Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: May 2007


These homers are sponsored by the letters D and H
2007-05-31 20:16
by Bob Timmermann

Frank Thomas homered in Toronto's 2-0 win over Chicago at Rogers Centre Thursday.

Thomas hit his 495th career homer and 243rd as a designated hitter, tying him with Edgar Martinez for the major league record for DHs.

Roy Halladay returned from the DL and didn't waste any time as he pitched seven innings in a game that lasted just one hour and 50 minutes.

I'll be out of town much of the weekend, but I may check in if something important happens. Like a catcher's interference call! The Random Record of the Week will appear on Tuesday.


Benitez heads back to Florida
2007-05-31 19:34
by Bob Timmermann

The San Francisco Giants have sent Armando Benitez to Florida in exchange for Randy Messenger, according to the AP and Benitez's agent.


Can the Astros go to 11? NO
2007-05-31 17:08
by Bob Timmermann

Houston is hosting Cincinnati tonight and must win to avoid matching a franchise record 11-game losing streak.

The Astros dropped 11 straight from August 17-28, 1995. Woody Williams takes on Bronson Arroyo to avoid bringing back memories of the halcyon days of Terry Collins.

Astros win 10-2.

Friendly wagers, interblog version
2007-05-31 09:16
by Bob Timmermann

In today's Los Angeles Times "Morning Briefing" Chris Foster lists the following "friendly wagers"  over the Stanley Cup Final.

The book is mercifully now closed on all political wagers on the Stanley Cup finals.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made a "friendly wager" with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger …

Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle made a "friendly wager" with Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien …

California State Assemblyman Jose Solorio made a "friendly wager" with Canadian Provincial Parliament Member, Jim Watson …

However, there is one more as the Griddle is taking on Phil Birnbaum's sabermetric research blog. Phil is from Ottawa, although he is not a Senators fan, and actually a Leafs diehard. And I'm not really a Ducks fan as I grew up rooting for the Kings and even saw the Kings in the pre-Gretzky era. I even went to an L.A. Sharks game once.

But we both thought we should have some sort of wager because how often does someone from Southern California and someone from Ottawa have the chance to have a sports rivalry in anything?

The loser has to buy two "Stanley Cup Champions" caps and the loser also has to wear the cap around during the SABR convention in St. Louis in July.

Of course, it takes a big man, like me, to talk about a friendly wager, when the team he's backing is up 2-0 in the series.

Go team that has guys named Niedermayer on it! But in the meantime, check out Phil's blog, which unlike mine, requires thought.



What to name the baby?
2007-05-30 17:03
by Bob Timmermann

Orioles pitcher Jamie Walker and his wife Natalie have named their newborn son James Leyland Walker.

Walker pitched for the Tigers last year, but did not name the baby after his old boss.

The lad is actually named after Jamie's dad, James Walker, and his wife Natalie's grandfather, Leyland Estes.

"They both fought in World War II and the baby was born on Memorial Day," Walker said. "We both liked the name, so we thought what the heck."

He knows everyone will assume he named his son after his former manager.

"I'll catch a lot of flack for that. But that's fine," he said. "Jim Leyland's a good man. My wife loves Jim Leyland, loves the guy to death. He's a great manager and a great guy. If people want to think we named the baby after him, let them."

I'm so glad my dad wasn't named Frank and my grandfather wasn't named Robinson.

Age must be served
2007-05-30 15:05
by Bob Timmermann

Tonight in Philadelphia, 44-year old Jamie Moyer of the Phillies faces 43-year old Randy Johnson of Arizona in a battle of wily southpaws. It will be a crafty night in the City of Brotherly Love! Or possibly crochety.

But in Baldwin Harbor, New York, 93-year old Mickey Werner is facing 86-year old Paul Rotter, in a Long Island Senior Softball game. I've heard people say that Werner is just hanging for his 300th win in the league.

Thanks to Johnny Nucleo for the second story.

A Molina goes on the DL
2007-05-30 13:37
by Bob Timmermann

Today's unlucky catching Molina brother is Yadier, who broke his left wrist last night in Denver and will miss 4-6 weeks.

Brian Esposito, a 28-year old career minor leaguer, was called up from the minors to take Molina's spot and will share time with Gary Bennett.

He's a balking disaster...
2007-05-30 09:25
by Bob Timmermann

Before last night's meltdown at Shea, Armando Benitez had committed just two balks in his entire career.

The previous Benitez balk was on May 23, 2003 for the Mets against the Braves at Turner Field. Benitez balked potential tying run Chipper Jones to second. Andruw Jones walked. Julio Franco then singled, but Chipper was thrown out at the plate by Tsuyoshi Shinjo.

Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to April 30, 1995 when Benitez was on the Orioles. With two outs in the sixth, Benitez balked and Pedro Munoz went from first to second. Benitez walked the next two batters, Scott Leius and Marty Cordova, but Dave McCarty flied out to end the inning.


The prodigal, and chemically enhanced, pitcher returns to Mets
2007-05-30 07:37
by Bob Timmermann

Guillermo Mota has finished his 50-game suspension from baseball for testing positive for a PED and he will rejoin the Mets today. Ambiorix Burgos will go back down to the minors.

Mota's teammates are welcoming him back:

"Hopefully everybody in this clubhouse learned from [Mota's] mistake," Mets third baseman David Wright said Tuesday, according to the New York Post. "He served his suspension, took a big financial hit, and we're going to welcome him back because we need him."


Mets closer Billy Wagner told the Post that Mota doesn't owe an apology to his teammates.

"He served his penalty, paid his price," Wagner said. "He doesn't have to come to me and apologize. He had his reasons for doing it. I don't know why and I don't care. The problem is the people that aren't getting caught."

Mets fans will likely welcome Mota back too, showing that the quality of mercy is not strained. Especially if the athlete is on your team and is pretty good.

Mmm... fatted calf... Mmm...


Musical Interlude
2007-05-29 18:05
by Bob Timmermann

Martin Steinberg of the Associated Press writes about Richard Danielpour's new composition "Pastime," which is being performed in Atlanta for three days starting on May 31. The piece had its world premiere in Pittsburgh earlier this year.

Danielpour, in conjunction with several poets, wrote a work celebrating the lives of Josh Gibson, Jackie Robinson, and Henry Aaron.

It sounds interesting:

Written in the style of Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," the piece starts with a swaggering introduction, complete with percussive strikes that conjure images of a pitch slamming into the catcher's mitt. The epilogue has a gentle, sentimental theme that is sidetracked by arrogant motifs, including a grotesquely distorted reference to "The Star-Spangled Banner" that suggests a lamentation for baseball's loss of innocence.

The inner movements, however, suggest that baseball was never really innocent.

You can find more information about the work on the Atlanta Symphony's site and you can also get the texts of the poems used. (pdf format.)


Not a webpage Bud Selig is checking
2007-05-29 14:42
by Bob Timmermann

Clay Davenport of Baseball Prospectus has an update to his projection on when it is most likely that Barry Bonds will hit homer #756.

Plan your vacations accordingly, Bud!


The Angels finally cash in dividend from 1999 trade*
2007-05-28 19:32
by Bob Timmermann

Back on July 29, 1999, the Anaheim Angels traded Randy Velarde and Omar Olivares to Oakland and received Jeff DaVanon, Elvin Nina, and Nathan Haynes.

Today, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sent outfielder Tommy Murphy back to AAA Salt Lake City and called up 27-year old outfielder Nathan Haynes.

Haynes has been well-travelled as you can see here. Haynes was batting .391 at Salt Lake City this year with a 1.052 OPS.

Haynes singled in his first major league at bat against Seattle's Jon Huber and would score a run in the Angels 12-5 loss to the Mariners.

Bracket time! (Baseball version)
2007-05-28 10:04
by Bob Timmermann

The 64-team field for the NCAA baseball championship was announced today.

The top 8 seeds are:

  1. Vanderbilt, 51-11
  2. Rice, 49-12
  3. North Carolina, 48-12
  4. Texas, 44-15 (at Round Rock because of construction in Austin)
  5. Arizona State, 43-13
  6. Florida State, 47-13
  7. Arkansas, 41-19
  8. San Diego, 43-16

Those eight schools will host a four-team, double-elimination tournament as well as eight other schools: Virginia, Long Beach State, Ole Miss, Wichita State, Texas A&M, Missouri, Coastal Carolina, and South Carolina.

The winner of each of the sixteen regionals are then paired off in a double-elimination super-regional. The winners of those advance to Omaha for the College World Series, which will start June 15.

The CWS divides the eight teams into two groups of four, who play a double-elimination tournament. The winners of each division then play a best-of-three series for the championship.

Last year's champion, Oregon State, made the field as a #3 seed and will be playing in the Virginia regional in Charlottesville. There will not be yet another Florida-Ohio State matchup for a national championship as the Gators did not make the tournament. Ohio State did as a #3 seed in the Texas A&M regional at College Station.

The Fighting Olney of Vandy have the most wins of any team in the tournament. Ivy League champ Brown has the fewest with 27. The most losses are by the only team in the tournament with a losing record, Wofford, which was 30-31. Wofford won the Southern Conference tournament to get a bid in the tournament despite finishing ninth in the conference.

Random Record of the Week #9
2007-05-28 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Page 33 – Most runs, extra inning – 12, Texas at Oakland, July 3, 1983, 15th inning

In a game that had little scoring the first six innings, then a bunch in innings 7 through 9, then none from innings 10-14, the Texas Rangers ended up having the longest delayed rout in major league history, scoring 12 times in the 15th inning of a 5:19 long game at the Oakland Coliseum.

Texas, under manager Doug Rader, was the surprising leader in the AL West by two games over the defending division champion Angels. Oakland, which had replaced Billy Martin after he laid waste to the pitching staff, was under the direction of Steve Boros. Charlie Hough started the game for Texas and Jeff Jones started for Oakland.

Continue reading...

How the Baseball Network was born
2007-05-27 22:47
by Bob Timmermann

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has an interesting look at how MLB was able to parlay consumer anger over the possible removal of the Extra Innings package in to getting the still to be born Baseball Network (or Channel as it doesn't have a name yet) to be carried on basic cable channels.

“The evidence of that is that we started doing one-year deals on Extra Innings in 2004,” said Tim Brosnan, baseball’s executive vice president for business, who has been working on the channel for about five years.

Robert D. Jacobson, the president of the InDemand consortium owned by the cable operators Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, battled Brosnan before finally agreeing to a deal on April 4.

“We weren’t surprised with what they did,” Jacobson said. “They kept rolling over Extra Innings as one-year arrangements because they hadn’t figured out their channel strategy.”


And on March 21, MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” awarded Brosnan the bronze medal for being one of the three “worst people in the world” that day for rejecting InDemand’s offer to renew Extra Innings and carry the channel. Brosnan could not reach Olbermann to vent his anger, but was calmed by a friend of his, the Democratic Party strategist James Carville.

“He said, ‘God can you believe this?’ ” Carville said in a telephone interview, “and my reaction was that I had been No. 18 in the entire world for Spy magazine” on its list of the most appalling people in the world. “And it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.” He told Brosnan to show the segment at owners’ meetings.

“He’s made them a lot of money.”


Not off to a good start in Cincinnati
2007-05-27 10:40
by Bob Timmermann

Reds starting pitcher Kirk Saarloos allowed the first seven Pirates to reach base today before being pulled for Victor Santos in a game at Great America Ballpark.

That was the first time any pitcher had gotten off to such a bad start since Doug Waechter of Tampa Bay allowed the first seven Yankees to reach in a game on September 13, 2005 at Yankee Stadium. Waechter's struggles weren't helped when catcher Toby Hall interfered with Hideki Matsui to give him a free base.

On May 6, 2005, Paul Wilson of the Reds allowed the first eight Dodgers to reach before being pulled. Wilson also had a game where he allowed the first seven Astros to reach before being pulled on July 10, 2003.

The list of starting pitchers since 1957 who failed to retire the first seven or more batters before being pulled.

The Pirates would end up winning this one, 14-10.

A Giles goes on the DL
2007-05-26 20:23
by Bob Timmermann

Brian Giles of the Padres has gone on the DL with what AP writer Bernie Wilson describes as "an annoying bone bruise."

Trevor Hoffman has declared that his right arm "wasn't very cranky."

No reports if any other Padre player felt gimpy, ouchy, wonky, creaky, or choleric.

The Name's the Same, again
2007-05-26 16:36
by Bob Timmermann

The Kansas City Royals placed closer Joakim Soria on the 15-day disabled list and brought up pitcher Ryan Braun from Omaha to replace him on the roster.

Ryan Braun?

The name seems familiar ...

The Royals pitcher is Ryan Zachary Braun and he's a 26-year old. He's originally from Canada, but went to high school in Fresno and college at Wake Forest.

The Brewers third baseman is Ryan Joseph Braun and he's 23 and from Granada Hills and went to college at Miami.

The Ryan Brauns join the Tony Peñas (a Royals shortstop and a Diamondbacks pitcher) in their ability to confuse people. (And as Eric Enders points out I forgot the two Chris Youngs.)

And they might be the most unlikely pair of players with identical names (or at least people who go by the same name) since there were two Jeff D'Amicos in 2000. And that was also a Kansas City-Milwaukee pair.


I think so.

Also, I don't believe any player named above is related to Steve Braun.

Checking back in with Gameday
2007-05-26 10:03
by Bob Timmermann

Courtesy of Rob McMillin, I had been using "Classic" Gameday, but because I was using a different computer a few days ago, I thought I would give the "Expanded" Gameday another try.

And it appears that the gang has tried to make the application a bit more streamlined and less of a CPU processing hog. The 3D view doesn't make my computer crash anymore.

The parks with the fancy pitch tracking software still have the "Break" and "pFX" figures, which baffle most people except this guy, but I've learned to ignore them.

The text play-by-play on the left side of the application tends to update faster than the center part of the application. Also the boxscores are a little easier to navigate, although it is still a pain to figure out which available reserves each team has.

The feature where you could watch the pitch trajectory from six different angles was dropped down to just two. You can either watch from the batter's view or the pitcher's view. You don't get to watch from an angle and I never could figure out why anyone wanted to. It's not as if you could actually watch the pitcher throw from a certain angle or a certain release point.

I can still get the Classic Gameday, more or less, on my BlackBerry, and it works pretty well although the web browser there drains the battery fast so I don't want to do that for too long.

Now about that ad in the bottom right hand corner. You know.  The one that sometimes has sound. And is really big and intrusive. I believe that's a permanent part of the landscape.

Also, I believe the RSS feed is working again. Thanks for your patience and thanks to Ken for fixing it. Let this be a lesson to all of us. Be careful with our use of the Greek alphabet.

Drug test problems for Monk
2007-05-25 19:51
by Bob Timmermann

Luckily, Coltrane and Rollins are clean!

However, it's Brandon Monk, a Braves farmhand, who has run afoul of baseball's PED testing and drawn a 50-game suspension.

Unloved on both sides of The Pond?
2007-05-25 17:33
by Bob Timmermann

Gerard Baker, the US Editor for the Times of London, is not very interested in Barry Bonds's pursuit of Henry Aaron's alltime home run record. But Baker does have a list of records that he thinks American baseball fans are proud of:

Ichiro Suzuki's single season hit record (um, OK).

Cal Ripken's consecutive games played streak.

Joe DiMaggio's consecutive game hitting streak.

Under the description of DiMaggio's hitting streak info is this bit:

Wartime radio broadcasts were interrupted to report hits and the song Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio reached No 1 as the United States found the hero it craved in troubled times.

There is the problem that the U.S. wasn't at war during DiMaggio's hitting streak, so unless everyone was really worried about Edward R. Murrow and H.V. Kaltenborn's broadcasts being interrupted to find out if DiMaggio got a hit, then Baker should have consulted a calendar.

Baker also mentions a stat that very few people ever talk about:

No sport reveres its data more than baseball. The US’s national pastime lends itself to the accumulation of vast quantities of statistical facts and records. Some of these are magnificently obscure in their origination – “on-base percentage with runners in scoring positions” springs to mind.


Barry Bonds so far this year has an OBP of .732 with runners in scoring position thanks to 23 walks. But Jon Knott of the Orioles has come up to bat with runners in scoring position three times and has a walk, a single, and a three-run homer! Ben Broussard is 3 for 4 with 5 RBI.

Gonzalez news
2007-05-25 15:02
by Bob Timmermann
  • Braves reliever Mike Gonzalez will miss the rest of the season and much of next year as he will have to have elbow ligament replacement surgery.
  • Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez was suspended for one game for his behavior during an argument with umpires Thursday night.
  • Adrian, Alex, Edgar, and Luis Gonzalez apparently had nothing interesting happen to them.
Lost in translation? (Korean edition)*
2007-05-25 15:01
by Bob Timmermann

This story from the Korean website, mainly about Dae-ho Lee's home run hitting, has this paragraph at the end that I don't believe was translated correctly:

At the Cheongju match, Hyundai defeated Hanwha 8-4, breaking its recent eight-game losing streak. Jeon Jun-ho added five hits, bringing his personal total to 6,295, which broke the previous record of 6,292 held by Jang Jong-hoon (Hanwha coach). Kim Soo-gyeong who claimed his fourth victory, surrendering four points during six innings, crossed the 1100 strike-out level for the 17th time.

I'm pretty sure that this story wasn't originally written in English and I'm just curious as to what the proper totals should be for the numbers that I bolded.

The Korean paragraph appears to have the same numbers:

현대는 청주 경기에서 한화를 8-4로 꺾고 최근 8연패의 수렁에서 벗어났다. 전준호는 5타수를 추가해 개인 통산 6295타수로 장종훈(한화 코치)이 보유하고 있던 종전 기록(6292타수)을 경신했다. 6이닝 4실점으로 4승(2패)째를 챙긴 김수경도 통산 17번째로 1100탈삼진 고지를 넘어섰다. LG와 두산의 잠실 경기는 우천으로 취소됐다.

Update - Thanks to a Korean-speaking coworker, I have learned that Jun-ho Jeon broke the record for at bats, not hits. And Jong-hoon Jang has 1100 career strikeouts.

Brewers opt for Braun over bad bats at third base
2007-05-24 22:11
by Bob Timmermann

The Milwaukee Brewers have brought up touted third base prospect Ryan Braun from AAA Nashville and put pitcher Elmer Dessens on the DL.

Braun hit 10 home runs in 34 games at Nashville and will take over for the Milwaukee third base combo of Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell.

The return of Mark McLemore?
2007-05-24 18:58
by Bob Timmermann

The Astros sent righthanded pitcher Matt Albers to AAA Round Rock and called up lefty Mark McLemore.

Mark McLemore? The longtime utility man is making a comeback as a pitcher? And throwing with a different hand?

No, the former Angel/Indian/Astro/Oriole/Mariner/Ranger/Athletic is Mark Tremell McLemore, while the new Mark McLemore is Mark Steven McLemore.

The new Mark McLemore.

The old Mark McLemore.

The two Mark McLemores will be the second set of unrelated players with the same name to play for the Astros.

There have been two Carlos Hernandezes.

And THREE Dave Roberts. There was:

  1. This guy
  2. This guy
  3. And this guy
The battle for Topps has a new competitor
2007-05-24 10:54
by Bob Timmermann

Earlier this year, the Topps Co., the leading producer of baseball cards (and trading cards in a lot of sports) accepted a takeover offer from a group led by former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner. But now, Upper Deck, Topps main rival in the trading card industry, has made a higher offer. Eisner's group is offering $9.75 a share and Upper Deck will offer $10.75. All of this is from an article in Crain's New York Business.

Upper Deck's offer may not pass antitrust scrutiny. There is no truth to the story that Topps prints its stock certificates on brittle, pink paper that has very sharp edges.

With news of another, possibly more lucrative, takeover offer, it is not too surprising that Topps stock price is up today. Right now, you can trade on share of Topps for about the price of a 1955 Tom Hurd card.

Sox in socks
2007-05-24 10:06
by Bob Timmermann

For reasons which I bet are more psychological than physical, some members of the Boston Red Sox, spurred on by Japanese pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, have taken to wearing socks with slots for each toe sewn into them, according to a New York Times story by David Picker.

Other players have joined the toe socks brigade as well.

The socks, which fit like a glove with each toe individually encased, were met with curiosity in Boston’s clubhouse during spring training. Before long, Matsuzaka began offering pairs to anyone who expressed an interest. And a number of players did, including Mike Lowell, Álex Cora and Doug Mirabelli, who are now playing in them regularly. Looking for a reason for Boston’s great start to the season? Maybe it is the socks.

“At first they feel kind of weird,” Mirabelli said. “They got some sticky things on the bottom, like little kids would have on the bottom of their socks. But you get used to them.”

The socks that Matsuzaka wears are covered with hundreds of tiny rubbery beads on the sole for better traction. As for Okajima, the individual toe slots help with his balance because he can firmly grip each toe, he said.

Hideki Matsui of the Yankees wears similar socks as does Takashi Saito of the Dodgers.

I don't believe such socks are available at Wal-Mart in a package of 12 for $5.

'Why can't you be like the other commissioners, Bud?'
2007-05-23 19:22
by Bob Timmermann

That seems to be the question asked by Mark Kriegel of Kriegel has already deemed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be great at his job and Bud Selig should follow his lead.

While it's easy (beyond shooting fish in a barrel) to find fault with Selig, I'm not sure that Goodell has done much beyond suspending Pacman Jones and establishing "whistleblower" protection for trainers and players who feel they are being rushed back into play after injuries. The second plan has merit, but no one knows if it will work.

And is Goodell solely responsible for the changes? Did Paul Tagliabue just not care about such matters? Would a different type of commissioner other than Selig treat problems relating to PEDs and amphetamines differently? Would such a person ever been hired by MLB's owners?


Champions League Final Chat: Liverpool vs AC Milan, 11:45 am PT
2007-05-23 09:00
by Bob Timmermann

From the Olympic Stadium in Athens, it's the UEFA Champions league final between AC Milan, six-time winner of this competition and most recently in 2003, against Liverpool, a five-time winner and most recently in 2005.

People in the know call AC Milan, Rossoneri, which just means "the red and blacks."

Liverpool promises that you'll never walk alone.


It's just like watching a big league game!
2007-05-22 19:38
by Bob Timmermann

Although the Yankees and Red Sox sped through nine innings tonight, a high school game in Iowa took about 3:15 to play seven innings and included one inning that lasted approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The game was between Waverly-Shell Rock and Denver High Schools of Iowa.

According to the account in the Des Moines Register:

Denver started the inning with a 6-run surge, sending 12 batters to the plate and leading 12-3.

Being three outs away from having the 10-run rule end the game in the bottom half of the frame, Waverly-Shell Rock sent 21 batters to the plate, scoring 15 runs to take an 18-12 advantage.

Waverly-Shell Rock drew 12 walks in their half of the fifth inning, finishing with 17 walks and 11 hits.

Waverly-Shell Rock (the Go-Hawks!) held on for a 19-14 win over the Cyclones of Denver.

Hamilton's trip to the DL may lead to the CI Alarm being rung soon
2007-05-22 17:40
by Bob Timmermann

The Cincinnati Reds put outfielder Josh Hamilton on the DL with gastroenteritis (woo hoo, nailed the spelling on the first try!) and recalled infielder Edwin Encarnacion.

As everyone who reads the Griddle knows, or at least should know, Encarnacion is tied with Andre Ethier and Darin Erstad for the major league lead in reaching on catcher's interference this year with two.


The pot calling the kettle black blog
2007-05-22 11:00
by Bob Timmermann

Things I didn't know:

  1. There is a blog that is part of Encyclopaedia Britannica's publishing company.
  2. Denny McLain is one of the writers.
  3. Denny McLain thinks that baseball players aren't necessarily always responsible when it comes to alcohol and other vises (or vices as apparently I was in a Home Depot state of mind.)
  4. I am without a witty metaphor to describe this situation.

For the record, I have a tea kettle at home. And it's white. But I really don't use it as I bought an electric pot to heat water. It's white too.

Book Review: Is This a Great Game, or What? by Tim Kurkjian
2007-05-21 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

Tim Kurkjian, a longtime beat writer covering the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles as well as a stint at Sports Illustrated and now a talking head for ESPN, has penned an autobiography of sorts Is This a Great Game, or What? And is this a great book, or what? Well, it’s not really a great book.

Kurkjian’s book is a salute to anecdotes. Lots of ‘em. Did you know Cal Ripken was really competitive? If you didn’t know that, Kurkjian has about 40 different anecdotes about Ripken.

Do you like hearing stories from Rich Donnelly? If the answer is no, you might want to skip several chapters of the book.


Continue reading...

Random Record of the Week #8
2007-05-21 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Random Record of the Week #8

Page 300 – Most consecutive strikeouts, series (consecutive at bats), 1981 Division Series – 8, Jerry Reuss, Los Angeles, Oct 7 (4 in 11 innings), Oct 11 (4)

Ahh, 1981. One of my favorite years of baseball. The strike! The split season! An extra round of playoffs! The Montreal Expos and Milwaukee Brewers playing in the same postseason!

The playoff series held between the winners of each half of the split season in 1981 were dubbed "Division Series." And the name made sense. After all, it was a series of game to decide a division champion. But when MLB switched to three divisions in 1994 and in 1995, the extra round of playoffs was added for good, those series were dubbed "Division Series."

Continue reading...

Interleague Day 3 Roundup
2007-05-20 20:20
by Bob Timmermann

Buckeye Battle - Indians 5, Reds 3

World Series 2006 Director's Cut - Tigers 6, Cardinals 3

World Series 1993 Alternate Ending - Phillies 5, Blue Jays 3

Government employees vs Extras in Barry Levinson films - Nationals 4, Orioles 3

Metroplex vs City With No Zoning Laws - Rangers 14, Astros 1

Sometimes ignored Florida team vs Always ignored Florida team - Marlins 4, Devil Rays 3

Battle of people who elongate "o" sounds in words - Brewers 6, Twins 5

Fairly recent World Series winner vs Other team in Chicago - White Sox 10, Cubs 6

"I Can't Believe It's Not a Rivalry" - Red Sox 6, Braves 3

"Nebraskans Like Us More" - Royals 10, Rockies 5 (12 innings)

8.25% vs 7.75% - Angels 4, Dodgers 1

Leftover Western Division teams - Padres 2, Mariners 1

8.5% vs 8.75% - Giants 4, Athletics 1

ESPN Special - Yankees 6, Mets 2

AL 8, NL 6

Total after three days AL 24, NL 18

Bochy makes 'tough' decision on rotation
2007-05-20 09:59
by Bob Timmermann

Russ Ortiz will not be returning to the Giants rotation after coming off the DL, but instead will go to the bullpen. Tim Lincecum has Ortiz's job now.

Let's see:
Ortiz - 2-2 with a 6.44 ERA, 18 K, 42 H, 9 BB, 29 1/3 IP

Lincecum - 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA, 21 K, 14 H, 7 BB, 18 1/3 IP



Interleague Day 2 Roundup
2007-05-19 21:57
by Bob Timmermann

The Battle of I-85 connecting to I-95 - Red Sox 13, Braves 3 and Braves 14, Red Sox 0

The Battle of a Route That Really Depends Upon the Day of the Week and Traffic - Mets 10, Yankees 7

The Battle of the Red Line - Cubs 11, White Sox 6

The Battle of I-64 to I-55 to I-80 to I-94 - Tigers 8, Cardinals 7

The Battle of I-94 - Twins 5, Brewers 2

The Battle of I-45 - Astros 6, Rangers 1

The Battle of the B-W Parkway - Orioles 3, Nationals 2 (11 innings)

The Battle of I-71 - Reds 10, Indians 5

The "Get on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and take it to Scranton and then hook up with I-81 until you get to Syracuse and then on the New York Thruway and take that to Buffalo and then cut up to Niagara Falls and then cross the bridge, make sure you have a passport, then take the QEW into Toronto" Battle - Blue Jays 13, Phillies 2

The mostly on I-75 Battle - Marlins 7, Devil Rays 2

The I-70 Battle (long version) - Rockies 6, Royals 4

The Collapsing Overpass Battle - Athletics 4, Giants 2

The Battle of I-5 (short version) - Angels 6, Dodgers 2

The Battle of I-5 (long version) - Mariners 7, Padres 4

Today AL 8, NL 7

Overall AL 16, NL 12


The end of the line for the surprisingly long career of John Mabry?
2007-05-19 16:16
by Bob Timmermann

Today, the Rockies designated John Mabry for assignment and recalled Ryan Spilborghs from Colorado Springs. Mabry was 4 for 34 on the season, including a home run off of Mike Pelfrey of the Mets.

Mabry has been in the majors since the Cardinals called him up for six games in 1994. He stuck for good with St. Louis in 1995 and batted .307 in his rookie year and was there through 1998 before signing a free agent contract with Seattle. In 2000, Mabry was dealt to the Padres along with Tom Davey for Al Martin, who would later tell people that he was really traded for Alex Rodriguez and hoped no one noticed.

After the brief stop in San Diego, Mabry signed as a free agent with the Cardinals. And the Cardinals traded him after five games to the Marlins (I believe Mabry had to consent to that.) After the 2001 season, Mabry was a free agent again and this time the Phillies decided to take a flyer on him. But Mabry couldn't stick around long because on May 22, 2002, A's general manager Billy Beane finally decided that he was not going to put up with Jeremy Giambi's foibles (euphemism) and sent the lesser, non-sliding Giambi to the City of Brotherly Love for Mabry. Mabry got to play in his second career postseason to go along with his postseason trip with the Cardinals in 1996. The Giambi-Mabry trade discussion on BTF was one of the longest threads of its era.

The A's didn't see any need to keep Mabry around and let him leave as a free agent and Mabry was able to reacquaint himself with Seattle for the 2003 season. But Mabry batted .212 and the Mariners let him be a free agent again.

So it was back to St. Louis for two more seasons for Mabry. In 2004, Mabry hit 13 home runs (matching his career high) in just 87 games and he put up a career high in OPS+ at 125. In 2005 Mabry played more and performed worse with an OPS+ of 81. And at the end of 2005, Mabry was a free agent again.

This time, it was the Cubs who came calling for Mabry. And in 107 games, Mabry's OPS+ was 53. Mabry wasn't invited back. The Rockies gave him a shot and realized, just like everybody else that Mabry was just not all that good.

Mabry's long career always surprised me since:

  1. He wasn't a particularly good hitter for average - .263
  2. He wasn't a particularly good fielder, although he played several positions
  3. He had a very low OBP - .322
  4. He had very little power - 96 home runs
  5. He wasn't very fast - 7 stolen bases in his career

I think Mabry's long career can only be explained by the fact that he was from Delaware. I've never trusted that state. I think there are powerful forces that ensure that there is some Delawarian (preferably two!) in the majors. But with Ian Snell showing that he should stick in the majors, the Delaware Cabal has apparently decided that Mabry is expendable.

If I don't post again for a while, then you know that the Rehoboth Beach Gang has gotten to me. They've already sent their calling card, a blue chicken feather, to me.

Other Delawarians who played during Mabry's big league career:

Cliff Brumbaugh

Delino Deshields

Wayne Franklin

Kevin Mench (still active)

Pedro Swann

Chris Widger

Lancaster comes up just short against Lake Elsinore
2007-05-19 09:49
by Bob Timmermann

The final from Clear Channel Stadium in Lancaster:

Lake Elsinore 30, Lancaster 0

The Lake Elsinore Storm, a Red Sox Padres affiliate in the California League, pounded the Lancaster JetHawks, a Red Sox affiliate, but missed the league record for hits in a game by one (they had 28) and runs in a game by four.

Two Lake Elsinore players, Matt Antonelli and Kyle Blanks, had six hits each.

Lake Elsinore hitting coach Max Venable was quoted as saying that the wind was blowing out. Which doesn't explain how Lancaster got just five hits.

Box score.

Lancaster outfielders Yahmed Yema and Bubba Bell were also hurt during a collision chasing a ball in the gap when the score was 22-0.


Walking, yes indeed they were walking
2007-05-18 22:23
by Bob Timmermann

In Oakland's 15-3 win over visiting San Francisco, Giants pitchers combined to walk 13 Athletics batters. That was the first time the Giants had walked that many batters in a 9-inning game since the second game of a doublheader on May 4, 1975 at Candlestick Park, a 12-8 loss to the Astros.

However, the Giants missed their franchise high for walks given out in a 9-inning game. That is 17 and that was done way back in the first game of a doubleheader on May 30, 1887 when New York lost to Chicago 12-11. New York led 11-6 going to the bottom of the ninth (they had opted to bat first), but pitcher Bill George walked four straight batters to start the ninth and then a pair of doubles and a pair of errors lead to six runs and a win.

And it took some effort to walk 17 batters in 1887 since batters had to get five balls for a walk then. On the other hand, in 1887, batters were given credit for a hit when they drew a walk, although not if they reached on a hit batter. Chicago was credited with 26 hits, although today they would only have been credited with nine.

Interleague Day 1 roundup
2007-05-18 22:20
by Bob Timmermann

They seem like they should be rivals - Braves at Red Sox - postponed

North Side vs South Side - Cubs 6, White Sox 3

Pinellas County vs Dade County - Marlins 8, Devil Rays 4

1993 World Series, Take Two - Phillies 5, Blue Jays 3

Cuyahoga County vs Hamilton County - Indians 9, Reds 4

2006 World Series deleted scene - Tigers 14, Cardinals 4

Bronx County vs Queens County - Mets 3, Yankees 2

Battle of the Beltway - Orioles 5, Nationals 4

Looking for walleyes - Twins 8, Brewers 1

Harris County vs Tarrant County - Rangers 7, Astros 4

Big 12 Conference Game - Royals 5, Rockies 2

Alameda County vs San Francisco County - Athletics 15, Giants 3

Los Angeles County vs Orange County - Angels 9, Dodgers 1

Teams that play in parks that have "CO" in the name - Padres 8, Mariners 1

AL 8, NL 5


Mmm, I smell ribs
2007-05-18 18:44
by Bob Timmermann

Hank Blalock of the Texas Rangers will be out for 10-12 weeks after having surgery to remove a rib to alleviate a case of thoracic outlet syndrome.

I don't believe thoracic outlets require three prongs.



Apologize for that!
2007-05-18 15:37
by Bob Timmermann

Bud Selig says he's sorry that baseball didn't "solve" its labor problems until recently.

"That [the reserve clause] should have been modified decades before someone like me came into the sport," Selig, who became the Milwaukee Brewers' owner in 1970, said after receiving an award from the Sports Lawyers Association. "Change was long overdue, and some balance to the relationship was necessary."

At the same meeting where Selig spoke:

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino called Selig "the Harry Truman of baseball commissioners" and said changes such as interleague play and the wild card make Selig the most accomplished of the sport's leaders.

Apparently Selig has decided that it is time to lob a couple of atomic bombs around. Or maybe he's inferring that the State Department is infested with Communist Party operatives. Or maybe Fay Vincent was really the Franklin D. Roosevelt of baseball. I need help with this allusion.

But Jason Giambi says MLB should apologize for having players, like him, who took steroids.

Giambi told USA Today on Wednesday that an apology for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball is long overdue.

"I was wrong for doing that stuff," Giambi said to the newspaper before a game against the Chicago White Sox. "What we should have done a long time ago was stand up - players, ownership, everybody - and said, 'We made a mistake.' We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward.

Old school schedule
2007-05-17 22:16
by Bob Timmermann

Interleague play starts tomorrow, but there is always one series that matches two NL teams.

So for those who refuse to watch interleague play, here's your calendar:

May 18-20 - Arizona at Pittsburgh

June 8-10 - Chicago at Atlanta (with one game before the second set of interleague games start)

June 11-13 - New York at Los Angeles

June 15-17 - San Diego at Chicago

June 18-20 - San Francisco at Milwaukee

June 22-24 - Philadelphia at St. Louis


Red Sox disable Beckett
2007-05-17 22:07
by Bob Timmermann

Boston put Josh Beckett on the 15-day DL after it was determined that his finger injury would require him to miss at least two starts. Devern Hansack was recalled from Pawtucket and will start against the Braves on Friday.

Beckett should be able to start again on May 29 against Cleveland.

He's homered everywhere and more so
2007-05-17 18:39
by Bob Timmermann

Sammy Sosa of Texas homered off Cleveland's Paul Byrd in the sixth inning at Jacobs Field. It was the 44th different stadium, Sosa has homered in, a major league record. Ken Griffey and Fred McGriff had hit homers in 43 different parks.

And on Wednesday, he homered at the Disney Wide World of Sports Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Florida to add a 45th park. (The AP uses Kissimmee as the location, but the Devil Rays say otherwise.)


The stadium roll call for Sosa via Retrosheet:

  1. Comiskey Park
  2. Fenway Park
  3. Tiger Stadium
  4. Wrigley Field
  5. Yankee Stadium
  6. County Stadium
  7. Memorial Stadium
  8. Candlestick Park
  9. Dodger Stadium
  10. Shea Stadium
  11. The Astrodome
  12. Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium
  13. Angel Stadium of Anaheim
  14. Busch Stadium (1966 version)
  15. Network Associates Coliseum
  16. Qualcomm Stadium (aka Jack Murphy)
  17. Cinergy Field (aka Riverfront)
  18. Three Rivers Stadium
  19. Veterans Stadium
  20. Arlington Stadium
  21. Kauffman Stadium
  22. The Kingdome
  23. Stade Olympique
  24. Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
  25. Rogers Centre (aka SkyDome)
  26. U.S. Cellular Field
  27. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  28. Dolphins Stadium
  29. Mile High Stadium
  30. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
  31. Coors Field
  32. Turner Field
  33. Chase Field
  34. Tropicana Field
  35. Safeco Field
  36. Minute Maid Park
  37. AT&T Park
  38. Comerica Park
  39. Miller Park
  40. PNC Park
  41. Great American Ballpark
  42. PetCo Park
  43. Citizens Bank Park
  44. Jacobs Field
  45. Disney Wide World of Sports Stadium

The new Rangers park and Jacobs Field pushed Sosa over the top. Sosa played at Cleveland Municipal, the Tokyo Dome, and Estadio Hiram Bithorn in San Juan without hitting a homer there. He has not played at RFK or the new Busch Stadium.

Braves sale approved
2007-05-17 07:45
by Bob Timmermann

Yesterday, MLB owners approved the stock transfer required to put the Atlanta Braves in the hands of Liberty Media Corp. The Braves are no longer part of the Time Warner empire.

Commissioner Bud Selig says the new ownership group is supposed to provide a bigger role for Henry Aaron, although it has not been specified what that is.

For corporate finance wonks, the details from the AP:

Time Warner and Liberty agreed to the sale in February. Liberty said Thursday it exchanged approximately 68.5 million shares of Time Warner common stock, subject to a working capital adjustment, for the Braves, Time Inc.'s Leisure Arts Inc. and $960 million. Liberty retained about 103 million shares (2.8 percent) of Time Warner common stock.

Starting Thursday, the Braves became a self-governed subsidiary of Liberty Media, with McGuirk reporting to the team's board in his capacity as chairman and president. John Schuerholz remains as general manager and Bobby Cox as manager.


Griddle contest: Over
2007-05-16 19:47
by Bob Timmermann

Courtesy of bhsportsguy, I have two tickets to Monday night's Dodgers-Brewers game at Dodger Stadium. It's a 7:10 pm start and the seats are in the Reserved Section, Aisle 1, Row R, Seats 1 and 2.

The tickets will go to the first person to email the answer to this question:

Who was the first player from the current Milwaukee Brewer franchise (this counts the AL and NL years, but NOT the 1969 Seattle Pilots season) to reach first base on catcher's interference.

Please e-mail your answer to

Put "Griddle contest" in your subject line.

Update - As of commenter "deadteddy8" got the right answer of Mike Hegan, who reached first on catcher's interference for the Brewers on June 3, 1970 at County Stadium in the fifth inning, three innings before teammate Jerry McNertney did the same. Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse was the guilty party both times.

For the record, Andrew Shimmin got the answer first, but did not want the tickets.



Mr. Infinity gets 50
2007-05-16 11:56
by Bob Timmermann

Lino Urdaneta, who was Mr. Infinity before turning into Mr. 63, was suspended 50 games for flunking a drug test for PEDs.

Taking Stock of Milt's feat
2007-05-16 07:16
by Bob Timmermann

With Rafael Furcal having his third straight four-hit game, he’s now one short of the major league record for most consecutive four-hit games, held by another Dodger, Milt Stock of Brooklyn from June 30-July 1, 1925. Stock was the Dodgers’ (or if you prefer Robins as they were commonly known at the time) second baseman that season, although he was primarily a third baseman during a major league career that spanned 14 seasons, starting as a 19-year old with New York Giants and including a start for the Phillies in the 1915 World Series.

On June 30, 1925, Brooklyn was taking on the Phillies at Baker Bowl. Brooklyn led 9-7 going to the bottom of the ninth when Russell Wrightstone hit a 2-run homer to tie the game, which the Phillies won in 11 innings, 10-9. Stock picked up four of Brooklyn’s 18 hits, including two doubles.

Brooklyn returned home on July 1 to face Boston. And Stock stayed hot going 4 for 5, including a triple in the ninth inning that turned out to be the winning run when Boston second baseman Ernie Padgett threw away a relay throw trying to catch Stock at third. Stock scored three of the four Brooklyn runs. Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson was “quoted” in the New York Times, “I guess that little Stock is not combing that old pill. Twenty-three hits in the last nine games and ninety-seven for the season, that’s him.”

On July 2, the Braves and Dodgers hooked up again and the Dodgers put up a 10 spot in the first inning en route to a 20-7 win. Stock had four singles in six trips to the plate. Brooklyn managed 20 runs without hitting a home run and sacrificing four times.

The second place New York Giants ventured over to Brooklyn on July 3. Stock went 4 for 5 and was now referred to as “Mauling Milt Stock.” Stock had one triple and three singles in five at bats in a game Brooklyn won 6-3 with three runs in the eighth. The game also featured a double play in the fourth when Brooklyn’s Zack Wheat popped up with the bases loaded and one out. Wheat was out on the infield fly rule, but Giants second baseman George Kelly let the ball drop to see if any Dodger would try to run. Dodger pitcher Tiny Osborne fell for the drop and started for home and Kelly gunned him out there for a DP to end the inning.

Stock’s hot hitting stopped on July 4 during a split-admission doubleheader at Ebbets Field. The Dodgers won the morning game 10-2, but Stock managed only two hits in five trips to the plate against of trio of Giants pitchers: Wayland Dean, Walt Huntzinger, and Jack Wisner. Stock's teammates came up with 14. In the afternoon game, Brooklyn won 5-3, but Stock went 0 for 5.

By the end of the 1925 season, Stock had piled up a career-high 202 hits and a career-best .328 batting average. However, according to his Sporting News obituary, Stock hurt himself in a collision with Lou Gehrig in a preseason exhibition and he could play in just three games in 1926 before retiring from baseball.

Eventually Stock got back to the majors as a coach, working for the Cubs from 1944 through 1948, then joining Burt Shotton's staff in Brooklyn in 1949. In 1950, Stock became the center of attention during the last game of the regular season.

The Dodgers trailed Philadelphia by one game and needed a win to force a playoff. The game was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 9th and the Dodgers had Cal Abrams on second and Pee Wee Reese on first with no one out. Duke Snider singled to center and Stock, even with no outs and Jackie Robinson on deck, decided to wave home Abrams. Ashburn nailed Abrams at the plate as Stock didn't notice that the center fielder had moved in close behind second in anticipation of a sacrifice attempt by Snider, and Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts was able to escape any damage after an intentional walk to Robinson followed by harmless fly outs by Carl Furillo and Gil Hodges. The Phillies would win the game and the pennant in the top of the tenth on a 3-run homer by Dick Sisler.

Shotton and Stock were not brought back for the 1951 season by the Dodgers for their misdeeds. Stock was hired on by Branch Rickey in Pittsburgh for the 1951 and 1952 seasons, but then spent the rest of his career managing various minor league teams.

Milt Stock passed away on July 16, 1977 in Fairhope, Alabama at the age of 84.

In Fredi Gonzalez's office
2007-05-15 18:17
by Bob Timmermann

"Time to fill out the lineup card. Let's see...

Amezaga, CF

Uggla, 2B

Ramirez, SS

Cabrera, 3B

Willingham, LF

Boone, 1B

Hermida, RF

Olivo, C

Obermiller, Obuermeller, Obeurmiller, Obermeller,


OK boys, let's go get 'em!"

Completeness? It's all how you define it
2007-05-15 09:17
by Bob Timmermann

Several news sources, including the Boston Herald, are reporting that Daisuke Matsuzaka is the first Red Sox rookie to throw a complete game since Tim Van Egmond did on July 29, 1994.

Ahh, but how soon they forget. Back on the last day of last season, October 1, 2006, Red Sox rookie pitcher Devern Hansack threw a complete game with no hits, albeit one that lasted only five innings.

Book Review: Dropping the Ball by Dave Winfield and Michael Levin
2007-05-14 20:50
by Bob Timmermann

Dropping The Ball: Baseball’s Troubles and How We Can and Must Solve Them by Dave Winfield with Michael Levin

Dave Winfield, Hall of Fame outfielder for the Padres, Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays, Twins, and Indians and now a Padres executive, decided that baseball had a lot of problems. And he had some ideas on how to fix them. And he spends a little over 200 pages writing (or having Levin write them out for him) about the problems and trying to fix them.

For the most part, Winfield doesn’t come up with any problem that most baseball fans haven’t heard of: the players are disconnected from the fans, the game isn’t marketed well, kids don’t want to play baseball, African-American kids really don’t want to play the game, players don’t do the “little things” anymore.

While it’s clear that Winfield feels passionately about these issues, I would have thought he would have had a little bit more insight into the game’s problems. But there’s nothing here that is groundbreaking, although that’s not what Winfield is trying to achieve.

Winfield’s plan to fix baseball is called “Baseball United” and like the name implies it involves getting management and players working together more closely and in a less antagonistic manner. There are also plans to make the game more popular with kids by improving youth coaching and encouraging more unstructured play.

The best idea Winfield has is the creation of what he calls “Jackie Robinson Grants”, which would be corporate sponsored scholarships for inner-city youths to play baseball, which has severely limited scholarships in the NCAA. This may be a worthy idea, but I think the NCAA might be hesitant to allow it, especially after other sports wonder why they can’t do it (e.g. golf and tennis) and also Title IX restrictions would require a comparable program for women’s sports.

The book comes with an endorsement by none other than George Steinbrenner, or at least a PR person for Steinbrenner. The book jacket also uses this description, “Urbane and entertaining, this is a trenchant, thought-provoking, and uplifting analysis of what can be done…” Apparently the publisher believes that if you use a lot of adjectives, more people will buy the book. At least that's my belief in my planned novel "The Giant, Incredible, Super-Nice, Friendly Book Reviewer Who Thought That His Big, White, Super-cool Automobile Could Save The Endangered Green Planet from Destruction."

The entry contains a review by ghostwriter Levin himself, which seems a bit odd. But he likes the book! What a surprise!

I wish I had Levin’s enthusiasm for the book. But it all seems like a lot of filler. Winfield obviously loves the game of baseball and wants to do something good for it. But I don’t think a 200-page book was needed to explain a 6-page theory. And I don’t know if Dave Winfield were playing today, he would be the guy being asked to hit behind runners or lay down bunts (he had 19 sacrifices in his career). I never realized that I had finally gotten old enough that I player whose whole career I remembered would write a book bemoaning how today’s players aren’t as good as his generation. Man, I’m old.

MLB tweaks playoff schedule
2007-05-14 15:33
by Bob Timmermann

Get ready for November baseball!

In order to add more off days in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the World Series is now scheduled to start on Wednesday, October 24. Games 3-5 will wrap around on Friday through Monday October 27-29. Games 6 and 7, if necessary will be, on Hallowe'en and The Day of the Dead. Games 5 through 7 of the 2001 World Series took place in November on 11/1, 11/3, and 11/4.

The Division Series will start on Wednesday, October 3 with two NL games and one AL game.

The full schedule is here.



Random Record of the Week #7
2007-05-14 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

First of all, you can read what some other guy thinks how baseball fans regard records today.

Random Record of the Week #7

Page 138 – Pitchers with 20-win seasons while playing in two leagues

Originally this was going to be about players who turned unassisted triple plays, but then Troy Tulowitzki made that passé. So I moved up the page.

There are nine pitchers in major league history who have had 20-win seasons while splitting time between two leagues, four of them in the 19th Century, four in the 20th Century, and one in the 21st Century.

Continue reading...

The 'He's your problem now' trade
2007-05-13 19:07
by Bob Timmermann

The Marlins and Rockies swapped struggling relievers Jorge Julio and Byung-Hyun Kim for each other today. Kim was 1-2 with a 10.50 ERA before going on the DL and was in a rehab stint at Colorado Springs. Julio was 0-2 with a 12.54 ERA.

The Twins decided to make Sidney Ponson somebody else's problem.

And Cleveland shipped Jason Davis to Seattle for a player to be named later.

Also, congratulations to the UCLA women's water polo team which won the NCAA Championship today, defeating Stanford 5-4 in the final. The championship was the 100th in UCLA's history and the Bruins are the first school to hit triple figures in this category.


Happy Mother's Day
2007-05-13 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Whitey Kurowski and Stan Musial both tell you to wish your mom, wherever she may be, a "Happy Mother's Day."

Also you can visit here.


He won't name names
2007-05-13 01:03
by Bob Timmermann

Chad Curtis was asked some questions by investigators for former Senator George Mitchell's PEDs investigation, but he apparently wouldn't name names, according to a Stamford Advocate story.

It would have helped if Mitchell hadn't sent Jim Gray over to ask the questions.

Curtis thinks his career was prematurely shortened by his outspokenness:

If Curtis hadn't been so outspoken, he probably could have extended his career. He was very vocal about his Christianity, and he essentially earned his ejection from the Yankees when he publicly scolded Derek Jeter after Jeter joked around with then-Mariner Alex Rodriguez during a 1999 bench-clearing brawl.

He also got into a fight with former Met Kevin Mitchell while both were with the Indians in 1997, and he nearly fought current Blue Jay Royce Clayton during their time together with the Texas Rangers.

There's that and maybe there was the problem of Curtis not being all that good.

Phils put Howard on DL
2007-05-12 18:33
by Bob Timmermann

Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard has gone on the 15-day DL with a strained left quad as well as a sprained left knee. Chris Coste is taking his spot on the roster.

Howard was batting .204 with just six home runs this season. 

Nevin announces retirement
2007-05-11 22:50
by Bob Timmermann

Phil Nevin has announced that he has retired.

Which I already thought he had done. But it's official.

Nevin was the #1 pick in the amateur draft in 1992 by Houston and bounced around from Houston to Detroit to Anaheim to San Diego to Texas to the Cubs and finally to Minnesota.

In 1998 Nevin had 20 passed balls in just 69 games behind the plate for the Angels, no doubt in part to the presence of knuckleballer Steve Sparks on the staff, who was the pitcher for about 10 of those.

Boldly punctuating where no one has gone before
2007-05-11 17:12
by Bob Timmermann

The Seattle Mariners placed struggling pitcher Jeff Weaver (0-6, 14.32 ERA) on the disabled list and recalled Australian lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith from AAA Tacoma.

From my extensive research, i.e. eyeballing the list of names of every major leaguer that is listed in, Rowland-Smith is the first Major Leaguer to have a hyphenated last name.

So far, the only punctuation in last names have been apostrophes (mainly for Irish players whose names start with O') and periods (for players who have names that start with "St.")

There have been a handful of players with hyphenated first names, which are either nicknames (such as Jo-Jo White) or transliterated names into English (such as Chun-hui Tsao.)

Remember that my "research" on this was done in about 5-10 minutes while I was also watching the Mets-Brewers game on TV, so my possibility of an error is great.


Doc to the DL
2007-05-11 15:27
by Bob Timmermann

The Toronto Blue Jays placed Roy Halladay on the DL because of an appendicitis requiring him to de-appendixed. He should miss six weeks. link

Genius, kook, or something else?
2007-05-11 14:46
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has a long look at the work of Mike Marshall, 1974 NL Cy Young Award winner, who runs a school for pitchers in Zephyrillis, Florida. Marshall, who holds a Ph. D. from Michigan State in exercise physiology, claims that his training technques can eliminate almost all arm injuries, yet he is not welcome in the world of MLB.

You can check the linked video in the story to see the unusual pitching motion that Marshall espouses and that is shunned by MLB primarily because it's so different from what pitchers have done for a long time.

I heard Marshall speak at last year's SABR convention in Seattle and he embodied the word "iconoclast." He was sitting on a panel discussing the early days of the MLBPA and Marshall thought that the MLBPA's biggest failing was creating a system where the highest paid players make so much more than those earning the minimum. Marshall thought that the highest-paid player on a team should make only a certain percentage more than the lowest in order to create a more equitable salary structure.

Union turns down Mitchell request for medical records
2007-05-11 09:07
by Bob Timmermann

In addition to the medical records of five named players (Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Fernando Tatis, David Segui, Jerry Hairston, and Jason Grimsley), former Sen. George Mitchell also asked the Major League Players Association to submit to him an unspecified number of anonymous medical records

The MLBPA turned down Mitchell's request, sort of:

From the AP:

The union has not agreed to a request for anonymous records because players fear Mitchell's staff would use information in them -- such as age, height, weight and blood type -- to connect the records to specific players, the lawyers said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the talks. Although the union has not formally rejected the request, it has no intention of agreeing, the lawyers said.


Arizona's Callaspo arrested for domestic assault
2007-05-10 23:27
by Bob Timmermann

Diamondbacks infielder Alfredo Callaspo was arrested by Phoenix police on suspicion of assault on his wife.

Callaspo will not make the upcoming road trip with the Diamondbacks.

Last weekend, Seattle pitcher Julio Mateo was also arrested on a domestic violence charge.

Link via BTF.

Choi returns to Korea for a lot of won
2007-05-10 23:02
by Bob Timmermann

As expected, former Cub, Marlin, and Dodger, Hee Seop Choi signed a contract with the KIA Tigers for 1.6 billion won, or about $1.3 million, according to a Reuters report.

Choi is expected to start playing for KIA in ten days. The Tigers are presently in last place in the 8-team Korean League.

Tigers bring in Harwell for a pinch-announcing spot
2007-05-10 18:53
by Bob Timmermann

Longtime Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell, 89 years old and likely with more spring in his legs than this 41-year old, will fill in on the Tigers telecast on FSN Detroit on Thursday, May 24 in a 10:05 am PT game against the Angels.

The last time Harwell filled in for an entire game was in 2003 and the game went 17 innings.

Since I live in the L.A. area, the Tigers broadcast will be blacked out on Extra Innings. So I will not be able to hear some of Harwell's trademark phrases such as:

"He stood there like the house by the side of the road and just watched it go by." (after a called third strike.)

"That foul ball was caught by a fan from (insert name of distant suburb.)"

"It's two for the price of one" (after a double play)

"It's going, that ball is looooonnngggg gone....."

And presumably Jeanne Zelasko won't cut Harwell off in mid-sentence like she did in the pre-game show for the 2005 All-Star Game.


Meanwhile enjoy this bit of Harwell:
Bad left elbows roundup
2007-05-10 16:14
by Bob Timmermann

B.J. Ryan of Toronto will miss the rest of the year after having reconstructive surgery on his left elbow.

Dave Roberts of San Francisco will have arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow and will miss about four weeks.

He came in for socks and left with a very expensive glove
2007-05-10 11:26
by Bob Timmermann

Mark Webb of Santa Clarita, California, walked into a sporting goods store in Northridge looking for some socks and left with a baseball glove. An Alex Rodriguez model glove. Except it was more than that. It was really Alex Rodriguez's glove. As Ramona Shelburne of the Daily News reports:

While he was looking around in the baseball equipment section of the store, a tan glove at the end of the used-glove rack caught his eye.

He stared hard at it. The name had been stitched into the thumb in cursive letters: Alex Rodriguez.

No, it couldn't be. Could it?

Webb had played a decade of minor league baseball, so he knew a professional player's glove when he saw it. The leather is the best quality; it's perfectly broken in with glove oil. Sometimes there's extra padding in the pocket. And the player's name is always perfectly stitched into the leather along one of the fingers.

But what the heck was A-Rod's glove doing here?

Couldn't be. Nah.

So he went back to the sock rack, picked out a pair and headed toward the register.

He made it about 5feet and stopped. He just had to know. So he went back, took the tan glove off the rack and saw two little words that made his jaw drop: "Pro Preferred."

It was real.


Each glove cost about $100 to $150. Webb was no expert, but he guessed each glove would be worth at least triple that to a collector.

"I said to the guy at the register: `You just sold a small fortune in gloves. You really should call the owner and let him know,"' Webb said.

It turns out Webb was wrong. Each glove wasn't worth triple what he paid for it. The tan "Alex Rodriguez" glove alone is up to $2,800 on eBay and could go as high as $5,000 to $7,000 by the end of the auction Friday.


Thanks to Jon Weisman for the heads up.
Guest Book Review: Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy
2007-05-10 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy (Smithsonian Books 2007)

Guest Book Review by BHSportsguy

If not for one baserunning play in 1908, Fred Merkle would have been one the forgotten men who played baseball in what we now call "The Deadball Era."

He had some good years for the New York Giants and played on 5 teams that won the pennant though they all lost the World Series.

But when he woke up on the morning of September 23, 1908, he had no idea that he would become a part of baseball lore and his name alone would be forever linked with an incident in baseball's most controversial game according to author Cait Murphy in her book, Crazy '08.

Continue reading...

CI: SF + Anaheim
2007-05-09 19:35
by Bob Timmermann

Add Shawn Green to the list of batters reaching on catcher's interference, which I believe is #11 for the season. Eliezer Alfonzo of the Giants was the guilty party.

It's Green's first free trip to first via an overanxious catcher.

Update - Travis Hafner of Cleveland picked up #12 (or so) of the season with Mike Napoli of the Angels getting dinged for it. It was Hafner's fifth career CI.

Thanks to overkill94

Previous post on the topic.


Intentionally left behind?
2007-05-09 19:16
by Bob Timmermann

As I was playing around with Baseball-reference's Play Index tool, I was wondering if any player had a season where his only time at bat resulted in an intentional walk. Perhaps I should wonder about different things. But that's another story.

There was one player whose only turn at the plate consisted of watching four pitches sail wide.

On April 24, 1962, Ozzie Virgil of the Orioles came up as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth with two outs against the Twins. The Orioles had rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the ninth and had pulled to within 4-3 with runners on second and third.

Orioles manager Billy Hitchock sent Marv Throneberry up to pinch hit against Twins reliever Joe Bonikowski. Twins manager Sam Mele countered by sending in southpaw Dick Stigman to face the left-handed Throneberry. So Hitchcock called on the right-handed Virgil to bat for Throneberry. Not one to be outmaneuvered, Mele had Stigman intentionally walk Virgil to load the bases and face left fielder Boog Powell, a 20-year old rookie. Powell singled to score the tying and winning runs.

At the end of April, Virgil was sent back to the minors as the Orioles had a surplus of infielders. He was only up because at the time, teams were allowed to carry three extra players out of spring training until May 1 when they had to cut down to 25.

Virgil never got called back up by the Orioles that year or ever. He didn't make it back to the majors until 1965 with the Pirates. Virgil is probably better known as the first player from the Dominican Republic to play in the majors as well as being the first black player to suit up for the Detroit Tigers.

Also of interest, a list of 31 players since 1957 who received an intentional walk in their first major league game. The last player to pull off that feat was Jeff Salazar of the Rockies on September 6, 2006 against Washington.

Book Review: The New Cathedrals by Robert Trumpbour
2007-05-08 23:39
by Bob Timmermann

While it’s not solely about baseball, Robert C. Trumpbour’s The New Cathedrals: Politics and Media in the History of Stadium Construction, is a surprisingly interesting read on a topic that is somewhat abstract. That is, the way the news media covers the political debate over funding and building new stadium projects in the United States. And while we might think of the news media as being far more boosterish in the early part of the 20th Century, that boosterism persists, even in a city like New York.

Continue reading...

Mitchell seeks medical records of Sosa, Palmeiro, and others
2007-05-08 21:03
by Bob Timmermann

Former Senator George Mitchell, head of MLB's commission investigating the use of PEDs in the sport, has asked to see the medical records of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Grimsley, David Segui, and Fernando Tatis, according to a New York Times report.

All of the players were on the Baltimore Orioles, although not all at the same time.

Investigators have looked deeply into the Orioles, among other organizations. Mitchell’s staff has interviewed at least nine members of the Orioles’ front office and training staff, and has searched at least six of their personal computers for evidence relating to performance-enhancing drugs, the official said.

The computer searches, which took place after the interviews with Orioles staff members last summer, were also described by Bill Stetka, media relations director of the Orioles, whose computer was among those searched. Stetka said the team cooperated fully and that all the computers were returned.

Mitchell released a statement yesterday saying, “While it is our practice not to comment on the investigation, any suggestion that the investigation is focused on any single team is incorrect.”

Nah, they won't be that bad?
2007-05-08 19:36
by Bob Timmermann

Linton Weeks of the Washington Post thinks that the Nationals will be bad, no surprise, but he thinks they can be 2003 Tigers bad. And he thinks that if the Nationals don't win a World Series in the next five years, fans won't support them.

Personally, I don't see the fans in Washington being that impatient. Nor do I think the Nationals will lose 110 games, although they did lose tonight to Milwaukee to fall to 9-24, a .273 winning percentage.

The first AL Washington Senators team had its worst season in 1904 when it finished 38-113, a .252 percentage. The second AL Washington Senators had its worst season in 1963 at 56-106, a .346 percentage. The 1886 NL Washington entry stumbled across the finish line at 28-92, or .233. The current Nationals franchise had its worst year in its first year of existence in Montreal in 1969 at 52-110, .321.


Gagne returns
2007-05-08 15:08
by Bob Timmermann

The Texas Rangers have activated Eric Gagne from the disabled list and optioned Wes Littleton back to AAA Oklahoma.

No word if Gagne has called Ken Griffey to ask about any other type of injury he can sustain, but I saw the two of them with a Merck Manual at an All-Star game once looking up stuff.


Infinity no more
2007-05-07 21:08
by Bob Timmermann

New York Mets reliever Lino Urdaneta who was called up to the majors last week with an ERA of ∞, got two outs Sunday in Arizona without giving up a run to lower his career ERA to 81. Tonight, Urdaneta faced two batters in San Francisco, but one of them,  Bengie Molina,  connected for a home run (a 3-run shot, his second homer of the inning) and Urdaneta was charged with another run to further lower his career ERA to 63.

The highest finite ERA in major league history belongs to Joe Cleary, a pitcher for the 1945 Washington Senators, who gave up 7 runs in 1/3 of an inning in his major league career for an ERA of 189. Cleary was finishing up a fourth inning in which the Boston Red Sox scored 12 times.

Cleary's only out was by strikeout and he gave up five hits and three walks and then was relieved by Bert Shepard, who lost part of his leg fighting in World War II. Shepard gave up just one run in 5 1/3 IP.

The game, the second game of a doubleheader on August 4, 1945, was the only major league appearance for both Cleary and Shepard.



Tigers lose Zumaya for three months
2007-05-07 18:23
by Bob Timmermann

Hard-throwing Detroit reliever Joel Zumaya will miss about 12 weeks after being diagnosed with a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger. The tendon has to be repaired by a surgeon. Zumaya hurt himself while warming up in Kansas City Saturday night.

Rays reliever Salas suspended 50 games
2007-05-07 14:53
by Bob Timmermann

Tampa Bay reliever Juan Salas was suspended for 50 games for failing a drug test for PEDs. Salas is the first major leaguer to be suspended this season.

'The Devil Rays are on the clock'
2007-05-07 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

Coming to ESPN2 on June 7 at 11 am PT, it's the baseball entry draft!

(Karl Ravech speaks) "Let's go to the Rays war room where Erin Andrews is waiting."

"Thanks, Karl, I'm here in the Tampa Bay war room and it seems that their goal today is to pick players who are good at baseball."

"You think they can pull it off?"
"Honestly, Karl, I have no clue who these people are they're talking about?"

"So, you have as much information as you do during a game telecast."

"That's about right, Karl."
"OK, now let's go talk to Peter Gammons who is with Theo Epstein."

"Karl, let me tell you the names of 150 prospects I know. I put them in alphabetical order."

"Maybe not, Peter, let's go talk to the Oakland war room where Joe Morgan and Billy Beane are arguing with each other. Pedro Gomez is reporting."

"Karl, actually Billy Beane went some place else. It's actually Michael Lewis who is arguing with Morgan. It's been going on for about two hours and Morgan hasn't noticed the difference despite Lewis producing three dozen photos of himself with Tabitha Soren as well as three different book jackets."

This could be the most exciting opportunity to listen to information come out of a speaker phone since the late 1970s when we would all huddle around the TV to watch "Charlie's Angels" and listen for John Forsythe as Charlie Townsend to tell us what the nominal plot for the show would be that week.


Thanks to Philip Michaels and bhsportsguy for the tip.

Yeah, good luck with that Brian
2007-05-07 11:37
by Bob Timmermann

I often wonder about stories that start this way:

Unable to crack the Rockies' rotation, Brian Lawrence will attempt to restart his career with the New York Mets.

Random Record of the Week #6
2007-05-07 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Random Record of the Week #6

Page 119 – National League players with at least six hits in a game

Instead of a record held by one person, page 119 lists the 77 times when a National League player had at least six hits in a game. I was going to type out all the names, but that would turn out to be very tedious and not all that interesting. But there are 76 different players who have had at least six hits in a National League game, with Cal McVey of Chicago doing it twice, both times in 1876. (Kirby Puckett had two six hit games in the AL.)

Continue reading...

Ryans' Hope in DC?
2007-05-06 20:10
by Bob Timmermann

The Washington Nationals had a lineup today at Wrigley Field that featured three straight Ryans: Langerhans in center field, Zimmerman at third base, and Church in left field. And in the fourth inning, all of them were on base at the same time. But only Langerhans scored.

The losing pitcher for the Nationals was Ryan Wagner.

The pitcher who got the save for the Cubs? Ryan Dempster.

Cubs second baseman Ryan Theriot sent the game to extra innings with an RBI single.

I remember back to August 1, 1992 when the Dodgers sent out a lineup with three consecutive Erics: Young, Karros, and Davis.

So the question is: can the Nats top the Dodgers 63-99 mark in 1992?

Also on July 4, 2005, the Dodgers had three straight Jasons (not even cheating with Jayson Werth) when they went with Jason Phillips at catcher, Jason Grabowski in right field, and Jason Repko in center. Jim Tracy tried it again on July 6.

Thanks to Sam DC, the Griddle's Capitol Hill correspondent.


Phenom open thread: Hamels vs. Lincecum, 5 pm PT
2007-05-06 13:17
by Bob Timmermann

It's also the Phillies vs. the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The much fabled phenom of 2006, Cole Hamels, face the much fabled phenom of 2007, Tim Lincecum.

There's more potential energy in this game than C.C. Sabathia at the top of a water slide.

If you can't watch the stylings of Miller and Morgan you can follow along on Rob McMillin's Retro Gameday.

Police seeking missing Mateo for questioning **
2007-05-05 15:48
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Police Department was trying to locate Seattle pitcher Julio Mateo after his wife, Aurea, was treated at a Manhattan hospital for a bleeding lip that required stitches.

Mateo was not at Yankee Stadium for the Mariners game today. Police are hoping that Mateo will turn himself in.

Update - The Seattle Times reports that Mateo did contact the police by telephone, but did not come in to a station for questioning.

Update 2 - Mateo has turned himself in to the police. Seattle has optioned him to the minors.

Carpenter to miss three more months
2007-05-05 12:49
by Bob Timmermann

Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter will have arthroscopic elbow surgery next week and be out for at least three more months. Carpenter started on Opening Day against the Mets and has not pitched since.

Mariners and Indians finally reschedule
2007-05-05 09:18
by Bob Timmermann

Seattle and Cleveland finally agreed on the rescheduling of their four snowed out games from April.

The Mariners will make three one-day trips to Cleveland on May 21, June 11, and August 30 and then host Cleveland in a doubleheader on September 26 to make up the fourth game. MLB decided to allow Cleveland to bat last in one of the games of the doubleheader (the first one) in Seattle, ending a long-standing practice of always having the home team bat last in these types of makeup games.



Scioscia mooooves atop the Angels leaderboard
2007-05-04 21:59
by Bob Timmermann

With the Angels 5-1 win over the White Sox tonight in Anaheim, Mike Scioscia became the winningest manager in franchise history, surpassing Bill Rigney. The win was the 626th for Scioscia.

Continue reading...

Yankees and Red Sox possible choices for 2008 season opener in Asia
2007-05-04 21:37
by Bob Timmermann

MLB appears to want the Yankees and Red Sox to open up the 2008 season in Asia, preferably with an exhibition game in China and then two games that count (one home game for each team) in Japan presumably at the Tokyo Dome, according to the New York Times.

The New York Post says that if the Yankees don't want to play, the Dodgers would step in although that would require some weird scheduling to make any of those games count in the regular season.

The Times also suggested that the Dodgers and Padres could be another pair. I think the Japanese would enjoy a heated rivalry like the Dodgers-Padres just as much as the Yankees-Red Sox as the California rivalry is smaller and more efficient.

Mitchell to ask active players to appear at steroid investigation panel
2007-05-04 20:58
by Bob Timmermann

Former Senator George Mitchell, who is heading up MLB's latest investigation into PEDs, is going to ask an unknown number of active players to appear in person before his investigatory commission, according to a New York Times story.

About the only player guaranteed NOT to testify is Barry Bonds, whose attorney has said that his client cannot cooperate because he is already the subject of a Federal Grand Jury investigation. Mitchell has no power to compel any testimony from any player because of an 1980 decision by an arbitrator in a case involving Ferguson Jenkins and his arrest for drug possession.

The aged must be served ...
2007-05-04 20:18
by Bob Timmermann

Gopher balls that is.

In the second inning tonight at Chase Field in Phoenix, 48-year old Julio Franco homered off of 43-year old Randy Johnson. That's 91 years in total on that homer.

I'm going with that as the oldest pitcher-hitter pair until I find out otherwise. So far other "old pairs" I've found include a 36-year old Eddie Joost homering off a 46-year old Satchel Paige in 1953 and a 39-year old Cy Williams homering off of a 43-year old Babe Adams in 1926. Those both add up to 82 years.

Each homer Franco hits adds to his record for "oldest player to hit a home run."

Ethier takes over lead in CI race
2007-05-04 17:06
by Bob Timmermann

Andre Ethier reached on catcher's interference in the second inning in Atlanta against Braves catcher Brian McCann. That was the second time this season for Ethier. It was also the second in consecutive starts for McCann who was called for CI against Rod Barajas of Philadlphia on Tuesday. And I believe it was the ninth tenth time in the majors this season.

The earlier CIs.

Florida legislature turns down new stadium for Marlins again
2007-05-04 15:45
by Bob Timmermann

For the sixth time, the Florida State Legislature rejected an attempt to gain state funding to help finance a new stadium for the Florida Marlins.

The latest setback came despite the backing of new Gov. Charlie Crist, a sports enthusiast who believes professional sports provide good economic anchors. Crist's first job after law school was as an attorney for minor league baseball.

"I have a warm spot in my heart for baseball, so I think we ought to keep trying," said Crist. He wouldn't rule out adding the issue to next month's special 10-day session on property taxes.

No word if the Legislature would approve funding for a new stadium if the Marlins promised to start their season every fourth year in early January.

Baseball on TV news updates
2007-05-04 14:03
by Bob Timmermann

Cablevision has finally agreed to carry the MLB Extra Innings package on its digital cable service. According to Maury Brown, the last major carrier holding out is Charter Communications. Today is the deadline for cable carriers to come to an agreement with INDemand to carry Extra Innings or be shut out from carrying it until 2013.

Also, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports had a column about the possibility of MLB changing its local blackout rules, which makes its impossible for fans in some states to see just about any "out of market" team. Passan cites the case of the Kansas City Royals, who are blacked out in the entire states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

Jenkins finally gets Canadian honor
2007-05-04 13:48
by Bob Timmermann

Or even an honour.

After waiting 23 years, apparently because he was busy playing baseball in the U.S. back in 1984, Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins received his Order of Canada award from Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean.

Jenkins had been given the award in 1984, but couldn't make the ceremony that year and apparently it took a while for anyone to remember to call Jenkins back to reschedule.

Jenkins says that even though he spends most of the year living on a golf course in Arizona, this country is a proud part of his identity.

"My mother would turn over in her grave if I gave up my citizenship," Jenkins said.

"I'm totally Canadian. . . . From my education, to my heritage, to growing up here, it's just something I'm very proud of."

I also hear that, as a Canadian, Ferguson Jenkins is standing on guard for thee.

So just where is this man going?
2007-05-04 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Today would have been my father's 78th birthday and I thought I would remember him with this shot of him that made him look like he was posing for the back cover photo of his novel. Somehow, my mom was able to shoot pictures of my dad in interesting ways.

Continue reading...

To infinity and beyond!
2007-05-03 19:41
by Bob Timmermann

After one bad start this year as a fill-in, the Mets have decided to designate Chan Ho Park for assignment and instead bring up Lino Urdaneta, whose major league career got off to a bad start in 2004.

Urdaneta has not pitched in the majors since that day in 2004, which has left him with an ERA of ∞. If Urdaneta retires a batter before giving up a run, his ERA will drop ∞ to 162.

They were waiting by the mailbox
2007-05-03 16:43
by Bob Timmermann

The US, Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela all received invitations to play in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

I'm sure they were all sweating that out. The rest of the field will be announced in December. They better invite South Africa again! They had a nice-looking cap.

Thanks to Barry Cohen for the tip.


Is it time for the Messiah in San Francisco?
2007-05-03 16:30
by Bob Timmermann

Russ Ortiz has neuritis in his right elbow. He has to go on the DL. Giants fans weep.

Infielder Kevin Frandsen was immediately called up to replace him.

But the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman thinks that Tim Lincecum (4-0 0.29 ERA at AAA Fresno) will be called up to pitch for the Giants on Sunday night in the ESPN game against the Phillies.

In case you missed the events of 2004
2007-05-03 09:59
by Bob Timmermann

"HBO Goes to Bat for Red Sox Mini"

So says the headline in Variety.

HBO Films and HBO Sports will give miniseries treatment to the Stephen King/Stewart O'Nan book "Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season."

Bill Diamond has been set to write the mini, which will be broken down to six hourlong episodes that will dramatize how the team ended its 86-year drought and won the 2004 World Series.

The mini will dramatize the build-up to the playoffs with storylines told from the eyes of fans, players and the front office, led by baby-faced general manager Theo Epstein, which assembled the championship team.

Because we just haven't heard enough about the 2004 Red Sox yet. I'm still waiting for the miniseries about the Marlins World Series triumph in 2003. It will be called "Those Guys Won? Really? How?"

Salty, Holly, and Schreck
2007-05-03 07:44
by Bob Timmermann

Congratulations to Atlanta Braves catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is now the all-time major league record holder for longest last name at 14 letters.

Goodbye to former record holders such as Todd Hollandsworth, William Van Landingham, Ossee Schreckengost (who had a different name at birth, and it was shorter), Bill Knickerbocker, and Austin Knickerbocker.

I'll take my 10-letter last name and go off and hide in shame.

Yomiuri hits gosen in wins
2007-05-02 23:27
by Bob Timmermann

The Yomiuri Giants became the first Japanese pro team to win 5,000 games with a 5-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons in 11 innings at the Nagoya Dome. (Take note of the name of the source in the link.)

The Giants won their first game on July 3, 1936.

The winningest team in the US major leagues? According to Baseball-Reference, the leader is also the Giants at 10,127, if you count both their New York and San Francisco totals. The Chicago Cubs have the most while representing one city at 9,912. The New York Yankees lead the AL at 9,299, a figure which also counts the Baltimore seasons.

Snelling and Langerhans swapped
2007-05-02 19:36
by Bob Timmermann

For each other.

I'll let the good people of Catfish Stew reminisce about the Ryan Langerhans Era in Oakland as it's over. Watching the Washington-San Diego game on Extra Innings, Don Sutton, of the Nats broadcast team, said that Washington had acquired Langerhans from Oakland in exchange for Chris Snelling.

Here's how my arrival home from work went.

  1. Put away groceries.
  2. Turn on TV and watch end of Boston-Oakland game.
  3. See Langerhans play in the game.
  4. Doze off for a few minutes.
  5. Find out that the Boston-Oakland game is over and now I have the San Diego-Washington game on.
  6. Hear Don Sutton make announcement that Ryan Langerhans will be a Nat. Sutton and Bob Carpenter are very excited about this.

I guess I'll go eat dinner now before my spinach salad is traded to my neighbor for a bowl of soup.

Cleveland protest denied
2007-05-02 16:24
by Bob Timmermann

The Cleveland Indians' protest of their loss 7-4 loss to Baltimore last Saturday, aka the Night of the Mysteriously Added Run, was denied by the Commissioner's Office today.

Cleveland GM Mark Shaprio thought he had a good case but ...

In a memo from the league office explaining [MLB president and chief operating officer Bob] DuPuy's decision, Rule 9.01(c) is cited.

"The Official Baseball Rules do not address when the umpires can make such a correction in those circumstances," the memo read. "When the rules do not address a situation, Official Baseball Rule 9.01(c) gives them the discretion to rule on any point not otherwise covered by the Rules."

Shapiro jokingly referred to the rule as an "escape hatch."

You can get a rehash of the events in question by reading the linked article.



No wonder the line is so long at Orlando's BBQ stand
2007-05-02 15:14
by Bob Timmermann

Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, who has a barbecue stand at AT&T Park named for him, was arrested today in Cordelia, California after California Highway Patrol officers found illegal drugs in his car.

And I thought they just were lining up for the tri-tip.

Thanks to Martin Hoyt for the tip.

Special request open chat: Champions League semifinal, Man U vs AC Milan, 11:30 am PT
2007-05-02 09:50
by Bob Timmermann

It's the second leg of the Champions League semifinal between two of the big boys of European soccer. Manchester United won the first leg at Old Trafford, 3-2. The second leg is at San Siro. Man U advances to the final in Athens on May 23 to face Liverpool with a win or draw or losing by a score of 4-3. AC Milan advances with a win if it is by more than one goal or 1-0 or 2-1. There could be a penalty kick tiebreaker too. Or I could have remembered the tiebreakers used. Feel free to correct me.

I believe you can watch the game on if you wish to be a slacker at work.

Suspended animation! Part 2!
2007-05-01 20:36
by Bob Timmermann

Tonight's game between the Cubs and Pirates in Pittsburgh has been suspended in the bottom of the 7th with a 1-2 count on Chris Duffy who is leading off the inning.

The game was suspended because of Rule 4.12 (a) (5)

A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons: ...

Weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead;

The Cubs trailed 5-2 going into the 7th then rallied for four on RBI doubles by Matt Murton and Alfonso Soriano and a 2-run home run by Cliff Floyd. The game should resume Wednesday afternoon at 9:35 am PT, followed by the regularly scheduled game.

Milwaukee and Florida had a suspended game that started on April 10 and finished on April 11 with the Brewers winning 3-2.

It is the first suspended game for the Pirates since June 16, 1986. And when that game was halted by rain with 2 outs in the top of the 6th, the umpires ruled the game over and gave the Cardinals a 4-1 win. The Pirates protested that the umpires did not wait long enough for the rain to let up and NL president Chub Feeney agreed and the game was restarted the next day. The Cardinals would win 4-2. It is the last protest to be upheld in MLB history.

The Cubs last suspended game was on April 5, 1997 in Atlanta. The Cubs were trailing the Braves 8-5 going to the bottom of the seventh when persistent rain showers forced the game to drag on past 12:45 am. Under NL rules of the time, any game stopped by rain after that time would be a suspended game.

Use a flashlight, go to jail?
2007-05-01 13:19
by Bob Timmermann

Frank Martinez, the 40-year old Mets fan from the Bronx  (note to Frank, the Mets don't play in the Bronx, there's another team that plays there, see here) pleaded guilty to interfering with a professional sporting event. Martinez has to spend 15 days in jail and is banned from Shea Stadium for three years.

On a related note, I've been banned from Connie Mack Stadium for 10 years and I have a lifetime ban at Griffith Stadium.

A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
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