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Monday, August 30, 2004

Cable Internet Is Good 

Sorry about the long time since my last post. Expect frequent posting from now on, since I am a proud new subscriber of cable internet from Adelphia. It's pretty sweet so far. For now, though, I must go to class.

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Friday, August 20, 2004

You Dirty, Dirty Hat 

Cardinals reliever Julian Tavares was ejected from the game today because his hat was too dirty. In the thick layer of grime on Tavares' ballcap, the umpire found what he thought might be pine tar, which is specifically prohibited from being on the person of a pitcher. From the linked article:
First, Tavarez put his arm around home plate umpire Ron Kulpa and suggested the two get a beer after the game. Then he flipped his cap to a fan in the stands behind the dugout on his way off the field.
You better watch your back, Freddy Garcia.

It looks like a dirty hat shakedown is on.

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Who do you think you are, former New Orleans Saints linebacker Pat Swilling?

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The Brushback is Lame 

The whole retaliatory-pitch thing has always struck me as sort of stupid. I mean, the umpire knows you're going to do it, and he's likely to toss your pitcher when he does. And I've never been a big believer in the doctrine of 'proportional response' anyway.

If I were running a baseball team, here's something I'd seriously consider. You get some really big, fast dude who really knows how to fight. Like a failed linebacker or boxer or something. And you make him your "eradicator." He doesn't really play, but anytime the pitcher hits somebody, he instantly comes charging out of the dugout, and he just beats the living crap out of the pitcher before his teammates have a chance to stop him. Any time the pitcher comes a little too close with something, the eradicator is up on the steps screaming murderous expletives at him. I bet that'd get under your skin!

Then, if every team had an eradicator, those lame bench clearing brawls (which usually consist of a bunch of shirt-grabbing and falling over) could be replaced with a no-holds-barred freestyle fight between the eradicators! It could become a serious part of the game. You'd have to be pretty careful about when you used your eradicator, because he'd only be able to attack once a week at the most (they'd really rack up the suspensions).

This may be Ray Lewis's only chance to be a two sport superstar.

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Rainout Rescheduled; M's To Play Doubleheader in... Seattle? 

Last night's rainout in Kansas City has been rescheduled for August 28, when the Royals are due in Seattle for a three-game series. As far as I know, the M's have never played a doubleheader in Seattle, since they've never had a home rainout.

This is very good news for Ichiro's hits record hopes, for two reasons. First and most obviously, he'll get to make up a game that he would have missed due to his concussion suffered Wednesday night, so he'll get a few extra at bats. Second, that the league has rescheduled a rained out game between two teams this far out of contention, at the other team's home park, may indicate that the league is willing to do whatever it takes to give Ichiro every opportunity to get the record. Hopefully the umpires start giving pitchers the squeeze and warning every pitcher that comes an inch off the plate inside against Ichiro.

Tonight at 4:00 against Detroit: Villone vs. Nate Robertson. Robertson shut the M's out for seven innings on May 21 in a 5-0 Tigers win. Ichiro is three for four lifetime against Robertson with three singles.

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

You Have No... Marbles! 

Ryan Franklin needs to grow some balls. In case the rock under which you live doesn't get cable, Ichiro left the game yesterday in the third inning after taking a Jimmy Serrano fastball to the back of the head. Franklin responded by throwing a high hard one that missed Royals shortstop Andres Blanco.

A brushback pitch? Brushback!? Ichiro took a fastball to the head, and the best that the "Pride of Spiro, Oklahoma" could muster was chin music? I know the ordinary decorum of the game calls for avoiding the head in retaliation pitches, but Ryan wasn't protecting Willie Bloomquist or Justin Leone here. A lesson needed to be taught yesterday and it wasn't. Just like the entire NHL knew to never, never take a shot at Wayne Gretzky for fear of the consequences, the American League needs to know that if they take out Ichiro, one of their guys is going down, and it will hurt. And not a rookie like Andres Blanco. A veteran like Joe Randa or Ken Harvey needs to be the target. And a brawl might ensue. But it has to happen.

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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Rare 1988 Topps Insert Card 

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I'm So Torn Right Now 

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Does this change your Edgar Martinez Hall of Fame vote?

(photo courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, taken by Dan DeLong)

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SA and CSPAN leaders have been updated on the left sidebar.

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Rickey To Hang 'Em Up? 

One-time Mariner Rickey Henderson is now saying that he'll retire if he's not invited to a Major League training camp next spring. Henderson batted .238/.362/.327/.689 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS) with 31 steals in 40 attempts for the M's. Like a lot of people, I wasn't a Rickey fan until I saw him play regularly. Even when he wasn't hitting well, he still brought something to the table and could still create runs with his baserunning.

It looks like, barring a miracle, another one of my "In The Big Leagues For As Long As I Was Old Enough To Remember" Players will be gone for good.

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Friday, August 13, 2004

Ichiro and Records 

As you probably are aware, Ichiro recently surpassed Pie Traynor's record for most hits in a player's first four big league seasons. I was wondering, and thought you might have been too, what the record is for most hits in any four consecutive seasons. Checking the players on the all-time, single-season hits leaderboard, I'm about 80% sure that the record belongs to George Sisler, who had a string of four seasons in which he amassed 913 hits. Incidentally, I'm only 80% sure that Sisler holds the record because I did my research in about five minute at 5:30 this morning before work.

Ichiro currently has 843 hits in 3 seasons and 114 games, so he needs 70 hits in the Mariners' next 48 games, an average of 1.46 per game. So far this year, Ichiro is averaging 1.59 hits per game, so he's on pace to do it. Oh, and if he keeps that 1.59 pace, he'll end up with 257 hits, tying Sisler's single-season record. Why aren't the national media talking about this more?

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Highlights of Tuesday's Game 

Some quick hits about what I saw from my vantage point at Tuesday's game:

** Warren Moon was in attendance, sitting about twenty-eight rows in front of me (I was in Row 29, he was in Row 1). When he walked past us, the former UW quarterback was greeted with a heartfelt "Huskies suck!," a comment that received an equal mix of moderate chuckling and scornful looks from those fans seated in my vicinity. True to the purple and gold, Moon arrived fashionably late and left fashionably early.

** Gil Meche was dealing that night. When he wasn't blowing his fastball by hitters, his off-speed stuff had them flailing weakly. He gave up only two hits, solo homers to one of the Coreys (this time it was Koskie, not Haim or Feldman) and a pinch-hitting Lew Ford.

** Koskie looked pretty shaky at third base. He made about four plays over the course of the game, and in each one it looked like he was just barely managing to get a glove on the ball, rather than smoothly scooping it up and easily firing the ball to first base. It almost looked like he was having trouble seeing the ball or something. Very Spiezio-like.

** To the girl seated in section 120, row 29, seat 3: My email address is listed to the right.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Goin' To The Ballgame! 

I just got a last-minute invite to tonight's game against the Twins. If you want to say hi, I'll be near first base, in section 120, row 29, seat 2. I'll be the only guy in the section wearing a Royals hat, so you can't miss me. First game after the announcement should be quite the Edgar love-fest, and I can't wait to show my respect.

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Monday, August 09, 2004

'Gar Announces Retirement At Season's End; Is He Hall Worthy? 

Yes.

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There's a winner in yesterday's inaugural "Name That Box Score" game. Jamesy correctly identified the box score as Ken Griffey Jr.'s Major League debut. Also, Farmer Brown pointed out that the April 3, 1989 game was Omar Vizquel's debut, which I hadn't considered but is nonetheless true and significant.

BTW -- I'm writing this while on hold with the Washington State University Office of Financial Aid. Maybe I'll tidy up the kitchen next.

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Sunday, August 08, 2004

New Game At Sox-1918: Name That Box Score! 

I've got an idea to pass the time during this so-far horrendous 2004 Seattle Mariners season. I'll post a box score from the past, including all the information except for the date of the game, and you, the reader, get to guess what makes that particular game historically significant. If you think you know the answer, you can leave a comment below. Here's one to get you started (boxscore courtesy of Retrosheet:


Oakland Athletics 3, Seattle Mariners 2

SEA 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 - 2 5 1
OAK 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 x - 3 6 1


BATTING

Seattle Mariners AB R H RBI BB K PO A
Reynolds 2b 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 2
Griffey cf 3 1 1 0 1 0 5 0
Davis 1b 4 0 0 0 0 1 13 0
Coles rf 4 0 1 1 0 2 1 0
Leonard dh 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 0
Briley lf 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 0
Valle c 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 1
Martinez 3b 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 5
Vizquel ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
Langston p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 32 2 5 2 2 6 24 13

FIELDING -
DP: 1.
E: Vizquel (1).

BATTING -
2B: Griffey (1,off Stewart).


Oakland Athletics AB R H RBI BB K PO A
Phillips lf 4 1 1 0 0 0 3 0
D. Henderson cf 3 0 1 0 0 0 5 0
Lansford 3b 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 1
McGwire 1b 3 1 2 3 0 0 3 0
Steinbach c 2 0 0 0 1 0 6 0
Parker dh 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hubbard 2b 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Javier rf 3 0 1 0 0 2 6 0
Weiss ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Stewart p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nelson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Honeycutt p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Eckersley p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 28 3 6 3 1 2 27 5

FIELDING -
DP: 1.
E: Hubbard (1).

BATTING -
2B: Phillips (1,off Langston).
HR: McGwire (1,3rd inning off Langston 1 on, 1 out).
SF: McGwire (1,off Langston).
HBP: D. Henderson (1,by Langston).

BASERUNNING -
SB: Javier (1,2nd base off Langston/Valle).


PITCHING

Seattle Mariners IP H HR R ER BB K
Langston L(0-1) 8 6 1 3 3 1 2

Oakland Athletics IP H HR R ER BB K
Stewart W(1-0) 5.1 4 0 2 1 2 2
Nelson 1.2 1 0 0 0 0 2
Honeycutt 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 1
Eckersley SV(1) 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 9.0 5 0 2 1 2 6

HBP: Langston (1,D. Henderson).

Umpires: Al Clark, Rick Reed, Mark Johnson, Dale Scott

Time of Game: 2:19 Attendance: 46163


If you think you know the significance of the above game, please leave a comment below. The winner shall receive public praise.

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The Crafty Lefty Strikes Again 

Bill Kreuger, A.K.A. "The Crafty Lefty," has been filling in for the regular color men (Ron Fairly, Dave Henderson, et al.) on the Mariner TV broadcasts lately, and has been doing a wonderful job so far. Today he struck early with a gem. After reading the M's starting lineup:

RF Ichiro
CF Winn
2B Boone
DH Jacobsen
SS Lopez
1B Spiezio
C Wilson
3B Leone
LF Bloomquist

Kreuger could be heard muttering, live, "Uhh, that's gotta be a misprint."

I hope they keep him around for a while.

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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Walk-Up Tunes Around The League 

Mike Thompson at the P-I Blog linked an article on ESPN.com listing the music requested by different players around baseball when they come to bat. My favorite selection was that of Pat Burrell of the Phillies: Holy Diver by Dio.

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Friday, August 06, 2004

Walk Off... Obstruction? 

In case you missed it tonight, the Mariners invented a brand new way to lose, this time on walk-off obstruction. On a fly ball to left fielder Raul Ibanez and with the speedy Tampa baserunner Carl Crawford on third base, Mariner shortstop Jose Lopez was, in the umpire's view, deliberately standing in front of Crawford in a way that interfered with Crawford's view of Ibanez and thereby impeded Crawford's ability to score the winning run on a sacrifice fly. Crawford was awarded home plate by the umpire, and as a result of the play the Devil Rays won, 2-1, in ten innings.

Lopez's ploy was not exactly in good sportsmanship, but was it against the rules? According to the Official Rules of Major League Baseball, rule 2.00, obstruction is defined as follows:
OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered "in the act of fielding a ball." It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the "act of fielding" the ball. For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.
The first sentence is the key here: OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. According to the rules, no significance is placed on the obstructing player's intent, but just on his effect on the baserunner's progress.

Since Crawford, in the end, could evidently see Ibanez catch the ball, and since he didn't attempt to score on his own (he took a couple of steps toward home plate, then retreated back to third after seeing Ibanez's throw), I don't believe that he was obstructed by Lopez. What Jose Lopez tried tonight in the bottom of the tenth inning was certainly bush league, but I disagree that he was guilty of obstruction, I don't think he should have been charges with an error on the play (he was), and I don't think the winning run should have been awarded as a result of his actions.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

This is So Strange 

Friday night, I had a dream that the Cubs got Nomar (which really isn't that strange, considering how much time I've spent thinking about the Cubs getting Nomar), and I woke up totally heartbroken. It was never really going to happen. Epstein couldn't be that desperate to dump him, and Hendry just wasn't going to trade away anyone worthy of one of the five best shortstops ever.

I was right about the second part.

I was at the game on Saturday. It was a typical Cubs loss--the pitching did it's job, and the defense and offense didn't, and we sputtered to another unnecessary 4-3 defeat. I, and probably everybody else at Wrigley, spent most of the game telling myself that I needed to stop thinking about Nomar--that we really shouldn't need him anyway, with the game's best pitching and one of the most power-packed lineups in the NL. My buddy was checking the MLB headlines on his blackberry every ten minutes, and every time it was, "Anything?" "No, nothing." Not even Cabrera.

The deadline passed, the Cubs lost, and I started thinking about who might make it through wavers--which didn't improve my mood.

I, like so many Cubs fans, was enjoying an oat soda at a neaby bar when the news started to spread. At first, I refused to believe it. Then, as the rumors intensified, I found myself arguing with the incompetant boob flipping though the channels behind the bar (ESPN Classic... VHI... ESPN Classic... Fishing... VHI... ESPN Classic...

When we finally saw it (Cubs acquire SS Nomar Garciaparra--bar explodes into cheers...For SS Alex Gonzalez and prospects--bar explodes again), I felt like I was having one of those dreams you'd have in Junior High, where you're all of a sudden dating the most popular girl in school for no particular reason. It was that kind of happiness. It hasn't gone away. I don't know what else to say about it.

As the details emerged, it kept getting less believable. At first, the rumor was that Angel Guzman was going to the Expos--nobody cared. Too bad for him, but nobody really cared. We've got other guys waiting for Greg Maddux to retire. Then it comes out that it's Beltran and Harris. Beltran and Harris? And they're paying Gonzo? And we get cash??? What the fuck is going on here? But it was all true. I'm getting teary eyed just thinking about it.

Now, being a bit more objective, I think both prospects will be good major leaguers. I liked both of them, and I sort of hoped Harris would be the Cubs second baseman next year (They have to save money somewhere, right?). But Beltran is looking more like a solid middle-reliever than the future closer the Cubs hoped he'd be, and Harris has never really excelled at any aspect of the game.

I felt genuinely sad for Gonzo. What a shitty day that must have been for him... I'm sure it doesn't make him feel any better that he (not the notorious Bartman) totally blew it for us last year. Oh well! See you in Cooperstown, Alex! Oh, wait, I'm thinking of the new guy...bye.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about the trade is that it stands as proof that the ownership is really serious this time. They've got faith in Hendry, and they haven't misplaced that faith.

Go Cubs go.

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A-Rod and Olerud Reunite! 

Isn't this just wonderful? Boy, I hope they lead the rag-tag Yankees to a surprise post-season berth!

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