Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: January 2007


Giants and Bonds to finally sign historic peace accord? UPDATE - Again
2007-01-31 23:42
by Bob Timmermann

Could the long wait be over? Barry Bonds is in San Francisco for a physical and if he passes it, his new one-year, $15.8 million contract, will be official.

The Giants and Bonds reached a tentative deal on December 7, but have been haggling over details ever since. Right now, this is Day 54 of the Barry Bonds Contract Crisis, breaking the earlier 52 day mark of the Red Sox-JD Drew impasse.

UPDATE - The AP reports that it is finally done.

Two baseball officials said the slugger's trainers -- Harvey Shields and Greg Oliver -- would no longer be on the Giants' payroll. That means neither will be allowed in the clubhouse, where they previously had their own lockers next to Bonds' space, or any other restricted area in any big league ballpark, the officials said. If they were to make road trips, it would be on Bonds' dime or their own.

UPDATE 2 - Now Bonds says he won't sign the contract the way it's written

Sorry, he's taken
2007-01-31 08:00
by Bob Timmermann

But Theo Epstein has gotten married.

Continuing on a nuptial theme, here is a story about how Chase Utley was introduced to his new wife by Freddie Mitchell. May they have a longer marriage than Freddie's NFL career.

There must be some kind way out of here
2007-01-30 20:04
by Bob Timmermann

The long-delayed contracts of Barry Bonds and J.D. Drew have a lot of ways for the Giants and Red Sox to terminate the contract.

For Drew, there are out clauses dealing with Drew's health, specifically, if Drew is on the DL for 35 days or more in 2009 and unable to play the outfield again. Similar language covers the Red Sox for 2010 and 2011.

For Bonds, there are out clauses for the Giants for much different reasons. Most notably, there are provisions that would allow the Giants to terminate the contract early if Bonds were indicted. The language in the contract states that Bonds would not file a grievance if the Giants changed the contract from being guaranteed to being nonguaranteed and then releasing him in the event of an indictment.

You can find more details about Bonds' contract here, if you scroll down.

UPDATE - Bonds's agent, Jeff Borris, says that the out clauses are unenforceable.

Cardinals lose no net free agents today
2007-01-29 20:16
by Bob Timmermann

The Jeff Weaver deal is official with Seattle, but ...

Preston Wilson will be back with the Redbirds for another year.

Rockies tell Red Sox 'No Helton for you'
2007-01-29 20:05
by Bob Timmermann

Rockies owner Charlie Monfort says that the proposed deal between the Red Sox and Rockies over Todd Helton is over and "there will be no further discussions."

"We'd love to have Todd here and get to a World Series with Todd in a Rockies uniform and we believe we can get there," Monfort said. "It's not like a couple of years ago when we were just plugging holes. We feel we can win this division and that makes this a little more difficult.

The continuing saga of Extra Innings
2007-01-29 18:16
by Bob Timmermann

Maury Brown has more on the ongoing DirecTV/Extra Innings saga.

It appears that DirecTV will be adding more content to the package, such as the Arizona Fall League, spring training, and some minor league games.

Art Fowler, 1922-2007
2007-01-29 17:31
by Bob Timmermann

Art Fowler, who pitched in nine major league seasons for the Reds, Dodgers, and Angels, and also served as a pitching coach for the Yankees, Athletics, Tigers, and Rangers, passed away Monday at age 84 in South Carolina. Fowler was often the pitching coach for Billy Martin.

Local obituary from South Carolina.

Bing Devine, 1916-2007
2007-01-27 18:50
by Bob Timmermann

Bing Devine, who was the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1958 through 1964, his most prominent position during a long career in baseball, passed away Saturday in St. Louis. In addition to serving as the Cardinals GM, Devine also worked in the front office for the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos, Houston Astos, and San Francisco Giants.

In June of 1964, Devine negotiated a trade with the Chicago Cubs that netted the Cardinals Lou Brock, while giving up pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemons. However in August of 1964, the Cardinals were well-behind Philadelphia in the standings and Cardinals owner August Busch, on advice from special assistant Branch Rickey, fired Devine. Cardinals manager Johnny Keane was ticketed for dismissal when the season ended. But a funny thing happened along the way, the Cardinals ended up winning the NL pennant and then defeated the Yankees in the World Series in seven games.

Devine's replacement, Bob Howsam, lasted in the job for two years, and then left/fired/got out of Dodge prior to the 1967 season and Stan Musial served as general manager for one year. Although the Cardinals won the World Series that year, Musial realized that he didn't want to be a front office guy and he stepped down and Devine got his old job back and kept it through 1978.

Going, going, Ghana
2007-01-26 19:33
by Bob Timmermann

Omar Minaya, Dave Winfield, Dusty Baker, Dave Stewart, Bob Watson, and Reggie Smith are leading a delegation of American baseball officials and coaches to Ghana.

The group is ostensibly going to Ghana to teach baseball, but I think the leaders of MLB are trying to get back at the Ghanians for this.

Code Red in Pittsburgh
2007-01-26 15:46
by Bob Timmermann

The Pirates debuted an alternate jersey today.


My eyes!!!

I, the manager
2007-01-26 08:22
by Bob Timmermann

The Palm Beach Post's Joe Capozzi writes that new Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez may miss the beginning of spring training because he's on jury duty.

Gonzalez is empaneled on a case that began January 8 and is expected to last six weeks. The Marlins start spring training February 17. I believe Gonzalez is Juror #7.

Link via BTF

Drew/Boras and Red Sox reach peace accord
2007-01-25 18:41
by Bob Timmermann

The long awaited "final contract" between J.D. Drew and the Boston Red Sox became a reality today.

Drew and the Red Sox had reached a tentative agreement back on December 5, but it wasn't until today that the contract was finalized after the two sides finished haggling over language in the contract that would cover the Red Sox in case of a shoulder injury by Drew.

For those keeping track, that was a 52-day period from the tentative to the final agreements.

Barry Bonds reached a tentative agreement with the Giants on December 7 and still has not signed a finalized deal, so keep track to see who has the most delayed final contract. Some sports writers have said they won't recognize any record set by Bonds in this area.

Best wishes to JD in Boston, the only city where the fans still hate the players they like!

Now they realize it?
2007-01-25 07:39
by Bob Timmermann

After the recent of exodus of Daisuke Matsuzaka for Boston, the owners in Japanese Baseball (NPB), have realized that many of their best players are leaving. It only took about 10 years for them to figure this out.

Jim Allen of the Daily Yomiuri along with Chiba manager Bobby Valentine thinks that more minor leagues will help. Some people in NPB think that they need better stadiums, ones that are more amenable to families. And everyone realizes that TV coverage (which is negotiated by each team individually) needs to be centralized.

One team executive stated that NPB's total revenue was the same in 2006 as it was in 1996. And Japan has not had zero inflation.

Thomism in the Dominican
2007-01-24 23:37
by Bob Timmermann headline "Friars to open new Dominican academy"

I always thought they were called seminaries. But upon further examination, in the U.S., Dominican friars are trained at the House of Studies. And they don't seem to do anything there to help you hit a curve ball. Does the required reading include the writings of the two most prominent Toms in the world? St. Thomas Aquinas and Tom Emanski.

Extra Innings is on the tip of everyone's tongue
2007-01-24 21:04
by Bob Timmermann

I was going to try to summarize some of what has been written over the potential move of the MLB Extra Innings package to DirecTV exclusively (which has not yet been announced officially.)

Fortunately, Maury Brown cumulated a lot of it on his site, including Joe Sheehan's article in BP that argued that it was no big deal.

Bad Altitude is agin' it.

Jayson Stark (Insider only) is agin' it.

John Donovan of is agin' it.

Go east, not so young man anymore
2007-01-24 19:43
by Bob Timmermann

This article from Yahoo! Canada has the story of Aaron Guiel's decision to leave MLB/AAA and head to Japan where he will play for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Guiel had some major-league offers on the table, but decided on Japan with his wife Lareina's support. They both enjoy travelling and when Lareina joins him in Tokyo with daughters Avery, 3, and Taliya, 1, she plans to bring their backpacks along.

"The (major-league offers) were decent but they weren't anything that was going to set up my family. Japan was," he said. "It was coming to the point where I had to take a chance.

"I'm looking forward to it."

Guiel will be making about $650,000 in salary plus a $250,000 signing bonus and the Swallows hold an option for 2008.

There are some players who are content to spend their time rattling around on the bench of MLB teams and then there are guys who just want to play (and get paid pretty well.) Guiel sounds like he has the right attitude for playing in Japan.

Recent major leaguers who have made the trip east and done well include Andy Sheets and Adam Riggs. Riggs and Guiel will be teammates.

While my TV gently weeps
2007-01-24 10:59
by Bob Timmermann

Commenter stolenmonkey86 (it's his real name too, he had it legally changed) has alerted me to the most distressing news:

ESPN has hired Frank Robinson as a studio analyst.

Frank Robinson is like a hydra, if you cut off his head, two more grow back!

What's worse?
2007-01-24 10:22
by Bob Timmermann

This New York Times article brings up this question:

What's worse:

a) impersonating a sports reporter
b) being a really big Mets fan?

Coming soon, Tom K. Ryan presents the Tumbleweeds League
2007-01-23 23:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Daily Yomiuri has the story of a new professional league in Japan, called the Hokushinetsu Baseball Challenge League, a four team circuit in a part of Japan not covered by NPB. Its official page is in Japanese however.

A notable Japanese cartoonist Shinji Mizushima is one of the league's backers.

During the baseball season, Mizushima regularly sits down to work from 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and then watches baseball games at night. He also owns an amateur baseball team and played 110 games in his spare time last year.

His comic series "Dokaben," a story of high school baseball and pro baseball, and "Abu-san," which depicts a fictitious character from Niigata who plays for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, have run for more than 30 years.He also has a wide circle of friends in the baseball community, including Hawks skipper Sadaharu Oh and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles manager Katsuya Nomura.

"Baseball is everything in my life. It's the way I live my life," Mizushima said.

An example of Mizushima's work.

But what's next?

A Marmaduke league which consists of just one team called the Great Danes that just plays the same game over and over and over?

A Blondie league where the players fall out of their chairs in the clubhouse when the manager yells at them and all the fans try to eat oversized sandwiches?

A For Better or For Worse League where all the teams are based in Canada and have oversized dogs as mascots?

A Drabble League where the players get dumber and dumber throughout time?

Speed dating meets reality TV in unholy marriage at Fenway
2007-01-23 19:45
by Bob Timmermann

I'm afraid it's true.

NESN, the Red Sox propaganda channel, is going to try out a show called Sox Appeal.

From the press release, which is funny without trying.

One Red Sox fan will be paired with a different date for two innings at a time at Fenway Park. The fan will choose with whom to watch the rest game during the seventh inning stretch -- but also could be rejected.

The backdrop of baseball is what separates "Sox Appeal" from other dating reality shows, said David Collins, principal and executive producer at Scout.

"The waxing and waning of the date will be affected by the reality of what's happening out on the field," he said.

In the words of Bart Simpson, "And the rest just writes itself!"

And isn't Fenway so purty?

Pale Hose opt for Erstad to make up for potential loss of Podsednik
2007-01-23 17:03
by Bob Timmermann

The Chicago White Sox have reached a tentative agreement on a one-year contract with Darin Erstad. At the same time, the White Sox announced that Scott Podsednik underwent groin surgery and will be out six weeks.

If you combine their 2006 numbers, they would have batted .255 snd hit three home runs. And they drew a combined 60 walks against 114 strikeouts.

This Nook will be out in the open all year
2007-01-23 10:14
by Bob Timmermann

Washington manager Manny Acta has declared that the estimable Nook Logan will be his starting center fielder in 2007, according to a Washington Post story.

"We need to play better defense, and we will play better defense," Acta said. "Nook is a big part of that. That's a premium position. You have to cover a lot of ground in center, especially when you play at RFK. That sets the tone up the middle. I think he'll be a tremendous boost to our defense."

That's going to have to be some really good defense to make up for Logan's career OPS+ of 78. Even Juan Pierre is at 86.

Logan has two home runs in his career, both at Coors Field.

Rosenthal takes time out to be the subject of an interview
2007-01-23 09:46
by Bob Timmermann

Maury Brown on his Biz of Baseball blog interviews prolific columnist Ken Rosenthal of

BizBall: Finally, you have been affectionately termed "Robothal" by some in the online community for your constant stream of breaking baseball news. As a guesstimate, how many minutes do you log on your Cellphone, and what's the average number of hours a night you sleep?

Rosenthal: First off, I'm very grateful that people notice and appreciate my work. As someone who is 5-foot-4, 140 pounds, I get a particular kick out of that nickname. It makes me sound like I'm a relentless, indestructible machine! I only wish that were the case . . .

"Rosenthal, I always thought you were a little smarter than the other guys. Turns out that you weren't a little smarter, just a little bit shorter."

Did Guillermo Mota donate?
2007-01-22 19:50
by Bob Timmermann

The Mets held a blood drive at Shea Stadium and gave all people who donated a pint of blood two free tickets to an April game.

Would you give up blood to see the Washington Nationals play at Shea (April 13-15)? Shouldn't you be given blood instead if you have to see that matchup?

Guillermo Mota's blood has been suspended for 50 days.

McPherson out for 2007 for the Angels
2007-01-22 18:36
by Bob Timmermann

Dallas McPherson of the Los Angeles Angels, whom everyone expected to miss all of 2007, made it official by announcing that he will have back surgery Tuesday. McPherson thinks he will be able to play again in August, but that seems optimistic.

As for replacements, Mike Scarr of writes:

The Angels will select from a group that includes Chone Figgins, Shea Hillenbrand, Robb Quinlan and Maicer Izturis in competition at third base this spring.

The Angels used six third basemen last year and Izturis played the most games at the hot corner with 87, 78 as a starter.

Ranking the GMs
2007-01-22 06:55
by Bob Timmermann

Dayn Perry of ranks the 30 baseball GMs in terms of quality from John Schuerholz at the top all the way down to Bill Bavasi pulling up the rear.

The lowest ranked GM who has had a team make the postseason is Jim Hendry, who clocks in at #25. For pennant winners, it's Tim Purpura of Houston at #18. Bill Stoneman is the lowest of any current GM who has had a team win the World Series, and Perry puts him at #12.

Link via BTF.

Vern Ruhle: 1951-2007
2007-01-21 10:22
by Bob Timmermann

Vern Ruhle, most recently the pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds, passed away in Houston Saturday at age 55 because of complications from multiple myeloma, according to ESPN.

Ruhle pitched in 13 seasons in the majors and his best years were with the Astros, for whom he started two playoff games (1980 and 1981). Ruhle also pitched in the 1986 ALCS for the Angels.

Chase Utley: tailor-made for Philadelphia?
2007-01-21 09:38
by Bob Timmermann

Chase Utley isn't going to arbitration after he and the Phillies agreeed to seven year, $85 million contract.

"We view Chase as not only a great second baseman but also one of the top 10-15 players in the game," Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He's a hard-nosed, full-throttle player who exemplifies the spirit of Philadelphia. He is tailor-made for this city, and we couldn't be happier to lock him up for years to come."

And you thought the spirit of Philadelphia was throwing snowballs at Santa or booing Michael Irvin when he was knocked on the ground with a neck injury? Utley obviously will continue to lead the Phillies to the playoffs as he has done in the past.

Thanks to Diane Firstman for the tip.

I was bruised and battered and I couldnt tell
What I felt
I was unrecognizable to myself
I saw my reflection in a window I didnt know
My own face
Oh brother are you gonna leave me
On the streets of philadelphia

Checking the want ads for free agents
2007-01-21 00:12
by Bob Timmermann

According to an AP story on Friday, there are 57 remaining unsigned free agents. But according to, there are 105 unsigned free agents.

What's the real number? Who knows? Both lists contain names of players who have announced retirements: Gabe Kapler, Troy Percival, Brad Radke, Steve Karsay, Joe Randa, and Vinny Castilla. Some players have gone off to Japan such as Jason Johnson, Jared Fernandez, and Lance Carter.'s list has a lot of minor league free agents on it which explains most of the discrepancy.

Interestingly, lists Barry Bonds and J.D. Drew as "signed" while the AP does not.

The World Series champion Cardinals have apparently given up on four players: Ronnie Belliad, Jose Vizcaino, Jeff Weaver, and Preston Wilson. It does appear that Wilson finagled a trip to the White House. Check one row up from George Bush and then go over three people to the right. Is that Wilson standing next to Scott Spiezio?

The Cubs appear to be the only team that has no players who went into free agency who are still unsigned. That's because the 2006 Cubs were just that good. The demand for them was high, see for yourself!

Extra Innings about to become the exclusive property of DirecTV.
2007-01-19 23:50
by Bob Timmermann

For those of you without a satellite dish and a DirecTV subscription, it looks like you will be out of luck when it comes to getting the MLB Extra Innings TV package. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports that an announcement about MLB and DirecTV striking an exclusive deal to carry the Extra Innings package is imminent. DirecTV would also carry the channel that MLB hopes to start in 2009 that would no doubt be as big of a hit as the NFL Network and NBA TV.

Earlier story about this via Maury Brown.

Time to break out the Easterbrook columns (check the second paragraph).

Samardzija signs with Cubs for five years, gives up football?
2007-01-19 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

Two sport football star Jeff Samardzija is going to sign a 5-year contract with the Chicago Cubs according to ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

Samardzija had earlier signed a four-year contract with the Cubs, but apparently the Cubs are trying to sweeten the pot to keep Samardzija on the baseball diamond instead of the gridiron (Ken Rosenthal agrees with me), where he ruined a perfectly good fall day for me.

Nixon heading to Cleveland
2007-01-19 08:13
by Bob Timmermann

According to Peter Gammons of ESPN, Trot Nixon will sign a one-year contract with Cleveland. The Red Sox had not offered Nixon, a type B free agent, arbitration.

Meet the nutria! Meet the nutria!
2007-01-18 23:00
by Bob Timmermann

Come on down and greet the nutria....

The New York Mets AAA affiliate in 2007 will be the New Orleans Zephyrs of the PCL and Lee Jenkins of the New York Times talks about the new relationship.

The Zephyrs mascots are Boudreaux and Clotile, a husband and wife nutria. It's a little known aspect of Lousiana law that rodents can marry each other, although the marriages are not recognized in the other 49 states, but, Federal law recognizes them in the District of Columbia and Guam.

Thanks to Diane Firstman for the pointer.

Braves get another ex-Pirate
2007-01-18 16:19
by Bob Timmermann

Former Pirate (and former Yankee although I think the less said about that to Yankees fans the better) Craig Wilson signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.

Updated story.

Nats to sign Womack
2007-01-18 11:16
by Bob Timmermann reports that the Nationals are going to give a minor league contract to Tony Womack.

I would write more, but doctors have told me that the portion of my brain that controls being a wiseass is overloaded and if it is stimulated further, there could be permanent damage that could affect my future ability to be sarcastic. I've been advised to go to a quiet place and just stare at a picture of the stern and reproving face of Jim Bowden.

Gee, thanks for the support, Part Two
2007-01-17 22:10
by Bob Timmermann

Last year, Pete Rose endorsed Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame.

But in an interview today in the Dominican Republic, Barry Bonds endorsed BOTH McGwire and Rose for the Hall of Fame.

"I congratulate Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn for their induction to the Hall of Fame because they were great ballplayers," Bonds said Wednesday in the Dominican Republic. "But I also think McGwire and Pete Rose should be in Cooperstown."

It's sort of like saying "I think Abraham Lincoln and George Washingtons were great presidents deserving of their place in history, but Franklin Pierce and Warren Harding were meritorious as well."

Choose your own poorly formed comparison!

Avoiding being arbitrary
2007-01-17 18:31
by Bob Timmermann

Lots and lots and lots of players have signed contracts to avoid arbitration. Nearly everybody in this instance has signed a one-year contract.

Let's see whom I can find:

Cubs - Will Ohman
White Sox - Joe Crede
Mets - Endy Chavez, Ramon Castro (also adding Jorge Sosa and Scott Schoeneweis)
Cardinals - So Taguchi
Tigers - Nate Roberston, Fernando Rodney, Craig Monroe, Omar Infante
Indians - Rafael Betancourt
Phillies - Aaron Rowand
Astros - Brad Lidge
Devil Rays - Ty Wigginton, Seth McClung
Reds - Kyle Lohse
Mariners - Horacio Ramirez, Ben Broussard, J.J. Putz (for three years)
Yankees - Luis Vizcaino
Angels - Francisco Rodriguez, Scot Schields, Robb Quinlan (I checked who had the double letters!)
Braves - Rafael Soriano
Brewers - Kevin Mench, Chris Capuano
Nationals - Chris Snelling and 12 other nobodies

So, are you on the list?

Braves and Bucs pull a swap
2007-01-17 18:28
by Bob Timmermann

Adam LaRoche bought himself a lifetime of obscurity as the Atlanta Braves traded him to Pittsburgh in exchange for lefthanded reliever Mike Gonzalez.

Two minor leaguers were also involved in the deal with the Braves getting Brent Lillibridge and the Pirates getting Jamie Romak.

BALCO case will get new prosecutor
2007-01-17 18:24
by Bob Timmermann

Well, I've become the legal department here the last few days.....

Reader Ali Nagib passed on the story about Federal prosecutor Kevin Ryan resigning, possibly under pressure from the Bush administration.

Ryan was the lead prosecutor in the BALCO case, but his resignation, according to the story, isn't related to that case, but rather for the reason that seemingly everybody who worked under him didn't like him.

These numbers aren't arbitrary
2007-01-17 07:33
by Bob Timmermann

Maury Brown on his Biz of Baseball site lists the figures submitted by the player and the management in the 56 (now 55) arbitration cases.

Expect more and more of these to be settled before the hearings. Only a handful of cases get pushed to the limit.

Swimming in dangerous waters
2007-01-16 17:43
by Bob Timmermann

The photo attached to this article could be the most controversial thing I've ever posted on the Griddle. It's safe for work, but will my comments be safe to read?

White House transcript of the visit.

Bigger photo of the team

MLB, PEDs, and the Fourth Amendment
2007-01-16 00:21
by Bob Timmermann

Adam Thompson of the Wall Street Journal has a report about how Federal prosecutors obtained the names of over 100 MLB players from 2003 who tested positive for steroids and how it might have been a violation of the 4th Amendment as the method of searching may raise some interesting civil liberties issues.

The issue is that Federal agents may not have been authorized to obtain the names of the approximately 100 players when their warrant only specified 10 (still unnamed) players. However, the investigators came across the names on a computer they had permission to search. But how much of it could the Feds search.

"We were authorized specifically by the warrant to search every single file in all of their computers," Assistant U.S. Attorney Erika Frick said. "We took only one directory. We were authorized to search every one of those files."

But ...

Courts have often struggled to define which searches and seizures are "unreasonable." For instance, authorities are allowed to seize evidence that lies in plain sight, even in if they lack a warrant. In a less complicated criminal case, the doctrine allows, for example, police with a search warrant for drugs to seize an illegal gun they might see on top of a table.

"Normally we all know agents can look in a closet," says Fordham University criminal law professor Dan Richman. "This is a really big and interesting closet."

The government argues it needed to cast a wide net, gathering large bunches of files to make sure to find all pertinent evidence, not merely believing the labels on files in a computer directory. If during that check prosecutors came across evidence of a crime, they could keep it and use it.

The MLBPA is appealling to the case to a 15-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Previously a 3-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit upheld the legality of the search.

The case is United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc. and I would link to the opinion, but it's a 115-page pdf and I think that's about 114 1/2 pages too long for most of us to read. Here's a FindLaw summary.

2009 All-Star Game awarded to St. Louis
2007-01-15 18:25
by Bob Timmermann

Bud Selig conifrmed today that the 2009 All-Star game will be played in St. Louis. The 2007 game will be in San Francisco and 2008 will be played in New York at Yankee Stadium.

I have been served with an injunction by the City of St. Louis and am enjoined from saying anything bad about the fine city of St. Louis. Apparently the people of St. Louis were able to convince a Federal judge that my comments about the fine city of St. Louis were "fighting words" and subject to prior restraint.

Marlins keep Willis in the fold for another year; Cabrera on deck
2007-01-15 16:03
by Bob Timmermann

Dontrelle Willis and Florida avoided arbitration after agreeing to a 1-year, $6.45 million contract.

Third baseman Miguel Cabrera is eligible for arbitration. Last year, Cabrera made $472,000.

I can picture the negotiations:

Cabrera's agent: Arbitration?
Larry Beinfest: Yes, we'll offer him $7 million for a year
Cabrera's agent: But he only made $472,000 last year
Larry Beinfest: Well, then this would be more, wouldn't it?

Spanning the world in miscellanea
2007-01-15 11:49
by Bob Timmermann

Lyle Overbay got a 4-year, $24 million contract extension from the Blue Jays.

Ryan Madson got a one-year contract from the Phillies.

Josh Bard avoided arbitration with San Diego.

Matt Miller signed with Cleveland for another year.

David Ross cashed in on his career year in 2006 to the tune of $4.5 million over two years.

In non-baseball news, not everyone wants a college football playoff.

And there appear to be no articles on Slate telling me that Martin Luther King was overrated.

Two Finger Tester and his colleagues will have to pay for tickets now
2007-01-14 22:30
by Bob Timmermann

According to a USA Today article, members of the U.S. Senate will be prohibited from accepting free tickets to sporting events, if an ethics rule that is being proposed passes that matches a House of Representatives rule.

So Jon "Two Finger" Tester and his 99 colleagues in the Senate will have to pay to go see the Nationals. Personally, I think that anyone paying to see the Nationals in 2007 should be subject to an investigation by Congress.

Is it the Rennie Stennett award in Panama?
2007-01-14 00:14
by Bob Timmermann

According to this story in Spanish from a Venezuelan TV station, former big leaguer Robert Perez won the MVP award for the Venezuelan Winter League. It's the Vic Davalillo Award.

Perez became the fifth player in the history of the Venezuelan Leagues to break the 1000 hit mark. Davalillo is the alltime leader at 1505. The first Venezuelan to play in the majors was Alex Carrasquel, a pitcher for Washington.

I believe that Andruw Jones has taken home a lot of Hensley Meulens Awards.

And in a Hall of Fame far, far away
2007-01-13 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Out in Japan, two men were chosen for the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at the Tokyo Dome.

Actually one of them, Reiichi Matsunaga, was chosen earlier by the Japanese version of the Veterans Committee. The one player chosen by a vote of the sportswriters was Takao Kajimoto, a star pitcher for the Hankyu Braves in the 1950s and 1960s. Kajimoto pitched for 20 seasons and amassed a 254-255 record and a 2.98 ERA. Meanwhile, Bert Blyleven makes some calls to see if he can pitch in Japan.

Boomer Wells got 43 votes.

The Hankyu Braves later became the Orix Blue Wave, who in turn merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes to become the Orix Buffaloes.

The voting system in Japan is pretty much the same as it is for Cooperstown. Sufficiently experienced sportswriters can vote for players (along with umpires, managers, and coaches) who have been retired for five years. They can name up to 10 people on a ballot. Candidates have to be named on 75% of all ballots.

If you're in Tokyo, it's worth a visit, although the museum is far smaller than Cooperstown and all the plaques are in Japanese. There are three Americans in the Hall of Fame in Japan: Wally Yonamine, Lefty O'Doul, and Horace Wilson.

Non-savior transactions
2007-01-12 19:01
by Bob Timmermann

Catching up:

Jason Johnson goes to the Seibu Lions. In Japanese, "Jason Johnson" translates to "not Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The Nationals will attempt to reanimate the careers of Jerome Williams and Brandon Claussen.

Richard Hidalgo will try a comeback with the Astros.

The Royals are giving the "other" Alex Gonzalez a minor league deal.

Tomas Perez will give it a go with the Cubs.

Jeff Nelson signed with the Yankees for the sole purpose of making people believe that he retired as a Yankee. Sorry, Jeff, you last played in the majors with the White Sox.

Colorado acquired Rodrgio Lopez from the Orioles in exchange for two minor leaguers.

Scott Schoeneweis agreed to a 3-year, $10.8 million contract with the Mets.

Some people avoided arbitration and I'm too lazy to list them.

Mets bring back their 'savior'
2007-01-12 18:54
by Bob Timmermann

The Savior is back in the fold with the Mets. The man who singlehandedly kept the Mets from an early elimination in the playoffs.

Yes, the Savior. Oliver Perez.

Perez signed a one-year, $2.325 million contract.

Apparently Aaron Heilman was not the Savior.

Have you acknowledged Oliver Perez as your Lord and Savior? I prefer a Savior who doesn't walk as many batters.

Pirates switch controlling owners
2007-01-12 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a new controlling owner, Robert Nutting, who is replacing Kevin McClatchy. The move is subject to approval by the other MLB owners.

Nutting's father is G. Ogden Nutting, who owns a newspaper in Wheeling, West Virginia, called the Wheeling News-Register. G. Ogden Nutting is a name that demands respect.

Things Mark Sweeney never gave people
2007-01-11 21:53
by Bob Timmermann

  1. Amphetamines to Barry Bonds
  2. Flame-retardant roofing shingles to Omar Vizquel.
  3. Home made peanut brittle to Steve Kline.
  4. A case of canned eels to Noah Lowry.
  5. A 20' wide flag of the state of South Dakota to Peter Magowan.
  6. Eight sheets of Silpat™ to Shea Hillenbrand.
  7. A potato in the shape of Winston Churchill to Mike Stanton.
  8. A year's supply of Turtle Wax to Armando Benitez.
  9. Seven sets of mismatched socks to Matt Cain.
  10. A decorative barometer in the shape of a ukelele to Felipe Alou.

'Buck O'Neil sat here'
2007-01-11 18:55
by Bob Timmermann

The Kansas City Royals are taking nominations from the community to choose someone to sit in Buck O'Neil's seat at Kauffman Stadium for each home game. O'Neil sat in Section 101, Row C, Seat 1.

According to the Royals, the person chosen for the prime seat will be "a person who, on a large or small scale, emulates O'Neil's dedication to the community." If no worthy candidate can be found for John 'Buck' O'Neil's seat, it may just go to John Buck's family.

Coming to scenic Carson, California
2007-01-11 08:07
by Bob Timmermann

David Beckham announced that he has signed a five-year contract to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy. I'm sure that the Beckhams will enjoy Carson, California where the Galaxy play at the Home Depot Center.

They can go see the Goodyear blimp Spirit of America flying around. It's quite a sight.

You can also go to Carson to go look at this giant statue of a golfer at the Dominguez Golf Course.

Update from Ken Arneson from Fox Sports

Beating a high horse to death
2007-01-10 22:14
by Bob Timmermann

Ahh, the mixed metaphors just keep pouring out.

Jon Heyman of (aka the incredibly self-righteous guy named Jon who writes there) interviews Rich Maris, Roger Maris's son, and thinks that the home run "crown" will be returned to his family.

"We feel baseball is going to do the right thing in the end. They're going to do their investigation, and they're going to make a correction,'' Rich Maris said. "At some point it will all come out. The right decision will be made.''

Yes, the investigation... That will turn up ... Umm.... Something....

Then later Heyman writes...

The Marises and McGwire don't talk about what's happened since 1998, about all the anecdotal evidence to suggest McGwire took his father's record away by using steroids and about McGwire's date with Congress in March 2005. They don't need to.

Emphasis mine.

Anecdotal. From

1 a : of, relating to, or consisting of anecdotes b : ANECDOTIC 2 2 : based on or consisting of reports or observations of usually unscientific observers 3 : of, relating to, or being the depiction of a scene suggesting a story

I guess it's time for me to go get rid of every copy of the movie "61*" I own. And that's my favorite HBO film that features Tom Candiotti.

2007-01-10 19:09
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Buckley of the Boston Herald September 18, 1998

Before you hit the feathers each night, you probably tune in to your fav-o-rite nightly sports program to see if Mark McGwire and/or Sammy Sosa had gone yard.

Or maybe you waited until the morning, at which time you breeze through these pages in search of the box scores.

And then there are the folks who bypass TV and the papers altogether, and go directly to the Internet, to, or whatever.

Did Big Mac hit one out?

How about Slammin' Sammy?

We are a nation suddenly obsessed with home runs.

Jeff Buckley on January 10, 2007

It's not unreasonable to wonder what might have happened had Mark McGwire not appeared before Congress on that March afternoon in 2005. Had he simply faded into the baseball sunset, perhaps bought himself a ranch or a car dealership, or maybe opened up a restaurant, it's entirely possible the no-longer "Big" Mac might have been wearing one of those spiffy Hall of Fame caps yesterday along with Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn.
But the problem is this: Mark McGwire did sit there at the table that day, the reading glasses pushed down to the base of his nose as he read from his prepared text. He was asked, naturally, if any of the 583 home runs he hit were the byproduct of anything he did unnaturally, to which he famously responded, "I'm not here to talk about the past."

Let's be frank: It was a cheap lawyer's trick.

But Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a good perspective:

But now the sporting press that basically served as McGwire's personal public-relations agency in '98 is having a belated attack of guilt and acting on the impulse to play high priest for a day. And that's a leading reason as to why McGwire went from national hero to national disgrace.

A question: If we're going to retroactively punish McGwire, can we ask the newspapers, the publishing houses and the quickie-book authors to give back the proceeds that flowed from the rush to cash in on McGwire Mania? I was just wondering how that works. Thanks.

And what about books like this?

Jim Caple of also wonders about the hypocrisy.

Mulder discovers that there's no place like home
2007-01-10 16:45
by Bob Timmermann

Or maybe St. Louis.

Free agent pitcher Mark Mulder re-signed with the Cardinals for 2 years and $13 million. There is a club option for 2009. Mulder is still recovering from rotator cuff surgery.

The Cardinals also signed Ryan Franklin, Rick Ankiel, and Jolbert Cabrera.

Why you must be the famous French shortstop Hercule Jeter
2007-01-10 07:46
by Bob Timmermann

No, that's the famous Belgian shortstop Derek Lyons. Actually, the 24-year old from Salem, Massachusetts isn't Belgian, but he has signed to play pro baseball in Namur, Belgium.

I've been to Namur. I hope he learns French. He can stop by its famous Citadel. Or find the place where I got my camera fixed.

The only MLB player who was born in Belgium.

He's back! And better than ever!
2007-01-09 18:17
by Bob Timmermann

The Giants have wrapped up the 2007 NL West title and a likely spot in the World Series by signing free agent pitcher Russ Ortiz to a one-year contract for the major league minimum of $380,000. Arizona is still paying off the rest of Ortiz's salary, $8.5 million.

According to the AP story linked above, Leo Mazzone told Ortiz that he had a problem in the way he took the ball out of his glove.

"Russ, when you take the ball out of your glove, throw it TOWARD home plate. HARD!"
"Thanks, Leo!"

Javy Lopez hits the comeback trail
2007-01-09 18:16
by Bob Timmermann

With Bad Altitude on the road, I will drop in the news that Javy Lopez (the catching Lopez) has signed a one-year deal with Colorado.

"Colorado is a place and a team and a ballpark that he's always liked," said Chuck Berry, Lopez's agent. "We looked at a half-dozen places that would be good for him to go. Colorado was one of them."

Before the deal was reached, the Rockies encouraged Lopez to visit Jerry Weinstein in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Rockies wanted Weinstein, who once worked with catchers for the Los Angeles Dodgers, to fine tune Lopez's fundamentals behind the plate.

Weinstein was apprehensive at first. He didn't know how serious Lopez was about this assignment.

"I asked him right away, 'Why are you here?"' said Weinstein, who was recently hired to manage Colorado's Class-A Modesto team. "He looked at me and said, 'I want to be the comeback player of the year."'

The Hall of Fame voters have spoken! And they like suffixes!
2007-01-09 11:20
by Bob Timmermann

And for 2007, it will be:
Cal Ripken
Tony Gwynn

To be precise, that's Cal Ripken, Jr., and Tony Gwynn, Sr.

Just wanted to clear that up.

Better luck next time for:
Bert Blyleven
Alan Trammell
Mark McGwire
Rich Gossage
among others.

who are allowed entrance in to Cooperstown's wing of bronze plaques. Tommy McCarthy welcomes them!

Is Frank finally gone for good?
2007-01-09 09:13
by Bob Timmermann

Reader Sam DC via the Farm Authority points me to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star which has a story from Todd Jacobson about Frank Robinson being moved completely out of the Washington Nationals organization.

There will be a Frank Robinson Day in Washington on May 20, but the most that Nationals GM offered Robinson was an unpaid "goodwill" post during spring training.

Is anyone really on the Giants roster?
2007-01-08 21:49
by Bob Timmermann

Barry Bloom of reports that none of the nine free agents who signed with the Giants have actually formally signed a contract.

There are still debates between the players' agents and the Giants front office over contract language. The player farthest from being officially signed is Barry Bonds and the Giants have not placed him on their 40-man roster. The other eight free agents have been placed on the roster: Pedro Feliz, Steve Kline, Ray Durham, Barry Zito, Dave Roberts, Rich Aurilia, Ryan Klesko, and Bengie Molina.

College football's ultimate game - open chat
2007-01-08 16:35
by Bob Timmermann

Well, they aren't playing any more games after this one this season are they?

The Division 1-A season started on August 31, 2006 when Boston College faced off against Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The Eagles won 31-24.

And on January 8, 2006, the season ends with Florida facing Ohio State in Glendale, Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Is there University of Phoenix campus near your home? I think it's in 39 states, along with Puerto Rico and Canada.

MLB Extra Innings going the way of the NFL Sunday Ticket?
2007-01-08 13:00
by Bob Timmermann

In this subscription piece on Baseball Prospectus, Maury Brown reports that the MLB Extra Innings package could be migrating from digital cable to Direct TV only as the NFL does with its Sunday Ticket package.

Brown says that since Liberty Media is now going to be the principal owner of the Atlanta Braves and since Liberty Media has taken over control of Direct TV from Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation, the company would be greatly interested in having deeper ties with MLB. If MLB Extra Innings goes to Direct TV only, I will be forced to write a series of Gregg Easterbrook like columns complaining about it. Is that a big enough threat to derail the action?

Thanks to Diane for the pointer/cry of horror.

There will be no unanimous choices in the HOF voting Tuesday
2007-01-07 09:49
by Bob Timmermann

Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union reports that HOF voter Paul Ladewski of the Daily Southtown from Chicago has submitted a blank ballot to the BBWAA for the upcoming election. Ladewski refuses to vote for any player from "the steroid era." Further info here.

I think the real reason for Ladewski's stance is that when he was a kid, he read a biography of William Plumer.

Link via Baseball Think Factory.

The HOF balloting results will be announced Tuesday.

As I think more about this, I think Ladewski's stance isn't all that courageous, but really more self-serving. He can make himself the story and he accomplishes very little about the problem of PEDs in baseball. He is merely just declaring a generation of players "unclean" in his eyes, but ones from other eras get free passes despite all of the other problems of that time (such as segregation). It's very easy to condemn a whole group of people without having to investigate each one individually. Ladewski claims to have been a big baseball fan since the 1950s. If he was alive in 1942, he probably would have been a big fan of Japanese internment also.

Ladewski's Daily Southtown reply to criticism.

Remember this guy? He used to be big
2007-01-06 22:46
by Bob Timmermann

Remember back to the year 2000? I remember like it was about seven years ago. But back then Darin Erstad had 240 hits and drove in 100 runs while batting leadoff. He was considered untouchable for years afterwards by the Angels.

And now, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Erstad is a free agent with few takers and his old team, the Angels, are only offering him a minor league deal. But I'm sure Erstad would be a fine addition to a quality team like Seattle or Baltimore.

Tigers stockpile Perezes
2007-01-06 15:12
by Bob Timmermann

Not satisfied with just having Neifi Perez on their team, the Tigers have signed Timo Perez as well! It was a minor league contract.

I am certain that Jim Leyland is dying for the opportunity to get them both in the lineup at the same time. Will Timo get the same description that Neifi got from Tigers TV analyst Rod Allen, "He's got a great personality!"

Get your free agents while they're hot!
2007-01-05 19:46
by Bob Timmermann

David Newhan has signed a 1-year contract with the Mets. Look for numerous articles in the New York newspapers where the fact that Newhan is: a) the son of a sportswriter (Ross Newhan of the LA Times) and b) Jewish (like the New York Times wrote last year. While both facts have been known about Newhan for a while, it will now mean more because he's on the Mets.

Chris Reitsma signed a 1-year contract with Seattle. Reitsma was 1-2 with an 8.68 ERA last year with Atlanta.

Jerry Hairston signed a minor-league contract with Texas.

Adam Melhuse avoided arbitration by re-signing with Oakland. Melhuse's primary job will be coming to the park every day and asking Jason Kendall how he's feeling.

Legal problems, big and small
2007-01-05 18:14
by Bob Timmermann

Juan Uribe says he may sit out the entire 2007 season because a judge in the Dominican Republic has ordered him to show up in court twice a month in a case where Uribe along with a brother and friend are charged with shooting a wounding a man in the city of Juan Baron.

Jake Peavy was arrested for disorderly conduct at the Mobile Regional Airport after a dispute with an airport police officer over what to do with his allegedly double parked car. Actually, it seems that Peavy knew his car was double parked, so the alleging may refer to the disorderly conduct.

Arbitration eligibles
2007-01-05 07:57
by Bob Timmermann

There are 121 players eligible for arbitration and they have to file between today and January 12.

Don't expect too many players to take it all the way to the brink and actually go to a formal hearing. The Giants are the only team with no players eligible for arbitration, although the neighboring Athletics have nine.

Foulke takes residence by Lake Erie
2007-01-04 13:26
by Bob Timmermann

Keith Foulke and the Cleveland Indians signed off on a 1-year, $5 million contract. Foulke will be competing with Joe Borowski for the closer's job. Cleveland had just 24 saves in 2006, 15 of them by the departed Bob Wickman.

Spanning the country in the world of miscellanea
2007-01-04 09:17
by Bob Timmermann

  • Tampa Bay acquired Brendan Harris from Cincinnati for a player to be named later or cash or perhaps a played named "Cash."
  • The Red Sox added Joel Piñeiro and will audition him to be a closer.
  • Sidney Ponson continues to find work as the Twins signed him to a minor league deal.
  • Jamey Carroll, the David Eckstein of the Rockies, re-signed with Colorado for two years.
  • Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers owes the state of Wisconsin about $1.4 million in delinquent taxes. Fingers ran afoul of Wisconsin's little known "funny mustache" tax law, which was inserted into state law back in the 1920s when the Progressive Party managed to get it pushed through. Apparently Robert LaFollette hated moustaches.
  • The agent for Mark Loretta says that his client has signed a one-year contract with Houston.
  • Doug Mientkiewicz will likely sign with the Yankees. Alex and Cliff prepare a macro that allows them to insert "Mientkiewicz" in to any post of theirs on Bronx Banter.
  • The inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced live on Monday Tuesday at 11 am PT. At 11:01 am PT, people can start complaining about how someone was left off unjustly. At 11:10 am PT, Rich Lederer will start sending off more e-mails to people who didn't vote for Bert Blyleven. At 11:30 am PT, Mark McGwire still won't say anything. At 11:31 am PT, Cal Ripken will have his name brought forward to the Vatican for sainthood, despite not being dead, which is a prerequisite for the job. At 11:32 am PT, Tony Gwynn will be looking for a sandwich. At 11:45 am PT, Steve Garvey will learn that he shouldn't have borrowed money on the premise of being a Hall of Famer.
  • The Mariners signed erstwhile super prospect Sean Burroughs.

Old woman dies, sets off semantic argument and argues about Sugar Bowl as well
2007-01-03 09:39
by Bob Timmermann

The headline on reads "Lifelong Red Sox fan dies at 112". But the Boston Red Sox franchise didn't start until 1901, which is 106 years ago.

So did Kathryn Gemme root for the Boston Braves (they didn't use that name in the 19th Century) before from 1894-1900? Did she switch over immediately in 1901? Did she teach the Dropkick Murphys how to sing "Tessie"? Did she start the early 20th Century Red Sox discussion group "Sons of Olaf Henriksen"?

The Rose Bowl: the final chapter
2007-01-02 19:06
by Bob Timmermann

Not that there is much more to say about Monday's 32-18 rout of Michigan by USC in the Rose Bowl will prevent me from saying more.

But I really don't have any profound thoughts. Just observations.

  • The teams combined for 60 yards rushing (48 for USC and 12 for Michigan). I don't know if that's the lowest combined total in the Rose Bowl, but I imagine that it has to be pretty close. The NCAA says the bowl game record for fewest yards rushing is 51 by Utah and Oregon in the 1994 Freedom Bowl. Utah won that one 16-13. In the 1977 Bluebonnet Bowl, USC and Texas A&M combined for a bowl game record 864 rushing yards. The Trojans won 47-28.
  • Some USC fans sitting in front and behind me were from Mexico. They really got into "Conquest", a song first heard in the 1947 film "Captain from Castille", starring Tyrone Power and featuring Cesar Romero as Cortes. The film ends with Cortes leading the Spaniards on to Tenochitlan to go take care of the Aztecs. The song was composed by Alfred Newman, whose nephew Randy attended UCLA.
  • The folks at the Rose Bowl really like you to call the game on January 1, "The Rose Bowl Game" instead of just "The Rose Bowl." Presumably, this is to differentiate it from the stadium and to prepare you for the BCS Championship game in 2010. Interestingly, the whole name "bowl" to denote a postseason football game comes from the fact that the Rose Bowl is shaped like a bowl (it's modeled after the Yale Bowl) and when the Rose Bowl opened in 1923, it was pretty much the only postseason football game and the name stuck. Now the people who gave us the word "bowl" don't want you to use it.
  • "Stairway to Heaven" should not be played by a marching band. Ever. Please take note of this University of Michigan. Thank you.
  • Nevertheless, the Rose Bowl halftime show is stil just two marching bands. The pregame show is pretty much just two marching bands also. There's no "American Idol" pseudo-star trotted out to sing the National Anthem. You've got to appreciate that.
  • The entrance gates to the Rose Bowl usually have prerecorded announcements by the PA announcer telling you about exiting and re-entering the stadium. For UCLA home games, sometimes you get to hear the soothing tones of Karl Dorrell alternating with Ethel Merman singing "Everything's Coming Up Roses!" But since George Lucas was the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade, the entrance/exit announcements were all C3P0 type announcements with R2D2 sounds also.
  • Michigan fans are relatively quiet. And that was even before the game.
  • USC has now won 29 bowl games if you count the 1925 L.A. Christmas Classic (a win over Missouri) as a bowl game. Alabama has 30 bowl wins. And presently, USC has a head coach, something Alabama doesn't have right now.
  • The key to enjoying your Rose Bowl game experience: use the bathroom before kickoff.

Meanwhile, back in baseball
2007-01-01 22:38
by Bob Timmermann

Aaron Boone signed with the Marlins. He was not promised the third base starting job.

Aubrey Huff signed a 3-year deal with the Orioles. There is no report if any Orioles fan actually was happy about this.

Ernie Koy, who was 97, passed away on Monday. Koy played in the majors for five years and homered in his first major league at bat on April 19, 1938 against Wayne LaMaster of the Phillies. Koy was a multisport star at the University of Texas.

New Year's Day Bowl Bonanza open thread
2007-01-01 01:00
by Bob Timmermann

Happy New Year to all!

Six games on the docket today starting at 8 am PT and the last one should finish after 8 pm PT. But four of the games are jammed into the early part of the day and by the time the Rose Bowl starts, there's no need to flip around.

You can start your viewing at 8 am PT with the Outback Bowl in Tampa where #17 Tenneseee (9-3) faces unranked Penn State (8-4). Fifth ever meeting between these teams and they split the first four games.

Then at 8:30 am PT, #10 Auburn (10-2) takes on #22 Nebraska (9-4) in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. It will be the fourth meeting between these two teams and the Cornhuskers have won all the previous meetings.

At 11 am PT, #12 Arkansas (10-3) faces #6 Wisconsin (11-1) in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando. It's the second meeting ever between these two schools and the first since 1912 (Wiconsin won 64-7) and will match up fans who wear red pig head hats versus people who wear yellow cheese wheels as hats.

Also at 11 am PT, unranked Georgia Tech (9-4) faces #13 West Virginia (10-2) in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. It's the third meeting between the Yellow Jackets and Mountaineer and Georgia Tech won the first two: 42-19 in the 1954 Sugar Bowl and 35-30 in the 1997 Carquest Bowl. West Virginia's offensive duo of QB Pat White and RB Steve Slaton have both been slowed by injuries, but Georgia Tech has been losing players left and right for a variety of reasons.

Then at 2 pm PT, the Grandaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl kicks off between #3 Michigan (11-1) and #8 USC (10-2) in Pasadena. It's the tenth meeting between the two teams with USC holding a 5-4 edge. The teams will be meeting in the Rose Bowl for eighth time. That makes it the most frequent Rose Bowl matchup. USC and Ohio State have met seven times. Washington has played Michigan in four Rose Bowls.

Finally at 5 pm PT (expect that to start later), #9 Boise State (12-0) faces #7 Oklahoma (11-2) in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, AZ. It's the first meeting between these two schools and it's the first BCS appearance for the Broncos. It's just the seventh major division bowl game for Boise State and only the third one outside of Boise. It will be the 40th bowl game for the Sooners.

I think it's up there

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