Monthly archives: June 2008
The Lonesome Death of Tiger Stadium
Construction crews started work on the demolition of Tiger Stadium today.
Pictures of what was done and pictures of the grand stadium's decay can be found on the Detroit Free Press site.
A video trip back to 1972 (No video included)
At the SABR Convention in Cleveland, I bought a couple of DVDs from Rare Sports Films. They supposedly represented the earliest known tapes (actually shot from kinetscopes) of Dodgers and Angels broadcasts. Both were from 1972. In this piece today, I was going to look back at the July 23, 1972 game between the Angels and Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
My earliest baseball memories go back to 1971, but 1972 would represent the first full season I can remember. I was six years old and in first grade at St. John Baptist de la Salle School in Granada Hills, California. It was the only year when my three older brothers and I were in the same school at the same time. My older brothers were in 5th, 7th, and 8th grades.
It's unlikely that we would have been watching this game when it aired on KTLA on a Sunday morning in Southern California. We weren't big Angels fans, although for some reason, we had an Angels media guide for that season, with a smiling Del Rice on the cover.
Catcher's Interference: It's splitting us all apart!
From the Herald-Dispatch of Huntington, West Virginia comes a tale of how a catcher's interference call in the town of Ceredo-Kenova, almost tore the whole town apart. (Your perception of "being torn apart" may vary. No guarantees are made.)
In the end, BOTH Barboursville and Ceredo-Kenova qualified for the state tournament. Hooray!
Euro 2008 Final - Spain vs Germany
I hope to be home for the second half of this one. But if not, enjoy the matchup of Spain and Germany. Whom do I root for?: The country that my great great grandparents came from back in 1837 or the country whose players I can sort of carry on a conversation with. Provided they're from the right part of Spain. Then again, I'm guessiing that a lot of the Germans can speak English. Or maybe the better team will win. It happens. The final will be played in Vienna, a city I like much more than Cleveland. But after this weekend, I would be inclined to say that Maywood, California is a nicer place than Cleveland.
Escape From the Buckeye State
While it did not require the efforts of Snake Plisskin, I have escaped the dystopian world of Ohio and am safely in Tennessee. Or that's what they say. Maybe they're just speaking with a drawl to fool me. One of my brothers told me that many cities aim to transform their downtown areas into Cleveland. But he says it's not a sound strategy as Cleveland really has little to draw people back to it multiple times. My brother can be quite wise.
Day 3 of SABR 38: Cleveland, the city that seems to sleep
The last day of SABR 38 has wrapped up for me. There are a few events Sunday, but I'm getting out of Cuyahoga County at 6:50 am as long as the air traffic control gods smile on me.
I spent much of today in research presentations, some of which were quite good and quite enlightening.
Hail to the Clutchiest
After sitting through a presentation by Dick Cramer and Pete Palmer which reinforced their belief that there is no such thing as a clutch hitter.
And the "clutchiest" player from 1957-2007 according to their calculations was this guy.
Interleague play: Over there it counts
C.J. Nitkowski pens a piece about interleague play in Japan for the AP. In Japan, the team with the best interleague record (all 12 teams play the same interleague schedule) gets a big cash prize.
Nitkowski mentions in the story that a CL team and a PL team merged two years ago. It was actually two PL teams, but he wasn't playing in Japan at the time.
Day two of SABR 38 in Cleveland: a new hope
Day one ended with the discovery that my digital camera had a small piece broken on it. Unfortunately, this piece made the camera go into a mode where it took pictures.
However, my friend Phil offered to pick up a new one for me at a Wal-Mart near the hotel where he's staying. Little did I know that my big investment in a digital camera five years ago had left me with a obsolete piece of equipment and Phil bought me a replacement that was cheaper, smaller, and better. I don't know why this surprised me, but it brightened my mood.
Day one of SABR 38 in Cleveland: And what an odd day it was
Cleveland, which greeted me Wednesday with a passive-aggressive slap in the face, showed a slightly different side to me today. Although I still wonder just what this whole state of Ohio is about. It seems to occupy some nether world between the Midwest (where my family is from and I understand) and the East Coast (which I also understand).
And then there's Ohio.
The SABR Convention had its opening ceremonies, which traditionally features a local SABR member tellling you of all the wonderful things to do in the city. I missed much of this. Or more likely, I just didn't hear them. Last year, someone from St. Louis bragged about the city hosting the 1904 World's Fair. I was expecting Cleveland to brag about losing out on a chance to bid for the 1932 Olympics.
However, this year SABR got Hall of Famer Bob Feller to speak briefly (by Bob Feller standards) at the opening. Feller, who sometimes say things that are quite outlandish, was relatively tame. He did ramble a bit. But he's 89. If I get to be 89, I'm going to ramble. Heck I'm 42 and I'm rambling now and it's just the fourth paragraph.
There were no presentations that grabbed my interest in the morning (and they ended up being canceled when the speakers couldn't make it), so I headed over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It costs $22 to get in.
I was struck by the fact that for a museum dedicated to music, there really wasn't a lot of it. There were listening stations at a few places and I heard Jimi Hendrix's version of "Gloria" (not suitable for children), but for the most part, you go to the museum to LOOK at things about music. Which sort of defeats the purpose of the museum. Which costs $22 to get into.
Find the ....
Find the Hall of Famer:
Find the two presidents depicted in this scene (hard version). You need to name the president and his position in the scene. For extra credit, find the two people who have long streets in Los Angeles County named for them. These two men may or may not have been presidents.
Find the two presidents in this scene (easier version). Again you need to name the position in the scene where the two presidents are located.
Euro 2008 semifinal chat - Spain vs Russia
Spain might have beaten Russia 4-1 in their first meeting in this tournament, but most people expect an exciting match tonight in Vienna.
The Spanish advanced on penalties after a scoreless draw with Italy. But the Russians surprised the tournament's top scoring team, the Netherlands, with a 3-1 win in extra time.
The winner faces Germany in Sunday's finale in Vienna. The Germans did their best King John Sobieski impression in defeating the Turks 3-2 in the other semi.
Spain leads the all-time series 5-1-3. The lone Russian win came in 1971 in a Euro qualifier.
I'm guessing that Francisco Franco wasn't too keen on scheduling Spain against the USSR and vice versa.
Hotel views this year and last year
The view from my room in Cleveland this morning:
I'm not as upset as this guy
So I'm mad at the Cleveland RTA. And the lack of any food to eat in my hotel after 11 pm, which I got to after 11 pm because of the Cleveland RTA.
But, at least I wasn't didn't go all Shawn Chacon on people.
The Final Battle of the Bulldogs
The College World Series comes to an end tonight (unless it rains) as Fresno State and Georgia play the final game in their best of three final series.
UGA won the opening game 7-6 with a four-run eighth inning after Fresno State had scored three times to take a 6-3 lead.
On Tuesday, Georgia bolted out to a 5-0 lead, but Fresno State answered with a 6-run third to take the lead. Georgia tied it up in the fourth, but Fresno State scored five time in the bottom of the fourth and then poured it on for a 19-10 win.
Neither team is particularly loaded in the pitching department with only Georgia closer Joshua Fields being a standout. The surfeit of runs in this series isn't a case of aluminum bats as it is bad pitching.
So after today one of these fight songs will reign supreme:
My prediction. Bet on the Bulldogs. The ones who wear red.
Euro 2008 semifinal chat: Germany vs Turkey
Not that I'll get to watch as I will be enroute to beautiful Cleveland, but I put up this thread for people who will be watching the semifinal matchup in Euro 2008 between Turkey and Germany in Basel. The match should start at 11:45 am PT.
Injuries and suspensions have hit the Turks hard and it's possible the team might have just 13 non-goalies in uniform for this match. Turkey coach Fatih Salem says that he might use third string keeper Tolgan Zengin as a substitute. I hope he has an extra set of clothes to wear.
Germany will likely be at full strength and coach Joachim Loew will be back on the sidelines after serving a one-game suspension.
Germany leads the all-time series 11-3-3, but the Turks are 2-0-1 in the last three matchups.
The two teams have not met in a big competition since the 1954 World Cup. Germany beat Turkey twice in that World Cup, which, coincidentally, took place in Switzerland. Germany won 4-1 in Berne and then 7-2 in Zurich. The two teams played each other twice because they tied for second in their group, behind Hungary. And there were no goal difference tiebreakers used then. However, in 1954, there were four team groups, but each team only played two games. And Hungary beat Germany 8-3 in the opening round, but lost in the final by a 3-2 score.
Moments in my life when I know things have changed
February 27, 1968 - Walter Cronkite says on national TV that the war in Vietnam is unwinnable.
August 9, 1974 - President Richard Nixon resigns.
June 24, 2008 - Padres fans boo Trevor Hoffman after he gives up two ninth-inning home runs as the Twins beat the Padres, 3-1.
Hal Smith: the guy who could have been famous
MLB.com's Jennifer Langlosch interviews Hal Smith, the Man Who Would Have Been the Hero of the 1960 World Series.
Smith entered Game 7 in the 8th inning for the Pirates as a replacement for starting catcher Smokey Burgess, who had been pinch run for. The Yankees led 7-4 coming into the inning, but the Pirates had rallied to make it 7-6 on a RBI single from Dick Groat and another from Roberto Clemente.
With Groat on third and Clemente on first, Smith hit a Jim Coates offering over the fence in left field to give the Pirates a 9-7 lead heading to the ninth.
But the Yankees rallied to tie the game in the top of the ninth. And then came Mazeroski.
The story from MLB.com doesn't even include a picture of Smith. It has the iconic photo of Mazeroski heading to home instead.
So, to remedy that, here is Hal Smith.
Forest City bound!
On Wednesday, I'll be boarding a Southwest jet for the long trek from Los Angeles to Cleveland for the 38th annual SABR Convention.
My journey out will involve a stop in St. Louis, but no change of planes, so fortunately I won't run into the same problems that Lyle Lanley faced when his plane had a stop in North Haverbrook. The flight back will take the ever popular Cleveland-Nashville-Los Angeles route.
The convention starts on Thursday with some research presentations that I don't want to miss. Tim Wiles, from the Baseball Hall of Fame, will talk about a century of singing "Taking Me Out to the Ball Game." There are also going to be a couple of Cleveland-themed presentations, one on Tris Speaker and another on the Yankees-Indians rivalry of the 1940s and 1950s.
Friday is loaded with presentations ranging from Dr. Alan Nathan's examination of the Pitch/Fx system, a presentation by a 14-year old on the possible effects steroids would have had on Babe Ruth, and Yoichi Nagata's examination of the Tokyo Giants historic tour of North America in 1935. The day is capped off with a trip to Progressive Field for an all Ohio battle between the Indians and Reds. (Daryl Thompson vs. C.C. Sabathia is the scheduled pitching matchup.)
On Saturday, Phil Birnbaum will give his reexamination of the Hamermesh study on racial bias among umpires. Dave Smith of Retrosheet will continue to look at the importance of strike one. Dick Cramer and Pete Palmer will try to clear away some of the Bill James fog and attempt to see if baseball's legendary beast, the clutch hitter, actually exists.
In between all this, there is time for the best part of the convention, which is catching up with old friends and just talking baseball over beers (or in my case, iced tea or Diet Coke, the beers are metaphorical.) It's three days when you can walk around with a Nippon Ham Fighters jersey and not have people laugh at you.
Or at least not as many.
If you're in Cleveland this weekend, come by the Renaissance Hotel and say hi. You'll recognize me because it's a convention and they like us to wear nametags.
The Battle of the Bulldogs begins in Omaha
Tonight in Omaha at 4 pm PT, the final series of the College World Series begins. And if you've been reading this blog, you know it's the Battle of the Bulldogs, Georgia versus Fresno State.
Georgia comes in as a big favorite after going 3-0 through its bracket, beating Miami once and Stanford twice. Georgia is 44-23-1 and has two first round draft picks on its team in shortstop Gordon Beckham (White Sox) and closer Joshua Fields. Georgia has won the CWS once before, back in 1990, defeating Oklahoma State in the final.
Fresno State is the longest of long shots to make it to the College World Series. Fresno State is 45-30 and they have the most losses of any team to ever play in the championship series. Throughout the regional (where Fresno State was a #4 seed), the super-regional, and the opening games of the CWS, Fresno State has looked it was going to fold up. But these Bulldogs have shown a penchant for hitting with runners in scoring position and have played well defensively. In the opening games in Omaha, Fresno State beat #2 seed North Carolina twice and Rice in its other game. (Rice is the last team from Fresno State's conference, the WAC, to win the CWS back in 2003. The Owls play in C-USA now.)
Clayton Allison, who had been shut down for two weeks with tendinitis, pitched Fresno State into the final. Allison is a 27th round pick for the Dodgers.
I've been to both Athens and Fresno in my lifetime and I would have to say that the two cities are about as dissimilar as two American cities around.
Athens, which I visited once back in 1985, is a protoypical college town. UGA dominates the city. The college has lots of building that look sufficiently old-timey collegiate. Like just about every SEC school, football is king and Sanford Stadium on campus has a listed capacity of a little over 92,000. For most of us, Athens, Georgia is the home of R.E.M.
Fresno is the sixth-largest city in California (about 480,000) and the city is beset with high unemployment and crime rates. It's the biggest city in the United States that does not have an Interstate Highway passing through it. For most Californians, Fresno is the city you pass through on the way to Yosemite (the airport for the city has changed its name from Fresno Air Terminal to Fresno Yosemite International Airport). Fresno's most famous contributor to the arts would like be William Saroyan. Or possibly Cher. Fresno State's campus isn't unattractive, but it's not going to make you think you are the University of Virginia.
The green V you see on Fresno State's uniform stands for "Valley" and is designed to show the school's support to improve the Central Valley of California.
I suggest you head to your local market, buy some raisins to eat while watching the game and try to avoid losing your religion at the same time.
King Felix gets out the rye bread
Because it's a salami!
Felix Hernandez of the Mariners became the first American League pitcher to hit a grand slam in 37 years when he hit one at Shea Stadium in the second inning tonight off of Johan Santana.
The last AL pitcher to hit a slam was Steve Dunning of the Indians off of Diego Segui of Oakland on May 11, 1971. A crowd of 2,992 attended that game.
Special Timmermann birthday edition
Although he came up to the majors as a reliever in 1969 at age 29 after spending what likely seemed an eternity in the minors (most of it in Toledo, where a young Christine Brennan idolized him), Tom Timmermann did start 44 times in his career. On June 4, 1972, he pitched his best game ever, a 4-hit shutout against the Minnesota Twins at Tiger Stadium. It was a game score of 84.
There wasn't a lot of time wasted in this one as Timmermann and Twins starter Bert Blyleven finished in 1:54.
Timmermann retired the first 11 Twins batters in order until Rod Carew singled in the fourth. Carew got another single in the ninth and Eric Soderholm and Steve Braun also had singles. Timmermann walked one batter (Danny Thompson) and struck out six, including Bobby Darwin three times. Darwin would strike out 145 times in 145 games in 1972 while drawing just 38 walks.
The Tigers would win the game 3-0 thanks to a 2-run homer by Mickey Stanley in the 7th and then add a run in the 8th on an error by Thompson.
Timmermann would stay in the Tigers rotation through July. On July 23, he had a disastrous start against Texas, retiring only 2 of the 6 batters that manager Billy Martin left him see. And the 1972 Rangers were really bad, finishing the year 54-100 and batting .217 as a team.
And Timmermann hadn't been pitching all that well in July aside from that game, posting an ERA of 5.32 for the month. And Billy Martin opened up his doghouse. And no one ever got out of Billy Martin's doghouse alive, except for Reggie Jackson.
Timmermann pitched seven times in August, making three spot starts. Then he pitched twice in September while the Tigers were battling with the Red Sox and Orioles for the AL East lead. Martin let Timmermann get into the final game of the season on October 4 after the Tigers had already clinched the division.
I had thought that Timmermann had been added to the playoff roster for the Tigers and Martin just never used him. It's hard to say. The Tigers did use 23 players in the series, including 8 pitchers. I guess Martin didn't even trust the guy to throw at Bert Campaneris' ankles and instead entrusted that task to Lerrin LaGrow.
In 1973, Timmermann was sent to Cleveland as part of a trade deadline that sent Ed Farmer to Detroit. He would pitch one more year in the majors in 1974.
The Beatles get you ready for the College World Series final
Fresno State beat North Carolina 6-1 and will face Georgia in a best of three series starting tomorrow for the national championship.
Showdown in Omaha
Georgia is already in the College World Series championship series and its opponent will be decided today.
Surprising Fresno State, which came out of the toughest regional (at Long Beach against Long Beach State, Cal, and San Diego) and then upset Arizona State in Tempe in three games to make it to Omaha, takes on #2 seed North Carolina at 4 pm PT.
In a game like this the starting pitchers should be listed as Staff vs. Staff. If you've got an arm that is still attached, expect to get asked to pitch in this game if the situation merits.
The game will be telelvised on ESPN Classic.
Euro 2008 Quarterfinal - Italy vs. Spain
Italy, the World Cup champs, try to be the fourth team in the quarterfinals to knock out a group winner at Euro 2008, when they play the continent's traditional underachiever, Spain in a match in Vienna at 11:45 am PT.
Spain won all three of its Group D matches. The Spaniards routed Russia 4-1, edged Sweden 2-1, and then beat Greece while playing its second string 2-1.
Italy had rocky road to the quarterfinals. The Netherlands beat Italy 3-0 to start the tournament. Then the Italians finagled a 1-1 tie against Romania thanks to a big PK save from Gianluigi Buffon. Italy then got a quarterfinal berth when they beat France 2-0 while Romania lost to the Netherlands.
The Spanish won the tournament once, back in 1964 and have reached the final only once since then, back in 1988 when they lost to France.
Italy, although it has won four World Cups, has only won the Euro once and that was in 1968.
Spain and Italy have played each other 27 times. Italy leads 9-8-10, but a lot of the matches have been friendlies. Of matches that had something on the line, the last time the Spanish beat the Italians was in the 1920 Olympics. Since then it's been a 5-0-3 run for Italy.
Remember when in Vienna, stop by the sweets shop opened by the family of the late Red Sox reliever Dick Radatz. They're monstroulsly good.
College World Series: Bulldog edition
Georgia clinched a spot in the College World Series championship series with a 10-8 win over Stanford Saturday afternoon in Omaha. The Cardinal trailed 10-4 in the 9th and got four in the ninth against Bulldog closer Joshua Fields, but could not send the game to extras.
The Bulldogs will either play another a set of Bulldogs, from Fresno State, or North Carolina. FSU and UNC play at 4 pm PT. Fresno State is undefeated and North Carolina needs to win twice.
UPDATE: North Carolina edged Fresno State 4-3 setting up a winner take all game Sunday at 4 pm PT to decide who will be Georgia's opponent.
Euro 2008 - Russia vs Netherlands
Today in Basel at 11:45 am PT, the third quarterfinal in Euro 2008 will take place. The tournament's best team so far, the Netherlands or as we call back in The Hague, Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, will take on Russia.
The Dutch rolled through the tournament, beating Italy 3-0, France 4-1, and finally shutting out Romania 2-0 playing mostly reserves. The Russians survived an opening 4-1 loss to Spain to move on with a 1-0 win over Greece and a 2-0 win over Sweden.
Dutch coach Marco van Basten should have his full squad available. Defender Khalid Boularhouz had left training camp to be with his wife as their prematurely born daughter passed away Wednesday.
The Russians are coached by a former Dutch national coach, Guus Hiddink.
The Russians (then Soviets) and the Dutch met in the 1988 Euro final and in that match van Basten scored one of the most spectacular goals in soccer history. Or at least one of the most spectacular on that big of a stage. Sorry for the grainy video, but if you want to watch a longer video, you can find them.
The Dutch and Russians have met eight times and the Dutch lead the alltime series 4-2-2, including a 2-0 win in the Euro 1988 final.
Night of the Yellow Alerts
Today there were three Yellow Alerts (triple short of the cycle) issued by the Cycle Detection Warning System (see the sidebar on the right) even though you might not have heard them. And two of them were in one game by opposing players. All of them came in extra inning games.
Elijah Dukes of Washington actually went 5 for 6 tonight in the Nats' 4-3 win over Texas in 14 innings tonight. Dukes drove in the winning run with a single with the bases loaded.
The other two Yellow Alerts came in the same game. Hanley Ramirez of Florida and Kurt Suzuki of Oakland each came up a three-bagger short of the cycle. Suzuki did get four hits including a game-winning double in the 11th. Suzuki didn't have a shot at a triple when he batted in the 11th because Eric Chavez was already on second. That meant that Suzuki could get any hit possible EXCEPT a triple.
Yellow alerts aren't all that unusual. There were two of them on June 18 and they were by brothers J.D. and Steven Drew.
There have been two other games this year with dueling Yellow Alerts. On May 27, Johnny Damon and Ramon Hernandez each got to Yellow Alert status. And on May 22, Mike Lowell and Jose Guillen also had Yellow Alerts.
On April 13, Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday both had Yellow Alerts for the Rockies.
On March 31, there were four Yellow Alerts in the majors: Carlos Guillen, Xavier Nady, Jermaine Dye, and Kosuke Fukudome. Lance Berkman has had four Yellow Alerts this season.
There have been just two Red Alerts this year (single short of the cycle) and they both were on April 22. Eric Hinske and Adrian Gonzalez had them.
11 players have had Orange Alerts because they missed a double. 22 players have had Orange Alerts because they missed a home run.
And then there were four (CWS update)
North Carolina got a two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth from catcher Tim Federowicz and eliminated LSU from the College World 7-3.
The Tar Heels, who have lost in the championship series two straight years, now has to beat Fresno State twice. They will meet Saturday at 4 pm PT. If the Tar Heels win, the two teams go out at it again Sunday at 4 pm PT.
On the other side of the bracket, Stanford has to beat Georgia twice to move on. The Cardinal make what could be their last stand Saturday at 11 am PT. If the Cardinal win, they will play Sunday at either 11 am or 4 pm, depending upon the outcome of the UNC-Fresno State game.
If the Tar Heels make it to the championship series, they will be the first school to play in the championship game three straight years since Texas did it from 1983-85. The Longhorns won in 1983, but lost in 1984 and 1985.
Making your debut in Bronx County, New York
I apologize for stepping into Bronx Banter territory here, but I was intrigued by this wire service story announcing that the Reds will have 22-year old rookie Daryl Thompson make his major league debut in Yankee Stadium as a starting pitcher.
From massaging Baseball-Reference's Play Index, I found 16 other visiting pitchers who made their big league debut as a starting pitcher since 1956. The Yankees are 8-8 in those games.
And there was Robinson Checo. At one point, the Boston Red Sox and Hiroshima Carp were involved in an international struggle to for the rights to sign Robinson Checo. And by the time his career was over, teams were trying to tell him the wrong address for their spring training camps so he wouldn't show up. (There's a possibility that this last part may not be entirely true.)
The best game by a visiting rookie at Yankee Stadium was by Boston's Billy Rohr who came within one out of a no-hitter back on April 14, 1967.
And the best pitcher I could find who made his debut as a visitor at Yankee Stadium was this guy.
Euro 2008 Quarterfinal Chat: Croatia vs. Turkey
Croatia dominated Group B with convincing wins over Germany, Poland, and Austria. Turkey sneaked into the quarterfinals with a miraculous comeback late against the Czechs, winning 3-2 with two late goals. Today's match will kickoff at 11:45 am PT in a little Austrian city called Vienna.
Man was I bummed when I went to Vienna to find that amusement park closed for repairs.
Croatia's most notable figure is its coach, Slaven Bilic, who is a frantic figure on the sidelines. In his spare time, he fronts a popular Croatian rock band called Rawbau. Bilic has the Croatians playing a free-flowing and fun style so far. Bilic starred for Croatia in 1996, which was the last time the Croats made it to the quarterfinals.
Turkey will be without its starting keeper Volkan Demirel, who was red carded at the end of the Turks last match.
Croatia leads the brief (because Croatia hasn't been an independent country all that long) series 1-0-2.
Schilling declares himself out for season? Career?
Curt Schilling told a Boston radio station that he will undergo shoulder surgery Monday. This will end any chance of him coming back this year.
2009 is still up in the air.
(Thanks to Chyll Will.)
The Hollywood Stars and the PCL: the rest of the story
When Jon graciously got me a writing assignment for Variety (which will forever sound strange to me) and assigned me the story about Hollywood's relationship with the minors, I was excited.
Jon told me to write 600 words. I have learned that 600 words is not a lot of space. So remember that the next time you criticize your local beat writer for not including information you wanted. There just wasn't room. Remember, newsprint doesn't grow on trees! Oh wait...
Tonight's winner in Omaha: the rain
Tonight's elimination game in the College World Series between North Carolina and LSU was suspended with one out in the top of the first with the Tar Heels ahead 2-0. The game is scheduled to resume Friday at 4 pm PT. UNC will also have the bases loaded when the game resumes.
The Georgia-Stanford game scheduled for Friday has been pushed back to Saturday.
Sign it like Beckham, the younger one
#1 draft pick Tim Beckham signed a contract today with the Tampa Bay Rays that included a signing bonus of $6.15 million.
There was another Beckham drafted in the first round, named Gordon, and he was picked 8th overall by the White Sox. He has not signed yet as he is still playing in the College World Series for Georgia.
Euro 2008 Quarterfinal - Germany vs. Portugal
Knockout play in the Euro 2008 tournament starts today with a match in Basel at 11:45 am PT between Group A winner Portugal, which won its first two matches and then lost a final meaningless match to Switzertland, and Group B runnerup, Germany.
The Germans will be without their coach, Joachim Low, who was suspended for the match after being red carded in the Germans last match, a win over Austria. Low may be spending the match hanging out with Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussing why sometimes his surname is spelled with an e. Germany may also be without Torsten Frings and Lukas Podolski, although both could see limited action.
Portugal beat Turkey and the Czech Republic to clinch first place. The Portuguese feature the player many consider to be the best in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Having the best player in the world makes coaches, in this case Luiz Felipe Scolari, look really smart.
The last meeting between these two teams was in the third place game of the 2006 World Cup. Germany won that match 3-1. The two national sides have played each other 15 times and the Germans hold a 7-5-3 advantage.
CWS field down to 5 as Number One goes down
Unseeded Stanford eliminated #1 seed Miami in the College World Series tonight in Omaha with an 8-3 win.
The Hurricanes led briefly 1-0, but Stanford scored eight unanswered runs and pitchers Erik Davis and Drew Storen closed it out against a Miami team that never seemed able to play well on either offense or defense in its three games.
Stanford moves on to face undefeated Georgia (a #8 seed) on Friday at 11 am PT.
Thursday night at 4 pm PT, #2 North Carolina and #7 LSU play an elimination game with the winner moving to play unbeaten and unseeded Fresno State.
Bert Shepard, 1920-2008
Bert Shepard, who lost his right leg in combat as a fighter pilot in World War II, and then came back to pitch in a game for the Washington Senators on August 4, 1945, passed away Monday at a nursing home in California at age 88.
Shepard pitched 5 1/3 innings in the second game of a doubleheader for Washington against Boston on August 4, 1945 and gave up one run on three hits. The Senators were contenders for the pennant that year and Shepard was not used in a game again.
He later went on to serve as a spokesman for disabled veterans and also worked for IBM and Hughes. Shepard made numerous public appearances in his retirement to discuss his World War II experiences and his time with the Senators.
Shepard's only game was made possible by the only major league appearance of one Joe Cleary, who gave up 7 runs while getting only one out and finishing his career with an ERA of 189.00, the highest finite ERA in major league history.
Cooper's slow play sin exposed
Earlier this week, MLB fined Ron Gardenhire and Cecil Cooper for failing to keep up with "pace of play" regulations. Gardenhire's transgressions was described in an earlier post.
Cooper argued that he had no catchers available to warm up his pitcher, but that did not matter to MLB disciplinary tsar Bob Watson.
Euro 2008 chat thread
The final two days of pool play in Group D get underway today at 11:45 am PT with matches in Innsbruck and Salzburg. Hey, I went to both of those places this January.
One match doesn't matter, and that's Spain vs. Greece in Innsbruck. The Spaniards have already wrapped up the group and they will play Italy in the next round on Sunday. The defending champion Greeks are already out of it.
The other match is for the last spot in the quarterfinals and that will be between Sweden and Russia in Salzburg. Both teams have a win and a draw, but the Swedes have an advantage in goal difference at +1 to -2 for Russia. So the Swedes just need a draw to advance. The Russians have to win. And the "lucky" winner gets to play the Netherlands in the next round.
Somewhere in Alameda, California, there will be a nervous man.
Another Immaculate Inning
Thanks to commenter mehmattski's sharp eyes, there is another player to add to the honor roll of Immaculate Innings, i.e. striking out the side on nine pitches. And it's the King, Felix Hernandez of Seattle.
In the fourth inning at Safeco Field, Hernandez set down on nine pitches Jeremy Hermida, Jorge Cantu, and Mike Jacobs of Florida. Even more surprisingly, the Mariners won the game, beating the Marlins 5-4.
Rich Harden of Oakland had pulled off the feat just 10 days earlier against the Angels.
The internet without the tubes, the world of Paul Otlet
I hope people had a chance to read this fascinating article in Tuesday's New York Times by Alex Wright about Belgian librarian Paul Otlet.
In Mons, Belgium, you can visit a museum dedicated to Otlet's dream institution, called the Mundaneum.
Otlet wanted to put all of the world's knowledge into the most practical and useful storage medium of the era: a 3 X 5 index card! Instead of the free-wheeling internet, we'd have a world dominated by trained library catalogers!
World peace would have ensued.
And since Otlet's dream never came about, what happened? The Nazis destroyed much of his work.
Bulldogs of Omaha
May I introduce to you on the left, Timeout, the mascot of the Fresno State Bulldogs. And on the right, meet UGA, the mascot of the University of Georgia.
After four days of the College World Series in Omaha, there are just two undefeated teams and they are probably two teams that people expected the least out of. Fresno State was a #4 regional seed and played down the stretch without its best pitcher, Tanner Scheppers.
Georgia was a #8 national seed and the team had two first round draft picks in shorstop Gordon Beckham and reliever Joshua Fields. However, the Bulldogs were matched against #1 Miami in its opening game.
In Georgia's opener, the Bulldogs trailed the Hurricanes 4-3 going to the ninth with Miami's closer, Carlos Gutierrez (first round pick of the Twins), on the hill. The Bulldogs parlayed a leadoff hit, a dropped third strike, and a horrible throwing error by Gutierrez into a 4-run inning. Fields closed out the win.
The next day, Fresno State routed #6 Rice, 17-5.
Georgia faced off against Stanford in its next game. The Cardinal took an early 3-1 lead and were clinging to a 3-2 lead in the 7th when Matt Cerione had a 2-out, 2-run single that proved to be enough. Fields picked up another save in the 4-3 win.
Tonight, Fresno State played #2 North Carolina, a solid team although one lacking in star power in the major league draft (the highest pick being catcher Tim Federowicz in the seventh round).
The Tar Heels scored three times in the fourth to take a 3-1 lead, but the Bulldogs scored a run in the fourth and two in the fifth and held on for a 5-3 win.
Now each of the Bulldogs need just one win to make it to the championship series, which will start Monday. But who will they play?
Georgia's opponent will be decided tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm PT when Miami and Stanford play an elimination game. The winner of that game would have to beat Georgia on BOTH Friday and Saturday to advance.
Fresno State's opponent will be decided on Thursday at 4 pm PT when North Carolina takes on #7 LSU, which eliminated Rice today 7-6 with four runs in the bottom of the ninth. The winner of that game would have to beat Fresno State on Friday and Saturday as well.
Florida State and Rice are the two teams that have been eliminated.
Delay of game, five yards and an undisclosed fine!
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Houston manager Cecil Cooper were the first managers to run afoul of MLB's plan to speed up games. From MLB.com:
No word yet on what Cooper's trangression was.
NBA Finals Chat, Game 6 at 6 pm PT
Welcome back to the Hub!
The Lakers managed to plug the Hybrid back in time for her to yell "jump!" and then the team was off to score a victory that was not sanctioned by either Mark Jackson or Jeff Van Gundy.
So the series presently stands at Celtics 3, Lakers 1 with one game still to be approved by a panel of stylistic experts. This matter is actually covered in the 12th Amendment to the Constitution as well as the NBA bylaws. The deciding vote in these matters is held by Oscar Robertson. So far, he has not been called on to use his vote, but he's on speed dial.
Today's question to ponder or even try to answer:
The last time the Celtics beat the Lakers to win the championship was in 1984. The decisive game was played on June 12. How many total pages did the L.A. Times run the next day in its entire Morning Final edition? For a point of reference, today's L.A. Times had 64 pages.
And now to be no fun. On Sunday, Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com wrote a story about Doc Rivers and his relationship with his late father and why it would be meaningful for the Celtics to win on Father's Day. It's an interesting story, but hasn't this story been told before.
Now I can appreciate a story about a deceased parent like the next guy. Losing a parent is a deeply emotional experience. But the thing is: almost everybody will go through it during their lifetime. It doesn't ennoble you. It just makes you sad. Does Rivers, who likely isn't seeking any more sympathy than anyone else in his situation, have some special grief that is different than the millions of others in the world in the same situation? Are his accomplishments any greater or lesser because of his father's death?
Presumably Rivers' father is and should be immensely proud of his son's achievements in life no matter where you think the late Mr. Rivers is. Doc Rivers' father sounded like he was a tremendous man.
However. we're all more or less interchangeable in this world when you get down to it. We all have parents. Sometimes great parents. Sometimes lousy parents. We all want to do our best.
John Buzhardt, 1936-2008
The great College World Series / Euro 2008 chat thread
Niche marketing is what I'm all about here.
The College World Series resumes at 11 am PT with an elimination game between Rice and LSU.
In yesterday's action, Miami eliminated Florida State 7-5 and Georgia took control of its bracket with a 4-3 win over Stanford. Miami will play Stanford Tuesday in an elimination game and the winner of that game would have to beat Georgia twice.
At 11:45 am, the final two matches of Euro 2008's Group C, aka "The Group of Death", will be played. Netherlands has already won the group and may be sending out the second string in its match against Romania in Berne. Italy will play France in Zurich.
Romania advances with a win. If Romania loses, the winner of France-Italy advances. If both matches end in ties, Romania advances. If France and Italy play a draw that is at least 1-1 and Romania loses, Italy advances. If France and Italy play a scoreless draw, Romania will advance as long as it loses by one or two goal or by a three goal margin in which they score at least one goal. If Romania loses 3-0 and the Italians and French play a scoreless draw, then Italy advances.
This will all be on the final. The sum of this is that France is in big trouble
Oh, and at 4 pm PT, #2 North Carolina will play Fresno State. The Bulldogs will try to join the other Bulldogs as the only 2-0 teams in the CWS.
'It's a rule from the 1800s'
Hank Steinbrenner is angry about Yankee pitcher Chien-Ming Wang injuring his foot while running the bases in Houston. (The good folks at Bronx Banter have discussed this.)
Steinbrenner had a classic quote that would make his father proud.
Continuing on this theme, I think there are more 19th century rules that need to be adopted. My suggestions:
All of Seattle's problems solved in one day
With GM Bill Bavasi getting fired today, Seattle manager John McLaren now has latitude to make a change that will really get the woebegone Mariners back into contention.
Ichiro is moving from center field to right field. And Willie Bloomquist and Jeremy Reed will now share center field.
Yeah. That'll do it.
The great World US 2008 Euro College Open Series thread
Thanks to some fortuitous scheduling at work, I have today off. I wish to thank the person who made that schedule. Hey, that was me! Why do I have today off? I had to work Sunday.
So on this day, which was originally reserved for doing laundry and going to the dry cleaners and has been turned into the Day of Guilt-Free Daytime Sports TV watching. This day may go down as the second best day in my life, behind only this day.
Starting at 9 am PT will be the US Open 18 hole playoff between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines. Golf is one of the few sports where it seems that fans don't root for the underdog. Go figure.
Then at 11 am PT, Miami and Florida State play each other and the loser will unexpectedly be the first team to go home from the College World Series. The loser will be, as the locals say, "Oh and two and barbecue."
At 11:45 am PT, there are a pair of Group B games in Euro 2008. Croatia, which has clinched first place and will play Turkey in the quarterfinals, plays Poland in Klagenfurt, Austria. Germany will play Austria at the same time in Vienna. Germany moves on to the second round with a draw unless Poland beats Croatia by four goals (or enough to make up the goal difference edge that Austria has). Austria would likely move on to the next round if they can do a reverse Anschluss or if a helpful nun takes the starter out of the German team bus. I will not be wearing the checkerboard shirt today as I want to save that for the knockout round.
Then at 4 pm PT, the two winners from the first day of the College World Series, Georgia and Stanford face off. The winner of that game then has to win just one more game to make it to the championship series.
So feel free to chime in on whatever grabs your interest. I'll be keeping you updated on the status of my laundry throughout the day. And the possibility of going to the dry cleaners AND the post office AND the supermarket. ALL IN THE SAME DAY!!! That was the little known 13th Labor of Hercules, which he did on his off day.
NBA Finals Chat, Game 5 at 6 pm PT
I'm expecting a small and grim bunch for this one. Unless you're a Celtics fan. Then you will likely be happy. The grim calculus of the NBA Finals tells us that no team has come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a championship. Fewer sports have grimmer calculuses than the NBA. I think I also really enjoy typing "grim calculus." It sounds a lot better than "grim trigonometry" or "grim linear algebra."
(For those not scoring at home, that was six uses of the word "grim" or a variant of it in one paragraph.)
The NHL has had one team come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup, as well as one other team in an earlier round. MLB has had one team come back from 3-0 in the ALCS (what city was that team from?) and a handful have come back from 3-1 down in the World Series (1925, 1958, 1968, 1985, 1986).
Today's question: In baseball, the cliche goes "Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher." What is the equivalent cliche for basketball?
Bonus trivia question (which I'm sure someone will look up): Which of the following cities has not been the permanent home of an NBA franchise?
Double bonus trivia question (and you can look this up too): Where was the first NBA (then called the BAA) game ever played? It was in 1946.
Triple bonus trivia question (and you'll likely look this up too): What was the name of the league the BAA merged with in 1949 to form the NBA?
College World Series Day Two
In yesterday's action, the two seeded teams from Florida both lost.
#4 Florida State lost to unseeded Stanford 16-5. The Cardinal scored 11 times thanks to a couple of untimely errors by shortstop Tony Delmonico.
In the second game of the day, #1 Miami led #8 Georgia 4-3 going to the ninth, but the Bulldogs scratched out four runs against Hurricanes closer Carlos Gutierrez. Gutierrez made a crucial throwing error to give Georgia the lead.
The Hurricanes will play the Seminoles in an elimination game Monday at 11 am PT. The Cardinal and Bulldogs will play later in the day at 4 pm PT.
Today, unseeded Fresno State plays #6 Rice at 11 am PT. The Bulldogs feature second round draft pick Tanner Scheppers. Scheppers has a stress fracture in his shoulder, so the Bulldogs appearance in Omaha is quite a surprise.
#2 North Carolina will play #7 LSU at 4 pm PT.
There will be milk
It's Father's Day today and to all the fathers reading here today, I wish you well.
I wrote about my father last year on his birthday, so you can check that out if so inclined.
I did want to share a couple of photos that I've always liked.
As you can see by the picture of the house (it's on the right, he didn't live in the barn), that while my father grew up on a farm, he had a pretty nice place to live. I'm not sure how the photographer got all the cows to pose. My guess is that they usually aren't on the move much. I could have grown up here, but my parents moved west in 1960.
I can't tell what kind of animals are on the receiving end of the water in the pail. I assume they're calves. My father did mention raising hogs, but I think that was his father's idea, and my dad stuck to the bovine world. The photo above is likely from sometime in 1957.
Also don't forget to read Doug Glanville's Father's Day story from the NY Times.
Japanese majors have first ever earthquake-related cancellation
Although Japan is one of the most active seismic areas in the world, the Japanese major leagues have never had to postpone a game because of a quake. However, a 6.8 earthquake in the Tohoku region of Honshu (NE Japan) forced the postponement of Saturday's interleague game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Rakuten Eagles in Sendai.
Although the Eagles home stadium, Kleenex Stadium, was undamaged, but local authorities were worried that further aftershocks would disrupt transportation to and from the game.
Sunday's game will likely be postponed. The games will be made up some time. Even if they don't affect the standings.
Back on May 26, 2003, a game I attended in Chiba was delayed for a minute as a strong earthquake (with an epicenter far north of where I was) rolled through the stadium. It seemed only to be felt by the spectators, not the players or umpires.
College World Series Day One
The College World Series gets underway today in Omaha with two games in Bracket One.
For those unfamiliar with the format of the College World Series, there are eight teams in Omaha and they are divided into two brackets of four. Each bracket plays a double elimination tournament. Win three games before you lose two and you move on.
The winners of each bracket then a play a best of three series to determine the champion. The last two years, Oregon State beat North Carolina in the final. The Beavers didn't make it back this year, but the Tar Heels did. Joining them are Miami, Stanford, Georgia, LSU, Florida State, Rice, and Fresno State.
Beside the championship on the field, another storyline to follow will be to see who will win the NCAA home run title. Three participants in the CWS are among the four players tied for the lead in home runs with 26: Gordon Beckham of Georgia, Buster Posey of Florida State, and Matt Clark of LSU. Michael Harrington of the College of Charleston also hit 26 home runs and is the co-leader in the clubhouse.
Baseball America has a capsule review with links to an indepth preview.
The action gets underway at 11 am PT when Stanford takes on Florida State. Georgia will play #1 Miami at 4 pm PT. Both games will be on ESPN.
My dirty secret exposed
People say, "Bob, how do you come up with all this stuff?" "How do you write so much?" and sometimes "Bob, why do you buy your shoes mail order?"
But the secret to my blog writing has been found out.
Experience the adventure of a lifetime. And that's not a suggestion
Mitch Harris, the 13th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals and a U.S. Naval Academy grad, was told by the Navy today to report for work.
And not at A ball. Harris has been ordered to start serving his five-year military commitment. Harris will first report to the amphibious ship Ponce in Norfolk.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, there has been only one Annapolis grad to play in the majors. Nemo Gaines pitched in four games for Washington in 1921.
Rangers call up pitcher from minors, tempt fate
Rangers purchase contract of pitcher Hurley
This guy is supposed to be 6'4" and just 195 lbs.
The Rangers do not presently have a 4, 8, or 23 on the roster. But they do have a 15 (Gerald Laird) and a 16 (Chris Shelton). And they aren't allowed to have a 42.
NBA Final Chats: Game 4 at 6 pm PT
The green-clad men from Boston will attempt to take a 3-1 lead on the gold-clad men from Los Angeles with the chance of making a Father's Day depressing in Southern California.
But the gold-clad men from Los Angeles will still have the edge of having nearly 20,000 people who skipped out of work early to go the game to cheer them on.
Which corporate sponsor do you use more often: TD Banknorth or Staples? And what's the deal with a Canadian company sponsoring a U.S. bank and sports arena? Do people who work for TD Banknorth get their office supplies from Staples? Would Staples be in a better financial position if they still employed Dwight Schrute?
No RBI, no problems
In Colorado's 1-0 win over the Giants tonight, there were no RBI in the game. The winning run was credited as scoring on an error by San Francisco catcher Bengie Molina while trying to tag Garret Atkins on a play at home.
Unusual? It depends. There has already been a game devoid of RBI this year. The Angels beat the Twins 1-0 back on April 2 with the only run coming on a wild pitch.
Back on August 11, 1971, the Reds scored five times without an RBI thanks to errors by Jack Billingham, Bob Watson, Joe Morgan, and Denis Menke of the Astros.
And on July 1, 1990, the White Sox scored four runs without an RBI. Or even a hit. And Andy Hawkins took the loss for the Yankees.
Four runs without an RBI for either team appears to be the high water mark in Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index. I would not be surprised if the 19th Century yielded a higher total since there were so many more errors then.
Man ... No, Men Down!
In ascending order of quality:
PLEASE give me a job
Buster Olney of ESPN.com has a copy of the letter that Jay Gibbons, who was prominently featured in the Mitchell Report, is sending to teams asking for a job.
Adolfo Phillips and the Blustery Day
Back on this day in 1967, the Cubs and Mets played a doubleheader at Wrigley Field. The weather was foul. Tornado warnings were issued, yet 19,247 people paid their way to go see the games.
The Cubs won the opener, 5-3, with Ferguson Jenkins going the distance. There were only two home runs in this game, one by Tommy Davis of the Mets and the other by Adolfo Phillips, the Cubs #8 hitter who had come to Chicago from Philadelphia the year before with Jenkins.
Eliot Asinof, 1919-2008
Eliot Asinof, author of the one most famous baseball books ever, Eight Men Out, passed away Tuesday in Hudson, New York at age 88 of complications from pneumonia.
Although Asinof wrote many books and a novel of his titled Final Judgment is due out this fall, his most famous book was the 1963 history of the 1919 Chicago White Sox and their conspiracy to throw the World Series. The book was made into a film by John Sayles in 1988. Asinof had a small role in that film as NL President John Heydler.
NBA Finals Chat: Game 3 at 6 pm PT
The Lakers try to become the first team in ... (let's see, consults record books..) TWO years to come back from a 2-0 deficit to win an NBA Finals. The Celtics come armed with the knowledge that they are likely better than the Lakers. I've come away with the knowledge that Leon Powe is actually on the Celtics. Go figure.
Today's question to debate:
Would the course of basketball history been changed if I had not returned the lost wallet of Brian Scalabrine (who is inactive for the series) when he was visiting the library? He wouldn't have had his library card or an ability to check out the books he needed for the paper he was writing at USC.
The Omaha eight
Fresno State's surprising 12-9 win over #3 Arizona State last night in Tempe completed the field for the College World Series which starts Saturday at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium. The Bulldogs were a #4 seed in their regional in Long Beach and surprised Long Beach State and San Diego and then handed the Sun Devils just their fourth and fifth losses at home all season. LSU also earned a spot last night with a 21-7 win over UC Irvine. The Anteaters were just three outs from moving on to Omaha on Sunday, but LSU pulled that one out and then it was no contest in the deciding game.
The eight teams are divided into two four-team groups. Each group plays a double-elimination tournament. The survivors of each group then face off in a best of three final series.
The first game will be Saturday at 11 am PT when Stanford takes on #3 seed Florida State. #8 Georgia will play #1 Miami at 4 pm PT.
On Sunday Fresno State will play #6 Rice at 11 am PT and #7 LSU will play #2 North Carolina at 4 pm PT.
The final series will be played June 23-25.
The final eight has three ACC teams, two from the SEC, and one each from the Pac-10, C-USA, and WAC.
Weekly Puzzle #25
There wasn't a weekly puzzle last week. And I'm not doing two of them to make up for it. You'll live.
Sorry Buddy, this spot is reserved for Rich
Oakland pitcher Rich Harden struck out the first three batters for the Los Angeles Angels today (Maicer Izturis, Howie Kendrick, and Garret Anderson) on just nine pitches. That was the 44th time in major league history a pitcher had stuck out side the on nine pitches.
The last pitcher in the majors to pull of that feat was Buddy Carlyle of the Braves against the Padres on July 6, 2007. In the fourth inning, Khalil Greene, Russell Branyan, and Jose Cruz all fell before the mighty power of Buddy!
Pedro Martinez was the last AL pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitches back on May 18, 2002 against Seattle. Ichiro Suzuki, Mark McLemore, and Ruben Sierra were the victims in the first inning.
Three pitchers have done the 3 Ks in 9 pitches twice and they were a trio of has beens named Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, and Nolan Ryan.
Then again, Mike Magnante did it too.
Omaha dance card 3/4 full
Six of the eight slots in the College World Series are set:
The final two spots will be decided tomorrow afternoon in a pair of games that will start at 4 pm PT.
#7 LSU plays UC Irvine. The Anteaters led 7-4 in the ninth with a chance to win the super regional, but the Tigers scored five times to force one more game at Alex Box Stadium, which is being replaced next year.
#3 Arizona State lost its first game of the postseason, losing 8-6 to Fresno State. The Sun Devils and Bulldogs will play at Packard Stadium for a trip to Omaha. The Sun Devils are 39-4 at home this year. Fresno State had to use its closer, Brandon Burke, for 3 2/3 innings to close out the game.
Both games will be on ESPN2 and what you will see will depend upon the vagaries of your cable or satellite operator.
Presently, the CWS has three teams from the ACC, and one each from the Pac-10, SEC, and C-USA.
The College World Series will start on June 14 at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.
NBA Finals Chat: Game 2 at 6 pm PT
Boston leads Los Angeles 1-0.
Tonight's question to ponder:
I grew up near a street called Celtic Street. And since we didn't know any better and assumed that "Celtic" was always pronounced with an "S" sound at the beginning, we pronounced it like the basketball team. But should we have pronounced the street name with a harc C at the beginning?
I should be at Dodger Stadium for this game where the crowd will no doubt be cheering or booing at inappropriate times for a baseball game.
Almost super duper super regional Sunday
Congratulations to Stanford for being the first team to secure a spot in the College World Series. Seven teams could make it in Sunday and at least three will clinch a spot.
Sunday's menu (all times PT)
10 am - Wichita State plays #4 Florida State in Tallahassee with the winner moving on to Omaha.
10 am - Coastal Carolina needs to beat #2 North Carolina in Cary to stay alive.
1 pm - North Carolina State and #8 Georgia play in Athens for a spot in the CWS.
1 pm - #7 LSU was clobbered at home by UC Irvine, 11-6 in the first game and must win this one to extend its season.
4 pm - #1 Miami and unseeded Arizona play their decisive game in Coral Gables. Arizona won the opener, 6-3, and Miami won the second game, 14-10.
4 pm - #6 Rice gets to go to the Cornhusker State with a win at home against Texas A&M. The Owls won the first game 9-7
7 pm - #3 Arizona State can finish off Fresno State after winning the opener 12-4. This game will be in Tempe. The Sun Devils are still undefeated in postseason play in games involving a ball and bat.
Super duper super regional Saturday
All eight super regionals will be in action Saturday. You can track them here.
Of the four that have already started, #1 Miami, #4 Florida State, and #5 Cal State Fullerton all need wins to force a decisive game. The only seeded team to win Friday was #8 Georgia, which beat North Carolina State.
The other matchups will be Coastal Carolina vs. #2 North Carolina at Cary, UC Irvine at #7 LSU at Baton Rouge, #3 Arizona State hosts Fresno State (the Sun Devils have not lost any games this year in the postseason that involve a ball and bat as the softball team went undefeated in the playoffs to win the NCAA championship), and #6 Rice will host Texas A&M in Houston.
If you're looking for me Saturday, try to looking on a very long street in Los Angeles.
Sidney Ponson loses friends and influences people negatively
The Rangers have designated for assignment pitcher Sidney Ponson, who had a 4-1 record and a 3.88 ERA.
Idle scuttlebutt here claims that Ponson was upset over having to pitch a game on three days rest.
It's tough to be considered the antisocial one when you play on a team that had Vicente Padilla AND Frank Francisco on it as well.
Watson metes out punishment for Rays-Red Sox brawl
The bench-clearing brawl between Tampa Bay and Boston Thursday night was noticed by MLB's disciplinary lord, Bob Watson.
Eight players in all were suspended.
For the Red Sox:
For the Rays:
I'm not sure how Dioner Navarro escaped punishment.
Bonds pleads 'not guilty'
Barry Bonds pled not guilty to 15 counts felony charges relating to lying to a grand jury today in a Federal court in San Francsico.
This leads me to two questions:
1) In situations like this, do you have to say "not guilty" to each count as it is read? Or can you just issue a blanket "not guilty?"
2) I was told that back in the day, newspapers wouldn't write "not guilty," but instead use "innocent" because they were afraid of the "not" falling out of the typeset copy or the Linotype machine. Is this true or is it just an old journalist's tale?
For those not already saturated with coverage of the early rounds of yesterday's draft, you can go visit:
Not, just regionals, but SUPER regionals
The Super Regionals of the NCAA baseball tournament (which I have learned don't use a hyphen) get underway today with four games. Four more super regionals will start tomorrow. You can follow the scores here.
The format is pretty simple, 16 teams are paired up and they play a best of three series, either Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday. The eight winners get to college baseball's Santiago de Compostela, Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.
The pilgrimage starts today this way:
Athens - North Carolina State plays #8 seed Georgia at 9 am PT on ESPN
Tallahassee - Wichita State plays #4 seed Florida State at 11 am PT on ESPNU
Coral Gables - Arizona (yes, Arizona, that grudge is over because as arbitrarily as I start grudges, I also choose to end them) plays #1 seed Miami at 4 pm PT on ESPN
Fullerton - Stanford takes on the Fighting Commuters of Cal State "I Can't Believe It's a University" Fullerton at 7:30 pm PT at 7:30 pm PT on ESPN2
The other four super regionals start tomorrow: Coastal Carolina at North Carolina, UC Irvine at LSU, Texas A&M at Rice, and Fresno State at Arizona State.
All of the top 8 seeds are playing in the super regionals.
Another Cardinal starts with a bang
St. Louis relief pitcher Mark Worrell (not related to Todd or Tim) hit a 3-run homer in his first at-bat in the majors Thursday night in Washington off of Tim Redding.
Worrell joins seven other distinguished Cardinals who have started their careers with a homer in their first at bat.
They've been everywhere ... for the time being
Here is my non-canonical list of major leaguers who have played a game in all 30 of the current parks in use. The first six players are on Washington. Unless noted, every player's 30th park was the new Nationals Park. And starting next year with new parks for the Yankees and Mets, we will wipe this slate clean until the Yankees-Mets interleague series.
Feel free to make additions or tell me if I need to delete someone:
Doug Mientkiewicz of Pittsburgh has not played in Petco Park. Jamie Moyer has not played in Great America Ball Park. Gabe Kapler has not played in Citizens Bank Park. Russ Springer, who has been in the majors since 1992, has never pitched in Progressive (formerly Jacobs) Field. Vicente Padilla has never played in the current Busch Stadium. David Weathers has never pitched at Tropicana Field.
NBA Finals Chat: Game 1 at 6 pm PT
Assuming that not EVERYONE on Baseball Toaster is a Lakers fan (although Dodger Thoughts people would want you to believe that), I'm putting up a thread about the NBA Finals.
Question of the day: Why does the NHL end its season with the Stanley Cup Final and the NBA ends with the Finals?
Think of all those of who have sacrificed
Back on this day 31 years ago, there was an inning full of selflessness in Anaheim. Selflessness that has been matched, but never bettered in American League play. For on this day, in the 8th inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers, the California Angels sacrificed not once, not twice, but thrice!
Aikens released from prison
Former major leaguer Willie Aikens was released from Federal prison today after serving about 14 years of a 20-year sentence for the distribution of crack and other offenses.
NCAA tournament to be pared down to 16
After today (unless there is a rainout somewhere), the NCAA baseball tournament will be down to 16 teams. They will be paired into 8 pairs for super-regional play, which is a best of three series that will played over the next weekend.
Already in: #1 Miami which will play the school from Tuscon, #2 North Carolina will play Coastal Carolina, #7 LSU will play UC Irvine. Also in are #6 Rice, #3 Arizona State, Wichita State, and North Carolina State.
Today's games to pick the remaining six teams:
Stanford Regional - The Cardinal got two home runs from Sean Ratliff, including a grand slam, to beat Pepperdine 9-7 to advance to the super-regional. The Cardinal will either host UCLA or travel to Cal State Fullerton.
Athens Regional - Georgia Tech plays Georgia. Georgia would host a super-regional if it wins against NC State. The Bulldogs routed their archrival Georgia Tech, 18-6, and will host NC State in the super-regional.
Tallahassee Regional - Florida State plays Tulane. Florida State would host a super-regional if it wins against Wichita State. The Seminoles easily got past Tulane 16-7 to move on the super-regional against Wichita State.
College Station Regional - Houston takes on Texas A&M. The winner travels to Rice for a super-regional matchup. The Aggies win 13-5 and move on to face Rice.
Long Beach Regional - Fresno State hopes to become the only #4 seed to make it to the super-regional, but #2 San Diego stands in the way. The winner travels to Tempe to take on Arizona State. The Bulldogs pulled off the upset with a 5-1 win to advance on to the super-regional in Tempe.
Fullerton Regional - UCLA plays Cal State Fullerton for the third straight game and the winner moves on to the super-regional. Cal State Fullerton would host Stanford and UCLA would almost assuredly travel to Stanford. This game starts at 8:06 pm PT. If it ends before midnight, there will be great rejoicing in the land. Or at least my apartment. It finished at 11:29 pm PT, but there was no joy in my apartment. The evil ones from Fullerton won 5-4 and will host Stanford in the super-regional. Let's Go Cardinal!
Know your Guillens
As a followup to the popular (at least by my definition) "Know your Sweeneys," today I opt for a much shorter "Know your Guillens."
There are three principal Guillens in the majors. Two of them are prone to tirades and the other can't find a position to play. But there is:
1. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who blew up after his team's 4-3 to Tampa Bay Sunday.
Ozzie is beloved by many, hated by many, but he did win the World Series in 2005 with the White Sox, ensuring him a very long leash.
3) Jose Guillen is an outfielder/DH for the Kansas City Royals. I have a vendetta against him. He's prone to tirades too.
Here's a picture from the precipitating event of my Jose Guillen vendetta. It started a while ago.
Checking in on the NCAA Tournament after two days (UPDATES for Day 3)
After two days here's how things stand in the NCAA baseball tournament. Each regional will have an elimination game to start the day Sunday and then the winner of that game would have to beat the other team left in the regional twice to advance. If another game is needed, it would be played on Monday. Day 3 info is in italics.
Coral Gables Regional
Missouri plays Ole Miss in elimination game with the winner facing Miami. Bethune-Cookman is out. Ole Miss beat Missouri 9-6. Miami beat Ole Miss 11-2. Miami advances to super-regional, which they host.
Ann Arbor Regional
Michigan plays Kentucky Sunday in an elimination game with the winner playing the unnamed school from Tuscon. Eastern Michigan is gone. Kentucky eliminated Michigan 12-6. The unnamed school beat Kentucky 5-3. The school from Tucson will at Miami in the super-regional.
South Carolina plays James Madison (the school, not the short dead president) in elimination game with the winner drawing North Carolina State. Charlotte (the school, not a person) is gone. South Carolina beat James Madison 7-5. North Carolina State edges South Carolina 2-1. North Carolina State advances to a super-regional at a site to be determined.
Lipscomb (the Bisons as they don't go for irregular plurals in Tennessee) plays Georgia in elimination game with the winner getting Georgia Tech. Louisville is done. Georgia beat Lipscomb 14-3. Georgia beat Georgia Tech 8-0. They will play for a super-regional spot Monday at 4 pm PT.
Virginia faces Cal State Fullerton with UCLA waiting. Rider has departed back to some place in New York (except the comments tell me that Rider is in New Jersey. Lawrenceville, NJ). The UCLA-Fullerton game is took a long time to play. It finished at 11:52 pm PT. Which is why I'm not going to Fullerton Sunday to watch the Bruins play. Cal State Fullerton beat Virginia 4-1. Cal State Fullerton beat UCLA 11-9 in a game that ended at 12:11 am PT. The two schools play again Monday at 8:06 pm PT.
Stanford will play arch-enemy UC Davis with the winner playing Pepperdine. Arkansas has gone home for the year. Stanford scored five times in the ninth to rally past UC Davis, 8-4. Stanford routed Pepperdine 13-1 to force a decisive game. It will be played Monday at 1 pm PT.
Oklahoma State plays TCU in the elimination game. Wichita State awaits the winner. Western Kentucky is already gone. Oklahoma State beat TCU 9-8. Wichita State beat Oklahoma State 11-7 in 10 innings. Wichita State advances to the super-regional against either Florida State or Tulane.
Florida State will play Bucknell in the elimination game. Unfortunately, Christy Mathewson's eligibility has been used up. The winner plays Tulane. Florida has been eliminated, which is always good to see in every sport. I will hold on to this grudge for a long time. Unless I run into a Florida alum, then I'll be embarrassed and stop because I'm easily swayed. Florida State beat Bucknell 24-9. Florida State beat Tulane 17-8. The two teams play again for a spot in the super-regional on Monday at 4 pm PT.
UNC Wilmington will play Elon in an elimination game. The winner plays North Carolina. Mount St. Mary's has been sent home. UNC Wilmington scores 11 runs in the top of the ninth to eliminate Elon, 15-11. North Carolina beat UNC Wilmington 7-3. North Carolina advances to the super-regional, which they will host against Costal Carolina.
Alabama plays East Carolina in the elimination game. The winner plays Coastal Carolina. The losers have to reveal exactly in which Carolina they are located. Columbia, the college in New York, not the capital of South Carolina, has been eliminated. Nevertheless, they consider themselves the luckiest team on the face of the earth. East Carolina beat Alabama 16-1. Coastal Carolina (which is in South Carolina) demolished East Carolina (which is in North Carolina) 24-11. Coastal Carolina advances to play North Carolina in the super-regional in Cary, NC.
Nebraska plays Oral Roberts in the elimination with the winner having to take on UC Irvine. Eastern Illinois is done. Oral Roberts made Nebraska the first #1 seed eliminated with an 8-0 win. UC Irvine shuts out Oral Roberts 8-0. UC Irvine advances to the super-regional at LSU.
Baton Rouge Regional
Southern Mississippi will play New Orleans in the elimination game with the winner facing LSU. Texas Southern and its 16-34 record are done. Southern Mississippi beat New Orleans 8-2. LSU beat Southern Mississippi 11-4. LSU advances to the super-regionals as a host against UC Irvine.
Texas will play St. John's again and this time the loser goes home. The winner faces Rice. Sam Houston State has gone back to some undisclosed city in Texas. Texas held off St. John's 4-3. Rice eliminates Texas 7-4. Rice will host a super-regional.
College Station Regional
Houston plays Illinois-Chicago in the elimination game and the winner plays host Texas A&M. Dallas Baptist has been eliminated. Houston needed 11 innings to eliminate Illinois-Chicago 14-11. Houston then slips by Texas A&M 4-3. The elimination game will be Monday at 4:30 pm PT.
Long Beach Regional
San Diego plays Long Beach State in the elimination game with Fresno State waiting. The Bulldogs are the only #4 seed in a regional to win its first two games. Cal has been eliminated. The Dirtbags are the second #1 team to go down, losing to USD 5-1. USD beat Fresno State 15-1. The two teams will play an elimination game Monday at 6 pm PT.
The Fighting Buster Olneys of Vanderbilt will play Oklahoma in the elimination game. The winner plays host Arizona State. Stony Brook enjoyed the trip I was told. Oklahoma won a see-saw affair against Vandy 11-10. Arizona State shuts out Oklahoma 12-0. Arizona State advances to host a super-regional against either San Diego or Fresno State.
There's a very cool bracket available here.
Carlos Guillen: Man on the Move
On Opening Day for the Tigers, Carlos Guillen was the Tigers first baseman. A month into the season, manager Jim Leyland decided to have Guillen switch positions with Opening Day third baseman Miguel Cabrera. And today, Guillen is supposed to play in left field to allow Brandon Inge to reclaim his job as the Tigers everyday third baseman.
Link via BTF.
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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