Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: February 2008


Yoshii tries to mix and match MLB and NPB styles as pitching coach in Sapporo
2008-02-28 19:41
by Bob Timmermann

Brad Lefton of the New York Times profiles retired MLB and NPB pitcher Masato Yoshii, who is starting his first year as the pitching coach for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

Yoshii pitched 19 seasons at the top level in Japan and North America, five of them in MLB for the Mets, Rockies, and Expos. Yoshii is one of the few players to leave Japan, come to the U.S. and then go back. And Yoshii is the first Japanese player to have played in MLB to become a coach in NPB since Hideo Nomo started the exodus in 1995.

One glimpse of Yoshii in his new role shows he is not afraid to continue his trendsetting ways. The key is his stopwatch. With it, he is bucking the tradition here of allowing pitchers to throw an unlimited number of pitches in pursuit of muscle memorization and a certain level of machismo.

Instead, he encourages pitchers to practice within a defined number of minutes. In so doing, he said he hoped pitchers would throw less, cutting down on fatigue and the likelihood of injuries. He learned to appreciate that concept in the United States.

“We have a relatively young pitching staff,” Yoshii said. “So far they’ve been receptive to the idea of pitching to time instead of pitch counts, but I’m not forcing this on anyone. If someone wants to throw beyond the allotted time, I don’t say, ‘No way.’ I let them do it, but with an eye toward caution and not letting their pitch counts get out of hand.”

On this day, he gave each pitcher 25 minutes on the mound, reasoning it would keep them below 100 pitches. One pitcher threw 103. “That was the coach’s fault,” Yoshii said with a laugh. “I forgot to start the watch.”


Yu Darvish is considered a pitching prodigy in Japan. Darvish had a breakout year in 2007 at age 21. He won the Sawamura award, Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young, with a 15-5 record and 1.82 earned run average. He led the league in strikeouts and complete games, and was named the league’s most valuable player.

“This guy’s got all the natural talents of a pitcher like you’ve never seen,” Yoshii said. “He has excellent command of at least five pitches. He’s tall, his arms are long; he simply possesses everything a pitcher needs. At 21, he’s already the best pitcher in Japan.

“The best thing I can offer him is a way to work out that minimizes the risk of injury. He already understands good pitching mechanics and has impeccable control.”



MLB to try out a few new rules in the minors
2008-02-28 16:01
by Bob Timmermann

The MLB Rules Committee announced a few rules changes that will be tried out in the minors (New York-Penn and Northwest Leagues) this season to see how they work and if they will be implemented at the big league level:

  • Pitchers will have 15 seconds, instead of 12, to make a pitch when there are no runners on base. The clock starts when the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher or whomever had it last. If the batter is not ready because he dawdled, each pitch would automatically be called a strike.
  • In addition to the mandatory removal of a pitcher if the manager or coach visits the mound twice in an inning, the rule is being expanded to include the mandatory removal at the time of the fourth visit overall in a game. No more than one infielder may visit the mound during any visit by a coach.
  • Baseline coaches (who are already required to helmets this year at all levels) will be prohibited from moving closer to the field than the front edge of the coaching box or the side closest to fair territory until a batted ball passes by them.
But at least it's not a problem
2008-02-28 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

Cecil Fielder is the new manager of the Surf, a team that plays in the independent Can-Am League. The Atlantic City Surf.

Fielder claims that he won't gamble while in Atlantic City and he doesn't have a gambling problem. But as the AP story says:

On just two days in February 1999, he lost $580,000 at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. According to a lawsuit filed in state Superior Court, Fielder paid off small amounts of the debt until the following year, when Trump Plaza sued him and won a judgment for $563,359.

Asked if he had repaid the debt, Fielder would only say, “That’s all in the past.”

A spokesman for Trump Entertainment Resorts, which operates three Atlantic City casinos including Trump Plaza, would not say if the debt had ever been collected.

Asked if he considered himself at any point to be a problem gambler, Fielder replied, “No. I just had the opportunity to have large credit lines across the country.”

The worst part was when his son Prince showed up at a school assembly dressed in two poorly sewn together sofa cushions that were supposed to resemble an outline of the state of Florida.


Weekly Puzzle #11
2008-02-28 09:00
by Bob Timmermann
Police issue arrest warrant for Spiezio
2008-02-27 13:27
by Bob Timmermann

The Irvine (CA) Police Department have issued an arrest warrant for Cardinals utility man Scott Spiezio for a whole bunch of charges relating to an automobile accident in December.

I would assume that Spiezio, who has reported to the Cardinals camp in Jupiter, is not hard to find. The accident came after Spiezio came out of treatment for substance abuse last summer.

UPDATE - The Cardinals have released Spiezio.

Sunday Game of the Week scheduled
2008-02-27 10:44
by Bob Timmermann

TBS has announced its schedule for its first eight Sunday afternoon national telecasts.

And do any of the games not involve a team from New York, Boston, Los Angeles, or Chicago?

The answer is no:

Sunday, April 6 10:00 a.m. Boston Red Sox @ Toronto Blue Jays
Sunday, April 13 10:30 a.m. Chicago Cubs @ Philadelphia Phillies
Sunday, April 20 10:30 a.m. LA Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves
Sunday, April 27 10:00 a.m. NY Yankees @ Cleveland Indians
Sunday, May 4 1:00 p.m. NY Mets @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Sunday, May 11 10:00 a.m. NY Yankees @ Detroit Tigers
Sunday, May 18 10:30 a.m. Milwaukee Brewers @ Boston Red Sox
Sunday, May 25 10:00 a.m. Seattle Mariners @ NY Yankees

All times are PT.

Chip Caray will handle the SHOUT BY SHOUT. TBS will carry a game every Sunday afternoon throughout the regular season. I demand more Pirates games!

Cardinals will continue batting pitcher in #8 slot
2008-02-26 19:47
by Bob Timmermann

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has said that during spring training games where the DH is not used, his pitchers will be written in to the #8 slot. La Russa also said that this would continue during the regular season.

“We’ll hit the pitcher eighth,” he said. “We’re going to have a second leadoff as the ninth-place hitter.”

La Russa inserted a position player in the ninth spot behind the pitcher for the final 56 games last season. The Cardinals were 28-28 in those games after starting the season 50-56.

Brewers manager Ned Yost has broached the idea of having catcher Jason Kendall bat ninth.

Boone admits alcohol problem
2008-02-25 20:36
by Bob Timmermann

Bret Boone, trying to make a comeback with the Washington Nationals, admitted to having an alcohol problem and spending 26 days in a rehab facility in San Diego in 2006.

From an story:

Boone's problems started in a more subtle matter, but it got to a point where he would drink 12 to 15 beers after a game. At age 32, for example, Boone recalls dinking heavily after a game and then going 3-for-4 the next day. But as he got older, Boone's stats declined and he lost the passion for baseball.

"For me, it was an alcohol thing," Boone said. "It wasn't to the point where I was down and out. But it was to a point where I could see it was going there.

"I don't want to make a big deal about it, but I was at a point where sometimes it was more important to me to go to a hotel bar after a game. At the end, it takes away your passion and everything inside that makes you tick. I'm not proud of it. I'm proud I took care of the situation before it got to a point where it could have."

The Arbies are over for 2008
2008-02-24 14:01
by Bob Timmermann

The final two arbitration cases for 2008 were settled last week with Oliver Perez winning $6.5 million and Francisco Rodriguez losing and settling for a mere $10 million.

The owners were 6-2 this year in arbitration cases and have a 280-205 lead. Maury Brown's Biz of Baseball site has all the gory details going back to 1974.

Absolutely Bill Fischer
2008-02-23 21:10
by Bob Timmermann

Joe Posnanski in the Kansas City Star has a profile of Royals pitching consultant, Bill Fischer, who at age 77 is in his 60th year of working in baseball.

Fischer has a set of absolutes he tries to impart to all pitchers:

Absolute No. 1: Don’t bang your heel.

Don’t bang your heel. That’s the first absolute. Young pitchers get hurt all the time. They blow out their arms, their elbows, their shoulders, they chip bones, they tear tendons, and why? Fish will tell you why; he’s been in this game since Harry Truman was in office. It’s because these numskulls wind up, throw as hard as they can, and on their follow-through they bang the heel of their front foot into the ground, BAM, all that force rattles through them, shakes up the arm, a mini-earthquake every pitch.

Absolute No. 2: Throw four-seam fastballs.

“The pitchers are all trying to pitch the same,” he says. “You hear them talk, it’s all ‘Keep the ball down. Keep the ball down.’ What a bunch of bleep that is. That’s where all the bleeping guys hit, down. The worst bleeping hitters are low-ball hitters. The hardest pitch in baseball to hit is right here, up and in, high and tight, and there ain’t no way you can throw a two-seam fastball up here.”

Absolute No. 3: Don’t pitch across your body.

Well, that’s all Fish needed to hear. There’s a reason his third absolute is that pitchers should not throw across their bodies — it’s unnatural. “If I’m going to hit you, I don’t step across my body, do I? No. I step straight in. Boom. Then I can drop you.”

Absolute No. 4: Right-handers throw from the right-hand side of the pitching rubber; lefties throw from the left-hand side of the pitching rubber.

The lengthy profile is rich in some great anecdotes from Fischer about his career.
If you can't say anything nice...
2008-02-23 17:31
by Bob Timmermann

AP headline:

Despite big salary, RHP Matt Morris thinks he fits in with Pirates

I think I know how Morris fits in with the rest of his Pittsburgh teammates...
The Hall of Fame Game now becomes crucial issue in presidential campaign
2008-02-23 10:29
by Bob Timmermann

OK, I'm exaggerating.

But Hillary Clinton is backing the movement to save the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown.

If she gets elected, I'm guessing reinstituing the Hall of Fame will be Executive Order #1!

WBC venues set?
2008-02-22 20:57
by Bob Timmermann

Peter Bjarkman, a Cuban baseball historian and a blogger for, is reporting that the sites for all the 2009 World Baseball Classic have been set.

The first round sites would be the Tokyo Dome, Rogers Centre, Hiram Bithorn Stadium (San Juan, PR), and Mexico City (Foro Sol Stadium).

The second round games would be held in Anaheim and San Diego and the semifinals and finals would be held in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. As opposed to the other large baseball stadium in Los Angeles.

The USA team would likely play its first round games in Toronto.

Produce prices skyrocket in Wisconsin
2008-02-22 07:05
by Bob Timmermann

Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder has announced that he's turning vegetarian.


"I tell people I don't eat meat, and they're like, 'Oh!'" Fielder said, raising his hands and making a sour face. "They forget there's so much other food out there. Beans, rice, tofu. You've got a lot of good food, baby!"

Fielder made the decision to cut out meat after reading a bestselling book by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin with a title not fit for a family Web site. The book was given to Fielder by his wife, Chanel, who along with the couple's two kids was already on a meatless diet (though Chanel does eat fish). Fielder said it exposed to him the "gross" side of the carnivore business, and, as he first told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for Thursday's editions, he wanted nothing to do with it.

Judge for yourself if the title of the book is unfit for a "family Web site."

Weekly Puzzle #10
2008-02-21 13:12
by Bob Timmermann
Howard ends Phillies victory streak in arbitration cases
2008-02-21 10:22
by Bob Timmermann

Ryan Howard won the biggest arbitration award in baseball history, earning a $10 million contract today. The Phillies had offered $7 million.

Alfonso Soriano was awarded $10 million from the Washington Nationals back in 2006, but that Soriano lost that arbitration. Soriano experienced whatever the opposite of a Pyrrhic victory is.

The Phillies had won the seven previous arbitration hearings they had been involved in.

If you don't have a ticket, don't bother coming...
2008-02-21 10:11
by Bob Timmermann

The Oakland-Boston opening series in Tokyo has sold out. You could always try to buy a ticket from a friendly yakuza-connected scalper outside the Tokyo Dome. Haggling with organized crime figures in a language that you probably don't speak is not advised.

The AP story linked above repeats the myth that the Tokyo Dome seats 55,000 people.

I can't find a panoramic shot of all the seats, but here's a view looking out from home. And here's a shot looking back toward home. The stadium has just two decks and the top deck tapers down to just a few rows as it gets into the corners. If they sell standing room, there's no good place to stand to see any of the action as the lower deck has a lot of rows. I would guess that there are about 40,000 seats.

Rays unveil new (to me) stadium design
2008-02-21 09:33
by Bob Timmermann

Reader Monterey Chris passes along this link from Yahoo! Sports about pictures of a proposed new park for the Tampa Bay Rays. Theoretically, it could open in time for the 2012 season.

It certainly would be an improvement on Tropicana Field.

Also at SP Times and the Rays official website.

The Astros tortured offseason continues
2008-02-20 18:38
by Bob Timmermann

Houston signed free agent pitcher Shawn Chacon to a one-year, $2 million deal. Chacon joins other off-season acquisitions such as Darin Erstad, Chad Paronto, Jack Cassel, Jose Valverde (well he's not that bad), Miguel Tejada (he comes with baggage, but it's not Samsonite), and Kazuo Matsui. Jose Cruz and Lance Niekro have tryouts.

It's going to be a long year for Cecil Cooper.

Pittsburgh made up for Chacon's absence by signing Byung-Hyun Kim.

The Pittsburgh Pirates slogan for 2008: We're keeping Houston from finishing last!

Adrian Gonzalez: semantics expert
2008-02-20 18:26
by Bob Timmermann

The Associated Press ran a story today about the San Diego Padres and which players were eager to go to China next month for a pair of exhibition games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I want to eat some Chinese food,” Bell said Wednesday. “My wife’s Chinese, so she’s going to tag along, but I also want to see what real Chinese food is like. Two, I thought it would be cool to play in China.”

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, one of only two regulars scheduled to go to Beijing, raised a good point.

“Over there it’s not called Chinese food. It’s called food. Like when I go to Mexico, it’s not Mexican food anymore. It’s food.”

Emphasis mine.

New B-R Play Index tool
2008-02-20 07:28
by Bob Timmermann

Sean Forman of has rolled out a new feature as part of the Play Index. It is called Batting Order Position Outcomes summary. Here's a link to the Red Sox from last year.

From there, you can head off to other teams and years and other slots in the batting order.

Granny, get out the rye bread! Niehaus wins the Frick Award
2008-02-19 17:58
by Bob Timmermann

Longtime Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus, who started with the team at its inception in 1977, has been chosen as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, given annually for broadcast excellence.


"Tino [Martinez] was hitting a lot of grand slams at the time, and I had always used the term 'salami' for a grand slam, as a lot of us do," Niehaus said. "I remembered an expression my grandmother used, and that's when I came out with, 'Get out the rye bread and the mustard, Grandma, it's grand salami time.' The vendors have been sending me up stuff ever since."


Bob Howsam, 1918-2008
2008-02-19 11:00
by Bob Timmermann

Bob Howsam, former general manager of the Cincinnati Reds during the heyday of the mid-1970s, as well as GM of the Cardinals, passed away today in Sun City, Arizona at age 89.

Howsam was also instrumental in starting two professional sports teams in Denver: the Broncos and the Rockies. At the 2003 SABR convention in Denver, someone gave me one of Howsam's season tickets to go see the Rockies play the Giants. Howsam had really good seats.

At that convention, Howsam sat in on a scouts panel. Someone asked him who was the best player, he scouted. The answer: Johnny Bench. That beat out the guy on the panel who said the best player he scouted was Dave Hollins.

Get your WBC Brackets ready
2008-02-19 09:45
by Bob Timmermann

The field of 16 has been picked for the second World Baseball Classic, which will be held next spring. The 16 participants will be the same as the ones who played in 2006: Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Korea, USA, Mexico, Canada, Taiwan, China, Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, Italy, Australia, Netherlands, and South Africa.

Venues will be announced next month. All four first-round games will be played outside of the United States this time. The Tokyo Dome and the Rogers Centre are two likely venues. Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico was also used in the last tournament. Presumably a stadium in the Dominican Republic would be used. I woudn't count on Caracas hosting any games. Or Havana.

The field is expected to increase to 24 nations for 2013.

Tejada officially says "No comment"
2008-02-19 08:53
by Bob Timmermann

Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada, upon reaching the Astros spring training site in Kissimmee, Florida, declined to comment upon his presence in Mitchell Report on the advice of attorneys.

From the AP:

Miguel Tejada said he’s been advised by attorneys not to comment on the Mitchell Report or an FBI investigation looking into his alleged link to steroids.

“I can’t really talk about that situation,” Tejada said Tuesday morning upon arriving at Houston Astros training camp. “Right now, I just want to talk about baseball, because that’s really my focus.”

According to the Mitchell Report, Tejada received steroids from Oakland teammate Adam Piatt in 2003.

Gagne apologizes, but that's all
2008-02-18 11:22
by Bob Timmermann

Brewers reliever Eric Gagne addressed the media today and apologized for the distractions he caused for being named in the Mitchell Report, but did not admit using any PEDs.

“I’m here to let you know I feel bad for my family, what they had to go through, and all my friends, especially my teammates here with Milwaukee,” Gagne said [in] a statement. “That’s a distraction that shouldn’t be taking place. I’m just here to help the Milwaukee Brewers get to the World Series and playoffs, and that’s all I really care about.”

I updated the info on the Mitchell 85.


Nats shoot for Boone Bonanza
2008-02-18 08:58
by Bob Timmermann

Bret Boone will attempt a comeback after sitting out the last two seasons as he has signed a non-guaranteed contract with Washington. Brother Aaron already signed with Washington and father Bob is an assistant GM.

And about those steroid allegations, Boone said:

“I’ve just changed my way of life a little bit. I’ve always been a guy that goes out and likes to have a good time—maybe at times, too good of a time,” he said. “And that kind of all catches up to you and you’ve got to look in the mirror and find out where are you going. Where are you going with your life? Took care of some personal business, and I feel that I can give this 100 percent.”


Capitol Punishment looks further into the world of Boones.

The Mitchell 85
2008-02-17 11:16
by Bob Timmermann

With spring training starting and in the wake of the Roger Clemens/Brian McNamee hearings, I thought it would be time to check to see how the 85 players named in the Mitchell Report reacted to being named in the report.

My search would not be called exhaustive. It would be called tedious. An exhaustive search would be twice as tedious, but it's a holiday weekend. Besides, I lost Kirk Radomski's phone number.

In many cases, the reaction is "none" which is either "I couldn't find anything specific or the player refused comment."

Player Name Reaction since report
Armando Rios None
Marvin Benard None
Barry Bonds It's complicated
Bobby Estalella Already said he used PEDs in grand jury testimony
Jason Giambi Already said he used PEDs in grand jury testimony
Jeremy Giambi Admitted use
Benito Santiago None
Gary Sheffield Already said he used PEDs, but unknowingly
Randy Velarde Admitted use of PEDs according to his attorney
Lenny Dykstra None
David Segui Confesses about once a week
Larry Bigbie Cooperative witness and has implicated several players
Brian Roberts Admitted use
Jack Cust Denied use
Tim Laker Admitted use in report
Josias Manzanillo Admitted purchasing steroids, but not using them
Todd Hundley None
Mark Carreon Admitted use to Arizona Star
Hal Morris Denied use
Matt Franco None
Roger Clemens I believe someone misremembered
Andy Pettitte Admitted use
Chuck Knoblauch Admitted that Mitchell Report was correct regarding him
Jason Grimsley Named lots of names
Gregg Zaun Denied use, said check to Grimsley was for something else
David Justice Denied use
F.P. Santangelo Admitted use
Glenallen Hill Admitted use
Mo Vaughn None
Denny Neagle None
Ron Villone Said report contained "inaccuracies"
Ryan Franklin None, but was suspended for use in 2005
Chris Donnels None
Phil Hiatt None
Kevin Young None
Mike Lansing None
Cody McKay None
Kent Mercker Admitted use
Adam Piatt Admitted use
Miguel Tejada "No comment", but Feds may be investigating
Jason Christiansen None
Mike Stanton None
Stephen Randolph Refused to admit or deny use
Jerry Hairston Denied use before report was issued
Paul Lo Duca Apologized without giving specifics
Adam Riggs Says he has passed all drug tests in Japan, denied use
Bart Miadich None
Fernando Vina Admitted to HGH use, but not steroids
Kevin Brown None
Eric Gagne Apologized, but did not admit use
Mike Bell Admitted use in Mitchell Report
Matt Herges Apologized and admitted use
Gary Bennett Admitted use
Jim Parque Denied use
Brendan Donnelly Denied use
Chad Allen Admitted use in Mitchell Report
Nook Logan None
Jeff Williams None
Howie Clark None
Mike Judd None
Ricky Stone None
Derrick Turnbow Already suspended from international competition in 2003
Wally Joyner Admitted use
Rafael Palmeiro Already suspended for positive test in 2005
Paxton Crawford Admitted use before report was issued
Ryan Jorgenson Suspended in 2007 for failing drug test
Ricky Bones Admitted use to treat degenerative hip condition
Ken Caminiti Deceased; Admitted use in 2002 SI article
Rick Ankiel Said he had prescription for HGH
David Bell None
Paul Byrd Said he had prescription for HGH
Jose Canseco Has admitted use. A lot.
Jay Gibbons Admitted use after suspension in December
Troy Glaus Kind of, sort of, maybe admitting using HGH
Jose Guillen Suspended for beginning of 2008 season
Darren Holmes Bought PEDs, but did not use them
John Rocker Admitted use
Scott Schoenweis Denied use as positive test was result of cancer treatments
Ismael Valdez None
Matt Williams Admitted use before Mitchell Report came out
Steve Woodard None
Dan Naulty Admitted use in Mitchell Report
Rondell White None
Todd Williams None
Todd Pratt None

I checked in a lot of places online, but the bulk of the info came from the summary and this article from (which actually focuses on the Yankees, not the Giants.) If you know of any errors or information on any other player who has spoken on the record one way or the other about the Mitchell Report, I will make the change.

Marlins very close to new stadium deal
2008-02-16 10:15
by Bob Timmermann

The Florida Marlins, the little team that nobody loved despite winning two World Series, has struck a deal with City of Miami and Miami-Dade County officials, to build a 37,000 seat retractable roof stadium at the site of the Orange Bowl. The deal still needs approval from both the city and county councils next week.

From the Sun-Sentinel:

The deal calls for the county and city to contribute $360 million mainly in tourist taxes and a $50 million general obligation bond Miami-Dade voters approved in 2004 to renovate the Orange Bowl, but which will instead be moved to the ballpark project.The Marlins are to contribute $155 million.

The plan is to have the stadium ready for Opening Day in 2011 and then the team would be renamed the Miami Marlins.

Inge, M.D.
2008-02-15 20:13
by Bob Timmermann

One of the stories coming out of Lakeland and the Detroit Tigers spring training is: will Brandon Inge be unhappy because Miguel Cabrera was acquired to take over his job at third base?

For most teams, this is a problem they wouldn't mind having. Or maybe it's not a problem at all. Maybe the Tigers are just giving the job to a far superior player.

Whatever it is, Inge is not going to make trouble, he says. But if this quote from the AP is correct, Inge may need to make a trip to the doctor:

“As far as right now, I am with the Detroit Tigers,” Inge said Friday. “I just want to play every single day. I love this organization and the Detroit Tigers are in my blood, but there’s not a starting role for me. I will never be a cancer around this team and I don’t plan to be a distraction.”

So, I guess having Tigers in your blood is not a cancerous condition. But it still seems dangerous to me. An extensive search of medical databases has turned up what the disease really is.


Zaun says check to Grimsley was not for steroids
2008-02-15 12:15
by Bob Timmermann

Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun denied that he has used PEDs and said the check he wrote to Jason Grimsley was likely to pay off a bet and then Grimsley used it to buy steroids for himself.


The 36-year-old catcher said that he owed Grimsley $500 -- possibly for losing a bet on a basketball game -- and he gave the check to the pitcher without penning Grimsley's name on the document. From there, it's Zaun's belief that Grimsley scribbled Radomski's name on the check and used it to buy steroids.

"You're talking about one check of thousands that I've written over the last seven years," Zaun said on Friday. "I'm supposed to recall why and when and to whom and where? That was nearly impossible for me to figure out, but when I went through the document and I looked at it, I could tell right away that the only parts of the check that were mine were my signature and possibly the $500 in the box.

"I knew right away there was something wrong. I wanted to at least offer up an explanation for how my name ends up in that report. Maybe people come away from this and think there's a possibility that this could've happened, because that's the way I remember it happening."

In the Mitchell Report, there are numerous copies of checks submitted to Radomski by Grimsley. Some of the writing on the check bearing Zaun's signature resembles writing on checks written by the former pitcher. By now, Zaun said he would've shredded his personal copy of the check.

"I would gladly produce the check if I knew where it was," Zaun said. "The photocopy in the Mitchell Report is clear enough. I knew right away I hadn't finished writing that check when I saw it."

Note to self: Get rid of category for "Illegal Performance Enhancing Drugs" in Quicken.

Bonds failed drug test when?
2008-02-15 08:00
by Bob Timmermann

Yesterday's kerfuffle about Barry Bonds having a positive drug test for PEDs in 2001 turned out to be erroneous:

A typo in court papers regarding Barry Bonds filed late Thursday by federal prosecutors touched off a brief tempest over the mistaken belief that he failed a drug test in November 2001, one month after breaking the home run record.

In fact, the government meant to reference a previously reported November 2000 failed drug test, U.S. attorney spokesman Josh Eaton said. That drug test was included in the indictment unsealed last year, when prosecutors said the test was for a player they called "Barry B."

Darn Y2K bug.
Rays flee jurisdiction again
2008-02-15 07:45
by Bob Timmermann

One year after moving a series with the Texas Rangers from St. Petersburg to Lake Buena Vista, the Tampa Bay Rays (Devil begone!) announced that they will be playing their April 22-24 series against the Toronto Blue Jays in Kissimmee.

Oh, never mind after all
2008-02-14 19:34
by Bob Timmermann

A day after Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the chairman of the committee, Rep. Henry Waxman of California now regrets holding the hearings at all.

However, Waxman said, as reported in the New York Times, that it wasn't his fault:

“I think Clemens and McNamee both came out quite sullied, and I didn’t think it was a hearing that needed to be held in order to get the facts out about the Mitchell report,” Waxman said.

“I’m sorry we had the hearing. I regret that we had the hearing. And the only reason we had the hearing was because Roger Clemens and his lawyers insisted on it.”

But how else would we have found out about Roger Clemens' bleeding posterior and other butt-related issues?

Weekly Puzzle #9
2008-02-14 08:57
by Bob Timmermann
Dempster (Highway in the the Yukon Territory)
(Bob) Geren
Teas, Geren + Teas, Guarantees
(Jimmy Olsen) cub (reporter)
Title (page of book)
Now that it's officially spring...
2008-02-14 07:16
by Bob Timmermann

And spring training for nearly every team starts today, you should have another listen to Ernie Harwell's tradition of greeting the spring.

Anticipating a question, turtles can't sing. It's actually a poetic contraction for "turtle dove." Please take your complaints to the guys who translated the Song of Solomon into English.

Shopping list for 2009 at the Japanese market
2008-02-13 20:50
by Bob Timmermann

Michael Westbay, who runs the excellent Japanese Baseball site, has a discussion thread up about who will be the top players in Japan eligible for free agency in 2009.

He mentions:

From what I've seen of these pitchers when I was in Japan, I would think that Uehara, Kawakami, and Iwase would draw a lot of interest.

The dizzying highs and the stultifyingly dull lows (UPDATE)
2008-02-13 20:24
by Bob Timmermann

Moving from the world of champion dogs, I segue over to college basketball and give you my brother Tom's story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about his coverage of the highest scoring game in Division I basketball by one team and the lowest scoring in Division I basketball by one team since the advent of the shot clock.

History often happens on lonely nights. Sports fans may tune in by the millions to watch a Super Bowl or a World Series, but some of the more amazing events in sports are played out in front of small crowds in out-of-the-way places.

When Loyola Marymount played U.S. International on Jan. 5, 1991, just 1,092 people turned out at Gersten Pavilion in the Westchester area of Los Angeles. Loyola Marymount, just one year removed from a spot in the NCAA regional finals, went out that night and beat USIU 186-140. It remains the most points scored by one team in an NCAA Division I basketball game. Also in that game, Kevin Bradshaw of USIU scored 72 points, the NCAA record for points against a Division I opponent.

Fast forward 17 years to Jan. 10, 2008, when St. Louis University played George Washington in the Smith Center in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington. There were 3,213 people on hand as SLU lost 49-20 and set a record for the fewest points in a game since the shot clock was put into use in 1985-86.

And if there were a cosmic Venn diagram of those games, two circles overlapping to show some commonality between the two most divergent games in NCAA history, that one spot in the middle would be me.

My part in this was helping to track down the boxscore of the USIU-LMU game. I could only find a full one in the San Diego Union and it wasn't perfect.

Name FG made FG att FT att FT made 3-pt made 3-pt att Total
I. Brown 10 19 0 5 0 0 20
M. Brown 1 5 0 1 1 1 3
Obekea 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Bradshaw 23 59 19 23 7 22 72
Polinsky 5 15 0 0 1 3 11
Tuite 5 11 1 1 4 8 15
Davis 0 1 1 2 0 0 1
Bonner 1 2 0 0 0 0 2
Banks 3 6 1 2 1 2 8
Iztlein 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Sterner 3 4 2 4 0 0 8
Total USIU 51 124 24 38 14 36 140
Petruska 13 20 2 3 0 0 28
Knight 9 11 9 9 0 0 27
Scott 2 6 0 0 0 0 4
Holt 4 10 0 0 3 5 11
Lowery 11 26 10 10 2 8 34
Walker 2 5 6 8 0 0 10
O'Connell 3 6 5 6 0 0 11
Harris 11 15 2 2 0 0 24
Richardson 8 11 0 0 8 11 24
Slater 3 5 7 9 0 0 13
Total LMU
66 115 41 47 13 24 186

The stats for Terrell Lowery weren't complete and I had to estimate his totals from other sources, such as the number of rebounds in the game. Each team was credited with 63, although I don't know if that included dead ball rebounds. Lowery had 16 assists in the game also.

Here is a link to the SLU-GW boxscore from earlier this year.

UPDATE - SLU and GW matched up again tonight in St. Louis. The Billikens won it, 63-38. Judging from the boxscore, the game was even duller than the score would indicated.

Lowery's figures have been fixed.

And what a busy day it was...
2008-02-13 17:30
by Bob Timmermann

Presumably, most people knew that Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee testified before a Congressional committee today. Even had gavel to demagogue coverage of it. The people at Sports Ticker said there was a partisan divide on the panel with the Democrats attacking Clemens and the Republicans supporting Clemens.


Clemens, a Texas-born millionaire, tip-toed around questions from numerous Democrats on the committee, denying multiple claims from McNamee and Andy Pettitte that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

The fact that Roger Clemens was born in Dayton, Ohio should not scare you off I guess. Clemens lives in Texas and grew up there. But he wasn't born there. Unless Dayton, Ohio has been annexed by Texas. (Note to self: Add Dayton to list of cities to visit because a treaty was signed there.)


Also, Andy Pettitte said he used HGH in 2004. And his father gave it to him. My dad never gave me synthetic hormones. I guess he didn't love me enough. Well, back to the therapist I go.

Glenallen Hill and Matt Herges apologized for using HGH. Hill did not apologize for his fielding.

In non-PED news, the Mariners named Erik Bedard as their Opening Day starter before they even started spring training. That will be March 31 in Seattle against Texas.

And Kris Benson takes his reality show life to Philadelphia, or at least spring training with the Phillies, as he was given a minor league contract from the NL East champs.

Numero Uno
2008-02-12 21:49
by Bob Timmermann

We will soon return you to your regular baseball content.

You can't walk off the island, but can you walk back to Texas?
2008-02-12 20:58
by Bob Timmermann

Kevin Mench has accepted a minor league deal and a tryout to make the Texas Rangers this spring. Mench broke in with the Rangers in 2002 and was traded to the Brewers in a deal involving Carlos Lee in 2006.

Mench was known for his aversion to taking walks and he had just 16 of them in 101 games last year with the Brewers. At a game involving the Brewers and Cardinals I attended last year, a Brewers fan turned to me at one point and said, "We have a saying in Milwaukee about Kevin Mench and walks, 'Kevin Mench does not take walks.'"

Brewers fans are not ones for obtuse statements.

This is known as a downgrade
2008-02-12 16:05
by Bob Timmermann

The link on reads "Twins fill spot vacated by Santana with Hernandez."

The Twins gave Livan Hernandez a 1-year, $5 million contract. Look for plenty of souvenir baseballs to be deposited into the left field bleachers at the Metrodome this year.

Tying? There's no tying in baseball
2008-02-12 09:45
by Bob Timmermann

Are you tying?
There's no tying in baseball.
My manager was Kim In-Sik and he called me a stinking pile of pigslop.
And that was when my parents drove all the way from Taegu, just to watch me play the game.
Did we tie?
Why? Because there's no tying in baseball!

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) is prepapring to end its practice of concluding games that were still tied after 12 innings. In the past, those games went into the standings as draws and were not replayed. A similar rule is used in Japan.

From the Korea Times:

``Owners are agreeing at large on draws and allowing teams to play out to the end for a win," said Jeong Keum-jo, KBO's chief manager of baseball operations.

``The idea of limiting innings was to prevent the games from getting too long, but throughout the 26-year history of the league, only 10 games went beyond 15 innings," he said.

``Lifting the innings limit will surely encourage coaches and players to play with an increased level of intensity in the extra innings, which would benefit the fans paying for the tickets.''

Lofton headed for the other Ohio team?
2008-02-11 22:10
by Bob Timmermann and FoxSports are both reporting that the Reds are considering a deal to sign free agent outfielder Kenny Lofton.

If Lofton signs with Cincinnati, that means he would be on his 13th 12th different team and his 10th different team since the start of the 2002 season. Lofton has already played for at least two teams in each of the three NL divisions, but he's only played for more than one team in one AL division, the Central with Cleveland and Chicago.

Lofton has played for Reds manager Dusty Baker in both San Francisco and Chicago (NL version).

Know your Sweeneys
2008-02-11 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Wherever you look this offseason, somebody named Sweeney seems to be coming up. How do you keep them straight? I've prepared a guide you can print out and save for reference.

Continue reading...

What began well won't end well
2008-02-10 12:26
by Bob Timmermann

Back on August 15, 1965, the Beatles became the first musical performers to hold a concert at Shea Stadium.

It was no small affair and it was one of the first times (some say it was the first, but I'm not inclined to verify that fact) a rock group had played in a stadium of that size. A crowd of over 55,000 attended. But it ushered in an era of concerts where lots of people attended and sat in places where they could see or hear little of what was being played.

A 10-minute video of parts of the concert is below:

And who will be the last musical act to play Shea Stadium? Billy Joel.


2008-02-08 21:17
by Bob Timmermann

Karl Ehrhardt, who from 1964 through 1981, was a fixture at Shea Stadium with a seemingly unending supply of signs to describe plays during Mets games passed away at his home in Glen Oaks, New York at age 83.

From the New York Times obituary:

Known as the Sign Man of Shea, Mr. Ehrhardt brought his big bag of 20-by-26-inch placards to dozens of games each year, from 1964 through 1981. Like Hilda Chester, the cowbell clanger who roamed the aisles of Ebbets Field in the heyday of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s, Mr. Ehrhardt became a stadium fixture. Cameras zeroed in and fans hooted when he unfolded his signs.

On a summer day in 1979, when a slow grounder defied the grip of shortstop Frank Taveras, Mr. Ehrhardt quickly checked the color-coded tabs in his portfolio and unfurled, “Look Ma, No Hands.” Whenever outfielder José Cardenal struck out, the sign said, “Jose, Can You See?”

Finer moments were greeted with “Just Great!” or “Can You Believe It?”

On Oct. 16, 1969, when left fielder Cleon Jones caught the final out of the World Series, a choked-up Sign Man held up, “There Are No Words.”

Now it's just too weird
2008-02-08 16:45
by Bob Timmermann

The AP reports that Brian McNamee told Congress that he not only injected Roger Clemens with HGH, but he also injected Clemens' wife, Debbie, with HGH. That supposedly took place in 2003 when Debbie Clemens was posing for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Perhaps there was a volume discount that McNamee offered.


Mariners and O's negotiate historic Bedard-Jones accord
2008-02-08 16:05
by Bob Timmermann

It's official. Erik Bedard goes from Baltimore to Seattle in exchange for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kam Mickolio.

The trade isn't historic, but I'm just a guy who is a treaty nerd. I went to Utrecht once on a vacation just because I wanted to say I had been there. And I was very happy once to spend a night in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

There, I'm convinced now
2008-02-07 21:16
by Bob Timmermann

The Smoking Gun has pictures of what Brian McNamee claims are the syringes and gauze pads he used to inject Roger Clemens with HGH.

Thankfully, ever since "CSI" came on the air, I have learned enough about forensics that I can perform a DNA test on those syringes by just using my eyes. Yep, it's Clemens DNA. I know it anywhere.

Link via BTF.

The AP reports that the beer can in the first photo was found by McNamee in Clemens residence and was used to hide syringes.

Schore schoulder schidelines Schilling
2008-02-07 12:38
by Bob Timmermann

Reports from Boston papers and later carried by say the Boston pitcher Curt Schilling will miss the beginning of spring training with a shoulder injury and it might require surgery. The injury is reported to be different from the one Schilling incurred last season.

Everybody wants Jeremy
2008-02-07 11:19
by Bob Timmermann

In this case, it is really just two Japanese teams who claim that they signed Jeremy Powell ( パウエル ジェルミー) to a contract to play for them in 2008. And it could take a while to sort out.

Back on January 11, the Orix Buffaloes announced that they had signed Powell, whose career in MLB was, to put it kindly, undistinguished, to a one-year deal.

Then on January 29, the Softbank Hawks announced that they had signed Powell to a contract, stating that the contract with Orix hadn't been finalize. The people from Orix were displeased.

On January 30, the Pacific League ruled that Powell had indeed signed two valid contracts.

On February 1, Softbank and Orix say that there is no hope for compromise on this issue and they ask for mediation.

Eventually, on February 4, the Pacific League rules that Powell's contract with Softbank is the one that prevails. However, Powell is suspended for the first three months of the 2008 season. The next day, Orix rejects the ruling from the Pacific League office.

Finally, Softbank protested the length of the suspension, but sent Powell back to the U.S. to train and rehab his injured knee.

I really hope Powell is worth all this trouble.

Weekly Puzzle #8
2008-02-07 09:00
by Bob Timmermann
The John Tyler of the Texas Rangers
2008-02-06 22:10
by Bob Timmermann

The AFP headlines the story about Nolan Ryan taking a job in the Rangers front office:

Hall of Famer Ryan named Rangers 10th president

Being named the 10th president of the Texas Rangers would be more meaningful if I could more easily figure out who the first nine were. The last one was Jeff Cogen. Jim Lites and Michael Cramer also held the post. I don't believe George W. Bush had the title when he owned part of the Rangers.


Blood on the syringe, say it ain't so
2008-02-06 15:13
by Bob Timmermann

Duff Wilson and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times are reporting that Brian McNamee, named as the source for HGH for Roger Clemens among others, has trace evidence of blood from Clemens on needles and gauze pads that he claims he used to inject Clemens back in 2000 and 2001.

Good to know that McNamee is really keen on cleaning up medical waste.

Jose Canseco's effect on his teammates
2008-02-06 07:30
by Bob Timmermann

And this just isn't idle speculation, this is a peer-reviewed paper by two professors who specialize in workplace and labor issues. (pdf link) And they conclude that players who played with Canseco did show improvement. So did they pick up Canseco's "habits?" Well, read on and decide for yourself. Or you can be like me and just read the abstract at the beginning.

Link via BTF.

Juan not gone?
2008-02-04 22:03
by Bob Timmermann

Juan Gonzalez has gotten a non-roster tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals. The two-time AL MVP hasn't played in the majors since 2005 and he hasn't played over 100 games in a season since 2001.

Ed Vargo, 1928-2008
2008-02-04 12:26
by Bob Timmermann

Former National League umpire Ed Vargo passed away at his home in Butler, Pennsylvania Saturday at the age of 79. Vargo worked as an umpire for 24 years from 1960-1983.

Vargo was the home plate umpire for Sandy Koufax's no-hitter against the Phillies on June 4, 1964, as well as Koufax's perfect game against the Cubs on September 9, 1965.

From the AP obituary:

Vargo wore the same jacket when he worked Koufax's perfect game, the first World Series night game in 1971 and Hank Aaron's 714th home run in 1974. He gave the jacket to amateur umpire Ray Gouley, who donated it to the Hall of Fame after he learned of its historical significance.

The last game Vargo worked was the second game of a doubleheader between the Mets and Expos on October 2, 1983.

Retrosheet's records state that Vargo was born in 1930.

The Long March Epilogue: Super Bowl XLII chat
2008-02-03 10:53
by Bob Timmermann

Reports coming to me from Arizona tell me that there is a football game today. Approximately 3:30 pm PT. There is a team from New Jersey that calls itself New York against a team that calls itself New England (it's about time the people of Vermont had a pro football team).

You can feel free to use this thread to comment on the accounts, transcripts, and events of the game even if you don't have the express written consent of the Commissioner of Football.

Things you might not have known:

  • Eli Manning has an older brother named Peyton.
  • The Patriots have not lost a game this year.
  • Bill Belichick has made Tom Coughlin look like the nicest guy in the world.
  • Tom Brady is not Johnny Unitas. Because when I looked into Johnny Unitas's eyes I was always mesmerized. That doesn't happy with Tom Brady.
  • My neighbor who has a car with three Patriots Super Bowl champion bumper stickers and two Red Sox World Series champion bumper stickers will be making a lot of noise today.
  • There will be an episode of "House" on after the Super Bowl. I predict that Hugh Laurie will act misanthropic during the episode.
  • No one will like the halftime show.
  • "Up With People" is still in business. But they're not at the Super Bowl.
  • Joe Buck will try to act like he's really hip. It won't work.
  • Companies will spend too much on advertising during the game.
  • There will not be a 1-point safety in the game.
Yet another Hall of Fame birthday and reminiscence
2008-02-02 12:30
by Bob Timmermann

Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst is celebrating his 85th birthday today. Schoendienst was born in the small Illinois town of Germantown. As you might guess, it was founded by Germans. It's the home of the Spassfest!

My father was born in the neighboring city of Breese, Illinois (which has weird music on its municipal website) and the farm he grew up on was on the road between the two cities. My father was six youngers than Red, who was likely called Albert when he was growing up as he came from a large family and the majority of the boys had red hair. One of the photos from my dad's high school reunion shows another Schoendienst who had a full head of red hair. My father told me that there were enough Schoendiensts for them to field a full baseball team, although I was skeptical of that just because of the age differences involved.

Last year when I was in St. Louis for the SABR convention, a guy from New York told me, "Once you cross the river there, you find that they're all Cub fans." I was too stunned to say anything in return. If you took a map of Illinois and colored in each county as being Cardinal fans (red counties) and Cub fans (blue counties), you'd find that the red counties would take up a lot more territory, although the Cubs would win in total number of fans because not that many people live downstate.

Schoendienst broke into the majors with the team he grew up rooting for, the Cardinals in 1945. He played second base for the Cardinals World Series winner in 1946. In 1956, Schoendienst was dealt to the Giants, who shipped him on to the Braves in 1957 and helped Milwaukee win the World Series.

Red's career was slowed down when he came down with tuberculosis in 1959, but he did recover and returned to the Cardinals in 1961 and finally retired as a played in 1963 and became a coach for the Cardinals.

Schoenienst became the Cardinals manager in 1965 and led the team to two pennants and one World Series win (1967). He held that job through the 1976 season and then served two interim spells in 1980 and 1990.

Since then, Schoendienst has become the Cardinals version of Jimmie Reese. He still puts on a uniform in spring training and hangs around the batting cage and hits a few fungoes from time to time. He remains one of the most beloved figures in Cardinals history. And he's come a long way from the dairy farms and coal mines of Clinton County, Illinois.

The five stages of computer death
2008-02-01 08:00
by Bob Timmermann
  1. Denial - "Oh, it's nothing. I'll just turn the computer off and on and it will all get back to normal. Those noises are all normal parts of the way the computer works."
  2. Anger - "WORK! WORK! I order you to work! Boot up! Don't make that funny buzzing sound! You're not supposed to buzz! WORK!"
  3. Bargaining - "Well, I did backup nearly everything on to an external hard drive, but if you just boot up once and let me copy a couple of files, that's all I need."
  4. Depression - "Why me? Why did this laptop which I've dropped a dozen times and spilled six different types of drinks and five levels of the food pyramid on decide to fail me now?"
  5. Acceptance - "Off to the store to go buy a new one. I want a shiny one!"
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