06.29.09

As Baseball Hotbeds Go, Toronto’s No Indianapolis

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 7:35 pm by

A Carl Crawford two-run HR off Roy Halliday has Toronto trailing the Rays, 2-0, tonight at the Rogers Centre, days after the Jays’ Kevin Millar opined to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that he and his mates are “definitely fortunate that you’re in another country and you’re playing for the Blue Jays and you’ve got three beat writers instead of 40. The Globe & Mail’s Jeff Blair might lack for company, but not for effort when it comes to pointing out the depths to which Alex Rios and Vernon Wells have sunk.

Everybody’s pointed out how poorly Rios and Wells have played and how often they slump. It’s not like it’s just happened this season, you know? But this isn’t a baseball city: it’s a hockey city. It’s also a city without much success in any sport in recent years so, you know, there’s an element of ‘Yeah, whatever,’ at work here. We don’t have a gold standard for sports in Toronto; we have a bronze standard.

So, here you go Millar: Rios and Wells frequently suck “ although it was everybody’s favourite Gritty Guy, John McDonald, who was caught off second base before Wells bounced out for the final out of yesterday’s 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies and there was nary a boo for Johnny Mac.

Anyhow, my sense is general manager J.P. Ricciardi’s all but at the bag of balls stage; that he’s decided any money saved in off-loading Rios or Wells is more important than what’s brought back in return, and that it would have been done by now had Travis Snider not been hurt. The Blue Jays are in danger of a serious revenue crunch that will impact their ability to do on-field business next year. Money’s not coming in, and Roy Halladay needs to be paid.

While it may be true Toronto’s not a baseball town, how often do we hear an MLB vet  praise the competitive atmosphere in a bush league setting? Pirates starter Ian Snell K’d 17 Toledo Mud Hens yesterday and told Indianapolis play-by-play announcer Scott McCauley, “the fans are electric here.  You can tell, even though they don’t say much or cheer much they pay attention to the game.  It was just fun pitching in front of them again.”

A breathless McCauley wonders, “I wonder if the Pirates phones will be ringing tonight? Is anyone interested in a 27 year who sat at 94 miles per hour and hit 96 at least a dozen times this afternoon?” Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke’s Pat Lackey takes all this in and seems equally eager for another GM to take Snell off the Bucs’ hands (link courtesy Baseball Musings).

Snell tosses his teammates in Pittsburgh under the bus, completely slays Pirate fans, and then pushes his catchers under the same bus he already threw them under once, gets in the proverbial bus, backs over them several times, parks the bus on top of them, douses it with gasoline, and lights it on fire. Oh, but nothing against the guys up there. Talk about passive aggressive.

How Dare A Politician Ride Kobe’s Coattails?

Posted in Basketball, politics at 4:53 pm by

After all, that’s Sasha Vujacic’s job.  LA Wave’s Betty Pleasant claims last week’s victory parade for the newly crowned NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers was marred by something even more distasteful than Pau Gasol’s dancing.

The City Council members were told to arrive at the parade staging area at 10 a.m. last Wednesday so they could get on the bus and ride in the parade. They boarded the bus at 10:30 a.m. and were still waiting to roll at 11 a.m. The council members, as well as the general public, became antsy and demanded to know what was the hold up and why was it taking so long to get the parade under way. (Some of the more fair-skinned council members were particularly annoyed, sitting in the sun, as they were.)

The cause of the hold-up was occurring adjacent to the locker room, where Kobe was refusing to ride on the City Council bus because the mayor was to ride on it. At the same time, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (above) , the consummate spotlight thief, was refusing to get on the City Council bus unless he got on with Kobe. Kobe loudly denounced the mayor in phrases that started with œI don™t like the ¦ and ended with œI™m not going to let him pimp my popularity!

People in the Coliseum who knew nothing about the outside bus dust-up  had their own tale to tell: They say the mayor introduced the members of the team and after he introduced Kobe, he extended his hand for the customary shake and Kobe strode right past him ignoring the outstretched hand. One elected official said the snub was clearly visible to everybody. œI didn™t understand it when I saw it, but after hearing about what happened with the bus, I understand it now, the official said. So, is it sports or is it politics? In this city, it™s obviously one and the same.

The Herds Word (Sic) : Uncanny Spoof Or Cowherd Uncut?

Posted in Sports Radio at 3:20 pm by

Seriously, I cannot tell. If it’s the latter, leave it to Cowherd to prove he’s fully capable of supervising a website just as unreadable as those from Jim Rome and Scott Ferrall. If, however, someone is having a laugh at Cowherd’s expense, we might be about to witness a legal first ; Disney suing a blogger for anti-intellectual copyright violation.

Lawyer : Sergio Kindle Is A Text Criminal

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron, The Law at 1:27 pm by

The Austin-American Statesman’s Suzanne Haliburton reports University Of Texas LB Sergio Kindle suffered a concussion last Wednesday after driving into a West Campus apartment building.

Brian Roark, Kindle™s lawyer, said the wreck happened at 1:50 a.m. Wednesday. He said Kindle likely was text messaging and lost control of his car. He said the wreck caused about $8,700 of damage to the exterior wall of the building, according to the damage estimate provided by the apartment™s management company.

No one other than Kindle was hurt.

Kindle pushed his car onto the street, then went home, Roark said.

œHe knew he was hurt at the time and that he needed to go home and go to bed, Roark said.

Roark said Kindle contacted the apartment management as soon as he woke up Wednesday morning. He also was treated for the concussion later that day.

Kindle’s not merely an All-Big 12 linebacker, he’s pretty good at avoiding a breathalyzer.  I’m no Dr. Conrad Murray, but it should be pointed out on Kindle’s behalf there’s no reason to avoid a good night’s sleep, even if you’ve been concussed.

What Happened To Omar’s Dominican Pipeline?

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Fashion at 10:30 am by

Beyond the sheer embarrassment of Francisco Rodriguez gifting Mariano Rivera with his first career RBI on the same night the Yankees’ talismanic reliever earned his 500th career save, the Bombers’ Subway Sweep only emphasized the Amazingly Disableds’ inability to field a competitive starting nine. The New York Daily News’ John Harper breaks little new ground in reminding us the Mets’ farm system is largely devoid of blue chip prospects or Stupor Joe McEwing-esque supersubs, he does raise a salient point, ie. Omar Minaya’s “failure to cash in on the Pedro Martinez signing 5 years ago.”

At the time Minaya essentially said he was willing to overpay for Pedro, in the form of $52 million over four years, because of the dividends it would provide, because every kid in the Dominican Republic would want to sign with the Mets.

Since then, however, the only such signings of significance appear to be Fernando Martinez, 19-year-old shortstop Ruben Tejada and 17-year-old shortstop Wilmer Flores. That’s not exactly a pipeline of talent.

Scouts and executives in other organizations aren’t sure if the blame lies in a lack of scouting acumen or the Mets’ reluctance to spend on international signings, but they too expected the Pedro Martinez signing to have more of a ripple effect.

“By now I thought their system would be loaded with good (Latin) players,” one major league scouting director said recently. “But for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened.”

The same baseball people say the Mets do have attractive prospects at the lower levels of their minor-league system, Flores especially, and righthander Brad Holt, their first-round supplemental pick a year ago who was recently promoted to Double-A.

Either one would get the attention of a team looking to make a trade, but considering how few such prospects the Mets have, it hardly seems worth it to include them in quick-fix deals for someone like Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson or Aubrey Huff – or even Mark DeRosa, who was traded from the Indians to the Cardinals on Saturday.

Aside from the specifics of last night’s debacle, Faith & Fear In Flushing‘s Jason Fry notes an abundance of weird Mets jerseys and tees in the Citi Field stands. with one sartorial choice in particular making a deep impression :

BURGOS 40? Really? With all the others, you can at least think of a point in time during which someone might have gotten a little too excited and headed to Modell’s. McReynolds was a capable player until he got done eating half of Arkansas, Miller was feisty and gritty if not particularly talented, and Roger Cedeno was decent everywhere except the outfield for a couple of months. Heck, even Jae Seo had a good game or two. But Ambiorix Burgos, owner of one win as a New York Met? Ambiorix Burgos who got hurt and then made news during his rehab from Tommy John surgery first by assaulting his girlfriend and then by being charged with hit-and-run in a case in which two women died? (And who then turned himself in to Dominican Republic officials wearing White Sox gear?) You’re a Mets fan, and this is a shirt you a) actually bought; b) kept through all that; and c) decided to wear to show your bona fides against the Yankees?

There’s only one explanation for the wearers of SEO and CEDENO and BURGOS shirts: These people are plants, Yankee fans sent to Citi Field in disguise to make us look bad. Which is unsportsmanlike and not terribly necessary: This weekend, the people down there on the field wearing Mets uniforms with their actual names on them had that covered.

Kelly On Beltre : Giant Bust Or A Hard Worker WIth A Low Pain Threshold?

Posted in Baseball at 9:47 am by

(one of the least coveted giveaway items of recent memory ; May 5, 2006, Fred Meyer Mariners Collectible Train Night, The A-Train Car)

Or perhaps both? Seattle 3B Adrian Beltre is having surgery to remove bone chips in his left shoulder, a procedure that should keep him out of the M’s lineup for a lengthy stretch and possibly the rest of the season. “Nobody is going to deal for an aching, out-of-the-lineup third baseman before July 31” warns the Seattle TImes’ Steve Kelley, who despite admitting Beltre’s offensive production for the Mariners pales in comparison to his 2004 career year in Los Angeles, insists, “he has played the game hard, and it wasn’t a lack of work that lowered his production.”

As an example of his approach to the game, Beltre played the last two games of this weekend’s series against the Dodgers, knowing that at least a dozen times a game the pain in his shoulder was going to feel like he had been stabbed.

He never was the Adrian Beltre the Mariners expected he’d be when they handed him $64 million, but he still is one of the best third basemen in the game. His plusses greatly outweigh his minuses.

So manager Don Wakamatsu now must seek a short-term solution at third, while general manager Jack Zduriencik looks long-term at the position.

(Memo to the manager: Don’t move first baseman Russell Branyan to third. He is settled where he is. Don’t mess with that. Move Chris Woodward there, and know at least you have a savvy professional replacing Beltre.)

The long-term solution at third base is more problematic, but time is Zduriencik’s ally. Before Beltre’s return, the direction of the season will be set.

The Mariners either will be in the race or out of it, and Zduriencik will have to decide if signing a healthy Beltre to a three- or four-year deal at a reasonable price is doable.

Is that better than a mid-August waiver deal that will leave the Mariners looking for the next third-base solution?

Dr. “D” David Shultz : Grappler, Carpenter, Aspiring Astronaut

Posted in "Wife Beater" Is Not A Fashion Statement, Free Expression, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Professional Wrestling at 12:07 am by

Thanks to Dave Gionfrido for unearthing the above YouToob clip, otherwise Shultz’ legacy might be limited to deafening John Stossel.  As is, this piece of cinema vérité is remarkable on multiple levels.  Given the old WWF’s penchant for employing wife beaters and tolerating the abuse of children, there’s something especially creepy about Shultz’ threats of domestic violence being played for laughs.  The most disturbing part of this, however, is that despite being unable to afford proper trousers, Shultz lives in a house larger than mine.