At Wrigley this afternoon, Matt Murton just hit a solo HR off Cincy’s Elizardo RamÃrez, and the Cubs lead the Reds, 4-2 in the bottom of the 6th. Plenty of time for the Cubs’ pen to blow it for Kerry Wood, then.
Earlier today in Cleveland, the White Sox teed off on the Indians’ “Jump Off A” Cliff Lee (2.2 IP, 8 hits, 7 earned runs), winning 11-0. Jim Thome (above), Paul Konerko and Juan Uribe all went deep off Lee, with Thome adding a 2 run blast off noted Mike Piazza punching bag Guillermo Mota. Thome has 20 homers on the young season and it is very safe to say that someday, he might be as prodigious a hitter as Ryan Howard. Javier Vazquez, Neil Cotts and Jeff Nelson combined on the 2 hit shutout.
Another AL Central club could only manage a pair of hits today, as Randy Johnson, Ron Villone and Kyle Farnsworth toyed with the Tigers in a 4-0 Yankees win. Johnson had a no-hitter through 5 and 2/3rds before allowing a single to Ivan Rodriguez. Derek Jeter left the game in the 5th inning ; the NY shortstop jammed his right hand while sliding into 2nd during the 3rd inning. It was just yesterday that John Sterling solemnly pronounced that “we’ll never see another one like him” when extolling Jeter’s virtues as the greatest living human. Perhaps the YES mouthpiece oughta consider the way he tempts fate with such superlatives.
A couple of thoughts on how the tournament might shape up :
1) UT-Arlington at Texas (Friday, 4pm, ESPNU) looks like a mismatch, but the Longhorns struggled in a few non-conference games this year against schools within driving distance.
2) Oklahoma State shouldn’t take Princeton too lightly — look out for that back door play!
3) Congrats to the Jaspers of Manhattan on qualifying for The Competition That Dares Not Call Itself The Big Dance for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Baseball America’s John Manuel examines the circumstances surrounding LSU’s lack of an invite, the first time the Tigers (35-24) have been excluded in 18 years.
Mississippi State got into the 64-team field over the Tigers. The Bulldogs–whose athletic director, Larry Templeton, is the head of the Division I baseball committee–finished a half-game behind the Tigers in the Southeastern Conference, did not qualify for the SEC tournament and won only one of their last eight weekend series after beginning the season 21-1. Mississippi State won the head-to-head series played in late March, winning two of three at LSU.
(unidentified Bulldogs players celebrate the New England Journal Of Medicine’s findings that there’s no correlation between excessive hot wing consumption and early impotence)
Committee member Mike Hamrick, the athletic director at Nevada-Las Vegas, handled questions about the Bulldogs-Tigers controversy after the field was announced because Templeton was not in the room when his school was discussed. Hamrick said it didn’t necessarily come down to the two SEC schools for one spot, saying instead they were part of 17 teams bidding for the last seven spots, and then later 12 teams for five spots. He cited the usual factors, such as Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), strength of schedule, wins against top 100 teams and how teams fared in their final 10 games.
“Mississippi State went 23-3 against teams outside the SEC,” Hamrick said. “It did take two of three (head to head with LSU) . . . Sometimes, the teams are so equally grouped, you have to look at the head to head.”
Ricky Williams, sans the bushy beard and dreadlocks that had been his trademark, denied radio reports that he had attended a couple of Argo practices, but went unrecognized because of his altered appearance.
He’ll definitely be there when he lines up in the backfield today wearing jersey No. 27.
He said he wanted that number when he returned to the Dolphins last year after sitting out the 2004 season, but NFL rules do not allow high profile players to change numbers because of marketing profiles.
“This is a more positive outlook on life than I’ve had in the past and I wanted to initiate with No. 27, which is a positive number,” he said.
I’ll have to take Ricky’s word for it. And after all, who’d know more about testing postitive?
While some of us are throughly looking forward to this afternoon’s Jeremy Bonderman/Randy Johnson matchup, Tigers manager Jim Leyland has a new angle from which to grumble : Detroit’s getting too much respect!
“We were a token stop in spring training,” a clearly agitated Leyland said before Sunday’s game. “Now all of the sudden these experts, they knew about (Justin) Verlander, they knew about (Joel) Zumaya (above). They knew about (nothing). They didn’t know (anything), if you want to know the truth. All of the sudden they’re on the bandwagon. That’s the way it goes, but I’m not going to fall for it.”
His biggest problem is that it’s only May, and people are trying to project the Tigers’ current pace into a full season.
“I look forward to my job, but you can see it all being set up,” Leyland said. “Nobody is going to keep up the pace we’ve played. So if we lose a couple games, they’ll say, ‘Oh, it was the Yankees.’ It doesn’t matter who we’re going to play. At some point, this pace is not going to keep up.”
Former Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles is hardly thrilled that Barry Bonds, with his 715th home run, has finally passed Babe Ruth and moved into second place on the all-time list.
“I just hate to see a guy that cheated like him get the record,” Nettles told The Post. “It hasn’t been proven, but I can tell with my own eyes what a guy looks like.”
Nettles – like so many others in and out of baseball – has long suspected Bonds of steroid use. “For the last three or four years, when he got so big,” Nettles said. “Guys don’t get so big and strong at that age. It doesn’t happen without chemicals.”
Nettles, who ranks 46th on the all-time list with 390 home runs, 250 as a Yankee, believes Major League Baseball was right for not celebrating Bonds passing The Babe. “They shouldn’t do anything until he passes Aaron,” Nettles said. “I don’t see any reason how a guy who passes second place … you have to pass the leader.”
Nettles believes those that choose to play the race card in Bonds’ defense are misguided and out of line. “I don’t think race plays any part of it,” Nettles said. “I’m sure some people in the country are racist. I don’t think anything about race should even be mentioned.”
Passing Ruth into second place all time should be a cause for celebration, but Major League Baseball isn’t recognizing it, Bonds gets booed wherever he goes on the road, and every once in a while a player takes a shot at him: Phillies pitcher Cory Lidle was the latest, saying he doesn’t want to see Bonds break records. Hank Aaron dealt with racial hatred and ignorance on his road to 715. Bonds is dealing with some of that and much more, but unlike Aaron, he brought much of it on himself.
That Bonds has been (I’m being diplomatic here) a testy, sometimes tough-to-embrace kinda guy throughout his big league career is well documented. That said, what has the Sultan Of Surly ever done in his public life that would constitute bringing racial hatred upon himself? Barry has had a thing or two to say about being a black man in Americaville. Sometimes he has a point, sometimes he’s out to lunch. None of it, however, justifies any measure of racial abuse, and there’s something a little screwy about the claim “he brought much of it on himself” going unchallenged. I could certainly use an editor over here most days. I’m surprised they can’t afford one in Bristol.
a) it gave some of our friends — both the flamboyant and the bookish — an excuse to have a party.
b) Kimberly Rew, of Soft Boys / Waves fame, authored a Eurovision winner in 1997′s “Love Shine-A-Light.”
c) “Waterloo” took the trophy in 1974 (the year that punk broke in half), thus launching the white supremacist juggernaut of Abba.
d) no matter how much Eurovision sucks, it’s still more fun than watching some sub-Curtis Stigers douchebag that looks like a slightly younger version of Jay Leno become an overnight sensation (attention haters : I am not referring to Greg Dulli, so you can stop right there).
With the Hurricanes trailing 3-1 in the 2nd period, Peter Laviolette pulled goaltender Martin Gerber (above) in favor of Cam Ward. I have no problem with this move, but Frank Robinson is simply beside himself.
Actor Paul Gleason, most often remembered for his role as Principal Vernon in “The Breakfast Club”, but equally beloved for his tenure as Dr. David Thornton on “All My Children”, has passed away at the age of 67. Described as “funnier than Jackie Gleason” by Repoz who supplied the prior link, Gleason’s filmography included appearances in “The Great Santini”, “Trading Places”, “Die Hard” and the Anthony Michael Hall star vehicle “Johnny Be Good” (possibly the finest work Uma Thurman would ever do in a film starring Anthony Michael Hall).
Author of the book, “Uleta, Blues & Haikus”, Gleason’s diverse background included stints in the Red Sox and Indians minor league systems, at least according to the dustcover of said book.
I’ve never quite undersood the saying “he’s in a better place now” when someone dies (particularly if the deceased was a woman). But with all due respect to Gleason’s friends and family, heaven, hell or a box in the ground could all be considered an improvement over ever being confused with Jeffrey Jones by a radio commentator who couldn’t keep his teen movies straight.
There was a Test Match of some import taking place at Edgbaston this weekend, but I’m hesitant to say much more about it. Short of running more Northwestern soccer hazing jpegs, nothing creates server strain in CSTB-land quite like passing references to K—n P——-n. Seriously. Not even Huckapoo, Carmelo/LaLa and Jackie Christie combined have accounted for as much traffic, which either says something about the England cricket team’s massive leap in popularity over the past year or it (more likely) indicates that K.P. scores awfully high on the Cricketeer I’d Like To Fuck (C.I.L.F.) scale for many intrepid Google-abusers.
(there’s no better way to commemorate relegating the Babe to 3rd place than by allowing Todd Greene to grab your ass in public)
Barry Bonds moved into 2nd place on the All-Time HR List this afternoon , hitting career homer 715 off the Rockies’ Byung Hyun Kim in the bottom of the 4th inning at AT&T. Steve Finley was aboard at the time, and the drive landed somewhere just to the left of the right center field bleachers.
Whether or not the Sultan is capable of hitting another 40 homers and catching Henry Aaron might be largely dependent on how many more chances he has to face the Chicago Cubs’ pitching staff. They’ve served up an incredible 8 HR balls to the Braves today, and with the Cubs rallying from a 12-8 deficit in the 9th inning, there’s always a chance for another. Seriously, with all the conjecture over the longball explosion in what is meant to be the Post-Steroid era, perhaps the explanation is very simple : Glendon Rusch is still on a major league roster.
Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas (above) and forward Awvee Storey were arrested on charges of disobeying police, part of the crackdown on disorderly behavior among those who have flocked to Miami Beach for Memorial Day weekend.
Storey had been blocking traffic in the middle of a busy street when an officer told him to get back to the sidewalk Saturday night, according to police reports. Storey did not get out of the street, and the officer arrested him and charged him with failure to obey a command.
While police were arresting Storey, Arenas got out of a vehicle and walked toward the arresting officers. According to reports, an officer told Arenas to get back in his vehicle, but he refused, saying he wanted to stand next to his teammate. The officer took Arenas into custody and charged him with resisting without violence.
As Arenas was being arrested, according to reports, he said, “You can’t arrest me. I’m a basketball player. I play for the Washington Wizards, and I’m not going to leave my teammate.”
Dusty needs to go because one of the more beloved franchises in all of sports is in shambles on and off the field. While it’s not all his fault, the house cleaning has to start somewhere.
The brawl at U.S. Cellular Field and Greg Maddux bashing the bejesus out of a water cooler in Florida are just two signs of the Cubs coming unglued.
There’s also the stuff behind the scenes.
Like earlier this month when the front office summoned the sports editor and Cubs writer from the Chicago Tribune and berated them for their coverage.
Tribune Co. owns the paper and the team. Toss in conflict of interest to the list of troubles.
Baker isn’t to blame for all the chaos in and around the Cubs this year. But his hiring four years ago was a sign.
Ever stop to think why the San Francisco Giants let go a manager who just took them to the World Series?
It wasn’t because the Cubs offered more money. It was because Dusty’s act had worn thin. The way he let his starters throw 120 pitches time and again. The way he balked every time the front office wanted to make a move to make the team better.
Baker has a reputation as a “player’s manager.” It’s well deserved. Almost every time the Giants told Dusty they planned to send a player down, he would argue: “You can’t. He’s my guy. I need him.”
Didn’t matter what Dusty’s guy was hitting. Or how he wasn’t pitching. Every guy was Dusty’s guy. Trouble is, the major leagues allow only 25 guys on a roster at a time.
The Cubs will send Jae Kuk Ryu to the mound in a few minutes to face the Braves and John Smoltz. Fox’s Joe Buck argued during yesterday’s telecast that when Jim Hendry failed to bring in a serious hitter to replace Derrek Lee, that sent a message to the rest of the club that the Cubs weren’t serious about winning. I guess Joe didn’t think much of the acquisition of Tony Womack.
Lt. Dangle left the Dodgers’ win over the Nationals yesterday with a sprained left wrist. You’d be surprised how many guys who are right-handed for most things choose to beat off as a lefty. This afternoon at RFK, the Nats are running riot over Jae Seo, as Ryan Zimmerman and Affonso Soriano have each homered, the latter connecting for his 18th on the season. So much for my thinking that Soriano’s power numbers would suffer in DC.
Despite having allowed a 2nd inning 3-run HR to Jeremy Hermida, El Duque has a shot at winning his Mets debut, as Florida trails NY, 7-3 in the bottom of the 4th. Carlos Beltran hit a 2 run HR off Ricky Nolasco a few minutes ago, his 14th of the year.
He is the oldest player in Major League history to hit a home run. I am the oldest player in PPFL history to score a touchdown. He is the oldest player ever to hit a grand slam, a pinch hit home run, hit two home runs in a game and to steal a base. I am the oldest to throw an interception, pull a hamstring, and drop an easy pass. Julio eats a dozen egg whites for breakfast, and consumes 5,000 calories a day. I also consume about 5,000 calories a day, most of it in bagels and pizza.
If Julio can keep going till he’s 50 in professional sports, why can’t I do it as an amateur? Instead of egg whites I’ll take more anti-inflammatories. I have a new goal. I’m going to play till I’m 50. Julio, that gives you two years to join the PPFL. We’d love to have you. And you won’t even be the oldest guy in the league.
”I think it was a horse[bleep] game,” Guillen said. ”I think when a team can get 14 hits and score two runs, that means we’re not executing. If we think we’re going to play like this, and they think they’re going to be a contender and in the pennant race, well, they’d better look at themselves in the mirror.
”We’re not playing baseball. We just hit. To win a pennant race and to be where we’re supposed to be, you have to do everything you can possible to help this team. And if they’re not willing to do it, there’s going to be a lot of [bleepin'] changes in the [bleepin'] lineup pretty soon. Everyone thinks it’s a good game. Bull[bleep]. You can say we battled. Yeah, we did. But we shouldn’t be in that situation to battle.”
And for those players who didn’t agree with Guillen?
”If they don’t like what I say, [bleep] them,” he said. ”They can pack their [stuff] and do whatever they want to do. But we’re better than this. Way better than this. If you want to be third place, second place or fourth place, keep playing like that. If you want to win this thing, we have to be better.”
For all the (talented) spare parts Pat Riley added last summer, his two most important weapons are fully capable of dominating, as shown by Shaq’s inside game last night, along with Dwyane Wade’s ridiculous 4th quarter.
If this group is one of the best starting fives that ever laced up a pair of Nikes, then they can’t have the fluctuations of their 98-83 loss to the blazing Miami Heat.
The Heat paid more attention to Tayshaun Prince following his impressive first two games, rendering him basically useless. He scored the Pistons’ first points with a three-pointer in the game’s opening moments and didn’t score again.
The Pistons found themselves on the losing end of another Game 3 on the road. It’s just another phase of the same pattern that repeats itself with disturbing regularity.
They aren’t winning. They’re surviving, mustering just enough effort to keep alive this image that the tougher the obstacle, the more committed the performance. But it’s been two weeks — the final two games of the first-round series against Milwaukee — since the Pistons put together two straight performances worthy of their self-adulation.
Five should always beat two.
But it only works if all five show up on the same night.
This archaic game of Wallace guarding the 7-foot-1, 365-pound tanker known as Shaquille O™Neal is not working. When O™Neal is on his game he is unstoppable.
Wallace cannot guard O’Neal by himself. It™s become painfully obvious in two of the three opening games of the Eastern Conference finals.
Part of it is a source of pride. The Pistons don™t like to double-team even the greatest of superstars. But it is time to swallow their pride because there is a Shaq trait they should be able to exploit to their advantage.
O™Neal picks up his dribble at the first sign of a double team. Or he spins away from the double team and loses his leverage towards the basket. He becomes twisted and confused and his shooting percentage goes down. It is not a foolproof solution to stop Shaq but it is also not the foolish strategy the Pistons have tried.
œIt depends on where he™s at, Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince said. œIf he catches the ball inside the paint area, then there™s pretty much nothing you can do.
But he often catches the ball outside the paint.
When Shaq is spinning and shooting six-foot jump hooks, your chances of survival are better.
When he is rattling the rim as if it is a toy, you are dead and buried.
Jered Weaver’s first Angels start since being called up from Salt Lake was an auspicious one ; 7 IP, 3 its, no runs allowed, 5 K’s, one walk. The bad news is that he’s a dead ringer for his older brother, but I figure Mike Scoscia wouldn’t care if he looked like Dennis Weaver as long he could pitch.
Kendry Morales continued to look sharp during his first week in the majors ; the Cuban 1B had a double, a single and a 3 run HR off Adam Loewen in the 7th inning.
The Astros took a 7-6 lead in the top of the 17th on Willy Tavares’ two-out single, but Mike Gallo wasted no time relinquishing the margin, serving up a meatball to Jose Castillo with the first pitch of the home half of the inning.
(most of the Mike Gallo photos on Google image search are rather plain, so you’ll have to settle for this portrait of Vincent Gallo, instead)
In the bottom of the 18th with Jason Bay on 2nd and none out, Gallo threw a wild pitch while intentionally walking Craig Wilson — about 5 feet over Eric Munson’s head, in fact — moving Bay to 3rd. Moments later, Bay — whose 5th inning 3-run HR gave him 5 round trippers in 5 games — scored on Jose Bautista’s sacrifice fly, but not before creaming Munson on his way home, jarring the ball lose.
There’s no truth to the rumor Michael Barrett was waiting for Bay in the parking lot.
Not only has Matt Cain been doing a tremendous job since being named reviews editor of The Wire, but he’s allowed just one run in his last 14 2/3rds innings of work after holding the Rockies at bay this evening. The Sultan Of Surly was homerless in the Giants’ 4-1 victory over Colorado, but when and if Bonds hits 715, I pledge to interupt whatever I’m watching on Fox so I can diminish the achievment in the privacy of my own home.
After a miserable start by Paul Maholm (5 IP, 5 earned runs, 8 hits, 5 walks) 7 Pittsburgh relievers have combined to pacify the Astros, though by all rights, this one should be over. In the top of the 8th with the bases loaded, Jason Bay failed to haul in a Mike Lamb fly ball to left. While Craig Biggio scored to give Houston a 6-5 lead, Chris Burke was gunned down at the plate. Trouble is, Ryan Doumit tagged Burke with his glove while holding the ball in his bare hand. Home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreath blew the call, tossed Phil Garner, and now we’re stucking watching pretty much every Astros reliever not named Brad Lidge do their best to avoid a 5th straight loss.
(gehrig38, wondering the same thing as everyone else : who gave Mr. Butch the free ticket?)
Curt Schilling collected career win no. 200 earlier today, running his record to 8-2 on the year in Boston’s 8-4 defeat of Tampa Bay. Schilling allowed 4 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings, striking out 7 and walking none. Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon followed for a scoreless 8th and 9th, the latter collecting his 18th save. Kevin Youkilis and Mark “When I Talk To” Loretta combined for 5 hits and 4 runs scored, and the pair are now hitting .324 and .311 respectively.
With Arizona’s 7-0 victory over Cincinnati today, the Reds have now been held scoreless for 21 straight innings, stretching back to Wednesday of this week. The Snakes, for their part, are now 10 games over .500 for the first time since the summer of ’03.
The 24th overall selection in the 1988 NFL Draft, Heyward ran for 2950 yards during his tenure at the University Of Pittsburgh before coming out as junior.
My own memories of Heyward is that he was a dependable 3rd down option early in his career for some teams that we’ll charitably call not-so-great and a big (well, wide) guy who took a lot of punishment. Heyward rushed for 1083 yards while with the Falcons in ’95 and went to the Pro Bowl that season, his finest campaign as a professional.
Once again, as does he virtually every Satuday afternoon, the Human Whoopie Cushion’s understudy demonstrates that “cosmopolitan” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when describing his soccer coverage.
It’s not a done deal yet, but Chelsea’s expected to sign Salomon Kalou to a four- or five-year deal this week. He was formerly with the Dutch team, Feyenrood, but wanted to move on to bigger and better things. I don’t know how it gets any better than being a professional athlete anywhere in the vicinity of Amsterdam, but hey, whatever makes him happy.
First of all, the Dutch club in question is called Feyenoord. And I think I can guess how it might get a little better than being a professional athlete based in South Rotterdam ; being a highly paid professional athlete in the not-altogether-unhappening vicinity of London, the Borough of Chelsea in particular.
Aside from the extra curricular action on offer, I’d even hazard a wild guess that Chelsea are a better bet to win a domestic or European title next season than Feyenoord.
There’s also the not-so-small matter of Feyenoord blasting Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” over De Kuip’s tannoy each time they score. That alone might account for Kalou’s eagerness to move.
3B David Wright, who sat out last night’s 5-1 loss with back spasms, had a pair of doubles, two singles and two runs scored in this afternoon’s Mets win over the Marlins, a game that solidified Tom Glavine’s candidacy to start for the Senior Circuit in the All-Star Game.
It was also a contest that solidified Lou Piniella’s status as one of the most ill-prepared, uninteresting “color” men to have worked a game for Fox or any other broadcaster. Among Lou’s astonishing observations :
a) Tom Glavine doesn’t look 40 years old. (buy that man a pair of binoculars)
b) It’s tough for Joe Girardi to win with young pitching (though getting older is no guarantee of success, as Dontrelle could surely attest).
c) Is it true that no Mets pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter? (yes).
ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas reports the Mets’ inability to help Pedro Martinez win his 6th game of 2006 is pushing their ace towards an earlier retirement. Well, that and his aching foot.
“I’ve sacrificed my life, my good years, to baseball. I want to go home while I still have the energy to spend time with my family,” Martinez told ESPNdeportes.com. Work is good and it dignifies men, but I want to enjoy the fruits of my efforts. I plan to enjoy a nice retirement and a healthy life after baseball.
“I don’t want to leave the game on crutches or in a wheelchair without having dedicated myself to my children and my family,” he added.
“I’ve done a lot in a short period of time, and now my body must pay the price. A lot of people get startled by the fact that I’m 34, but the thing is that in seven years I worked more than 95 percent of the pitchers in MLB,” Martinez said.
“In order to achieve 200 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, you not only need to pitch in 200 games and 1,000 innings, but you must also count your losses, indecisions, and all the work at the bullpen,” said Martinez, who has pitched 2,580 innings in his career.
“I’ll most likely retire after this contract, but it’ll depend on how I’m feeling at the time, and if I’m feeling then like I am now, my Dominican fans and my family wouldn’t forgive me if I don’t retire.”
Between the restraining orders and the narrow minds of the local constabulary, I don’t get to watch nearly as much college softball in person as I’d like. But even with the mere glow of the idiot box as my consolation this weekend, I doubt I will see a pitching performance…nay, two pitching performances as dominant as those supplied by Texas’ Cat Osterman. Last night, Osterman blew away 16 University Of Washington hitters in the Longhorns’ 1-0 Super Regional win. This afternoon, she’s allowed a mere two hits and one run while striking out 8 in her first 4 innings, as Texas holds a commanding 5-1 advantage over the Huskies.
I know what you’re saying — she’s only a few miles per hour faster than Chad Bradford. Regardless, she’s a talismanic figure in her sport, one whose propensity for putting her team on her back on the biggest of stages compares pretty favorably to any collegiate athlete you’d care to cite, even those with allegedly crappy Wonderlic scores.
For example, if Phoenix wins–which could seriously happen–long, lean multi-talents who shoot the long ball and move like deer, who fit the Raja Bell/Leandro Barbosa/Boris Diaw mold, will get an even bigger jump in the upcoming draft then they have already gotten. Some kinds of players that have been out of favor in many NBA quarters–point guards who shoot a lot of threes and create havoc off the dribble (Steve Nash could be good for Stephon Marbury’s career)–could be reconsidered. The Jeff Van Gundys of the world might be tempted to let the Rafer Alstons get a little crazy in the open court once in a while.