05.28.05

Eddie Albert, RIP

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 11:59 am by

Actor Eddie Albert, best known for playing the part of lawyer-turned-farmer Oliver Douglas in CBS’ “Green Acres”, has passed away at the age of 99.

Arnold Ziffel was unavailable for comment.

Roberts On The Unit’s Moaning

Posted in Baseball at 11:35 am by

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of Randy Johnson’s recent quote that he was brought to New York to give the Yankees a chance to win in every game, but I’m surely not alone in thinking the Unit’s new employers had slightly higher expectations. Though the Yankees won last night, Johnson continued to struggle and were it not for the Village People reject coaching 3rd for Boston, his line for the evening would’ve been far worse. From the New York Times’ Selena Roberts.

With his fabled status as the Big Unit downgraded to the Big Mediocre, Johnson didn’t exactly bully the Red Sox. He gave up 9 hits and 3 earned runs – a number that could have easily doubled in the sixth.

Johnson was dizzied from absorbing five consecutive sharp hits – including a double – but was freed from the wrath of the Stadium crowd when Boston’s third-base coach, Dale Sveum, mindlessly waved two runners in a row to their doom at home.

Sveum (above), as much as anyone, spared Johnson from an even deeper position as the Yankees’ old man out.

“He struggled,” Manager Joe Torre said. “He had good stuff, but he had to work hard every inning.”

Out of character, and perhaps out of self-preservation, Johnson was more upbeat than Torre about his effort because of one powerful thought: His velocity was back.

“I was pleased considering my velocity was up 4 or 5″ miles an hour, Johnson said.

If nothing else, this feel-good version of Johnson is a good step in Yankee relations. For weeks, he has moaned about not getting enough work in spring training and whined about receiving an extra day of rest.

At 41, you would think he’d be pleased with more naptime. After receiving a three-year Yankee investment of $57 million – including a contract extension and payment to the Diamondbacks to complete the deal – you’d think Johnson wouldn’t fuss so much about his new employers.

With such petulance without production, Johnson has squandered some of the awe his teammates showed him upon his arrival as the Yankees’ answer to the magic that Curt Schilling worked for the Red Sox last year.

It is one thing to be a surly superstar with a 2.40 earned run average, but it is another to be a clubhouse annoyance with performances that fail to inspire tolerance. This may not matter on the verge of June, but a continuation of Johnson’s act could dog the Yankees if they have to pursue the Orioles into August.

The Yankees can’t afford a malcontent, a misfit ace. The issue has already surfaced on the field. In one unforgettable sequence at Shea Stadium last weekend, Johnson’s frustration distracted him after he gave up an unthinkable double to reliever Dae Sung Koo.

A play later, Johnson failed to cover home plate after catcher Jorge Posada had thrown to first on a bunt, allowing Koo to sneak around third and score with the plate unattended until it was too late.

Normally, such a mistake might go without assigned blame, but Posada quickly pointed out Johnson’s blunder, one hint of possible friction between the two. It has not been easy for Posada to decode the confusing grumbles and groans of Johnson.

05.27.05

Radio GaGa – Clear Channel’s “Pirate” Stunt

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 11:40 pm by

It seems like an awful lot of effort just to get the Gizmos some airplay, but predictably, some people think there’s something sinister about a phony anti-Clear Channel intiative created by (drum roll)….Clear Channel. (from Stay Free! Daily)

Andrew Earles’ Formative Years

Posted in Blogged Down at 11:00 pm by

If you’re one of those terminal sad sacks that had no friends while growing up, take solace in the knowledge that you never had a friend like this.

Everything You Know Is Wrong

Posted in Baseball at 7:28 pm by

An incident just occured that challenges everything all laws of time and space.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Piazza just gunned down Juan Pierre trying to steal 2nd.

And Pierre didn’t even fall down on the way.

(UPDATE : 8 IP, 5 hits, no walks, 10 K’s, 111 pitches thrown by the otherworldly Pedro Martinez, who ran his record to 5-1 with the Mets’ 1-0 win. Save for back to back doubles allowed to Mike Cameron and Cliff Floyd, the Fish’s Brian Moehler was almost as sharp.)

Nakamura Tearing Up The PCL

Posted in Baseball at 7:22 pm by

Dodgers 3B/SS Norihiro Nakamura had a ghastly first month in the big leagues ; just two doubles, three singles in 39 plate appearances (.128 BA, .171 OBP, .179 SLG). However, since his demotion to Triple A Las Vegas, Nakamura has feasted on Pacific Coast League pitching, hitting 8 HR’s in 15 games (.364 BA, 17 RBI’s, 14 runs) and was a particularly deadly on Round Rock pitching during Vegas’ sweep of the Express earlier this week.

Raissman On Randolph & WFAN

Posted in Baseball at 5:31 pm by

From Bob Raissman in Friday’s NY Daily News.

Maybe the Mets get on their feet again in Florida. However, if this downward spiral continues, Willie Randolph is going to feel the kind of heat he never, ever, experienced as a Yankee. He won’t have the protection of propaganda organs like Al Yankzeera, or Radio Al Yank, and the variety of on-air shills who are paid by George Steinbrenner.

There will be an endless procession of Mets fans calling WFAN. They will be screaming long and loud, looking – once again – for someone to blame everything on. They will start mocking Randolph’s “we played with energy” or “the kids are having fun” post-loss lines the same way they mocked Art Howe’s “we’re battling” mantra.

Randolph is already showing sensitivity to WFAN callers. On Wednesday, Randolph, during an audience with beat scribes, overreacted to FAN buzz about him resting certain players too much. He also countered Fran Healy’s MSG comments about Cliff Floyd’s slumping having something to do with the way Randolph uses him.

“Don’t you make the grand leap that Willie is beginning a meltdown,” a well-embedded Mets mole said. “This isn’t what those (Floyd) comments are about.”

Whatever. If the Mets eventually descend deeper into the ring of fire, it will take on a familar feeling for Sheaites used to being burned. It will also spell more than the usual sense of doom for Fred (Skill Sets) Wilpon & Co.

See, unlike any other recent season, there are heavier financial ramifications if the Mets move in with the Tidy Bowl Man.

With the quick-to-judge NY fans in mind, perhaps it would be a good idea for one of the Mets (perhaps Eric Valent?) to come forward and announce he’s been in therapy for the past few years.

Down Goes Prior

Posted in Baseball at 3:42 pm by

Incredibly, Dusty Baker has lost another pitcher and there were no laptops or chairs involved.

(UPDATE : An MRI has revealed that Prior’s elbow has suffered a slight fracture. Nothing a good soak in Dusty’s holy water can’t fix. Well, that and a few weeks on the DL).

Doesn’t Anybody Wanna Run The Cavs?

Posted in Basketball at 12:58 pm by

Larry Brown has denied speaking with Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert. Memphis GM Jerry West has let the Quicken Loans magnate know that he’s uninterested in taking over the Cavaliers’ basketball operations.

With each passing day, it becomes more apparent there’s only one man with the basketball acumen, with the raw ambition to take the job. The only question is, does Gilbert have M.L. Carr’s phone number?

Biggio Closes In On Baylor’s Painful Record

Posted in Baseball at 11:41 am by

Funny, when Barry Bonds started breathing down Babe Ruth’s neck, speculation over the former’s use of illegal substances ran rampant. But as Craig Biggio’s assault on Don Baylor’s HBP mark continues, media and fans alike turn a blind eye. More on the subject (sort of) from the Tacoma Tribune’s Larry Larue.

Four-and-a-half hours before the game Wednesday, Don Baylor was walking across the field at Camden Yards, headed to the batting cages beneath the stands, when a stadium tour guide spotted him.

œThat™s Don Baylor, who started his career as a Baltimore Oriole and set the major league record for being hit by a pitch 267 times, the guide told a gaggle of fans.

Baylor laughed.

œThey won™t be able to say that much longer, he said. œCraig Biggio is getting close.

Houston™s second baseman began the night fewer than 10 behind Baylor™s big-league record “ a mark no one in their right mind would set out to establish. For one thing, it™s a record that hurts.

œI could have been hit another 100 times if I hadn™t gotten out of the way, said Baylor, the Seattle Mariners™ batting coach. œI didn™t go up there to get hit. I went up and crowded the plate to take away the outside strike and make pitchers come in to me. It evolved into part of my game. Hit me, I™ll steal a base on you.

Jim Bibby hit Baylor in the head in Class AAA, and it changed the way Baylor approached the game.

œI decided no matter where I got hit, I™d never come out of a game, he said. œMy first year in the majors, Nolan Ryan hit me on the wrist and the Baltimore trainer came out and sprayed that stuff on that was supposed to numb it.

œI told him that day, no matter where I™m hit from now on, don™t come out. I told all my trainers that. I didn™t want a pitcher thinking he could hurt me.

Baylor set the record in a 19-year career in which he drove in more than 1,200 runs and usually batted in the heart of the lineup. His toughness was unquestioned, and when asked about Biggio breaking the record, Baylor mentioned it.

œBiggio and a lot of guys today wear elbow pads, all kinds of protection, Baylor said. œI never wore a thing. You wear gear, you hang out over the plate, the pitcher can come inside and hit you and you don™t feel a thing. The game has changed.

œOne year in Texas, I hit an outside-corner slider from Ferguson Jenkins and pulled it down the line for a double. My next at-bat, he threw a fastball at my chin. It was his way of saying, ˜You can™t have both sides of the plate on me.™ 

Surprisingly, Baylor rarely was hit in the head.

œLook at him, ex-teammate Bruce Kison once said. œYou want that charging the mound?