Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: December 2005


The 2005 year in review
2005-12-31 09:29
by Bob Timmermann

The Baseball Year in Review

January 2005 – Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Both men are given passes by the BBWAA that allows them to give interviews for the next 20 years where they can say, "Players today just aren't the same as they were in my day."

February 2005 – The Cubs traded once-revered power hitter Sammy Sosa to Baltimore for Jerry Hairston, Jr. and some magic beans. The magic beans are the most valuable part of the trade at the end of the year.

March 2005 – The House Committee on Government Reform summons baseball executives and players to Washington to be grilled about steroids. Retired slugger Mark McGwire says he won't talk about the past. Unsure if this means he can't remember the past, one Congressman offers McGwire a Polaroid camera and asks why he has a tattoo that says "Jose C injected me with steroids" when viewed in a mirror.

April 2005 – The Los Angeles Dodgers jump out to a 12-2 start setting up fans in Los Angeles for the mother of all disappointments. The Chicago White Sox jump out to a 16-4 start setting up fans in the South Side of Chicago to continue pinching themselves to make sure that the entire season is not a dream.

May 2005 – The Kansas City Royals finish the first two months with a record of 14-37. But they win on May 31, the first of a 3-game sweep against the Yankees under new manager Buddy Bell. But the infusion of hope soon dissipates and a 5-21 August consigns the Royals to a 56-106 record. The offseason brings hope as the Royals sign Doug Mientkiewicz and hope that he can bring his magic baseball from the 2004 World Series.

June 2005 – The month ends with the Washington Nationals leading the NL East with a 47-31 record. GM Jim Bowden and manager Frank Robinson are hailed as geniuses. The Nats finish the season 24-50 and Bowden blames the players for not performing well enough while Robinson blames Mike Scioscia, Brendan Donnelly, the media, "kids today", and his team's inability to score. Cristian Guzman absolves himself of blame.

Continue reading...

And people say baseball has a complicated tiebreaker
2005-12-31 07:38
by Bob Timmermann

Last October, I heard people grumbling about how "complicated" the tiebreaker in baseball was and how the Yankees clinched the AL East with a day left in the season.

Child's play. explains how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can miss the playoffs.

My favorite part of the NFL playoff scenarios is that Pittsburgh can clinch a spot if San Diego beats Denver today. Despite the fact that Denver is already in the playoffs and San Diego is already out of the playoffs.

Manny Ramirez trade rumor du jour
2005-12-31 06:56
by Bob Timmermann

The NY Daily News is reporting a four team proposed blockbuster, although it's not complete.

When the dust settles, the players should end up on these teams:

Mets: Manny Ramirez, Danys Baez
Red Sox: Miguel Tejada, Joey Gathright
Orioles: Julio Lugo, Matt Clement, and maybe Kris Benson
Devil Rays: Andy Marte, Jae Seo, Aaron Heilman, Kazuo Matsui

If it weren't for the Marlins there would be no news
2005-12-30 18:58
by Bob Timmermann

The Marlins extreme makeover continues with the signings of Miguel Olivo and Wes Helms. Baseball fans in South Florida are no doubt overjoyed.

ESPN's plan for world domination continues
2005-12-30 14:43
by Bob Timmermann

At the bottom of this Larry Stewart column in the LA Times is a note that ESPN will have a float in the 2006 Tournament of Roses Parade.

"The Magic of Sports in High Definition" Scroll down to the entry.

If I were civic-minded, I would help decorate my city's float. But I'm not. I'm sure they'll get it done in time. They've got an extra day this year anyway. Besides it's too far to go to walk to the float. It's like five blocks away.

Trial of Dernell Stenson's alleged slayer scheduled to start ... eventually.
2005-12-30 13:58
by Bob Timmermann

Surprisingly, the trial of Reginald Riddle who is suspected of killing Cincinnati Reds prospect Dernell Stenson in Arizona on November 5, 2003 hasn't started yet.

The trial will finally start March 6, 2006.

70 years ago today
2005-12-30 10:31
by Bob Timmermann

A baby boy named Sanford Braun was born in Brooklyn. Of course, that boy became Sandy Koufax, who leads all living Hall of Famers in mystique in my opinion.

Overrated? USC? Not by me?
2005-12-30 09:52
by Bob Timmermann

As an alum of UCLA (who is legitimately afraid that his team will lose to Northwestern today), I find USC appropriately rated, but it's always chic for someone to point out that the team isn't as good as everyone believes. In this case, it's Jonathan Chait of the New Republic writing in Slate.

Left out from the article by Chait is whether or not Texas is overrated or underrated. If Texas is similarly overrated like USC then on January 4, then Traveler is going to be one tired horse.

Byrnes inks Byrnes
2005-12-30 09:05
by Bob Timmermann

Arizona GM Josh Byrnes has added "high energy" outfielder Eric Byrnes to the Diamondbacks.

Byrnes (the Eric variety) will likely get to start in center field. Right handed pitchers in the NL West have an extra special reason to celebrate on New Year's Eve now.

Miguel Tejada is upset
2005-12-29 20:29
by Bob Timmermann

Apparently Miguel Tejada is angry. He wants a change of scenery. Or a better team. Or a different team. He likely doesn't want a shot of B-12.

But look at the help he's received: Jeromy Burnitz and Jeff Conine!

Somebody joins the Marlins!
2005-12-29 16:43
by Bob Timmermann
Except it's Joe Borowski and Pokey Reese.

The article goes on to say: Reese fits into the second-base mix with Josh Wilson, Dan Uggla and Alfredo Amezaga.

Is second-base mix better than Chex party mix?
Shouldn't all the teams be .500?
2005-12-29 14:20
by Bob Timmermann

It's a workers paradise, isn't it? Everything should be equal.

But no, there are races for division titles in the Cuban baseball leagues.

I'm even more dismayed than Emma Goldman.

Don't ask, Dotel
2005-12-29 13:42
by Bob Timmermann
The Yankees have officially made Octavio Dotel part of their team.

Dotel is also named in a suit with four other players: David Ortiz, Miguel Tejada, Pedro Martinez, and Julio Lugo for allegedly lending their names and likenesses to a set of defective long distance phone cards to let people call the Dominican Republic.
Pirates continue to pick up key members of the 2005 Dodgers
2005-12-29 10:36
by Bob Timmermann

Giovanni Carrara has found a new home in Pittsburgh. Carrara and Pirates manager Jim Tracy will be able to reminsce about the good old days of watching the Dodgers cough up a late lead to the Rockies as the Pirates do the same.

Link updated to include news of likely Joe Randa signing by the Bucs.

| Excitement builds for inaugural WBC
2005-12-29 09:44
by Bob Timmermann
If they say so, it must be true.

Mr. Selig: your tournament seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why is it so popular?
Ortiz gopher balls to find safe haven
2005-12-29 09:40
by Bob Timmermann
Ramon Ortiz can now give up his numerous home runs in the comfort of RFK.
For those who were scoring at home (with updates)
2005-12-29 09:35
by Bob Timmermann

The final play of the Alamo Bowl appears on's boxscore as:

C. Henne passed to S. Breaston to the right for 11 yard gain. lateral to M. Hart. lateral to J. Avant. lateral to M. Manningham. lateral to J. Avant. J. Avant fumbled. M. Hart recovered fumble and returned for 7 yards. lateral to T. Ecker for 50 yards.

Double checking my copy of the NCAA Football Statistician's Manual (what you don't have one?), that scoring isn't complete. All the laterals need to be computed up to the point of the fumble. Once Avant fumbles, then the pass play is over and Henne gets credit for that yardage (which ultimately) would be negative. It would be something like this:

Henne -6 yards passing
Breaston 1 reception, 11 yards
Hart, -2 receiving yards, 7 yards + fumble recovery
Avant, -6 receiving yards
Manningham, -4 receiving yards
Ecker would get fumble recovery yardage but no credit for a fumble recovery

Update - found the official summary of the play this morning

M 2-10 M36 Henne, Chad pass complete to Avant, Jason to the MICH45, Manningham, M. for loss of 9 yards to the MICH36, Avant, Jason for loss of 4 yards to the
MICH32, Avant, Jason for loss of 4 yards to the MICH28, fumble by Avant,
Jason recovered by MICH Hart, Mike at MICH20, Hart, Mike for 9 yards to the
MICH29, Ecker, Tyler for loss of 4 yards to the MICH25, Ecker, Tyler for 62
yards to the NU13, 1ST DOWN MICH (Brothers, Titus).
I think this didn't get entered correctly. Because the video showed the pass went Henne to Avant to Breaston to Manningham to Avant who lateraled back to a lineman (I believe it was #54 Mark Bihl) who couldn't handle it (or chose not to) and then Hart picked it up and then lateraled to Ecker.

The truth may never be known....

Update - Dan McCarney in the San Antonio Express-News has a better description:

After Henne's pass:

Avant lateraled to Steve Breaston.

Breaston lateraled to Mike Hart.

Hart lateraled back to Avant.

Avant threw a backward pass to Mario Manningham.

Manningham lateraled back to Avant, who retreated all the way back to the Michigan 32.

From there, Avant threw a blind backward pass that glanced off the hands of center Mark Bihl at the 26.

Hart picked up the loose ball and lateraled to Tyler Ecker.

As the entire Nebraska sideline stormed the field and the celebration stand was wheeled into the South end zone, Ecker raced down the right sideline, where he was eventually forced out at the Nebraska 15 by Zackary Bowman and ex-Judson standout Titus Brothers.

The most amazing detail of all: Had Ecker been able to see behind him and to his left, he would have noticed Breaston wide open.

One more lateral, and Michigan could have scored.

If Ecker had scored, there would have been the problem of what about all the extra players on the field. Both teams had extra players on the field. However, under NCAA rules, that would have been an offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. And those are dead-ball penalties, so the touchdown would have counted.

Update - Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free-Press has the final total

Each player's final numbers: Henne received credit for one completion for 51 yards, Jason Avant got the reception credit for a total of minus-3 yards on his three touches, Breaston had no positive yard, Manningham lost 13 yards, Hart gained five, and Ecker gained 62 yards but had no catch.

So it appears that there was no fumble ruled on the play, just all receiving yards. I can die happy now.


Cairo makes his triumphal return to ...
2005-12-28 18:09
by Bob Timmermann
The Bronx!

I really hate it when the Yankees start buying up all the good players.

And I curse Fred Claire for giving up on a young Cairo to acquire Mike Blowers.
One day I may call upon you do to me a favor in return
2005-12-28 14:50
by Bob Timmermann
Mike Scarr of has the hardest job since Vito Corleone brought Sonny's body to Bonasera's mortuary.
Garland back on the South Side
2005-12-28 14:14
by Bob Timmermann
The White Sox signed Jon Garland to a new 3-year, $29 million deal. The defending World Series champions (wow, I actually can type that!) now have six pretty good starters under contract in Garland, Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Javier Vazquez, Jose Contreras, and Brandon McCarthy. Only Contreras would be a free agent after next season.

Garland, as some of you know, grew up in the mean streets of Granada Hills, California, and attended one of America's ugliest public high schools.
An idea certain to please no one
2005-12-28 13:56
by Bob Timmermann
Venezuela has offered to host some games of the WBC so Cuba won't have to play in Puerto Rico and run afoul of U.S. law.

I'm just thinking that the Bush administration isn't going to like this plan either. There is also the problem of what happens if Cuba wins its group, which includes Panama, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands. Cuba would have to come to the U.S. for the semis. Unless there is a plan to play the game in international waters aboard the S.S. PETCO.
Chad Bradford off to New York
2005-12-28 10:03
by Bob Timmermann
According to the NY Post, Chad Bradford is going to find a home in the Mets bullpen.

Bradford was swayed to New York when Omar Minaya announced that the Mets would no longer hold Choose Your Own Scapegoat Night at Shea Stadium.
Burnitz to Baltimore
2005-12-28 09:34
by Bob Timmermann
Itinerant outfielder Jeromy Burnitz appears to be headed to the Orioles with a 2-year, $12 million deal.

Burnitz is expected to take over Sammy Sosa's slot in right field. This will be Burnitz's first stop in the AL since he played for the Brewers in 1997. And does anyone remember that Burnitz once stole 20 bases in a season? Or that the Mets paid him over $12 million in 2003?

Palmeiro speaks
2005-12-27 22:23
by Bob Timmermann
And judging from what he says in this Murray Chass article, he doesn't say much. Apparently that positive steroid test is still baffling him.
Vatican considering change that would make it harder to use a metaphor
2005-12-27 17:21
by Bob Timmermann
Limbo is in limbo. In the wake of the Troy Glaus acquisition by the Blue Jays today, Toronto sportswriters are now looking for a new metaphor to describe Eric Hinske's situation.
Glaus goes to Toronto, Batista returns to Arizona with Orlando Hudson along for the ride
2005-12-27 15:34
by Bob Timmermann
I could wait all day for this trade to become official, but I'm sick and I might fall asleep. But it looks the Blue Jays-Diamondbacks deal is all done except for the press conference.

As part of contract concessions, Glaus was excused from having to refer to Vernon Wells as a "centre fielder". Glaus is also allowed to go to the bathroom instead of the washroom.

Batista is expected to return to a starting pitcher role in Arizona. Hudson will move Craig Counsell from second base to shortstop. Chad Tracy moves over to third base and Shawn Green moves back to right field from center. Not that there is a center fielder at the moment for Arizona.
The Pirates machine keeps on rolling
2005-12-27 14:58
by Bob Timmermann
You can't stop the force of nature that is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Today they have re-signed Jody Gerut to a one-year deal. The Pirates don't have anyone penciled to be the right field starter right now, but manager Jim Tracy will likely want someone with a healthy dose of scrap.
It's official, the White Sox are the "Story of the Year"
2005-12-27 12:33
by Bob Timmermann
According to a survey by the Associated Press, the White Sox World Series win was the sports story of the year for 2005. Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orelans sports was second. Lance Armstrong's Tour de France win was third and the baseball and steroids controversy was fourth.

The Los Angeles Galaxy's win of the MLS Cup apparently did not make the Top 10.
Jeff Reardon involved in armed robbery
2005-12-27 10:37
by Bob Timmermann
Jeff Reardon was arrested Monday after robbing a jewelry store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Reardon's attorney believes that antidepressants his client was taking caused him to act erratically.

Interestingly, the AP story cites as a source for information.
Another Yankee skips the WBC
2005-12-27 04:12
by Bob Timmermann
Hideki Matsui has decided not to play in the World Baseball Classic. He joins teammates Jorge Posada (out because the Yankees petitioned to hold him out) and Alex Rodriguez (indecision about whom to play for) in sitting out the WBC.
Rangers add Millwood
2005-12-26 16:14
by Bob Timmermann
Kevin Millwood is headed for Texas for four years at $11-12 million per season. There is an option for the fifth year.
In memoriam
2005-12-26 14:32
by Bob Timmermann
Bruce Markusen compiles a baseball necrology for 2005.
There still was news
2005-12-26 14:22
by Bob Timmermann
My Christmas in Western Michigan was highlighted by having a cold most of the time. I also experienced slush for the first time. Slush is not nearly as much fun as snow.

Meanwhile, a few things

Since I won't be around, news can't happen
2005-12-22 08:57
by Bob Timmermann

Since I will be away from a computer until Boxing Day for the most part, there obviously won't be any baseball news of any importance will there? Reggie Sanders could join the Royals, Brett Tomko could join the Dodgers, middle relievers will switch teams at a pace so furious you would think they were being dealt by people at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Like most people, I will be spending my December 25 going to church and celebrating the birth of Ned Garver.

Tomko time
2005-12-22 08:49
by Bob Timmermann

The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly signed Brett Tomko to a 2-year contract.

This would bring the total of former Giants on the 2006 Dodgers roster to six: Tomko, Kenny Lofton, Bill Mueller, Jose Cruz Jr., Jeff Kent, and Ricky Ledee, which would be an alltime record for the Dodgers.

The Giants presently have one former Dodger on their roster: Steve Finley.

Elrod Hendricks, 1940-2005
2005-12-21 22:31
by Bob Timmermann

Former Orioles catcher Elrod Hendricks passed away one day shy of his 65th birthday.

Hendricks served as the Orioles bullpen catcher from the 1978 through the 2005 season as well.

Finley and Alfonzo switch uniforms
2005-12-21 18:25
by Bob Timmermann

It was a straight one for one swap.

Finley has received the baseball code phrase of being told that you're not really any good more.

Giants GM Brian Sabean said, ""He will give [manager Felipe Alou] many options in the outfield along with returning starters Barry Bonds, Moises Alou and Randy Winn, as well as provide great veteran presence."

A league not just of their own
2005-12-21 15:07
by Bob Timmermann

In Aichi Prefecture, Japan (Home of Japan's Industrial Heartland, they brag). A women's collegiate baseball team from Chukyo University will be in a league with men's teams.

I know I'll be following fifth division games in that conference next year to see how this experiment fares.

Sir Sidney goes to the Mound City
2005-12-21 08:20
by Bob Timmermann

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have taken a chance on Sidney Ponson. Ponson signed shortly after being released from jail, which is the new hotbed for baseball talent I guess.

It's a great day for non-tendering! (An interactive experience)
2005-12-20 22:15
by Bob Timmermann

Today is the deadline to tender contracts to players who are eligible for arbitration. It's supposed to be at midnight and I'm guessing that's Eastern Time. Or maybe it's midnight wherever the player is, if so, there might be some Japanese players who are free agents.

However, there will be a lot of transactions today. A lot. A whole lot. And I don't intend to keep putting up a new link for each team's list of nontenders. So keep your eye out for this link and I will keep adding links to stories about players who are going to go on the market or not go on the market.

And if you have a link to a story, feel free to drop it in the comments and I'll try my best to keep up.

You can keep refreshing the transactions page to see when the news becomes more or less "official".

Update Some minor transactions: Rudy Seanez signs with Boston.

David Newhan, Geronimo Gil, and John Parrish are back with Baltimore.

Update 2 Chris Hammond signs with the Reds.

John McDonald will stick with Toronto.

Update 3 The Padres offered arbitration to Pedro Astacio, who said no thanks. Miguel Olivo was offered arbitration. Craig Breslow, Dewon Brazelton, David Ross, and Pete LaForest are fair game.

The Cubs tendered contracts to everybody they could. That means Juan Pierre and Corey Patterson. As well guys like Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior, Will Ohman, and Jerry Hairston Jr.

Update 4 Ramon Ortiz and Joe Valentine are non-tendered by the Reds.

Jose Acevedo is liked by the Rockies, but not well-liked and is a free agent.

Update 5 The Red Sox have non-tendered Wade Miller and Chad Bradford.

The Twins non-tendered Grant Balfour.

The Mets have non-tendered Tyler Yates and Wayne Lydon.

Update 6 The Cubs have signed, according to ESPN radio in Chicago Jacque Jones to a three-year deal.

Octavio Dotel has signed a 1-year, $2 million contract with the Yankees.

Update 7 This just in! The Oakland A's have non-tendered: Hiram Bocachica. Go back to watching the New Orleans Bowl.

Update 8 And Hee-Seop Choi was .... signed to a new contract by the Dodgers.

Update 9 The holder of the record for longest shutout streak in Tampa Bay history, Joe Borowski has been released. Apparently everybody else is coming back. Meanwhile Arkansas State has tied Southern Mississippi in the New Orleans Bowl 3-3 in the second quarter.

Update 10, or perhaps Update 8a The Dodgers have non-tendered Mike Edwards, Bryan Myrow, and Jason Phillips.

Update 11 The Brewers have non-tendered Dan Kolb and Jeff Bennett. The Brewers hope to re-sign Kolb to a cheaper deal. Russell Branyan and Kane Davis agreed to new contracts. And it's 10-10 at halftime of the New Orleans Bowl. Southern Miss was a 17-point favorite in the game.

Update 12 An eerie quiet has fallen over Nontenderland. Some teams are going down to the wire (midnight ET). Others have PR departments that don't care or are on vacation. Or perhaps they are wrapped up in the exciting end of the New Orleans Bowl. Southern Miss leads Arkansas State 24-19 in the third quarter....

Update 13 The Mariners have non-tendered Ryan Franklin, Jamal Strong, and Cha Seung Baek. And Southern Mississippi won the New Orleans Bowl 31-19! Tomorrow is the GMAC Bowl between UTEP and Toledo!

Update 14 The Yankees are not bringing back Wayne Franklin. Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small were offered abritration. Small did refuse the chance to buy his soul back from Satan.

Update 15 The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a list of arbitration-eligible players. There are still a few precincts that haven't reported.

Update 16 The Houston Astros took care of all four arbitration eligible players they had. The most notable name among this group is Brad Lidge.

Atlanta didn't tender contracts to Jim Brower and Wes Obermueller.

The White Sox are expected to not tender contracts to Willie Harris, Timo Perez, and Felix Diaz.

Update 17 Some more precincts trickle in. The Nationals don't offer contracts to Junior Spivey and T.J. Tucker. However, Tucker has signed a minor-league contract. Still not reporting: Toronto, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the Angels, Arizona, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Texas, Kansas City, Detroit. I think.

Update 18 For those worrying about the fate of Larry Bigbie, he's been resigned. But four others aren't coming back: Mike Lincoln, Mike Mahoney, Scott Seabol, and Bo Hart.

And finally.... AP runs a summary of all 50 non-tendered free agents. I can now do my laundry in peace.

And a new home for Johnny Damon?
2005-12-20 19:53
by Bob Timmermann

Have the Yankees solved their Bubba and Bernie problem in center field?

This very lightly detailed story says that Johnny Damon is headed to the Bronx.

I assume that you may find this story in other sources. Just guessing.

And for ease of viewing, Here is a better link. Thanks to robertdaeley.

Padres and Rangers continue player exchange program
2005-12-20 12:14
by Bob Timmermann

Since this is a deal of relative import, it gets its own link.

The Padres and Rangers have pulled off a 6-player trade according to's Jerry Crasnick.

Terrmel Sledge, who graduated from one of America's ugliest high schools (as did I), has now moved from playing in one of worst hitters parks in the majors (RFK), to theoretically playing in one of the best (Ameriquest), to again playing in one of the worst for hitters (PETCO).

When Akinori Otsuka played in Japan, his uniform read "Ohtsuka". Since Otsuka will be pitching for Japan in the WBC, I'm curious as to how his uniform will read there.

Chris Young, who stands 6'10", will provide the Padres with a presence in the low post.

Adam Eaton wasn't even given one of the three starts in the playoffs for the Padres.

If we were all as adaptable as Alfonso Soriano,
2005-12-20 10:16
by Bob Timmermann

We'd have been eaten by wild animals when we were hunter-gatherers.

Not only does he not want to play the outfield, he doesn't want to play in the National League.

So which free agents are left?
2005-12-19 23:20
by Bob Timmermann
Using the list available on's Free Agent Tracker, there are 162 unsigned free agents at the moment. However, that total is a little off now as it still includes the two free agents who agreed to arbitration: Tony Graffanino and Travis Lee. It also includes Nomar Garciaparra as being unsigned.

The list can be sorted in different ways. If you do it alphabetically, you start with one of the worst players in the majors last year: Manny Alexander, who managed to get into 10 games for San Diego last year and some of them were before the Padres clinched the division.

Of course the name of Roger Clemens sort of stands out, but Clemens may be the least "free" of all the free agents. There are two Alex Gonzalezes available as well as an Eddie Perez and an Eduardo Perez.

There are two other aging sluggers still looking for new homes: Mike Piazza and Frank Thomas. There are a pair of longtime Yankee heroes available in Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez.

And two guys whom most GMs are approaching with their MLB and Congressionally approved 50-foot poles: Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa.

The Yankees are listed as having the most free agents left: 13.

The Angels and White Sox have the fewest free agents left: 2 each.

A slow year for salary arbitrators
2005-12-19 22:56
by Bob Timmermann
A grand total of two free agents agreed to accept salary arbitration this year: Tony Graffanino of Boston and Travis Lee of Tampa Bay. December 19 was the last day to accept arbitration for free agents. All free agents who were offered arbitration, but rejected it have until January 8 to reach an agreement with their old teams.

December 20 is the nontender deadline and a day likely filled with people going "How could (insert name of GM) let (insert name of player) go away for nothing?"

All the relevant dates are listed on

Peter Gammons Men of the Year in Baseball for 2005
2005-12-19 19:59
by Bob Timmermann

Have their names protected by ESPN's Insider wall.

But I know who they are! Two owners of a baseball team. They both do not have the last name of McCourt. Or Wilpon. They own a team in Chicago.

Red Alert! - Part 4
2005-12-19 18:35
by Bob Timmermann

Former commissioner Peter Ueberroth says that Cuba should be allowed to play in the World Baseball Classic.

Ueberroth is a known expert at being able to get Communist countries to participate in international sporting events.

The problem of Cuba's participation in the WBC doesn't seem insurmountable. To get around the embargo, just have any of the other 14 countries participating funnel the money over. Or Bud Selig can meet Fidel Castro in international waters with a suitcase full of money.

Transactions both ridiculous and sublime
2005-12-19 15:14
by Bob Timmermann
He never got one as a kid
2005-12-19 14:53
by Bob Timmermann

Astros owner Drayton McLane has rewarded Roy Oswalt for winning Game 6 of the NLCS with a Caterpillar D6 bulldozer.

And it's a real one. Not a Tonka version. If I had one of these for my morning commute, I'd get through L.A. traffic much faster.

The Kaz Ishii Era appears to be over
2005-12-19 13:27
by Bob Timmermann

Tucked into the bottom of a press release about three other guys getting invites to spring training for the Mets is the announcement that Kazuhisa Ishii has been released.

I've learned that last year Darrell Oliver announced his retirement, but now he's back! The other two pitchers: Pedro Feliciano and Jose Parra are part of an MLB-NPB exchange program of mediocre pitchers.

The Mets have not had a lot of success with Japanese pitchers. Ishii, Hideo Nomo, Takashi Kashiwada, Satoru Komiyama, Shingo Takatsu. Masato Yoshii would be the only one who would be considered "not terrible" during his Mets tenure.

Nothing like a World Series win to make you feel wanted
2005-12-19 11:44
by Bob Timmermann

A.J. Pierzynski who had been cast out of Minnesota and San Francisco, has avoided arbitration with the White Sox and signed a 3-year, $15 million deal with the White Sox.

Freel back with the Reds
2005-12-19 10:03
by Bob Timmermann

Ryan Freel signed a 2-year, $3 million deal with the Reds.

And Sean Casey thanked the people of Cincinnati. He said he liked the cookies.

It's Arbitration Deadline day
2005-12-19 07:47
by Bob Timmermann

In my home, this is always one of the biggest days of the years. My parents would gather us around the table and say, "So do you want to accept this allowance we are going to give you, or do you want to go to Grandma for arbitration?" We also had the option of turning down both offers and trying to find another home, but we never did that. I knew the market was soft for 11-year old kids with shaky lawn mowing skills.

Meanwhile This story by Jim Street highlights some of the names to look for today.

The cult of Lo Duca moves to New York
2005-12-18 22:14
by Bob Timmermann

The Gray Lady has declared Paul Lo Duca as one of New York City's own in this mostly adulatory piece in the New York Times.

What will be interesting is to see what the Post and Daily News write about Lo Duca come August 2006.

Baseball caps banned to stop "loutishness"
2005-12-18 21:57
by Bob Timmermann

It's hard to pass up a headline like this.

If you outlaw baseball caps, only Ugueth Urbina will be able to wear them.

The Los Angeles Blue Sox
2005-12-18 14:37
by Bob Timmermann
Inspired by my work on ex-Giants who became Dodgers and the signing of Nomar Garciaparra, I've now started looking for ex-Red Sox have become Dodgers.

It's not nearly as long or as impressive of a list. In 2005, there were two: Derek Lowe and Jose Cruz. Cruz was a Red Sox player for about a week. Bill Mueller and Garciaparra will make the 2006 total four for the time being.

Since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, the most former Red Sox on any one Dodgers squad was three. In 2003, there was Rickey Henderson, Hideo Nomo, and Paul Quantrill. And in 1992, you could go see Bob Ojeda, Todd Benzinger, and Matt Young. But in reality, would you have wanted to see any of those three?

Because the teams were in different leagues and because the Dodgers had a much better minor league system than the Red Sox for much of the post World War II-era, ex-Red Sox showing up on the Dodgers were few and far between.

After the war until divisional play started in 1969, only one player who had called Boston home played for the Dodgers: Dick Stuart in 1966.

The Dodgers team that had the most former Red Sox on it was also the same team that had the most ex-Giants, the 1932 squad. There were six former Red Sox on the team: Ike Boone, Fred Heimach, Waite Hoyt (Hall of Famer), Lefty O'Doul, Val Picinich, and Jack Quinn.

The first man to do it was a guy named Fred Mitchell who pitched for Boston in 1901-02 and for Brooklyn in 1904-05.

The Los Angeles Dodgers of San Francisco
2005-12-18 11:26
by Bob Timmermann
Sorry to steal some of Jon's bits here, but with the arrival in L.A. of former Giants assistant GM Ned Colletti as well as the signing of former Giant Bill Mueller and offers to other former Giants, such as Reggie Sanders and Kenny Lofton, I was wondering how often there are former Giants on the Dodgers roster.

So, to the best of my ability I tried to crank out a list although I really just did a lot of data entry myself. To get credit as a "former Giant", you had to have played at least one game for the Giants (L.A. or New York variety) and then played for the Dodgers. If you had a career path that took you from Dodgers to Giants to Dodgers (such as Dave Anderson or Orel Hershiser), you are only a former Giant on your second tour of duty with the Dodgers.

In 2005, the Dodgers sported four former Giants on their roster: Wilson Alvarez, Jose Cruz Jr., Jeff Kent and Ricky Ledee. That was the first time the Dodgers had four former Giants on the squad since 1986 when the Dodgers had the heroic quartet of Enos Cabell, Bill Madlock, Alex Treviño, and Terry Whitfield.

In 1943, the Dodgers had five former Giants, mostly all scrubs as World War II made teams desperate to pick up just about any player they could find. Those five were: Freddie Fitzsimmons, Alex Kampouris, Bill Lohrman, Joe Orengo, and Bill Sayles. It's likely that all five weren't on the roster at the same time.

But the record year for former Giants on the Dodgers is 1932 when there were six. That included two future Hall of Famers: George Kelly and Hack Wilson. The other four were Ike Boone, Lefty O'Doul, Fay Thomas and Fresco Thompson. Thompson would serve as the Dodgers general manager in 1968.

The first player to make the list was Dave Orr in 1888. Orr had played one game for the Giants in 1883. There would not be another ex-Giant on the Dodgers until Monte Ward played for Brooklyn in 1891-92.

Of the six years the Dodgers won the World Series, there were only two seasons that the Dodgers had an ex-Giant on the roster: 1963 (Daryl Spencer) and 1981 (Derrel Thomas).

For the most part most of the ex-Giants who have gone on to play for the Dodgers have been bench players, but there have been a few stars. Hall of Famers who have done it are: Monte Ward, Willie Keeler, Rube Marquard, Dave Bancroft, George Kelly, Freddie Lindstrom, Hack Wilson, Joe Medwick, Hoyt Wilhelm, Juan Marichal, and Gary Carter.

The longest tenure with the Dodgers of any ex-Giant is Manny Mota. Mota played with the Giants in 1962 and played for the Dodgers from 1969 through 1980 and also briefly in 1982. Fitzsimmons's seven seasons in Brooklyn is the leader in that incarnation of the team.

From the time of Jackie Robinson's debut in 1947 until the advent of divisional play in 1969, the Dodgers employed only five ex-Giants: Mickey Livingston (2 games in 1951), Sal Maglie (crucial pickup for the Dodgers in 1956), Daryl Spencer, Dick Schofield (1966-67) and Len Gabrielson.

Now, if I were a thorough person I would make the list going the other way: ex-Dodgers who went on to play for the Giants. But I'm not that thorough.

Update - Some links fixed and Len Gabrielson added to list of ex-Giants on the Dodgers between 1947 and 1969.

Update 2 - "Fixing" being a relative term. Corrections are welcome.

Update 3 - I had left out Freddie Lindstrom from the list of Hall of Famers who were ex-Giants who went on to play for the Dodgers. But, c'mon, it's Freddie Lindstrom!

I don't know what the adjective to describe this statement should be
2005-12-17 23:47
by Bob Timmermann

Sorry that this is a non-baseball related matter, but it was a slow news night in baseball. But I was briefly watching the NFL game between Tampa Bay and New England. FOX announcer Dick Stockton said at one point, "New England, this is a team that could be dangerous in the playoffs."

Now, I may have been asleep, but hasn't New England won two straight Super Bowls? And three of the last four? And nine straight playoff games overall?

The last New England Patriots coach who lost a playoff game was Pete Carroll.

Womack wants to start in Cincinnati
2005-12-17 11:02
by Bob Timmermann

Tony Womack wants to be the Reds starting second baseman in 2006.

Yeah, good luck with that Tony.

The article states that with the Yankees, Womack became "an afterthought." I think the folks at Bronx Banter would be using a different word to describe Womack and I can't write it here because I promised to not work blue.

Washburn likely headed to Seattle
2005-12-17 10:51
by Bob Timmermann

Not exactly breaking news, but it looks like Jarrod Washburn is likely headed to Seattle.

What I found interesting in the story linked was this part:
Last year, Washburn went 8-8 and made 29 starts. He had a brief stint on the disabled list with inflammation in his pitching elbow. It was just the sixth time in his career he was on the disabled list.

Washburn is 31. Being on the DL just six times is a selling point?

D.R. to A-Rod - Play for Somebody!
2005-12-17 10:27
by Bob Timmermann

The head of the Dominican Baseball Federation thinks that Alex Rodriguez should play for the Dominican Republic or the United States in the World Baseball Classic. Perhaps Rodriguez is waiting for an offer from South Africa or the Netherlands.

The total value of Alex Rodriguez's contract is about 0.4% of the GDP of the Dominican Republic. That figure could be off since I didn't figure out the differences in the present and future values of the contract years.

To tender or not to tender that is the question
2005-12-17 09:37
by Bob Timmermann

Jim Molony of speculates on the people who will likely not be getting a contract offer on Tuesday.

The Brewers (Russell Branyan and Dan Kolb), Dodgers (Jason Phillips and Hee-Seop Choi), and Mariners (Ryan Frankin, Gil Meche, and Willie Bloomquist) seem to be the teams who are primed to let go of players in bulk.

Der fliegende Holländer, Act 5
2005-12-17 07:41
by Bob Timmermann

Rich Lederer enlists another East Coast writer, Bob Klapisch for the Bert Blyleven for the Hall of Fame Campaign.

The results of the balloting will be announced on January 10.

Red alert! - Part 3
2005-12-16 23:19
by Bob Timmermann

Jack Curry of the New York Times writes about how MLB is interested that nobody in the US government seemed to care that Cuba sent a soccer team to the U.S. earlier this year.

Of course, the CONCACAF Gold Cup has a much lower profile than the World Baseball Classic. Another difference could also be that Cuba isn't very good at soccer. The Cubans went 0-3 in the 2005 Gold Cup, losing to the U.S., Costa Rica and Canada. And Cuba didn't get out of the first round of World Cup qualifying. In Cuba's only appearance in the World Cup Finals in 1938, they got bounced out by Sweden in the quarterfinals by a tidy 8-0 score. The Cuban baseball team could actually win a few games.

Mientkiewicz and Red Sox go to arbitration
2005-12-16 22:53
by Bob Timmermann

But it's not salary arbitration that they're going to.

It's bad enough that the guy has to go play for the Royals. But now Doug Mientkiewicz and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to binding arbitration to see who gets to own the ball for the final out of the 2004 World Series. The winner gets the ball and the loser gets to have Jimmy Fallon come to their home or office to personally deliver a DVD of Fever Pitch.

Akira Ogi, mentor of Ichiro, passes away at 70
2005-12-16 17:14
by Bob Timmermann

Akira Ogi, who managed the Kintetsu Buffaloes and the Orix Blue Wave passed away in Japan at the age of 70.

Ogi was one of Japan's most famous managers, in part because he was responsible for making a young outfielder named Ichiro Suzuki into worldwide phenomenon Ichiro!

Here is a link to Ogi's induction ceremony into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004. (In Japan, his name would be spelled Ohgi at times.) Despite winning three pennants and one Japan Series championship, Ogi was inducted for his playing career.

Ogi managed the revamped Orix Buffaloes last season before stepping down early because of poor health.

Score big with these names
2005-12-16 12:52
by Bob Timmermann

Ken has used his considerable programming skills to come up with the top 10 names of baseball players to use for Scrabble (made by an unnamed toy company whom I don't wish to name because that joke has been played out.) You can check out your favorite team's value on the Scrabble board at Humbug's Player Word Scores.

Players on 40-man rosters at the end of the 2005 season were used.

Top 10 (and ties) for first and last names:
53 Javier Vazquez
44 Ramon Vazquez
43 Enrique Gonzalez
42 Jeremi Gonzalez
41 Jorge Vasquez
38 Yhency Brazoban
38 Wiki Gonzalez
38 Juan Gonzalez
38 Doug Mientkiewicz
38 Alex Gonzalez
38 Alex Gonzalez (wow, they both scored the same!)

Bottom 10 (and ties) for first and last names:

11 Sean Henn
11 Ross Gload
11 Rob Bell
11 Neal Cotts
11 Luis Terrero
11 Luis Matos
11 Evan Rust
11 Eric Reed
11 Carlos Lee
11 Bo Hart
10 Tim Olson
10 Luis Pena
10 Al Reyes
9 Pete Orr
9 Aaron Sele
8 Ian Snell
8 Al Leiter

Top 10 surnames:

37 Vazquez
32 Mientkiewicz
29 Kozlowski
28 Vizquel
28 Vasquez
28 Pierzynski
27 Grudzielanek
27 Gonzalez
27 Buchholz
26 Piazza

Bottom 10 (and ties) surnames:
4 Tsao
4 Soto
4 Sosa
4 Sele
4 Rust
4 Ross
4 Rose
4 Rios
4 Neal
4 Luna
4 Lane
4 Gil
4 Alou
3 Seo
3 Orr
3 Loe
3 Lee

Johnny Damon may or may not be playing for ...
2005-12-16 11:33
by Bob Timmermann

Someone. It's hard to tell from this Gordon Edes story.

Maybe Boston, maybe New York (Yankees variety), maybe Los Angeles (Dodgers variety). Or maybe not.

An important catch
2005-12-16 10:29
by Bob Timmermann
Now that is old
2005-12-16 09:17
by Bob Timmermann

Yes, it's less than a week, but I already have a guest writer. This comes from commenter "grandcosmo"

Just to put Julio Franco's age into perspective:

Over 25 years ago Bill Gullickson struck out 18 Cubs one day
in Montreal. Franco is almost a year older than Gullickson.

25 years ago Britt Burns and Richard Dotson led the Chicago
White Sox in victories with 15 and 12. Franco is older than
both of them.

20 years ago, Don Mattingly and Willie McGee won the MVP
awards and Bret Saberhagen and Dwight Gooden won the Cy
Young Awards. Franco is older than all four of them.

Brian Harper's first at-bat came while pinch hitting for
Willie Davis in 1979. Franco is a year and a half older than

Tim Conroy started a game for the Oakland A's in 1978.
Franco is almost 2 years older than Conroy.

Franco is the same age as Charles White who won the Heisman
Trophy in 1979.

He's the same age as Mike Scioscia, Dave Righetti and Bruce
Hurst. He's 3 years older than Kirby Puckett and 5 years
older than Ozzie Guillen.

Looking at other sports, he's older than Mike Singletary,
Lawrence Taylor, and Magic Johnson. He's three years older
than Isiah Thomas, Dan Marino and Boomer Esiason. He's five
years older than Charles Barkley.

He's the same age as Andy Gibb, who's been dead for 17 years
and, to paraphrase Bill James, you can't get any older
than dead.

The Man Without a Country
2005-12-16 08:13
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Post reports and is picked up by MLB.COM that Alex Rodriguez will play for nobody in the World Baseball Classic.

"After thoughtful deliberations with my family, I am announcing my decision to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic," Rodriguez told the Post from Miami. "When faced with the decision to choose between my country, the United States of America, and my Dominican heritage, I decided I will not dishonor either.

"I am proud to be an American citizen and to have a Dominican legacy. My commitment to baseball is secondary to honoring my patriotic duties to my country and my ancestors," Rodriguez said.

Faced with the dilemma of being an American citizen or honoring my German/English/Croatian/Irish heritage, I have decided to root for Togo in the FIFA World Cup.

The Kansas City press corps double checks the spell checker on its laptops
2005-12-16 08:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Kansas City Royals signed four free agents: Scott Elarton, Paul Bako, Mark Grudzielanek, and Doug Mientkiewicz.

Elarton got a 2-year deal, Grudzielanek got a 1-year deal with an option, Mientkiewicz and Bako have 1-year deals.

Mientkiewicz also has an ironclad clause in his contract that he gets the ball from the last out of the Royals 2006 World Series.

Elarton goes into the rotation, Bako backs up Buck, Grudzielanek starts at second, and Mientkiewicz backs up Mike Sweeney and possibly even Matt Stairs.

And Nomar seems in no hurry either
2005-12-15 23:14
by Bob Timmermann

Nomar Garciaparra was supposed to pick a team to sign with Thursday. He didn't. And he might not make a decision Friday.

"Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day, some day."

So the famous "Trinity" of AL shorstops will end up with just one of them as a shortstop as none of the teams interested in Garciaparra want him to play there. First base seems to be the position that teams want him to play. Or right field. Or left field. Or designated hitter.

Clemens in no hurry to do just about anything
2005-12-15 23:07
by Bob Timmermann

Roger Clemens has limited the list of teams he will pitch for to Houston, Texas, Boston, and the Yankees.

But he also could next pitch for Team USA in the WBC. And fortunately Team Italy (and Mike Piazza) isn't in the same pool as the US. Italy is in the Orlando pool, while the U.S. is in the Arizona pool. I really think these pools need better names than A, B, C, and D. I can't even figure out which one is the "Group of Death".

Unlike a certain Anaheim team
2005-12-15 19:43
by Bob Timmermann

The Yakult Swallows of Japan's Central League are changing their name to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Interestingly enough, the Swallows play their games in Tokyo.

Yakult is the name of a Japanese yogurt company. Yakult is the Esperanto word for "yogurt". Those little drinks are pretty good and you can pick them up in Japanese markets. Mmmm....Yogurt cultures....

Frank Robinson pleases his nonexistent boss
2005-12-15 19:37
by Bob Timmermann

The Washington Nationals have agreed to keep Frank Robinson on for another year.

The Nationals have no owner. They don't have a new stadium in place. They supposedly have a GM, but it's really just Jim Bowden.

Robinson will return to bring his unique style of ... well, it's a unique style of something. A unique style of being very grouchy. But I've heard that Frank Robinson is a "man's man". But I don't want to be like Frank Robinson. I'd like to have people like me.

Do I sound bitter? You're reading a kid who was so excited when his hometown team acquired Robinson to play for the Dodgers in 1972. I learned then that baseball players can get old and washed up despite being famous.

Minor transactions blowout
2005-12-15 19:17
by Bob Timmermann

Today brought forth a bumper crop of free agent signings.

In no particular order, but I will lead with:

Braden Looper signing with the Cardinals.

Roberto Hernandez signs with the Pirates.

In the category of guys who were not Mets relievers there is:
Tony Batista leaves Japan and goes to Minnesota.

Norihiro Nakamura appears to be headed back to Japan to play for the Orix Buffaloes and join former teammate Jason Grabowski, although I don't know if the two men ever were on the roster at the same time or if the self-hypnosis made me forget it. Cluck! Bwaaak! Cluck! Bwaaak!

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have released Jeff DaVanon. DaVanon is still in the record books as one of five AL players to hit six home runs in three games along with Tony Lazzeri, Gus Zernial, Manny Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez. Shawn Green holds the MLB record with seven in three games.

And ... the Yankees have signed Mike Myers.

There likely were more, but those are at least midly interesting.

White Sox may be looking to deal Garland
2005-12-15 09:11
by Bob Timmermann

Jon Garland could be the odd man out in the White Sox rotation after the Javier Vazquez acquisition.

Garland and I are both alums of one of the Los Angeles Unified School District's ugliest schools. And keep in mind that it was almost completely rebuilt after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The building that housed my "permanent records" was compeletely destroyed. However the school has a fairly good track record in sports, especially baseball.

I hope UCLA isn't going to revoke my diploma now since I can't prove I graduated from high school.

Der fliegende Holländer, Act 4
2005-12-15 07:50
by Bob Timmermann

The Bert Blyleven campaign train keeps rolling on.

When I actually saw this opera and heard the overture, I thought to myself "Hey, that's from 'What's Opera, Doc?'"

Update: Now with working link!

Rodriguez to the Brewers
2005-12-14 23:51
by Bob Timmermann

Wilfredo, "Why yes I did give up a home run to Barry Bonds" Rodriguez has signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee.

Rodriguez's major league career consists of two games in 2001 for Houston. He gave up a home to Fred McGriff (then of the Cubs). He also gave up home run #70 to Barry Bonds.

The two men Wilfredo Rodriguez has given up home runs to in the majors have hit a combined total of 1396 home runs.

For those who wish to discern how he's fared in the minors, here's Baseball Cube's record for him. Note the prevalence of the word "left" in his stat lines.

Carl Everett to Seattle
2005-12-14 20:20
by Bob Timmermann

As expected, Carl Everett has signed a one-year contract with a club option with the Mariners.

As an incentive, Everett was a given free pass to here. Despite what one might believe, a nine-foot high duck would be quite a sight.

Red alert - followup
2005-12-14 17:13
by Bob Timmermann
Der fliegende Holländer, Act 3
2005-12-14 16:32
by Bob Timmermann

Dayn Perry weighs in on the Blyleven HOF campaign.

All I have to say is:

Verzeiht! Mein Volk hält draußen sich nicht mehr; nach jeder Rückkunft, wisset, gibt's ein Fest.
Verschönern möcht ich's, komme deshalb her,
ob mit Verlobung sich's vereinen läßt?

One suitor for the Braves is likely out
2005-12-14 15:38
by Bob Timmermann

Stan Kasten doesn't think that Ted Turner will want to reacquire the Braves.

The story quotes Kasten:

"The last time I talked to Ted about sports in general, he was just focused on other much more important things," Kasten said Wednesday. "I don't think sports teams are on his radar. Having said that, he may be the world's most unpredictable person."

Ramirez, Tejada and Martinez join the Mets
2005-12-14 14:43
by Bob Timmermann

Hah! You looked didn't you?

For the record, it's Juan Tejada, a 23-year old infielder who played at Erie last year; Julio Ramirez, former Giants career minor leaguer who got called up last year and got a uniform with no name for a while; and Sandy Martinez, a 35-year old catcher whose primary claim to fame is being behind the plate for the Cubs on this day in 1998.

And you thought Burnett and Furcal cost a lot
2005-12-14 09:19
by Bob Timmermann

The TV news free agent market is heating up.

But will CBS want to pay for Katie Couric's Age 50 season? Will CBS eventually have to work out a deal with another network to get rid of her contract? Perhaps for some hot TV news prospects?

Actually Ms. Couric would be making far less than the most highly remunerated baseball players.

The least popular owner in baseball?
2005-12-14 08:46
by Bob Timmermann

Right now, Jeffrey Loria and David Samson of the Marlins are not endearing themselves to the South Florida locals.

Recipe for disaster:
1) Out of town owner
2) Trade Paul Lo Duca

Mix well, season.

Serves 6,000 per game.

Demand and ye shall receive
2005-12-14 07:31
by Bob Timmermann

A trade that is.

Javier Vazquez appears to be headed toward the South Side of Chicago.

Vazquez is saving about a 1000 miles on his trip back to Puerto Rico to visit his family and probably won't have to change planes in Miami now. On the other hand, he has to go to O'Hare.

I'm sure no one wants to buy this team
2005-12-13 22:38
by Bob Timmermann

According to Time Warner, the Atlanta Braves may be up for sale.

Steve Case and Carl Icahn may try to buy the Braves out of spite.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution story. Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, and Stan Kasten are possible buyers.

Disgruntled or just gruntled?
2005-12-13 20:57
by Bob Timmermann

Milton Bradley has been described as disgruntled. Javy Lopez has the disgruntled tag now because of the Ramon Hernandez signing. Alfonso Soriano appears to be on the path to disgruntlement.

But is anyone ever "gruntled"?

The OED puts the first use of "disgruntle" in 1682. And it comes from the word "gruntle", which means "to utter a little or low grunt" and that word dates back to around 1400. And the "dis-" prefix is used as an intensifier. So someone "disgruntled" is grumbling and muttering under their breath even more than someone who just "gruntles".

Wodehouse started using the word "gruntled" in one of his books, but I'm against its use. You're risking a back formation's life!

"Soriano, go play outfield"
2005-12-13 19:30
by Bob Timmermann

But I don't wanna!

Washington GM Jim Bowden says he wants the team to score more runs. Apparently not having the Nationals play in a park the size of Rock Creek Park is one of his plans.

Sayeth Bowden:
If we decided to move him [Soriano], it'll be because it's in the best interest of the name on the front of the jersey.

The Nationals have also re-signed reliever Joey Eischen and picked up free agent Robert Fick. Fick, along with other former Padres such as Damian Jackson and Brian Lawrence, bring the Nationals the experience of finishing on a team that was 82-80 instead of 81-81.

And now to wait for Ken and Jon to debate
2005-12-13 14:12
by Bob Timmermann
MLB gets an A-
2005-12-13 11:55
by Bob Timmermann

For its bond rating.

Amidst all the jargon is the news that the NFL gets an A+.

Second baseman - Will work for chew
2005-12-13 10:42
by Bob Timmermann

Bret Boone is a free agent and is not creating good PR for himself.

Other reports state that Boone wanted to buy coal at the course, but told it was not available.

Cardinals add interchangeable reliever
2005-12-13 09:11
by Bob Timmermann

Now Ricardo Rincon has signed with the Cardinals so Tony La Russa can maintain his policy of never allowing any left handed batter hit against a right hander in his bullpen.

I hear Ricardo is good at hitting corners.

Giants add "proven winner"
2005-12-13 08:22
by Bob Timmermann

As we know now, Matt Morris has signed a 3-year contract with the Giants. For Mike Bauman of, the signing tips the balance of power in the NL West to the Giants.

I suppose the balance of power in the NL West is quite precarious. It's a powder keg ready to explode. I would make sure to keep these guys away from the NL West.

Der fliegende Holländer, Act 2
2005-12-13 00:41
by Bob Timmermann

Rich Lederer now gets Rob Neyer to join his Bert Blyleven for the Hall of Fame campaign.

I saw Bert Blyleven pitch in person just once in my life.

It's not paranoia if it's pointless
2005-12-13 00:19
by Bob Timmermann

An Italian television station is accusing former German soccer star Lothar Matthaus of manipulating the draw for the World Cup, so that the Italian team would be put in the same group with the U.S.

Matthaus's spokesman, Patrick Ewing, denied the charge.

At least they described the hat this time
2005-12-12 22:07
by Bob Timmermann

The wave of baseball cap related crime continues in the state of California.

This time it happened in San Diego.

The NL West: Improved in 2006 or your money back?
2005-12-12 13:17
by Bob Timmermann

That's what Joseph A. Reaves in the Arizona Republic thinks.

As someone who watched a lot of the NL West in 2005, I'm not all that optimistic it will be that much fun to watch. The NL West in 2005 was like watching a car wreck except everybody was riding around on a Segway and talking on a cell phone. There was just no way to root for any team.

Padilla off to Texas
2005-12-12 13:09
by Bob Timmermann

According to an report, the Phillies have sent enigmatic starter Vicente Padilla to Texas for a player to be named later.

The Phillies have now gotten rid of all the players they acquired from Arizona in exchange for Curt Schilling. Padilla will move from playing in a hitters' park like Citizens Bank into yet another hitters park like Ameriquest.

Cut and save these World Cup predictions
2005-12-12 09:18
by Bob Timmermann

From a knowledgeable source.

Then remember that I didn't write them.

Der fliegende Holländer
2005-12-12 08:51
by Bob Timmermann

Rich Lederer states his annual case for for Bert Blyleven for the Hall of Fame.

Blyleven would be the first character from a Wagner opera to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since Tristan Speaker.

Red alert!
2005-12-12 07:33
by Bob Timmermann

Congress now actually concerns itself with something regarding baseball that at least makes some sense. Well, more than investigating the BCS or Terrell Owens. It doesn't take a lot to beat those two.

Some members of Congress have asked Bud Selig to look into Cuba's participation in the WBC.

The article states that According to tournament rules published on Major League Baseball's Web site, a player may represent a country of which he is a citizen; of which he is a permanent legal resident; in which he was born; of which one parent is or was a citizen, or in which one parent was born.

I have my doubts that Livan Hernandez or Orlando Hernandez are going to be suiting up for Cuba. Negotiations over Rafael Palmeiro made lead to another international incident. But at least Palmeiro can remember the Maine.

Miguel Tejada wants to play for ...
2005-12-11 19:30
by Bob Timmermann
Time to mull
2005-12-11 15:33
by Bob Timmermann's story about J.T. Snow states that he is "mulling retirement" and also has received interest from the Dodgers.

I was at the market today and saw a package marked "mulling spices". I thought about it. I walked around the store for a while. I went home and took a nap. I'm still not sure about the spices.

Matt Morris won't be a Cardinal
2005-12-11 15:26
by Bob Timmermann

According to and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Matt Morris won't return to St. Louis. He earlier said he won't be playing for Texas. But he might play for San Francisco, where he can play with Mike Matheny again.

Ultimately, I think financial considerations will play a bigger deal rather than Mike Matheny's bonhomie. Or perhaps Matt Morris has never quite figured out how to say "Yadier."

Was it a nice hat?
2005-12-11 10:31
by Bob Timmermann

I will not be wearing a baseball cap in the city of Pleasant Hill.

Why didn't they describe the hat?

Japan's WBC team will have pop
2005-12-11 09:14
by Bob Timmermann

So sayeth the headline at

The Japanese still can't get Hideki Matsui to commit, although other current MLBers, Ichiro Suzuki, Tadahito Iguchi, and Akinori Otsuka, have signed up. And I can't tell but Kazuo Matsui has managed gone from the next big thing to being unwanted on both sides of the Pacific.

And not to slight to see the Korean team, but I will add a link to their story here. . Hee-Seop Choi and Byung-Hyun Kim highlight the team.

Red Sox going for multiple GMs
2005-12-11 08:31
by Bob Timmermann

The Boston Red Sox, a team which is woefully short of news coverage in all forms of media, may be opting to use a multi-headed general manager's office. This would allow Boston fans multiple opportunities to complain about the Red Sox front office, picking a choose different people target their wrath at. Local papers are dubbing the group "The Four Horsemen", although it is unclear whether this refers to the Apocalypse or the fact that Craig Shipley resembles Harry Stuhldreher.

And updating this some member of the Four Horsemen, I'm guessing it was Pestilence, has contacted Roger Clemens about coming back to Boston.

Let's hope we don't have to throw the first one away
2005-12-11 01:01
by Bob Timmermann

In my family, we had a saying that when you make pancakes, you always ended up throwing out the first one because it gets burnt. Some people have agreed with me. Other people have given me puzzled looks and wondered how someone can burn pancakes. My theory is that people have trouble with the first pancake if they are using a griddle that hasn't fully heated up and can't judge the temperature correctly.

So there we have it for griddle-related humor and minutiae.

To introduce myself, my name is (as listed above), Bob Timmermann, a man who grew up on the mean streets of the San Fernando Valley and lives in the San Gabriel Valley, which Bing Crosby never sang about.

My purpose here on The Griddle is to serve as a catch all place for baseball news that the more specialized writers here don't have time or space for. Or possibly, I could just post a bunch of stuff that I feel like talking about: World Cup soccer previews, vacation ideas, or wondering just where at Disneyland did my cellphone disappear. (I'm pretty sure it was on Space Mountain.) Most of the posts won't have a long comment from me. And don't look for me for lengthy analyses unless you want to know about the life of Harry Kingman .

I have two older brothers who write for real papers (the ones with newsprint and ink) and if I can write about as 1% as well as they do, I will be meeting my objective.

But right now, this blog is in its own form of the Winter Meetings and I will be tweaking and testing to see what to put in and how to get everything to work and budget my time. Other writers will be dropping in news as well. I don't think this of this as my blog as much as it is Baseball Toaster's blog and I'm just trying to help out here and there.

And away we go....

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.
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