearing his red shirt. This is the equivalent of Mariano Rivera blowing a 3-run lead in the Ninth by giving up a grand slam to Big Papi in the AL Championship. (eds. note: easy on the Rivera comment there, Ry. I almost threw up on my work computer at the thought…)

This Lakers’ collapse is not the biggest choke-job in sports history, but that didn’t make it any less painful to watch. Their exit from the playoffs is now a foregone conclusion, and the Lakers-Celtics rivalry that was supposed to make this Finals one for the Ages is now as limp and uninteresting as a Charlotte Bobcats-Miami Heat regular season game (in a strike year).

I wonder how much a Clippers foam finger is going for these days…

At any rate, I am interested to hear what you think are the biggest chokes ever in sports. Comment and let me know where you think last night’s game ranks!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday night quick hits

In New York, Billy Wagner blew his 3rd save in as many days for the Mets. He allowed 2 runs on 2 walks and 2 hits to the Diamondbacks . . . Another loss for Atlanta's bullpen; this time it was Manny Acosta, who allowed a run on two walks and a hit in extra innings to lose to the Cubs. But it wasn't before Blaine Boyer blew his chance for a save earlier in the game. It'll be a long summer for the Braves if they can't turn things around soon . . . Hiroki Kuroda didn't last long in his start for the Dodgers. He went 2.1 innings, allowing 6 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks to the Padres . . . Livan Hernandez probably should've stayed in bed. The Twins starter was rocked by the Indians, getting pounded for 7 runs on 12 hits in just 3 innings of work.

Please attach cover letter with resume

The following letter was written by ex-Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons and sent to every major league team seeking a minor league deal. Since being released Gibbons has been unable to find a job, which no doubt has something to do with the fact that his name appeared in the Mitchell Report. I can't argue against any teams' logic in not wanting to sign him. Who wants the baggage, especially with a non-factor outfielder that Gibbons is/was?

But you know what? The letter worked! Gibbons will join the independent Atlantic League, a league already filled with has-beens like John Rocker, Carl Everett, Jose Offerman, and Juan Gonzalez. Gibbons will fit right in.

The letter appeared on a sidebar in a fairly obscure article on, so perhaps you haven't read it. For those who haven't, I've copy-and-pasted it for you... enjoy!

Writing this letter is both painful and humiliating. It has been almost six weeks since my release from the Orioles and I am still unable to land any opportunity at a second chance to play the game that I love.

I am young, healthy and determined. I have acknowledged and apologized for the mistake that I made and writing this letter should be proof enough that I have indeed suffered for my mistake.

I have faith and hope that some team will give me the chance to prove that I can not only be a productive player but also be a stellar member of their organization. My faith in a second chance has inspired me to work harder than I have at any time in my life. My faith has gotten me through this most difficult period in my life.

All I need is a chance -- any chance -- anywhere. I am more than willing to begin the process of proving that I can and will be a productive major league player by playing in the minor leagues.

As you know, I have played seven seasons in the big leagues and have hit 20-plus homeruns in three seasons and have hit .277 in three seasons (2003, 2005 and 2006). At 31 years old, I have NO DOUBT that my best baseball is ahead of me.

I know that my agents at ACES have tried to land me an opportunity in the minor leagues but have been met with negative responses by each and every Organization. I am not blind to the fact that I have made a mistake and that mistake has raised doubt about my character and ability. It is important that you know that my indiscretions, while regretful, were made in an effort to heal a nagging wrist injury. I would encourage you to speak with anyone in this game, including players, coaches, front office etc. who know me. I am confident that everyone you speak with will vouch for my character.

I respectfully and humbly request that you grant me the chance to play for your organization.

I am so willing to prove myself as a player, and a person, that I will donate ALL of my minor league earnings to your Club's charity. In the event that I earn the right to play at the major league level, I will gladly donate a significant sum to that same charity.

Once again, all I need is a chance and I will prove that I can be an extremely productive player and a great addition to your organization.

Please feel free to contact me directly [phone numbers redacted].

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jay Gibbons

Wednesday night quick hits

It's been strange watching the Braves lately. Their pitching, which was once their greatest strength, has become a glaring weakness. That being said, lets dive in to the Wednesday night recap...

Starting in Atlanta, Braves starter Jeff Bennett fell to 0-4 on the year, lasting just 2 innings against the visiting Cubs. If were slots, Bennett would be rich; he allowed 7 runs - all 7 earned - on 7 hits. Braves management is probably not as amused as I am . . . Phillies starter Cole Hammels had a dominating performance against the Marlins; he struck out 13 over 8 innings of work, but watched it go to waste when Tom Gordon walked 2 and surrendered 2 hits in the 9th before giving up a walk-off grand slam to Dan Uggla . . . Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who has been a model of inconsistency so far, struggled against the Reds. He walked 8 over 5 innings pitched, also allowing 6 runs on 5 hits . . . B.J Ryan picked up his third loss of the season for Toronto to the Mariners, walking 2 and allowing a hit and a run in two-thirds of an inning.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When good cards go bad

I'm an on-again off-again card collector. Have been throughout most of my life. Over the summer of 2004 I was particularly heavy into collecting, most likely spurred by the fact that I was interning (fancy word for "working for next to nothing") for a minor league baseball team. Naturally, being surrounded by prospects, I was spending most of my money (don't be mislead; "most" means $40 a month) on '04 Bowman, "home of the rookie card." Also home to lots and lots of guys who'll never so much as step foot inside a major league clubhouse.

Anyhow, you can imagine my excitement upon pulling the card pictured: "2003 Rookies of the Year" dual game used Dontrelle Willis/Angel Berroa, #ROY-BW!! I don't remember the odds of pulling this card, but they were impressive... at least for the pseudo-enthusiast that I was. I should note that at the time, I was also big into "game used" cards - you know, the ones with tiny swatches of games worn pants and other random pieces of clothing. Kind of gross, now that I sit and think about it.

Anyhow... I now owned a piece of an actual, game used bat from Berroa, as well as a piece of jersey that Willis wore in front of tens - if not hundreds - of people on a hot Florida summer day. I was rich!

I should've sold it for the $40 or so dollars I think it booked for at the time I pulled it.

Since then, Angel Berroa went from rookie of the year to arguably the worst every day player in the game to not even really being in the game. After a huge rookie season (.287 AVG, 17 HR, 73 RBI and 21 stolen bases), his career numbers plummeted. He would commit 77 errors (most in the majors) from 2003-2005. In '05 and '06 he walked in just 2.9% of his at bats, good for second worst in the big leagues. He spent most of 2007 in triple-A Omaha. Did I mention he was caught lying about his age, subtracting two years? And the Royals most recently washed their hands of Berroa by trading him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

So maybe Berroa won't hold up the value on his half of the card, but I've still got the nice, crisp white swatch of jersey from Willis to bank on, right?

Oh so very wrong.

On Tuesday, the Tigers demoted their newly acquired (just before the '08 season) hurler to their Class A Lakeland affiliate, destroying whatever small amount of value my card might still have had. Suddenly, that 3 year, $29 million deal they signed him to isn't looking so good. In fact, you might even be able to say that Detroit "Zito-ed" that deal. Willis's implosion Monday night was the last straw. On the year, Willis had walked 21 batters in just 11.1 innings, obviously struggling mightily with his control. You know Willis will be back, especially given the money he's making, but at least the Giants felt Zito was worthy of filling a spot in their bullpen. But Class A?? That's bad.

Almost as bad as the chances that this dual game used relic card is ever worth a fraction of what it once was.

In other Bad Baseball news from Tuesday night...

The Nationals - Pirates match up featured 7 home runs, which must be some sort of record for these two perennially hapless teams. Matt Capps blew his save chance for the Bucs, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits in the 9th, including a home run to Lastings Milledge (named Lastings because he was the last child born in his family. I kid you not.) . . . More bullpen woes for the Braves against the Cubs. Buddy Carlyle and Manny Acosta combined to pitch 4.2 innings and allow 6 hits and 6 runs, though only 2 were earned. Tom Glavine was still the losing pitcher in the contest . . . The Royals bullpen gagged one up against the Rangers; Brett Tomko, Ron Mahay, and Yasuhiko Yabuta combined for 2.1 innings, 5 runs and 5 hits. It was Yabuta's first ya-blown (terrible, I know, but I couldn't resist) save of the year ... The Padres put maximum effort in to losing to the Dodgers, using 6 pitchers in relief. Justin Hampson was the loser (2 runs, 1 hit, 0 outs recorded), and Heath Bell (1 run, 2 hits, a third of an inning pitched) blew a save chance. Because even after the Padres managed to claw there way back into the game, there was no way Bell was passing up his opportunity to appear on Bad Baseball.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Manager meltdown

Ron Polk is Mississippi State University baseball. He's been a part of the program since 1976. He's the winningest coach in SEC history in any sport. He's the "Polk" in Polk-DeMent Stadium, home of the MSU Bull Dogs. And since retiring from the University he has left every bridge in a blaze of glory behind him.

According to the Clarion Ledger, a paper in Mississippi, Polk had thought long time assistant Tommy Raffo was the guy in line to take over the baseball program upon his departure. But incoming MSU athletic director Greg Byrne had other plans.

Byrne is bringing in now ex-Kentucky coach John Cohen to take over the reigns. And how does Polk feel about it?

"I just got slapped in the face, punched in the stomach. All my coaches have been slapped in the face, punched in the stomach by a young athletic director who has absolutely no clue what he's doing."

Sooo... I'm assuming he doesn't like the move? He's retiring anyways, what can he really do about it? Nothing a simple letter of disapproval can't express, right? You'd think, except this is what Polk is demanding in said letter:

"within 48 hours, my name comes off the stadium, comes off the centerfield fence, the banner off the concourse comes down. It will remain down until (Byrne) gets fired or somebody runs him off. Now he's got me on the warpath and all I can do is hurt him. I'm going to do everything I can to make his life miserable."

A real team player, that Ron Polk. Way to help the transition go as smoothly as possible. Not only has he thrown the new A.D. under the bus, he's made things as uncomfortable as humanly possible for the new coach.

It is worth mentioning that Cohen (the incoming coach) played under Polk between 1987-90, along with "snubbed" candidate - and still an assistant as of today - Raffo! Um... awkward! Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that first coaches meeting...

Polk has also informed his former player that he does not give his support in any way, and finished his complaints by stating that he will now remove MSU from his will.

You're retiring, coach, so you've been around long enough to know that you don't always get what you want. Take some of your new-found free time and grow up.

In other Bad Baseball news from Monday night in the "big boy" league...
There's no crying for these guys; Mariano Rivera lost his second game of 2008 after allowing a 9th inning homer to Jose Guillen of the Royals ... Tigers starter Dontrelle Willis was rocked by the Indians; he lasted just an inning and a third, allowing 8 runs on 3 hits and 5 walks. Is that the complete opposite of efficiency?

And finally, in "other sports on occasion" bad news, the Bears have released Cedric Benson after his weekend DUI. No worries in Chicago, though, as this likely improves their team.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A look ahead; Weekend recap

It's baaaaack! I speak of interleague play, and it presents us with the Bad Baseball game of the week. Friday night, A's at Giants. Take a wild guess who's starting for the Giants... if you guessed Barry Zito, you're absolutely right. I gotta imagine A's general manager Billy Beane will give himself a little pat on the back for every run Zito (a former Athletic) gives up. Can Zito reach double digit losses on the year? I sure can't wait to find out.

So there's the look ahead, now let's look back on a weekend of bad baseball...

Friday: The Braves proved they're gonna miss John Smoltz quite a bit; Blaine Boyer (blown save) and new closer Manny Acosta (losing pitcher) worked together in the 9th and 10th innings to lose the game against the Phillies ... In Washington, Nationals starter Jason Bergmann had a rough go of it against the Giants; he allowed 5 earned runs on 10 hits and 2 walks.

Saturday: Andy Pettite posted a triple-double for the Yankees in his start against the Royals; 10 runs (all 10 earned) on 10 hits. The Yanks offense would eventually bail him out on Ramon Ramirez's and Joakim Soria's blown saves, a rare double choke job. Ramirez allowed 2 runs on 3 hits while Soria fell apart in the 9th, also surrendering 2 runs on 3 hits.

Sunday: Blaine Boyer struck again for Atlanta; he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in his second effort to demonstrate how badly the Braves need Smoltz in their bullpen ... The Nationals somehow lost to Bad Baseball's favorite punching bag Barry Zito, giving him his second win of 2008 ... Kevin Slowey had no problem picking up his 6th loss of the year to the White Sox; he allowed 8 runs on 10 hits ... Billy Wagner blew his third save of the year for the Mets; he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits to the Padres.

And with that, I'm off to rest up for another week of Bad Baseball...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The saying is DON'T drink and drive, Cedric.

“I will say this slowly so that you don’t get too excited… Cedric. Benson. Arrest. AGAIN. For. DUI. I know that is very surprising… I myself was shocked! In fact, getting my hair cut this morning, the barber had to ask me to shut up because it was all I could talk about. How could such an upstanding example of all-that-is-wholesome in professional sports get caught again for the same offense that threatened to end his career less than a month ago? I mean… huh? What do you mean you’re not surprised?! Am I alone in my disbelief…? Am I the only one that didn’t see this coming?! Poor Cedric… Poor, poor Cedric.”

*best infomercial voice* Is thinking too much of a burden for you…? Can you see yourself making comments like those above? If you too would like to experience this disconnection from reality and the complete cluelessness that leads to not being able to see the coming of the most inevitable events in sports, send $20 to the following address:

Ryan’s Crazy Pills
1234 So Obvious Avenue
Ignorance, CA 66666

Oh, and if you don’t take these pills already but you actually didn’t see this coming, please turn in your fan card at the door when you leave! Thank you.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Red Sox - Rays Brawl

Had to find another source for the video... stick it out a couple seconds and the picture gets better. The MLB fun police are back!

Nice! Is there anyone in the AL East the Rays won't fight? First it was the Yanks in spring training, and now this. Not easy being at the top, eh Tampa Bay? Just watching Coco Crisp smirk makes me hate him. You'd think, though, that James Shields could've aimed at least a little higher on Crisp's back...

In other Bad Baseball news from Thursday night...

B.J. Ryan blew his second save of the year for the Blue Jays. He allowed 3 runs on 3 hits in the 9th, including a walk-off, pinch hit homer to Jason Giambi. Kyle Farsworth stumbled into the win for New York ... In Washington, Jon Rauch was unable to preserve a 9th inning lead against the Cardinals, blowing his save chance for the Nationals by allowing 2 runs on 3 hits. The Nats offense would bail him out after Ryan Franklin blew his save chance! Always love the two-in-one! And finally, in Los Angeles, Takashi Saito was unable to hold off the Cubs, picking up his third loss of the year. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Draft day

While not nearly as exciting as the NBA's or NFL's versions, Major Baseball's First-Year Player Draft began Wednesday afternoon. It's a time when teams draft exciting, lively young arms with aspirations of righting each and every one of the organization's wrongs. Holes will be filled and futures will be secured. And my massive collection of 1992 Topps Brien Taylor rookie cards will allow me to retire early.

Or not.

It's a 50 round, two day draft, and like other sports, signability can be a huge factor. Also factoring in is the fact that many of the young men drafted today or tomorrow have yet to face any real, tough competition. It can be tough projecting the future of a 19 year old kid who started throwing curve balls at the age of 12.

Sometimes a pick is a no-brainer and works out. Ken Griffey Jr. (1987, Seattle #1 overall) and Alex Rodriguez (1993, Seattle #1 overall) come immediately to mind. Other times, however, that high-ceiling, can't-miss prospect doesn't work out. Let's take a look at some of the 1st round draft day busts of the last 15 or so years...

In 1991, the Yankees selected Brien Taylor #1 overall. He had electric stuff and pitched well early in his minor league career. But after tearing his labrum while defending his brother in a fight he would forever struggle in low level minor league ball. Notable names from later in the round: Manuel "Manny" Ramirez (Cleveland, #13) and Cliff Floyd (Montreal, #14).

In '92, the Astros, Indians, Expos, Orioles, and Reds all passed on a middle infielder from a small town in Michigan: Derek Jeter (Yankees, #7).

In '96, the Twins selected mega-hyped prospect Travis Lee with their first pick (second overall). They did not offer Lee a contract and he would eventually sign on with the Diamondbacks. He's had a respectable career but never quite lived up to expectations, and thus would always be viewed as a bit of a disappointment.

In '97, the Phillies drafted J.D. Drew, who did not sign and is now hated in Philadelphia. It ultimately worked out, I'd say, since Drew has frequented the disabled list throughout his career. If an outfielder was what they desired, the Phillies should have taken a look at either Vernon Wells (Toronto, #5) or Lance Berkman (Houston, #16).

The Devil Rays - who have since shed the "Devil" - selected Josh Hamilton #1 overall in 1999. He was such an extraordinary talent that the pick itself wasn't bad, but off-field issues would keep him out of baseball for years to come. The Rays would go on to select Carl Crawford in the second round.

The Rays were again unlucky with their first pick (6th overall) in 2000 of Rocco Baldelli, who would spend much of his career on the disabled list. I suppose there's a chance he comes back eventually, but more severe illnesses might prevent it. Early comparisons to Joe DiMaggio never panned out, but can you imagine if they had? Combine that with the "what if" that was Josh Hamilton and the Rays would have a modern day outfield that could be among the best of all time... Crawford, Baldelli, Hamilton... scary, and fun to imagine. I realize, though, that the same thing could be said about any number of teams.

In 2001, the Twins passed on selecting Mark Prior, thinking they'd be unable to sign him. Instead, they settled on Joe Mauer. That worked ok, wouldn't ya say?

In 2002 the Pirates selected Brian Bullington #1 overall. To date, he has made 45 big league appearances and is currently struggling in the minors. Any of the following picks would've been a major improvement: B.J. Upton (Tampa Bay, #2), Prince Fielder (Milwaukee, #7), Cole Hamels (Philadelphia, #17), or Jeff Francoeur (Atlanta, #23).

In '04, the Padres took Matt Bush #1 overall, passing on Justin Verlander (Detroit, #2). Verlander would surely help that battered San Diego pitching staff right about now, wouldn't he? Bush was suspended before his first season even began after being involved in a brawl outside of an Arizona night club. He broke his ankle in spring training of '06 while horseback riding, and tore a ligament in his throwing elbow after being converted to a pitcher in 2007. He'll return in 2009.

And finally, in 2005, the Mariners selected Jeff Clement - a catcher out of USC - with the third overall pick in the draft. His career is still young and he could develop into a useful player, but the picks he was surrounded by already have: Justin Upton (Arizona, #1), Alex Gordon (Kansas City, #2), Ryan Zimmerman (Washington, #4), Troy Tulowitski (Colorado, #7), and Jay Bruce (Cincinnati, #12).

It's far too early to tell what the '06 and '07 drafts will produce, but I suspect more of the same. Some picks will hit and others will surely miss. Here's one thing I do know - hold on to those rookie cards of 2008 #1 overall pick Tim Beckham (Tampa Bay) and some day you, too, will be able to retire early.

Just like me and Brien.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Manager rant!

Hurry, before MLB cracks down on free publicity! Mariners manager John McLaren gave a somewhat entertaining rant Wednesday night. Not the best I've ever seen, but better than no rant at all!

McLaren vents frustration
McLaren vents frustration

Wednesday night quick hits

I only have time for a quick recap tonight, but look for a "feature" story some time tomorrow. On to some quick hits from Wednesday night...

It was a fairly quiet Wednesday around the big leagues. Except in Texas, where the Indians and Rangers combined for 24 runs. Sidney Ponson was the losing pitcher for Texas, allowing 6 runs (though only two were earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks over 4 innings pitched. Elizardo Ramirez (don't worry, I've never heard of him either) made his first - and likely last - appearance out of the pen for Texas and was hammered for nine runs on eight hits over 2.2 innings pitched. That's a 30.37 ERA if you're scoring at home.

In Philadelphia, Phillies starter Brett Myers took a no hitter into the 7th inning but still managed to record his 7th loss of the year to the Reds. Nice run support, guys.

Joba not so well done

It came and went, just a bit faster than his normal length outings. I'm talking, of course, about Joba Chamberlain's first start in New York. He didn't pitch terribly, but was a bit wild, walking 4 in just over two innings pitched. The now Joba-less bullpen, however, was a different story. Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez combined to record just one out while allowing 6 runs on 3 hits. Ramirez managed to walk three batters, too. Not a good sign moving forward.

I still question the management (on all levels) of this franchise. Why publicize Joba's pitch count? The Blue Jays batters repeatedly went to the plate with no intentions of swinging at whatever he was throwing. It was evident from the start. So there was no real surprise that Chamberlain reached his pitch count in the third inning. And then to essentially turn the game into a spring training contest by bringing in Dan Giese, a 31 year old career minor leaguer, called up specifically to eat innings? Am I missing something? Are these games not counting for the Yanks? Are they not seven games back in the AL East?

Elsewhere, John Smoltz will be shut down for the year to undergo shoulder surgery ... Barry Zito lost his 9th game of the year for the Giants. He allowed 5 earned runs on 7 hits and 5 walks in 4.1 innings pitched to the Mets ... Tough start for Indians pitcher Tony Mastny against the Rangers. He lasted just an inning and a third and allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Leave it to pathetic Yankees reliever Kyle Farnsworth to rain on the Joba Chamberlain parade - rolling into The Bronx at the moment - Monday night by entering Monday night's contest against the Twins and promptly blowing the game in the 8th inning.

It took him just three batters to allow a run to cross the plate. Double. Sacrifice bunt. Double. And just like that Twins closer Joe Nathan shut the door on the Yanks in the 9th.

I made a couple of disturbing observations while Farnsworth was on the mound. The first is that this guy has the flattest fastball I've ever seen. Sure, he throws hard. That'd be great if this was low class A. BUT THIS IS DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL!! Wait... wrong rant. Seriously though, these are big league hitters, and they can hit a 95 mph fastball with no movement in their sleep.

Second observation: nobody on the team likes him. While he's taking a beating on the mound, nobody went to the mound to talk to him. In the dugout, teammates stayed so far away that you'd swear Farnsworth had meningitis. This guy has become a pariah. Can you imagine the boos that'd be raining down on him had this game been played in NY? Or worse... what if he blows Chamberlain's first win (as a starter, anyways) tonight?

I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the Yanks patch the gaping hole in their bullpen, but until then, yikes.

Elsewhere in MLB, we saw blown saves from John Smoltz (welcome back!) in Atlanta. He allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in an inning of work to the Marlins ... Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima blew his 5th save of the year (impressive, considering he's not even the closer) against the Orioles. He was hit hard, surrendering 4 runs 4 hits in two-thirds of an inning ... Mets starter Oliver Perez recorded just a single out in his start against the Giants. He was pulled after giving up 6 runs on 5 hits, 2 of which were home runs.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekend recap, A look ahead

There will be a lot of money on the mound Tuesday night, which makes it all the more pathetic that the contracts gone bad I'm talking about make up this week's Bad Baseball game of the week.

Tuesday night, Pedro Martinez (making nearly $12 million in '08) brings his Mets squad to the house that Barry Bonds brought crumbling down to take on Barry Zito ($14.5 million in '08) and the San Francisco Giants. It'll be Martinez's first start back from rehab and Zito, well, stinks. There should be plenty of souvenirs for fans beyond the outfield walls.

And now let's look back on a weekend full of Bad Baseball.

Friday: Manny Corpas reminded everyone why he lost the closer's role earlier this season in Colorado by allowing 3 runs on 3 hits to the Chicago Cubs, without recording an out ... Marlins starter Mark Hendrickson was roughed up by the Phillies, getting pounded for 10 runs on 7 hits in three and two-thirds innings ... In New York, Mets reliever Aaron Heilman erased a solid start by John Maine when he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits, also without recording an out ... The Giants bullpen waited until the 13th inning to implode, with Billy Sadler allowing 4 runs on 3 walks and a hit to the Padres.

Saturday: In New York the Mets came from behind to beat the Dodgers thanks to Jonathan Broxton's blown save. He allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in just a third of an inning ... The Pirates scored 14 runs (yeah, you read that right, the Pirates) against the Cardinals, thanks in large part to Card's starter Mike Parisi's poor start: 8 runs allowed on 8 hits and 3 walks in 2.2 innings.

Sunday: Bartolo Colon won his third straight start (and is 3-0 on the year). Not "Bad Baseball", just surprising. Though counterpart and Orioles starter Brian Burres didn't put up much of a fight when he allowed 7 runs on 12 hits in 4 innings of work ... Astros starter Shawn Chacon lasted just an inning in his start against the Brewers. He allowed 4 runs on 2 walks and 2 hits ... It was a rough 7th inning for the Rangers against the A's; Jamey Wright, Robinson Tejada, and Frank Francisco combined to allow 9 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks to the Athletics ... Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan blew his save opportunity against the Angels after surrendering 2 runs on 3 hits in the 9th ... Once-great closer Trevor Hoffman picked up his 4th loss - and third blown save - for the Padres against the Giants when he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in the 10th inning.

And with that, I'm out. Here's to another bad week of baseball!