Fenway Welcomes Pedro…

Posted in Baseball at 12:42 am by

Red Sox 10, Mets 2

….and they’ll gladly have him back, whenever he can make it.

What looked like a pretty capable road team a few days ago has now allowed 19 runs in 18 innings since hitting Kenmore Square. While I like the odds of Tom Glavine putting on his Stopper Suit tomorrow night, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff suggests Pedro Martinez should be very grateful that facing the cream of the AL crop is rare occasion.

Chew on these numbers, entering last night: The Dodgers led the National League with a .281 batting average; five AL teams, including the Red Sox (.288), were better. The Dodgers’ .355 on-base percentage topped the senior circuit, and three AL clubs, including Boston (.371), topped that. The Mets’ .461 slugging percentage paced the NL, while two AL teams bettered it and the Tigers matched it. The Red Sox trailed here, barely, at .457.

This stretch of interleague play, with the Tigers, White Sox, Twins and Mariners joining the Red Sox as NL dominators, has exemplified how difficult life can be for pitchers trying to tame those lineups.

Last night’s winning pitcher, Josh Beckett, has defied the odds in successfully converting from the NL to the AL. Said Beckett, now a 10-game winner, of his new league: “It really makes a difference not having the ninth hole. A lot of National League teams have guys that do something specific well. In the American League, it’s one through nine. You get really good hitters.”

Enter Pedro, who, previously this season, dominated a thinned-out Yankees lineup on May 20 (Miguel Cairo started in leftfield and hit sixth) and lost to the Orioles June 17 with a respectable outing. One certainly can’t contend that Martinez would stink if he remained in the AL. But certainly, he has much more room for error against your standard NL lineup.

For the second night in a row, Lastings Milledge had great difficultly in left field. In the rookie’s defense, the warning track is murder on high heels.

The Red Sox have now gone 15 games without an error. You don’t have to be very old to recall Boston teams that couldn’t go 15 innings without an error.

Mets OF Cliff Floyd will instantly become the most accomplished active player to take the field at Coney Island’s Keystone Park tomorrow night when he begins a rehab assignment with the Brooklyn Cyclones (link courtesy Jesper Eklow). The Mets’ NY-Penn League affiliate finally won their first game of 2006 season on Wednesday beating Hudson Valley, 4-0. Starter Jeramy Simmons (above) struck out 7 and allowed just 3 hits over 5 innings.

Incredibly, the Mets’ lead in the NL East increased Wednesday, as the slip sliding-away Phillies dropped a twinbill to the Orioles. Even before this latest indignity, the Philadelphia Daily News’ Stan Hochman raised the spectre of —- who else? — Dallas Green offering his two cents on the state of the ballclub.

“Twelfth inning Monday. Ball hit to leftfield. [Shane Victorino] bobbles it and then throws home. That was the tying run that scored. Meanwhile, the winning run goes to second. That can’t happen.”

It happened. Writers would have found the wallpaper peeling after the game. It wasn’t all whips and chains with Green, though. There was the occasional pat on the back. Perhaps that’s something Bobby Abreu could use about now.

“Charlie has tried,” Green says. “I’m a Bobby Abreu fan. I know defensively he’s gone downhill lately. But I know what he brings to the table offensively, the homers, the on-base percentage. I guess everybody wants him to be a superstar. In his mind, he could care less about that status.”

And along came Bowa to muddy the waters. Had a long talk with Abreu when the Yankees were in town. Shared some of that conversation on a WFAN talk show. Said Abreu said a change of scenery could help a player. That sounds like tampering to some. The Phillies looked the other way. “With the way we’re playing and the Brett Myers stuff,” Green says, “the Bowa thing isn’t gonna get any attention.”


NBA Draftyness Continued…

Posted in Basketball at 10:08 pm by

28) Dallas, Maurice Ager, SG, Michigan State

29) New York, Mardy Collins, PG, Temple
30) Portland, Joel Freeland, PF, Gran Canaria
31) Portland, James White, SG, Cincinnati (highest pick ever for a former Ze recording artist)
32) Houston, Steve Novak, SF, Marquette
33) Atlanta, Solomon Jones, C, S. Florida
34) Clippers, Paul Davis, C, Michigan State
35) Toronto, P.J. Tucker, SF, Texas
36) Minnesota, Craig Smith, PF, Boston College
37) Minnesota, Bobby Jones, SF, Washington
38) Golden State, Kosta Perovic, C, Partizan Belgrade
39) Milwaukee, David Noel, SF, North Carolina
40) Seattle, Denham Brown, SG, UConn
41) Orlando, James Augustine, PF, Illinois

ClipperBlog’s Kevin on the Knicks’ 20th pick, Renaldo Balkman :

Both Justin (who had to go up to the Egyptian for some function) and I saw Renaldo Balkman live at the Great Alaska Shootout last Thanksgiving weekend. Balkman had a nice game against Marquette, but seemed to find himself out of position on the floor constantly — which is a product of not having a position. He turned the ball over eight times against eight assists and was in foul trouble throughout the invitational. It’s a lousy pick for the Knicks who, unless they’re wed to Nate Robinson, could’ve used Marcus Williams. Watching Balkman for a full week from the fifth row in Anchorage, there was nothing that screamed NBA career, even thought he shot at a high percentage against the likes of Alaska-Anchorage and Monmouth.

Spalding has introduced a new, official composite ball for NBA useage. Aside from giving Will Leitch the excuse to use the line “You’re Not With Me, Leather”, the Association’s Brett Edwards might not be purchasing one in the near future.

The features of the new ball include “a new design and a new material that together offer better grip, feel, and consistency than the current leather ball,” as well as “moisture management that provides superior grip and feel throughout the course of a game.”

Whatever. Funniest part of the press release is where they assure us that the ball has been tested thoroughly, by using it in All Star Weekend activities, and the fact that “NBA retired players Steve Kerr and Mark Jackson participated in testing the new ball as well.”

Oh good, with Mark Jackson testing it we can see how the ball will perform when handled by an overweight point guard who makes crosses to praise God during game play, and with Kerr testing it we know that the ball handles well when used by a slow white guy who can’t dribble and just jacks up 3s. Hell, if that was the criteria, they might as well have had me test it.

Of the Sonics’ selection at no. 10 overall, Saer Sene, Supersonic Soul’s Paul Merrill writes,

Wait a minute, didn’t we already draft this guy? Like four times? I guess you can never have too many 7-foot “projects” that no one has ever heard of.

Raptorblog’s Scott Carefoot sounds like he’s ready to check out one of the CBC’s many entertaining Wednesday night offerings :

Russ Granik comes out to announce the second round of the draft for the last time. He always reminded me of the stripper that comes on stage after the feature dancer and right when last call is announced. I’ve always kind of felt a little sorry for him.

Take A Good Long Look, Isiah

Posted in Basketball at 8:52 pm by

The gentleman on the right is LaMarcus Aldridge, the highest draft pick in Texas Longhorns history. Barring a mooted swap with Portland, he’ll be suiting up for the Bulls next Autumn. Eddy Curry, however, is all yours! Nice work.

(ADDENDUM – Portland steps up to get Aldridge, Chicago has the rights to Tyrus Thomas, plus the Bulls acquire Viktor Kyrapa as part of the deal.)
Your draft results thus far :
1) Toronto – Andrea Bargnani, F, Benetton Treviso
2) Chicago – LaMarcus Aldridge, F, Texas (rights traded to Portland)
3) Charlotte – Adam Morrison, F, Gonzaga (highest Gonzaga player selected since John Stockton)
4) Portland – Tyrus Thomas, F, LSU (supposedly grew 8 inches between his sophmore and senior years of high school — imagine how tall he’d be had he never graduated!…negotiating rights held by Chicago in exchange for Aldridge)
5) Atlanta – Shelden Williams, F, Duke
6) Minnesota – Brandon Roy, G, Washington (traded to Portland)
7) Boston – Randy Foye, G, Villanova (traded to Minnesota via Portland)
8) Houston – Rudy Gay, F, UConn (rumors of a trade to Memphis flying around)
9) Golden State – Patrick O’Bryant, C, Bradley (a smart move — a team full of perimeter threats that sorely needs an inside presence, one they aren’t likely to get from Adonal Foyle)
10) Seattle – Saer Sene, F, Senegal (lots of talk about a 7’8″ wingspan, but I am assuming he has arms rather than wings)
11) Orlando – J.J. Redick, G, Duke (I’ll drink to that!)
12) New Orleans – Hilton Armstrong, C, UConn
13) Philadelphia – Thabo Sefolosha, G, Angelico Biella
14) Utah – Ronnie Brewer, G, Arkansas
15) New Orleans – Cedric Simmons, F, NC State
16) Chicago – Rodney Carney, F, Memphis
17) Indiana – Shawne Williams, F, Memphis (groans are heard in the Knicks war room, and not merely because J.D. is tuning his guitar)
18) Washington – Olexisy Pecherov, PF, Paris Basket Racing
19) Sacramento – Quincy Douby, SG, Rutgers
20) New York – Renaldo Balkman, F, South Carolina (the crowd is booing, presumably they know that Isiah has not drafted Ronaldo Blackman. Balkman hasn’t turned up, perhaps warned that he might have to attend a J.D. & The Straightshot gig after the draft. Stephen A. is “almost speechless”, the key word being “almost”.
21) Phoenix – Rajon Rondo, PG, Kentucky
22) New Jersey – Marcus Williams, PG, UConn (amazing, the Nets have not attempted to trade the 22nd and 23rd picks)
23) New Jersey – Josh Boone, C, UConn (shot-blocking demon, has also chosen to skip this beauty pageant. I like him already!)
24) Memphis – Kyle Lowry, PG, Villanova
25) Cleveland – Shannon Brown, SG, Michigan State

26) Los Angeles – Jordan Farmar Superstar (above, left), PG, UCLA
27) Phoenix – Sergio Rodriguez, G, Adecco Estudiantes

(UPDATE : Houston have completed the deal, sending Rudy Gay and Stomile Swift to Memphis in exchange for Shane Battier).

(UPDATE II : Philly and Chicago have swapped the rights to Sefolosha and Carney)

(UPDATE III : Boston are sending Randy Foye, Dan Dickau and Raef LaFrentz to Portland in exchange for Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and a 2008 2nd round pick).

Meet The (Crossdressing) Mets

Posted in Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?, Baseball at 5:44 pm by

Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful.

swiped from the Daily News’ Adam Rubin.

A-Rod Goes Boom, Sterling Strikes Again

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 5:05 pm by

Yankees 4, Braves 3 (12 innings)

I hate to repeat myself, but sometimes I’m left with no choice.

Dear Mr. Sterling,

Your frequent outpourings of emotion on behalf of your employer are neither unexpected or without precedent in your chosen field. That said, repeated references to home runs hit by Alex Rodriguez as “an A-Bomb by A-Rod” only serve to diminish the suffering and devestation experienced by those who were victims of a genuine atomic blast.

I do hope you’ll take this into future consideration.

Thank you.

A Loyal Listener.

Other than that, Suzyn Waldman’s postgame wrap was unusually informative, in that we’ve learned John Smoltz “still has the groin.” Were he functioning without one, then, I think Suzyn would really have a story.

Ben Schwartz On The Cubs, The Tribune Co. And Obscure Art Films

Posted in Baseball at 2:23 pm by

Ben writes,

The Tribune has declared it’s own ‘buyback’ program of its stock a major success, and despite the urging of major shareholders in LA (who most likely have been taking their financial advice from my posts here) to sell the Cubs, the Trib has chosen to keep them and base it’s new financial structure on pissing me off. As far as buyback plans go, I just finished watching Batman Begins in which Bruce Wayne pulls the same move on his own corrupt company and it proved devastatingly effective. I advise anyone wanting more info on money matters to watch this movie.

As far as the Trib™s most profitable product this year, the Cubs are currently downsizing their win column with another losing streak. What™s news is that Jim Hendry is now refusing to say whether or not Dusty Baker will be managing the second half of the season. And like other Republican organizations these days, Hendry and the Trib Co. refuse to use a timetable.

Today at Wrigley, Carlos Marmol has held the Brewers scoreless through 4, as the Cubs lead, 1-0, courtesy of a Juan Pierre solo HR off Dave Bush in the 3rd.

MLB’s Hallion Auditions For FIFA Gig

Posted in Baseball, Hockey at 2:11 pm by

A hotly disputed (OK, blown fair or foul call by umpire Tom Hallion in Texas’ 5-3 loss to San Francisco last night sticks in the craw of the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Jan Hubbard.

If the Rangers miss the playoffs by one game, or lose the division title by one game, they will look back at the night of June 27 with even more anger than they felt Tuesday.

If it’s any consolation, Texas will probably miss playoffs by more than one game.

SportsTicker is reporting the NHL’s Rangers and Islanders are in negotiations to play a January 1, 2007 game at Yankee Stadium.  I guess it’s never too cold outside to boo A-Rod.

Chien-Ming Wang and John Smoltz are currently dueling at the Stadium, with the Braves holding a 2-1 advantage in the top of the 7th.  Following a nifty Andy Phillips scoop of a low Derek Jeter throw from deep in the hole between 3rd and short, Gary Thorne and Buck Martinez praised Jeter….for thanking Philips.

“So many professional athletes today,” intoned Thorne, “…I’m thinking of the NBA in particular, because it drives me nuts…guys make great passes, great assists….never acknowledged.  A guy goes in, slams it, never points to the guy who set him up, there’s no ‘hey, nice play, I appreciate it.’…it’s part of being a good teammate.”

Indeed, the next time someone argues that Jeter is a sucky shortstop, just quote Gary Thorne and cite the Captain’s sense of etiquette.

Johan Santana has allowed pair of doubles and one walk this afternoon against the Dodgers, as the Twins lead, 6-0. Joe Mauer has a pair of hits (single, double, one RBI) and his batting average stands at a ridiculous .392.  That said, Minnesota are unlikely to gain ground on the AL Central-leading Tigers, who are currently up, 5-0 over the Astros after 7 innings. Closing in on his 10th win, Justin Verlander has struck out 7 and given up just a pair of singles and a Jason Lane double.

D’Alessandro’s Mock Draft

Posted in Basketball at 12:23 pm by

From the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro…and I’m only listing 1-5, read the rest yourself.

1. Toronto, LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas : Most refined big in the field, but a deal remains very possible.

2. Chicago, Tyrus Thomas, LSU : Bulls’ chance to get bigger, tougher and upwardly mobile.

3. Charlotte, Rudy Gay (above), UConn : Perfect fit with young frontcourt; may be the best player in draft.

4. Portland, Adam Morrison, Gonzaga : No way he gets past this point. Wait ’til they find out he can’t defend.

5. Atlanta, Shelden Williams, Duke : Another year goes by without a point guard. Adds muscle, though.

With all due respect to D’Allessandro, I’m pretty sure the Blazers know about Morrison’s D. But I still suspect they’ll grab him if he’s available.

D’Alessandro has Bragnanni slipping all the way to the Rockets at no. 8, and predicts the Spartans’ Shannon Brown and ‘Nova’s Kyle Lowry will still be around when the Nets make their picks at 22 and 23.

On behalf of all white basketball players with tremendous flair and a crap work ethic, I’d like to nominate Basketbawful for sensitivity training.

In the event, however unlikely, that Phoenix sends Shawn Marion and their no. 21 pick to Seattle for Rashard Lewis, Danny Fortson and the no. 10 pick, here’s something for Suns fans to remember Shawn by :

The Morning Journal’s Bob Finnan pours cold water on the first round pretensions of Texas’ Daniel Gibson.

One NBA source said he’d be shocked if the Cavaliers took Texas point guard Daniel Gibson with th 25th pick.

”He’s not a first-rounder in anyone’s mind,”
the source said. ”There was some question whether he was going to stay in the draft. The world could be wrong and the Cavs could be right. Maybe the rest of the league is missing the boat?

”If you get a player of any ilk in this draft, you’re OK. Gibson (above) is barely 6-foot-1. That would be really out of the box.”

If Gibson was picked with the Cavaliers’ 42nd overall pick, that would make more sense.

Sell The Knicks.com Has Your Wednesday Afternoon & Evening All Planned

Posted in Basketball at 11:47 am by

Don’t these folks have anything better to do than harrass a struggling musician?

(J.D., Joey Welz was just on the phone. He wants his persona back)

While the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett portrays the Celtics in hot pursuit of Allen Iverson and Sebastain Telfair (the latter being obtained from Portland in exchange for tonight’s no. 7 overall pick and Dan Dickau), the Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith has Charlotte and Memphis both in the mix for A.I.

The Washington Post’s Ivan Carter hints the Wizards — sitting on the 18th and 48th picks, might be interested in Milwaukee’s Jamal Magliore.  The Bucks will enter this evening’s festivities without a first round selection.

There’s no truth to the rumor the above video was compiled and uploaded by someone with a stake in Andrea Bargnani or Tyrus Thomas being picked no.1 by Toronto.

Because You Don’t Hear The Word “Geico” Nearly Often Enough

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio, The Marketplace at 11:16 am by

Amazing no one has thought of this previously. From the Boston Globe’s Sasha Talcott.

The owner of radio stations WEEI and WRKO, fresh from signing one of Major League Baseball’s most expensive radio rights deals, has found a way to get some money back: selling naming rights to the Red Sox radio network.

“We’ll be right back on the WEEI/WRKO (Your Company Name) Red Sox Radio Network,” proclaims promotional material for the deal. Entercom Communications Corp., parent of the two stations, plans to mail out requests for proposals to 25 top advertisers this week to gauge their interest in the five-year agreement.

The asking price: several million dollars a year.

The naming rights sale comes shortly after Entercom won a contentious bidding process for the right to air Red Sox games. Under the company’s new rights deal, estimated to cost about $13 million to $14 million a year, games will be split between WRKO and WEEI starting next season. The idea to sell naming rights came from the Sox during negotiations, said Kahn, the Entercom executive.

Entercom executives are promoting the deal as the last big naming rights opportunity in Boston sports. The Patriots’ home, Gillette Stadium, already has a name, while the Celtics’ and Bruins’ arena was recently renamed TD Banknorth Garden.

“We really believe this is an ocean front real estate opportunity,” Kahn said.