Tuesday, July 12, 2005All-Star Gibberish...
Ok, it's 8:08, I expect the first pitch at 8:52.
Jeannie Zalesko is hitting a solid '7' on the "trailer trash" hairdo scale. Alledgedly she's pregnant, but I contend she was never attractive to begin with.
My predictions on the game:
NL - 001 001 100 -- 3--7--0
AL - 001 021 01x -- 5-10-1
LP: L. Hernandez
HR: Teixeria (AL), Pujols (NL).
MVP: Teixeria, 2-3, 2B, HR, 3RBIs
-- On to the game. Here's proof that baseball is going through a star power transition. Just 17 years ago the opening matchup was Dwight Gooden vs. Ricky Henderson. Hell four years ago it was Randy Johnson vs. Ichiro....Now Mark Buerhle vs. Bobby Abreu. Abreu wins it with a nice single to right.
-- Carlos "Cha-Ching" Beltran is up with a runner on. I think he's batting .140 with runners on base for the Mets this year. And no surprise, he grounds into a double play.
-- Two of the first three batters Buerhle faces get on base and there's no Beltran to save him in the four hole (can you tell I'm bitter?). However he blows one past Derrek Lee to end the first.
-- The other super-exciting starting pitcher, Chris Carpenter, also gets into trouble the first inning, but survives thanks to a double play led by David Eckstein.
-- BTW, the fact that Eckstein and Felipe Lopez are the shortstops for the NL tells me this is the worst year for shortstops around. Nothing against either guy but what kid will have memories of going to the All-Star game that Felipe Lopez played in?
-- Not surprisingly, La Russa sees that Carpenter could get lit up in the second inning and has John Smoltz warming up.
-- Now Mike Piazza is up with a runner on base. I guess this game was designed to expose the Mets' futile hitting with runners on. And he strikes out. Buerhle actually struck out three in a strong two-inning performance.
-- Smoltz enters the game and gets absolutely LIT by Miguel Tejada. Damn that ball landed in Lansing somewhere. 1-0 for the Designated League.
-- Ok, Bartolo Colon's pickoff move to first was dumb for two reasons:
a) Beltran doesn't run anymore so I doubt the Mets will let Mr. $119M run in an All-Star game.
b) His throw sucked.
Nonetheless he survived the inning.
-- Roy Oswalt gets the joy of going through the Red Sox/Yankees part of the AL lineup and gives up a hit to Johnny Damon, walk to A-Rod, ridiculously hard RBI single to David Ortiz and blows a heater past Manny Ramirez. Oswalt's line for his inning: 2 hits, 1 walk, two runs allowed. And the Designated League takes a 3-0 lead.
-- Livan Hernandez comes in to take his beating, which is another two-run inning for the designated ones. Surprisingly Hernandez makes the first successful pick-off of the night, catching Ichiro leaning too far.
-- The question is simple: Will the NL score? Tony La Russa once again gets outmanaged terribly by Terry Francona. I ask again, what makes La Russa such a great manager? He's not even on the level of Bobby Cox.
-- Roger Clemens finally stops the bleeding for the Naturals. I'm assuming he'll only go that one inning although he could probably go three if necessary.
-- Ha Texieria hits a homer! I called it! I called it! I called it! Yeak, I'm really looking for entertaining ways to keep this blowout interesting. D-Train has had a terrible inning so far with two walks and a homer.
-- BTW Zelasko should be in hell for cutting off Ernie Harwell.
-- Kenny Rogers is just a miserable guy. I mean he makes Barry Bonds look like Derek Jeter.
-- Speaking of the gambler he gets greeted with a single from Luis Castillo.
-- HOLY SHIT!!! Andruw Jones just hit that ball to the Kootenays. The Naturals finally get on the board, and against Rogers no less.
-- And another single! Rally Rally Rally!! Nope, double play. Damn, I wanted to see Rogers sweat.
-- One inning left of another underwhelming All-Star game. You know for as much as we bitch about the game in Milwaukee, at least it was close throughout. Bob Wickman will get the call for now, but I'm sure Mariano Rivera will stay warm just in case. It's 7-3 Designated since the Naturals scratched across another run in the 8th inning.
-- One walk and there goes Bob Wickman as Francona decides to clear the bench....I don't know if I'd do that.
Wickman's line 0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 ER (thanks B.J. Ryan), 0 SO, 1 BB, 5 NP. Something tells me he had enough for another batter.
-- B.J. Ryan comes in and Luis Gonzalez rips a double on the first pitch. Jones comes around to score. LoDuca ruins the good karma, however, with a check-swing dribbler. Carlos Lee gets an RBI ground out and Francona will turn to the hammer of god.
Ryan's line 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 SO, 0 BB, 3 NP. I think he had enough for another batter too.
-- Oh it's pouring rain too.
-- Rivera lays down the hammer and makes Morgan Ensberg look like a child in the process. Chalk up another for the Designated League as they have won 9 of the last 10.
Rivera's line (I dig this) 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 SO, 0 BB, 4 NP. And for his work he gets a save.
I was close on my predictions, a little more offense than what I expected, but a well-played game nonetheless. I'll be back on Tuesday after a week in Las Vegas watching Hopkins-Taylor. Enjoy!
ESPN Goes Under the Knife...
The ombudsman doesn't care about agendas, just content and presenting that content in its most appropriate form.
ESPN finally has one and it is George Solomon, one of the more highly respected journalism figures in the business. He used to be the sports chief at the Washington Post and he's also taught at the University of Maryland.
His job is to critique the programming of the network. The good is that his column will be publicly released, the bad is that no one has to (and no one probably will) heed his advice. So if he tells Stuart Scott to tone is down, Stu can just say "Thanks, I'll take that into consideration" and brush him off.
His first report consisted of the following:
-- The clips of Kenny Rogers attacking the cameraman was overplayed to the turn of seven replays in the first five minutes on Sportscenter, consistent to that of the Pacers-Pistons infamous brawl. The ESPN argument is that most people only watch the first 10-15 minutes of Sportscenter.
I understand Solomon's concern here and my first argument is that it was a horrifically slow news day. As a television network, ESPN loves to show replays ad naseum, I have learned to deal with it. Honestly Rogers' clips were as shocking as the NBA brawl, which had several different angles of replay to show.
-- Solomon questioned leading Sportscenter with the Pepsi 400 over Venus Williams' Wimbledon victory.
I agree with Solomon here and this is one of my main beefs with ESPN. Twice during the week two ESPN reporters at Wimbledon (Luke Jensen on PTI and someone else on Cold Pizza) said Venus had NO chance of winning Wimbledon, she wasn't going to beat Sharapova for sure. So ESPN, rather than admit that their talking heads were mistaken, tried to hide the story with one of 36 NASCAR races. Williams was the big news that day and the fact that the ladies finals was the longest in Wimbledon history made it even bigger.
-- Solomon agreed with Jeremy Roenick that ESPN handicapped him by only broadcasting the controversial two minutes of his tirade rather than the full 16 minutes.
I disagree here, Roenick went on ESPN the next day and tried to bring it to Dan Patrick, but Patrick was absolutely correct in saying that most of Roenick's statement was not newsworthy at all and nothing new was brought to the table. I respected Patrick for the way he stood up to Roenick that day and I think Roenick will choose his words more carefully in the future. At least I hope he will.
Read the column and enjoy.
Meet ESPN's Ombudsman [ESPN.com]
Nonetheless the Sooners hung in there and gave Ole Miss a nice run before losing in regionals under interim coach Sonny Golloway.
Well yesterday the Sooners found a replacement for Cochell, an excellent replacement in Gene Stephenson, the long-time coach at Wichita State. It was cause for celebration in Norman until this happened:
"We are very appreciative for the opportunity to coach at the University of Oklahoma," Stephenson said. "... We have worked over the years at Wichita State in order to use our scholarships and to plan for the use of our future scholarships.
"As we assessed the Oklahoma baseball scholarship situation, we would be too limited in our ability to take the program in the direction that we think it should go."
Ouch, obviously a scholarship snafu scared the coach away just 12 hours after he accepted the job. Yet another strange turn of events for a once-stable ping program.
Stephenson Throws OU a Curveball [NCAA Sports]
Monday, July 11, 2005Handicapping the Derby...
No...not the Kentucky Derby, the HR Derby.
First and foremost it's an absolute travesty that Albert Pujols wasn't invited to participant. He's the premier young slugger in the game.
Participants (with predicted HR totals in parentheses): Hee-Soop Choi (4), Jason Bay (6), Bobby Abreu (7), Carlos Lee (11), Andruw Jones (10), Ivan Rodriguez (2), David Ortiz (9) and Mark Teixeria (6)
Second Round: Bobby Abreu (6), Carlos Lee (8), Andrew Jones (7), David Ortiz (11).
Finals: Carlos Lee (5), David Ortiz (8).
I'm going with Big Papi.
Checking In On Dr. Z
In his most recent mailbag he really gets on Brett Favre again to the point of where someone asks what is it that he has against the Packers quarterback and his reply is simple but revealing.
I guess I tend to be tough on Favre because everyone else brushes off his miscues. It's part of the hype. How about the Eagles game two years ago that knocked Green Bay out of the playoffs? One magazine did a whole piece last season on how Philly's fourth-and-26 completion, which supposedly cost Green Bay the game, caused a complete restructuring of the Packers' defense.
What was not pointed out was that the play sent the game into overtime, and then Green Bay lost it thanks to a very bad Favre interception, on one of those looping bazooka shots of his. But this was not the prefered post-game angle.
Zimmerman also goes into last year's flip toss against the Vikings in which Favre was clearly over the line of scrimmage and looks as if he could've gotten yardage by putting his head down and running. Favre laughed the play off, Joe Buck and Cris Collingsworth tripped over each other to compliment Favre on his "guts" and "heart" (??). Of course the Packers didn't score on the drive thanks to the penalty and lost the game. But why should that matter.
Dr. Z also has a few words for a certain Giants tight end, (as for Shockey, his game has really gone south. He's either insulting someone or bitching about something or dropping the ball), Ty Law and others. It's always a great read and remember, training camps open up in a week.
The Facts on Favre [SI.com]
Interesting move and I'm sure there's one person who really wants to see Carpenter go against the top of the AL lineup over fan favorites Willis and Clemens, but I can't find that person.
The only good thing about a move like this is that soon the commissioner's office will take all the decision-making away from the manager of the game thanks to boneheaded decisions like this.
This isn't anything personal against Carpenter, but the game is for the fans and Willis is the fan favorite. Clemens, on the other hand, is an interesting story as he tries to bounce back from last year's embarassing performance.
Meanwhile, the format of the game is one that will allow La Russa to manage "all-out", which means that the NL doesn't have a prayer....again.
La Russa Gives Nod to Carpenter [Post-Dispatch]
Sunday, July 10, 2005Of Course He'd Do It...
''Some guy's being aggressive with a woman, and she says no, and he keeps on doing it. Well, you know what's going to happen. No is no in anything, when it comes to sexual or you know, whatever it is. No is no,'' Wells said during an appearance on Rhode Island radio station WSKO on Friday. 'And I'm sure Kenny
said, `Hey, get it out of my face, don't do it.' But no, they want the big story, they want the scoop, you know?''
As yes, comparing the cameraman to the rapist. I'm sure that will fly. There's no doubt that Wells was probably drunk when he said it, I just wish he'd act like most drunks and just pass out.
Wells: "I Probably Would Have Done the Same Thing" [AP]