Monday, November 28, 2005

RETURN FROM THE BLOG BREAK

I'm ba'ack! Hope you all didn't miss me too much. But I've been on hiatus.

The last 2 weeks has provided several free agent signings & trades that I didn't have a chance to write about. So rather than expressing my feelings in regard to that, I'd much rather start off my return with a very interesting topic that I read on somebody else's blog.

I came across "Alex's Sports Blog" a few months ago when I heard an interview with him on Sports Bloggers Live (SBL) and was so impressed with him & his knowledge, I check in from time to time, to read what he's got to say (write).

What makes Alex so interesting is not that his favorite team is the Boston Red Sox (mine too) but he's in Jr. High School, and if you didn't already know that, you'd never know.

I'd like to share one of his recent blog entry's with you. Then I'd like to share my response to him because he brought up a fascinating topic that doesn't seem to be discussed much.

-as taken from Alex's Sports Blog:

"Gay Athletes

While the NBA season officially started yesterday, a WNBA player came out earlier this week claiming she was a lesbian. The player's name was Sheryl Swoops, and she was an excellent player. Sheryl Swoops recently said that it will be a long time until a professional male athletes comes out to be homosexual.

First of all, let's say that your favorite athlete came out gay. One of my favorite athletes is David Ortiz. What if Ortiz came out gay, would I react differently to him? Probably not, but I would feel kind of awkward. I don't know why, but I just would feel awkward. I believe in gay rights, and I think that homosexuals are no different then straight people, but I would just feel a little funny. Let me ask you a question, if your favorite athlete came out gay, how would you react to them? Would you feel a little awkward? Don't just answer that questions, think about and think what you would feel. I guarantee that even though most of us believe in gay rights and everything, that we would feel a bit awkward, or we would feel funny.

A couple of years ago, there were rumors that Mike Piazza was gay. Those rumors are obviously false, but that leads me to another question for you. Which sport do you think it would be the hardest to be a gay athlete? I kind of stole this question from Jamie Mottram, but I just want to find out what my readers think. I think that all sports in our society would be a challenge for a gay athlete to play in, but I think baseball would be the hardest. In football, if you hit hard and appear as a tough guy, you could slip by the fans. In basketball, trash talk is a big part of the game, but if you race up the court and dunk on people then the fans at least will cheer and think about your actions on the court, instead of your actions off the court. I believe that baseball would be the hardest sport for a player to come out of the closet. First, most baseball players are from foreign lands, where maybe homosexuals aren't accepted like they are in America. Also, it's the longest season in professional sports with a 162 game season. Unlike football and basketball, it's not a fast paced, run and gun type of game. The fans have a big impact on you, and if you feel down on yourself, then a slump might occur. We all know that slumps in general do not make fans very pleased. So, take my opinion on this issue for what it is. I hope I didn't offend anybody with this article, I just expressed my feelings and I hope you express your feelings as well by leaving a comment."

-my comment to Alex as posted on his website blog:

"Being a 100% heterosexual male, I wouldn't feel "funny" or "awkward" if one of my favorite baseball players came out of the closet & admitted to being gay because I'm comfortable about my sexuality.

At first when I read your blog, I thought to myself, maybe Alex feels this way due to his age? Perhaps he's not comfortable with his own sexuality yet? If I were younger than I am now, would I feel the same way as Alex?

Then I started thinking about when I was in the 7th grade, and was a big fan of the musical group 'Queen' and how much I loved the song "Another One Bites The Dust." When I first found out Freddie Mercury, the former lead singer of the band was gay, I couldn't care less that he was a gay man because I respected him & his music period.

Without 'Freddie Mercury & Queen' we'd never have two of the biggest sports anthems of all-time -- "We Will Rock You" & "We Are The Champions."

Do you really think that when people are at sporting events, and they play those two songs, they feel "awkward" because they're singing a song & cheering along for their favorite teams with a song written by a gay man? I think not.

And what about when they play the song "Rocket Man" from 'Elton John' on Roger Clemens' behalf -- do you think people feel "awkward" listening to another song that's sung by a gay man? (Bernie Taupin, whose not gay actually wrote the lyrics to that song - John wrote the music).

I can totally relate & understand how you must feel, Alex, because we live in a very unique society these days that accepts musicans/artists/actors & female athletes who are gay, more then they would a male professional athlete. But no matter what, we'll always live in a homophobic world that feels threatened by homosexuals at some point or another.

If you haven't seen the movie "Philadelphia" yet, with Tom Hanks & Danzel Washington, I suggest you check it out.

I'll leave you with this -- when I was younger, there was a baseball player by the name of Glenn Burke who admitted to being gay. When I found out, I didn't feel "awkward" when I remembered how I rooted for him when he was a Los Angeles Dodger. I actually felt bad for him for how the media & baseball fans treated him with verbal abuse because he didn't deserve it."

And the worst part about it is, when people think & talk about Glenn Burke, the first thing that comes to mind is he was baseballs first gay man (actually the first who had the courage to admit it) and what they don't remember is the fact that Glenn Burke created the "HIGH FIVE" in 1977 which is not only one of the biggest celebratory gestures in professional sports today, but in everyday life.

Please feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Was out of town for the weekend spending time with my Dad, and was so busy for the last three days, I didn't have time to blog. Will be back tomorrow with some stuff about the Dodgers, A-Rod, tidbits, and more Baseball Banter.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

CARPENTER EARNED HIS HARDWARE

Chris Carpenter received 19 of the 32 first-place votes to win the NL Cy Young Award. Dontrelle Willis picked up 11 first-place votes and trailed Carpenter 132 points to 112. Roger Clemens, finished a distant third, claiming the other two first-place votes and finishing with 40 points. Those three were named on 28 of the 32 ballots. Also receiving third-place votes were Roy Oswalt (two), Chad Cordero and Andy Pettitte. Carpenter got my vote because I felt he had a better all around year than Willis, and even though Capernter's ERA went up a half a run in his final three starts, he still ended up with a very respectable 2.83. On paper, Clemens does have the best numbers, but out of his 31 starts, he failed to pitch more than 5 innings in seven of them, while lasting no more than six innings in seven others. Yes, I know that he's 43 years old, but I feel not lasting more than 6 innings in 14 of this 31 starts hurt his chances considerably.
More Baseball Notes

Commissioner Bud Selig, on his concern about the current state of the Dodgers: "I try not to comment on these things. Everybody wants to do the best for their franchise. I'm sure the McCourts do too, and they'll get the train back on the track." ... DePodesta, who has received inquiries from several clubs, said he is considering whether he wants to return to baseball immediately…. The Dodgers have offered Milton Bradley to almost every team they've met with and continue to find resistance because of his history…. In potential trades that would require the Dodgers to give up a starting pitcher, they are offering Odalis Perez, according to several officials from other teams…. Texas second baseman Alfonso Soriano, who will be a free agent after next season, has been discussed in Dodger circles, and is available…. The Dodgers have not spoken to Arn Tellem, the agent for Nomar Garciaparra, but planned to before the end of the meetings. Garciaparra is willing to play third base for the Dodgers.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

GULLIEN SELECTED AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR AS EXPECTED Ozzie Guillen was named the American League's Manager of the Year. Guillen received 17 of the 28 first-place votes to outdistance runnerup Eric Wedge, who totaled 71 points to Guillen's 105. Joe Torre was third with 43 points.
"I don't want to be cocky," Guillen added. "But I knew I would be Manager of the Year. I don't think why not. We win from first day all the way to the end ... and the way we did it."
Guillen joined Tony LaRussa (1983), Jeff Torborg (1990), Gene Lamont (1993) and Jerry Manuel (2000) on the list of White Sox honorees.

With his 1985 AL Rookie of the Year award, Guillen became the third person to earn both such honors. Frank Robinson and Lou Piniella also won the Rookie of the Year Award and Manager of the Year Award.

The overall voting gave Guillen a 105-71 edge over Cleveland's Eric Wedge, a manager Guillen praised during Wednesday's press conference for his tremendous work during the 2005 campaign. Guillen received 17 first-place votes, five second-place votes and five third-place votes, en route to becoming the first manager from Venezuela to win the award. Tony Pena (2003) and Felipe Alou (1994) are the only other managers from Latin America to achieve such recognition.
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THEO & THE BOSOX
Next Sox GM: Epstein? Rumors persist door’s still open By Michael Silverman/ Red Sox NotebookWednesday, November 9, 2005

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The Red Sox will begin their interview process to replace departed general manager Theo Epstein today by talking to current Washington GM Jim Bowden. But reports continue to steadily trickle in at these general managers meetings that the Red Sox have not yet given up hope (however unlikely) that they can convince Epstein to change his mind.
Multiple Red Sox personnel, several prominently placed in the organization, have quietly been trying to talk Epstein into rejoining the ballclub he left on Halloween when he rejected a three-year, $4.5 million offer. Retaining credibility for Epstein in case he changes his mind remains a significant hurdle to overcome, plus a multitude of organizational issues would have to be resolved.

Team president and CEO Larry Lucchino e-mailed a “no comment” regarding the issue. Epstein was not available for comment.

In the meantime, Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner will fly out today to interview Bowden. No other interviews have been announced by the club, but they have contacted the Toronto Blue Jays to speak with director of player personnel Tony LaCava. Another name believed to be on the Red Sox list is Dayton Moore, 37, director of player personnel for the Atlanta Braves. Jim Beattie, formerly of the Orioles and Expos, will be interviewed in Boston Friday.

GM committee works

The four members of the Red Sox baseball operations department who are handling GM duties at these winter meetings – Jed Hoyer, Peter Woodfork, Ben Cherington and Craig Shipley – said that it has basically been business as usual.

“We met with clubs and agents (yesterday) and will continue to for the rest of the week,” Hoyer said. “Between the four of us, we will meet with everyone and gauge interest and start talks that will last all winter.”
The foursome had no comment about any specifics regarding free agents, theirs or others, or teams they have talked to. The four meet en masse in formal meetings with teams, separately when specific relationships come into play. Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro, named The Sporting News Executive of the Year, said he was not pleased to learn that Epstein and the Sox had parted ways.

“I was disappointed for him and the Red Sox both,” Shapiro said. “It feels like he had done such a remarkable job, not only winning but in the farm system as well. It seems like Theo should be here to reap the benefits going forward.”

He said that his initial dealings with the foursome were going fine.

“I know most of those guys,” Shapiro said. “They’re doing fine and are very, very capable of going forward, even if they are operating in an awkward situation.”

Lajoie back in fold

The four offered effusive praise for the return of 71-year-old Bill Lajoie to the organization. Lajoie, a special assistant to Epstein, left shortly after the GM resigned but after second thoughts decided to return. His new title is special advisor/baseball operations. He will help the entire baseball operations department conduct its business in the absence of Epstein’s replacement, paying particular attention to evaluating potential trades and free agent acquisitions.

The four young guys said Lajoie’s energy, enthusiasm and expertise cannot be
matched by any of them.

“You cannot learn more from a guy,” Woodfork said.

“You’ll never watch a game with Bill and not be better informed after it,” Cherington said.

“There’s nobody with more energy than Bill,” Shipley said. “Guys half his age can’t keep up with him.”

Said Lucchino in a statement: “Bill Lajoie has seen and done it all in more than a half-century in the game, earning universal respect in baseball circles. His experience and judgment, his skills in talent evaluation, and the perspective he brings from a lifetime in the game have been and will continue to be tremendous assets to our organization.”

Manny nixes Cleveland

For those keeping track of Manny Ramirez’ preferred destinations in a trade, Philadelphia is not on the list. Ramirez’ former hitting coach in Cleveland, Charlie Manuel, is the Phillies manager.
The Angels, who are on Ramirez’ list, have no interest in including right-hander Ervin Santana in any Ramirez deal.
Another name to keep in mind as the Red Sox mull replacements for Ramirez in the batting order is Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff, who can play first, third or the outfield. . . .
Teams are expected to hear in January which players will be asked to participate in the World Baseball Classic scheduled for next March. It is believed that up to 10 players from the 25-man roster can be chosen.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bartolo Colon today was named the American League Cy Young Award winner. Colon received 17 of the 28 first-place votes and was second on the other 11 ballots, finishing with 118 points. Mariano Rivera received eight first-place votes and was second with 68 points. Johan Santana, who should have won his second straight award, received three first-place votes and finished with 51 points. The voters just couldn't overlook the fact that Colon was credited with 21 victories. Santana beat him in ERA 2.87 to 3.48, and the Twins actually had a better record in Santana's starts than the Angels did in Colon's.

In addition, Santana's WHIP was 0.98 to Colon's 1.16

Santana's K/BB ratio was 238/45 in 232 innings pitched
Colon's line, 157/43/223

Hitters batted .210 off Santana to .254 against Colon
And I find it very hard to believe that five of the voters failed to select Santana in their top three -- shame on them.
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Received this email from Evito today
yo K, no real surprise with colon getting chosen (eventhough he wasn't the best pitcher in the league). after we hooked up a few weeks ago, i looked at carpenter and willis, and it definitely looks like carpenter will take it. surprisingly though, willis' era was actually lower than carpenter's (2.63 to2.83), and dontrelle won one more game than chris, but carpenter had him beat in most of the other categorieslike whip, strikeouts, winning percentage, etc. but i think the vote will be closer in the nl anyway. also, carpenter received over half a run per game more support than willis, and that's significant too. should be an interesting vote. i'd say arod's got the al mvp, but the nl could be close between pujols, lee and jones.
what do you think?
hope you're doing well,
ev
I think
Ev is right about everything & I couldn't agree with him more.
When we hooked up for the last game of the World Series, I mentioned to him that I felt Carpenter was going to win the NL Cy Young but Evito felt it should be
awarded to Willis. I stated the reasons that he mentioned above. So it looks like Ev's now going with Carpenter too.
The MVP winner for the AL is going to be quite interesting. Though I'm very partial to my Red Sox & David (Big Papi) Ortiz, I'm gonna have to go with A-Rod too.
My decision has nothing to do with the fact that Ortiz plays DH because Jim Rice won the AL MVP in 1978 while playing a majority of his games at DH.
I'm going with A-Rod because he put up better numbers pretty much all across the board...his Yankees outplayed the BOSOX when it counted the most...and he did play some stellar defense at 3rd base, winning a Gold Glove.
In the NL it's one of the toughest calls I've had to make since Mo Vaughn beat out Albert Belle for the AL MVP in 1995 -- the difference there being that Albert Belle is a punk, and character does have something to do with winning the award.
But D-Lee, A-Pujols & A-Jones all have great character...and all three put up solid MVP-caliber seasons.
Lee produced like a hitting-machine from start to finish, while playing for a slightly below .5oo team. And Pujols & Jones played for division winners.
Jones doesn't have the "batting average" (.263) most MVP winners have, but neither did Kirk Gibson when he won the NL MVP in 1988 with a .290 AVG. 24 homers, and only 76 RBI's. But Gibson wasn't going up against guys that had years like Lee & Pujols did.
But when it comes down do it, I'm going to have to go with Derek Lee because he won the batting title (.335) he hit 46 homers, had 107 RBI's for a team that didn't score too many runs, he had 199 hits, 50 doubles, and ended up only seven total bases shy of the 400-magic number.
Yet which ever one of these three men win's the AL MVP, they're all deserving. So we'll just have to wait, see & read.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

THE BLOG STALKER

Yesterday I wrote a story about Robin Yount, and received a very sexually graphic "comment" from -- that's right, the "Mysterious Anonymous Proofreader." But this time they crossed the line not once, but twice.

After reading their inappropriate sexually explicit "comment" that I deleted from being viewed, the same comment appeared again.

That's right, this callously hidden, bitter person, felt the need to post the same exact comment a second time thus creating a brand new nickname of reference -- The Blog Stalker.

I have been stalked before, but at least I knew who my stalkers were. Now, my most recent stalker has taken it to new heights, as The Blog Stalker obviously has a warped sense of humor without heart & soul.

What I feel sets my blog/website apart from the others is, I write from my heart, and not out of bitterness. After all, isn't professional baseball a child's game played by grown men? (or in The Blog Stalkers case, it's a game played by grown men that Blog Stalkers make childlike comments towards)

And I don't sit at my computer all day reading what everyone else writes about baseball so that I can criticize them. I write about what's on MY MIND -- not personally criticize sports writers & bloggers.

That's why sometimes I like to write stories about how baseball relates to my childhood.

That's why I like to write stories about how I've shared the game I love so much with my family & friends as it relates to baseball.

I bet The Blog Stalker disliked the film "Field of Dreams" because it was based on a man who not only loved his father, but wanted to bring back the wonderful memories they once shared through "baseball."

I'm all for freedom of speech, opinions & different points of views. But when someone chooses to remain hidden & posts asinine comments, that's where I draw the line because this is a family show.

That's why due to the continuos harassment from The Blog Stalker, I am no longer accepting "anonymous comments."

I wonder how many other people there are out there The Blog Stalker stalks?

Perhaps The Blog Stalker is a "serial stalker" & gets off on this sort of stuff?

Why don't they have the guts & courage to come out of their stalker shell?

Whatever the case may be, here I am -- writing another story as it relates to baseball without the need to criticize others with sexually explicit homophobic assumptions.

And there you are, still in hiding, reading this story, wasting more of your time stalking me again.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Brewers Bringing Back Robin Yount Brings Back Some Good Ole Childhood Memories

I've never been a beer man. But ever since I was a kid, I always had my left eye on the Milwaukee Brewers. I mean, how could you not like Harvey's Wallbangers & some of those powerhouse teams of the early 80's?

If the Brewers teams of the early eighties were playing today, they'd not only be competing with the Yankees & Red Sox for the American League Eastern Division, they'd probably be one of the most colorful & charismatic teams in the Majors.

I remember growing up how much I looked up to those guys, and it wasn't hard not to like them even though they once played in the same division as my beloved Boston Red Sox.

I loved pretending I was Cecil Cooper batting, whenever my friends & I would play pick up games -- with the way he used to lean back in the box with his bat & hands way back like Rod Carew -- slapping balls all over the field. I actually not only thought I was him, I even thought I was black.

And how could you not like guys like Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Ted Simmons, Larry Hisle, Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie, Jim Gantner, Pete Vuckovich & Rollie Fingers? They weren't just All-Stars...they were classy team players.

Even some of the lesser known guys like Moose Haas, Don Money, Sixto Lezcano, Bob McClure, Charlie Moore & Ed Romero helped fit the molds of Genuine Draft, Old Milwaukee Beer guzzlin' Brewers.

They were the New York Yankees of today -- lots & lots of big name talent yet no championships.

They were like bands of rock stars that were on tour for Ozzfest or the Warped Tour.

They were ordinary guys that you'd meet at a local bar or at the bowling alley down the street in a Tuesday night league.

And ooh were they good all right...and they knew it. But they were larger than life likable guys without an ounce nor trace of attitude & arrogance that seems to fill the Major Leagues today.

With yesterday's signing of Robin Yount as Bench Coach, the Brew Crew is now trying to restore some tradition.

I'm not saying the current Milwaukee Brewers can compare to those teams of the early 80's. But how many teams can say they have a member of their coaching staff who played his entire 20 year Hall of Fame career with the same team?

I can't think of any offhand (Cal Ripken could for the Baltimore Orioles if he were to come back as a coach)

Last year the Brewers played .500 baseball for the first time in over a decade. Their field manager, Ned Yost, was once a member of the team as a catcher in 1980-1983.

They just extended the contract of Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin through the 2009 season.

Their Bullpen Coach of 13 years, Bill Castro, was a pitcher for the organization from 1974-1980.

They recently signed Dale Sveum who played shortstop for the team in 1986-1991 as their Third Base Coach.
11 players from the current 25 man roster are home grown products of the Brewers farm system, and 5 others who were involved in trades or acquisitions, came up through their Minor Leagues.

Their owner, Mark Attanasio, has done nothing but good things for the team, organization & the Milwaukee community since purchasing the team two years ago from the Selig family

I'm not saying just because the Milwaukee Brewers brought back Robin Yount it's going to change everything.

I'm simply saying now everyone on that team & entire organization has more of a reason to work & bust those butts a little harder because now they have something they were lacking before -- A mentor.
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NOTE TO DODGERS OWNER FRANK MCCOURT
Take some notes from the Brew Crew on how to restore some tradition & values back into your Dodger Blues.

Friday, November 04, 2005

THE PLAYERS GET IT RIGHT

2005 PLAYERS CHOICE AWARDS WINNERS

Player of the Year
Andruw Jones - Braves

Man of the Year
Mike Sweeney - Royals

AL Outstanding Player
David Ortiz - Red Sox

NL Outstanding Player
Andruw Jones - Braves

AL Outstanding Pitcher
Bartolo Colon - Angels

NL Outstanding Pitcher
Chris Carpenter - Cardinals

AL Outstanding Rookie
Huston Street - Athletics

NL Outstanding Rookie
Willy Taveras - Astros

AL Comeback Player
Jason Giambi - Yankees

NL Comeback Player
Ken Griffey Jr. - Reds

Some could make a case for A-Rod, A-Pujols, D-Lee, J-Santana, and D-Train Willis. But I can't argue with the players' selections.
They should let the players vote on all the awards. Then cut the amount of sports writers allowed to vote in half because they play favorites -- most of them never even played the game.


MLB SIGNINGS & NOTES

Angels signed manager Mike Scioscia to a contract extension through 2009 with a club option for 2010. He had already been signed through 2007 with a club option for 2008. I definitely had some criticism for Scioscia's lineups down the stretch and in the postseason, but he's done a great job of handling the pitching staff in his six years with the Angels. He should still be viewed as one of the game's better managers.

White Sox exercised a $3.5 million buyout on the contract of designated hitter Frank Thomas. This makes him a free agent. Thomas had exercised a $10 million player option to remain with the team, but the White Sox didn't want him back at that price. Depending on how his ankle is progressing prior to the Dec. 7 arbitration deadline, he could be re-signed for somewhere around $3 million.

Indians exercised second baseman Ronnie Belliard's $4 million club option for 2006. Belliard earned $2.5 million for hitting .284/.325/.450 last season. Since he seemed to have some trouble staying motivated when he was younger, he probably wouldn't be the best player to sign to a multiyear deal. The Indians, though, will probably continue to get quality production out of him next year.

Dodgers signed Jose Cruz Jr. to a one-year contract worth $3.21 million. The 31-year-old Cruz will earn $2.91 million next season, and the deal includes a 2007 club option at $4.5 million with a $300,000 buyout. He could earn an additional $300,000 per year in performance bonuses. This is a paycut from the $4 million he made last season. $3 million for an average hitter and a very good defensive corner outfielder capable of playing center could look like a bargain after Jacque Jones and Preston Wilson sign.

Brewers have called a press conference for today to announce Robin Yount as their new bench coach. With his youngest child graduating from high school, Yount was finally willing to take the full-time coaching position the Brewers have offered him practically every offseason since he retired. Yount spent his entire 20-year career with the club.

Yankees named Ron Guidry pitching coach and Joe Kerrigan bullpen coach. Surprisingly, the Yankees never even asked for permission to interview White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. With Kerrigan also around, Guidry's lack of experience shouldn't be a liability. He has been a spring-training instructor for the team since 1990.

Astros GM Tim Purpura said he had casual conversations with Alan and Randy Hendricks, who represent Roger Clemens, though the talks contained nothing of substance."There's certainly nothing definitive on the Roger front," Purpura said. "We've kind of agreed to continue ... and keep the lines of communication open, and as Roger gets to the point where he's feeling one way or the other to let us know." Purpura is also talking with the agents for three of his other free agents: Brad Ausmus, Orlando Palmeiro and Jose Vizcaino. He hopes to re-sign each player.
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LAST BUT NOT LEAST
"Cheers" to Theo Epstein for standing up & walking out on the Boston Red Sox' front office brASS. (Coach would be proud)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

PINTO IS FULL OF BEANS
There's a website titled "Baseball Musings" by David Pinto, and thought I'd share his opinions & the the comment I posted in response:

"I am being chided for leaving Johnny Damon off the list of glamorous free agents. Damon is going to be 32 and is banged up. Damon peaked early in his career, age 25-26. He briefly reached that level again at age 30. But if you're looking at Damon, you're looking at a someone who's on the downside of his career. With a career OBA of .353, he doesn't set me on fire. If you look at your team and decide you need someone in center with above average on base skills to put you in the playoff, Damon's a fine one or two year player. But he's certainly not someone to sign long term vs. bringing up a 22 year-old that is likely to improve. Posted by David Pinto"


-Though I respect Mr. Pinto's opinions, here's my thoughts on Damon (as left in Musings' comments section): Posted by: Baseball Banter at November 2, 2005 08:16 PM

"Excuse me but...Johnny Damon is not as "banged up" as you assume.

He actually had more at bats in 2005 than he did in 2004 & 2003, while playing in only 2 & 5 less games.

You also state that Damon is on the "downside of his career" as he turns 32 in 3 days?

Well, Mr. Pinto, Damon batted .317 with 197 hits in 2005 & .304 with 189 hits in 2004.

In addition, 2005 & 2004 he had an OPS of 800plus in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1999 & 2000 campaigns.

Other than the time he hit .327 with 214 hits & an OPS of .877 in 2000, those are his highest single season totals since.

Maybe he did "peak" in 1999 & 2000, but I'll take the year he had last year ANY YEAR regardless if half of his games are played at hitters-friendly Fenway Park.

Damon might be injury-prone due to his all out style of play, however he has proved year in & year out that he has no problem performing while playing "banged up" averaging 150 games a season.

If anything Johnny Damon could be on the RISE once again, and is worthy of at least a 3 or 4 year deal.

BEIJING 2008 SUMMER OLYMPIC BASEBALL REPORT Angels prospects Jered Weaver, Jeff Mathis, Howie Kendrick and Brandon Wood were among 24 minor leaguers picked Thursday for the U.S. Olympic baseball team

The club, managed by Davey Johnson, will compete in qualifiers this month for the 2008 Olympics.

Only players not on 25-man rosters as of Aug. 31 were eligible for the games, to be played at the spring training ballparks of the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland Athletics in Phoenix and Mesa, Ariz.

The United States plays Canada (Nov. 15 at Maryvale), Mexico (Nov. 16 at Phoenix Municipal), Nicaragua (Nov. 17 at Maryvale), Panama (Nov. 18 at HoHoKam) and Canada (Nov. 19 at Maryvale)

The top four teams advance to the Americas Olympic qualifying tournament at Havana in August 2006, where they will be joined by the top four qualifiers from both the Caribbean and South American regions. The top two nations in that tournament advance to the 2008 Olympics, and the third- and fourth-place teams go to a secondary qualifying event to be held in 2007.

The United States won the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games but was eliminated by Mexico in qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympics. The IOC has voted to drop baseball following the 2008 Beijing Games, but the International Baseball Federation is pushing for a new vote next year.

The Full Roster

Pitchers: Stephen Andrade, rhp (Toronto); Jonah Bayliss, rhp (Kansas City); Dave Haehnel, lhp (Baltimore); Chris Lambert, rhp (St. Louis); Jim Miller, rhp (Colorado); Bill Murphy, lhp (Arizona); Clint Nageotte, rhp (Seattle); Brian Sanches, rhp (Philadelphia); Matt Smith, lhp (New York Yankees); Nick Ungs, rhp (Florida); Jered Weaver, rhp (Los Angeles Angels); Stephen White, rhp (New York Yankees).

Catchers: Jeff Mathis (Los Angeles Angels); Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Atlanta).

Infielders: Travis Hanson (St. Louis); Brendan Harris (Washington); Howie Kendrick (Los Angeles Angels), Bryan LaHair (Seattle); Ryan Shealy (Colorado); Brandon Wood (Los Angeles Angels)

Outfielders: Billy Butler (Kansas City); Lastings Milledge (New York Mets); Brad Snyder (Cleveland); Shane Victorino (Philadelphia).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

McCourt Courting Epstein
Seems Like A Logical Choice
Rumor out here in LA has Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, courting Theo Epstein for the vacant GM position

It appears to me there could be some truth to the rumor & it's very logical because both are from Massachusetts, and McCourt seems to like hiring young GM's.
McCourt is considering going after the DePodesta-like Theo Epstein, who resigned as Boston Red Sox GM one year after leading the team to a historic World Series title.

But three sources close to Epstein, 31, said he probably wouldn't be interested in the chaotic Dodger situation. He left the Red Sox because of friction with President Larry Lucchino and is DePodesta's close friend.

"I would be shocked if he touched the Dodger job," said a front-office executive who knows Epstein well. "He's not going to go into a situation that one of the 10 people he trusts most in the world says is completely dysfunctional."

The Dodgers have moved beyond Plan A — and might already be on Plan C or D — in their search for a general manager after their top choice, Pat Gillick, took a job with the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Twenty months ago, Dodger owner Frank McCourt hired 31-year-old Paul DePodesta over the veteran Gillick. This time it was Gillick, 68, who snubbed the Dodgers.

Another candidate, former Houston GM Gerry Hunsicker, apparently also is no longer available. The St. Petersburg Times is reporting today that he will accept a front-office position with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Dodgers might find themselves in the position of giving the job to someone grateful for the opportunity instead of someone they are excited about hiring.

Former Cleveland and Texas GM John Hart and Washington GM Jim Bowden have interest in the opening, but McCourt has not asked for permission to speak to either of them. Hart is an advisor with Texas.

Hart led the Indians to several playoff appearances in the mid-1990s. Bowden quickly turned the Nationals into a wild-card contender in the team's first season since moving from Montreal.

Other candidates could include Dodger assistant GM Kim Ng, who previously was an assistant GM with the New York Yankees, and Dennis Gilbert, a former agent and current special advisor to Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

Ng could become the first female general manager. Gilbert is a strong negotiator who interviewed for the Dodger opening when DePodesta was hired.

McCourt's senior advisor, Tom Lasorda, has said Orel Hershiser is too inexperienced to become GM, but Lasorda is pushing to bring the former Dodger pitcher into the organization.

The scenario was for Hershiser, who has been the Texas Ranger pitching coach since 2002, to learn from Gillick and take over the position in a few years.

Now a fallback plan could be to hire Hershiser as GM and have him learn from Ng and Roy Smith, the Dodger vice president of player development.

Epstein, who did not return phone calls, is holding a news conference today in Boston primarily to disclose his reasons for leaving the Red Sox. He also might divulge his level of interest in the Dodger opening.

The Dodgers have appeal to some candidates because of their strong farm system, relatively high payroll and strong tradition. But talk of McCourt's seemingly muddled decision-making and penchant for firing high-level employees is getting around baseball.

"I don't know how any assurances from them can correct that," a high-level executive said. "Anybody in a decent situation wouldn't want any part of it."
KENT CONCERNED
Last month Eric Gagne spoke out about his dissatisfaction and the direction of the Los Angeles Dodgers - that was before the recent firing's of manager Jim Tracy & GM Paul DePodesta
Now another Dodger player is concerned enough with the direction of the team to ask questions. Jeff Kent and his agent, Jeff Klein, met with McCourt at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, one day before McCourt decided to fire DePodesta.
Klein said that Kent expected DePodesta to join the meeting and did not lobby for a new general manager.
"By no means was Jeff Kent gunning for Paul DePodesta to get fired," Klein said. "It was clear there was a certain dysfunction within the organization, that they were not singing from the same page in the hymnal.
"Jeff asked for the meeting, bought an airline ticket and flew out. And he did it without any fanfare. He was trying to help in any way."
Kent, who has one year left on a two-year contract, hinted near the end of the Dodgers' 71-91 season that he would ask to be traded if it appeared the team was building for the future rather than trying to win in 2006. Kent, 38, led the Dodgers in most offensive categories and has built Hall of Fame credentials as a second baseman.
Klein said that Kent isn't sure what to make of the events of the last several days, especially the firing of the general manager who signed him.
"Maybe the decisions were courageous," he said. "We'll have to judge what comes out the other end. Courageous or compulsive? Time will tell."
And more time will tell what will come out of the Dodgers end next.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Gillick on verge of becoming
Phillies GM
Pat Gillick has told the Dodgers he is not interested in becoming their general manager, clearing the way for him to become the Phillies' GM, FOXSports.com has learned
Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com

Gillick, 68, is on the verge of getting the Phillies' job over former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker, who is the frontrunner to be the senior consultant the Devil Rays are seeking.

The Dodgers had targeted Gillick as a possible replacement for Paul DePodesta, whom they fired Saturday. Their next step could be to pursue Theo Epstein, who resigned as Red Sox GM Monday. Nationals GM Jim Bowden is interested in the Dodgers' opening, and Padres GM Kevin Towers might be as well.

Another possibility would be Bobby Valentine, who likely would require both manager and GM responsibilities to leave the Chibe Lotte Marines, the team he recently led to the Japan Series title. Valentine is earning more than $3 million per year as a manager in Japan and could be offered an even more lucrative extension soon.

Valentine also is one of three finalists for the Devil Rays' managerial opening, along with Angels bench coach Joe Maddon and Devil Rays bench coach John McLaren. However, it is doubtful Valentine will end up with Tampa Bay. He is earning more than than $3 million per year as a manager in Japan and could be offered an even more lucrative extension soon.

Gillick grew up in Southern California and attended USC, but he lives in Toronto, where his wife owns an art gallery, and Philadelphia would be closer to home. He first interviewed with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt 20 months ago, but McCourt opted for DePodesta instead.

The Phillies haven't reached the postseason since 1993, but their situation appears more stable than the Dodgers, who won the NL West title in 2004. McCourt parted ways with manager Jim Tracy at the end of the season, then fired DePodesta after only two years of a five-year contract.

Monday, October 31, 2005

2001 Halloween World Series to Remember
Derek Jeter Became Baseballs Mr. November

The Yankees star earned that distinction at 12:04 a.m. EST, hitting a home run with two outs in the bottom of 10th inning to lift New York past the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 and tie the World Series at two games each.

Jeter, who usually shines in October, sent an opposite-field drive into the seats in right. It was the first game-ending homer of his career, and came shortly after the Yankee Stadium scoreboard flashed: "Welcome to November Baseball."

The Yankees spilled out of the dugout to greet him at home plate, where he landed with a two-footed hop.

"Yeah, I think I broke my foot," Jeter said.

The crowd, already crazed on Halloween night, went wild while Jeter's parents were hugged by everybody sitting near them in the stands.

"Surprising things happen," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Yet, when you think about it, it doesn't surprise you, because this ballclub never quits."

It was the first time in World Series history that a team tied a game with a ninth-inning homer and won with a homer in extra innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
A sellout crowd of 55,863 that included Mr. October -- Reggie Jackson -- turned quiet in the ninth inning with the Yankees in trouble.

Tino Martinez saved the Yankees with a dramatic two-out, two-run homer in the ninth off closer Byung-Hyun Kim, who also gave up Jeter's shot.

The Yankees ended up losing the World Series to the Diamondbacks, 4 games to 3.

But other then the time I filled up an entire pillowcase with candy while trick-or-treating when I was 12, that game is the most exciting Halloween I ever had.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dodger owner, Frank McCourt gets rid of his general manager after a fourth-place season, opening up two key positions
Pat Gillick might be the leading GM candidate

Frank McCourt dealt with his dissatisfaction Saturday the way he has throughout his short tenure as Dodger owner — he fired somebody.

General Manager Paul DePodesta became the 11th high-level employee to be let go since McCourt purchased the team in January 2004. This time the owner said he was pushed to the breaking point by the team's inability to put together back-to-back successful seasons.

The Dodgers went 71-91 and finished fourth in the National League West one year after winning the division for the first time since 1995.

"I have high expectations and one of those is winning," McCourt said. "And this organization is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve those expectations. Clearly, we did not fulfill those expectations this past season."

McCourt announced the change at a news conference at Dodger Stadium. He said the search for a successor will begin at once and that the new general manager will take part in the hiring of a manager.

Pat Gillick, who led Toronto to consecutive World Series titles in 1992-1993 and also was a general manager in Baltimore and Seattle, is considered the leading candidate to replace DePodesta. Gerry Hunsicker, who put together much of the Houston Astro team that advanced to the World Series this year, also could get strong consideration.

Bobby Valentine, a former Dodger player and New York Met manager, could vault in front of current finalists Terry Collins, Alan Trammell and Orel Hershiser to become manager. Valentine last week led the Chiba Lotte Marines to the Japan Series title.

"I don't want to get into the business of picking one name or another name at this time," McCourt said.

DePodesta learned that he would be fired from a reporter Friday. McCourt did not speak to him until Saturday morning, but by the afternoon DePodesta seemed to have come to terms with losing his job. He has three years left on a five-year contract and will be paid about $2.2 million.

"I truly believe that this franchise is poised to begin the next great era of Dodger baseball," DePodesta said. "I have a tremendous amount of affection for the players, staff and front office and I wish everyone the best of luck. Most importantly, I want to thank the fans for their unparalleled support of the team."

McCourt hired DePodesta in the first days of his ownership, and they worked well together until recently. The payroll was less than McCourt had publicly promised, but DePodesta didn't mind because it was still higher than most teams.

They agreed that parting ways with Manager Jim Tracy after the season was a necessary move and DePodesta presided over the organizational meetings for three days last week.

DePodesta, 32, wanted to hire Collins, the Dodger farm director, before the World Series and was excited that the entire baseball operations department — from scouts to the minor league teams to the Dodger clubhouse — would be a cohesive unit for the first time in many years.

But sources said McCourt's involvement in the managerial search increased despite his earlier pledge that it was DePodesta's hire. McCourt was not convinced Collins was the right choice and did not invite DePodesta to a dinner interview with Hershiser, a former Dodger pitching great, and instead invited former manager & vice president, Tom Lasorsda

Now Hershiser is considered a candidate for a front-office position as well as for manager. A source said Dodger special advisor Lasorda twice met with Hershiser in Texas about a month ago.

"He obviously keenly understands what it means to be a Dodger," McCourt said. "We want to restore the glory and we want to achieve greatness. The Dodgers are a special franchise and we want Dodgers here."

DePodesta, despite nearly two years on the Dodger payroll, was an outsider to McCourt, who was perplexed by DePodesta's reclusive nature. A strategic communications firm hired by the Dodgers in spring training became frustrated by DePodesta's seeming indifference to public relations and helped convince McCourt that someone more fan-friendly was necessary.

However, the primary job of a general manager is to build a winning team, and there were problems with that as well. The Dodgers won the division with a roster DePodesta mostly inherited from his predecessor, Dan Evans, and the team went flat this season after an abundance of off-season moves.

DePodesta, a Harvard graduate who never played professional baseball (but did play baseball & football in college) tried to distance himself from the notion that he relied solely on statistical analysis in evaluating players.

He was a central figure in the book, "Moneyball," which chronicled a season with the Oakland Athletics when DePodesta was their assistant general manager, and the characterization of him as a soulless computer nerd bothered him greatly.

Collins and others in the front office who worked closely with DePodesta disputed the notion, saying he accepted input from the team's scouts and was constantly looking for innovative ways to make the Dodgers better.

Injuries played a huge role in the team's disappointing finish, a factor McCourt indicated weeks ago absolved the front office of blame.

But somewhere along the way, he changed his mind.

"It was a decision that I had truthfully been struggling with for some time," McCourt said. "Paul has some very positive attributes, and I wanted nothing more than to see him be successful. And I'm sure he will be at some point in the future."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Dodgers Dodge Another Dismal Depodesta Season

If I were the Los Angeles Dodgers Owner:

(hire)
General Manager - Pat Gillick
Asst. GM - Orel Hershiser
Field Manager - Bobby Valentine
Bench Coach - Alan Trammell
Hitting Coach - Kirk Gibson

(fire)
Terry Collins (Director of Scouting) replace with Gary Hunsicker

(trade)
Center Field - Milton Bradley

(sign free agents)
First Baseman - Paul Konerko
Starting Pitcher - A.J. Burnett
Center Field - Johnny Damon
Right Field - Brian Giles

Friday, October 28, 2005

I'M GOIN' TO DISNEYLAND to see Goofy

Have a nice day

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sox Win - Sox Win - Sox Win
Astros Fall Off Lidge Again & Dye

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ozzie's White Sox Play Number's Game

They Put Up A Crooked Number On The Board In 5th
Then Add 2 more 9 innings later beating the Astros 7-5 in 14 innings

5:41: length of game
14: innings
5: runs in 5th for White Sox
4: runs for Astros after 4
2: runs scored by Sox in last 9 innings
1: runs scored by Stros in last 10
15: runners stranded by Stros
15: runners stranded by Sox
9: LOB in scoring position w/2 outs by Stros
8: LOB in scoring position w/2 outs by Sox
42,000: Bitter Astro fans
858: Ballistic Sox fans
123: Astros fans who were still cheering from the 10th to 14th inning
10: Stros fans in crowd shown by Fox's Cams more than once
2.5: Sox fans shown by Fox's Cams
23: Lame comments made by Tim McFly
2: Lame comments made by McFly 10 seconds prior to Blums Bomb
1.5: Intelligent comments made by McFly (referring to Ozzie Guillen)
43: Players used
482: Pitches thrown
53: Base runners allowed
0: Blown calls by umpires
11: Inning Barbara's Bush bailed
ONE: White Sox magic number to clinch their first World Series since 1917


Geoffrey Blum Is Not A Bum
He's the New King of Late Night TV:

Geoff Blum? Whose he? I know who he is. But most people never heard of him. Now, every baseball fan who stayed up late enough to watch his game winning homerun in the 14th inning against the Houston Astros will know very well who he is.

Blum is no stranger to Houston Astros fans. In 2002-2003, he played 253 games in an Astros uniform, while 20 of his 214 hits left the yard, hitting a respectable .274 over two seasons.

This year he was acquired by the White Sox from the San Diego Padres on July 31, to provide a much needed utility infielder due to his versatility & ability to play all four infield positions.

During the 2005 season, Blum played 35 games for the White Sox, had only 95 at bats, drove in a total of 3 runs, and hit only ONE homerun, while hitting the Mendoza Line on the dot (.200)

But if there was ever a homerun hit, that hurt his former team so much, and helped the Chicago White Sox so much, it was tonight's.

"It's the stuff dreams are made of," Blum said. "I've had about a 100 of these at-bats in the backyard with my younger brother."

And what a dream-come-true it was for the 32 year old, California native, from Redwood City.

With nearly all the fans remaining from the original crowd of 42,848 in Minute Maid Park, Blum sent a 2-0 pitch down the right-field line in the 14th inning, off relief pitcher Ezequiel Astacio, and the ball sailed over the wall.

"As soon as I hit it, I knew it was high enough to get out," Blum said. "I don't think I blinked or looked at anybody until I made it (to) home plate and knew it was for real."

Blum entered the game in the 13th as part of a double-switch. He's had quite a year - his wife, Kory, gave birth to triplets on May 3.

"I think it came to a head when the ball went out of the ballpark," he said.
Game notes
The 43 players used by both teams also was a Series record, as was the combined 30 runners left on base. ... Chicago is trying to match the 1999 New York Yankees as the only teams to go through the postseason with just one loss since the extra round of playoffs was added in 1995. ... Tonight's 5 hour & 41 minutes was the longest game in World Series hostory. ... Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Houston's Roger Clemens who left Saturday's opener after two innings because of a left hamstring injury, remains "penciled in" to start Game 5 Thursday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

QUEEN OF BLOGS
As promised yesterday, today is
Queen of Blogs Day

Yesterday, I elected a King of Blogs, so to prove I'm an equal opportunity blogger, I'd like to elect a Queen of Blogs.

And the winner is....

(((((((DRUM ROLL PLEASE)))))))

Ellyn, from Miami Beach, Florida, whose blog is titled:

"Just Another Day" @http://www.elijahlenny.blogspot.com

Ellie & I met almost 7 years ago while she was messing around one day on her computer.

Under the 'my hobbies' section of my America Online profile, I had listed
'Jamba Juice" as one of my hobbies.

Ellyn, instant messaged me & asked, "what's Jamba Juice?"
(talk about an opening-line ;)

Anyhow, we developed sort of a brother & sister friendship that has carried on to this very day. And 3 years ago we finally met in person when I was in Ft. Lauderdale about to go on a cruise, while I had a 3 hour layover.

She picked me up, took me to drop off my luggage at the ship's port, then we went and had some lunch together (and ate my first ever Conch)

A few months ago, she emailed informing me that she started a blog and wanted me to read it. The timing was very ironic because that was the same exact time I came across Jamie's blog from AOL's SBL Web-radiocast.

Between the two of them, I was inspired to write my own blog too, after reading both of their's for a month.

If you get a chance, check out Ellyn's blog because she's quite funny, and when she's in the mood to write, she comes up with some very interesting observations on 'Just Another Day' in her life (without any Baseball Banter)

Your friendship is inspiring.

Spud,
Me

Monday, October 24, 2005

Men In Black Pour A Comeback

As rain poured down U.S. Cellular Field on a cold damp night, the men dressed in Black & White staged an unforgettable World Series comeback, while another man dressed in all black, saw black & white.

Umpire Jeff Nelson (not the pitcher) clearly missed the call when he ruled a 3-2 pitch grazed the hand/forearm of Jermaine Dye, when the ball in fact struck his bat. "He thought at the time that he made the right call and he thought it in his heart," baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said after speaking with plate umpire Jeff Nelson.

"I'm not going to tell him I fouled it off," Dye said. "Just go to first and, hopefully, we get a big hit and we did."

And what a BIG HIT it was. Because then Paul (gonna get me a 5 year 65 million dollar contract) Konerko, came up with a big time hit in grandslam-fashion as he smashed the first pitch he saw from relief piticher Chad Qualls, clearing the bases, igniting the crowd of 41,432 soaking wet screaming fans into a "PAULEY"
chant worthy of a double curtain call.

"He's got nasty stuff, that guy," Konerko said. "He threw it exactly where I was looking."

A week earlier, Konerko was selected MVP of the AL Championship Series win over the Los Angeles Angels. Two days later, his wife gave birth to their first child, Nicholas.

But Houston answered right back in the top of the 9th inning when Manger Phil Garner inserted super-utility man, Jose Vizcaino, to provide some World Series heroics of his own, when he poked an opposite field 2 RBI base hit to left field, that tied the game at 6-6, off White Sox now-touchable closer Bobby Jenks.

Enter Brad Lidge - Ball Exit Scott Podsednik

Just as Tim McFly from Fox warns all of us that Brad Lidge no longer has a bad taste in his mouth from surrendering a game winning bomb to Albert Pujols in game 5 of the NLCS, he serves up seconds to Podsednik just minutes after Houton tied up the game at 6-6 in the top of the 9th.

"I don't think anyone in the ballpark was thinking about me hitting the ball out of the ballpark," Podsednik said. (including me)

One home run came from a big bopper, who hit 40 during the regular season. The other from Podsednik, who didn't get his first of the year until the postseason opener against Boston.

"I'm pretty crazy, so to speak, a little superstitious," Podsednik said. "I'm using something different up there just about every week."

Crazy it was as Scott Podsednik entered his name in the World Serious book of Baseball history that would make Jake & Elwood Blues, whose home address is listed as Wrigley Field, dance in the streets of the South Side of Chicago while singing, "We're on a mission from Oz."

I'm On A Mission To Blog

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank America Online's Senior Sports Manager, Jaime Rottram, of (SBL) Sports Bloggers Live's Web-radiocast, for selecting & announcing me & my 'Baseball Banter' as Rookie Blog of the Week.

I started listening to Jaime's web-radio show two months ago...and not only is his 'Hardball Bloggers' the first blog I ever read, I had never even heard of BLOG'S until then.

I'd also like to thank Jaime for inspiring me to start my 'Baseball Banter' blog because I used to write a lot of short stories when I was younger, and for the last 7 years I've been concentrating on songwriting.

But writing my own Baseball Blog has brought a sense of joy I have not experienced since High School.

I'd also like to thank American Online for believing in Jaime & his blogg-headed ideas, the entire staff of SBL for providing us members with your biweekly web/radiocasts...and I'd like to thank all my friends & family for encouraging to never give up my passion for writing that comes more from my heart than my head.

Jaime, you are simply The King of Blogs.

Very truly yours,

Backwards K

Update On My Mother's New
Johnny Damon
My Mom has the hots for Neal Cotts:
Which is fitting because her blog-headed son's name is Scott.

Confessions Of A Blogg-head
Another installment of 'Tales of Two Bloggers'

Dear Anonymous Proofreader:

In my October 21st Blog entry, I spelled "Piniella" correctly, so please excuse my typo in Oct.23rd's entry.

In addition, in 1981, the Fleer Baseball Trading Card Co. spelled Graig Nettles' name "Craig" by error, thus creating a frenzy which drove the price of the card from a nickel to 20 bucks. At least I didn't print 5000 first-run copies like they did.

Perhaps I should change the spelling correction made in his first name back to 'Craig' instead of "Graig" so that one day my Blog will be worth more too ;)

After all, you wasted your precious time to read & correct me...then, so eloquently told me to "get a clue!" That must make my Blog worth reading.

And the only reason why I don't have a "proofreader" currently on staff is due to the fact, I simply cannot afford one (any interns out there looking to work for free? ;)

(to read more about our original exchange, check out the "comments" under my October 23rd entry)

And if anyone out there would like to read more about baseball, how not to misspell "Piniella & Graig" and, how to "get a clue"...I suggest reading the Mysterious Anonymous Proofreader's anonymous Blog.

Tomorrow I'll Announce The Queen of Blogs

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chisox Contreras, Cotts & Crede Prove To Be Clutch Again

Just when everyone thought the Chicago White Sox had no bullpen, Manager Ozzie Guillen dialed Neal Cotts and Bobby Jenks in the 8th inning. And as they reached out striking three in a row out, the Houston Astros couldn't touch them.

With runners in scoring position & a chance to tie the game, the White Sox finally got an opportunity to rely on two bulls from their pen.

On a cool crisp Chicago night, 43 year old Roger Clemens, never had a chance to get warm, leaving game 1 of the 2005 World Series, as the Chicago White Sox beat the Houston Astros 5-3, to a sellout crowd of 41,206 at U.S. Cellular Field, next to where the old Comiskey Park played host to the Series 46 years ago.

After completing just two innings, The Rocket hobbled of the field then into the Astros clubhouse after re-aggravating a hamstring that's been hampering him since September.

Clemens became the second-oldest pitcher to start a World Series game, trailing only 46-year-old Jack Quinn for the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. He wasn't sharp from the start, needing 54 pitches to labor through two innings, and he appeared to be limping as he left the dugout.

Third baseman, Joe Crede was clutch again, braking a 3-3 tie in the fourth inning with a solo homer off Clemens' replacement, 26-year-old rookie Wandy Rodriguez that kept the White Sox up for good.

Outfielder Scott Podsednik added an RBI triple in the eighth against Russ Springer to boost the margin, and Jenks retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out two.

Outfielder Jermaine Dye hit a solo homerun shot in the first inning. Second baseman Juan Uribe had a key RBI double & catcher A.J. Pierzynski added an RBI base hit in the 2nd inning off the ailing Roger Clemens.

Jose Contreras, was at center-stage again, throwing 86 pitches in 7 strong innings, surrendering only 3 runs on 6 hits.

Mike Lamb's solo homer in the 2nd & Lance Berkman's 2 run double in the third posed as the only threat to Contreras as he settled down until hitting two consecutive batter's in the 7th & a lead off double to Willy Taveras before parting in the 8th.

But Chicago's Joe Crede provided just as much with his glove tonight than he did with his bat, saving two runs that would have been charged to Contreras.

Reminiscent to Brooks Robinson & Graig Nettles' World Series defensive heroics, Joe Crede sprawled to make a backhand grab on Morgan Ensberg's hard grounder with a runner at third and one out in the sixth. With runners at the corners and two outs in the seventh, he made another backhand play on Craig Biggio.

"They put the good wood on the ball, tough situations, and I was fortunate enough to get leather on it," Crede said.

Chicago, which has not allowed more than four runs in any of its nine postseason games, will try to try to make it 2-0 on Sunday night, when Mark Buehrle goes against Andy Pettitte, making his 11th Series start.


GAME NOTES
Starting in 1997, the Game 1 victor has won the World Series each year except for 2002. ... Sandy Koufax is the only Hall of Fame pitcher to end his career in the World Series. ... Pittsburgh's Bruce Kison hit three batters in Game 4 in 1971. ... Houston was 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, Chicago 2-for-11.


CONFESSIONS OF A BLOGG-HEAD:

Over the course of the past few years, I've often criticized Fox Sports, Joe Buck & Tim McFly for their raving banter, lack of discussing the game, and not providing the proper information & statistics when necessary. Tonight I can honesty say they were on top of their game proving that sometimes less is more.

Due to not being able to deal with the television's 'two-second-delay' I finally refrained from ESPN'S radio airwaves and was forced to listen to Buck & McFly once again.

Thank you Lou Piniella (even though I like some of your commentary) for staying home in Florida for this one. Because the 3 of you in the booth is a crowd.

Thank you Joe Buck for not trying to say too much.

And thank you McFly & your armchair Manager ways, for not criticizing & second-guessing almost every key decision the Managers made or do not make.

It's amazing how much more enjoyable the game I love so much was to watch tonight.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

'Twis The Night Before
The World Series


When the season initially started
I predicted 7 of the 8 Divisional Champs
Giving a slight edge to the Minnesota Twins
It was Chicago who went to the dance

Then one sunny September day
With my Dad at an Angels game
He asked who will go to the World Series
I had Angels & Cards still stuck on my brain

Those were the two teams I selected
Way back when during April's Showers
They appeared to have the best pitching staffs
Their lineups filled with veterans & power

A lot of things can happen in 5 months
When you play a 162 games
In June the Astros were 15 out in last place
Texas Rangers stood in the Halos way

The White Sox came charging out
No need to ever look back
Except for one minor losing streak
They gave the Indians a fighting chance

All of the so called baseball experts
Predicted an Astros mid-July fire-sale
The Killer B's were rumored to be traded
By trade-deadline not a single man had been dealt

I commend Houston's organization
For sticking with their big, old & young guns
They fought their way back into a pennant race
If only Roger Clemens' Mom lived to see all the fun won

'Twis the night before the 2005 World Series
All the Astros are now in Chicago's house
In less then 24 hours I will be planted
Sprouting & cheering on the couch

Without a trace of Tim Jabber-Jaw McFly
And his sidekick Joe shut-the-*uck-up Buck
I'll be listening to ESPN's delayed airwaves
Wishing the Astros & White Sox good luck.

(prediction: pick'em in 7 games)

Friday, October 21, 2005

NO JOHNNY DAMON &
NO DEREK JETER
Who Will My Mother Fall For This Fall Classic?

Last year during game 6 of the 2004 ALCS my phone starts ringing. Normally, I don't answer calls when my Red Sox are playing such crucial games against the Yankees. But I needed some karma & answered the phone without paying attention to the caller-ID.

"Oh good, your home"! the excited voice on the other end says. "Mom, is that you?" I respond back. "Yep, it sure is...but I didn't think you were home and was going to leave a message -- so I'm glad you picked up because I know you're watching this game, and so am I"

"Good" I say "because we need all the support we can get."

Then my mother shouts, "whose this Johnny Damom guy? Because he's Qu-hoot."
As I'm laughing I say, "oh, that's the only reason why you're watching the game?"

"Well, it's one of reasons why...but you know I usually watch the last few games of the World Series if it's exciting...and I know how much you love the Red Sox. So I started to watch the game" then she adds, "who is he!?"

"What happened to Derek Jeter, Mom? Last year you called me to tell me how cute you thought he was," I reply.

"I still think Derek Jeter is cute...but I like this Johnny Damon guy much much better - how come I've never seen him before?" she asks.

"Because this is what happens to guys like Johnny Damon when they're playing in Prime Time, Mom -- people like you get to see him" I answered.

"Is he any good?" she says. "Yes, Mom" I say, "he's a very good all-around player."

"Great, because I really like him & he's really sexy, and I was hoping he was a good player too" she confessed in shear delight.

This is not the first, or second, third, nor tenth time something like this has happened because my Mom has always had her eyes on baseball players (and professional athletes)

The first baseball-related player I recall my mom having "the hots" for was a little league coach when I was 9 years old. And come to think of it, several Mom's had the hots for him too. He wasn't even my coach, but my mom sure wished he was.

He had that same longhair as Johnny Damon, but not the beard. He always wore those Dolphin style shorts that were so popular during the 70's (I'm sooo glad I was not old enough back then to ever had been spotted wearing those things)

But I can say this much...he was a really nice & super cool guy. His name was Dick Rudolph, he was a songwriter/producer, he was once married to singer Minnie Riperton, and his son Mark, was one my biggest rivals.

I remember how happy my Mom got when she found out Dick was going to be one of the coaches for my City All-Star team. Because that meant she'd get the chance to see him parading around in those skimpy shorts all summer long.

Yet on the other hand, my Mom enjoyed seeing him in his Sassoon Jeans just as much during the cooler times.

Some of the other notable pro athletes my Mom had the hots for while I was growing up were (in no particular order): Sandy Koufax (retired pitcher) Roman Gabriel (football) Jack Snow (football) Gail Goodrich (basketball) Andy Messersmith (baseball) Steve Yeager (baseball) Ken Singleton (baseball) Lou Piniella (when he was a Yankee) Eli' Nastase' (tennis) Tommy Lasorda (kidding) My Dad (a cross between James Caan & Don Sutton) My Stepfather (resembles Joe Torre)

Do you see a pattern here? Well, there is none because my Mom is an equal opportunity looker.

I wonder who it'll be this year when the Chicago White Sox take the field Saturday night to host the Houston Astros for the 2005 World Series.

The Astros are filled with bearded ballplayers right now because the team made a pact before the Post Season started not to shave until they lost. But funny thing about that is my Mom has never been too fond of facial hair on men.

Not to take anything away from the White Sox, but I can't really see my Mom falling for the chin-straps worn by Mark Bhurle & Freddy Garcia. On the other hand, maybe my Mom will fall for the likes of clean-shaven John Garland, Joe Crede & Scott Podsednik or even go-teed Paul Konerko. Or maybe, she'll like saying the names El Duque' & Damaso Marte.

Perhaps she'll go off the board & into the dugout and dig on White Sox Manager, Ozzie Guillen. After all, we're talking about a woman here who thinks the singer Yanni is the sexiest man alive.

So stay tuned to find out who will be my Mother's next Johnny Damon.

-I love you Mom :)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

OSWALT BECOMING MORE THAN A HOUSTON HOUSEHOLD NAME
Wake up America cause there's a new sheriff in town. His name isn't Bagwell or Biggio. His name isn't Clemems or Pettitte. His name isn't Morgan, Lance, Brad nor Jason. You can simply call him Roy:

Tonight as I watched game 6 of the 2005 NLCS, I kept asking myself the same question- 'whose getting who to shut up more, Roy Oswalt as he silences the once lumberjack bats of the St. Louis Cardinals & their fans. Or Albert Pujols' game winning homerun missile that quieted the entire state (and mind) of Houston, Texas?' The answer was quite obvious to me for the night belonged to Roy & the Boys, as they were on their way to beating the Cards 5-1, earning the Astros franchise its first NLCS Championship in 42 years...and their very first trip to the World Series.

In coming weeks, Pujols' sonic-blast will be remembered as just another game winning home run that fell short of winning the NLCS, while the Cards & their fans had less then 48 hours to celebrate & bask in the sun underneath the Arch of St. Louis.

Remember that world "momentum" we've heard everyone talking about the Cardinals had for the last 2 days?
Well, tonight, Sheriff Roy Oswalt took the mound with an orange star embroidered on his chest & said 'momentum-schmometum' and threw seven solid innings of 3-hit baseball surrendering only one run on a sacrifice fly, as he cruised on by all the aces & kings of the Cards, making them look like jokers.

From the very first inning, it appeared Oswalt was on top of his game as he relied on his 94-plus MPH fastball while he changed speeds every now & then -- then after he struck out the unforgettable hero of game 5, Albert Pujols, Oswalt never really gave the Cardinal Fans anything to cheer about again.

Normally, sheriff''s offer rewards for hauling in such fierce offenders. But tonight, Oswalt was rewarded as the NCLS MVP for brilliantly handling his opponents, as he pitched his heart out, just like a great workhorse does.

Tonight I was hoping Brad Lidge would get a chance to take center-stage and pitch the 9th inning, giving him a chance to get back on his horse that Albert Pujols knocked him off so swiftly.

But tonight belonged to a guy whose won 59 regular season games over the course of the last 3 years. Tonight belongs to a guy who most people never heard of. Tonight Roy Oswalt cleaned house in St. Louis.

And as the Houston Astros & Sheriff Roy blow into the town of Chicago's Windy City to begin the 2005 World Series...Roy Oswalt is baseball's newest household name.


(for Nolan Ryan & J.R. Richards)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

GRAMMA K & EVITO:

Since today is an off (travel) day for the NLCS, thought I'd write about two of the biggest Los Angeles Dodgers fans I know -- My Gramma K (for Kathaline) & one of my best friends Evito (for Evan)

My Gramma has been called "K" by everyone she knows ever since I was old enough to start remembering things, and I've been calling my buddy, Evan, Evito, for almost 10 years because it rhymes with burrito.

Another reason why they call her "K" is because my Grandmother used to be an incredible pitcher, that used to strike everyone out, and was once considered the female Bob Feller.

I recall when I was 7 years old, I asked my Gramma if she could show me her fastball, and bet her she couldn't strike me out.

Due to major rotator-cuff surgery, she claimed to had "lost her fastball...but could still throw a nasty forkball."

In compete shock I said "forkball?" And with a convincing gleam in her eye, she said, "yes, honey, a forkball."

I said, "nooo waaay...I don't believe you, Gramma...lemme see it."

She got up from her chair then confidentially responded, "you want Gramma to show you her forkball...follow me."

Then she grabbed my whiffle-ball, led the way into the kitchen...picked up a big ole' roasting fork, stuck it inside the holes of my plastic ball, smiled and said "here's my forkball."

OK, I just made that up...but it was pretty funny, huh?

But what I'm not making up is my grandmother & my best friend Evan, really are the biggest Dodger fans I know...and the two together would probably make a much better reality TV show than half that shit they show on TV.

Can't you picture it? An 87 year old Jewish Grandmother, living in a retirement home, that goes by the name of Gramma K & a married 37 year old Physical Education teacher, that 100s of kids call, Coach, talking & telling stories about their love hate relationship with the Dodgers.

Since my Grandfather (Papa) died 10 years ago, my Gramma K has missed only a handful of the Dodgers broadcasts (which amounts to about 50-60 games a year) Once I even felt that her & Vin Scully were having an affair because ever since my Papa passed away, she can't get enough of Vinny (actually, she had an affair with Paul LoDuca back in 2004 -- why do you think they traded him? To spilt them up. And boy was Gramma pissed...and still is)

I know deep down inside though, the other reason why my Gramma K hardly ever misses a Dodger game is because it brings back my late Papa, and keeps her warm at night while listening to Vin Scully's classic Hall of Fame announcing.

One of the funniest things Gramma K ever said to me was last year, when I called her one night to say "hi" & to find out what she thought about the Dodger game. The first thing she said to me was, "something's wrong with Ishii." I started laughing to myself because it sounded so funny coming from a then, 86 year old Jewish Grandmother with a crackle in her voice say, "something's wrong with Ishii."

Holding in my laughter, I said, "what do you mean, Gramma?" And then she said, "he just doesn't look right to me...and he's not throwing any strikes." I replied, "OK, but...you know he walks a lot of people & gets wild at times - he's fine, Gramma."

Then in a subtle yet slightly forceful tone she chimed, "NO, THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH - HE JUST DOESN'T LOOK RIGHT."

The only thing I could think of saying was, "oh well Gramma...you probably know better than I do because you've seen him pitch more this year than I have...what does Vinny think?"

Then she said, "Vin Scully hasn't mentioned anything...but I know there's something wrong with him."

Well, two days later Kaz Ishii was put on the 14 day disabled list with an injury. Then in the begining of this year's season, the Dodgers traded him to New York Mets, and he hasn't been the same ever since. (this I did not make up)

One of the funniest things Evito ever said to me was one night years ago while at a Dodgers game together.

Evan, normally not a very big eater (unless it's Sushi) usually gets one Grilled Dodger Dog when the game starts, then one more in the 5th inning.

Well, one night he got up in the 8th inning & asked me if I wanted anything because he was going to get another Dodger Dog. I said, "you're kidding me, another one?"

Then with a smile on his face he said, Yep..it's looking like a "Three Dog Night."
(OK, I guess you had to be there)

I could go on & on with more Dodger Blues Baseball Banter & the reality of Gramma K & Evito -- especially considering how poorly the Dodgers performed & played this past season.

But what it really boils down to is...here's two people from completely different generations & cultures, that don't really have anything else in common other than the fact that they both know me, and are both true diehard Dodgers Fans.

Yet no matter what ever seems to happen to their beloved Dodgers...their enormously large passionate hearts always bleed Dodger Blue together.


(for my Papa)