Cheer Up, Red Sox – The Squirrel’s Got Your Back

Posted in Baseball, Going To The Zoo at 10:44 am by

The following is probably slim consolation for Boston after being humbled by Chien Mien-Wang yesterday, but it’ll have to do.  The New York Times’ Teddy Kidder considers the implications of a squirrel seen running up and down Yankee Stadium’s right field fole pole Tuesday evening.

Believe it or not, the squirrel™s actions closely resembled those of Ratatosk, or œgnawing tooth, a squirrel in Norse mythology that climbed up and down a tree that represented the world. Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic scholar and poet, recorded the story in his 13th-century work œProse Edda.

As the story goes, Ratatosk carried insults as it traveled to opposite ends of the tree, fueling a rivalry between the evil dragon residing at the bottom of the tree and the eagle perched at the top.

œOh, that™s perfect, said Roberta Frank, a professor of Old Norse and Old English at Yale University, when told of the squirrel™s antics at the stadium.

Frank was born in the Bronx and is a Yankees fan. She said in a telephone interview yesterday that in the Bronx version of this myth, the Yankees would probably represent the eagle and the rival Red Sox would represent the dragon. The Yankees, after all, are the home team this week, more or less making them the good guys. And if there were a sports team identified with an eagle, it has to be the Yankees, who have begun any number of postseason games with a visit from Challenger, the bald eagle who swoops in from center field.

But being the eagle is not such a good thing, Frank noted.

œThe dragon will destroy the world in Norse mythology, she said, adding that the eagle would be on the losing end of a battle that was only made worse by the malicious squirrel.

Country Time’s Dead Arm Confirmed By The Non-Medical Community

Posted in Baseball at 10:01 am by

Phillies 11, Mets 10

On paper, you had to figure a matchup of El Duque versus Kyle Fucking Lohse would favor the visitors, but instead, the Mets would conclude August with their 5th consecutive defeat, and 4th in a row to the surging Phillies. And there’s no way to discount how severely momentum in the NL East has shifted over the past week.

The series at CBP had a serious postseason vibe, but only the hosts showed anything approaching poise. Barring a turnaround over the season’s final month, we might well identify Aaron Rowland’s 45 foot squib from Tuesday as the begining of the end for the ’07 Mets. And while Marlon Anderson’s take-out-that-wasn’t was the pivotal play in Wednesday night’s loss, the following are the grim points to ponder after Thursday’s marathon.

* – At what point does the notion of knocking down Pat Burrell become acceptable to the Flushing Pacifists? Burrell’s pair of homers on Wednesday increased his career total against New York to an inexplicable 41. How thoroughly does Burrell own the Metropolitans? Chipper Jones would like Burrell to adopt his kids.

* – Solely based on this season’s results to date, there’s no way you’d take Jose Reyes ahead of Jimmy Rollins.

* – Given the recent futility of Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman, it’s not totally unexpected that Willie Randolph would summon Billy Wagner as early as the top of the 8th inning. But it’s a pretty desperate scenario when a closer who’s openly professed to having a dead arm is taxed beyond his usual capabilities. While the Mets are hoping Pedro Martinez will represent an improvement in the starting rotation over Brian Lawrence, a miracle recovery from Duaner Sanchez might be of greater need.

Quote of the week award goes to Metsradamus : “You would think that people would know better than to call me fresh after a loss like that. But one call I did take was from Art Howe. He congratulated the team for battling.”

Though I’m fully in agreement with a portion of CSTB’s readership that Majestic’s MLB licensed pullover shirts are an undignified look for a big league skipper, it’s astonishing to think the league would have a security official harass Terry Francona in the middle of a game. And if Tito cites “circulation issues” for a reason why he’s reluctant to wear a full uniform, I’m inclined to take him at his word.


Page 2′s Caple, Persona Non-Grata At The Cask & Flagon

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior, Sports Journalism at 12:03 pm by

Though a Red Sox fan as a younger man, ESPN.com’s Jim Caple says of his fellow rooters, “as soon as the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, Boston fans took on a swaggering persona, acting as if they alone invented sports fandom and behaving as if nothing else in baseball mattered but them.” Even worse, he throws in a reference to “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

No one can stand to be around Red Sox fans anymore. And they’re everywhere — a recent USA Today article labeled the Red Sox baseball’s new biggest attraction. Forget a fence between the U.S. and Mexico. What we really need is a wall, a moat and a minefield around New England to keep the spoiled citizens of Red Sox Nation from sneaking into the rest of the country and taking over seats in major league ballparks that should go to hard-working local fans. Everywhere the Red Sox play these days turns into a road version of Fenway Park, with Boston fans occasionally drowning out the hometown fans with their “Let’s Go Red Sox!” chants. They were so over the top at a recent game in Seattle, I was surprised the Mariners didn’t play “Sweet Caroline.”

Whether this is an inspiring show of team pride by passionate fans or an annoying lack of manners depends on how close you have to actually sit to these people.

They call themselves Red Sox Nation, the same arrogant way the Cowboys call themselves America’s Team. And the whole thing is getting a little old. Could I get a little help here from Miss Teen South Carolina? Where the hell is Red Sox Nation anyway? It seems to me Red Sox Nation only exists when the team is winning, like a country that only shows up on U.S. State Department radar when oil is discovered. Wherever Red Sox Nation is, I just wish Bush would invade it.

Having watched listened to many of Boston’s recent away games in Anaheim and Seattle on the radio — and been left wondering if there were any home fans in attendence judging by the noise each time the Red Sox scored, I think Caple’s got a point. One, however, that Jeff Johnson was a little more successful in making, but just the same, can’t other cities generate a requisite sense of entitlement enthusiasm for their ballclubs?

Is Yi Jianlian China’s Danny Almonte?

Posted in Basketball at 11:12 am by

Milwaukee’s protracted negotiations the Guangdong Tigers concluded yesterday with Yi Jianlian signing his rookie deal, news that should be met with wild enthusiasm at Long Wong’s (œthe World™s greatest Chinese-American sports bar). Before the party gets out of hand, however, the Journal-Sentinal’s Bob Wolfley has questions about Jianlian’s age.

Is Yi 19 years old as FIBA contends? FIBA is the ruling body of international basketball.

Or is he 22, which other sources say he is?

During the teleconference Wednesday from Hong Kong conducted with U.S. reporters, the Bucks were asked a simple question.

How old is Yi?

“He’s listed at 19, isn’t he?” came a comment from the Bucks’ end.

Bucks general manager Larry Harris then answered.

“Well, I would say this,” said Harris. “Obviously FIBA keeps their records and that’s what we go off. He’s listed as 19. It’s been a question that has been out there. But as far as we are concerned, we have to go off the documents that we have. He is 19 years old. Being with him today, he’s a fine young man. That’s what we are going with.”

But others insist Yi was born Oct. 27, 1984, which would make him 22. FIBA lists his birthday as Oct. 27, 1987.

Observers say that Yi’s correct age is listed for him at the Guangdong government social insurance site. That site lists the birth date for a Yi Jianlian as Oct. 27, 1984.

Moreover, a Chinese source e-mailed a reporter a class picture of Yi’s when he graduated from the sixth grade in the No. 3 class of the Xinxiu Elementary School in Shenzhen.

“Kids in China usually start going to school at 7 years old,” said the source. “And they should be at 13 years old by the time they finish the sixth grade, or at least 12 years old if they started when they were 6.

“Unless Yi started elementary school at 3, he can’t be 19 now,” the source said.

Ozzie To White Sox : Stop Killing My Family

Posted in Baseball at 10:14 am by

Tuesday’s 5-4 defeat to the Rangers was the 15th loss in 18 games for Ozzie Guillen’s Chicago White Sox. The resulting postgame meltdown, as documented by the Tribune’s Mark Gonzales, has hopefully been converted to mp3 form.

“Well, they’re killing me,” Guillen said. “They’re killing my family. They’re killing my coaching staff, killing the White Sox fans. They kill the owner. They kill everyone. I hope they feel the same way we feel.”

Guillen sounded as if he ran out of answers.

“You don’t see this today,” Guillen said. “You’ve seen this since April. I keep giving people a chance to succeed, a pat on the back. I wish I played for a manager like that. I swear to God I wish I could have played for a (expletive) manager like that. Every time you fail and keep putting guys out there who fail day in and day out, that’s easy to play.

“A $100 million payroll and those guys don’t show how much they make in the field. Well, Kenny [Williams], I don’t say what he has to do, but we play like this and spend all that money on the club like that, I will shut the payroll and go with Double-A kids if we have to, because it’s not easy. I know those guys go out there and they care about it.”

“I hope somebody out there cares the way we care,” he said. “Good guys or nice guys finish (expletive) last. I’m tired of seeing that (expletive), day in and day out. And I don’t want to spend a miserable September seeing the same (expletive). If I have to see the same (expletive), I told Kenny, ‘Bring somebody up. (Expletive) it.’

“If it’s my fault, I should be moving out of here then. If it’s my fault, (expletive) fire my (expletive) and I’ll be fine. I have the job to do and I get paid a lot of (expletive) money to make this club work, but it’s not easy to work with people like that. It’s not easy.

The Sox failed to hold a lead for Jon Garland in the seventh, and they didn’t score after the fourth and wasted rallies in the ninth and 10th. Guillen is tired of his coaching staff taking the blame.

“Hit and run, it fails,” Guillen said. “Fail to move the guy over with the bases loaded, no outs. Second and third, one out (and don’t score). You keep failing like that, well, Greg Walker doesn’t hit. Ozzie Guillen doesn’t hit. Don Cooper isn’t pitching. Then have fun.”

Give O.G. this much — at least he waited until the very end of August to deny responsibility for his last place club showing no heart.

The Short Memory Of Evan Roberts

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Sports Radio at 9:10 am by

In the aftermath of last night’s events in the Bronx, a certain Red Sox starter has been criticized for his lack of clutchy-tude. As heard this morning on WFAN :

“Let’s see Josh Beckett walk into Yankee Stadium, and pitch like a Cy Young contender. He gave up, what, 13 hits last night? He was not money. Beckett is just not very good against the Yankees.”

A typically strong take from Evan Roberts. Do you think Joe Benigno-Gazingo’s sidekick might be able to identify the orgin and circumstances surrounding the following photograph?

A marriage counselor would have a field day with this one, by the way. And while I hate to take sides, I wholeheartedly encourage abusive husbands throughout the land to blame Kyle Farnsworth for their actions.

Bowtie-Wearing Shitbag’s Roots Uncovered

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups, non-sporting journalism, politics at 12:18 am by

I was trying to remember where I had first encountered Tucker Carlson — other than, y’know, the men’s room at the Port Authority.

And then it hit me. Seems a shame a commentator so talented would have to toil under the pseudonym “Bruce Heffernan”.


Mets Undone By A) Philly Pen, B) Willie Randolph, C) Rulebook

Posted in Baseball at 11:36 pm by

Phillies 3, Mets 2

To coin a phrase from Boston’s epic collapse of 1978, was Wednesday the night a first place team was eliminated from the NL East pennant race?

Only a fuckin’ retard the most cynical of viewers would be unimpressed with the manner in which Philly’s relief corps — helmed by Mr. Anger Management, natch, have rendered the Mets’ bats useless. Who’d have thought an offense as potent as New York’s would emerge from three games in the bandbox conditions of CBP with 6 combined runs?

Not to put the entire result on the shoulders of Jose Reyes  — currently being outclassed (for a few days, anyway) by that preseason mouth-runner Jimmy Rollins — but the Mets SS running his team out of an inning twice in one night is an occasion as rare as a solar eclipse.  Or a thoughtful comment from Brett Myers.
Unless Willie Randolph decides to start pitching El Duque on 2 days’ rest, I’ll resist the Gene Mauch comparisons. But if Shawn Green is so utterly out of the mix, what, pray tell, is the point of pinch-hitting the veteran Tribesman in the 9th inning when Ruben Gotay was an alternative?

As for the play that provoked the photograph above, this is pretty much all you need to know :

Rule 7.09(d) Comment: If the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out, he shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders.

(e) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.

(f) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a batter-runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball, with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead; the umpire shall call the batter-runner out for interference and shall also call out the runner who had advanced closest to the home plate regardless where the double play might have been possible. In no event shall bases be run because of such interference.

Randolph was adament that Marlon Anderson’s foot hit 2nd base on his attempted mauling of Tadahito Iguchi, hence, the play was legit (Carlos Ruiz, put your hand down). And the sad thing is, the unspeedy Green might well have beaten the throw without the benefit of Anderson’s manuever.

The stolen line from the first sentence aside, the Willie’s Mets are still clinging to a 3 game lead, which cannot be said of the Detroit. A 5-0 loss to the K.C. law firm of Greinke, Gobble, Braun and Riske — on a night Andrew Miller couldn’t get out of the first inning — relegated the Tigers to a 4 1/2 game deficit in the AL Central. Cleveland gained a game on the back of C.C. Sabathia’s 15th win, as the Indians beat the Twins and Johan Santana, 4-3.

The Ghost Of Gene Mauch was just on the phone. He thinks Ned Yost oughta try giving Ben Sheets the ball every two days the rest of the way.

More Bad News For Marv Marinovich’s Grand Experiment

Posted in Gridiron, The Law at 6:34 pm by

A music industry professional who shall remain nameless once told me a story about Todd Marinovich hitting on Kim Gordon at a party. Or maybe it was Y.A. Tittle. And while it’s sometimes hard to remember the late night rock gossip, the following sordid tale comes from the Orange County Register’s Jeff Overley :

One-time standout USC quarterback Todd Marinovich faces the latest in a long run of legal troubles after being charged with felony drug possession and resisting a police officer.

Police said Marinovich, 38, ran from officers who tried to stop him about 1:15 a.m. Sunday for skateboarding near the Newport Pier boardwalk, where skateboarding is prohibited.

He was found hiding in a carport about 1:30 a.m., police Sgt. Evan Sailor said. After searching Marinovich, police found about one gram of methamphetamine, a metal spoon and a hypodermic needle, Sailor said.

Marinovich was charged with possession of a controlled substance, which is a felony, as well as unauthorized possession of a hypodermic needle and resisting a police officer, both misdemeanors.

He pleaded not guilty to all three charges during a court appearance today. As of this afternoon, he was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at Orange County Jail.

Shocking stuff — a 38 year old on a skateboard? Besides Graham Coxson, I mean.

On the bright side, however, I summoned every ounce of self control to not utilize the headline, “FUZZ TO RAIDER FLOP : YOU’RE NOT WELCOME IN THE O.C. (BITCH)”.

Peavy’s Complaint – The $400 Baseball Glove

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 6:16 pm by

Allen Maki of the Globe & Mail says of Rawlings’ new top-of-the-line Primo mitt, “If I paid $400 for a baseball glove, I’d want it with Italian leather and a GPS system. I’d want it complete with a CD player and plenty of head space. Come to think of it: it should also come with four wheels and good gas mileage.” Alexander Portnoy could tell Maki a thing or two about varied uses for a baseball glove that no GPS system can match, but perhaps the latter can figure that out during a lonely moment.

According to its stats, the Primo features rich “Italian leather hand-sewn into an advanced three-layer design” that can be broken on to suit various positions ” infield, outfield, bench warmer.

Rawlings notes that the Primo takes two days to make and that only 3,000 models will be constructed this year.

The irony, according to a report in Fortune magazine, is that not one of Rawlings’ big-name major-league clients is willing to wear the Primo in an actual game. Derek Jeter won’t. Alex Rodriguez won’t. Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols won’t.

There are three pitchers using them but one ” Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres ” has asked Rawlings to remake his old glove with Italian leather.

At $400 a pop, maybe Hanley Ramirez should consider wearing one on each hand?