06.25.05

Olney On The Fading O’s

Posted in Baseball at 5:47 pm by


(The Braves’ Andruw Jones, shown hitting the game winner in the bottom of the 9th earlier today against Baltimore’s Todd Williams)

After losing this afternoon to Atlanta, the Orioles have fallen urther behind the Red Soxf in the AL East and ESPN’s Buster Olney wonders why the O’s have been hesitant to make a move.

Baltimore did make a trade for role player Eli Marrero. But to date, the Orioles have made no major acquisitions at a time when they have every reason to be aggressive. They could win back credibility with a fan base that has grown frustrated over the last seven seasons and sway fans who might be lured by the immediate success of the Washington Nationals. And they also are protected financially because of their sweetheart deal with Major League Baseball over the placement of the Nationals, so they are in a position to take risks.

On Friday night, the Orioles lost to Atlanta 7-5. Their record is 12-15 since May 26. The Red Sox moved into first place because they have regained some urgency and started playing much better, just as you knew they would; they have won 17 of their last 26 games. Schilling figures to rejoin the Boston rotation within two weeks. The Yankees, however, haven’t put together a serious run, having gone 11-15 since May 26.

I find it astonishing that the Orioles haven’t been aggressive in making deals, in trying to augment their team. It’s been about seven years since they’ve had a window of opportunity to make the playoffs, and now it’s here, it’s right in front of them. Carpe diem.

Last year, the Mets’ trades for Victor Zambrano and Kris Benson were bad deals because they were the type of moves made by a team ready to contend, and the Mets were decidedly not ready to contend: They were six games out of first place and three games under .500. This is the Orioles’ time. If you have to splurge to get a very good player, you do it; if you have to overpay to get help, in money or in prospects, you do it. The Yankees want Mark Kotsay, and with their season disintegrating, they will probably go all-out to get the center fielder. The Orioles could have even more motivation than the Yankees to be aggressive, to mix it up and trade elbows on the trade market, to make it happen. Right now.

Minaya Indulges Russo, Francesca

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 3:14 pm by

From Friday afternoon :

Mets GM Omar Minaya yacks with WFAN’s Chris Russo and Mike Francesca (Real Player required).

Maura Johnston advises :

Set your webstream to “oh, no.” Mike and the Mad Dog will do a 24-hour show next Thursday-Friday, from 5pm-5pm (or thereabouts). it’s apparently for ‘charity,’ and anyone who donates $5k gets to read the news and ‘hang out on the air’ with the guys. i sure hope Lindsay Lohan is one of the celebrity guests!

You and me, both, Maura. Though I suspect we might have to settle for Ed Coleman and Rudy G. Not that Ed Coleman doesn’t have a lot of teen appeal.

Cards Ditch Cedeno

Posted in Baseball at 2:42 pm by

Former Mets OF Roger Cedeno, last seen hitting half his weight for the Memphis Redbirds, has been designated for assignment by the parent St. Louis Cardinals.

On the bright side, there’s no longer anything standing in the way of Cedeno opening his own driving school

Buehrle “Fine” With Maddux Diss

Posted in Baseball at 1:25 pm by

From the Daily Southtown’s Joe Cowley.

Mark Buehrle is willing to sit down with any Cubs player or coach who had a problem with what he said last week.

As of Friday, there were no takers.

“If there’s anybody on that team that wants to talk to me about it, I’m open,” the White Sox pitcher said. “Whenever and wherever.”

Buehrle made headlines last week during a radio interview in which he was asked about pitchers who cheat. Buehrle said there’s a belief a certain pitcher from the “North Side” was doctoring the ball in some fashion.

“I don’t know personally, but I’m just saying from years of experience that he’s had success that he very well may be using something,” Buehrle said during the interview.

It was believed Buehrle was talking about Cubs veteran Greg Maddux ” something Buehrle has since said wasn’t necessarily true. When Maddux was asked about it, he told reporters, “It wasn’t me. Who’s Mark Buehrle?”

“That’s fine if he doesn’t know who I am,” Buehrle said. “I like the fact that no one knows who I am.”

If Maddux (pitching today vs. the White Sox’ Jose Contreras) really doesn’t know who Buehrle is, he could always check out this year’s All-Star Game.

Xenophobia Vs. Flailing Arms Ginobili

Posted in Basketball at 1:11 pm by

Ginobili-mania hits a road block, as covered by the Washington Post’s Mike Wise.

When David Stern, the NBA commissioner, presented the Spurs’ players, owner and coach with the Lawrence O’Brien championship trophy, he proudly characterized the Spurs as “truly an international team of stars.” Having seen and heard Stern export America’s game at the same time the foundation of the product crumbled domestically, a collective groan could be heard from the press room.

At least three players not playing in the Finals spoken to this week on condition their names not be used — black players whose NBA jobs are being outsourced — desperately wanted the Pistons to beat the Spurs. For no other reason than, as one of them candidly said, “We gotta put some of these guys back in their place.”

Rasheed Wallace was asked why Manu Ginobili was so tough to guard earlier in the series. Wallace refused to give Ginobili his due, stopping just short of putting him down as a player while making it clear he did not think Ginobili was a special talent. Sean Elliott, the former NBA forward who now works as a radio and TV analyst for the Spurs, has seen this dismissive behavior before by NBA players when it comes to Ginobili. He believes it goes much further than merely professional jealousy.

“When you have a Dirk Nowitzki or Larry Bird-type players, big guys who play their positions well, there’s not a lot of backlash,” Elliott said. “But when you have a 6-6 white guy beating the black player at his own game, then it’s a little different. Every series he’s been in, guys have been slow to give him respect. It’s an amazing phenomenon.

Added Elliott, “If he was an inner-city kid, if Manu Ginobili was from Chicago or New York, and he was bringing the game like he’s bringing it now, all the players in the league would say, ‘Manu is the truth.’ Instead they say, ‘He throws his arms, he flails.’ Every series in the playoffs this year, it’s been that way. Denver did not want to give him credit in the first round. Seattle, same thing. Now Detroit.”

Carlos Saves Pedro (Again)

Posted in Baseball at 12:59 pm by

If all rock’n'roll venues across this great land were equipped with free wi-fi like Dallas’ Gypsy Tea Room, well, they’d still be smelly, dank places that no self-respecting adult would choose to spend an evening. But at least watching the Mets beat the Yankees would be an option, as it was last night for your very tired correspondent. Tired, because the no-doz doesn’t just eat itself.

Carlos Beltran robbing Hideki Matsui of extra bases was equal parts Fred Lynn and Tori Hunter, and another example of the uncanny way the Mets’ CF has supported Pedro Martinez in the majority of his starts. And he could be doing the same thing for the Yankee pitching staff right now, had Steinbrenner overpaid for an young outfielder rather than extending Randy Johnson’s contract.

Bernie Williams (above) once again proved himself to be a defensive liability, though I’m weary of hearing about a Cano for Cameron trade (mostly because I think the Mets would be nuts to go along with it).

Braden Looper continues to show that he’s the 19th or 20th best closer in the major leagues. It would be unfair to say “no lead is safe” with Looper on the mound because there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. But I don’t think it is a stretch to predict that the ex-Marlins reliever is one implosion away from making Jose Meas a favored topic of discussion on WFAN.

From Newsday’s Jon Heyman.

You could say the Yankees are playing a stretch of games, but it might be more accurate to say they’re playing a stench of games. There’s no crime in losing to Pedro Martinez, the Mets’ new magic man, as they did Friday night, but the downside is that they are now officially nobody’s daddies.

“We have got to come out with a warrior-like mentality [Saturday],” Alex Rodriguez promised after the Mets’ 6-4 victory.

Something new would be nice.

There used to be a few things you could count on in Yankeeland. One was that they’d regularly pound the tar out of the Devil Rays. Another was that they’d put in an extremely professional effort against Martinez, their wayward son.

However, this Yankees team is full of surprises, the latest being a couple of mailed-in efforts against terrible Tampa Bay leading up to a showdown so dominated by Pedro that the “Who’s your daddy?” chants were down to a muffled whisper.

Martinez, virtually ignored this past winter by the Yankees, whose pursuit of him consisted of one free steak dinner, threw eight more superb innings of two-run, six-hit pitching.

“Pedro’s one of the best pitchers in the last hundred years,” Rodriguez said.

Perhaps the Yankees should have consulted Rodriguez before they made their offseason plans. Maybe then Pedro would be in pinstripes.

The Yankees’ braintrust, such as it is, might actually have gone 0-for-the-offseason.

Do You Like To Touch Others While Wearing A Uniform?

Posted in Total Fucking Terror at 12:27 pm by

Thanks to the University of Connecticut, you can now earn a master’s degree in Feeling People Up At The Airport.

06.24.05

Idiotic – Damon Mulls Next Destination

Posted in Baseball at 8:21 pm by

Can you imagine the reaction in Boston had Pedro openly floated the idea of bringing some of his teammates to another club once his last pact ran out?

Then again, Gabe Kapler could’ve used someone to put in a good word.

Doug Mirabelli and Manny Ramirez have each connected for 3 run homers off Jon Lieber tonight in Philly, the Red Sox cruising, 6-0 over the Phillies. Curt Schilling is scheduled to make a rehab start for Pawtucket next Wednesday against the Ottawa Lynx after throwing 84 pitches in a simulated game earlier today.

Moose Hunting

Posted in Baseball at 7:06 pm by

Only one word comes to mind when describing Mike Mussina’s performance thus far tonight against the Mets ;

Glavineseque!

OK, it’s early. But if Mussina is going to groove one to Cliff Floyd, the only question is whether it leaves the ballpark a second after escaping Moose’s paw or hangs in the air longer than Brian Cashman shot out of a cannon.

(UPDATE : Mets 5, Yanks 2 through 5 innings. Perhaps I was a little harsh towards Mussina — Glavine would’ve allowed 7 or 8 runs by now and surely would’ve been chased. Carlos Beltran continues his ridiculous production in games started by Pedro, homering off Mussina in the 5th. If the Mets can just figure out a way to start Martinez on 2 days rest from here on in, there will be no further suggestions that Beltran isn’t earning his pay).

Klapisch Kraps On The Subway Series

Posted in Baseball at 1:15 pm by

Like many other titans of the typewriter, the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapsich thinks the regular season Subway Series is all played out.

With eight-plus years of weariness on our shoulders, we slog to the doorstep of one more Subway Series. Haven’t we been here, done that? Indeed – 50 times since 1997, including the 2000 World Series. Yankees vs. Mets is old and tired, a plague upon any sane fan.

Deliverance is what we should be praying for. Let this be the last Subway Series until someday – it won’t be this year – these teams legitimately confront each other in October.

Until then, we’ve suffered enough. Here’s why the gimmickry must come to an end:

Because don’t you just know ESPN will prattle on about the Mike Piazza-Roger Clemens blood feud (which has long since expired) one more time? It’ll be used as state’s evidence that this rivalry is alive and well. We know better.

Because neither the Yankees nor the Mets are playing particularly well this week.

Because Joe Torre gets along better with Willie Randolph than he did with Bobby Valentine.

Because Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez won’t go head-to-head.

Because Tom Glavine (5.06 ERA) and Sean Henn (10.29) will.

Because Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees’ best pitcher, will miss the series.

Because interleague play has run its course. It’s time to return the schedule to its old-school roots, where division rivals slug it out all summer. While the Mets and Yankees are having their one millionth reunion, fans around the country are being forced to witness Tigers-Diamondbacks, Blue Jays-Nationals and Royals-Rockies. We wonder if Bud Selig will be waiting up for those scores.

Because The Big Unit, who pitches Sunday, just ain’t what he used to be.

Because Carlos Beltran, a nice player, isn’t yet what the Mets thought he’d be.

Because Pedro, who starts tonight, isn’t as easy for Yankee fans to hate anymore. He might have been a jerk in a Red Sox uniform, easy to lump in with Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, but he’s a better person now that he’s a Met. We guarantee Pedro won’t headhunt.

Funny, we never hear about anyone who actually pays for their tickets wishing these Mets/Yankees midseason contests would end. I guess Bob thought Mr. Koo taking Randy Johnson to the warning track and then scoring from 2nd on a sacrifice bunt was one of those everyday occurances.

Heyman Defends Tool With 5 Tools

Posted in Baseball at 11:11 am by

From Jon Heyman in Friday’s Newsday.

It’s a little like that old tree-in-the-forest story: What if A-Rod wins the Triple Crown and nobody notices; does it still count?

In his second season in the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez is putting up the type of numbers that are expected of him and no one else. But to this point, Rodriguez’s hitting accomplishments have been overshadowed by a) the Yankees’ abject underperformance, b) a spate of surprising early errors, c) a misjudgment by A-Rod Authenticated, his former memorabilia arm, and d) the revelation he’s seeing two therapists. But mostly a).

Sorry to play psychologist, but it’s perfectly understandable why Rodriguez would need to seek counsel. Baseball’s best-paid player also is its most underappreciated, especially in his own town, where his first uncomfortable season (.286, 36 homers, 106 RBIs) was almost universally criticized while his gigantic start in year two has been unusually underplayed. Rodriguez likes it well enough here to commit to buying spacious new digs at Trump Park Avenue (he’s moving in in December), but he’s got to wonder when his warm feelings for New York will be reciprocated.

A-Rod will tell anyone who asks that this is “the best place to play in the world.” And maybe it is. But the reality is, he isn’t getting a completely fair shake here. Anyone else puts up these numbers, they are celebrated. Anyone else threatens to win the Triple Crown (he’s tied for first with 20 home runs, first with 63 RBIs and fourth with a .322 batting average), they’re king of the city.

If Rodriguez isn’t universally embraced, it isn’t because fans are blind to his accomplishments. It has more to do with the combined burden of being the game’s most highly paid player and an overexposed, insufferable public figure. Maybe A-Rod really did save that kid from being hit by a truck. Perhaps his public admission that he’s in therapy was intended to help others, rather than improve his own image. And there’s nothing neccessarily evil in discussing when he might be retiring (even if said conversations are happening while the Yankees are struggling and A-Rod’s career is not the first thing on anyone mind). But if Rodriguez covets the sort of love and respect that Derek Jeter receives from an adoring public, he could always let his numbers speak for themselves.

Fish’s Lowell Steamed Over ‘Roid Rumors

Posted in Baseball at 10:29 am by

Let’s hope he doesn’t let these cruel japes distract from the task at hand —- winning the Tour De France. From the Sun Sentinel’s Juan Rodriguez.

The entry on the Marlins’ fan site read like this: “Let’s be honest here. That long flyout that Lowell hit [Wednesday] night would have been six or seven rows up last season. I hate to be thinking like this, but it’s definitely in my head … ”

Above the words was a graphic of a syringe and a baseball.

Lowell is offended at the suggestion he is not hitting homers this season because of what he may or may not be putting into his body. The Marlins’ slumping third baseman has heard about sports radio callers wondering whether his power of years past was a result of testosterone or something else he used while recovering from cancer.

“I don’t find it amusing at all,” Lowell said. “I think it’s actually somewhat disrespectful. I’ve heard talk radio before and a lot of intelligent things I hear are from the fans, but there are a lot of things that are stupid. I heard after the third game of the season we should trade Miguel Cabrera because he was washed up.”

Before Thursday’s series finale against the Braves, Lowell said the only medicine he took was to prevent nausea during radiation treatments. A testicular cancer survivor, he said he has never consumed anything to supplement the testosterone his body produces.

“If I had to take something for my cancer it would have been approved by Major League Baseball, and I would have taken it,” Lowell said. “I asked about it. I was concerned whether I had low testosterone levels, and the doctors told me I didn’t.”

After averaging 27.6 homers each of the past three seasons, Lowell entered Thursday’s game with three in 227 at-bats. That is one every 75.7 at-bats, compared to one every 20.3 from 2002-04.

“It’s someone questioning my integrity,” Lowell said. “Everybody has a theory for what goes wrong, just like they have a theory for what goes right. You ask Derrek Lee right now why he’s hitting the ball so perfect as opposed to two years ago, he’s not going to tell you. He doesn’t know. He just knows he’s being consistent and hitting the ball.”

Abramovich To Taste Uncle Joe’s Balls

Posted in Football at 10:13 am by

The Premiership’s fixture list is out and in what has to be considered the glamour tie of the opening weekend, champions Chelsea will travel to newly-promoted Wigan’s JJB Stadium. From the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield.

The Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, whose first game in charge of the club attracted 1,452 fans to Springfield Park for a basement-division fixture against Hartlepool a decade ago, expects a crowd of more than 25,000 for this match. He hopes to persuade the visiting chairman Roman Abramovich to try some local delicacies at the game on the weekend of August 13-14.

“I’ll offer Mr Abramovich use of my helicopter pad, which is 400 yards away from the stadium,” said Whelan, whose side will end their first top-flight season by visiting Arsenal. “He can also help himself to some of our local delicacies if he likes. We’ll have one or two pies lined up for him and he can help himself. He can also take away a bag of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls with him. They are made in Wigan and are part of the history of Wigan. It’ll be interesting to see what he makes of the pies.

Plaschke On The Fragile J.D. Drew

Posted in Baseball at 9:12 am by

The LA Times’ resident abuser of the carriage return, Bill Plaschke on the Dodgers CF who never suffered an injury that couldn’t keep him out of the lineup.

He glided into the crowded room in the bowels of San Diego’s Petco Park at 4:57 p.m., I wrote it down exactly, because it was the first time I had seen him in any clubhouse since Vero Beach.

Three months earlier. Fifty-five million promises ago.

His name then was J.D. Drew, remember?

He was The New Beltre. He was The Young Finley.


(Drew, seconds before straining something, somewhere)

He was the double sixes in Paul DePodesta’s giant game of Strat-O-Matic, the scroll wheel on his baseball iPod.

He was the ideal player for those who study the sport at a keyboard and play it in a basement.

He was pixel perfect.

Look at that patience! Look at those smarts! Look at that swing!

Look at ¦ wait a minute?

Where did he go?

The moment Drew moved from the spreadsheet to the outfield, he disappeared.

The real pitchers cramped him. The real world crowded him.

He showed patience when the game required passion. He retreated when the clubhouse needed a charge.

The baseball part has been his fault. The human part has not.
But the only part that matters is, upon desperately turning to him for leadership, the Dodgers have grasped for air.

As they approach the halfway point of a season that still faintly breathes, Drew will walk softly and carry a shaky stick and raise a question.

If a $55-million investment falls in the middle of a crowded forest, how in the world can it not make a sound?

Had LA kept Beltre and the shortstop were hitting .250 in Dodger Blue, would Plaschke be nearly so hard on Paul DePodesta?

CSTB’s Inspiration Puts Pen To Paper

Posted in Baseball at 1:28 am by

You’d think Marlins reliever / human sexuality expert Todd Jones would be too busy closing games for the Fish and making goo goo eyes at drag queens, but luckily for us, he’s still penning a column for The Sporting News.

Charmingly titled Sticky Situation : what, exactly is cheating?“, Jones fails to address the all-time puzzler “is eating cheating?”, instead choosing to tackle the pine-tar controversy.

I pitched in Denver for two years, and at a mile above sea level, I used pine tar every time I pitched at home. My thinking was that I was more than 5,000 feet in the air and was entitled to at least do that much. I never thought one thing about it. Was it cheating? My numbers say no, given that my career ERA at Coors Field is 7.64 in 59 games. It’s very dry in Denver, and that makes the baseball slippery. I needed the tar to hold onto the ball. I didn’t want the ball to slip and hit a hitter. At least, that was my thinking. I never considered it cheating; I was breaking even.

Hey, if most pitchers are using pine tar at one time or another (and the Angels’ pitching coach Bud Black claimed as much last week following Brendan Donelly’s bust), I don’t wanna give Todd a hard time. His special fans can take care of that. But citing his crap ERA at Coors doesn’t mean Jones wasn’t breaking the rules. Presumably, said ERA would’ve been even higher without the aid of a foreign substance.

T-Shirt Vendors Of Kenmore Square…

Posted in Baseball at 1:04 am by

…your prayers have been answered.

(and thanks to Christa Min for the pic)

06.23.05

Game 7 : Spurs Smother Pistons

Posted in Basketball at 11:26 pm by


(23 points on 8 for 13 shooting for Manu Ginobili in San Antonio’s clincher)

San Antonio 81, Pistons 74

Now that any questions surrounding Tim Duncan have been answered with authority (25 points, 11 boards, 5 for 6 from the line), here’s a topic for Eric Kuselias’ next ESPN Radio Show : “What will Darko’s failure to win two rings in a row mean to his legacy?”

Rasheed, Stan “The Lariat” Hansen just called. He wants his corny-ass belt back.

Thank god ABC saw fit to run a graphic identifying Kid Rock as “Kid Rock”. Otherwise we might’ve thought homeless guys were snapping up all the good seats.

High definition TV is very nice, but I’ve just been blinded by Bill Walton’s teeth.

I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing many TV commericals featuring the indefatigable Bruce Bowen in the near future, but the All-Universe Defensive team isn’t complete without him.

Knicks Land Richardson, Ship Kurt To Phoenix

Posted in Basketball at 8:02 pm by

Strange, buzzy noises in my head (otherwise known as the Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro) are claiming that Phoenix are sending swingman Quentin Richardson (above) to New York in exchange for forward Kurt Thomas.

If said deal doesn’t happen, it would only be the 30th time Thomas’ name has popped up in a rumored trade the past two years.

It’s an interesting deal — Thomas brings a physical presence to the Suns’ defense they sorely need, while dropping Richardson’s salary on NY gives the Suns some flexibility in re-signing Joe Johnson or extending Amare Stoudamire.

For the Knicks, acquiring 3 point specialist Richardson gives the club some kind of outside shooting options besides letting Jamal Crawford heave it up from halfcourt.

If Eric Van’s A Rocking, Don’t Come A Knocking

Posted in Baseball at 7:34 pm by

Is statistical wizard Eric Van (shown with Sam Horn, above, right) the biggest Mission Of Burma fan ever to have been employed by the Boston Red Sox? Other than Jack Clark, that is.

The answer is quite probably yes. In fact, Van might be the biggest Mission Of Burma fan to have ever been employed, period.

As someone who is somewhat acquainted with Mr. Van, the only thing I can imagine that would be more entertaining than reading Mark Shanahan’s profile in today’s Boston Globe, would be to witness said article being read aloud to Larry Bowa while the former Phillies skipper was tied to a chair. Close up footage of Bowa’s face when the following passage is read would be priceless,

. For years, Van has been tallying arcane baseball statistics, and posting his conclusions online. Had the Red Sox paid attention to just a few of his findings, he says, the team may not have gone 86 years between World Series wins.

OK, that’s enough sadism for one evening. Congrats to Eric on the mystery gig, and to Red Sox ownership for hiring him.

The Smashing Pumpkins Reunion…

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 1:35 pm by

…as covered by Fitted Sweats.

Corgan’s love for Bozo The Clown is well documented (though think how music history might’ve changed had he grown up following John Wayne Gacy instead), so he’s probably already aware that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Planet Earth selected RHP Trevor Bell with their first pick of the ’05 Amateur Draft. Bell’s late grandfater, Bob, starred as Bozo on Chicago’s WGN from 1960 to 1984.

Twins In A Tailspin

Posted in Baseball at 12:42 pm by


(Joe Nathan, genuinely disturbed by the “Herbie : Fully Loaded” trailer)

Last night’s 8-1 Tigers victory over the Twins captured two clubs moving in opposite directions ; Minnesota, losers of 9 of their last 12, and Detroit, winners of 7 of their last 8 games.

Time and time again, XM’s Larry Bowa holds up the Twins of a shining example of how to win on a limited budget without drinking Billy Beane’s Kool-Aid. While the A’s poor season is held up as an indictment of Beane’s philosophy, I won’t hold my breath waiting for Terry Ryan’s methods to receive similar criticism. The AL Central is perhaps a season away from being baseball’s best and nearly 40 games a year versus Detroit and Cleveland will no longer be something to envy.

Dusty Disappoints, Fails To Generate Hot Copy

Posted in Baseball at 11:37 am by

You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to match Ozzie Guillen for incindiary remarks. Yesterday at least, it would seem as though the Cubs’ Dusty Baker slept late. From the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mike Kiley , Mr. Gigantic Wristbands speaks in calm tones about this weekend’s series against the White Sox.

“I think they dislike us more than we dislike them,” Baker said. “That’s what it sounds like. I don’t dislike anyone. I don’t like to lose to them, but that has nothing to do with disliking them.”

Baker was informed that Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had said earlier Wednesday that he wasn’t excited by Sunday’s matchup between Mark Prior and Jon Garland because Garland is the better pitcher right now and hasn’t been on the disabled list as much as Prior in recent years.

“Ozzie can say whatever he wants to say, and it’s OK,” Baker said. “I don’t have that right, that privilege. I’m not a homeboy yet. Ozzie’s a homeboy. Ozzie played [in Chicago].”

Baker has made a concerted effort to tone down his responses this season after finding himself the center of conflict for some statements in his first two years as Cubs manager. He believes his remarks get more scrutiny than Guillen’s.

“When I do [make comments], I get a lot more … whatever you want to call it,” Baker said.

Told that Guillen had gotten his share of criticism for what some have considered intemperate remarks, Baker replied, “Maybe I didn’t read it that way.”

There is a strong belief among some that Chicago is a Cubs town more than a Sox town. True or false, Baker was asked.

“If attendance is the indicator, then that’s possibly true,” Baker said cautiously.

But he thought the subject was too rabble-rousing to delve into.

“To me that’s petty stuff that I don’t have time to worry about,” Baker said. “It adds to the fire.”

Black Cloud For Sale

Posted in Baseball, The Mailbag at 11:26 am by

The above headline comes courtesy of New Yorker David Roth, who writes :

I wonder if that offer of Paul Byrd’s uniform pants and a bag of baseballs is still on the table? The following from Jayson Stark’s ESPN.com column.

“GM Omar Minaya keeps saying the Mets plan to be buyers, not sellers. But when an official of one club that has spoken with the Mets was asked if Glavine could be had, he replied: “Yes. Absolutely.”

There is, however, one major hang-up: Glavine has a complete no-trade clause. And one baseball man who knows him well says that means you can cross all of the West and Central teams in each league off his list. In fact, he says, it’s very possible the only places Glavine would say yes to are Boston and Atlanta.”

I’m surprised Omar didn’t say “yes, immediately, please sir?” Can you really imagine either the Braves or Sox trading for Glavine? Can you imagine what the Mets might possibly get in return?

Looking at Boston’s rotation, frankly, yes, I can imagine them trading for Glavine, but that’s wishful thinking on my part. Only my Mets-centric brain allows me to think they’d be generous enough to send over Youkilis and Payton (the acquisition of the latter making a subsquent trade involving Mike Cameron only slightly less ill-advised). But unless Glavine demontrates that he’s more reliable over his next 4-5 starts (in which case he might be off the block anyway), the point is moot. Boston’s pitching staff is old enough as is, and I wouldn’t count on Glavine making a smooth adjustment to the American League.

Apparently, one brutal outing by Aaron Heilman in relief is enough for Willie Randolph to no longer consider the Notre Dame alum for the Mets’ starting rotation. Naturally, veterans with 280 or so career wins and/or having come over in a trade for Jason Phillips are held to different standards.

Piniella Denies Hanging Harper Out To Dry

Posted in Baseball at 10:21 am by

From the Tampa Tribune’s Scott Carter.

During Piniella’s pregame media session, the reporter asked if Piniella had talked with Rays reliever Travis Harper since Harper’s tumultuous eighth inning in Tuesday night’s 20-11 loss. In two- thirds of an inning, Harper was rocked for nine runs and eight hits – including four home runs – during the Yankees’ 13-run inning.

“Just forget that, all right,” responded Piniella, who tossed in a few expletives after taking exception to the question because he felt the reporter was inferring he left Harper on the mound too long. “You think I did that intentional? You think I’m going to let a guy get beat up like that. No, I’m not.”

After reiterating his intention was not to leave Harper hanging, Piniella stepped into his bathroom office, pushed a chair across the floor, then returned and calmly fielded questions.

He later returned to the reporter.

“You want to see where I threw the chair? Go on in there and take a look exactly where the chair is at so you can look at it. All the [expletive] you want to do is cause [expletive] headaches and problems.”

As we all know, even a 26 run inning wouldn’t be enough for Lou to get fired. And his Devil Rays do occasionally mess with the script, taking two of three from the Yankees earlier this week, despite Tuesday’s monumental meltdown.

Say It Ain’t So – The Shawn Bradley Era Is Over

Posted in Basketball at 12:55 am by

Here’s a little history lesson for you :

After Bird and Magic, came Brad Lohaus, Sam Bowie and Mark Eaton. Surely another all-time great will soon put his stamp upon professional basketball. Will another Shawn Bradley emerge? Probably not —avatars are a rare thing, but we have to give these young hopefuls a chance to develop their own game.