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!