Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: November 2006


Selig says he will retire in 2009
2006-11-30 18:44
by Bob Timmermann

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has announced that he will retire after his contract runs out in 2009.

Selig says he wants to teach and also write a book. It is not clear what subject he would teach, perhaps he would get a position teaching Serbo-Croatian literature. I believe his book will be a dissertation on the significance of the color yellow in the literary essays of John O'Hara.

The battle of L.A. Part two
2006-11-30 15:00
by Bob Timmermann

Part one

After I graduated from UCLA in 1987, I only caught the Bruins in person infrequently for a few years. I actually saw UCLA play as a road team twice, once at Stanford (a 49-0 win) and also at Berkeley (a 38-21 win that made UCLA the #1 team in the country for all of two weeks.) But it would take a new decade to get me to a USC-UCLA game again.

Continue reading...

I guess the agent is paid by the metaphor
2006-11-30 12:46
by Bob Timmermann

Luis Gonzalez's agent Terry Bross has metaphor issues.

"Seattle called us today, and they want to throw their hat in the ring and see if there's a fit," Bross said.

Red Sox sign Japanese pitcher
2006-11-30 10:31
by Bob Timmermann

It's Hideki Okajima of the Nippon Ham Fighters.

I hate it when the AP headline writers steal my bits!

Okajima was a free agent.

Taiwan in good shape to win Asian Games baseball tournament
2006-11-30 07:36
by Bob Timmermann

The Asian Games (held in Doha, Qatar) baseball tournament may already be over as Taiwan beat Korea 4-2. The competition is a six-team round-robin that also includes Japan, which is fielding an amateur team, Thailand, Philippines, and China. Korea and Japan were the only countries sending their top level players.

And it was Taiwan (and LA Dodgers) pitcher Hong Chih-Kuo who held Korea to one run over five innings to pick up the win. Kuo allowed six hits and struck out five. Yomiuri Giants pitcher Chien-Ming Chiang finished up and allowed one run over four innings.

Wow, the start of a 3-part football digression!
2006-11-29 17:42
by Bob Timmermann

Beginning Part One of a three-part digression from baseball content here on the Griddle, I was going to go back to my favorite topic: history. But the topic will be one that may not be of great interest to a nationwide audience, but it's relevant for this week. It's a look back at the USC-UCLA football rivalry. And I'll be looking back at it in the most egocentric way possible. I'll just be rehashing games that I went to in person.

In all, there have been 14 games I have attended in person. UCLA has won 8 of them and USC has won 6. There have been routs on both sides and narrow wins for both teams. And even though, I am preparing my look of grim acceptance for this Saturday's game at the Rose Bowl, I still enjoy the game. When I was younger, I got all worked up about the result. But with time, you get perspective. Teams that are up, come down. Teams that are down, come up.

I'm not going to write about all 14 in one post. I'm going to break into three parts. This will either heighten the excitement or possibly just extend your boredom over a longer period of time.

Continue reading...

Blue Jays officially give up
2006-11-29 17:41
by Bob Timmermann

Royce Clayton has signed a one-year deal with Toronto.

J.P. Ricciardi utters the phrase "veteran presence" in the linked article.

Spokane avoids the Chief Wahoo image
2006-11-29 17:41
by Bob Timmermann

The Spokane Indians of the Northwest League (short season A level) announced a new logo and uniforms that was developed in conjunction with the Spokane Indian Tribe.

The Spokane Tribal Council released the following statement about the Spokane Indians logo and the process of creating the new identity:

"Immediately upon contact from the Spokane Indians Baseball Management team, the Spokane Tribe believed the request to offer input with the team's new look would prove to be a win-win situation for all involved. The Spokane Tribal Council along with input from its Culture Committee, and community Elders wanted to use this opportunity to build a long lasting successful working relationship with the baseball team carrying the Spokane Tribe's name."

"The Spokane Tribal Council believes the Spokane Indians Baseball Management team is taking a lead role in respecting the Tribe's native culture and people by collaborating in the design of their new logo. The Spokane Tribe and Culture Committee hope other Indian-named organizations across the country keep this ground breaking concept in mind with their own neighboring Indian Tribes."


There are no plans for the team to have an Indian-themed mascot. The team's current mascot, the beloved OTTO the Spokanasauraus, one of the region's most popular and well-known mascots, will continue to represent the Indians in the community and entertain fans at Avista Stadium.

Who can compete with Otto the Spokanasauraus?

Perhaps someone knows how to pick an MVP
2006-11-29 12:24
by Bob Timmermann

Jim Allen of the Daily Yomiuri examines why it was the right choice for Kosuke Fukudome of the Chunichi Dragons to win the Central League MVP award, beating out his more heralded teammates: pitcher Kenshin Kawakami and first baseman Tyrone Woods.

"Personally, I'd like to see the Japanese take on the MVP award, it's probably smaller and more efficient."

They seem to have a bigger voting pool in Japan.

Brewers seek advice of Counsell
2006-11-29 10:10
by Bob Timmermann

Craig Counsell, the less spunky and taller version of David Eckstein and a graduate of my arch-nemesis university with a degree in accounting, has signed a two-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Some websites were reporting that Counsell was signed, sealed, and delivered to San Diego, but apparently Counsell could not resist the allure of the Cream City.

Counsell will serve as a backup to Rickie Weeks and J.J. Hardy.

Matsuzaka, Igawa, Japan updates
2006-11-28 20:35
by Bob Timmermann

The Yankees won the negotiating rights for Hanshin Tigers pitcher Kei Igawa with a bid of $26,000,194.

The Red Sox were told that they cannot reduce their $51.1 million bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka in order to sign him even if the Seibu Lions think it's OK. Maury Brown had speculated on what sort of creative accounting the Red Sox had in mind. Meanwhile, a U.S. State Department official described Matsuzaka as possibly "the best pitcher in the world."

The Japan Series champion Nippon Ham Fighters are planning to sign former Diamondback infielder Andy Green. It is doubtful that Green will make up the offensive slack caused by the departure of first baseman Michihiro "Guts" Ogasawara to the Yomiuri Giants.

A threat that is less than empty
2006-11-28 18:26
by Bob Timmermann

Bret Saberhagen told Jeffrey Flanagan that he would decline induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame unless Pete Rose was reinstated and inducted as well.

Not that Saberhagen will get anywhere near 75% of the vote to get elected.

In other news, Palisades High is asking for the 1982 LA City Championship to be thrown out unless Grover Cleveland High stops making its students eat lunch in two nonconsecutive breaks.

Kennedy returns to his ancestral home
2006-11-28 13:10
by Bob Timmermann

Or at least the organization that drafted him and then traded him with Kent Bottenfield for Jim Edmonds ...

Adam Kennedy has signed with World Champion St. Louis for three years and $10 million.

Kip Wells, Eli Marrero, and Gary Bennett also signed with the Redbirds.

Thanks to yankee23

Zaun will stay in Toronto
2006-11-28 10:13
by Bob Timmermann

After a deal with Rod Barajas fell apart, the Toronto Blue Jays re-signed catcher Gregg Zaun for two years and $7.25 million.

More Birds in the bullpen
2006-11-28 10:11
by Bob Timmermann is reporting that the Baltimore Orioles will sign free agent relievers Scott Williamson and Chad Bradford.

Early polling on McGwire's chances for the Hall of Fame
2006-11-27 21:12
by Bob Timmermann

Jon has spoken about Big Mac.

The Associated Press has done a poll of sorts about McGwire's chances this year, but it looks like his chances aren't great.

The AP contacted, via e-mails and telephone, about 150 of the approximately 575 present or former members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America who are eligible to cast ballots. Of that number, 125 responded, including 25 AP sports writers. Most of the voters' names were obtained in the Major League Baseball media directory.

And the breakdown was:

-- 74 will not vote for McGwire.

-- 23 will vote for him.

-- 16 are undecided.

-- 5 refused to say.

-- 5 aren't allowed to vote by their employers.

-- 2 will abstain from voting.

That means if all the undecideds and those refusing to say voted for McGwire, and everyone else voted, McGwire would need 84 percent of the rest to get into the Hall.

I expect Tim Russert to get out a greaseboard and start writing "Andro, Andro, Andro".

All sorts of people sign contracts
2006-11-27 18:10
by Bob Timmermann

Reporting from sick bay. Can Dr. McCoy run one of those thingees over me and get rid of my stomach flu which is compounded by a fever and body aches?

In no particular order:

Rod Barajas with Tornoto for 2 years and "less than $6 million." Apparently the deal has fallen through.

Damaso Marte re-ups with Pittsburgh for 2 years and $4.7 million.

Ross Gload re-ups with the White Sox for $625,000.

Adam Eaton signs with Philadelphia for three years and $24 million.

Chad Moeller signs with Cincinnati for one year. I didn't find the terms immediately.

Dave Roberts and Rich Aurilia are likely going to sign with the Giants, although that may not be announced until the winter meetings start on December 4.

Hall of Fame ballots sent out
2006-11-27 12:01
by Bob Timmermann

Time for Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn join ascension into baseball's pantheon.

Time for lots and lots of hand wringing over Mark McGwire.

The candidates (number of times on ballot)

Orioles continue bullpen remodeling
2006-11-26 21:37
by Bob Timmermann

After adding Jamie Walker from the Tigers earlier (championship experience!), the Orioles are about to sign Danys Baez to a three-year deal. This is according to the Baltimore Sun.

Time to get Proposition Joe working in the Orioles front office.

My good pal Frank wants to shut the doors of the HOF to ...
2006-11-26 09:12
by Bob Timmermann

At a card show in Cincinnati, Frank Robinson agreed with a writer from the Cincinnati Enquirer that Mark McGwire wouldn't get a vote for the Hall of Fame.

Robinson was his usual cranky self and opined that steroids gave players better eyesight in addition to making their muscles larger.

Brewers, DBacks deal
2006-11-25 20:41
by Bob Timmermann

I know this news does not exactly qualify as breaking, but ...

Arizona shipped Johnny Estrada, Greg Aquino, and Claudio Vargas to the Milwaukee in exchange for Doug Davis, Dana Eveland, and Dave Krynzel.

Sleeping with the enemy? Football open thread for Thanksgiving
2006-11-25 20:20
by Bob Timmermann

Is the enemy of my enemy my friend?

That is the question I will ponder on this penultimate weekend of the college football regular season. The highlight of this weekend will be the 78th renewal of the USC-Notre Dame rivalry. The two schools have played what is college football's best rivalry. It is one that has been played since 1926, with the schools missing each other only for three years during World War II (1943-45). Notre Dame leads the series 42-30-5.

As most of you well know, I'm a UCLA alum. And to most of my friends who are UCLA fans, the choice of whom to root for in this game is clear. Most UCLA fans root for Notre Dame because they want to see USC lose. After all, USC is the archenemy of UCLA. But for me, this is one week where I bleed cardinal and gold, instead of blue and gold.

But why is this so? Have I lost my UCLA fandom bona fides? I don't think so and my reasons for rooting for USC this Saturday are a combination of factors.

Continue reading...

Lee reportedly signs 6-year deal with Houston; Williams signs too (UPDATE)
2006-11-24 14:37
by Bob Timmermann

ESPN Radio is reporting that Carlos Lee has signed a 6-year, $100 million deal with the Houston Astros.

Woody Williams has also signed with the Astros according to published reports.

Pat Dobson, 1942-2006
2006-11-23 21:24
by Bob Timmermann

Pat Dobson, one of the quartet of Orioles pitchers who won 20 games in 1971 along with Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, and Mike Cuellar, died unexpectedly at age 64 in the San Diego area. No details of the cause of death were released. According to USA Today, Dobson died one day after being diagnosed with leukemia.

Pat Dobson's career record.

So, he thinks he can make demands
2006-11-22 19:37
by Bob Timmermann

Daisuke Matsuzaka says he wants to wear #18 with the Red Sox.

The last #18 was Jason Johnson. Dustan Mohr also wore #18 last year for Boston. Prior to that, it was Johnny Damon's number.

Oddly, almost all U.S. media outlets use photos of Matsuzaka from international competitions. It seems that they can't find a photo of him as a Seibu Lion.

Insult, meet injury
2006-11-22 18:33
by Bob Timmermann

AP headline on Yahoo!

Devil Rays release Danny Waechter

First paragraph of story:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays released right-hander Doug Waechter on Wednesday.

It's the thought that counts.

Matthews signs with Angels
2006-11-22 11:08
by Bob Timmermann is reporting that Gary Matthews, Jr. will sign a 5-year, $50 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Why bid for Matsuzaka when you can own the whole country?
2006-11-21 23:09
by Bob Timmermann

Tom Van Riper of Forbes suggests that both MLB and NPB would be best served if MLB just bought the whole Japanese operation instead of spending $51,111,111.11 just to get the right to negotiate with one player.

Van Riper compares the way MLB is run to Toyota and the way NPB is run to General Motors.

If only we could have seen Toyota commercials during the World Series instead of John Mellencamp signing about Chevrolets every half inning.

I guess it wasn't a secret ballot
2006-11-21 19:07
by Bob Timmermann

Newsday published the ballots of the voters for the AL MVP. Feel free to direct your anger on to the appropriate people if you so choose.

Jason Williams of the St. Paul Pioneer Press voted Joe Mauer 10th. Derek Jeter was not named first by both of the New York Area writers.

For those not inclined to read the whole story which I'm guessing is a lot of you since I know my devoted readers are a slothful bunch, I will summarize the first place votes. All the first place votes were for Justin Morneau or Derek Jeter with the one exception of a vote for Johan Santana. Each team's area got two votes

Baltimore - Morneau
Boston - Split (Jeter/Morneau except where indicated)
New York - Split
Tampa Bay - Jeter
Toronto - Morneau
Chicago - Morneau
Cleveland - Jeter
Detroit - Split
Kansas City - Jeter
Minnesota - Morneau
Los Angeles - Morneau
Oakland - Jeter
Seattle - Morneau
Texas - Jeter/Santana

Jeter "won" just four cities, one in the East, two in the Central, one in the West. Morneau won six cities, two in the East, two in the Central, two in the West.

Will the AL MVP tie one on?
2006-11-21 09:36
by Bob Timmermann

The announcement of the AL MVP will be at 2 pm ET, 11 am PT and Bronx Banter will have the news/celebration/recriminations.

But George King of the New York Post thinks that it will be a tie between Derek Jeter and Justin Morneau.

There was one tie before in 1979 in the NL between Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell.

A tie should be relatively hard to pull off because of the balloting method. Each voter is required to rank 10 candidates. Points are awarded in this manner: 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. And with the possibility of three or four players receiving first places votes, everything would have to break just right to get a tie.

Personally, I believe any ties should be decided in the House of Representatives, or, alternatively, by the use of odds and evens.

The closest AL MVP race was in 1947 when Joe DiMaggio beat out Ted Williams by one point, but a different ranking system was used then. Under current voting rules, the closest race was in 1996 when Juan Gonzalez edged Alex Rodriguez by three points.

2006-11-20 17:12
by Bob Timmermann

Dovetailing nicely with the current posts in Dodger Thoughts and Cub Town is this interview by Maury Brown with economist Andrew Zimbalist about the new CBA on the Business of Baseball site.

Ryan Howard wins NL MVP award
2006-11-20 11:01
by Bob Timmermann

So sayeth the ticker on ESPN News and here.

Howard is the fourth player to be named MVP in his second season, joining Stan Musial, Vida Blue, and Cal Ripken. Howard is the first Phillie to win the award since Mike Schmdit in 1986, won his third MVP.

Other Phillies to win the award are Jim Konstanty and Chuck Klein.

Howard received 20 first place votes and 12 second place votes for 388 points. Pujols received 12 firsts, 19 seconds, and one third for 347 points.

Full voting here.

10 points apiece for Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday. Bad Altitude will be atwitter! Alfonso Soriano is apparently going to cash in his 6th place finish for a lot of money.

Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch isn't all that unhappy with the decision because Ryan Howard is a St. Louis guy. In the words of Tip O'Neill, "All MVP voting is local."

Catalanotto signs with Rangers
2006-11-19 21:03
by Bob Timmermann

Pending a physical Frank Catalanotto will rejoin the Texas Rangers with a 3-year, $13 million contract with an option for a fourth year.

Sorry, a football digression
2006-11-19 18:58
by Bob Timmermann

This New York Times story from November 18 deals with how the city of San Francisco wants to block the 49ers football team from using the name "49ers" if the team goes ahead with its planned move to Santa Clara.

On Tuesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she would explore legislation to block the team from using "San Francisco" or "49ers" in its name if it moves. Senator Feinstein said the 49er is a "tradition of the city," dating to the Gold Rush of 1849.

"You can't move to Santa Clara and call yourself a 49er," the Democratic senator said in a statement. "You're not."

My name may not be Kevin Starr, (further investigation into that has proven that to be true), but what about all the gold miners who lived, you know, where there was gold? I've always understood the word "49er" to refer to anyone who came out for the Gold Rush of 1849.

But far be it from me to disagree with my obviously far more learned neighbors in San Francisco, who are still unaware that they are not living in the center of the universe, nor in even the most important city in California. Or even the most important city in the San Fransico Bay Area probably.

Report: Soriano signs 8-year deal with Cubs
2006-11-19 12:22
by Bob Timmermann

ESPN 1000, a Chicago radio station, is reporting that Alfonso Soriano is going to sign an 8-year, $136 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Update - reports that the total sum of the contract is $135 million, not $136 million.

And Mr. Gammons says...
2006-11-19 09:31
by Bob Timmermann

Justin Speier is going to become an Angel and Alex Gonzalez is going to be a Red. Mike Stanton should join Gonzalez in Porkopolis.

Reports have Alou signing with Mets
2006-11-19 09:09
by Bob Timmermann

The AP, and other news agencies, are reporting that Moises Alou will be sigining a one-year deal between $8 million and $9 million with the New York Mets.

Alou would take Cliff Floyd's spot in left. Shawn Green would play right. Carlos Beltran would be asked to cover a lot of ground in center.

We do know for certain that Damion Easley is on the Mets.

Why I believe they're playing college football today! Open chat thread
2006-11-18 08:00
by Bob Timmermann

You can discuss it here. Games listed are in no particular order after the first two.

Michigan vs. Ohio State, 12:30 pm PT
I've heard about this one. A trip to Glendale is on the line. Presumably the one in Arizona. Michigan leads alltime 57-39-1

Cal at USC, 5 pm PT
For the Pac-10 championship. USC leads alltime 58-30-5. If the Bears win, they go to Pasadena (presumably in California) on January 1. If the Trojans win, who knows where they go: Pasadena, Glendale, Eagle Rock, Monrovia, Baldwin Park, Colton?

Auburn at Alabama in the Iron Bowl at 12:30 pm PT
The loser gets anemia! Alabama leads alltime 38-31-1

Indiana at Purdue at 9 am PT for the Old Oaken Bucket
It's just a cool nickname for a trophy. Purdue leads 67-35-6.

Washington at Washington State at 3:45 pm PT for the Apple Cup
The only Pac-10 rivalry game played today. Washington leads 63-29-6. The Cougars are bucking for that Emerald Bowl bid.

Illinois at Northwestern at 10 am PT for something
Bragging rights to the state of Illinois. The Illini lead 51-43-5

Western Carolina at Florida at 9 am PT
Western Carolina is in North Carolina. East Carolina is in North Carolina too. However, South Carolina is still in South Carolina. This is the first meeting of this storied rivalry.

Army at Notre Dame at 11:30 am PT
God or your country. You decide. God leads 36-8-4

UCLA at Arizona State at 7:15 pm PT
Well, I'll watch. The Hawai'i Bowl bid is on the line. Possibly. UCLA leads 14-7-1.

San Jose State at Hawai'i at 8:05 pm PT
Colt Brennan has a Heisman battle that's as quixotic as my battle to get rid of the double error. Spartans lead the 'Bows 15-13-1 alltime.

Rutgers at Cincinnati at 4:45 pm PT
Wow, this is actually important! Rutgers leads 7-3-1.

Buffalo at Wisconsin at 9 am PT
2/3 of Camp Randall will be drunk by the second quarter. The other 1/3 will already have passed out. First ... meeting ... ever!

Yale at Harvard at 9 am PT
A Harvard win and a Princeton loss to Dartmouth would create a 3-way tie for the Ivy League title. The Ivy League doesn't use tiebreakers. They're too good for that. Yale leads 64-50-8.

Oregon State at Stanford at 12:30 pm PT
Jon can come out of hiding on Saturdays now. Cardinal lead 47-22-3, but the Beavers have won 6 of the last 9.

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest at 4 pm PT
The Demon Deacons lead the ACC Atlantic Division, which differs from the Coastal Division in some subtle way. Hokies lead the series 21-11-1. Wake Forest hasn't won in this series since 1983.

Arizona at Oregon at 12:30 pm PT
Arizona tries to get in the Hawai'i Bowl mix with a win. Ducks lead the series 19-12.

New Mexico at BYU at 1 pm PT
In honor of my devoted MWC football fan reader(s). BYU clinches the MWC with a win. Lobos looking for a spot in the New Mexico Bowl. Cougars lead the series 40-14-1.

Iowa at Minnesota at 9 am PT
Floyd of Rosedale is at stake. Minnesota leads alltime 58-39-2.

And the rest!

All time records from College Football Data Warehouse.

A BBC writer finds it all very amusing.

The difference is in the cents
2006-11-18 07:50
by Bob Timmermann

According to the Kyodo News Service, the Red Sox bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka was exactly $51,111,111.11.


The Seibu Lions will demand that the check has the $.11 written on it.

Actually, they want to be paid in cash I hear. Small, unmarked bills with non sequential serial numbers. At least one of all the state quarters that have been issued.

Who's tougher: the IronPigs or the Iron Pigs?
2006-11-17 19:17
by Bob Timmermann

The Allentown Morning Call reports on a potential trademark dispute between the nascent Lehigh Valley IronPigs and a motorcycle club in Bedford, Texas called the Iron Pigs.

The motorcycle club is made up of former police officers and firemen and is not like the Hell's Angels which prevents a scenario where the bikers would show up in Allentown and try to take it over like Marlon Brando's gang in "The Wild One". That was one of Gil Stratton's best roles!

Bengal Baseball and the world of Eckstein
2006-11-17 19:04
by Bob Timmermann

Except it's not in Detroit. It's in Calcutta (which goes by Kolkata now locally), where two Americans are trying to teach baseball to children in the Bengal area of India.

There's actually video available at this site, but I believe you have to be a paid subscriber and I'm guessing that the motivation to pay to watch that is not high.

One of the coaches, Jeff Brueggemann (ahh, now there's a surname that I can empathize with), is described in some accounts as a former Minnesota Twins pitcher, although he is actually just a former Twins minor league pitcher. But I don't think it's easy to find a copy of "Total Baseball" in India.

In this account, Brueggemann alludes to everyone's hero, David Eckstein.

"Indians have a good hand-eye coordination, are intelligent. All this because they play cricket. These are the qualities one needs to play baseball," Brueggemann says. "Baseball is a very simple game played by simple people. Last year, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the MLB World Series was a 5'7" 150 pounds guy, the shortest player in the series."

Emphasis mine.

For the record, I do not share the same aversion to David Eckstein as my loyal reader(s) do(es).

All letters appropriately crossed and dotted in Thomas deal
2006-11-17 07:56
by Bob Timmermann

It's finally official that Frank Thomas has signed a 2-year, $18 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. There is an option for 2009.

Other clauses in Thomas's contract:
1) team officials are contractually prohibited from laughing at Thomas when he asks to use the bathroom instead of the washroom.
2) Canadian customs officials have set up a separate queue at Pearson Airport for Thomas to speed on his way home from road trips.
3) the Toronto Argonauts will play a game under NFL rules for Thomas one day so he won't be confused.

Fans must love the long ball
2006-11-17 00:17
by Bob Timmermann

If you want you can read the bulk of Tracy (Hey, I got a big hat!) Ringolsby's story in the Rocky Mountain News about the use of the humidor at Coors Field, but I was drawn to the last section.

NEW SWINGS: [Senior VP of baseball operations for MLB Joe] Garagiola [Jr.] said teams will adjust batting-practice schedules so fans can see the home team hit.

Garagiola said baseball will adopt the suggestion by Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin that the start of batting practice be pushed back 15 minutes each day. Melvin said teams rarely take infield practice, so the time traditionally reserved for that will be eliminated.

"This benefits the fan because home teams usually have their batting practice sessions end when the gates are opened," Garagiola said. "Now, the home batting practice will extend 15 minutes into (the period when the gates are open)."

I'm not sure why it's inherently more interesting to show up early to a baseball game to watch the home team clout 75 mph fastballs into the seats to watch a team practice fielding, but I guess they have their reasons.

Owners approve new TV contracts with lots of zeroes
2006-11-16 22:06
by Bob Timmermann

The MLB owners approved the new TV deals with Fox and TBS that will run through 2013 and are valued at over $3 billion.

Or if you prefer $3,000,000,000.

But does that number look more impressive written out than $51,100,000 (the Daisuke Matsuzaka bid price by the Red Sox.)?

AL Cy Young Award day
2006-11-16 07:26
by Bob Timmermann
Watching baseball in half the time
2006-11-15 19:34
by Bob Timmermann

Think that baseball games take too long to watch? Can't stand Fox's commercials for their upcoming programming? Don't want to wait for the condensed game?

Instead you can try Magic Sports 3 from CyberLink, which can analyze a game recorded on a Windows machine and then create a series of thumbnails to tell you which events are more important.

Remember, any rebroadcast or retransmission of the accounts and transcripts of a game without the express written consent of the Comissioner of Baseball is strictly prohibited.

D-Rays pass to Iwamura in the high post
2006-11-15 18:22
by Bob Timmermann

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays put in the highest bid for Yakult Swallows third baseman Akinori Iwamura and will now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Iwamura. The bid, according to other sources, was around $4.5 million. That's a wee bit less than the $51 million bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Heading out to Japan to play for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks are C.J. Nitkowski and Adam Hyzdu. Nitkowski replaces another initialed player D.J. Carrasco. Hyzdu is replacing Jolbert Cabrera, although not directly since Cabrera played mostly at third base for the Hawks, while Hyzdu is an outfielder.

The trade of fire
2006-11-15 14:31
by Bob Timmermann

The Mets have made the Padres go down, down, down into a ring of fire. Royce Ring that is.

San Diego acquired Ring and Heath Bell from the Mets in exchange for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson.

Note to Willie Randolph: if you're ahead by four in the ninth in an important game, don't use Adkins.

Thanks to stolenmonkey for the pointer.

Manager of the Year Day
2006-11-15 07:31
by Bob Timmermann

When the official announcements are made, I'll try to post a link to the winners of the NL and AL Manager of the Year awards, but I have a feeling that Joe Girardi and Jim Leyland will be winning the awards. And I have! NL too!.

If Girardi wins, will YES be broadcasting the ceremony where he picks up the award. I wonder if my buddy Frank Robinson will get any votes.

As for Leyland, everyone but Mark Donohue thinks he should win the AL Manager of the Year.

I will have something to blog about in 2009
2006-11-14 21:43
by Bob Timmermann

The World Baseball Classic will return in 2009 although it's not known exactly when in 2009 it will be played.

But I'm ready for some exciting Panama vs. South Africa game chats.

MLB and NPB's worst kept secret is out
2006-11-14 17:10
by Bob Timmermann

The Boston Red Sox have now officially won the bidding to negotiate with Seibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

And the NL Cy Young award winner is ...
2006-11-14 10:42
by Bob Timmermann

I don't know. I have to go to work. But I'm sure somebody can put it in the comments when it's announced.

If it's Trevor Hoffman, please keep your comments at a PG level.

Twins GM named Executive of the Year
2006-11-13 21:00
by Bob Timmermann

Terry Ryan, general manager of the Minnesota Twins, was named Executive of the Year at MLB's winter meetings, receiving 15 out of a possible 60 votes. Larry Beinfest of Florida finished second.

No word if Ryan thanked Brian Sabean for the award.

Typographical unpleasantness avoided
2006-11-13 18:41
by Bob Timmermann

The Mets will not call their new stadium CitiField. Instead it will be Citi Field.

That's rewarding.
Very, very rewarding.

Mmm.... gyros
2006-11-13 18:39
by Bob Timmermann

You can go with your layman's gyros.

Or you can try a more scientific gyro.

Finally, you can have your gyro on a pita.

Get ready for Sophomore Jinxes
2006-11-13 14:10
by Bob Timmermann

Hanley Ramirez of Florida and Justin Verlander of Detroit won Rookie of the Year honors in the NL and AL respectively.

Ramirez edged out Ryan Zimmerman and Verlander easily beat out Jonathan Papelbon.

The BBWAA should coincide their announcements with my lunch hour better.

All quiet on the Matsuzaka watch
2006-11-13 07:22
by Bob Timmermann

According to the Kyodo News Agency, the Seibu Lions board of directors won't respond to the bid offer for pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka until Tuesday morning in Japan, but before the deadline which is 7 am Wednesday Japan Time (5 pm ET, 2 pm PT Tuesday).

Bacon that prevents anemia?
2006-11-12 19:54
by Bob Timmermann

Starting in 2008, you can head to Allentown, PA and see the Phillies AAA team, which will be called the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Longer story with what some of the other finalists were. Woodchucks and Phantastics lost out.

Ramirez stays put in Chicago
2006-11-12 11:53
by Bob Timmermann

Ken Rosenthal of reports that Aramis Ramirez has signed a five-year contract to stay with the Cubs for approximately $70 million. has the news too, but no details.

Press release from Cubs.

Forbes online picks its cost efficient free agent all stars
2006-11-11 19:52
by Bob Timmermann

Matt Woolsey of picks the most cost efficient free agents on the market this year.

The best buy according to Woolsey is Ted Lilly.

Our study shows that in the years the Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics acquired Lilly, they exhibited a combined growth rate in franchise value of 11% above the league average. What's more, both the Yankees and the Athletics experienced their slowest growth in the seasons immediately following Lilly's departure.

"A lot of owners equate big money with progress," says Matt Sosnick, an agent who represents all-star pitchers Dontrelle Willis and Freddy Sanchez. "It's not like that. It's a numbers and talent evaluation."

While many factors contribute to the fluctuation of a team's value, Lilly, who has never made more than $4 million a season, is an example of a player who gives a solid bang for the buck. Other players making our list were Miguel Batista, Shea Hillenbrand, Scott Hatteberg, Bengie Molina and Miguel Cairo. All of them, like Lilly, are cost-effective players whose teams' bottom lines have been boosted during their tenures. All have been to the playoffs, and two own World Series rings. None of them put up huge numbers, but all give their teams an improved chance to win and a financial shot in the arm.

On the "All Star" team, the shortstop choice is Nomar Garciaparra. I suppose he would be a good free agent shortstop if he were, you know, a shortstop.

College football open chat thread
2006-11-11 12:51
by Bob Timmermann

So as to keep Dodger Thoughts free of "Dump Karl Dorrell" talk in the midst of a JD Drew crisis, I have this thread for people wishing to discuss today's doings on the gridiron.

Mets new stadium has a name
2006-11-11 12:50
by Bob Timmermann

It will be CitiField.

Ooh, a typographical nightmare.

The league that won't use Steve Lyons as a TV commentator
2006-11-11 11:16
by Bob Timmermann

An American businessman, Larry Baras, is starting a six-team baseball league in Israel. Or at least hoping to, if he can round up enough players.

Lots of similar names in the news now:

Larry Baras
Scott Boras
Jeff Borris (Barry Bonds's agent)
Borat Sagdiyev

Wouldn't a silver bat be hard to swing and dent easily?
2006-11-10 15:42
by Bob Timmermann

Nevertheless the 2006 Silver Slugger winners

American League

  • 1B - Justin Morneau
  • 2B - Robinson Cano
  • SS - Derek Jeter
  • 3B - Joe Crede
  • OF - Jermaine Dye
  • OF - Vladimir Guerrero
  • OF - Manny Ramirez
  • C - Joe Mauer
  • DH - David Ortiz

National League

  • 1B - Ryan Howard
  • 2B - Chase Utley
  • SS - Jose Reyes
  • 3B - Miguel Cabrera
  • OF - Carlos Beltran
  • OF - Alfonso Soriano
  • OF - Matt Holliday
  • C - Brian McCann
  • P - Carlos Zambrano

Like the Gold Gloves, the Silver Sluggers are chosen by a vote of managers and coaches.

And the winning bid for Matsuzaka may have come from ...
2006-11-10 09:58
by Bob Timmermann

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, it's the Texas Rangers.

The story as it originally ran. Which makes it seem more like wishful thinking than anything else.

Unless you believe Buster Olney, then the winning bid will have come from the Boston Red Sox.

Personally, I think Matsuzaka will love pitching in Cincinnati!

Have a party, but be neat
2006-11-10 09:57
by Bob Timmermann

The Sapporo, Japan Municipal Government is considering banning confetti from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters victory parade, which will be held on November 18. Parades need a lot of lead time in Japan.

Apparently, the litter created by the confetti would violate the Road Traffic Law, which bans the blocking of traffic, according to the Mainichi Daily News. Of course, a parade blocks traffic too, unless the Fighters were just planning to parade down the sidewalks. Sapporo does not have traffic issues that are anywhere near as bad as those in the bigger Japanese cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. The city has relatively wide streets and much of the city is laid out on a grid, unlike Tokyo which was laid out in a pattern that resembles a Jackson Pollack work.

The last two paragraphs reveal a unique difference between Americans and Japanese:

When the Chiba Lotte Marines carried out a victory parade in Chiba in November last year after the club won the Japan Series, the local organizing committee fixed the size of the confetti so that it could be collected easily.

The Chiba committee even asked fans to collect the confetti themselves after the parade. Maki Segawa, a member of the Chiba committee, said, "We wanted to celebrate the team's victory. In a bid to avoid any possible problems, we prepared bags to collect the confetti."

So can you picture a ticker tape parade in New York where all the people watching are told, "Can you clean that up for us?"

One major difference you would note if you ever attend a baseball game in Japan is that in North America people consider it their God-given right, if not duty, to drop all their trash at their feet in their seat and spend 3-4 hours standing around in peanut shells, hot dog wrappers, spilled beer, sticky sodas, and several strains of drug resistant microbes not yet identified by scientists.

If you attend a game in Japan, ushers come by every few innings with big garbage bags and you are expected to throw your trash in to them. People will get up from their seats to throw trash out. I think the floors of some of the stadiums in Japan could double as operating tables for multiple organ transplant surgeries.

DBacks show off their new home and road kits
2006-11-09 07:35
by Bob Timmermann

The Arizona Diamondbacks have dumped their old, purple, teal, and copper uniforms for ones that are Sedona red, Sonoran sand, and black. Apparently, black needs no modifier.

Eric Byrnes and Tony Clark were part of the fashion show.

Nothing but Padres news
2006-11-08 18:26
by Bob Timmermann

San Diego GM Kevin Towers had the option on his contract picked up for 2008.

Towers apparently celebrated by trading second baseman Josh Barfield to Cleveland in exchange for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andrew Brown.

Other reports say the Padres will pursue a free agent second baseman such as Alfonso Soriano, Marcus Giles, or Adam Kennedy. As the first comment, points out Marcus Giles is still under contract with Atlanta, but the linked story called him a free agent.

Padres retain alliterative manager name
2006-11-08 13:23
by Bob Timmermann

The San Diego Padres are going to name Bud Black as their new manger, replacing Bruce Bochy, who decamped for San Francisco.

MLB sweeps series in Japan
2006-11-08 07:20
by Bob Timmermann

Jose Reyes hit a 2-run sayonara home run in the 10th inning as MLB swept its five-game series against NPB with a 5-3 win at the Fukuoka Dome.

Ryan Howard didn't homer in this one, but he did have an RBI double.

NPB tied the game in the 9th against Brian Fuentes and almost took the lead in the top of the 10th when Tomoya Satozaki hit what could have been a run-scoring single, but saw the ball bounce into the seats holding Kazuya Furuuka at third. Scot Shields came into relieve and got out of the inning and was credited with the win.

Election returns need something like Gameday
2006-11-07 20:00
by Bob Timmermann

B:1 S:0 O:2
Precinct 1 - Undecided
Precinct 2 - Undecided
Precinct 3 - Smith
Precinct 4 - Jones
Precinct 5 - Jones
Precinct 6 - in play, election deciding play
Jones was elected to House of Representatives (3)

Electoral visit to Congress

Johnson replaces Anderson as Senator

Howard continues tear in Japan
2006-11-07 08:22
by Bob Timmermann

Ryan Howard hit his fourth home run in the last three games of the MLB-NPB exhibition series as MLB used 10 walks from the NPB pitchers to get a 7-2 win at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka. Mike Myers picked up the win in relief.

The series concludes tonight (Wednesday morning in the US) in Fukuoka at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome.

Or you can just call it the Fukuoka Dome.

MLB is 4-0 on the tour.

D-Mat's coming
2006-11-06 20:09
by Bob Timmermann

According to this report by Bob Nightengale in USA Today, Japanese sort of free agent pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has chosen the nickname "D-Mat" for himself.

I'm going out on a limb here that in Japan, Matsuzaka didn't go by that nickname.

Gregg Doyel of CBS Sportsline is not sanguine about Matsuzaka's chances of becoming a star in North America.

Washington takes over Texas
2006-11-06 07:19
by Bob Timmermann

It's just the opposite of the U.S. Presidency from 1963-1969, 1989-1993, and from 2001 to the present!

Ron Washington is the new manager in Texas. Washington has been a coach for Oakland the past 11 seasons.

Thanks to reader EricGagnesGoggles for the pointer.

So just why is this stuff online?
2006-11-05 09:56
by Bob Timmermann

Some guy wonders about why some stuff gets posted to YouTube.

Such as:

A search for Stan Musial produces a Universal International newsreel from 1955 in which Musial hits the game-winning home run in the All-Star Game on what looks like a beautiful afternoon in Milwaukee. The narration is done by Ed Herlihy, who uses phrases like "junior loop" and "circuit clout" without the archness they would carry today. You can find highlights of a 1975 football game between Notre Dame and North Carolina in which Joe Montana comes off the bench to lead the Irish to victory. A highlight reel of the Cubs' 1969 season, with Jack Brickhouse saying, "Hey, hey" a lot. The Flyers winning Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in 1987. I don't doubt that every soccer goal ever scored can be found there. (For a current favorite, search for Paul Robinson and England.)

I could go on, but I've got things to do. There's a guy who appears to be in the process of posting, half an inning at a time, the entirety of Game 5 of the 1981 NLCS between the Expos and Dodgers. Isn't that worth $1.65 billion?

The Lion King stays in Asia
2006-11-05 09:40
by Bob Timmermann

Seung Yeop Lee signed a four-yeal deal with the Yomiuri Giants, although the Korean slugger, one of the stars of the WBC, could still play in MLB if the Giants win a Japan Series during the term of the contract.

Lee is getting a wee bit of a pay raise. He is going from about $1.3 million per year to $5.96 million per year. Lee hit 41 home runs and batted .323 for Yomiuri in 2006.

The Lion King is one of Lee's nicknames for those not familiar with him.

MLB team wins third straight in Japan
2006-11-05 08:54
by Bob Timmermann

Ryan Howard hit his third home run in three games in Japan (7 for 10 overall) as the MLB all stars routed their Japanese counterparts from NPB 11-4 at the Tokyo Dome. The MLB team clinched a series win as there are just two games left to play.

Joe Mauer, Andruw Jones, and David Wright also homered for the MLB team. Clay Hensley picked up the win in relief.

NPB starter Horoyuki Kobayashi retired the first 12 MLB batters in order until Howard doubled to lead off the fifth and one batter later, Mauer homered, and the rout was on.

The teams take a day off and finish up with a game in Osaka Tuesday and Fukuoka Wednesday.

Odd NYT headline regarding Matsuzaka bidding
2006-11-04 19:43
by Bob Timmermann

Kabuki Auction: Bidding Intrigue Behind the Scenes says the New York Times website.

I don't get it. Is the Matuszaka story more like jidaimono or sewamono? Is Brian Cashman assuming a mie pose while the other GMs just freeze around him?

Maybe it's more like Noh drama and the GMs are wearing masks?

Actually, much of the shenanigans that Tyler Kepner describes here, such as teams offering side deals to win the bidding, are nothing inherently Japanese. Unless you consider corrupt business practices to be uniquely Japanese.

Update - The headline has since been changed to "In Bidding for Ace, the Cards Are Held Close to the Vest"

Time for the real Indians to play ball
2006-11-04 13:12
by Bob Timmermann

We're not talking Cleveland here, but the real India. So says this Times of India report.

Related stories in Kangla Online and

Howard powers MLBers to second win in Japan
2006-11-04 07:34
by Bob Timmermann

Ryan Howard hit a pair of homers as the MLB squad downed the NPB team, 8-6 at the Tokyo Dome early Saturday morning for most of us, Saturday night in Japan.

It was the second straight win for the MLB squad. Bronson Arroyo got the win for the MLB side with Brian Fuentes getting a save.

Lyle Overbay homered for the MLB team and Tomoyo Satozaki homered for NPB.

NL Gold Gloves
2006-11-03 14:58
by Bob Timmermann

Fresh from my inbox courtesy of reader stolenmonkey.

  • 1b - Albert Pujols
  • 2b - Orlando Hudson
  • SS - Omar Vizquel
  • 3b - Scott Rolen
  • Of - Andruw Jones
  • Of - Mike Cameron
  • Of - Carlos Beltran
  • C - Brad Ausmus
  • P - Greg Maddux

It was the 16th Gold Glove for Maddux tying Brooks Robinson and Jim Kaat for the most ever.

Liriano likely out until 2008
2006-11-03 12:34
by Bob Timmermann

Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano decided to have reconstructive surgery on his left elbow and he will likely be shelved until the 2008 season.

MLB team takes first game in Japan
2006-11-03 08:49
by Bob Timmermann

The MLB all star team downed their counterparts from Japan (NPB) 3-2 at the Tokyo Dome. Jermaine Dye hit a 2-run homer and John Lackey gave up just one run while pitching for the first time since September 28.

The two teams meet again Saturday night (1 am PT/4 am ET) at the Tokyo Dome.

The only fans who think the Green Monster is small
2006-11-02 19:35
by Bob Timmermann

"You call that a wall? We've got a great one here!"

MLB is looking into playing a season opener in China.

AL Gold Gloves
2006-11-02 16:41
by Bob Timmermann

You can complain here or at Bronx Banter

  • 1B - Mark Teixeira
  • 2B - Mark Grudzielanek
  • 3B - Eric Chavez
  • SS - Derek Jeter
  • OF - Torii Hunter
  • OF - Vernon Wells
  • OF - Ichiro Suzuki
  • C - Ivan Rodriguez
  • P - Kenny Rogers

It was the 12th Gold Glove for Rodriguez. Grudzielanek is the only first-time winner.

Pirates plan to sign Cuban defector
2006-11-02 12:37
by Bob Timmermann

According to published reports (this one in, the Pittsburgh Pirates are about to sign 25-year old Cuban defector Yuslan Herrera.

Nothing like fleeing the oppression of communist Cuba for the capitalist paradise of Pittsburgh and the joys of pitching under the watchful eye of Jim Tracy.

They're free
2006-11-02 12:09
by Bob Timmermann

Free agents that is. This is the latest compilation of names. Players have until Veterans Day to file. Those who are unclear on punctuation have until Veteran's Day. Why don't we just go back to Armistice Day?

Announcer shuffles continue
2006-11-02 09:54
by Bob Timmermann

Replacing the overblown and often overwrought Thom Brennaman in Arizona will be Daron Sutton, son of Hall of Famer Don Sutton. Daron Sutton had been the Brewers TV play-by-play previously and also had been a radio play-by-play man for the Angels.

MLB All Stars get tie in Tokyo
2006-11-02 08:27
by Bob Timmermann

David Wright's 2-run homer in the ninth inning helped the travelling MLB All Star squad get a 7-7 tie against the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome.

Andruw Jones hit two home runs and Ryan Howard hit another.

The MLB team takes on the NPB (Japanese leagues) All Stars starting Friday at 1 am PT, 4 am ET for five games.

I'm also using the team "All Stars" a bit loosely here.

Mota suspended for 50 games
2006-11-01 18:32
by Bob Timmermann

New York Mets reliever will be suspsended for the first 50 games of the 2007 season for violating MLB's policy about performance-enhancing drugs.

Thanks to bhsportsguy for the tip.

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