Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday night recap

In a night that was likely overshadowed by the official start of the college football season in many parts of the country, only two bad performances stood out as blog-worthy.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw had a rough outing against the Nationals, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks, lasting just two and a thirds innings in the loss...

The Cubs scored five runs in the eighth inning to beat the Phillies. Relievers Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin combined to allow the five runs on five hits in just a third of an inning.

I mentioned college football started yesterday, and seeing as how baseball ends (the regular season, anyway) in just over a month, I'll most certainly devote more coverage to football - both college and pro. Not sure the level of coverage, because with hundreds of games I don't have the time to recap them all, but rest assured - the site won't die!

Keep checking back throughout the day, because just like last week I'll link to other articles I'm reading to pass the time on Friday.

Time wasting articles:

That was quick...

Tropical Storm Gustav is already affecting sports on the Gulf Coast...

Basketball has arrived in OKC...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's finally here...


And by "it" I don't mean the college football season, which coincidentally begins tonight as well.

I also don't mean hurricane season for the gulf coast - keep residents of the area in your thoughts as the first major storm of their season is fast approaching.

I'm talking about, of course, instant replay in baseball!

One more time: Instant replay in baseball!

Now scoot three feet left to read it again: Instant replay in baseball!

Find one more viewing angle, and read: Instant replay in baseball!

Took quite a while to get to this point in the entry, eh? I'm sure there are fewer of you reading at this point than originally started, which is why I'm still torn as to how I should feel about instant replay (in baseball!).

On one hand, I'm happy to see MLB taking steps to ensure correct calls, even if it's just going to be used for home runs. And it's only being installed - for now - in a handful of parks around the league, so there's a chance (though I'd imagine just a slight one) that instant replay never quite catches on.

On the other hand, I'm scared of long, and therefor unwatchable, this may make our national pastime. People already skip right through baseball when flipping channels because of the waiting between pitches (which does rival the time between plays in football, but I won't get in to that), pitching changes, and whatever else drags a game out, so why would anyone want to sit and watch three out of shape umpires debate whether a ball was fair or foul? Added time, even if it's only 10 extra minutes just a couple of times a week, could drive away the few casual fans baseball still has left.

Adding replay should also reduce the amount of manager tantrums... and nobody wins there.

We'll see how it goes for a while. If it can be implemented with little to no added time, great. If not, I hope the powers-that-be are smart enough to do away with replay.

In other Bad Baseball news from Wednesday night...
The Twins scored three runs in the 8th inning to rally against the Mariners. Seattle reliever Sean Green blew the game, allowing three runs on three hits in just a third of an inning . . . The Yankees relievers effectively slammed the door shut on their season against the Red Sox. Relievers Jose Veras and David Robertson combined to allow seven runs on six hits in the 8th inning . . . The Cardinals scored four runs in the 8th inning to beat the Brewers. Milwaukee reliever David Riske allowed three runs on three hits, recording just one out . . . Tough night for Angels starter Joe Saunders; he allowed six runs on eight hits, lasting just one and a third innings.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday night quick hits

The Cubs beat the Pirates, 14-9, and it was Pittsburgh reliever Craig Hanson who stood out as the worst player of the game. He allowed four runs on three walks and a hit, all without recording an out...

The Brewers routed the Cardinals 12-0, highlighted by an unnecessary seven runs in the top of the ninth. St. Louis relievers Jaime Garcia and Brad Thompson combined to allow the seven runs on six hits...

You'd think Diamondbacks starter Brandon Webb would have little - if any - trouble notching his 20th win of the season against the Padres, but such was not the case. Webb was roughed up for six runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings of work.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Too legit, so quit


It wasn't long ago that I wrote about a town voting to cancel it's Little League All-Star game because it excluded kids who weren't, well, All-Stars.

And now, in another fine example of discouraging kids from meeting challenges, a Little League team in New Haven, Connecticut has banned a nine year old boy for being too good.

The Youth Baseball League of New Haven, CT, has banned nine year old Jericho Scott because he throws too hard, with fastballs topping out at 40 mph. Before you laugh, thinking, "I could crush a 40 mph pitch!", remember two things: the mound is far closer to home plate that the standard 60 feet six inches... and the fact that he's nine.

The league plans to disband Scott's team and redistribute the players. Says Scott, "I feel sad. I feel like it's my fault nobody could play."

After the ban, Scott started a game at second base, only to return to the mound in the following game. And what did the opposing coach do?

He forfeited.

Wow. Look, I get the concern over the possibility of an eight year old getting hurt facing that kind of relative heat. And I do understand that baseball at that low of a level is intended to be instructional and developmental. But quitting because something is too hard? What a joke.

I remember facing one kid in particular in Little League who threw exceptionally hard, and I still remember his name (I'll withhold it, though. Not that it's someone you'd know anyway). He threw incredibly hard. So what'd our team do when we faced him? We swung away. Granted, it was with eyes closed and knees buckling, but we still stepped into the batter's box for our three pitches.

Why do coaches and parents think this sort of behaviour is a good idea? What if they did this at all levels of baseball? Can you imagine the Rockies storming off the field every time the Diamondbacks and starter Brandon Webb come to town? When Mariano Rivera enters a game in the 9th, should the opposing team just leave?

And what sort of lesson does this teach young Jericho Scott? That if you're too good in life, if you reach too high, or have too much success, people will only try to knock you down? (OK, so that's probably true, but nine years old is too early to learn that lesson) Should he settle for mediocrity? He can't simply move to a higher level, because at the next age division up they likely play on larger fields, which would destroy a nine year old arm.

Scott feels sad that kids can't play because of him. I feel sad that kids today apparently can't face a challenge.

In other Bad Baseball news from Monday night...

Only one bad game, and a couple of bad performances within it, to report on. The Cubs routed the Pirates, 12-3. Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens - he of the near perfect game a month ago - allowed five runs on six hits in three innings of work. Reliever Jason Davis just piled on, allowing five more runs on five hits in just two innings.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The week ahead; A look back


Let's take a look ahead to the Bad Baseball featured match up...

I'm going with Friday night's absolutely meaningless contest in San Diego, when the 61-71 Rockies will take on the 48-82 Padres. Aaron Cook will take the mound for Colorado, while San Diego will send out Dirk Hayhurst.

So there ya go. It wasn't the worst match up of the week, but I'll admit it; I really just wanted to mention Dirk Hayhurst.

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

FRIDAY: Cubs reliever Chad Gaudin couldn't pitch effective mop-up work against the Nationals; he allowed six runs on six hits in two innings of work in Chicago's blowout loss . . . In another case of a reliever doing no relieving, Pirate's reliever Denny Bautista allowed four runs on three hits without recording an out in the seventh inning against the Brewers . . . The Cardinals scored 18 runs in their win over the Braves. The worst of the worst was Atlanta reliever Matt DeSalvo, who allowed six runs on eight hits in just an inning of work . . . The Rays scored six runs over the final two innings of play in their comeback win against the White Sox. Chicago reliever Octavio Dotel allowed three runs on three hits (two of which were homers), all without recording an out.

SATURDAY: Red Sox starter Jon Lester struggled against the Blue Jays; he allowed seven runs on eight hits in 2.1 innings of work . . . The Orioles lost to Carl Pavano and the Yankees, which is pathetic . . . A statistical oddity for Reds reliever Mike Lincoln; though he allowed three runs on three hits in just a third of an inning, he recorded the loss and the hold against the Rockies.

SUNDAY: No performances stood out as being particularly bad, but six games went in to extra innings on what was supposed to be an early finish getaway day for most clubs.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday reading/viewing

With the weekend just hours away, I'll post throughout the morning and afternoon various things I've been reading to help you kill time. Keep checking back!

... A while back I had an entry about baseball players lying about their ages. And if you're paying any attention to the Olympics, you know there are plenty of allegations regarding Chinese gymnasts being too young to compete. But do you remember Danny Almonte, of Little League World Series fame? Read about where he is now.

... Great seats at Lucas Oil Stadium, new home of the Indianapolis Colts.

... You've heard of the Madden Curse, but could there be an Olympic Curse, too?

... Not that Georgia Southern had a chance against Georgia in week one of the college football season to begin with, but now it could get really ugly.

... Very appropriate for this site.

Thursday night recap

There was really only one truly bad performance from last night's action, and of course it comes from the team with the highest payroll in the universe.

Yankees starter Sidney Ponson was hammered by the Blue Jays, allowing seven runs on eight hits in just two innings of work.

Things won't be getting better for the Yanks any time soon, as they've made the official announcement that Carl Pavano will start Saturday against the Orioles. I hope Pavano invested his $39.95 well, because I sure don't see him getting much on the free agent market this off season.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Horse power, schmorse power


I know that writing about NASCAR could very possibly alienate every single reader of this blog, but the recent suspensions of seven members of Joe Gibbs Racing was too good to pass up.

The suspension alone seemed pretty drastic when I heard the number. I have no idea if seven is a lot, or if there are hundreds of team members, but it sounds like a high enough number. So I looked in to it.

It seems that owners have been complaining that the Toyota engine design allows for more horsepower than those in competing Chevy, Ford, and Dodge cars. (Imagine that - Toyota making a better car than Ford... welcome to the party, NASCAR) So following Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway, Toyota's cars were tested. What did the team do to avoid detection of an advantage? They put magnetic spacers under the pedals, preventing them from reaching the floor and achieving maximum horsepower.

Great idea.

Did they really think this would work? How could anyone have made an argument justifying the decision? It's almost as if someone from Gibbs's team was convinced that nobody would notice. Why didn't they just take things a step further? You know, put bricks under the pedals, so when the cars registered a paltry 10 horsepower output NASCAR would realize that Toyota was actually at a disadvantage this whole time!

That's what I would've done.

Anyways, now you have my two cents. Feel free to leave comments with your opinions on the topic, especially if the attempted disguise - for lack of a better word - is not as stupid as I'm thinking it is.

On to a recap of the Bad Baseball action from Wednesday night...

The White Sox score 15 runs against the Mariners, thanks largely to R.A. Dickey's terrible start in which he allowed eight runs on six hits in two innings of work. Reliever Jake Woods wasn't much better, allowing another six runs on seven hits in three innings . . . The Padres spotted starter Jake Peavy a four run lead after the top of the first inning, but it wasn't enough. Peavy allowed six runs (five earned) in his first two innings and would be the eventual loser . . . The Marlins scored three runs in the top of the ninth to tie their contest against the Giants, but Florida reliever Matt Lindstrom blew it in the bottom of the inning, notching the loss. This meant that Giants closer Brian Wilson was credited with both a blown save and a win, two misleading stats if there ever were any.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday night recap

The Mets scored five runs in the eighth to beat the Braves, thanks to the combined effort (or lack thereof) of Atlanta relievers Jeff Bennett and Will Ohman. Together, the two allowed the five runs on just two hits and three walks.

It might look like the Yankees bullpen blew the game against the Blue Jays, but it's tough to put the blame solely on the pitching. Jose Veras picked up the loss, but if a position player was able to get that distinction, it would've been Johnny Damon, who dropped two fly balls in the game. See the one the cost them the game here.

The Tigers scored nine runs in the seventh inning to beat the Rangers, scoring the runs off of Vicente Padilla and Wilson Madrigal.

The Padres rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth against the Diamondbacks and closer Brandon Lyon, but it wasn't enough. Tony Pena would record the save.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday night recap

Short entry today; an abbreviated posting for an abbreviated day of action.

Giants starter Barry Zito managed to beat the Braves. At this pace, he'll easily win 20 games by February. San Francisco just has to be patient...

The Pirates scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat the Mets; NY reliever Duaner Sanchez was the worst out of the bullpen, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk without recording an out...

Tough outing for Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn; he allowed eight runs on seven hits and two walks in 4.1 innings of work. Washburn still may end up with another team before the year is done, but this sort of performance usually doesn't increase trade value...

The Red Sox scraped together four runs over the final two innings of play to beat the Orioles...

The Tigers scored eight runs in the seventh and eighth innings to overcome the Rangers, though Detroit reliever Kyle Farnsworth did his best to erase it. Farnsworth allowed four runs (though to be fair, only two were earned) on four hits in just two-thirds of an inning . . .

The Yankees are in dire straights; today they announced that Saturday they will start either Phil Hughes or Carl Pavano. Yeah, the same Carl Pavano who signed that four year, $39.95 million dollar contract before the 2005 season. The same Pavano who is is 5-6 in 19 appearances OVER THE LIFE OF THE WHOLE FRIGGIN' CONTRACT. I'm not too worried, though. I'm sure Pavano finds a way to hurt himself before stepping anywhere close to the mound this weekend.

A look ahead, a look back


Before I recap the ridiculously bad weekend of baseball, lets take a look forward to this week's featured match up.

It's a two start week for Barry Zito (lucky Giants...), but the worst of the two clearly will be Saturday night's meaningless game against the Padres. Zito (6-15, 5.73 ERA) will face off against Cha Seung Baek (4-8, 4.99 ERA). Something tells me plenty of tickets are still available.

OK... recap time...

FRIDAY: The Cubs scored three runs in the top of the 9th to beat the Marlins. Kevin Gregg blew his seventh save, allowing the runs on two hits in his inning of work . . . Carlos Silva fell to 4-14 for the hapless (or helpless, or hopeless; you pick the best word) Seattle Mariners when he allowed nine runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings to the Twins . . . Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez struggled against the Diamondbacks, allowing four runs on three hits and six walks in 2.1 innings of work.

SATURDAY:
The Braves jumped on the most recent Giants call-up Matt Palmer, who allowed six runs on seven hits and four walks over 2.1 innings. Hopefully Palmer gets another chance, otherwise his 2009 baseball card will show this year's ERA as 23.14 . . . Diamondbacks starter Brandon Backe allowed 11 runs on nine hits and five walks to the Astros . . . Reds starter Aaron Harang (who I could've sworn used to be good) allowed eight runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings against the Cardinals. With the loss, Harang and his 5.59 ERA fell to 3-13 on the year . . . The Nationals tied a franchise worst 9th straight loss against the Rockies, thanks mostly to John Lannan's eight runs and seven hits allowed.

SUNDAY:
They did it!! The Nationals broke the franchise record for consecutive games lost with their 10th in a row, this one coming against the Rockies. Of course, this record is only since they actually became the Nationals. The record is 11, if you count their tenure as the Expos . . . The Orioles beat the Tigers 16-8. With 37 combined hits, it was all bad . . . The Yankees offense showed signs of life against the Royals. Kansas City starter Brian Bannister posted a triple double, surrendering 10 runs (all 10 earned) on 10 hits in just an inning of work . . . Boston starter Josh Beckett was pounded by the Blue Jays; he allowed eight runs on eight hits in 2.1 innings . . . Mariners starter Ryan Feierabend (who?) struggled against the Twins; he allowed six runs on 10 hits in three innings of work . . . Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez took the loss against the White Sox, allowing seven runs on six hits and five walks over 3.1 innings of baseball.

Whew... what a weekend. Told you it was ridiculously bad.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday night recap


Before I get to the recap of Thursday night's Bad Baseball action, I want to point out a fun running feature ESPN does for the college football season.

I know, I know; baseball is still in full swing (Ha! Swing... baseball... get it?), and playoff races are anything but settled. But I can't help but get excited for college football, my other true love.

Of course, college football isn't really my second love. The coveted #2 spot belongs solely to my wife, right behind the Yankees/baseball (co-#1). She was informed of her ranking early on in our relationship, so this comes as no surprise to her. So this makes college football my #3.

But I digress. College football rankings are out, no real surprises (though I just can't see Texas Tech staying relative all season long). The ratings you need to see, though, are here. It's updated weekly (once the season starts) and tracks the worst of the worst in college football. I'll be doing the same, obviously, but it's great supplemental reading.

Now let's get to the real reason you visited the site today: the Thursday night recap.

"Big innings" was the theme, apparently. Starting off in Detroit, the Tigers scored five runs in the eighth inning of Toronto reliever Jason Frasor, who allowed the runs on two hits and three walks in just a third of an inning. He would be the losing pitcher in the contest . . . Moving south to Kansas City, the White Sox scored six runs in the sixth, five of them coming off of Royals reliever Joel Peralta. He allowed the runs on three hits and two walks, recording just two outs in the inning . . . The Red Sox scored nine runs in the bottom of the second off of Rangers starter Tommy Hunter (Sidney Ponson 2.0??). Hunter would only last an inning and two thirds . . . Finally, in Cleveland, the Orioles scored eight runs in the top of the eighth against Indians relievers Rafael Perez and Edward Mujica, who combined (though Perez was unable get anyone out, for the record) for eight runs (only seven earned) on six hits and three walks.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday night recap

Lets take a quick look back on the Bad Baseball action from Wednesday night...

Nationals starter Jason Bergmann struggled in his start against the Mets; he allowed 10 runs (six earned) on eight hits and six walks in just three innings of work.

Chad Durbin blew a save against the Dodgers; his came after allowing two runs on two hits and two walks.

The Mariners-Angels debacle gave us two blown saves! The first came when Anaheim closer Francisco Rodriguez allowed three runs on three hits in the top of the ninth. No worries, though, as Seattle closer J.J. Putz would blow his save opportunity in the bottom half of the inning, thanks to a solo home run off the bat of Mark Teixeira. Angels reliever Justin Speier would be the eventual loser, allowing three runs on two hits in extra innings.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

White flag


Hank Steinbrenner is back in the news. You knew it was only a matter of time before he returned to the headlines; his Yankees have struggled mightily of late, losing four straight (before last night's extra inning affair against Minnesota), and found themselves nine games back in the AL East (and five back in the wild card race) heading in to Tuesday night.

You knew it was time for a Steinbrenner lashing in the media. Except he did quite the opposite.

He was reasonable.

Said a strangely calm Steinbrenner:

"I'm not writing off this season, they're trying hard to win. There's only so much you can do. They're not supermen. "I think it's very simple, we've been devastated by injuries. No team I've ever seen in baseball has been decimated like this. It would kill any team. Imagine the Red Sox without Beckett and Lester. Pitching is 70 percent of the game. Wang won 19 games two straight years. Chamberlain became the most dominating pitcher in baseball. You can't lose two guys like that."

Fair enough. And yes, I know; All teams deal with injuries. I watched Mike Greenberg and Buster Olney on Mike and Mike declare that nobody feels sorry for New York. But no matter how you feel, multiple, devastating injuries will ruin any team's season. Firing someone doesn't fix every problem, and it doesn't seem like Hank Steinbrenner is going to do that this time around.

But in the most un-Steinbrenner-like statement ever uttered, he sounded as if he's throwing in the towel on 2008:

"We're going to win it next year. If we need to add a top veteran pitcher, we'll do that. We'll do whatever we need to do. Next year we'll be extremely dangerous."

So what does it mean? Next year, every free agent who can throw a baseball remotely close to home plate from the mound will start 2009 in pinstripes. Next year, maybe the injury bug will bite someone else.

It's funny, really. I never even knew there was a "next year" in New York.


In other Bad Baseball news from Tuesday night...

The Red Sox beat the Rangers 19-17. That's 36 combined runs on 37 combined hits. There's no sense in picking out any one bad performance, it was all ugly . . . The Yankees beat the Twins in the 12th inning when Minnesota reliever Matt Guerrier allowed three runs on four hits . . . The Astros scored eight runs in the seventh to beat the Giants. San Francisco relievers Tyler Walker and Jack Teschner combined to allow six runs on five hits without recording an out. Awesome.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Madden Curse


So… Let’s talk curse. I mentioned last week that I felt like this whole Favre fiasco was simply the first manifestations of the dreaded Madden Jinx. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, the popular lore goes something like this:

Whoever so graceth the cover of yon John Madden electronic football contest disc in a given year shall be cursed to failure, forsaking any previous success, and shall be heralded as a fantasy disappointment forever more.

Okay, so maybe I took a little creative license, but the fact is that many fans believe that any player who winds up on the Madden cover will experience bad luck and poor output in the season following his appearance. Let’s examine the facts…

The first player to take the plunge was RB Barry Sanders who graced the Madden 2000 cover (that's him in the background; the first cover to include a picture other than that of John Madden). That was the year that Sanders surprised all of Fandom by retiring at the height of his skills and popularity.

Next was RB Eddie George who, after showing up on the Madden 2001 cover, went on to have a career year and is the biggest argument against the Jinx. Incidentally, George also had three more productive years after his Madden glam year (average about 1000 yards a season over that span) until finally succumbing to an injury plagued year in 2004 and retiring.

Now is where it gets really ugly… Madden 2002 star Daunte Culpepper was one of the brightest young stars in football until his brush with the turducken-loving master of the idiom (aka, John Madden). In his Madden year, Culpepper threw 13 interceptions to only 14 TDs (after throwing 33 the year before), and missed the last five games of the season with an injury (and most would say he hasn’t been the same since.

The great Marshall Faulk fell victim to the Madden 2003 cover, as he never again surpassed the 1,000 mark after striking a pose on everyone’s favorite football game (he had managed the feat in 7 of his previous 8 years before his cover appearance).

Madden 2004… The infamous Michael Vick has his brush with greatness, breaking his leg in an exhibition game and promptly missing the next 11 games. Oh, and I think his career is currently not doing so well either.

Ray Lewis had one of the worst years of his career after being posterized by Madden 2005, experiencing his only season without an interception and then missing 10 games the following year.

QB Donovan McNabb (who I was lucky enough to trade from my fantasy team for Carson palmer while the getting was good) showed up on the cover of Madden 2006, managed to get the Eagles just 4 wins that year before losing the rest of the season to injury.

Coming off his MVP year the previous season, Shaun Alexander hit the prime time on Madden 2007 before falling off the face of the Earth with a nagging foot injury and still (to this day) never even coming close to his previous production.

So, what is in store for Brett Favre in 2008 (being that he is on the cover of Madden 2009)? Who is to say for sure, but history tells us that it might be woe and misery. Good luck, Brett… You’re gonna need it!

But how is this for a mind blower… This year EA Sports (the producer of the Madden game series) is offering downloadable content that will allow you to put almost any one of your favorite players on the cover of your personal copy of Madden 2009. I can’t wait to put Tom Brady on the front of mine… or maybe even (dare I hope) Eli Manning.

-RP

Monday night recap...
Tough start to the week for Baltimore starter Dennis Safarte; he allowed six runs on five hits and five walks over four innings of work to the Indians . . . The Pirates scored three runs in the top of the ninth (after scoring three in the top of the seventh) to beat the Mets. New York reliever Aaron Heilman took the loss after surrendering three runs on two hits in just a third of an inning.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The week ahead, the weekend behind us


Let's first take a look forward to the Bad Baseball game of the week.

I'm going with the Yankees-Twins game in Minnesota on Wednesday night. It's not the teams that are bad; both are very much in the playoff picture (the Twins more so than the Yanks, but don't count NYY out just yet), but the starter the Yanks are sending to the mound has been awful.

Ian Kennedy (0-4, 8.17 ERA) hasn't seemed to be the hot commodity the Yanks said he was. They're so high on him that they refused to part with him in a deal this past off season for Johan Santana! Sure, he's still young, but he has shown virtually no flashes of greatness. An outing against a tough, playoff hopeful team should further kick him while he's down.

Now that you've got that to look forward to, lets look back on what you may have missed from the weekend...

Friday: Yankees starter Ian Kennedy struggled (again) against the Angels. He allowed five runs on nine hits in just two innings . . . Giants starter Barry Zito picked up his 14th loss of 2008 against the Dodgers . . . Tough outing for Diamondbacks starter Doug Davis; he allowed seven runs on nine hits and four walks in 4.1 innings against the Braves.

Saturday: Not a good day for Chicago's Carlos Zambrano; he allowed nine runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings of work against the Cardinals . . . the light's out (of late) Yankees bullpen was anything but against the Angels; Edwar Ramirez and David Robertson combined to allow eight runs (though "only" seven were earned) on eight hits in just the eighth inning alone . . . Also a tough day for the Oakland bullpen; Alan Embree and Lenny DiNardo combined for six earned runs in two innings.

Sunday: Reds starter Aaron Harang was hit hard by the Astros; he allowed eight runs on nine hits over four innings of work in a losing effort . . . The Padres scored 16 runs against the Rockies; Colorado's newly acquired (though I can't explain why) Livan Hernandez was the worst of the bunch. He allowed nine runs on seven hits and four walks over 2.2 innings of work . . . Texas scored 15 runs against the Orioles. Randor Bierd wins the Least Valuable Player award; he allowed five runs on four walks without recording an out.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday video

Looking back at past weeks, I realized that I usually put up a video Friday afternoons. I usually try to make it one that has amused me at some point in the week. This one, featuring mascots, has amused me plenty.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday night recap

Only a couple of games to report on from Thursday night...

Scott Schoeneweis
recorded a blown save for the Mets against the Padres, allowing one run on one hit, recording just a single out. Fortunately, he was bailed out when San Diego's Heath Bell choked the game away in the bottom of the 9th, allowing two runs on two hits, managing to put away only two batters and picking up the loss.

The Braves and Diamondbacks exchanged four run eighth innings, thanks to Atlanta's Blaine Boyer (four runs, three hits, .2 innings) and Arizona's Tony Pena (four runs, four hits, .2 innings). The Braves would end up winning, 6-4.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

F-A-V-R-E Favre! Favre! Favre!


Favre to the Jets? Favre… to the JETS! The Jets get Brett Favre. Future Hall of Famer Brett Lorenzo Favre traded to the New York Football Jets.

Nope, no matter how I say it, I can’t make it sound any better. Last night, as we slept, the Packers got their wish and found a team (not named the Vikings or the Bears) willing to take Brett Favre off their hands. It had been reported yesterday that a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was all but signed, but then this jumped up and smacked me in the face when I first turned on ESPN. The most surprising thing for me was why Favre would agree to the Jets over the Bucs. But the more I thought about it, it started to make sense.

At first blush, this is what it seems like:

1. He chooses to go to a team that was 4-12 last year, over a team that was 9-7 and won their division.
2. He chooses a team in the same division as the greatest football team of this decade (that’s Patriots for all you haters out there) and a much improved Buffalo squad, over a team in one of the weakest divisions in the league.
3. He chooses a head coach whose biggest claim to fame is pissing off Bill Belichik, over a head coach with a Super Bowl pedigree with whom Favre has a prior relationship (Gruden was a coach for the Packers once upon a time).
4. He chose to move a conference (AFC) that is much more competitive and talent rich, over the conference where he spent his entire career as a starter and with whose defenses Favre is much more familiar.

I admit that these things seem bad and are ultimately why I think Favre to the Jets is not a good move, BUT there are some less tangible things that could have factored into Favre’s decision:

1. New York is a “cold weather” team (realizing that “cold” is relative when your former home was Green Bay), while Tampa is not. Favre made it very clear early on that he preferred to play in cold weather.
2. There is less pressure to win in New York… I know that seems weird to say about a New York sports franchise, but I don’t think that even the perennially deluded fans of Gotham think that the acquisition of Brett Favre means Super Bowl, or even playoffs in a very strong division. They were 4-12 last year! Even if Favre can only manage to get them to 6-10, it would be an improvement! The only place to go is up.
3. New York means better marketing opportunities; just ask Eli Manning (may he break a femur). When is the last time you saw Jeff Garcia on a nationally televised commercial?
4. Favre looks better in green.


Okay, that last one was a bit of a stretch, but maybe this move wasn’t so surprising after all. The bottom-line is that we just have to wait and see how things turn out. But, in my humble opinion, this is the beginnings of the Madden jinx starting to work its evil magic… Stay tuned!

-RP

Recapping the Bad Baseball action from Wednesday night...

The Nationals-Rockies game was postponed due to weather in Colorado. My question is, if a game is postponed that nobody had tickets to anyways, does anyone care? Will they even bother to make it up? Just give a loss to both teams and move on . . . The Rays scored six runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Indians, capping it with a walk-off homer by Carlos Pena. Tribe relievers Edward Mujica and Masa Kobayashi (not the hot dog eater) combined to allow the six runs on five hits . . . Former Yankees starter/reliever/AAA emergency call-up Jeff Karstens nearly threw a perfect game against the Diamondbacks. How much would the Yanks have paid for that outing? . . . Astros starter Brandon Backe was absolutely crushed by the Cubs; he allowed 11 runs on nine hits and six walks in 3.1 innings of work . . . Orioles starter Garrett Olson struggled against the Angels (but to be fair, who doesn't?); he allowed seven runs on six hits in 2.2 innings . . . Dodgers starter Derek Lowe was hit hard, surrendering eight runs on 13 hits in 3.1 innings of work against the Cardinals.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

So long, Lebron?


Money, money, money, mo-ney… MO-NEY! That is what is obviously on the mind of Cavs Forward Lebron James, as a source reported recently that “The King” would consider playing in Europe instead of the NBA if he was offered $50 million a year. This possibility raises so many conflicting emotions in me…

Take #1: OMG… That is SO much money! The only thing we’ve seen in American sports that really compares to this kind of stupid cash is the $250 million deal (over five years) given to David Beckham to join the LA Galaxy, and he plays the most popular sport in the world! I mean, think about it… If he were to play 20 years at the same rate (and don’t send me hate mail, I know that is not realistic, just pretend with me here), he would earn $1 billion! With a “B”!! With ESPN reporting that “[no NBA team] could offer a contract beginning at even $20 million a year” in Lebron’s upcoming free agency bid, he’d be stupid not to do this.

Take #2: Is he sure he wants to play in Europe? I know the global popularity of basketball is growing, as is evidenced by talent exhibited by other countries in recent years at international competitions, but it seems like it would be taking a step backward… a step that I’m not sure his ego can handle. I hate to keep making obscure soccer (“football”) references, but did giving Becks that much green and bringing him to the US really cause that many more Americans to put the MLS on the tube? James wants to be an internationally known figure, but he already plays for the world’s premier league, already permeates foreign markets via his endorsement deals, and is about to perform on the biggest international stage there is at the Olympics. Does he really need to play several seasons across the pond?

Take #3:
What is this going to do for his skills? And with this one, I am again torn… It has been proven time and again that if you play against better competition, your own skills improve. And while the talent in Europe has gotten better (see Take #2 above), would he really be facing players on a consistent basis who are as good as those he would face everyday in the NBA? I don’t think so. BUT, the flip side top that is that the European game is different. Where the modern NBA seems to emphasize the run-and-gun style offense, flashy guards, and big dunks, the European game stresses fundamentals and focuses much more on low post play. Although, (as a Lakers and Wizards fan) I shudder to think of how unstoppable Lebron would be if he was able to maintain his current skill level while simultaneously adding a more disciplined and patient European-style approach to his game.

Take #4:
And last but not least, what will this do to the NBA? If James defects for the Eastern Bloc, it would be a HUGE blow to a league that is already fighting image issues. Behavior problems and premadonnas aside, whispers are already swirling that the NBA might be losing its grip on the label of world’s best basketball league. What that seems to inevitably lead to is a knee-jerk reaction where, in order to continue to compete for big name players who can be offered oodles of cash by foreign interests, the league will abolish the salary cap. THIS WOULD BE HORRIBLE FOR THE FAN!! Most of you know that I am a luke-warm baseball fan, enjoying a day at the ballpark as much as the next guy, but not getting as jazzed up for each season as Joe. I attribute this tepid love affair with America’s pastime to the fact that my team (the San Diego Padres) just isn’t very good from year to year. Why? Because they don’t spend $$$, and they have trouble competing with teams from larger markets, like the Dodgers in their division, who can spend to the limits of their bank account in a cap-less league. If the cap is abolished in the NBA, I firmly believe that it is only a matter of time before we see U.S. professional sports’ first $60 million (a year) man and the league will begin a gradual decline landing it right above soccer as an American professional sports interest.

-RP

Recapping the Bad Baseball action from Tuesday night...

The Rays hit three homers in the seventh inning to help beat the Indians; Tribe reliever Rafael Betancourt allowed three runs on two hits . . . The Padres rallied for three runs in the 9th inning against the Mets, but it wasn't enough. New York reliever Aaron Heilman allowed three runs on two hits . . . The White Sox scored four runs in the bottom of the 14th inning to beat the Tigers. Detroit reliever Joel Zumaya was the guy who literally threw the game away; he allowed the four runs on three hits . . . The Braves piled on late against the Giants, scoring five insurance runs in the top of the 9th. Sergio Romo allowed the runs, though only four of them were earned, on four hits.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bad week for college football?


It's either a bad week for college football, or reporters have nothing else to write about. Either way, seven of the nine headlines on ESPN.com's college football page were about guys being academically ineligible or getting kicked off a team.

I wonder where the NFL image problem stems from?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Weekend recap; same team squabble

Interleague play sucks, but an intrasquad scuffle? Now THAT is Bad Baseball at its finest. Brewers Prince Fielder and Manny Parra got into it Monday night in their dugout. Enjoy the video, and enjoy the full weekend recap (Monday night's games too!) that follows.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The MLB Fun Police strike again! Footage of the Fielder-Parra fight are no longer readily available online, though you can still check it out here.



Bad Baseball action from the weekend...

Friday: What do you get when two loaded lineups meet? A 1-0 game, of course. The Angels beat the Yankees by a run when Yanks closer Mariano Rivera allowed a run on two hits and a walk in the 9th inning . . . The Rangers scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Blue Jays; Toronto closer B.J. Ryan blew the save, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks.

Saturday: Strange to see Barry Zito on the top performers line, no? . . . Tough outing for A's starter Dana Eveland against the Red Sox; he allowed nine runs on eight hits in two innings of work . . . Tigers starter Kenny Rogers lasted just three and a third innings against the Rays; he allowed seven runs on six hits and four walks.

Sunday: Weird stat lines for the Angels relievers against the Yankees. Jose Arredondo and Scot Shields combined for two walks and four hits in just an inning and a third, yet nine runs crossed the plate. None were earned, and only four were credited to starter John Lackey total. Guess that's what happens when you commit four errors.

Lastly, Monday: Joba Chamberlain left early in his start against the Rangers in what could be the knockout punch to the Yanks in '08. It could just as easily be something minor, but power pitchers and sore shoulders usually don't mix well. The Yanks would end up losing when Damaso Marte allowed a walkoff grand slam to Marlon Byrd . . . The Diamondbacks scored six runs in the eighth inning against the Pirates. Pittsburgh reliever Tyler Yates allowed five runs on three hits and two walks . . . The Mariners scored 10 runs in the seventh inning against the Twins. Obviously every Minnesota reliever who entered the game struggled.

What's better than a good brawl?

A good brawl with the bases loaded! This gem occurred during the White Sox - Royals Sunday afternoon game.

With the bases full in the 5th inning, Sox pitcher D.J. Carrasco threw a pitch up and in to Miguel Olivo ... which hit the knob of the bat, strike one. The next pitch? Same location, except it drilled Olivo.

Begin brawl. Pay no attention to the runners, situation, or anything else, D.J. He throws a pretty weak "punch", too. (Shhhh!! Don't tell Major League Baseball that I found the video somewhere...)



Full weekend recap coming today, I promise. It's been a busy Monday, plus I've been online shopping in preparation of a trip to Nebraska for this.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A look ahead


Tuesday will be a spectacularly bad day for baseball. So bad, in fact, that we've got a double-header featured match up!

The first features the Washington Nationals on the road at Colorado. Washington starter John Lannan (6-11, 3.61 ERA) takes on Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa (5-6, 6.94 ERA). If a bad pitcher faces a bad offense, does anyone care?

The second, slightly later in the day (or night, depending on where you live) Bad Baseball featured match up gives us former decent pitcher Mike Hampton (0-0, 10.00 ERA) and the Atlanta Braves agaist the San Francisco Giants and starter Jonathan Sanchez (8-7, 4.61 ERA).

It should be noted that the Giants record of 46-64 reads the same forwards and backwards. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.

Full weekend recap coming soon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Running of the bulls, NOLA style

You know it's a New Orleans running of the bulls when:

1) Half the people are just walking with booze in their hands

2) The bulls are actually roller derby women with whiffle ball bats.

Enjoy the video and the weekend.

Thursday night recap

The trade deadline came and went, and some big names moved. Ken Griffey, Jr., will now clog the bench/OF in Chicago, the Red Sox somehow improved their team despite losing Manny Ramirez, and the Yanks found a long term replacement for the out-for-the-season Jorge Posada in Pudge Rodriguez.

In football news, Brett Favre is considering a 20 million dollar deal to NOT play this season for the Packers. I'm not sure what, exactly, he needs to consider. Take the deal!

And finally, in Bad Baseball action from Thursday night...

The Cubs further established their NL Central dominance by completing a four game sweep of the Brewers . . . Yankees pitching struggled against the Angels; Andy Pettite allowed nine runs on 11 hits and three walks in 5.1 innings of work, while reliever Chris Britton gave up three runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings . . . The Twins scored seven runs in the 7th and 8th innings to beat the White Sox . . . The Marlins pounded Rockies pitching. Colorado started Jorge De La Rose lasted just an inning and two-thirds before allowing seven runs on five hits and four walks. Reliever Kip Wells wasn't much better; he allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in 3.1 innings of work.