Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: January 2006


Mustaches for everyone
2006-01-31 17:08
by Bob Timmermann

On the heels of a World Series where both managers sported mustaches, we are now headed toward the first Super Bowl where both coaches have mustaches.

Which mustache will win?

The understated blond mustache of Mike Holmgren? Or the defiant snarl of Bill Cowher?

Ben Bernanke, Fed Chairman, baseball geek
2006-01-31 14:51
by Bob Timmermann

While the U.S. Senate was spending its time debating and then confirming former Phillies fantasy camp attendee Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, there was also the matter of Ben Bernanke. He was confirmed today as well by the Senate (Much to the surprise of some senators who had forgotten) by a voice vote.

In this Christian Science Monitor article, Bernanke's childhood tabletop baseball game is described as well as his attendance at the famous Yankees-Red Sox playoff game of 1978. Bernanke was a Red Sox fan at the time. So if I'm Bucky Dent, I would expect that the Federal Resereve is going to have a special interest rate for him from now on.

"I'm sorry Mr. Dent, but we have to charge you 25% interest on your mortgage. Banking rules and all that. Oh and you can't buy a T-bill either."

The outgoing Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, received as a parting gift a baseball glove signed by the presidents of the 12 Federal Reserve banks.

Wow, can't wait to see how much that fetches on eBay.

Closing time
2006-01-31 13:28
by Bob Timmermann

Gabriel Schechter of the Baseball Hall of Fame has an interesting piece about the evolution of the closer.

Of Trevor Hoffman's 436 career saves to date, 78.9% of them have seen him pitch exactly one inning. Of Rollie Fingers 341 career saves, 23.8% were of the 1-inning variety. Only 27.3% of Bruce Sutter's saves were of the 1-inning variety.

Treasure of the Ruben Sierra Madre
2006-01-31 11:20
by Bob Timmermann

Say pal, can you help a designated hitter who's down on his luck?

Ruben Sierra has landed on his feet with a minor-league contract and a spring training invite with the Minnesota Twins.

"I wanted to stay in the American League and I always liked this organization," Sierra said.

I'm sure NL teams were falling all over themselves to give Ruben a glove and a spot in the outfield.

A-Rod does wake up calls
2006-01-31 10:00
by Bob Timmermann

Part of Nike's plan for world domination so we can further serve our swoosh-adorned masters, you can schedule a wake-up call from eight different athletes, including Alex Rodriguez. You can access it here.

You can also choose to be woken up by Maria Sharapova, Amare Stoudemire, Justin Gatlin, Kaitlin Sandeno, Monyca Byrne-Wickey (she's a surfer), Liu Xiang (hurdler), or Joan Benoit Samuelson. Oh, and you can give Nike your phone number.


Buck O'Neil inspires some good field trips
2006-01-31 00:36
by Bob Timmermann

Mary Sanchez of the Kansas City Star writes about Buck O'Neil and his influence on the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The museum and Kansas State University are developing a curriculum for high schools in the area to use about the Negro Leagues and to sponsor field trips to the museum.

Did I ever get to go on a field trip that interesting in school? No. I got to go to the William S. Hart Museum once. I went to Catholic school and lived about two miles away from this place and never went there. We never got taken here or here.

OK, we did go here a few times. And even here.

I'm still trying to suppress the memory of my 8th grade class being taken to see a "special" showing of this this "classic".

Red Sox sign Alex Gonzalez
2006-01-30 21:00
by Bob Timmermann

Boston has filled its shortstop hole with Alex Gonzalez.

Not this one.

This one.

But he doesn't address the problem of beach balls
2006-01-30 20:35
by Bob Timmermann

Gene Wojciechowski of tells the sports fans of America that buying a ticket doesn't give you license to be a jerk.

As someone who has spent much of my life attending sporting events at once the mellowest stadium on earth, Dodger Stadium, I can definitely tell you that the behavior of fans is plummeting faster than stock in Ford. (I couldn't find a cool chart for Livedoor.)

"People have a sense of, 'If I fork out that type of money, nobody should be able to tell me what to do,'" says Edward R. Hirt, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University. "It's become, 'If I want to be a jerk, really boo, get on someone's case, I really have a right to do that.'"

But you don't. Cranking up the crudity just because you bought a sports ticket makes as much sense as putting a 10-spot in the collection plate, then berating the priest because you didn't like the homily.

"Hey, Father! You can call that a contemplative talk about the nature of piety! BOO! BOO! I've heard better homilies from a drunk on the corner! USA! USA! USA! USA! Barry sucks!"

Cuba picks a roster for the WBC
2006-01-30 20:00
by Bob Timmermann

Cuba finally announced its provisional 60-man roster (link in Spanish) for the WBC.

I'm hoping that Vicyohandry Odelín makes the team, so I can find out where he got his first name.

The Rime of the Ancient National
2006-01-30 15:34
by Bob Timmermann

Sometime, somewhere Frank Robinson or one of his coaches must have shot at an albatross with a crossbow.

This appears in the mailbag.

With shortstop Royce Clayton talking to the Nationals, is there any chance that Cristian Guzman could lose his starting position after such a bad year? I would much rather see Clayton at shortstop.
-- Ed K., Harrisonburg, Va.

According to Clayton, manager Frank Robinson believes he could compete for the starting job at shortstop if he signs with the Nationals. I agree that Guzman needs some competition after such a bad year. However, if Guzman loses his starting job, the team would have a very expensive bench player. It would be tough to trade Guzman because of his contract. The way I see it, Guzman is here to stay. (Emphasis mine)

Replacing Cristian Guzman with Royce Clayton is an inspired choice!

I've also learned that still uses as a domain name.

Moreno back on the stand in Angels name trial
2006-01-30 15:20
by Bob Timmermann

Arte Moreno was grilled again by the attorney hired by the city of Anaheim, Andrew Guilford.

Some excerpts:
Asked by Anaheim's attorney Andrew Guilford if he knew there was "an emotional curtain that seems to divide" Los Angeles and Orange counties, Moreno replied, "I did not."

Asked if he knows that now, he answered, "I guess so."

Ahh, the "emotional curtain". I think that's what Churchill originally meant to say at Fulton, Missouri.

Referring to Moreno's deposition in preparation for the trial, Guilford asked him: "Earlier, you said you considered that Anaheim relates to Los Angeles the same as the Bronx relates to New York. Do you understand that the Bronx is one of the five burroughs of New York?"

"I do now," Moreno replied, but added that he was using the connection in reference to a "metropolitan media" market.

Hmm, I think the writer of this article needs to get a dictionary and look up the spelling of "borough". Or maybe The Bronx is the William Burroughs of New York.

This whole incident has been a nightmare for me personally. I get lost on the way to Disneyland everytime now. I never know which county it's in or which city. I once ended up here thinking I was going to an Angels game.

Chiba Lotte Marines kick off Vegemite League season
2006-01-30 14:57
by Bob Timmermann

The Japanese champs, the Chiba Lotte Marines have set up their training camp in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Most of the other Japanese teams train in Okinawa, so there won't be many chances to watch games if you are passing through Geelong.

Instead, you might wish to go to The National Wool Museum. I know a lot of people have been itching to see that.

Queensland wins the Claxton Shield
2006-01-30 10:39
by Bob Timmermann

Yeah, that headline is a grabber isn't. The Queensland Rams won the Claxton Shield, symbol of Australian baseball supremacy with an 8-7 win over the Victorian Aces. (Not that the story tells you that the final score was 8-7, but I tracked it down elsewhere.)

You can read more about the competition here and here.

Australia, winners of the silver medal in the Olympic tournament in Athens in 2004, will be in Group D of the World Baseball Classic with the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Italy.

If the Australian baseball story reads strangely to an American crowd, you can compare notes by reading these two accounts of a U.S.-Norway soccer friendly:

The Revolution WBC will be televised
2006-01-30 08:51
by Bob Timmermann

ESPN finally agreed to televise the World Baseball Classic. Some of the games will be shown on ESPN Deportes. Presumably the games from Tokyo will be shown in the wee hours of the morning. Here is the schedule of games, presumably with Eastern times listed.

Joe Morgan will be praying that Japan makes it to the final rounds so he can talk about how they do all the little things right. I'm waiting to see how Rick Sutcliffe will pronounce some of the players on the Dutch team such Jair Jurrjens. I've also noticed that former Tiger Andy Van Hekken is on the Dutch roster, which I suppose he qualifies for because he is from Holland, Michigan. If South African player Bradley Erasmus gets into a game, Harold Reynolds may become praised by his own folly.

Cuba still has not submitted a roster of players, however the Cuban baseball season is still going on.

Baseball Analysts College baseball previews
2006-01-30 07:46
by Bob Timmermann

Rich Lederer has a series of previews this week on the upcoming college baseball season.

He will focus on the five big conferences during the week, catchup with all the others on Saturday, and then have predictions on Sunday, so you can occupy yourself with placing bets on the season before the Super Bowl starts.

First conference up: the esteemed Pac-109. As for my alma mater, all I can say is "Thank God for Washington State."

Caribbean Series field set
2006-01-29 19:37
by Bob Timmermann

Los Leones de Caracas won their third straight Venezuelan championship with a 5-1 win over Los Tigres de Aragua.

The series begins on February 2 in the Venezuelan cities of Valencia and Maracay. The other three competitors will be los Gigantes de Carolina (Puerto Rico), los Venados de Mazatlán (Mexico), and los Tigers de Licey (Dominican Republic).

The champion will be decided in a double round-robin tournament.

Piazza appears to have a home in San Diego
2006-01-29 13:17
by Bob Timmermann

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jim Salisbury reports that Mike Piazza will sign with San Diego. Piazza will compete with Doug Mirabelli for the starting job there.

Wow, I just wrote Mike Piazza and Doug Mirabelli would be in a competition for anything.

Update Ken Rosenthal has more details. Piazza's contract is believed to be for $2 million with an $8 million option for 2007.

You win some, you lose some
2006-01-29 10:21
by Bob Timmermann

Saint Louis University's basketball team has played 19 games this season and and has alteranted wins and losses all year also had a win and a loss to end last season, so for 21 straight games this has been this pattern:


Records on such a streak are hard to come by because, in my opinion, it's unusual.

According to the AP story by R.B. Fallstrom says that the longest stretches in baseball have been 16 games:

  • The 1974 Phillies - Which started on June 3 with a win against Atlanta and continued through June 20 with a loss against the Mets. Then on June 21, the Phillies lost again to the Mets, breaking the spell. The 1974 Phillies finished 80-82. The streak started with six homes game, followed by six road games, and then four games at home.
  • The 1981 Dodgers - They lost at Chicago on June 6 and then won the next day against the Cubs. This continued through June 11, for a total of four games. Then there was a strike for nearly two months. On August 10, the season restarted and the Dodgers were in Cincinnati and won. The next day, they lost. This kept up through August 21 (win at St. Louis). On August 22, the Dodgers won again. The Dodgers finished 63-47 and ended up winning the World Series.

The 1994 Indianapolis Colts had a 12-game from Week 4 through Week 16 (with a bye in Week 11) before winning the last game of the year. The Colts were 8-8 that year.

For the more math-inclined, you can check out Alan Reifman's Hot Hand in Sports site to see how unusual a 21-game stretch of alternating Ws and Ls is. According to the linked calculator on the site, the chances of going WL to get to 21 games is 1 in 352,716. (If I copied it correctly.)

The Billikens play at Rhode Island on February 1. And they will likely be underdogs in that game. But on February 5, the Billikens host Xavier, whom they already upset on the road, so the magic of the alternating Ws and Ls may come to an end.

Epstein: Crisp is not Johnny Damon
2006-01-28 21:23
by Bob Timmermann

I like it when the headline is a joke in itself.

In other news.

Schuerholz: Reitsma is not Kyle Farnsworth
Cashman: Farnsworth is not Tom Gordon
Gillick: Gordon is not Billy Wagner
Minaya: Wagner is not Braden Looper (oh wait that's a good thing)

Jocketty: Spivey is not Mark Grudzielanek
Towers: Mirabelli is not Ramon Hernandez
Stoneman: Carrasco is not Paul Byrd

Thus was born Deadspin
2006-01-28 21:20
by Bob Timmermann

Will Leitch of Deadspin gets profiled in the New York Times.

But the story says Leitch was covering the Cardinals for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1996. Leitch is listed as being 30. So he would have been on the Cardinals beat when he was 20. 20-year olds don't get assigned the Cardinals beat for the Post-Dispatch.

Clarification - Will Leitch has said the Times writer goofed and he was the beat writer for University of Illinois sports at the time when he worked in St. Louis.

Sparky Anderson gets his own stadium
2006-01-28 19:22
by Bob Timmermann

Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks dedicated its baseball field in honor of Sparky Anderson. Anderson did not attend Cal Lutheran, but has lived in Thousand Oaks for nearly 40 years.

Cal Lutheran competes in Division III and has produced one major leaguer. Astros farmhand Jason Hirsh was the Texas League Pitcher of the Year in 2005. If you want to cover a Cal Lutheran sporting event as a member of the media, you don't need a credential. Of course, they don't charge admission for any event.

Moreno takes the stand in Angels name trial
2006-01-28 10:08
by Bob Timmermann

Apparently Arte Moreno thinks people can handle the truth. Actually, Moreno had a fairly light-hearted exchange with the City of Anaheim's lawyer, Andy Guilford.

Guilford also displayed a T-shirt available on the team website in October, with the team logo above what he said was the Los Angeles skyline. When Guilford asked whether he approved of the shirt, Moreno said with a chuckle, "I guess, if it's selling."

At this point, Guilford had heard enough jokes.

Said Guilford: "It's all about the money?"

Said Moreno: "I was being sarcastic."

Said Guilford: "If you make money by violating [the lease], you'll do it, won't you? It's all about the money? Please don't be sarcastic. This case is very important to the people of Anaheim."

In other Anaheim sports team development, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim will become the Anaheim Ducks next year.

Ozzie tries to keep B.J. Upton a shortstop
2006-01-27 22:45
by Bob Timmermann

The Tampa Tribune has a report on the Devil Rays giving B.J. Upton some extra coaching on playing shortstop from Ozzie Smith. Upton made 53 errors last season at Durham and has Tampa Bay thinking of making him a third baseman.

53 errors isn't so bad. Honus Wagner made 60 at shortstop in 1905!

Gammons comes alive!
2006-01-27 21:19
by Bob Timmermann

Peter Gammons is recording his first album. Soon Ken will have a random Peter Gammons song lyric generator.

And finally, Crisp goes to Boston
2006-01-27 20:02
by Bob Timmermann

After weeks of speculation and missteps, Coco Crisp has finally gone to Boston.

The final disposition of the big Boston-Cleveland-Philadelphia shuffle today.

New Red Sox:
Coco Crisp
David Riske
Josh Bard

New Indians:
Andy Marte
Kelly Shoppach
Guillermo Mota (who has apparently been miraculously healed)
Jason Michaels (Yea! I typed his name correctly!)
The Player to be Named Later

New Phillie:
Arthur Rhodes

I believe Guillermo Mota had to go through a similar process to this. Go for the gold, Guillermo!

Coco Crisp says he's at peace. I hope that helps him during his coming arbitration hearing.

New uniforms for the Royals
2006-01-27 19:27
by Bob Timmermann

The Royals have tweaked their uniforms for 2006. You can see them here.

The changes aren't big, but the Royals will no longer have sleeveless uniforms. I want a Paul Bako!

The powder blue unis of the 1970s aren't quite back yet though.

Looking at the NCAA Top 25
2006-01-27 19:16
by Bob Timmermann

College baseball season is upon us and Baseball America and have capsules of the Top 25. Texas is the preseason #1 team. If the Longhorns win the national championships in football, basketball, and baseball in one year, the eyes of Texas are going to pretty darn hard to avoid.

Thinking about a Rose Bowl rematch in Omaha? Southern California is #17.

DC City Council and MLB agree on a stadium lease
2006-01-27 19:09
by Bob Timmermann

The topsy turvy tale of the alleged new stadium for the Nationals may be coming to end. The DC City Council and MLB have reached a tentative agreement on a lease. The question of who would pay for cost overruns was the holdup.

The owner of the Nationals is still to be determined. But it looks like the Nats will be MLB's vassal for a while longer.

Another free agent coup for Jim Bowden
2006-01-27 11:14
by Bob Timmermann

The Nationals have added some heft to their lineup. Daryle Ward has been inked to a minor-league contract. They also added pitcher Valerio de los Santos.

Daryle Ward's OPS+ year by year: 128, 100, 99, 96, 92, 10, 101, 88.

Also, John Wetteland has been named the Nats bullpen coach. Wetteland was chosen over several other candidates because Bowden liked the way he could hold a phone in one hand and still be able to point to two different relievers at the same time.

Joke deleted due to lack of humor.

Joe Girardi angling to be the next Vern Rapp
2006-01-27 09:57
by Bob Timmermann

"Hey, Jacobs, trim those sideburns! I'm warning you!"

New Florida manager Joe Girardi has ordered his charges to arrive clean-shaven. I'm sure this will turn the Marlins into the Yankees in no time.

The unemployed? Mike Piazza is unemployed?
2006-01-26 21:31
by Bob Timmermann

This article discusses some of the more notable unsigned free agents, such as Piazza, Roger Clemens, Jeff Weaver, Sammy Sosa, and other.

But is Mike Piazza really unemployed? Does the Bureau of Labor Statistics count someone like Piazza as unemployed? If it does, what state does he count in? What about Sammy Sosa? Is he unemployed in the U.S. or in the Dominican Republic?

Here are the working definitions:
Who is counted as unemployed?

Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work.

Who is not in the labor force?

All members of the civilian noninstitutional population are eligible for inclusion in the labor force, and those 16 and over who have a job or are actively looking for one are so classified. All others--those who have no job and are not looking for one--are counted as "not in the labor force." Many who do not participate in the labor force are going to school or are retired. Family responsibilities keep others out of the labor force. Still others have a physical or mental disability which prevents them from participating in labor force activities.

Among the employed, Seattle has re-signed Gil Meche and Tampa Bay is closing in on a deal with Russell Branyan.

The Real World, Barry Bonds style
2006-01-26 21:12
by Bob Timmermann

Barry Bonds has been in negotations with in ESPN to have a reality show based on his 2006 season. While such a concept doesn't require a joke to embellish it, not everyone finds it humorous.

ESPN's ombudsman George Solomon says the plan "boggles the mind" and compares it to NBC having a weekly reality show about Donald Rumsfeld. Remember that ESPN is still planning to have reporter Pedro Gomez follow Bonds around all season, reporting on nothing but Barry Bonds.

Next month, ESPN will be airing a similar show about Texas Tech basketball coach Bob Knight.

I want to know who on the Giants will be the Puck-like character who will get kicked out of the house. (And I'm not referring to "A Midsummer's Night Dream".)

Thanks to deadteddy for the pointer.

WBC adopts pitch counts and mercy rule
2006-01-26 16:51
by Bob Timmermann

65 pitches will be the maximum for pitchers in the first round of the World Baseball Classic, according to rules adopted today.

The limit goes up to 80 pitches for the second round and 95 pitches for the semifinals and final.

There will also be a mercy rule in place. If a team is ahead by 15 after 5 or by 10 after 7, the game is over. Look for this rule to come into play when South Africa and China take the field.

In addition, everyone on the roster has to get into one game and each team has to designate six players to bring snacks to eat after the game. Each team is guaranteed a party at a Pizza Hut of their choosing when they are eliminated from the tournament.

Place your bets on the WBC
2006-01-26 13:12
by Bob Timmermann


An online sportsbook has posted odds on the WBC.

The U.S. and the Dominican Republic are both 6-5 favorites. China is 500-1. Australia and South Africa are 400-1.

House, Catcher
2006-01-26 13:07
by Bob Timmermann

J.R. House erstwhile Pirates farmhand and erstwhile University of West Viriginia quarterback has gone back to being a baseball
minor leaguer, this time for Houston.

But now, everybody, all at once:

"You're risking a patient's life!"

If all the MLB teams adopted this nickname...
2006-01-26 10:39
by Bob Timmermann

The new Houston team in MLS is going to be called Houston 1836 in honor of the city's founding.

So, here are the MLB equivalents:

AL East
New York 1624
Boston 1630
Toronto 1750
Baltimore 1729
Tampa Bay 1876 (using St. Pete)

AL Central
Chicago 1833
Cleveland 1796
Minnesota 1855 (using Minneapolis)
Detroit 1701
Kansas City 1839

AL West
Los Angeles 1781 of 1857
Oakland 1852
Texas 1875 (for Arlington)
Seattle 1865

NL East
Atlanta 1845
Philadelphia 1682
Florida 1896 (for Miami)
New York 1624
Washington 1790

NL Central
St. Louis 1764
Houston 1836
Chicago 1833
Cincinnati 1788
Pittsburgh 1758
Milwaukee 1833

NL West
San Diego 1769
Arizona 1870 (for Phoenix)
San Francisco 1776
Los Angeles 1781
Colorado 1858 (for Denver)

Your dates of founding may vary.

I'll have a Tony Peņa and a Julian Tavarez to go
2006-01-26 07:30
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Times profiles the restaurant El Nuevo Caridad on 191st St in Washington Heights, "el restaurante de los peloteros de Grandes Ligas", that advertises "un cuadrangular de sabor" (a homerun of flavor!).

The restaurant was packed last night watching the end of the Dominican League season. Licey won the best of 9 series over Las Aguilas Cibaeñas in seven games. Licey won the final game 7-2 thanks to a three run homer by Timo Perez.

Everyone is equal on the South Side of Chicago
2006-01-25 22:36
by Bob Timmermann

Paul Konerko has turned down the captaincy of the Chicago White Sox.

"The way our team operates best, it seems to me, is everybody has an equal voice," Konerko said.

However, Konerko says he will take the job if Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams insist on it. He doesn't wear to a "C" on his uniform. Perhaps he will settle for wearing an "A".

El Presidente says Cuba will play
2006-01-25 21:47
by Bob Timmermann

Cuban president Fidel Castro confirmed (sort of) that Cuba will play in the WBC.

Unless, of course (translated from Spanish)
"that is if (the Americans) don't start in on messing around with not giving the visas, or if they go crazy."

And Castro is starting to spin his country's chances, just like a response a presidential campaign worker.
"We're not going to say that we're the best," Castro said.

"They have taken away a lot of the best pitchers offering them millions of dollars," he added, referring to Cuban players who left for big-paying jobs in the Major Leagues.

Perseverance does not pay off
2006-01-25 15:05
by Bob Timmermann

A man named Roosevelt Norris passed away in Chicago Monday evening. He was 105 years old.

He was a diehard Cubs fan, but never attended a game at Wrigley Field until last year.

But you say, a man that age would still have memories of the Cubs NL pennants and maybe even a vague memory of the 1908 World Series.

Sadly, Mr. Norris was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And then he moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi.

He moved to Chicago in ...


Mr. Norris is survived by a total of 74 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Japan thinks they can hurry along the game
2006-01-25 13:01
by Bob Timmermann

Jim Allen of the Daily Yomiuri writes about rules changes in Japan designed to speed up the game.

The key changes:
At the first managers' meeting of the year, Nippon Professional Baseball's skippers agreed to begin each team's turn at bat within 2 minutes 15 seconds of the other team's final out. Managers will also strive to limit the time needed for pitching changes to 2 minutes 45 seconds.

Last year on a trip to Japan, I saw three games and wrote about on

Game 1 lasted 3:28.
Game 2 lasted 4:20 and was a nine-inning game.
Game 3 lasted 3:59, but went 10 innings.

The fastest average time for any team in Japan last year was 3:10.

While it is admirable that Japanese baseball officials think they can speed up the game by making the hitters and pitchers get going faster, there is still one problem that can't be solved by a time limit. That problem is that Japanese pitchers throw a lot of pitches outside of the strike zone. There are usually lots of walks in each game. Or at least full counts.

Limiting the pitching changes to just 165 seconds will present some logistical challenges since most Japanese parks have bullpens underneath or outside the stadium. Most fans can't tell whose warming up or if someone is warming up. But it's a safe bet that unless the ace of the staff is pitching, someone will be warming up by the fifth inning. And because Japanese rosters are more like hockey rosters where you can activate and deactivate pitchers when they're healthy, managers always have bullpens that resemble late September games. And Japanese managers are obsessed with getting platoon advantages.

So if you're in Japan and plan on going to see a game (and you should), just prepare yourself for a long night. Don't worry, the stadiums have numerous vendors to ply you with food and drink throughout the night. Just remember that there are no paper towels in the bathrooms to dry your hands.

Allen also has an article with a Japanese perspective on the WBC. I liked this passage Japan, given its culture of arm abuse lobbied for zero pitch counts ...

Red Sox, Indians, Phillies trade-o-rama update, version 3
2006-01-25 09:30
by Bob Timmermann

According to this report, the trade (herein after referred to as "The Crisp Deal"), is looking to break down this way:

Boston receives:
Coco Crisp
Josh Bard
David Riske

Cleveland receives:
Andy Marte
Kelly Shoppach
Guillermo Mota
Jason Michaels

Philadelphia receives:
Arthur Rhodes

If Mota doesn't pass his physical, Manny Delcarmen might end up in Cleveland.

UPDATE Mota flunked his physical, so the deal is up in the air.

UPDATE of the UPDATE is reporting that the trade is trying to be reworked by the principals. Manny Delcarmen could replace Mota. Or the Phillies could drop out and the Reds would jump in and send Austin Kearns to Cleveland. The Phillies would also prefer Rafael Betancourt to Arthur Rhodes. And I would prefer to live in stately Wayne Manor rather than a 1-bedroom apartment.

And the Boston Globe reports that Mota didn't "flunk" as much as just didn't meet Cleveland's standards. Similar to how Greg Vaughn wasn't considered healthy enough by the Yankees a few years back.
Link through Baseball Musings.

Jump back, what's that sound?
2006-01-25 09:10
by Bob Timmermann


The people of Panama are not happy that Mariano Rivera has declined to participate in the WBC for their country.

The link is to a Spanish story, so you will have to forgive me for my imperfect translation.

Rivera was named to the preliminary 56-man roster, but declined to play. Various reasons are given, from "I won't be in shape" to "nivel necesario" para enfrentar a las otras novenas, that is Rivera doesn't think that Panama is good enough to compete with the other teams in it group (Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands).

One writer tried to appeal to Rivera's national pride. The president of the Panamanian baseball federation, Franz Wever, might have said that Rivera wasn't sufficiently Panamanian, but has backed off that statement.

Wever might not be an overly popular person among some baseball players in Panama. Olmedo Saenz of the Dodgers said he won't play because of personality differences with Wever.

Panama's team will have at least three big leaguers on it: Bruce Chen, Carlos Lee, and Einar Diaz. Although I've heard that Panama might be trading Chen to another country since he's used to it. And I'm somewhat surprised with all the moving around of players to different countries, such as Italy's Mike Piazza and the Netherlands Mark Mulder, that Chen didn't end up on the Chinese squad.

Carlos Martinez passes away at 40
2006-01-24 19:48
by Bob Timmermann

Carlos Martinez who played seven seasons for the White Sox, Indians, and Angels, passed away at age 40 at his home in Venezuela.

Why in my day...
2006-01-24 18:53
by Bob Timmermann

We'd just go to Dr. Nick Riviera ("Hi! Everybody!") and get a medical excuse to go on workers' comp. But what does Jeff Bagwell do. He goes to Dr. James Andrews and he tells him he can't play anymore. And he still wants to go to work.

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned malingering? What's this country coming to?

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
2006-01-24 17:09
by Bob Timmermann

Hey, I can use that line without any hint of irony or sarcasm regarding the Boston Red Sox GM situation.

Red Sox fans can now look back with fond memories of the Hoyer-Chernington Era.

The change, it didn't come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from Damon, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they are flown on the South Side

Mariners introduce Jo(h)jima
2006-01-24 15:33
by Bob Timmermann

Kenji Johjima as he wants to be called in the U.S. had his introductory press conference today in Seattle. You can watch or listen to the whole thing if you are so inclined. Johjima makes a brief introduction in English, but answers all of his questions in Japanese. Bill Bavasi is asked a few questions. Then Johjima is asked a bunch of questions in Japanese.

Of course The Japan Times headlined their story "Jojima arrives in Seattle for rookie year".

To solve the problem of whether or not, the new Seattle catcher should have his last name spelled as Jojima or Johjima, I will spend all of my waking hours to learning the Hepburn romanization system. But this part of the website may be telling:
Oh for おお or おう (Hepburn ō). This is sometimes known as "passport Hepburn", as the Japanese Foreign Ministry has authorized (but not required) this usage in passports. (Note, you may need to tweak the settings in your browswer for some of the Japanese characters to display. In IE, try "View" and then "Encoding".)

I need to worry about more important things.

21! Someone is going to lose anyway
2006-01-24 11:56
by Bob Timmermann

Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon, says that baseball should not retire Roberto Clemente's #21 throughout the sport. The advocacy group Hispanics Across America has championed the idea.

How in the world could Bud Selig, shrewd decisionmaker that he is, come to a resolution that wouldn't upset one side or the other?

Mariano Rivera remains the last #42 in the majors.

The players wearing #21 at the time being are Jason Johnson (he wore #21 in Detroit, but it's retired in Cleveland for Bob Lemon, he is listed as #16 on the Indians website), Choo Freeman, Chad Moeller, Mark Kotsay, Jon Lieber, Jason Ellison, and Jason Marquis. I was using the rosters because I could through them more quickly, but numbers are all subject to change as rosters change through the spring.

Interestingly, no Latino players are wearing #21 to honor Clemente now that I can find. In addition to Pittsburgh for Clemente and Cleveland for Lemon, the Braves have also retired #21 in honor of Warren Spahn. Arky Vaughan also wore #21 when he played in Pittsburgh.

Short list for new Reds GM - UPDATED
2006-01-24 10:03
by Bob Timmermann

Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, reprinted here in the Middletown Journal, about the list of candidates to become GM.

In addition to interim GM Brad Kullman, the other people under consideration are: Wayne Krivsky, Gary Hughes, Jack McKeon, and Michael Hill. Lou Piniella is not a candidate for the job because his contract buyout with Tampa Bay doesn't allow it.

The Cincinnati Post tosses the names of Kim Ng, Paul DePodesta and Jim Beattie into the mix.

Dean Chance, Cy Young Award winner, boxing official
2006-01-23 23:24
by Bob Timmermann

1964 Cy Young Award winner Dean Chance is profiled by Bernard Fernandez at

Chance is now the president of one of the myriad boxing organizations, The Internatinal Boxing Association. The IBA runs a distant fourth to the other boxing groups: the WBA, the IBF, and the WBC (the World Boxing Council not the World Baseball Classic.)

Chance also gave his opinions about the Baseball Hall of Fame and who should be in it:
"I like (Bruce) Sutter, who made it, but the guy this year who I really thought should have gone in over anybody was Bert Blyleven," Chance says. "My goodness, look at his innings, his strikeouts, his shutouts.

"And Tony Oliva (whose 15-year window of eligibility to be voted in by the Baseball Writers Assocation of America closed in 1996) should have been voted in years ago. Ask any righthander who ever pitched to Tony and he'll tell you that he was the best hitter they ever faced. He won three batting titles and he was a great competitor. And he was a pretty good outfielder, too, until his wheels started to go.

"There's no comparison between Tony and (Hall of Famer Carl) Yastrzemski, and I like Yaz. But come on. If Tony had had Rod Carew's legs, he might have been the best hitter that ever lived. He probably would have broken every record that ever was."

Bonds drops out of the WBC
2006-01-23 17:17
by Bob Timmermann

Time to get a new DH for Team USA as Barry Bonds has decided not to play in the WBC.

And Lance Berkman is having minor knee surgery, so the other candidate to be DH might sit this one out.

This might open up a slot for Chipper Jones, who was likely to not make the cut at third base after Alex Rodriguez checked his birth certificate to see where he was born.

Just 9 days to spring training (sort of)
2006-01-23 16:25
by Bob Timmermann

Players who are competing in the World Baseball Classic can report to spring training on February 1.

If you're not playing, then you have to wait until February 15 for pitchers and catchers or February 21 for players who mainly just stand around all day.

House cleaning starts in Cincinnati
2006-01-23 12:54
by Bob Timmermann

New Reds owner Bob Castellini has thrown his first body overboard: GM Dan O'Brien. Brad Kullman takes over on a temporary basis. Castellini has said he is very fond of Lou Piniella's work.

And that little boy whom nobody loved ....
2006-01-23 11:31
by Bob Timmermann

Grew up to be Scott Boras.


And now you know the rest of the story.

Now, page two ...

Try to buy a baseball team, set off a financial panic - UPDATED
2006-01-23 10:05
by Bob Timmermann

If you only check the sports section, you may have missed the problems that have been going in Japan with the demise of Livedoor. Turns out that the brash CEO of the company, Takafumi Horie, decided he wanted to buy the then Kintetsu Buffaloes in 2004 (they merged with Orix last year and became the Orix Buffaloes.)

But Horie has played fast and loose with splitting his company's stock. When Horie tried to buy the Buffaloes as well as Fuji TV, Japanese authorities began a thorough examination of his finances. And it turns out that Livedoor is not worth much of anything. Last week massive selling of Livedoor stock caused the Tokyo Stock Exchange to close early because the computer systems couldn't handle all the sale. There are an estimated 289 million sell orders for this stock unfilled.

100 for 1 splits?!?!

Here is the relevant part of why this was shady.
Under old Tokyo Stock Exchange rules, a stock split did not take effect until stock certificates became available about 50 days after it was announced. The waiting period created a psychological impetus to buy. As of this month, splits take effect on the next trading day.

As a comparison, Microsoft has had nine splits since it started trading in 1987 and none have been bigger than 2-1. By my math, if you owned 10 shares of Microsoft in 1987, you'd have 1920 shares now. If you bought one share of Livedoor in July 2001, you would have had 30,000 shares by August 2004.

Livedoor is now a "Pink Sheet" stock and is listed at $2.00/share.

Update - Japanese authorities arrested Horie Monday for securities fraud.

Peter Angelos, destroyer of worlds?
2006-01-23 09:47
by Bob Timmermann

Or at least Baltimore. Maury Brown writes about the reign of Peter Angelos in this interesting piece in The Hardball Times.

Maury Brown, unlike Murray Chass, does not seem to blame Baltimore's newest character, Anna Benson, for all the problems of the team.

Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun seems quite happy that Anna Benson is coming to Charm City.

Hasegawa hangs 'em up
2006-01-23 09:13
by Bob Timmermann

Former Angels, Mariners and Orix Blue Wave pitcher Shigetoshi Hasegawa announced his retirement Monday.

Hasegawa pieced together a respectable record as a middle reliever and sometimes closer, especially in 1998 for the Angels and in 2003 for Seattle.

Hasegawa was one of the few players from Japan who felt comfortable enough with his English to give interviews to the American press and even wrote a book Meja rigu de oboeta boku no Eigo benkyoho (Gentosha, 2001) with his own method for learning English.

Baseball fans in Chicago breathe a sigh of relief
2006-01-23 07:34
by Bob Timmermann

Jose Macias has signed a contract with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. I know that Cub fans will be flying to Sapporo by the thousands to root on their favorite utility infielder.

Spend your money on satellite radio and you get
2006-01-22 21:17
by Bob Timmermann

The chance to listen to a sports talk show hosted by James Carville and Luke Russert, son of Tim.

It's already got the seal of disapproval from Arianna Huffington.

I am taking this opportunity to announce that I am going to start a sports talk radio show with Janeane Garafolo and Kate O'Beirne.

It's all Anna Benson's fault I guess
2006-01-22 20:54
by Bob Timmermann

Murray Chass has this column in the New York Times where he seems to really, really, really, really dislike Kris Benson's wife, Anna. (No pictures in this link.)

I find it hard that in New York City, Anna Benson was anything more than a minor distraction to the Mets.

Bonds batting second? Barry says "no"
2006-01-22 17:46
by Bob Timmermann

Felipe Alou had contemplated batting Barry Bonds second in the upcoming season. But apparently, he didn't run this past Bonds first. Oddly, Bonds was in the Dominican Republic for a golf tournament (while Alou was in San Francisco) and Bonds has nixed the idea.

In Bonds' career, he has four sacrifices. The last one was in 1998.

Esta vez, lo contó
2006-01-22 16:13
by Bob Timmermann

The West beat the East 7-1 in the Cuban All-Star Game

Jeff Reardon and the pain of a parent
2006-01-22 12:22
by Bob Timmermann

Carlos Frias of the Palm Beach Post has this look at the personal problems that had overwhelmed Jeff Reardon and most likely contributed to his bizarre behavior and his robbery of a jewelry store.

Does this resemble anyone's favorite team?
2006-01-22 10:11
by Bob Timmermann

From the Pacific Daily News of Agana, Guam.

It's a brief story about a local baseball game. Here is how it ended:
The Giants [down 8-6] had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning when Pete Aguon singled in a run. Jamie Antone was gunned down at home, preventing the would-be tying run, and then Orandly Merlei was thrown out trying to advance to third for the final out of the game.

A hint at Cuba's roster for the WBC
2006-01-22 10:02
by Bob Timmermann

Prensa Latina has a preview of Cuba's All-Star game and it's likely that a good chunk of these players will be going to Puerto Rico for the WBC.

Dayan Viciedo, who is just 16, is the story in Cuban baseball this year, it seems. He is batting .350 in 45 games with 6 home runs. Industriales is the leading team in Cuba.

The end of baseball on Fox?
2006-01-22 08:52
by Bob Timmermann

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News is reporting that the exclusive window for negotiations that the Fox network has with MLB is closing and the two sides aren't close on a deal.

I wonder if Bud Selig isn't also using this opportunity to try to get an MLB-owned network as the NFL and NBA have.

But more importantly could we live in a world without Scooter.

Crisp and Gonzalez to Boston?, so says newspaper
2006-01-22 08:45
by Bob Timmermann

The Boston Herald is reporting that the Boston Red Sox are close to deals that would bring them Coco Crisp and Alex Gonzalez. That would be the former Marlin Alex Gonzalez and not the former Devil Ray Alex Gonzalez. Or in other words, the guy who broke the Yankees heart in the 2003 World Series and not the guy who broke the Cubs heart in the 2003 NLCS.

It's a multiteam deal to acquire Crisp, involving Cleveland and Philadelphia as well. Jason Michaels is believed to be ticketed to Cleveland to replace Crisp. Cleveland would receive Guillermo Mota and Andy Marte from Boston. Philadelphia would get either Arthur Rhodes or Rafael Betancourt from Cleveland.

Gonzalez is a free agent.

Discussion at Bronx Banter.

Sosa signs with Atlanta
2006-01-22 00:37
by Bob Timmermann

Jorge Sosa that is. After a great 2005 (13-3, 2.55 ERA, ERA+ 172), Sosa signed a 1-year deal worth $2.2 million.

Rivera: Out of WBC for Panama
2006-01-22 00:35
by Bob Timmermann

According to this Spanish article in El Nuevo Herald, Mariano Rivera won't play for Panama in the WBC. The Panamanian Baseball Federation has tried to use a patriotic appeal, but Rivera says he's not interested in pitching for a team that has no chance to win.

Looking for your favorite gaijin?
2006-01-21 17:09
by Bob Timmermann

Wayne Graczyk of the Japan Times lists the foreign players who are signed to play in Japan in 2006.

More importantly, he tries to tackle the question about why Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima has no "h" in his last name in Japan. Or, more accurately, like me, he gives up on the explanation.

Kris Benson won't forget the Maine
2006-01-21 12:44
by Bob Timmermann

The Mets and Orioles made a deal swapping Kris Benson for Jorge Julio and John Maine.

This a trade involving three players who are all obstensibly good, but don't have the numbers to show that they are.

Benson is the third straight Mets player to play Santa Claus at the team Christmas party to leave the team, following John Franco and Mike Cameron. GMs throughout baseball are asking the Mets to have David Wright play the role in 2006.

Oh, and if you still believe in Santa Claus, well, Benson was just playing one of Santa's helpers because Santa Claus can't visit everybody before Christmas.

Mets and Red Sox will seemingly settle for any extra outfielder
2006-01-21 11:19
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Daily News is reporting that both the Mets and the Red Sox are interested in free agent outfielder Jeff DaVanon.

I believe DaVanon is known as Plan G or possibly Plan K in terms of outfielders to put on your team. DaVanon has only two seasons with an OPS+ over 100 and his single season high in homers (12 in 2003) was helped out by going on a tear during the Angels three games against the Expos in San Juan (6 for 16 with 4 home runs.)

Yet another view of the Cuba/WBC situation
2006-01-21 10:22
by Bob Timmermann

Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald wrote (in my opinion) a very good column about his view of Cuba being allowed to play in the WBC. Obviously, in Miami, concern about Cuba is a much bigger issue than for someone like me living in Southern California.

I don't know if there was any satisfactory solution to the issue of Cuba playing in the WBC. Either you reward one of the most repressive countries in the world with a spot on the world stage or you leave out one of the countries where baseball is one of the most important sports in the country.

Big and Young
2006-01-21 10:19
by Bob Timmermann

Although the news is a couple days old, I thought I would pass on the news that the Padres claimed first baseman/left tackle Walter Young off of waivers from Baltimore.

With the acquisition of Chris Young earlier, the Padres now have two players named Young on their team and combined they are 13 feet, 3 inches high and weigh a combined (listed) 582 pounds.

I, for one, welcome our new San Diego overlords...

More on Cuba and the WBC - (UPDATED)
2006-01-20 20:10
by Bob Timmermann

The latest update from the AP has some interesting quotes.

"The president wanted to see it resolved in a positive way," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Our concerns were centered on making sure that no money was going to the Castro regime and that the World Baseball Classic would not be misused by the regime for spying. We believe the concerns have been addressed."

In other words, there will be no sign-stealing by the Cuban players. However, the CIA has already infiltrated the Cuban team and has learned that one finger means a fastball is coming and two fingers means a curve. The NSA has bugged the pitching mounds in some stadiums in Havana and has learned that if the pitcher touches his belt, he's going to make a pickoff throw.

Cuba's roster is not expected to include defectors, such as Jose Contreras, Orlando Hernandez and Livan Hernandez.

Did anyone seriously think they would play? Livan Hernandez has long expressed a desire to pitch for Puerto Rico. Danys Baez said he would never pick up a baseball for Cuba. These guys didn't leave their homes just for the money.

"Cuba will step up, of that I have no doubt," said Ramon Enriquez, who was among baseball fans discussing the news at Havana's Parque Central. "Those boys will play with that all-consuming courage."

I'm guessing that the last sentence is a translation from Spanish or else Mr. Enriquez speaks in very flowery language.

U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, called the Bush administration's reversal "lamentable and unfortunate," and said the Cuban players should defect once they reach Puerto Rico.

"I hope that the Cuban players will use this opportunity to escape totalitarianism and reach freedom in the U.S.," said Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American.

That likely won't make the event popular in Cuba.

Update-This AP story in the San Jose Mercury-News has some of the details about what the Cubans had to agree to. They can bring 30 players and 15 support staff, such as coaches and trainers, along with 21 additional people including journalists and security personnel. The players will be given $100 per diems.

New Reds owner talks big
2006-01-20 17:29
by Bob Timmermann

New Reds owner Robert Castellini gave a speech about how he intended to bring the Reds back to prominence.

During his speech, he said
Only three other teams have won more World Series than the Reds -- the Yankees, the Cardinals and the Red Sox.

Hmm, let's see the Reds have won five World Series: 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, and 1990.

Let's check some other teams:
The Dodgers have won six: 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988.

The Athletics have won nine: 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989

Well, it was a nice thought anyway.

Marvell Wynne #1 draft pick
2006-01-20 15:39
by Bob Timmermann

Yep, you thought he was retired. But Marvell Wynne has made his triumphant return to pro sports as the #1 draft pick of the MetroStars of the MLS.

Actually, this Marvell Wynne is a 19-year old defender who went to UCLA. He is the son of former big league outfielder Marvell Wynne. I wonder if the son is a lefty like his dad.

Will these incessant soccer posts ever cease?

Speaking of free passes
2006-01-20 09:41
by Bob Timmermann

It appears that the people of Japan are giving Hideki Matsui a break for not playing for Japan in the WBC. While the Japanese media like to blame the American government or George Steinbrenner, Matsui maintains it's his own decision.

The Golden Ticket and what to do with it
2006-01-20 08:23
by Bob Timmermann

Sam in DC pointed out this link to a Washington Post story about the lifetime passes to baseball games that the Iranian hostages received after being freed.

Looking back at the situation, I don't mind having to pay to get in.

"Game on!" says the Treasury Department
2006-01-20 08:20
by Bob Timmermann

The WBC has gotten a permit to allow Cuba to play in the WBC, so the event, warts and all, should start as scheduled.

Another big event that got off to a slow start
2006-01-20 08:00
by Bob Timmermann

With the possibility that the World Baseball Classic may be an international sporting event that never gets off the ground, it may be interesting to look back to check for parallels to the biggest international sporting event in the world, soccer's World Cup. For all the hubbub surrounding that event, the first World Cup, in 1930, was lucky to ever get started.

The World Cup was started mainly because the Olympic soccer tournament wasn't popular with many countries for a variety of reasons, but having a strictly amateur tournament wasn't going to be popular when the sport's best players were professionals. Uruguay had won the gold medal in 1924 in Paris and 1928 in Amsterdam and when FIFA (the international soccer federation) decided to hold its own international championship outside of the Olympics, Uruguay was given the nod to be the host for the first tournament in 1930. The announcement of this tournament in 1929 was not covered in the NY Times.

Continue reading...

Yes, you can be the next Bill Plaschke
2006-01-19 19:05
by Bob Timmermann

Sorry, but Plaschke is not part of this effort.

When I learned about journalism at the John F. Kennedy High School's paper The Word, the best we could hope for was going to a writing contest and having to write about a mock wrestling match at Brea High.

Hey, Ozzie, it's time for jury duty
2006-01-19 17:41
by Bob Timmermann

Yep, Ozzie Guillen is becoming a U.S. citizen. Hugo Chavez's friend still managed to get naturalized and now you can have the rare opportunity of serving on a jury with Ozzie Guillen. And Guillen can talk to Chicago election officials and say, "We fixed election better back in Venezuela."

Theo's back and there's going to be trouble
2006-01-19 17:38
by Bob Timmermann

Hey la, hey la, Theo's back!

What Theo Epstein is going to be doing for the Red Sox is still to be determined. But I imagine part of his job will be taunting Brian Cashman about his rapidly receding hairline.

News among the Sox
2006-01-19 17:32
by Bob Timmermann

The White Sox are giving spring training invites to Ray Liotta and Lance Broadway, whom if they didn't have made-up names, should. When you get invited to spring training, do you get a formal invitation? Is it engraved? Do you have to RSVP? Do you have to say if you want the chicken or the fish?

Ben Grieve also got a minor-league deal with the Pale Hose.

The Red Sox, meanwhile have made up for the departure of Johnny Damon, by signing Willie Harris to a one-year, split contract.

"Willie is a player who enjoys Boston and the electricity" Harris's agent, Darryl Buford is quoted as saying. Harris is also known to like indoor plumbing as well.

Wilson Pickett goes to the Land of 1,000 Dances
2006-01-19 16:10
by Bob Timmermann

Soul legend Wilson Pickett passed away today at the age of 64.

He did not wait until the midnight hour. I was not successful in my suit against Pickett for false advertising with the "Land of 1,000 dances" because by my count only six different dances are named.

Pickett is survived by a fiancee and four children.

No sex, some lies, no videotape
2006-01-19 14:07
by Bob Timmermann

A 39-year old "self-styled minister" (WARNING! DANGER! DANGER! when someone uses that description) was convicted of trying to extort Gary Sheffield by showing him a video of his wife having sex with R. Kelly.

Derrick Mosley, the man convicted, said he was just misunderstood and was only trying to offer DeLeon Richards-Sheffield "personal counseling." Mosley was already on probation for bank fraud.

Reds sale goes through
2006-01-19 11:47
by Bob Timmermann

Robert Castellini who made his fortune in the Cincinnati area selling produce, not pork, heads up the new ownership group for the Cincinnati Reds. Costellini's company has a deal to sell bagged produce with NASCAR labels on it for one thing.

Carl Linder, who had headed up the ownership group before, was named "CEO for life" last year and remains a minority partner.

The Castellini Company is privately held, but Dun & Bradstreet's estimates their sales last year to be around $69 million.

Angels and Anaheim agree to mediation
2006-01-19 11:31
by Bob Timmermann

With a few days of testimony in and after a strong suggestion from Judge Peter Polos, the city of Anaheim and the Angels are going to go to mediation Friday in an attempt to resolve their dispute.

Then signed Bronson
2006-01-19 10:08
by Bob Timmermann

The Red Sox signed pitcher/musician Bronson Arroyo to a 3-year deal worth between $11.5-$12.5 million.

Arroyo signed the contract despite his agent telling him it was too low of an offer.

Bronson Arroyo also made his big league debut for Pittsburgh as a pinch hitter.

The Florida Marlins relocation tour
2006-01-19 09:48
by Bob Timmermann

They've already visited Portland and San Antonio and now they have Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Hialeah on the list.

Each tour is capped off by Marlins president David Samson picking up the mayor of each city and shaking that person to see what loose change falls out. Whoever has the most money fall out gets the Marlins.

Update -- The city of Monterrey, Mexico is showing interest in the Marlins too, but there is only a Spanish language story about it.

If it's 10 am in Indianapolis, then what time is it in Gary?
2006-01-19 09:26
by Bob Timmermann

Yes, Indiana has settled its daylight savings time problem. Eight counties will switch to Central Time (Starke, Pulaski, Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, Perry and Pike) and the rest will be on Eastern time. And everybody will have to go on DST.

Here's how it used to be, or actually still is because the change won't happen until April 2, when DST kicks in.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's ruling (bet you didn't know that they were in charge of such matters did you?) will likely bring much grief to noted sports statistician Jeff Sagarin of Sagarin Ratings fame. Sagarin had been a passionate advocate of putting all of Indiana in the Central Time Zone.

Indiana will now be a slightly less confusing place to visit, although it still has the inherent problem of being Indiana.

Bubba Morton passes away
2006-01-19 07:41
by Bob Timmermann

Bubba Morton, former outfielder for the Tigers, Braves, and Angels, passed away in Seattle at age 74. Morton also played a season for the Toei Flyers.

Morton was the first African-American player signed by Detroit (although not the first in the majors) and also served as the baseball coach at the University of Washington for five seasons in the 1970s.

Dupuy: "Guardedly optimistic" that Cuba will play in WBC
2006-01-18 21:10
by Bob Timmermann has an article about attempts to allow the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to give Cuba a permit to play in the WBC.

What I found even more interesting is toward the bottom of the story where Nicaragua is mentioned as the stand-in for Cuba if permission is not given to let Cuba play. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Marvin Benard play again.

Also Jim Caple of thinks the U.S. should let Cuba play, mainly because Cuba isn't that good anymore.

And the rest ...
2006-01-18 16:39
by Bob Timmermann

All the teams in the WBC have their provisional rosters listed in this lengthy pdf document (17 pages) with the exception of the large island off the coast of Florida.

I have also learned that Shea Hillenbrand qualifies for the Dutch team as does Mark Mulder.

The Sandman decides to forego save opportunities
2006-01-18 16:34
by Bob Timmermann

After saying he wouldn't do it, Mariano Rivera agreed to pitch for Panama in the WBC.

Panama's team will also feature two Carlos Lees (and they're brothers), Bruce Chen, Einar Diaz, Olmedo Saenz, Ramiro Mendoza and Jose Macias!. Panama is in the same group as Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, and the large island off the coast of Florida.

Update According to this New York Times story, Rivera's name was put on Panama's roster in case he changed his mind about playing.

Iriki inks contract with Mets
2006-01-18 15:12
by Bob Timmermann

Yusaku Iriki formerly of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, signed a one-year deal with the Mets. Iriki was 6-7 with a 3.35 ERA last year. He pitched in 28 games, starting 20.

You can't please everyone
2006-01-18 10:21
by Bob Timmermann

So you've got to please yourself. Or so sayeth noted philosopher/song writer Ricky Nelson in his 1972 opus "Garden Party."

And so Alex Rodriguez has started to meet with reproach from people in the Dominican Republic (in English) or in Spanish.

Meanwhile, writers in the U.S., such as Greg Cote of the Miami Herald wonder why A-Rod spent so much time thinking about the issue.

I'm not sure why Rodriguez got so much grief agonizing about his decision when Manny Ramirez (who is a naturalized U.S. citizen) and Albert Pujols (who grew up in the U.S.) are playing for the Dominican Republic. But getting on Alex Rodriguez's case about just about anything has always been something of a cottage industry.

Danny Graves gives hitting tips
2006-01-18 07:46
by Bob Timmermann

As you can see from this photo, Danny Graves is giving more than pitching tips during his tour of Vietnam.

But this photo shows that perhaps that a bit more batting instruction is needed. I don't think the guy in the photo is going to make contact with that stance.

Then again, if they get their batting tips from here then maybe the guy is just imitating what he reads.

DC Stadium deal mediator chosen
2006-01-18 07:30
by Bob Timmermann

Dennis Archer, a former mayor of Detroit, has been chosen by MLB and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, to mediate the dispute. If the dispute is not settled in 15 days, it would then go to binding arbitration.

The head of the Commission, Dennis Tuohey is oddly optimistic. Interestingly, Tuohey, who is an attorney, is representing Rep. Bob Ney, who is being investigated in the Jack Abramoff case.

Alex Rodriguez is ...
2006-01-17 19:20
by Bob Timmermann

Going to play for the U.S. in the WBC after all.

Or as El Nuevo Herald writes: Clásico: Rodríguez jugará por EEUU

Castro giving other teams bulletin board material
2006-01-17 18:49
by Bob Timmermann

Someone needs to tell El Presidente that he shouldn't brag before the games are played.

In El Nuevo Herald the Spanish language version of the Miami Herald, Castro said, "No tenemos miedo a nada, con nosotros va a ser muy difícil en cualquier terreno competir... muy difícil... ni en pelota quieren competir con Cuba."

Which roughly translates to:
We aren't afraid of anybody. It will be difficult to compete with us anywhere. Very difficult. Nobody in baseball wants to compete with Cuba.

There are a lot of ellipses in the quotes because Castro's speech lasted around two hours.

If you run "Fidel Castro" through the Babelfish translator, you get "Fidel I castrate".

And Mexico seems ready for action too
2006-01-17 18:14
by Bob Timmermann

This story (again in Spanish, but the relevant parts can be understood) highlights the big league players on the Mexican team for the WBC.

Mexico already seems to have its three starting pitchers lined up for pool play: Oliver Perez will go in the first game against the U.S., then Esteban Loiaza will pitch against South Africa, and finally Rodrigo Lopez will pitch against Canada.

Here is a link to the complete roster.

Venezuela readies a loaded roster for the WBC
2006-01-17 17:53
by Bob Timmermann

Although this link is in Spanish, you should be able to make out fairly easily who is on Venezuela's WBC roster.

The preliminary 60-man roster has some great pitchers: Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Francisco Rodriguez, Felix Hernandez, and Freddy Garcia to name a few. The catchers aren't bad with Ramon Hernandez and Victor Martinez. The outfield has Bob "El Comedulce" Abreu, Magglio Ordonez, and Miguel Cabrera.

Overall, I think Venezuela will be helped out the most by having Luis Salazar as its hitting coach.

A good day to settle up
2006-01-17 16:49
by Bob Timmermann

With players and teams exchanging arbitration figures, a lot of players signed today to avoid arbitration. I will try my best to include the most important ones, but you never know who I missed.

And if Washington and Rafael whoops Alfonso Soriano go to arbitration, Soriano would get $12 million if he won and $10 million if he lost. Call me crazy, but I believe there is a number that is exactly halfway from $10 million and $12 million.

The figures submitted by the players and the teams.

Vietnam goodwill tour
2006-01-17 09:20
by Bob Timmermann

A Vietnam War veterans group along with Danny Graves, the only major leaguer born in Vietnam, are making a 10-day goodwill tour of Vietnam to demonstrate baseball and dedicate a field.

This Vietnamese web site really needs a newer graphic for baseball stories.

Taiwan, no Chinese Taipei, no Nationalist China, no Formosa, ... whatever the island off of China names its WBC team
2006-01-16 22:15
by Bob Timmermann

I will go with Taiwan since that's what's in the URL. Chien-ming Wang's participation is still up in the air.

The Taiwanese do lead the world in cool nicknames. Jia-hsien "The Taiwan Plumber" Hsieh, Tai-Shan "The Jungle Prince" Chang, Cheng-ming "Cha Cha" Peng, Chun-chang "The Invincible Robotman" Yeh, and Chien-Ming "Fire Brother" Chang.

Sultan of Swat, Splendid Splinter, Mr. October, and now The Taiwan Plumber.

And Puerto Rico fixes up its WBC team
2006-01-16 20:40
by Bob Timmermann

Puerto Rico released a 40-man roster that features two of the three Molina brothers: Yadier and Bengie, along with Pudge Rodriguez, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and the beloved Alex Cora.

Javier Lopez of Baltimore is on the roster as an infielder.

The Puerto Rican team seems to be short on pitchers with Javier Vazquez as the best starter.

Let's not argue!
2006-01-16 17:58
by Bob Timmermann

The annual rite of avoiding arbitration continues:

Team USA names 42 for the WBC
2006-01-16 16:23
by Bob Timmermann

The initial roster for the USA for the WBC was named today. So far, no Alex Rodriguez. Team USA has until Tuesday to fill its allotment of 60 players. There are only six outfielders on the initial roster: Lance Berkman, Barry Bonds, Carl Crawford, Johnny Damon, Ken Griffey, and Vernon Wells.

Dontrelle Willis gets his payday
2006-01-16 16:20
by Bob Timmermann

Dontrelle Willis avoided arbitration with the Marlins by signing a one-year deal worth $4.35 million. Willis was 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA in 2005. It is the richest deal signed by a starting pitcher in his first year eligible for arbitration.

New homes and staying home
2006-01-16 12:08
by Bob Timmermann

No Salmon metaphor in this headline
2006-01-16 09:44
by Bob Timmermann

Tim Salmon is giving baseball one last shot this year with the Angels. Or perhaps anyone else who will give him a slot.

I decided not to use "Salmon facing upstream challenge in spring training" and "Salmon in the pink about his chances".

The Cuban baseball crisis
2006-01-16 09:13
by Bob Timmermann

I just posted this link because it comes from a South African site and the South African entry in the WBC is still a bit of a mystery.

I also came across a story about the standing in Cuba's baseball league. It distinctly reads as if someone ran an English article through a translator. Or else a very odd lead: Havana´s flag team Industriales amasses most wins in the 45th Cuban National Baseball Series that enters its second half this week.

Minor league umpires thinking of striking
2006-01-15 23:52
by Bob Timmermann

While minor league players aren't organized, minor league umpires are. And they are thinking of rejecting Minor League Baseball's latest contract offer, which would be an increase of $90 per month.

The Patriot-Ledger of Quincy, Massachusetts covers the story.

I tried out once to be an intramural slow pitch softball umpire at UC Berkeley. It did not go well.

Changes afoot for the Devil Rays?
2006-01-15 13:32
by Bob Timmermann

Changes in the uniform colors and even the team name that is according to the St. Petersburg Times.

I guess changes can't be afoot for a real devil ray. Changes afin?

One suggestion is that the team become the Tampa Bay Tarpons but that's one typo from a really bad name for a team that could be in last place.

The story also details other changes for the Devil Rays. They want to replace free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez with free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez. That's if Julio Lugo gets traded and Kazuo Matsui isn't acquired, but that would be far less humorous.

Angels sign Figgins and Rivera
2006-01-14 19:31
by Bob Timmermann

Super utility man Chone Figgins and outfielder/DH Juan Rivera have avoided arbitration and re-signed with the Los Angeles Angels.

Figgins signed for three years and $10.5 million. Rivera signed a two-year contract without official salary totals released. Figgins will also receive an allowance to buy extra gloves for each position. Figgins will likely play third as Darin Erstad moves to center field. Erstad will have to take over the enormous burden of replacing Steve Finley.

They're ready to stand on guard for thee
2006-01-14 19:21
by Bob Timmermann

O Canada! 23 members of Team Canada for the WBC were named today. Larry Walker will not play, just coach. Eric Gagne, Rich Harden, and Ryan Dempster have not committed yet. If Gagne and Dempster don't pitch, Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt will have to rely on guys like Paul Quantrill and Rheal Cormier and Chris Reitsma out of the pen.

Tampa Bay catcher Pete LaForest is now called by his given name Pierre-Luc LaForest.

More information from a Canadian source.

Hey it's got a ball and a bat
2006-01-14 18:57
by Bob Timmermann

It's cold night in Southern California, relatively speaking and I'm desperate for news about baseball like games.
Three test matches and five one day contests!

Live updates are available!

Garciaparra is "traded" to Mexico
2006-01-14 11:31
by Bob Timmermann

Nomar Garciaparra will play for Mexico in the WBC. Although Garciaparra was born in Whittier, California, his parents were born in Mexico. Garciaparra's mother is also Egyptian.

Ramon Miguel 'Mike' Vargas: This could be very bad for us.
Susan: For us?
Ramon Miguel 'Mike' Vargas: For Mexico, I mean.

Sweeney suggests Royals were chemically enhanced
2006-01-14 10:04
by Bob Timmermann

But it was the 1999 Royals.

That Royals squad had a lot of famous names on it: Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, Scott Leius, Sal Fasano, Jeff King. But the team finished 64-97, 11 games worse than their Pythagorean projection.

Perhaps having a closer with a 6.84 ERA was just one of the problems.

Another question is: why would Sweeney bring up something that happened over 6 years ago?

Baez to the Dodgers
2006-01-14 10:00
by Bob Timmermann

In lieu of an impending Dodger Thoughts thread, you can discuss the trade between the Dodgers and Tampa Bay sending All-Star Denys Baez and Lance Carter (hey another All-Star) to the Dodgers in exchange for Edwin Jackson and Bill Plaschke man crush Chuck Tiffany.

I remember you, you used to be big
2006-01-14 09:14
by Bob Timmermann

The Dallas Cowboys are sending erstwhile Yankees and Reds prospect Drew Henson to play in NFL Europe to gain experience so he can finally achieve what everybody thought he would be: better than Tony Romo.

The latest in arbitration
2006-01-13 22:59
by Bob Timmermann

100 players filed for arbitration Friday. The Orioles have nine players who filed. The most notable players are Dontrelle Willis, Brad Lidge, and Mark Prior (but that's just my opinion). The Dodgers, Padres, and Giants have no players filing for arbitration.

Players and the teams exchange figures Tuesday. For players who don't settle, the hearings take place during the first three weeks of February.

The first ever player to have his salary arbitration case decided was Minnesota pitcher Dick Woodson in 1974. He was able to win a salary of $29,000. The Twins offered $23,000.

Um, say shouldn't you be richer? And not living in Indiana?
2006-01-13 15:45
by Bob Timmermann

An Indianapolis man was arrested for using Barry Bonds Social Security number fraudulently to obtain a credit card from Fifth Third Bank.

In an online application, Keys indicated he was Bonds and that he made $350,000 per year.

Bonds actually makes $18 million per year. The bank was suspicious of the application.

I can imagine that if the bank didn't catch this what would have happened if Bonds started opening up his credit card statements (I'm sure he does that on his own) and starts yelling, "Hey, who bought $10,000 worth of shoes at Payless? .... Oh wait, that was me. OK, who rented a movie at Blockbuster and didn't return it and stuck me with the restocking charge!"

Update - No truth to the rumor that the SSN used was 052-16-3983. That was Babe Ruth's SSN.

Webb gets contract extension from Diamondbacks
2006-01-13 15:22
by Bob Timmermann

Brandon Webb was given a four-year extension with a club option in 2010.

The The story notes that Webb lowered his walks from 119 in 2004 to just 59 in 2005. Webb is 26 years old.

The international baseball competition that people care about
2006-01-13 11:43
by Bob Timmermann

The Caribbean World Series will be played next month in Venezuela.

Here are current standings or playoff results for the various leagues.

Nationals add coaches and have lofty goals
2006-01-13 10:51
by Bob Timmermann

Washington named Mitchell Page, Davey Lopes, and Tony Beasley as coaches.

Page says that his goal is "to improve everybody's batting average by 25 points. That will make a big difference when it comes to one-run ballgames." That would make Cristian Guzman a .244 hitter. If the team improved by 25 points, they would be batting .275, the highest in the NL (Florida batted .272 last year.) Of course Washington's record in one-run games was 30-31 and they finished 81-81 overall so I would think Washington would just be better off winning games by 5 runs or more(which they did just 13 times last year.)

Davey Lopes was hired to join Frank Robinson as his assistant curdmudgeon and will be in charge of grumbling about how kids don't play the right way today when Robinson is unable to do so.

A late entry in the free agent mix
2006-01-13 10:03
by Bob Timmermann

Japanese champions Lotte could not reach an agreement with DH/outfielder/first baseman Seung Yeop Lee, who led his team with 30 home runs and Lee is now a free agent.
Lee had an OPS of 866 playing most of his games at windswept Chiba Marine Stadium, Japan's answer to Candlestick Park.
Lee hit 56 home runs in the 2003 Korean league season, which is an Asian record.

Mets redo their announcing teams
2006-01-13 09:43
by Bob Timmermann

Out goes Ted Robinson, Ralph Kiner, Dave O'Brien, Matt Loughlin and Tom Seaver and in comes Ron Darling to join survivors Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen.

No, I'm not helping Keith Hernandez move.

Thursday's wheelings and dealings
2006-01-12 18:33
by Bob Timmermann

A whirlwind of not very important activity.

  • Not a transaction, but the Red Sox are interested in acquiring Coco Crisp or Jeremy Reed. And Terry Francona apparently loves Alex Cora. I don't know if this devotion to Alex Cora is a cult or part of some sort form of mass hysteria.

  • The Reds are going back to the well for injured pitchers, this time signing Grant Balfour.

  • The Padres have given a minor-league deal to Alan Embree. This will be Embree's second tour with the Padres.

  • The Devil Rays are taking a flyer on Dan Miceli. Tampa Bay would be Miceli's 10th team.

  • Arizona finalized its deal with Terry Mulholland. Arizona would be Mulholland's 11th different team.

  • And the following players (that I could find) signed contracts to avoid going to arbitration: Julio Mateo, Mike Maroth, Brandon Inge, Matt Wise, and Bretty Brett Myers.

  • MLB is sending officials down to Cuba to work out "logistics" with the WBC. When I was in Havana, I'd always have Johnny Ola show me the good places to go.

Singleton to join White Sox radio booth
2006-01-12 11:58
by Bob Timmermann

With John Rooney heading over to St. Louis, the White Sox have hired Chris Singleton, to become Ed Farmer's sidekick on radio.

Dodgers TV color analyst (for games that Vin Scully didn't do) Steve Lyons was a candidate for the job.

The original version of this said it was Ken Singleton. If you read, that, I apologize for the goof.

New nickels! Oh boy!
2006-01-12 11:44
by Bob Timmermann

TheU.S. Mint is releasing the new nickel today. Thomas Jefferson will be facing forward on these.

The U.S. Mint will sell you two rolls of nickels for $8.95. Even though two rolls of nickels are really only $4. You can also buy a bag of 500 nickels for $45.95, even though that's only $25 worth of nickels.

Or you can wait until you get one as change, which is free. But the nickel is the poor relation in the American coin hierarchy. Unless your local merchant has run out of dimes or quarters, you can never get more than one nickel back as change. No one ever has a "take a nickel, leave a nickel" tray.

DC Stadium hijinks
2006-01-12 11:23
by Bob Timmermann

It could be on.

It could be off. (Thanks to Sam in DC for that link.)

Depends whom you talk to. Why in my day, the city would just take a bunch of bulldozers, knock down the houses and bribe the appropriate legistlators to get a baseball stadium built! What sort of country do we live in now?

Oh no O's - Millar to sign with Baltimore
2006-01-12 10:35
by Bob Timmermann

Kevin Millar, whose reputation far outpaces his actual ability is set to sign with Baltimore.

The headline says Millar would add "veteran presence", because Jeff Conine apparently doesn't have enough of that.

Jim Duquette describes Millar as "highly motivated". But so is someone trying to sell their house after two of their neighbors were robbed and another had his house burned down.

Tommy Lasorda's diplomatic touch
2006-01-12 09:39
by Bob Timmermann

Lasorda goes to Japan and declares that Hideki Matsui and Tadahito Iguchi are unpatriotic.

I hope they can they live with themselves.

But Ichiro now there's a loyal player. You can set your watch to him.

Korea's Journeyman
2006-01-12 09:00
by Bob Timmermann

A brief profile of Choi ik-Song who has played for six of the eight teams in the Korean pro league.

I actually found this more interesting because you can click on a link at the top of the article to listen to someone reading it to you. And you can either listen in a male Stephen Hawking like voice or a female one.

The site also has political cartoons with English translations.

Red Sox sign Tavarez and re-sign Graffanino
2006-01-12 07:36
by Bob Timmermann

Julian Tavarez is close to a 2-year deal with Boston.

The Red Sox also avoided going to arbitration with infielder Tony Graffanino by signing a one-year deal.

The lastest arbitration-eligible list from the AP. Take the list with this warning: players are signing frequently and they aren't always updated immediately on lists like this. Nor does this list acknowledge that Corey Patterson is on Baltimore, not the the Cubs.

The Halls of Fame and why do we care about Cooperstown?
2006-01-11 20:42
by Bob Timmermann

Every January baseball fans, eager for any bit of news to keep us going through the long winter, wait to see whom the Baseball Writers Association of America has voted in to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. We study the candidates. We campaign for our favorites. We try to discern who will be voted from ballots made public by writers. We hope that a group of 520 members of the press can honor our heroes. And every January, inevitably, we are both gladdened and disappointed by the selections. Then we turn to wondering what sort of cap the player will be wearing on his plaque. It's a long process. There are even books written on the whole subject.

But compared to the Halls of Fame in the other popular sports in North America, Cooperstown is subject to the most debate. Does anyone ever get very heated over who will be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a few weeks except for Paul Zimmerman? Do we even know when the Basketball Hall of Fame election is held? Or the Hockey Hall of Fame has its election? Do we even know where the Soccer Hall of Fame is? (I do, and I even know an elector and have to give him a Christmas present and all that.)

Continue reading...

Bowden contemplates Sosa at RFK
2006-01-11 20:41
by Bob Timmermann

Sammy Sosa could be headed down the other end of the B-W Parkway.

The Baltimore-Washington Parkway is supposed to be scenic?

Less is Mori
2006-01-11 20:18
by Bob Timmermann

Shinji Mori has signed with Tampa Bay. I predict he will not be the second coming of Kazuhiro Sasaki.

Gracious Goose or Angry Goose?
2006-01-11 11:54
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Post Post through a TSN link (to save a lot of popups) presents an angry Rich Gossage after the HOF balloting.

However in the Colorado Springs Gazette through MSNBC, Gossage has a bit more perspective.

I'm shocked! Shocked! That the New York Post would stoop to such tactics.

In another Hall of Fame, far, away
2006-01-11 09:20
by Bob Timmermann

Five men were chosen for the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

They are:

  • Hiromitsu Kadota, who hit 567 home runs in his 19-year career and was MVP of the Pacific League in 1988.
  • Hisashi Yamada, a pitcher with a lifetime record of 284-166 and won three straight PL MVPs in the 1970s.
  • Morimichi Takagi, longtime infielder for the Chunichi Dragons who had 2274 hits in a 21-year career.
  • Yasamitsu Toyoda, longtime TV commentator and former player for the Nishitetsu Lions
  • Hiromori Kawashima, who served as Commissioner of Japanese Baseball from 1998-2004.

Members of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, located in the Tokyo Dome are chosen by a special panel.

Castro at the bat
2006-01-10 22:56
by Bob Timmermann

Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria a professor at Yale writes an interesting op-ed piece about Cuba's place in the WBC.

Arbitration eligibles
2006-01-10 20:54
by Bob Timmermann

The AP has a list of the 108 players eligible for salary arbitration.

The list doesn't include the two players who have already agreed to arbitration to avoid free agency: Tony Graffanino and Travis Lee.

Choose your favorite team's Non-HOFer all-star squad
2006-01-10 18:51
by Bob Timmermann

Houston Mitchell of the L.A. Times has his picks of the best Dodger players not in Cooperstown.

If you don't want to read through it, it goes:

  • Catcher - John Roseboro
  • First baseman - Gil Hodges
  • Second baseman - Davey Lopes
  • Third baseman - Ron Cey
  • Shortstop - Maury Wills
  • Outfield - Babe Herman
  • Outfield - Willie Davis
  • Outfield - Pedro Guerrero
  • Pitcher - Fernando Valenzuela

Personally, I'm not so sold on Willie Davis as being an unrecognized great. I look it at him more as an overrecogniezed mediocrity.

If anyone wishes to contribute a list from their own favorite team, let it rip.

Mayor says DC stadium deal near
2006-01-10 17:59
by Bob Timmermann

Mayor Anthony Williams says a deal for a new stadium for the Nationals is close.

No word on whether he believed Neville Chamberlain when he said that he had achieved "peace in our time" in 1938 or Henry Kissinger who said that "peace is at hand" in Vietnam in 1972.

Tommy Lasorda, ambassador to the world
2006-01-10 17:52
by Bob Timmermann

Everyone's favorite former Dodger manager (ducks from items being thrown at him) speaks out about how he thinks Cuba should be allowed to play in the WBC.

Lasorda also mentions in the article that he doesn't think Fidel Castro has much of a sense of humor. That probably explains the poor sales of Fidel Castro Live at The Curran Theater.

Goose Egg, but not for Sutter (updated)
2006-01-10 17:00
by Cliff Corcoran

The BBWAA has elected Bruce Sutter, and Bruce Sutter only, to the Hall of Fame. Goose Gossage gets snubbed once again. You can find the vote totals here.

Bruce Sutter's career record.

Rich Gossage's career record.

Jim Rice's career record.

Bert Blyleven speaks politely about missing out in 2006.

Update looks at Sutter as a Cub through the work of Ed Hartig.

These guys won't be going to Cooperstown
2006-01-10 14:33
by Bob Timmermann

The Tigers have added Matt Mantei to their bullpen. He's just 32. Mantei had 29 saves for Arizona in 2003, but has pitched just 37 innings the last two seasons for Arizona and Boston.

Apparently Toronto doesn't want Bengie Molina. But with Jason Phillips already being invited to spring training, it is unknown if the Blue Jays could afford to spend the time waiting for both Phillips and Molina to finish their wind sprints before either man could begin warming up pitchers.

And count John Smoltz out of the WBC also. But Andruw Jones is still going to play for the Netherlands. And Chris Reitsma still wants to pitch for Canada.

A rite of winter
2006-01-10 09:46
by Bob Timmermann

Right before the announcement to see if anyone was voted into Cooperstown, you can read the annual Pete Rose apologia.

From the story - Bob DuPuy, the president of Major League Baseball, says Rose's application remains on Selig's desk, but "he has not given any indication he is prepared to act on it."

Glad to know that Bud Selig and I both never clean up any stuff on our desks. Maybe Selig has my copy of the memo about cleaning up the lunch room.

Trial of the Century starts and boy it's exciting
2006-01-10 09:37
by Bob Timmermann

Nothing is more compelling than reading about pretrial motions.

The witness lists were submitted. We could see Michael Eisner, Arte Moreno, or even Rex Hudler.

From the story:

Hudler, the Angels' irrepressible television analyst, said lawyers have asked him to explain how the team markets itself on broadcasts. He said Monday he would be excited to testify if needed.

"I'm excited about most everything, including taking out the garbage on Wednesday," he said. "I'd be thrilled to help the process any way I can."

When I was growing up, trash collection in my neighborhood was always on Wednesday too. But we had to take the cans out on Tuesday night because my parents and grandmother lived in dread fear that they would miss the trash truck. Apparently life as we know it would cease if we didn't get our trash picked up one week.

Former Rams receiver Jack Snow passes away
2006-01-09 21:52
by Bob Timmermann

Jack Snow, NFL receiver for 11 seasons with the L.A. Rams, passed away in St. Louis Monday night at age 62 of complications from a staph infection.

Jack is the father of Red Sox first baseman J.T Snow and is also survived by two daughters: Michelle and Stephanie.

Roster tweaks continue throughout baseball
2006-01-09 18:23
by Bob Timmermann

The Mariners have given invites to Kevin Appier and Fernando Viña.

The Nationals have signed Michael Tucker and re-signed Luis Ayala.

The Twins, seeking bullpen help, still signed Darrell May.

The Brewers have designated Russell Branyan for assignment. Branyan was made redundant by the acquisition of Corey Koskie.

Todd Hollandsworth still lives. Cleveland is giving him a minor-league contract.

Tune in tomorrow at 2 pm ET
2006-01-09 14:49
by Bob Timmermann

To likely see no one get voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But the announcement will be on Dale Petroskey of the HOF will get to make the announcement. Or lack of announcement. And then Billy Sample will interview Petroskey. My advice for that: triple espresso. Billy Sample is the safe, non-addictive cure for sleeping disorders.

Trial of the Century to start Monday
2006-01-08 21:16
by Bob Timmermann

Yep, City of Anaheim v. Angels Baseball, L.P.

If you plan to hang out at the trial, it will be in Department 33 of the Central Justice Center in scenic Santa Ana.

Everybody is in town for this one: Nancy Grace, Jeffrey Toobin, Dominick Dunne, Dorothy Kilgallen.

Baseball fever in Portland a low-grade affair
2006-01-08 19:15
by Bob Timmermann

John Conzano writes in The Oregonian about Portland's rather diminished interest in getting the Florida Marlins to move there.

News that you likely could wait longer to read ... (UPDATED!!)
2006-01-08 19:09
by Bob Timmermann

The Rockies have signed Eli Marrero to a non-roster deal. And the Rockies are thinking of signing Luis Rivas too!

Ryan Freel was arrested for disorderly intoxication in Tampa, Florida. He told the police that his occupation was "unemployed." I think that may have been the alcohol talking there and not Freel commenting on his job status. Freel apparently got drunk as he can't contemplate living in a world where Tony Womack is his competition.

The Astros have reached a deal with lefty reliever Trever Miller. I got the rare treat of seeing one of Miller's two appearances with the Dodgers in person. I think the more amazing about the game was that F.P. Santangelo got a hit!

Update The people of Cincinnati can breathe easier. Rich Aurilia has been re-signed by the Reds. That's correct. More Rich Aurilia for the residents of the Queen City. The deadline for the four remaining free agents (Eduardo Perez, Alex Gonzalez of Tampa Bay, Jeff Weaver, and Pedro Astacio) draws nigh. It's at midnight ET. I'd set up a countdown clock, but somehow I think that would be overdoing it.

Update 2 Aurilia was the only player to re-sign.

WBC roll call
2006-01-07 23:20
by Bob Timmermann
MLB to Yankees, Red Sox: Pay Up
2006-01-07 18:40
by Bob Timmermann

The Yankees and Red Sox are the two franchises who have to pay the luxury, excuse me, competitive balance tax for 2005.

The Angels had to pay in 2004, but are off the hook in 2005. The Yankees owe $34 million and the Red Sox $4 million.

Tejada to Orioles: "Never mind"
2006-01-07 16:41
by Bob Timmermann

For the second time, Miguel Tejada has told the Orioles that he doesn't want to be traded.

Either Tejada was encouraged by the signing of Jeff Conine or the non-signing of Jeromy Burnitz or he was afraid of getting traded to the Phillies or Cubs. Or maybe he likes crabcakes a lot.

So the blockbuster deal of the winter is off, for now. Unless Tejada changes his mind yet again. You can go back to watching NFL playoff games won by a team that passed for 25 yards.

Five players reaching the point of no return
2006-01-07 13:28
by Bob Timmermann

There are five free agents who declined arbitration and have until Sunday to sign with their old team or be unable to sign with them again until May 1.

The fearsome five: Rich Aurilia, Eduardo Perez, Alex S. Gonzalez (the one who was on Tampa Bay), Jeff Weaver, and Pedro Astacio.

Miguel Tejada rumor of the weekend
2006-01-07 08:18
by Bob Timmermann

The rumor seems to be Miguel Tejada to Philadelphia and Bob Abreu to Baltimore.

Here is a longer Philadelphia Inquirer article about the subject. Tejada would either play third base or be dealt to the Cubs for a starting pitcher, either Mark Prior or Carlos Zambrano. The Phillies may also pick up Latroy Hawkins in the deal.

Corey Koskie gets to eat at Mo's
2006-01-06 22:13
by Bob Timmermann

Corey Koskie, made redundant by Toronto's acquisition of Troy Glaus, was dumped on the Brewers for a minor league pitcher named Brian Wolfe.

Koskie is taking consolation in that his favorite restaurant, Mo's (720 N. Plankinton), is in Milwaukee.

Is Koskie the greatest baseball player ever born in Manitoba? Won't he actually be closer to Manitoba in Milwaukee than in Toronto?

IBAF: No Cuba, no WBC
2006-01-06 19:07
by Bob Timmermann

The IBAF, the International Baseball Federation, has threatened to withdraw accreditation for the World Baseball Classic if Cuba is not allowed to participate. If there is no IBAF approval of the competition and the WBC were to still take place, all participating nations would be declared ineligible for future international competitions.

If you're ever in Lausanne, Switzerland, you can drop by the headquarters. Malta is a member. The 2005 Maltese champs were the Melieha Northenders. Man, I hate that team, always buying up all the good Maltese players. When I was a kid, I remember when there were real pennant races in Malta.

Veterans day
2006-01-06 15:12
by Bob Timmermann

Except it's not November 11.

But the Red Sox are close to a deal with J.T. Snow. Snow would back up Kevin Youkilis.

The Yankees invited 20 people to spring training (to play, not to watch) and among them is Al Leiter, whose campaign for political office in New Jersey will be postponed until the Yankees finally realize that he's pretty much useless.

The Braves re-signed Chris Reitsma and invited Brian Jordan and Eddie Perez to spring training.

The Angels are giving Tim Salmon a last hurrah of sorts in spring training. One can hope that Salmon's peformance will be more Spencer Tracy and less Carroll O'Connor.

And Byung-Hyun Kim has re-signed with Colorado.

#1 pick Upton close to signing signs with Arizona.
2006-01-06 13:40
by Bob Timmermann

Justin Upton looks to finally be ready to sign with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

I hope that Upton fares better than one of America's finest musical groups: Up With People! reports that it's a done deal.

A's new park goes back to the drawing board
2006-01-06 11:39
by Bob Timmermann

Stepping in for Mr. Arneson, I'll drop in this bit of news about Lew Wolff's change of mind about where to build a new stadium for the Athletics.

Would this be cricket?
2006-01-06 09:54
by Bob Timmermann

It's July 2008. The New York Yankees are facing the Boston Red Sox at the London Oval.

Alex Rodriguez steps up to the plate to face Josh Beckett. Beckett has baffled A-Rod before with a series of off-spins, but now in the seventh, Beckett needs to find a new pitch so he switches to the top-spinner. Rodriguez fouls off a few. Then Beckett tries a googly. But Rodriguez is waiting for it.

"It is high. It is deep. It is SIX!!!!!!!!!!!" John Sterling screams in to the microphone. Final score: Yankees 256-5, Red Sox 255-7.

By 2008 who will be the wicket-keepers for each side?

And now Manny Ramirez wants to play for ... (updated)
2006-01-06 08:00
by Bob Timmermann


Oh wait. He already is on Boston.

Date of next Manny Ramirez trade demand: June 19.

Where Miguel Tejada will play next year is up in the air though.

Update Ramirez's agent now says that he still wants to be traded.

In the future, I will hire an agent to tell people when I am happy or unhappy.

"Excuse me, is Bob in a good mood today?"
"My client says that his mood is not perfect and he is exploring further mood opportunities."

And Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies now want Miguel Tejada, but want him to play third base.

Stay tuned at 2 pm ET Friday Tuesday.
2006-01-05 22:40
by Bob Timmermann

The BBWAA election results for the Hall of Fame will be announced then.

If no one is chosen, Hall of Fame officials have promised Tracy Ringolsby that his hat can give a speech also.

If you're in Newfoundland, the announcement will be at 3:30 pm local time. Also if you're in Newfoundland, ask yourself why you are there this time of year.

Update - I really should read the headlines better..

Legendary college baseball coach Rod Dedeaux passes away
2006-01-05 18:45
by Bob Timmermann

It hasn't been a great couple of days for the Cardinal and Gold. One day after the Rose Bowl defeat, the greatest coach in college baseball history, Raoul Martial Dedeaux, better known as Rod, passed way at age 91 in Glendale, California. Dedeaux led USC to 11 NCAA baseball championships, including 5 in a row from 1970-74.

The USC Sports Information Department was obviously prepared and had an extremely informative obituary ready for Dedeaux.

Dedeaux coached an astounding 59 future major leaguers during his tenure at USC. The list includes a Hall of Famer, Tom Seaver and a likely Hall of Famer, Mark McGwire. He coached a father and son set of big leagers in Don and Damon Buford. Eric Enders points out that Dedeaux actually missed coaching the younger Buford. He coached two key members of the 1975 AL Champion Red Sox in Fred Lynn and Bill Lee. He also convinced a tall southpaw named Randy Johnson to go to USC.

For six seasons, Dedeaux was the co-coach of the Trojans with Sam Barry, who was better known as USC's basketball coach. Since 1924, USC has had four baseball coaches: Sam Crawford, Barry, Dedeaux, and the present coach Mike Gillespie.

Dedeaux played in two games in the major leagues, both for Brooklyn in 1935. His first appearance came on September 28, 1935 before a paid crowd of 184 people at Ebbets Field against the Phillies. Dedeaux, just 20 years old, came in as a late-inning defensive replacement for shortstop Lonny Frey. His final appearance came the next day in the second game of a doubleheader that closed out the season. Dedeaux started at short and went 1 for 4 against Hal Kelleher and Jim Bivin. The game was called after 8 innings because of darkness with the scored tied 4-4.

Sadly, college baseball coaches never get the same notoriety as their football and basketball brethren. But the baseball world lost one of its greatest figures today.

Update - There appears to be some discrepancies between USC's press release and Baseball-Reference's list: Damon Buford didn't play for Dedeaux. But Randy Johnson, Rene Lachemann, Barry Latman, Jim McAnany, and Al Silvera did.

Jose Lima, not a Padre
2006-01-05 10:54
by Bob Timmermann

An earlier story (in Spanish) said that Jose Lima was signing with the Padres after turning down an offer from a Japanese team.

As Lee Corso says, "Not so fast my friend."

The Kansas City Star reports that San Diego GM Kevin Towers says no such deal exists and finds the idea laughable.

And e-mailer Gary Garland from Japan says that Lima didn't get any offers from a Japanese team either.

What's in a name?
2006-01-05 10:24
by Bob Timmermann

According to court documents filed by the City of Anaheim, it's between $200 and 400 million.

Phillies go to the mint and come back with a Franklin
2006-01-05 07:48
by Bob Timmermann

$2.6 million for one year buys the Phillies the services of Ryan Franklin.

Franklin is among the players who "mysteriously" tested positive for steroids last year. No doubt that helped Franklin to an ERA+ of 85 in 2005. Waste not, want not.

Random Rose Bowl callback
2006-01-04 18:22
by Bob Timmermann

The year was 1923 and the good people of Pasadena decided to play their annual East-West football game in its new football stadium called the Rose Bowl. The stadium did not yet resemble its current shape and was a horseshoe and it sat around 50,000 people. But for the first time, people in Los Angeles could listen to the game on radio.

Penn State got the bid as the team from the East despite going 6-3-1 in the regular season. The Nittany Lions had tied Syracuse and lost games to Navy, Penn, and Pittsburgh. Penn State had gone undefeated (with two ties) in both the 1920 and 1921 seasons. Hugo Bezdek, who from 1917 through 1919 had managed the Pittsburgh Pirates, coached Penn State. Bezdek coached Oregon in the 1917 Rose Bowl, which the Ducks won 14-0 over Penn. Bezdek would also coach in the NFL for the Cleveland Rams in 1937 and part of 1938.

The West Coast representative slot was up for grabs. The 1922 representative, California, finished its third straight undefeated season, going 9-0. The Bears had played tiny Washington & Jefferson College to a scoreless tie in the 1922 Rose Bowl. The California student body voted against accepting a bid to the New Year's game. Most college football historians recognize either California or Princeton (which was 8-0) as the national champion for the 1922 season.

So the West Coast slot was up for grabs. There were two main contenders: Southern California, which had lost one game all season, a 12-0 shutout against California at the Rose Bowl (it was a practice run for New Year's Day). The other team up for consideration was Washington, which also lost to California, 45-7 in Seattle.

When the regular season ended, the eight schools in the Pacific Coast Conference held a vote (by mail and it took a couple of days) and Southern California was the winner. And the Trojans, coached by Elmer "Gloomy Gus" Henderson, were set to make their first appearance in the big New Year's Day game. Despite USC's superior record, Penn State was considered the favorite as West Coast football wasn't considered up to the level of the East.

The 1923 Rose Bowl did not start smoothly. The Penn State team got stuck in traffic trying to get to the Rose Bowl and arrived for the game nearly 10 minutes after the scheduled kickoff time of 3:15 pm. Henderson and Bezdek nearly came to blows on the field as Henderson accused Bezdek and Penn State of gamesmanship by showing up late.

Nevertheless, the game got started. Penn State won the toss and chose to receive and the teams exchanged a few punts in the early going, before Penn State got good enough field position, thanks to a USC penalty, to allow Penn State's Mike Palm to drop kick a 20-yard field goal to give Penn State a 3-0 lead.

USC couldn't make a first down on its next drive and punted, but Penn State fumbled on its own 21-yard line to set up the Trojans. USC drove to the 1-yard and went for it on fourth down, but fumbled in the end zone and Penn State recovered for a touchback.

With 3 minutes to go in the first half, USC got the ball on the Penn State 31. Five plays later, Gordon Campbell punched the ball in from the 1 for a TD and the extra point gave USC a 7-3 lead at halftime.

Penn State took the kickoff at the start of the second half, but couldn't get a first down and punted away to USC, who took over at their own 44. The Trojans used the running of Campbell and Roy Baker to quickly drive down the field. Baker scored from the 2 and the PAT made it 14-3.

With the sky growing darker, it was getting difficult to see and Penn State's offense seemed to disappear too. The Nittany Lions couldn't get any offense started in the second half and USC was able to use the powerful running of Baker (who gained 107 yards) and Campbell (who gained 76) to salt the game away.

The most interesting part of the event was the postgame quotes in the L.A. Times. Neither team's coaches or players were politic in their statements. Or they could have been fabricated. Sports writing in 1923 wasn't exactly of the highest standard.

Gus Henderson – "The best team won. Good coaching, like the effect of cigarettes, always tells in the long run. … Thank God for the guy that made it a criminal offense to hit a man wearing glasses. Hugo Bezdek is no gentleman."

Hugo Bezdek – "The best team lost. A football eleven with the best coaching in the world could not win with the luck that the Trojans had (yesterday). … My only wish is that Coach Henderson had left his glasses at home …"

Leo Calland, USC captain – "There is no doubt as to who was the star of yesterday's game. For the benefit of those who failed to see the walkaway, modesty forbids me from naming myself as the star."

Newah Bentz, Penn State captain – "Had I been in the game sooner there would have been a different story to tell. Coach Bezdek probably means well, but I think he is a good baseball coach."

The four officials were also quoted as saying at how good a job they did and how they should get the job permanently.

For Penn State, they would not return to the Rose Bowl until 1995 when the Nittany Lions beat Oregon 38-20 to cap off an undefeated season that inexplicably did not give them a national championship.

As for USC, the 1923 Rose Bowl was the first in a long line of New Year's Day (or near then) appearances in the Arroyo Seco. The Trojans would win their first eight Rose Bowls and did not lose until the 1946 game against Alabama. Tonight's game marks USC's 30th appearance in the Rose Bowl, by far the most of any school. The Trojans sport a 21-8 record in Rose Bowls.

"Gloomy Gus" Henderson would coach USC for two more seasons, before leaving to coach Tulsa in 1925. Henderson left USC with a record of 45-7 and a winning percentage of .865, the highest in school history, better than Pete Carroll's "paltry" 54-9, .857 record. (Some record books credit Henderson with a 44-7 record that would be .862). Henderson passed away in 1965.

Picking up odds and ends
2006-01-04 17:58
by Bob Timmermann

There were a few transactions of note today:

1) The Orioles signed Jeff Conine to a one-year deal.

2) The Brewers signed Dan Kolb to a one-year deal to be a setup man for Derrick Turnbow.

3) The big Rangers-Padres trade involving Adam Eaton and Chris Young among others is finally official. The Rangers were going to have a press conference tonight to announce the details. Because a lot of people in Texas are keenly interested in this trade tonight. Same thing with people in California.

Bret Boone lives ...
2006-01-04 13:05
by Bob Timmermann

But he has to play for the Mets.

But the Mets already have Kazuo Matsui!

They have an embarrassment of riches at the keystone sack.

Padres adding two pitchers
2006-01-04 10:35
by Bob Timmermann

Or at least players purporting to be pitchers.

This story (in Spanish) says that Jose Lima has signed with San Diego. In the article, Lima claims he was offered more to pitch in Japan, but settled for less to pitch in the U.S. Whatever you say, Jose. When Lima is starting at PETCO, Padres outfielders will stand on the warning track so they won't have to run as far.

And from the left ... Shawn Estes is close to signing with the Padres as well.

And now Alex Rodriguez will play for ....
2006-01-04 09:36
by Bob Timmermann

The United States in the WBC. Apparently, his moral dilemma is over. The info is buried amidst this much longer article by Murray Chass in the New York Times about Yankees sitting out the WBC.

To bunt or not to bunt, that is the question
2006-01-04 01:26
by Bob Timmermann

Dan Fox examines sacrifice statistics in the Hardball Times. Is it a good idea? Or a bad idea? You be the judge.

This is actually part 2 of Dan's study of the sacrifice.

Part 1 ran on December 20.

Time for a Terry Mulholland quiz
2006-01-04 00:47
by Bob Timmermann

And to see if anyone reads the linked articles.

With much travelled lefty Terry Mulholland signing with Arizona and if Mulholland makes the squad out of spring training, Mulholland will be playing for how many different franchises?

How many times has Mulholland played for the same team in two different stretches?

How many times has Mulholland played for the same team in three different stretches?

How many different cities does Mulholland Highway pass through in Los Angeles County, California?

Not counting Barry Bonds (8) which active players have hit the most home runs against Mulholland? Hint: There are two players with three home runs against Mulholland.

MLB plans to file for arbitration in DC stadium dispute
2006-01-03 19:32
by Bob Timmermann

MLB is turning to AAA for help with DC.

The Cubs powerhouse outfield grows
2006-01-03 17:15
by Bob Timmermann

The Cubs have given a minor league deal to Marquis Grissom. Augie Ojeda and Michael Restovich have been given spring training invites.

The article says that Grissom can provide "clubhouse leadership" for the Cubs. Apparently the clubhouse at Wrigley Field is an easy place to get lost in and Grissom will be in charge of signage. Grissom also comes with the Dusty Baker Mediocre Outfielder Seal of Approval.

Preston Wilson to Houston
2006-01-03 14:19
by Bob Timmermann

One of the last "name" free agents is taken. Preston Wilson is headed to Houston. Presumably, he will not change his mind and bolt for Pittsburgh at the last moment.

How do you spell schadenfreude in Canadian?
2006-01-03 11:28
by Bob Timmermann

Baseball fans in New York and Los Angeles have a long laugh.

Let's see Blue Jays makeover:
1) Closer - check

2) Sluggers - check and check

3) Front line starter - check

4) Slower than molasses in January in Churchill, Manitoba who wears cool goggles - check

If I were an Orioles fan, this would be humiliating
2006-01-03 08:43
by Bob Timmermann

Jeromy Burnitz, who was reported to have signed with the Orioles, appears to be backing out on that deal and instead signing with Pittsburgh.

Can Jeromy Burnitz be a productive bat in the Pirates lineup? Will Burnitz be a better choice in right field than Nate McClouth or Michael Restovich or Jody Gerut? Only Jim Tracy can answer these rhetorical questions.

The Nationals proposed stadium and its problems
2006-01-03 08:33
by Bob Timmermann

Bud Selig's right hand man, Bob DuPuy writes an op-ed piece in the Washington Post where he takes the DC City Council to task for not giving MLB everything it wants wrapped up in a nice shiny package.

And he wants his car detailed too I think.

The 2006 year in preview
2006-01-01 11:53
by Bob Timmermann

2006 Year in Preview

January 2006 – Mercurial Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez vetoes a trade to the Mets, but says he promises to come up with a new trade demand by next June. Angered Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada vetoes a trade to the Cubs after hearing that Dusty Baker said, "Pound for pound, Neifi Perez is the best shortstop in the game."

February 2006 – The remaining unsigned free agents start scrambling to find a roster slot for the coming season. Kansas City GM Allard Baird thinks he has scored a coup by signing Roger Clemens, but realizes that it was just Scott Erickson forging his name on the contract. Baird decides to pay Erickson $17 million for the season out of embarrassment.

March 2006 – The World Baseball Classic concludes in San Diego. Australian Trent Durrington hits a walkoff grand slam against a South African reliever, Gerry de Groot, who was rounded up off of a semipro league in Temecula, California. The man qualified for the South African team after being able to answer the question: "Is South Africa in the north, east, west or south part of Africa." De Groot answers correctly in fewer than three guesses to earn a South African passport.

April 2006 – The National League opens its 131st season of play. Mets first baseman Julio Franco says he hasn't been this excited over Opening Day since the 1895 Pittsburgh at Louisville opener. The New York Yankees open the season with five straight West Coast night games, so the New York media determines that the games don't count. The Yankees play their home opener on April 11 against Kansas City with a 1-0 record, counting only their day game win over the Angels on April 9.

May 2006 – The major rebuilding efforts in Toronto, Flushing, and Los Angeles fail to provide immediate dividends. The New York media flays Omar Minaya in a literal sense. The Los Angeles media goes out with Ned Colletti for drinks and says "It's Frank McCourt's fault." The lone Toronto writer blames NHL official Kerry Fraser.

June 2006 – baseball columnist Jayson Stark is fired after being unable to fill a column after finding out that both Rich Donnelley and Doug Glanville have changed their phone numbers. Another editor then reads Stark's "Useless Information" column and says to himself "Man, this really is useless. Who cares if Jose Molina hit a triple after not hitting a double for two weeks?"

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