Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Closed

If you've been checking this site daily for the past six months, well, sorry 'bout the lack of updates. I started Bad Baseball with the best of intentions but quickly realized I was doing little more than regurgitating stories read elsewhere on the 'net. Opinions are great, but when they come three days after an event they're of little relevance.

I have, however, continued to blog on two more specific pursuits, so please take a few minutes and check 'em out! I have no doubt that if you enjoyed Bad Baseball at any point in time that you'll enjoy these, too.

Thanks for reading.

Darryl Strawberry Fields


The Priceless Pursuit

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ponson's positve test


Sidney Ponson tested positive for stimulants during the 2009 World Baseball Classic and will be banned from international competition for two years. Basically, he can't play in another World Baseball Classic until... the next World Baseball Classic in two years.

Ponson tested positive for Phentermine, which oddly is a weight loss supplement very similar to amphetamines. If there was ever a guy I DIDN'T think was on some sort of crazy weight loss pill, it's Sidney Ponson.

Major League baseball won't suspend Ponson since he will be treated just as a first time offender and will be subjected to a fine. Also because what's the point? Ponson can run himself out of baseball on (lack of) talent alone, he didn't need PEDs.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rough way to lose a game

In all fairness to Luis Castillo, his error to lose the game against the Yankees wasn't the easiest play for a second baseman to make. Not easy for me, anyway, a Saturday adult rec league ballplayer.

But Castillo is a big league second baseman. Hasn't he ever been taught: TWO HANDS!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The end for Tom Glavine?


The Atlanta Braves released long time starter - and soon-to-be Hall of Famer - Tom Glavine on Wednesday.

Most of the sporting world is "stunned", and talking heads everywhere are claiming that the Braves owed Glavine more than this. I say they owe him nothing.

Let's not forget the years Glavine left Atlanta for New York. I've read John Feinstein's book, "Living on the Black", that chronicled a season with Glavine and fellow soft tosser Mike Mussina. I've read how Glavine "wanted" to stay in Atlanta all along, but the money just didn't add up.

He can claim whatever he wants, but at the time, Glavine's decision to leave Atlanta for greener pastures in New York was purely business. So was Atlanta's decision yesterday.

Glavine seems like one of the "good guy" of the past 20 years, and he certainly will be a great addition to the Hall of Fame. But sometimes teams just have to let fan favorites go. The Padres did it this past off season with Trevor Hoffman, and many people argued that San Diego owed Hoffman the chance to finish his career with the Padres. But if the guy just isn't getting the job done any longer, why do they owe him anything?

Maybe I've become numb to sports as anything more than entertainment, but in the real world, when you're no longer capable of performing the tasks of your job, you're usually no longer employed. Glavine was still rehabbing an injury and in the process blocking prospect Tommy Hanson from the big leagues.

The Braves essentially paid Glavine to do nothing - and that's more than any employer owes an employee.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What happened there?


Most of the time when I scan the box scores, mostly to see who went deep and what pitchers took a win or loss, I get them through them all without a second thought. Sometimes, though, something catches my eye and I wonder, "What the hell happened there?"

Like today's 20-1 game between the Twins and White Sox.

Big ol' Bartolo Colon took the loss for Chicago, lasting just two innings before surrendering eight runs on seven hits. A bit of an odd line: only one of the runs was earned, yet he gave up two home runs. Not entire sure how that happens, unless they're calling a hanging curveball an error (which they're not, and couldn't even if they wanted to). So there's gotta be a scoring error, or else things were absurdly sloppy.

Sox relievers Lance Broadway and Jimmy Gobble combined for 4.1 innings of relief and (combined) allowed 12 runs on 12 hits. See the box score here.

Ugly stuff - looks like the Sox took off a little early for Memorial Day weekend. On that note - have a great one! Always remember the meaning behind it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Site updates

Hello, readers.

Two things for you this fine Wednesday before a three day weekend.

1) Well, two in one. First off, thanks for reading Bad Baseball! It's taken many twists in the past year, but I think that's to be expected from a first attempt at a blog. Second (but still part of the first of two things), you've surely noticed the occasional post about a baseball card or autograph I've obtained through the mail. I started Darryl Strawberry Fields to showcase my Straw collection but realized I had thousands more cards I wanted to share memories of, as well share my adventures in cheap card collecting. So I created Priceless Pursuit. Check it out! There will certainly be more updates than the Darryl site, if only because I have 20x the material. I think you'll like it.

Second, I've also begun contributing to the site "A Pack To Be Named Later". It's goal: open one of every pack ever made. Check that site out, too! My first entry is on 1995 Sport Flix.

There ya go - even more baseball and card related reading for you to waste time with.

Priceless Pursuit and A Pack To Be Named Later. Check 'em out, bookmark them, tell your friends!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The student-athlete is dead


You've no doubt read, by now, about the revelation that USC men's basketball coach literally paid for O.J. Mayo's services, giving $1,000 cash to Rodney Guillory, Mayo's "handler".

You've no doubt heard in the past about infractions involving USC and Reggie Bush and his shady real estate deals.

You've doubt grown quite skeptical of college athletics and its "student athletes". And you have every right to be.

I'm not going to bash USC for what appears to be a major NCAA violation with O.J. Mayo, but can anyone honestly say they're surprised? He was widely considered the best basketball prospect in the country out of high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, and out of nowhere he signed with USC? Not Duke, North Carolina, or Memphis, some of basketball's national powers? Not even Ohio State, right in his own back yard, to ride the coattails of the success brought to the school by Greg Oden?

The scenario seemed sketchy from the beginning, and rightfully so.

But this must be rampant in college athletics, which has become as big a business as any professional sport. It's near impossible to put a price tag on the recognition and credibility Mayo brought to the Trojan's basketball program. The only thing bizarre about it was the $1,000 asking fee - seems a bit low, if you ask me.

College athletes may not be paid, but they certainly get "paid." They receive absurd stipends, not to mention the free education. Well, the chance at a free education, anyway. I doubt guys like Mayo attend many classes in their one year on campus.

At Virginia Tech - the college I attended - athlete stipends were put onto something called the "Hokie Passport", which basically is an ATM card accepted at the on-campus shops as well as local businesses (including Wal-Mart). Seems like an easy way to distribute money, right? Well, what happens when a linebacker (I'll refrain from naming him) buys rounds of drinks downtown with his Hokie Passport?? Isn't that supposed to be his stipend money? What if this same guy goes to the local Wal-Mart and buys a Playstation with his stipend? Isn't that essentially the same as paying college athletes? Maybe not officially, but when money goes from the university to the athlete, to essentially use however he or she pleases, that's close enough.

I've never had a problem with it, either. It's business. It's the way the world works. Star athletes in big time programs bring in big time revenue for their schools - and why shouldn't they get a small cut of it?

Now, I don't know if Mayo received any part of the thousand dollars paid to his handler to sign with USC, but I'm certain other perks were passed down along the way. I don't think college athletics should start handing out signing bonuses left and right, but it's time we admit that the notion of pure student-athletes is silly.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!


To a mom who never missed a game of mine - whether on sunny Saturday afternoon or a cold, wet weekday night...

To a mom who never made me miss a practice, no matter how many were scheduled during a week...

To a mom who hung "K"s on the fence for each of my strikeouts (even though I only had four)...

To a mom who has given herself to the sport of baseball, even if not always by personal choice...

To my mom, and mother's everywhere - Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The fatal blow?


It's all over the headlines, so there's no chance my site is the first place you're reading that Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and will immediately be suspended for 50 games.

Reports are that Ramirez will attribute the test results to medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue. Bull shit.

Ramirez will be - by far - the biggest "name" to actually be suspended by Major League Baseball for PED use. This could be the fatal blow to any remaining shred of credibility baseball may have had left.

Manny's statement: "Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.

I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I'm sorry about this whole situation."


Riiight. I'm sure Manny is incredibly sorry that he got caught.

As a Yankees fan, I don't even want to get into the whole "Sox championships being tainted" debate that is surfacing on message boards all over the internet. I now truly believe that the entire sport is tainted. Want a complete list of every World Series championship that has been tainted by PEDs? Look up the winner from each series for the past 10-15 years.

Barry Bonds shattered the all time home run record, but he was supposed to be passed by a clean, all natural Alex Rodriguez. Once ARod was exposed, we turned to guys like Manny, who were supposedly natural talents as well - and there goes that notion. Think Pujols is clean? Or David Ortiz - who all of a sudden can hardly get a ball out of the infield, let alone over the fence? Ryan Howard? What about the disappearance of Travis Hafner's power? Why can't Andruw Jones hit a fastball any more? How can anyone truly believe that ANYBODY is actually free and clear of PEDs any more?

If not steroids, it's likely something else.

There's not a chance in hell that this was a one time use by Manny, no matter what he'll try to argue. With all of the testing in place, why would someone start now? Same goes for ARod and his argument that he only used it for a couple years. Riiiight... if the stuff works so well, why quit?

You can't blame the guys for taking any "help" they can get. Who wouldn't when the difference between using and not using is $15 million a year?

This is a sad day for baseball. We knew the sport had issues with PEDs, but for a while we were able to think it was a somewhat isolated problem, that we could sift through the abusers and find some true, God given talent that would carry the sport and it's fans through the debacle that is the steroids era. For a while, kids could still dream that dedication and hard work alone could get them to the big leagues.

Those dreams have been shattered.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Through the mail success

It's been a while since I posted my last "through the mail" autograph success, and since then I've sent out around 20 more requests - I'll keep you all updated when/if I hear back from anyone.

If you remember, I started this project in the off-season as something mostly to just to pass time waiting for baseball season but partly to do something with the thousands of cards I have stored in boxes.

So without further ado, I present 1992 Topps Steve Buechele:



I don't remember a whole lot about Buechele from his playing days. He had a reasonably successful career and never made headlines off the field - which in hindsight is quite an accomplishment. It's a nice signature, centered nicely even if it's across the dark sleeve of his undershirt. He had the courtesy to sign it in blue so it jumps out enough to be noticed.

'92 Topps is a perfect set to get autographed: most of the cards are fairly light colored and they're not too glossy for an autograph to get smeared in the mail.

Thanks, Steve!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hideki Irabu reunion tour


Do you ever sit and wonder, "What ever happened to that guy?"

Could be anyone: an old friend, a favorite (or least favorite) teacher... or a ball player who was never able to live up to the hype surrounding his arrival from Japan?

Sometimes, as I sit and watch any of one of the Yankees pitchers getting shelled on the mound, I think to myself, "What ever happened to Hideki Irabu?"

He was one of the first of a string of players to come over from Japan, and was a serviceable player for the Bronx Bombers. He actually won two World Series rings in New York before moving on to pitch (and struggle) with the Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers, and ultimately ending up back in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers.

He was famously referred to as a "fat toad" by George Steinbrenner after failing to cover first base on a ground ball.

Today, Hideki Irabu has signed a contract to pitch for the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League.

Says Armada manager Garry Templeton (yes, that Garry Templeton...), "Hideki Irabu is a tremendous addition to our pitching staff. I'm looking forward to the skill, experience, and professionalism that a player of his caliber will bring to the club and believe that this will be a great place for him to demonstrate that he is ready to return to the top levels of the game here or in Japan."

Not so fast, Garry. It's a great publicity stunt to be sure. This same team signed Jose Canseco to pitch a few years ago before trading him to the now extinct San Diego Surf Dawgs. But if Irabu was unwilling to hustle to earn a huge paycheck on the biggest stage in the baseball universe, what makes anyone think he'll put forth any effort whatsoever on perhaps the smallest stage?

More power to the Armada. Do what you gotta do to put people in the seats. You have to give them credit for at least attempting to give the people of Long Beach a reason to part with their hard earned money. But a comeback for Irabu? I don't think so.

You can put a new jersey on a fat toad, but it's still a fat toad.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

With the seventh pick in the 2009 NFL draft...


The Oakland Raiders are assured of having a top pick again in 2010.

Oakland passed on the highly touted wide receiver out of Texas Tech, Michael Crabtree. OK, so Crabtree wasn't their guy, but Missouri's Jeremy Maclin or Florida's Percy Harvin at least would've made sense.

When Crabtree fell to Oakland at the 7th overall pick, any person on the planet - other than Al Davis, apparently - would've taken him without giving it a second thought.

Instead, Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey is now a Raider. Good luck with that.

The scouting report on Heyward-Bey: "...can burn and is quick enough off the line to defeat jam coverage, but isn't a physical player and his production (he never scored more than five TDs in a season) wasn't worthy of a top-ten pick. He also has small hands (only 9") and tends to vanish in games. Heyward-Bey caught three or fewer passes in seven of his twelve 2008 appearances."

Sounds like Al Davis's prototype early round draft pick.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Something in the air


I hate to kick the Yankees when they're down, but sometimes stories are so absurd I can't help but comment.

20 home runs were hit over the opening weekend of new Yankee Stadium (not counting the eight in the two exhibition games held before the start of the season), besting the previous opening four-game record of the 18 hit that were hit when the Reds opened Great American Ballpark back in 2003.

Statistical fluke, right? Just a result of an entire line up of sluggers excited to begin the new season, all of them swinging for the fences... right?

Maybe it's something in the air.

Accuweather's Gina Cherundolo blames the wind: "Angle of the seating in the new stadium could have an effect on wind speed across the field. The old Yankee Stadium had more stacked tiers and a large upper deck, acting like a solid wall, in effect, which would cause the wind to swirl more and be less concentrated. The new Yankee Stadium's tiers are less stacked, making a less sharp slope from the top of the stadium to the field. This shape could enable winds to blow across the field with less restriction. In addition, the slope of the seating would also lead to a 'downslope' effect in the field which, depending on wind direction, would tend to cause air to lift up in the right field."

Eh... what?

Let me ask Gina and any one else interested in this phenomenon the following question:

What do Jonathan Albaladejo, Brian Bruney, Phil Coke, Steven Jackson, Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez, and Jose Vera have in common?

Answer: They make up the worst possible bullpen a team can assemble with a 200 million dollar payroll. Granted, some of those guy's aren't that bad - especially the purposely omitted Mariano Rivera - but it's gotta have something to do with the reason balls are flying out of new Yankee Stadium at an alarming rate.

Sometimes it's more convenient to blame it on the weather.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Swisher strikes out one


I don't know what's worse...

The Yankees - and their trillion dollar payroll - threw Nick Swisher for an inning Monday night against the Rays... or the fact that Gabe Kapler struck out against him.

It always amazes me that a team can allot a bottomless pit of money for a stacked offense and a stud pitcher or two, yet completely ignores its bullpen year after year after year. Jonathan Albaladejo? Phil Coke? Jose Veras? These are seriously the best guys the Yanks could find?

The Mets signed relievers J.J. Putz AND Francisco Rodriguez in the off season and can now look forward to seven inning games all year long. A couple more decent late inning guys switching teams: Brian Fuentes was picked up by the Angels, and Kevin Gregg moved from Florida to Chicago.

You can score 100 runs a game, but it doesn't mean a thing if you can't hold opponents to less than 101. And it's flat out embarrassing when Nick Swisher is the only guy able to stop the bleeding.

The only thing more embarrassing? Being Gabe Kapler.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Joba Gone Wild


Want to see the police video of Joba Chamberlain, Yankees ace of the future? Click here.

Thanks to The Smoking Gun for somehow getting their hands on this and sharing it with the world! The video is edited and doesn't show all of the antics the accompanying article describes, both are entertaining nonetheless.

I don't think poking fun at New Yorkers or former Yankees is a great idea. Ever hear of John Rocker? Yeah... things didn't work out so well for him after he made fun of the passengers of New York's subway system. Making fun of a Yankee legend? Don't know if you've noticed, Joba, but that fan base takes quite a bit of pride in the team's history. Joking or not, teasing Yogi Berra in a drunken police video was not the smartest decision you've ever made. Not that he's shown the ability to make good decisions at all, but still.

Somehow, I think this all goes away if Chamberlain helps lead the Yankees back to the playoffs. If not, at least the Yanks already have their scapegoat.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Another opening day come and gone


The Yanks started off their season with a loss in Baltimore, "led" by free agent acquisitions CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.

Kyle Farnsworth picked up his first loss of the year in Kansas City, blowing the lead handed to him by Gil Meche.

The Blue Jays are on pace to run away with the American League East.

Tony Clark is on pace to shatter Barry Bonds' single season home run record.

Baseball's back, and it sure feels good!

I updated the site almost nightly last season with coverage of all the blown saves, losing streaks, and double plays with the bases loaded. Unfortunately, I no longer have the time for that level of coverage, but I DO follow the sport religiously, and there WILL be the occasional bad performance highlighted for the world to notice!

The season is long, and here's to another great one sure to be filled with loads of Bad Baseball!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

He's b-a-a-a-a-a-ck...


“Can we build it…? Yes we can!”

I am excited… It is almost Michael Vick time again! And he continues to make news, even before his release… For those that don’t know, Vick declared bankruptcy after he was convicted and his NFL and endorsement money disappeared, and he agreed to pay the Falcons back $6.5 million of his previous contract. This past Thursday and Friday, Vick and his lawyers appeared in bankruptcy court and began laying the groundwork for Vick’s return to real life in May (and, presumably, an attempted return to football). Vick told the court that he plans to turn his life around and get back on the straight-and-narrow.

However, this is not what was notable about his appearance. What was most surprising was how Vick and his lawyers said he was going to go about turning his life around. My Dad once told me that hard work was the way to get ahead in life… The Warden must have told Michael the same thing in prison because Vick told the court that he plans to take a $10/hour construction job upon his release. I have to admit, I have a hard time imagining Vick in a hard hat and road guard vest. I mean, is he going to keep his throwing arm in shape by waving traffic? He did, however, say the job would only be 40 hours/week… That should leave him plenty of time to find trouble, wherever it may reside (“Hello? Pacman?”).

What’s more, Vick told the court he will receive approximately $600,000 from a documentary about his life to be made later this year. I get it, we live in a capitalist nation, but am I the only one that thinks it should be illegal for criminals to benefit from their crimes in ANY way? Call me old fashioned…

At any rate, I haven’t written many columns lately, partly owing to the NFL being in their off-season. BUT, with spring workouts underway, and Michael Vick poised for his release, the long drought of football idiocy we’ve had since last season may soon be over, my friends. Keep your fingers crossed!

-RP

Friday, April 3, 2009

Long season begins for Pittsburgh


You know how every year, when an NFL team - oh, say, the Lions - starts out 0-10 and people start to wonder if a top college team could beat them?

Ever wonder if the worst of the worst in Major League Baseball - oh, say, the Pirates - could hold their own against a college team?

Wonder no more. The Pirates would not beat a good college ball team. They probably couldn't even beat a bad team. And I KNOW they couldn't beat a community college team... because they didn't.

It's gonna be a long couple of years in Pittsburgh; a team made up of some of their top prospects lost an exhibition game against Manatee Community College. Granted, some of the Pirates involved had been cut from final rosters, but still - they must've been pretty damn good to even get a shot at making the club.

Seriously, though, what else would you expect from a club when two of their signees were reality show winners?

See the story, as reported by Yahoo! Sports, here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'll take two


Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Thursday, the first day fans had a chance to get inside the new Yankee Stadium, that some of the seats may be overpriced. Specifically, the $2,625 Legends Suites seats.

Gee, Hal, ya think?

Said Steinbrenner: "I think if anybody in any business had known where this economy was going to go, they would have done things differently. Look, there's no doubt small amounts of our tickets might be overpriced."

Sign me up for that ticket package! I'm not a marketing genius (though I do work in advertising), but I'm pretty sure telling your potential customers that your services/goods are overpriced is NOT a good strategy.

See the story. as reported from ESPN.com, here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

There's no crying in basketball, either

You've probably heard something about a crazy college basketball tournament being held right now, and even if you're just a little bit in to college b-ball, you know they're down to just 16 teams.

Anyone remember what happened in the tourney in 2006, particularly in the game between UCLA and Gonzaga?

Adam Morrison cried.

See the final moments of the game below:



Please note that I did not make any of the comments you see pop up in the video.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't call it a comeback


We all have dreams as little kids. Some little boys want to be astronauts or superheroes, while little girls have aspirations of becoming ballerinas or princesses.

Former major league pitcher, Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, always dreamt of the day he'd be playing semi-pro baseball. Seriously.

An article in the Vancouver Sun reports that Oil Can Boyd will be making a return to professional (somewhat) baseball with the Ottawa Voyageurs of Canada's Can-Am Baseball League at the ripe old age of 49.

Boyd claims to have said, when he was 10 years old, that when he's 50 he'd like to still be playing baseball, if not professionally then for a semi-pro or local team. I guess dreams really do come true if you're willing to go to absurd enough lengths to achieve them, but he seemed to have set his aspirations kind of low. I'm only 26 and have already reached the "local team" level of baseball.

Boyd says he just wants a chance to show he can "throw 100 pitches for 30 starts and dominate." Easy there, killer. I'd hardly call a once-MLB caliber pitcher striking out guys in the Can-Am league dominant, regardless of age.

See the full story here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rookie of the Year

I was watching the age-old classic, Rookie of the Year, the other day and thought to myself, This bad baseball movie is loaded with bad baseball action... so I'll do a movie-in-pictures entry on my bad baseball blog!

The basic premise: Henry, a little leaguer with no talent whatsoever, trips on a baseball while chasing a pop fly at his school (while trying to impress a girl). He falls hard on his shoulder which requires some sort of surgery (I'm assuming this - the movie conveniently skips through the whole healing process). The hitch? The tendons heal too tightly, so when he goes to throw a baseball, his arm snaps forward so quickly that whatever he's holding rockets out at an absurd speed.

This is almost too ridiculous to put in to words. I liked this movie a lot as a 10 year old, but I'll admit that it hasn't aged well. I didn't get the idea to take screen shots until Henry was discovered by the Cubs (after throwing a home run ball back onto the field from the centerfield bleachers), so that's where we'll start it off. So make some popcorn, sit back, and watch a slideshow of the mid-90's classic, "Rookie of the Year."

First off, I present to you Henry Rowengartner, elementary school (or middle, I don't think it specifies, but he builds a small motor boat with his friends throughout the flick, so I'm assuming he's at least 12). Nothing like the look of joy and bewilderment from a kid just called up to the big leagues:



Silly Henry doesn't know how to use a rosin bag, so when he picks it up, chalk flies everywhere... HA HA! Stupid rookie!



The big leaguer cameos don't come until later in the movie (keep reading, you'll see 'em), but what are the chances this guy would be randomly selected for steroids testing? None whatsoever.



OK, got the first inning out of the way, time to screw around in the dugout! Because jumping from little league to the majors should only take five or so minutes to adjust, right? Rally caps!



Hey, its "Janitor" from the television show, "Scrubs". He's the firstbaseman, if you're wondering...



Pitching is easy, but this the National League, rook - you gotta bat, too. But Henry is scared, so he doesn't get anywhere near the plate... HA HA HA! So funny...



Brush back pitch. Couldn't the Cubs have used smaller lettering to make "Rowengartner" fit better on the jersey?



Now the hilarity really begins. Henry gets on base! ALL of the nerves from the at-bat are apparently gone, because he wastes no time in taunting the pitcher. "Pitcher's got a big butt!" Oh man, I bet that pitcher was pissed...



The guy following Henry in the batting order hits a ball in to the outfield gap, but since he's so fast - and Henry is so slow - they run around the bases next to each other. Both are safe! Cubs go up two runs!!



OK, time for the MLB cameos. Henry strikes 'em all out! First up, Bobby Bonilla!



Pedro Guerrero, yerrrrrrrr ooooouuuutttt!



And then he gets a pre-steroids (waaaaay pre-steroids) Barry Bonds swinging. Nice pitch, kid.




So the movie goes on, Henry strikes out everyone he faces, blah blah blah. His corrupt manager (his mom's boyfriend) sells him to the Yankees (doesn't go through, not explained why - probably because it's not allowed?) and convinces the Cubs to rid themselves of former ace pitcher "Chet Stedman." Stedman is upset, Henry distracts himself by playing his Gameboy.



Fast forward a bit: Cubs are in the playoffs, just a game from clinching the National League pennant. Henry slips on a ball between innings (because remember, that's how he hurt his arm in the first place), and re-injures his shoulder. Nothing drastic, other than he can't throw hard any more! OH NOOOOOO!!!! What should we do Chet??

The team ace says, "Keep him in!" And yeah - that's Gary Busey. Never take advice from Gary Busey.



Good thing major league hitters can't adjust to change ups they know are coming. Henry's only got one pitch in his aresenal to end the game: the floater. How does the game end?



Cubs win! Cubs win! The Cubs are going to the World Series!!



Uh oh... the production budget ran out! How would the Cubs fare in the World Series without Henry? Could Chet Stedman carry the team by himself? Apparently:



Stedman (Gary Busey) ends up as the coach of Henry's little league team, and Henry robs a home run to end a game. He reacts the same as when he clinched the NL Pennant and flashes the World Series ring for all to see.

The End.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Boz is back


Every now and then, for fun, I click on the "College Football" news link on various major sports websites during college football's offseason.

There's rarely any major news, other than the occasional Lane Kiffin foot-in-mouth press conference, but it's a sport littered with bad headlines. For example, if you visited Wednesday, March 11th's ESPN College Football page, you'd find headlines such as:

"Ex-TCU player Hobbs gets 10 years in prison"
"Michigan St. player pleads guilty, suspended"
"Mizzou settles O'Neal wrongful death lawsuit"
"Ole Miss signee Hornsby facing two charges"

Yeah, pretty bad.

But one headline stood out among the others, if for no reason than it brings up funny memories of one of the biggest flops in NFL history:

"Ex-OU star Bosworth charged with drunk driving"

The Boz is back!! The dude's crazy. He once referred to the NCAA as "National Communists Against Athletes." He sent letters to numerous NFL teams stating that if they drafted him, he wasn't showing up. The Seahawks drafted Bosworth and signed him to what was - at the time - a record 10 year, 11 million dollar deal. He sued the NFL for the right to wear #44, his college number, and lost. He retired after three seasons due to a shoulder injury. He was a commentator for the short-lived (and previously blogged about) XFL.

And most recently, on March 6, 2009, Brian Bosworth was arrested for drunk driving on his motorcycle in Los Angeles, California.

Just another highlight on Bosworth's extensive resume.

The point of this entry? Nothing, I suppose. But when you think of bad athletes, Bosworth is easily one of the first to come to mind.

Monday, March 9, 2009

United they'll fall


Remember the XFL, the hideous joint venture between NBC and the World Wrestling Federation? Remember its Saturday evening games? Remember "He Hate Me"?

Apparently, Michael Huyghue, commissioner of the soon-to-be United Football League, doesn't remember how horribly the league bombed after one miserable season. Because if he did, there is no way the UFL would be on anyone's mind.

The NFL is huge, and nobody will dispute that. But spin off leagues don't work, especially not in these rough economic times. Arena Football couldn't sustain itself (the AFL has canceled its 2009 season), nor could NFL Europe. When people are forced to be tight with their money, sub-par "professional" sports have no audience.

Back to the UFL...

The league plans to begin its season in October 2009 with a total of four teams. Yes, just 4. As in, the same amount of teams in the NFC East. As in, far too few to have anything resembling a season. How is this seriously going to work? The season's first game will double as conference championship week, with week two being their version of the Super Bowl. Either that, or the teams will have to play each other five times (which they will - current plans are for a six game schedule).

Originally the league had planned to start in August '09 but pushed its start back to October to allow more time to attract owner-investors, negotiate TV broadcasting deals, and build league branding. In other words, there is no interest whatsoever, but somebody with deep pockets really thinks this thing will work.

Vince McMahon thought the same about the XFL - ask him how that turned out.

The league's motto is "Where Future Stars Come to Play". But the only thing you can count on seeing are "Guys you sort of remember being decent in low college ball." I know I'm not the only one envisioning Michael Vick's name all over the UFL record books.

Visit the official website of this disaster here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

For Sale By Owner


I'm not a real estate expert, but I do know one thing for certain about the housing market: now is not the time to sell. But don't tell that to Manny Ramirez.

He's selling his Boston area condo for $8.5 million dollars, almost three million MORE than he paid for it in 2001. Nothing like another case of "Manny being Manny".

I'm in the process of buying a house myself, and I haven't seen one single place selling for more than the purchase price. Heck, I've hardly seen a single place being sold by the actual owner - nearly everything out there, at least in my part of the country, is a bank owned foreclosure or short sale.

This certainly isn't the time to go investing in a condo - they're the first properties to be affected by economic downturns and usually the last to recover.

Manny's selling agent. Michael Doherty, calls this place "... the most magnificent apartment in Boston by far." It better be for that kind of money. I'm nowhere near Boston so I won't be checking out Manny's place any time soon, but if you're in the area and looking for an absurdly overpriced condo, check out the official listing and make an appointment.

The only catch? Manny won't accept any reasonable offer.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

So crazy, it never had a chance to work


Starbury…? Is it a fruit? No. Is it a candy? Strike two. What it is, is the nickname of a 32-year old basketball player/professional pine rider named Stephan Marbury, whose contract was finally bought out by the Knicks, signaling the end of an era (well, 5-years in nearly an era in pro sports) of a silly soap opera that obviously didn’t do them any favors (the Knicks went approximately 152-233 with Marbury).

Here’s a retrospective… Marbury was a top prospect out of Georgia Tech, drafted by the Bucks, and traveled through Minnesota, New Jersey, and Phoenix before being traded to the Knicks in 2004. That is when the drama began… Marbury’s selfishness led to small spats with other players, but his attitude came to ahead when sojourner coach Larry Brown came to town in 2005. In response to Brown’s new policy, Marbury began waging a very public campaign against him, claiming in the press that Brown was unfairly treating him. After that season (in part due to Marbury’s conflicts with Brown), Brown was canned and team President and Knick legend Isiah Thomas was given the helm. Marbury Tantrum Take 2! Despite the belief that Thomas was exactly what the doctor ordered for Marbury, it was even worse… Marbury continued to use the press as a weapon, publicly complaining about Thomas and even threatening to blackmail Thomas when he was removed from the starting lineup. Marbury then turned a team plane into a boxing ring, getting into a physical confrontation with Thomas on a road trip. Marbury capped it all off with unnecessary (according to the team) season ending surgery, and lost his position to Chris Duhon in training camp this year (now under Mike D’Antoni). Earlier this year, Marbury actually had to buy a ticket to a Knicks game just to be in the same building while they played.

Despite Marbury not playing a meaningful game in their uniform for over a year, the Knicks finally woke up and basically released him to be someone else’s problem. And it is my sincerest hope that is exactly what he becomes, as the rumor is that he will sign with the Celtics once he clears waivers. But, regardless of my personal feelings about his impending new team, this is just another example of how $&!* floats in pro sports. I mean, I understand the steroids thing… I really do… The pressure to be great causes players to make stupid choices. But why do coaches and owners keep giving cancers like Marbury another chance? Because they went to the Jerry Jones school of sports management, that’s why! These people ruin the game, and turn sports into a Hollywood tabloid show.

Well, happy trails Mr. Starbury… May you rot the Celtics from the inside out like you did the Knicks!

-RP

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Through the mail success

I've been sitting on a couple of these for a while now, so without further ado, the next card in line I received through the mail was an autograph from Jack McKeon.


I had a couple cards of his to choose from (I just don't feel right sending more than one), and this 2004 Topps Cracker Jack was the most unique. It's apparently a sticker parallel, which I didn't know until right this moment when I flipped the card over to see what year/set it was from.

Not a bad auto. He's no Jay Howell or Mark Gubicza (no offense, guys), that's for sure. Jack is a world series winning manager! In the same year he took the Marlins to the World Series (2003), he was also selected as the National League Manager of the Year. For what it's worth, this card/sticker incorrectly states that he won the award in the American League.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More ARod madness

Curt Schilling agrees with me: release all the names! Read Schilling's thoughts on the topic here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Everybody's doing it


The big news in baseball, other than pitchers and catchers reporting to camps in just a few days, is the "news" that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003.

In the interest of full disclosure - in case you don't know me - I should tell you that I'm a die-hard Yankees fan.

And I don't care about ARod's positive test.

First off, it was in 2003, before steroids were banned in baseball. I'm well aware that they're illegal without prescription, but who wasn't on the juice back then? Can you really fault the guy? Cheat and get (stay) ahead, or don't cheat and work at Burger King. Any human being on the planet would likely do the same thing in his situation. I surely can't say that I wouldn't.

My real problem is the absurd discrepancy in how we view baseball players vs. football players. Weren't a handful of football players just caught using diuretics last season in a possible attempt to mask steroid use? Here in San Diego, Shawn Merriman tested positive for steroids a couple years ago, and nobody batted an eye. Aren't steroids a worse problem in a full contact sport, where a couple guys go down each year with life threatening injuries due to vicious hits? And why, in the NFL, is a four game suspension the only punishment handed down by the league?

ARod is far from beloved in the public eye, and his image may now take an irreparable hit. He'll hear even more jeers than he already has. But you can't fault a guy for doing the same thing everyone else has been doing for years. His only problem is that he got caught (which he shouldn't have - the players union was supposed to keep those tests in '03 private, but that's a whole different story).

So boo ARod, criticize him even more than you already do. I won't lose any sleep over it. Just realize that your favorite player on your favorite team has his faults, too. And wake up, people, they're all doing it.

Can we please put the whole "steroids era" behind us? I'm tired of it, as I'm sure a lot of others are as well.

**UPDATE**

I'm sure I'm adding this update before anyone saw this entry in the first place, but I felt the need nonetheless.

Supposedly, 104 total players tested positive in 2003 as reported by Sports Illustrated broke the story. I find it curious that SI's Selena Roberts, the writer who uncovered Rodriguez's positive test, now says she won't unveil any of the other names. Witch hunt, anyone? If you're going to call out ARod, might as well point the finger at everyone else, too. Am I right, or am I right?

Friday, February 6, 2009

What'd you say your name was again?


"I'm Matt F@$#^$ Bush!"

And with that line, former Padres #1 draft pick Matt Bush ended his career with San Diego after his second run in with the law involving alcohol and violence.

The first came shortly after being drafted at a night club in Peoria, Arizona, after being denied admission. He was 18 at the time and hadn't yet learned that nobody cares about baseball draft picks.

This time, Bush was at a high school field in El Cajon, CA - my hometown - and is alleged to have been involved in assaultive behavior and public intoxication. A witness claims Bush threw a freshman lacrosse player (there's a funny visual), slammed a golf club into the ground, and hit another lacrosse player, all the while yelling "I'm Matt F#$@#$% Bush!" and "F#$@ East County!"

Excuse me, Matt, but what's wrong with East County?

Bush was originally drafted as a shortstop but was converted to pitcher after the realization that he was a horrendous hitter. But the pitching never worked out either - he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery in 2007. It's not a huge loss for the flailing franchise; he was drafted more due to signability issues with other prospects, and now they're able to cut ties with their horrendous bust of a draft pick.

The best part about Bush's tirade is that the lacrosse players probably had no idea who Matt Bush was. Even though he's a San Diego native, people don't follow baseball's draft like they do with the NFL or NBA. You've got money, Matt, so what are you doing still hanging around the local high schools? Get a life. And why are you in East County if you hate it so much?

Read more on the story here.

At least one positive has come out out this for San Diego sports fans: There's someone else in the conversation of worst number one draft pick ever.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thanks, but no thanks.


So Manny Ramirez is turning down the Dodgers offer of one year, 25 million dollars.

This solidifies him, without a doubt, as the most insane person on the planet.

Has he not heard the news that the economy is the worst its ever been? Has he not seen that Bobby Abreu, a more than capable outfielder, may not even get ten million? (I just threw up in my mouth at the realization that I implied that anything less than $10 million is garbage) Or how about the also-unemployed Adam Dunn? I bet either of those would jump at the chance to earn 25 MILLION DOLLARS this season.

It's just a one year deal, Manny. Are you that worried about underperforming (Andruw Jones, anyone?) and not justifying another deal in 2010? And even if this were the last professional baseball contract you'll ever sign, don't you have enough cash in the bank to live comfortably on until the end of time?

Again, I do understand that Manny is looking for a multi-year deal, but I can't sympathize with these guys any more. I know too many people who have either lost their jobs or fear it to care about Manny's squabbles any more. I hope the Dodgers move on and sign a much cheaper Abreu or Dunn, or even choose to stick with who they have. Or how about (gulp) Barry Bonds?

Any of those three - along with plenty of others - will take any job they can get these days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Million dollar gamble


Would you be willing to gamble tens of millions of dollars, when there isn't anything to gain for doing it? Would you pass up the chance for tens of millions of dollars to pursue a Bachelor's degree in a field you will never work in?

Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford is apparently willing to risk everything for one more year of college football.

A college education is great, and these days, a Bachelor's degree is standard; almost everyone has one. I'm certainly a proponent of higher education (as if anyone isn't?), but not if you're a near lock to be the number one overall pick in the NFL draft.

Some say that Bradford isn't quite ready for the NFL, that he hasn't faced enough pressure on the field at OU to see how he'll handle a pass rush, or a need to quickly find receivers that aren't wide open. There's a chance that his game won't quite translate to the NFL, but it's certain that teams would fight for the chance to take that risk.

What does Bradford have to gain by going back to college? His stock can't get any higher, and it won't result in any more money than he already had coming to him. What if he gets hurt? What if he misses most of the year, or worse, suffers a career ending injury? What if Texas's Colt McCoy has a better year and teams would rather draft him instead? Could Bradford suffer the same fate as former USC quarterback Matt Leinart and plummet down the ranks on draft day?

Take the money, kid. Millions upon millions of dollars in your checking account will make that last year of college tuition easy to pay for should you ever feel the urge to complete your undergraduate education.

How can you trust Bradford's decision making skills on the field when he can't make a good one off of it?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sign and we'll sue


Pretend for a second that you own an NBA team. Now pretend you're lacking depth at the small forward position. One final hypothetical: you see a healthy, serviceable Darius Miles on the waiver wire and sign him as a body down the home stretch of the season.

Now imagine a massive lawsuit filed against you on behalf of the Portland Trailblazers.

If - by chance - you do own an NBA team, there's nothing to imagine. If you sign Darius Miles, you're getting sued. Long story short: if Miles plays two more games this season, 18 million dollars will count against the Trailblazers' salary cap, forcing them to pay the league's luxury tax.

The memo sent to all 29 NBA teams from the Trailblazers upon Miles' clearance of waivers read as follows:

The Portland Trail Blazers are aware that certain teams may be contemplating signing Darius Miles to a contract for the purpose of adversely impacting the Portland Trail Blazers Salary Cap and tax positions. Such conduct from a team would violate its fiduciary duty as an NBA joint venturer. In addition, persons or entities involved in such conduct may be individually liable to the Portland Trail Blazers for tortuously interfering with the Portland Trail Blazers' contract rights and perspective economic opportunities.

Please be aware that if a team engages in such conduct, the Portland Trail Blazers will take all necessary steps to safeguard its rights, including, without limitation, litigation.

I doubt that'd even hold up in court, but signing Miles would be a heck of a practical joke to play on the Blazers.

If I owned, say, the Clippers, and had a couple hundred grand burning a hole in my pocket, I'd definitely do it.

If only I owned an NBA team...

To whistle, or not to whistle

It's always amusing (though wrong - I don't condone it!) when someone in the stands blows a whistle and affects the action on the field. It happened late in last night's college football National Championship game between Oklahoma and Florida, resulting in an incomplete pass from living legend - or so you'd think by the way the media portrays him - Tim Tebow.

Apparently, it also happened in Monday night's NBA game between the Warriors and Jazz. Since that's the incident I have video of, well, I'll post it. Check it out!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Game Over


This is a sad day, my friends… So sad, I can almost hear the refrain of a melancholy dirge in the background as I sit to write this commentary. My favorite target (and that of many a mainstream sportswriter), Adam “Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones, has been released by the Cowboys amid further confirmation (as if we needed any more) that he is a dirt bag. And with the mounting release of recent evidence of more off-the-field evilness, Jones appears to have played his last NFL football game.

The latest allegations against Jones stem from an incident at a strip club (go figure!) in Atlanta, a mere two months (June 2007) after his NFL suspension handed down by Commissioner Roger Goodell for previous off-the-field incidents (precipitated chiefly by his involvement in a previous strip club incident in Las Vegas). Jones allegedly got into a scuffle with three men inside the Atlanta club. Eh, it happens… (I mean, not to me… or you, probably… but to “people,” I guess) But what makes this scuffle remarkable (apart from the fact that he was just suspended for similar behavior) was that Jones agreed to pay another man in the club (who was previously charged with murder in a different case) to shoot at the three men as they left the strip club that night. Jones role in the shooting went unnoticed until police received a tip from an informant, and the story broke this week.

This next bit is a story in and of itself… ESPN contacted the Cowboys and informed them they would be running a story on the incident on Sunday’s episode of Outside the Lines (which is really a pretty good show if you’ve never seen it; its like 60 Minutes for sports). Less than 48 hours later, the ‘Boys cut Pacman… Coincidence? I think not! However, the Cowboys cited only Jones’ poor play in his limited tenure with the club as justification for his release. This is clearly a manifestation of Cowboy Owner Jerry Jones’ ego, and nothing more. He refuses to admit that the house of cards he built in Dallas with ne’erdowells and instigators came tumbling down this year because of the team’s general lack of discipline, facilitated by HIS hubris and ostrich-like view of the NFL’s player personnel. But I digress…

As I have said in this forum once before when referencing Pacman, “I could tell a long drawn out parable here about a frog and a scorpion and how people don’t change their natures, but I will spare you” (Oct 9, 2008 post “Hat trick”). This guy is done… If he EVER sees another snap in the NFL, Goodell and the owner that gives him a shot should both be immediately removed from their positions for gross negligence and outright stupidity. Some may say I’m a hater… that I’m just jealous of pro athletes. Well, that is 100% true. I am jealous that they get treated differently than everyone else; that they get chance after chance at making millions of dollars when they exhibit behavior that would get you and me locked up for 2-10. And I hate that this is what major sports media is forced to talk about in the midst of a great playoff season!

I am certainly sad that my favorite opportunity to “hate the playa not the game” is getting his final boot out the door. But the Football Gods have (hopefully) finally woken up and realized what people like Jones are doing to my beloved League.

-RP