08.29.05

Olney’s Investment In A Part-Timer

Posted in Baseball at 1:21 pm by

Waxing poetic about Roger Clemens’ lack of run support from the Houston Astros, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney :

Roger Clemens has been well-liked by teammates during his career, for his intensity and his attention to detail and his emotional investment in others on the days he doesn’t pitch.

Olney must be refering to the Rocket’s “emotional investment” in someone other than his ballclub. The provision allowing Clemens to stay at home for road series in which he’s not scheduled to pitch has been mentioned time and time again.

GM Who Signed Cristian Guzman Flips Out

Posted in Baseball at 1:06 am by

Being shut down by Cal Eldred in the year 2005 is pretty rough. But Jim Bowden can take some solace in knowing that his Nationals won’t have to face Donovan Osbourne, James Baldwin or Frank Castillo down the stretch. Well, probably not. From the Associated Press :

Jim Bowden strode into the Washington Nationals clubhouse, the door slamming shut behind him.

The general manager had just finished watching his team get shut out for the second straight game against a surprise starter, and his defense and pitching weren’t exactly stellar, either, in Sunday’s 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Several minutes later, on a ramp below the stands at RFK Stadium, Bowden described himself as “angry, frustrated, disappointed” and ripped his team’s performance.

“It was pathetic,” the GM said. “We gave them this game today. This is embarrassing. We gave them those runs.”

Turning his attention to the hitters, scoreless over 21 innings, Bowden said: “This isn’t a problem of one guy or two guys. We have an embarrassing problem of all eight. Zero offense.”

By contrast, the New York Mets managed plenty of offense over the weekend against San Francisco, scoring a grand total of 3 runs in 3 games while dropping two of three to the Giants.

This just in : L’equipe has named Jason Giambi the AL’s Comeback Player Of The Year.

Orioles pitchers issued a staggering 11 walks to Oakland yesterday en route to a 10-3 beating, Baltimore’s 8th loss in their past 9 games. None of those walks were issued by formerly popular actress Geena Davis (shown above). Temp manager Sam Perlozzo has been around the game long enough to know that you don’t catch many flies with vinegar. On the other hand, sparing the rod can spoil the child. I don’t know how many children or flies Perlozzo has hanging around clubhouse, but I can’t help but think he’s keeping a seat warm for Lou Piniella.

“If I had thought going in there and yelling at these guys would make them get a hit, I wouldn’t be able to talk to you right now,” he said. “These guys are not stupid. They’re trying. They’re putting pressure on themselves, but they’ve got to get over it.

“What would I yell at them for? For not getting a hit? They’re trying. When they quit trying, when they get lazy, I’ll yell at them.”

08.28.05

Sven : Get Off My Jock

Posted in Football at 9:56 pm by


(“And what are you wearing?”)

Which is the more fascinating subject, England’s forthcoming World Cup qualifier with Wales (Sept. 3) or manager Sven Goran Eriksson’s zipper problem? The oversexed Swede would prefer that we not pay much attention to the latter, writes the Times’ Matt Dickinson.

œI think it™s fair that the critics are hard when you lose a football game like we lost in Denmark, Eriksson said. œOn non-football issues, I™m sorry to read weekend after weekend rubbish, things that aren™t true. Obviously someone is out there trying to disturb my job.

œBut if they think they can disturb the harmony in the England team they are totally wrong. If people are to write about my private life they should at least try to make it right. Is that asking too much to write the truth? Someone is out there trying to make me leave the country, the Swede said. œI can promise you that I won™t.

Going To School With Lisa Olson

Posted in Baseball at 2:37 pm by

Lisa Olson in today’s New York Daily News:

Willie Randolph’s mark on a team that has a number of unschooled players in the field – among yesterday’s starters were catcher Mike DiFelice, first baseman Mike Jacobs, second baseman Kaz Matsui, right fielder Victor Diaz – is undeniable. Dignified and reticent and unafraid to take dares, Randolph deserves to be considered for Manager of the Year.

Though Olson would’ve been correct in saying Randolph has gotten plenty of mileage of out previously unheralded players, it is a considerable stretch to characterize a 10 year veteran of Japanese baseball (Matsui) as “unschooled”. Likewise, 2005 marks Mike DiFelice’s 10th year of major league service — the Mets are his 9th club since 1996.

Heyman Previews Oliver Stone’s Followup To “Troy”

Posted in Baseball, The World Of Entertainment at 2:25 pm by

From Newsday’s Jon Heyman :

Jose Canseco isn’t quite done wreaking havoc. Hollywood sources tell Newsday that Canseco met this past week with Oliver Stone to discuss a baseball movie about, you guessed it, steroids.

More specifically, the movie is about a steroid conspiracy, with the team owner and commissioner in on the steroid scam (while the movie will be considered fiction, Canseco wrote in “Juiced” that then-Rangers owner George W. Bush had to know).

Canseco is spouting more steroid tales to anyone who’ll listen. Specifically, he’s changed his tune on how often he shot up Mark McGwire with ‘roids. It’s no longer “once or twice”; now it’s “more times than I can count.”

Who knew he could count?

Tribune Scribe Can’t Guzzle A Gallon

Posted in Food at 2:20 pm by

On the bright side, at least he doesn’t have to hang out with Brad Penny.

Pretentious Crusader In Funny Gag Shocker

Posted in Hockey, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 2:15 pm by

In addition to dumping all over John Sterling in this morning’s New York Post (as thought there’s anything revelatory about Mr. High-Far-Gone being a supercilious pain in the groin), Phil Mushnick actually tells a joke.

And just as soon as the NHL figures out what its new national TV deal is all about, it’ll get back to us. Meanwhile, the Outdoor Life Network is discussing partial ownership with the company that owns Outback Steakhouse. If the deal gets done, the network’s name will become the Outhouse Channel.

Foulke’s Lowell Rehab

Posted in Baseball at 1:52 pm by

On the same night Bronson Arroyo and Jon Pabelbon were doing their best to make raise Detroit’s collective batting average, injured Boston closer/bbq enthusiast Keith Foulke was working his way back to the parent club with a stint in the birthplace of Jack Kerouac. From the Boston Herald’s Jeff Horrigan :

Keith Foulke quietly began a minor league rehabilitation assignment last night with the Lowell Spinners that the Red Sox hope will propel him back to active duty for the pennant stretch.

The closer, who hasn’t pitched for the Sox since July 4, worked 1 2/3 innings against Tri-City at LeLacheur Park and allowed an unearned run on three hits, while striking out one batter. Foulke is scheduled to pitch one inning today for the Spinners and at least one more Tuesday before his status is re-evaluated.

Foulke displayed great arm strength during recent workouts, which is why the Sox felt confident enough to schedule him for back-to-back relief outings for the Spinners. Francona said Foulke will be asked for an honest assessment of his work, which will determine whether or not he remains in the minors for more work or is activated from the DL.

With steroid-free David Wells on the mound, Boston are leading Detroit 3-1 after two innings this afternoon. Longtime radio/TV voice of the Red Sox, Curt Gowdy (WHDH, 1951-1965) was honored in a pregame ceremony. In an unrelated note, Bob Montgomery was seen purchasing a pack of Certs from an area Store 24 earlier in the day.

Fowl Bawl : McKeon Lambastes The Chicken

Posted in Baseball at 11:21 am by


(as an in-studio guest of WFMU’s Tom Scharpling, the Chicken takes calls from listeners eager to debate the Burger King/Slipknot dispute).

A more predictable manager might have used his precious time with the news media to discuss his team’s Wild Card chances, or perhaps obbied for the Cy Young candidacy of his electrifying young right-hander, Dontrelle Willisl. Marlins skipper Jack McKeon, however, spoke to the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi about The Famous Chicken.

“I didn’t think he was very funny,” McKeon said as he sat with reporters in his office, smoke rising from a stogie. “His act is fine, but don’t think you’re bigger than us.”

McKeon, 74, is no curmudgeon when it comes to mascots. After all, he says he’s a fan of Billy the Marlin. “He doesn’t bother nobody,” McKeon said.

But the Chicken? He mimicked Rose’s headfirst dive, engulfed kids’ heads in his beak and lifted his leg near the umpires, mimicking a dog at a fire hydrant.

“Fans liked him,” McKeon said, choosing his words carefully. “Ah, the Chicken is all right. Do your act, and get the hell off the field.”

Jack, we get the feeling there’s more to the story.

He recalled a game in 1985 when the Chicken went too far. A St. Louis pitcher took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. The game was interrupted so the Chicken could ride a horse in the outfield.

The horse stopped to do his business, and when it finished, the Chicken had a tough time getting the beast off the field. Then the grounds crew needed time to clean the turf. When the game resumed, it didn’t take long for the Padres to break up the no-hitter.

The Chicken “was out riding a damn horse in left field, then he can’t get him off the field,” McKeon said. “Go out and do your thing, but don’t interfere with the game.”

The Chicken arrived in 1974. Five years later, he was famously hatched out of a 10-foot wide Styrofoam egg at a 1979 game while the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey played.

In 1984, the Padres went to the World Series with a roster McKeon helped build. But one season-ticket package featured games at which the Chicken would appear.

“We win the pennant and they want to make the Chicken bigger than the team,” he said. “Marketing people thought he was the reason we were putting people in the ballpark. Once you see him 10 or 12 times, come on.”

Part of the Chicken’s shtick was to perform skits with players.

“I wouldn’t let my players participate in that bull,” McKeon said. “They’re trying to get your guys in the bullpen… playing guitars on broomsticks.”

Cubs Craving Leadoff Solution in 2006

Posted in Baseball at 3:31 am by

From the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan :

Jerry Hairston was back in the leadoff spot Saturday following the trade of Matt Lawton to the Yankees, leaving the Cubs right back where they started.

The Cubs have used Hairston, Corey Patterson, Neifi Perez and Lawton as leadoff men in 2005 but continue to struggle in that area. Manager Dusty Baker said the Cubs will “mix and match and do what we can” to fill the position the rest of the season.

The Cubs are expected to pursue Rafael Furcal, Atlanta’s free-agent shortstop, who is 27 years old and will command a three- or four-year deal for around $8 million per season. Despite a slow start in ’05, Furcal has a .339 on-base percentage leading off, with 38 steals. He’s also fifth in the NL in fielding percentage and has great range at shortstop. Furcal’s agent is Paul Kinzer, who has a good relationship with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.

Hendry said Saturday that the “only viable” leadoff man in the system is center fielder Felix Pie (above), who will wind up missing the final 21/2 months with Double-A West Tenn with a severe ankle injury. Pie will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic and is expected to compete for a roster spot next spring, but the Cubs can’t count on him being the leadoff man.

Mets Streak Halted, Piazza Finished?

Posted in Baseball at 3:17 am by

While there’s no shame in the Mets coming out on the short end of yesterday’s Tom Glavine/Jason Schmidt duel, it’s sobering to note that in the same week New York scored 32 runs in two games against Arizona, they’ve also been limited to just 2 runs in their past 18 innings, 5 in their past 27.

The 6 (or is it 5?) man rotation has worked out nicely this week, Steve Trachsel’s astonishing showing on Friday night ranking amongst his finest hours. But David Wright (shown above after taking a called third strike against Armando Benitez in the 9th inning) aside, the heart of the Mets batting order is far too quiet…and it might be time to consider flipping Wright and Beltran, or perhaps moving the latter to the 2 spot.

Making little progress in his rehabilitation efforts, Mike Piazza’s Mets tenure might’ve already ended writes Newsday’s David Lennon :

Earlier this week, Piazza was optimistic about returning as soon as he was eligible to come off the disabled list, which is Friday. But after seeing a physical therapist in the Bay Area yesterday, Piazza discovered that not only is the small pisiform bone at the base of his thumb broken, but the ligaments in his left wrist and forearm have been affected.

“It’s not feeling any worse, but it’s not feeling better,” said Piazza, who will seek a second opinion tomorrow in New York. “It’s just not responding the way I’d hoped.”

Piazza practiced throwing to second base before Thursday’s game in Arizona, but he became discouraged when he had trouble handling pitches from Mets catching instructor Tom Nieto. With his wrist still hurting, Piazza couldn’t turn his glove, and if he can’t corral 40-mph throws from Nieto, he has no chance of getting behind the plate in a game.

Yesterday’s diagnosis basically put the clock back to zero on the healing process. Piazza, who now must wear a hard plastic brace, expects to do nothing but rest for at least the next week.

Other than anti-inflammatory medication, that’s the only course of action at the moment. Piazza is resigned to hoping the pain somehow will disappear while the Mets shoot for the playoffs without him.

Phillies Trade For Tucker

Posted in Baseball at 1:17 am by

A day after the Yankees upgraded their outfield with the acquisition of Matt Lawton, the NL Wild Card leading Phillies have snagged OF Michael Tucker from the Giants in exchange for pitching prospect Kelvin Pichardo.

Tucker, who pinch hit in the 8th inning of today’s 2-1 win over the Mets, is 67 years old.

Phone Company Covets Premiership TV Rights

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 1:05 am by

The Observer’s Richard Wachman reports on British Telecom’s bold new plan to invade sports TV.

BT is to challenge BSkyB by bidding for the rights to televise Premier League football when the current contract expires in 2007.
The plan is being masterminded by BT chairman Sir Christopher Bland, who was boss of London Weekend Television before it was taken over by Granada in 1994.

Bland is determined to build up BT’s newly established entertainment division, headed by Andrew Burke, which aims to offer video-on-demand and pay-TV to every UK household in five years.

Part of Bland’s project involves bidding for the rights to screen Premier League and other British and European soccer matches.

BT is unlikely to go head to head with BSkyB in a bidding war for the entire Premier League contract. Instead, the company is basing its plans on the assumption that the European Commission will rule that the number of Premier League matches shown by BSkyB be limited. That would allow other broadcasters and organisations to get a slice of the highly lucrative pay-TV soccer market.

An observer said: ‘BT reckons the rights to televise Premier League matches will be auctioned off in two, three or even four parcels. It could then pick and choose, but would probably avoid a head-on clash with BSkyB.’

The synergetic possibilities are endless. A ringtone of Andy Gray shouting, for instance.

08.27.05

Worst SportsCenter Analogy Of All-Time

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 6:15 pm by

“What Ben Gibbard is to Death Cab For Cutie, Jason Marquis is to the Cardinals on 3 days rest.

Which could mean that a) Gibbard is surprisingly effective or b) rational adults find Marquis’ cloying offerings so insufferable, they’d sooner make a cyanide smoothie than listen to him.

I suppose you could make a case for either.

Lenny Harris, Daniel Clowes Fan

Posted in Baseball at 5:34 pm by

From the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan :

During a batting-cage discussion with Cubs coaches Friday morning, ex-Cub Lenny Harris jokingly referred to Wrigley Field as “Ghost World.”

The idea that the Cubs are haunted in their North Side home may be an old wives’ tale, though booing is certainly a familiar sound at Wrigley these days.The Cubs heard it early and late on Friday in a 7-5 loss to Florida, their 10th loss in their last 15 home games.

They’re now 31-33 at Wrigley Field, despite being on a record attendance pace.

“That happens,” said Nomar Garciaparra, who played third base in place of the injured Aramis Ramirez. “I’ve been on teams that way too. Baseball is hard to explain. Sometimes that happens to good teams.”

And it happens frequently to the Cubs too.

Ben Schwartz, however, refuses to raise the white flag — no matter what Steve Albini thinks.

That a Chicagoan is giving up this early on the Cubs — we’re only 19.5 games out in late August for chrissakes — was disheartening to say the least. I did see the Shellac show the nigh before on August 20th, however, and Weston-Trainer-Albini remain the greatest steroid-free band in rock.

Though today’s 2-1 loss to Florida is no doubt fresh in Ben’s mind, it should be stressed that blind faith in the Cubs isn’t a prerequisite for Chicago residency (supposedly there’s an American League club in town as well, but I’ll have to get the research department on that one). And while not wishing to deny Shellac their place in the Steroid-Free Wing of the Rock’n'Roll Hall Of Fame (boycotted by Little Steven on account of a trio getting in), here’s a vote for Virginia’s Pelt, whose latest untitled compact disc offering has been a unique distraction while trying to spell-check Alex Reimer’s comments.

Rrrroooaaarrr No More : Voivod’s Piggy, RIP

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 12:39 pm by

Dennis “Piggy” D’amour, guitarist for Quebec quartet Voivod, has passed away at the age of 45.

Along with vocalist Snake, drummer Michel Langevin and original bassist Jean-Yves Theriault (later replaced by Jason Newsted), Voivod’s late 1980′s recordings were a heady mix of prog metal, modern thrash and futuristic subject matter. On paper, yeah, that does sound downright awful, but the band were genuine boundary-smashers in an otherwise stodgy scene, and were pretty ferocious live, to boot.

Todd Jones Invites Men To Get On His Back

Posted in Baseball at 9:36 am by

From the Orlando Sun Sentinel’s Steve Gorten :

A huge fan of the rock band Staind, Marlins closer Todd Jones became close friends with its members after they invited him to stand on stage with them during a 2001 concert in Biloxi, Miss. Two years later, after Staind played a gig in Houston, guitarist Mike Mushok called Jones.

“I remember saying to Todd, `I can’t imagine what it’s like walking out of the bullpen into people that are against you and the pressure it must be on you to come out and get three outs,’” Mushok said. “I know what it’s like to walk out to people that were rooting for us and wanted us there. I couldn’t imagine if they were against you.”

At Wrigley Field on Friday as Jones’ guests, the band members, part of an announced crowd of 38,902, saw how the 37-year-old closer does it.

Jones entered in the eighth with two outs and two on, facing MVP candidate and former Marlin Derrek Lee and trying to save what three innings earlier had been a seven-run lead.

Jones struck Lee out swinging and pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th consecutive save as the Marlins beat the Cubs 7-5.

“This has pretty much exceeded everything I ever thought about this year,” said Jones, adding that he wants to carry the Marlins to the postseason.

“The good thing is we’re at where we’re at. You re-evaluate your goals and set new ones now … Get on [my] back and go to the playoffs.”


(the fun-loving Jonesy does his impression of Randy Johnson on Depo-Provera after the game)

Without saying anything to diminish the accomplishments of sexual libertine Todd Jones, I would like to assure Mr. Mushok that his band does indeed, have people — perhaps tens of thousands — rooting against them.

Señor Steroid Sticks Up For Sidney

Posted in Baseball at 9:17 am by

In a display of camraderie not seen since Michael Jackson told O.J. Simpson, “Don’t worry, I’ll watch the kids”, Orioles 1B Rafael Palmeiro has spoken on behalf of teammate Sidney Ponson. From the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebic :

“He didn’t come up to me or question me about anything,” said Palmeiro. “He put his arm around me, and he stands with me, and he supports me. I’m going to do the same with him. I’m going to help him in whichever way I can help him. I’m his teammate. I feel like I’m family with him. We’re all human and we all make mistakes, and we’re all here to help him if he needs our help.”

Palmeiro, who was vocal in his support of Ponson earlier this season when the Orioles seemed ready to trade him, said he was not sure what causes Ponson’s off-the-field issues, but he did not deny that the Aruban needs help. Thursday’s arrest was his third in the past nine months.

“Maybe he’s reaching out for help,” Palmeiro said. “I don’t know. Maybe we haven’t paid close enough attention. I love Sidney as a teammate. I respect him. He’s the kind of teammate I want. … Someone needs to be there for him. I know he doesn’t have family here. So some of us need to help come in and do whatever we can to help.”

Speaking Ill Of The Dead (& Dismembered)

Posted in non-sporting journalism at 12:01 am by

From the Daily Texan’s Adam H. Covici and Clint Johnson :

You could say Colton Pitonyak had a rough summer.

In June, he served 20 days in jail for a previous cocaine charge. A month and a half after he got out, he was charged with committing the most brutal campus-area crime in recent memory.

The 22-year-old student, charged with murdering Jennifer Cave, 21, dismembering her body and fleeing to Mexico, previously spent a month in drug rehab. He has a drug problem. That much is clear.

Jenna Jasso, a UT mechanical engineering senior, dated Pitonyak’s friend, Juan Montero, and knew Cave from her high school in Corpus Christi.

She describes Cave as an outgoing person who wanted desperately to fit in, and may have used her sexuality to get attention from guys.

“She came to school halfway through senior year after everyone had already made friends, and started doing some scandalous things to fit in,” Jasso said.

Note to all female CSTB readers —- try very hard not to be brutally murdered & hacked up, because a local newspaper might track down a high school classmate who will imply you were asking for it.

08.26.05

Lawton Bronx Bound

Posted in Baseball at 11:40 pm by

Voices in my head (that sound suspiciously like Jayson Stark) claim the Yankees are on the brink of acquiring OF Matt Lawton from the Cubs in exchange for an undisclosed prospect.

Lawton, a free agent next season, would bridge the gap between bumbling Bernie and New York’s inevitable run at Johnny Damon.

For Lawton, the Yankees will be his third team of the year and 5th in 9 campaigns.

Lokomotiv Plovdiv Owner Murdered

Posted in Football at 8:06 pm by

Knicks and Rangers fans were horribly teased earlier today, when news of the owner of a professional sports franchise being gunned down hit the wires. Alas, said killing took place in Bulgaria, where Lokomotiv Plovdiv would otherwise be looking forward to their UEFA Cup tie with Bolton Wanderers. From the Times :

Lokomotiv Plovdiv owner Georgi Iliev, 39, was killed on Thursday after the team beat OFK Belgrade in the cup. Mr Iliev, who ran hotels and clubs, was killed as he talked on a mobile phone at one of his bars by the Black Sea.

It was the latest in a series of shootings and bombings that have been blamed on Bulgaria™s underworld. The criminality has scarred the country™s image as it vies for entry to the European Union in 2007.

Police said that Mr Iliev had faced criminal charges in the past. His brother, a suspected mob boss, was murdered in 1995. Boiko Borisov, of the Interior Ministry, said yesterday: œWe had several operations on drug-trafficking, especially of cocaine, and we have operational data which leads to him.

Sid Vicious, Pt II : Partying Ponson’s Disappearing Acts

Posted in Baseball at 7:41 pm by

Followng his third arrest in the past 9 months, the Baltimore Orioles are searching for ways to rid themselves of boozy Sidney Ponson, writes the Sun’s Dan Connolly and Roch Kubatko. In addition to his recent DUI incident, watching O’s games from the dugout hasn’t been comfy enough for Sidney.

Even if Ponson, 28, who is on the disabled list with calf and thumb injuries, remains with the team, he could be facing a suspension for leaving the bench and going to a club level suite at Camden Yards during Wednesday’s game.

According to several ballpark sources, Ponson left the clubhouse in uniform pants and an Orioles pullover jacket during the first half of Wednesday’s game and joined friends in the fourth-level suite No. 22, which he periodically rents.

He stayed between one and two innings before rejoining the team. One ballpark source said he was drinking soda and not alcohol while in the suite. It was at least the second time he has visited the suite during a game, another ballpark source said.

Interim manager Sam Perlozzo said he still needs to set some team policies, but, “I would assume if you are here and in uniform, you are on the bench.”

He did not notice Ponson’s absence from the dugout Wednesday but said when informed of the report: “If that’s true, I would think that is grounds for a suspension.”

It’s Joe Blanton vs. Bruce Chen tonight at Camden Yards, Oakland leading Baltimore, 2-0 after 2 innings.

Leinart’s Light Course Load

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 7:20 pm by

The LA Times’ Gary Klein on the scholastic grind Trojans QB Matt Leinart is about to endure. Presumably, Advanced Going To The Movies was full.

Leinart, who announced in January that he would forgo a chance to turn pro and would return for his final season of eligibility, is taking only one course: ballroom dancing. The elective fulfills the final units Leinart needs to graduate with a sociology degree.

Leinart makes no apologies for a light load that will keep him light on his feet.

“I put in my work to get my degree,” he said. “I came back for my fifth year, and I’m taking what’s necessary for me to graduate. And that’s two units.”

Mets Fans Giddy Over Demolition of NL’s Worst Pen

Posted in Baseball at 7:06 pm by

Before you send your playoff ticket deposits to General Delivery, Flushing, stop for a second to consider the quality of the opposition faced by the Mets this past week in Phoenix. If that’s too much, the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro has done so for you :

Perception: The Diamondbacks have the worst bullpen ever.

Reality: It may not quite be the worst of all time, but it’s well on its way to being the worst in more than 50 years. So far, 19 pitchers have taken the mound in relief, and they’ve combined to post a 6.24 bullpen ERA. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that would be the highest since the 1950 St. Louis Browns had a 6.62 bullpen ERA.

Still, wins against the terrible teams count in the stands just like playing the Cardinals, as I’m sure David Roth, quoted below, is aware.

An infield made up of Wright, Reyes, Keppinger/Anderson Hernandez/Cairo and Mike Jacobs is 1) cheap, 2) very productive and 3) likable. Depending on where you fell on the Mo Vaughn issue, Mets fans haven’t seen even one of those three over the last few seasons. So while I may not believe that this is the year they’ve got the teamwork to make the dream work, I do believe that I’m pretty fired up by the group of hungry and happy young dudes starting in the infield. If Beltran gets into one of those late-season kicks and knocks off the Brian McRae imitation, I might just have to drink up on some kool-aid.

Not since Merv Griffen last visited our comments secton has there been so much enthusiasm for hungry and happy young dudes. David’s Brian McRae comparison, while cringeworthy, is very much on target. Beltran’s had his adjustment period, the stint on the DL, the cautious spell not wanting to blow out the hamstring, and now the comeback from the collision with Mike Cameron. The Mets cannot realistically expect their 7-8-9 hitters to produce down the stretch the way they have earlier in the week. Fred Wilpon’s modest dream of “meaningful games in September” is about to become a reality, but Beltran might have more to say about the outcome of those contests than anyone else.

For those who were wondering, yes, I throughly enjoyed my 24 hours in Phoenix, AZ, truly one of America’s finer cities. I had an engrossing conversation with an Eric Roberts lookalike who had recently been released from jail where he’d served a short stretch for violating a restraining order. It does seem quite unfair that in the supposed land of the free, a well-tanned, heavily perspiring citizen can be incarcerated merely because he left an answering message for his old lady (who had previously attacked him with a knife, not that the judge even cared).

Grumpy Reader Takes Issue With Melodramatic Rocker’s Hairstyle

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 6:37 pm by

Writes Jim Laasko,

We were all justifiably moved by Eddie Vedder’s I’ll-have-this-mohawk-til-we-stop-killing-people-abroad thing a few years ago. But now that he’s won that battle, what is he fighting for by becoming Barry Gibb?