Saturday, June 07, 2003

The Flagrant Fan is as flagrantly angry with a manager as he was with John McNamara back in 1986 when he single-handedly lost the Red Sox the World Series. As soon as I saw Joe Torre walking toward the mound in today's seventh inning game, I started screaming at my TV: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!" Talk about the dumbest move in the history of managing.

First of all, if Clemens cannot lose with the baserunners on base, that's fine, take him out IF he is gassed. But when the winning run is on base, at least give the guy a chance to win or lose his own damn game. Clemens had only thrown 84 pitches and had at least 30 more in him. Secondly, there is nobody in the Yankee bullpen who has as good or better stuff than Clemens. So who has the best chance of getting out of the inning other than Clemens? Next, Klesko looked stupid striking out against Clemens a few innings earlier. And the kicker was to bring in Juan ("Gasoline") Acevado.

I said to my wife as I was screaming at the TV: "You watch, the first pitch from this lousy pitcher and the game will be over." Sure enough, BOOM! Game over. Clemens gets the loss. Torre looks sad and glum. My fury is working up again as I write this. You over-managed Joe. You should have sat on your ass and let Clemens lose or win his own game. Stupid. Really, really stupid.

This Acevado guy has to go. He has an ERA of 7.99. The Yankees are struggling along at reliever and they finally made a move...they picked up a hitter with a long swing, Ruben Sierra. Well, he has a good arm. Maybe he can pitch.

What makes me so sick about this lost chance at a milestone is turning the computer on and having Explorer start on Yahoo (I'm old-fashioned) and the headline there reads, "Clemens Loses Bid for 300. I got news for you copywriters, that should read, "Torre and Acevado lose Clemens 300 bid."


Friday, June 06, 2003

The hammer came down on Sammy Sosa today as he was given an eight game suspension for his corked bat. All of his other bats were scanned and no cork was found which tends to lead credence to his statements that he grabbed the wrong bat. One of my colleagues at work mentioned that his bats in the Hall of Fame were also checked. I haven't seen confirmation of that but I would agree with my colleague who had a great thought: Why don't they check all of the bats in the Hall of Fame. Wouldn't that be an uproar if they found a tampered bat in the Hall of Fame! That almost seems as much fun as raising Jesse James' grave to see if it's really him.

I was looking at box scores tonight and saw that Toronto was pouncing on the Reds and the box score brought a couple of thoughts to mind. One was looking at Delgado with 64 RBI (in June!!) and Vernon Wells with 58. Those are amazing numbers. Delgado just didn't seem himself the last couple of years, but he's back in a mighty way and is a legit Triple Crown candidate. Wells came out of no where last year with a hundred RBI and it looks like it was not a fluke.

The boxscore also showed Adam Dunn for the Reds having a 2-2 night with a walk and a homerun. I checked below the boxes and saw that he now has 18 homers and 44 RBI and my first thought was: "Why would a guy with 18 homers and 44 RBI be leading off?" And then I remembered that those were the same numbers as Soriano. It's a weird time in baseball as shortstops are the best hitters on many teams and sluggers lead off.

Some MLB team should sign me up, don't you think? I told you that Matsui needed to get his hands back to start hitting. According to the broadcast last night, Jorge Posada told him just that and he got four hits last night.

Well...It's attempt number three for Roger Clemens on Saturday. I really hope he gets it. I really really really hope he gets it.

Seattle finally lost today to the Mets (of all people). I never thought they were going to lose again. They are going to run away with that division I think. The Braves are running away with theirs . The Red Sox are tied with Oakland for the wildcard race. Believe it or not, the Expos would be the wildcard if the year ended tonight.

The Mets, as stated earlier, beat Seattle 3-2. Jae Weong Seo started and won for the Mets. That gives him eleven quality starts out of eleven. Eleven quality starts and his record is only 3-2. He could easily be 11-0 and a candidate for the All-Star team. Cliff Floyd hit his 11th homer for the Mets and is finally having a good year again.

On the other side of that fence is Pat Burrell of the Phillies. Wow! What is going on there!? He mashed the ball last year but he's still hitting only .194 two months into the season. The Phillies and their fans gotta hope that Burrell snaps out of that soon. Giambi finally has as Jason is all the way up to the .230's now.

The Rangers Teixeira hit another homer today and has his average up to .247. I'm cheering! Hank Blalock is still above .350 and Tampa's Baldelli is still up to .336. This is fun isn't it? Oh! And another player I've been tracking is San Diego's Sean Burroughs who is now up to .291 with an OBP of .347. Burroughs, you might remember, was the number one draft pick a couple of years ago and got hurt last year after starting off the year batting .271. He had 52 hits when he got hurt. Yesterday, he was hit on the wrist with a pitch and is sitting out some games. Guess how many hits he has so far this year? That's right...52.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Good evening baseball fans. The Flagrant Fan takes Thursday nights off. Have a great night and I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

The ESPN Wednesday Night Game was the Yankees and Reds and of course I watched and I again jinxed the Yankees. When I turned the television on, the Yanks were ahead 2-1 in the fourth inning. From that point on, of course, the Reds started pounding Mussina and the Yankees couldn't get another hit.

Anyway, on Wednesday nights, ESPN has begun a "legends" series where they bring back famous broadcasters to work the games. Curt Gowdy did the game last time (which I unfortunately missed) and tonight it was longtime Reds broadcaster, Marty Brennaman. First, it is odd and heartbreaking to a degree that he started 37 yearas ago and I was eight at the time so his career spans my life. I didn't express that well. What I mean is that these famous, longtime people started within my lifetime. Famous, longtime people used to start before my life started. I also note that I wasn't real impressed with Brennaman. But I did not grow up listening to him and I know the entire midwest lives and dies by the guy. It's probably a matter of style.

I will enjoy when they bring in Bob Uecker. I am not looking forward to Keith Jackson (I always considered him emotionless and therefore, non-entertaining). It's probably too bad that my favorite, Phil Rizzuto, is probably too old to do the broadcast. He was so much fun to listen to. I cherish those memories of him on Channel 11 in New York or on ABC radio on our transisters.

It looked like Griffey hurt himself again swinging the bat. I sure hope it's not serious. Man! He just got going again too.

I thought that Joe Morgan had a great observation about the Yankees Matsui not being able to hit a MLB fastball and the inside pitch. I have observed the same thing. What I wasn't aware of was Morgan's point that in Japan, they receive mostly breaking balls so he's never really dealt with live 90+ MPH fastballs. Ichiro adjusted easier because he can just slap at the pitch. Ichiro's stance also allows his swing to get through the hitting zone faster. Masui's hands are right in front of his chest and his bat is straight up and down. He needs to make a major league adjustment and bring his hands back and the bat more level to the ground. I am surprised that his hitting coach hasn't talked to him about that.

I am not going to comment further on the Sammy Sosa controversy. For one thing, it's all over the place now and what could I add to what's been written? To me, he said what he needed to say, he was contrite and apologetic. It's time to move on. It will be talked about until the next big story. But the talk about this tainting his career is rediculous. You still have to hit the ball to hit all those homers. Sheesh. I still said more than I intended.

Just one more strange note. Shea Hillenbrand had only seven walks with the Red Sox in 35 games. He as already walked twice in his first three games with his new team. Kim won for the Red Sox tonight so it looks like both teams are getting what they wanted.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

The Yankees are playing like the Bad News Bears again as all of the Reds runs in the game are unearned. So far there have been two Soriano muffs that led to a run. There has been an overun of a base by Raul Mondesi that cost the Yankees a big inning. And just now, the Reds scored two runs and tied the game on two wild pitches and an error. Sheesh.

It is fun to watch the Reds though. The whole Cincinnati team seem like descendents of Goliath. Adam Dunn was on first next to Jason Giambi and Giambi isn't a small guy but he looked like a child next to Dunn. There is Dunn and Kearns and LaRue and Wily Mo Pena and on and on they come to the plate. It looks like an NFL softball team.

It is still easy to see how good Ken Griffey is. Remember when we played ball as kids and there was always one kid who stood out as being the best athlete. He walked different. He wasn't afraid of anything. He always seemed to be faster, hit the ball harder, throw the ball faster and do just about everything smoother and better than anyone else. It's clear that Griffey is the best player on the field. And right now, there seems to be no way to pitch to him. He hits the ball with authority wherever it's pitched.

Paul O'Neal, the former Yankee outfielder now lives in Cincinnati and was in the broadcast booth with the Yankee announcers. I was very surprised to hear how good he is at commentary and he seems to be a natural. As a player he always seemed to be so taciturn but in commentary he is loose and funny. The Yankees should sign him up!

I always check the Texas Rangers' boxscore now as they are such a fun team to follow. Juan Gonzalez hit his 18th homer and now has 40 RBI. Blalock is 1-3 and is still hitting in the .350's. Mark Teixeira is now up to .246 and tonight is 1-1 with two walks which means that he is very comfortable and knows what he is doing. He has 26 RBI. So much credit for how those two young players are doing has to go to their manager who has let them play despite the critics.

The big news of the night is that Sammy Sosa was thrown out of his game tonight for having a corked bat. This situation will get a lot of play and I'm sure Sosa will be suspended. Since Sosa is such an icon, his image will get tarnished a bit. But he is just another in a long line of players who have tried to get a little edge. There have been spit pitches and sandpaper on the pitching side and cork and other things on the hitting side. It wasn't long ago when Albert Belle (one of the best hitters of his time) was caught doing the same thing as Sammy. The difference is that Belle was already a hated player and considered a bad apple so this was one more nod of the head to his badness. But Sammy has been a symbol for what is right with the game and this will hurt him for sure.

I hope he learns from history and just admits what he's done and takes responsibility. How many times in our recent history have we been disappointed in the character of those we admired because they just couldn't admit they did something wrong. If Sosa does so and says that he just started doing so, perhaps most will just wink and give Sosa the pass. But if he's been doing this for a long time and if he gets defensive about what has happened, his good image is going to be tarnished for a long time and his records will be looked at with a blemished eye. Sad.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Does blogging take over your life or does the hope that you are writing for a semi-loyal following convince you to slog on (or is that blog on?) day after day writing post after post. Well, I'll tell you how important my few loyal readers are to me: I bought a laptop today to take with me on vacation so that I could continue to post while I was gone. It's all your fault!

Tonight is one of those nights that baseball fans hate. There are only three games on the schedule and even Baseball Tonight wouldn't be worth watching. I don't like the schedules as they are currently and prefer what was available a few years ago. While I agree that division rivals should play each other often, nineteen times or whatever it is, gets a bit daft. And I don't like interleague games at all (I'm beginning to sound like Grouchy Smurf).

The argument can be made that rivals in a division should not only play each other often, but they should play the same schedule. What I mean by that is that it's not really fair for one team to get to play Milwaukee in the interleague games while another team gets the Braves. What if those same teams are division rivals and one of those rivals loses the division by two games because their interleague schedule was harder.

But then again, schedules have never been equal and this debate is much older than I am. My reasons for disliking interleague play have to do with the two leagues playing a different game. Pitchers in the National League, who look bad enough, are now looking great in comparison to pitchers in the American League whom are now asked to swing the bat in a pansy-fashion and make fools of themselves. Plus, interleague play gives the feeling or impression of Spring Training games instead of MLB games.

And then how balanced is a balanced schedule when American League West teams only have to play division rivals 57 times instead of 76 because there are only four teams in that division and National League Central teams have to play 95 division rival games because that division has six teams instead of five. That hardly seems balanced to me.

All I know is that I'm glad I don't have to make the schedules because with all those teams and all those games and with all those days off mandated by contract and flight times and pack up and tear down and all that goes with MLB, I would be a crazy mess.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

I must be a jinx. The Yankees were flying high at the top of the division with a record of 20-5 when I purchased the right from to watch the Yankees every day (a great deal by the way). Ever since, they have played like the Tigers. So I'm watching the Red Sox today on NESN and they are winning big against hated Toronto (If the Yankees don't win this thing--and it doesn't look like they will--the last team I want in there is the Blue Jays!). Somehow, the Red Sox blow up and the Blue Jays get a million dinks and it's 8-6!

I hear that the Yankees have gone up 7-1 on the Tigers and I figure I'll go to the computer to watch history and it's the bottom of the fifth. The first batter gets a hit and some guy from Aruba hits his first homerun of the year. No big deal. Now it's only 7-3. Then another single. No problem. Suddenly the Bad News Bears show up and take over for the Yankee infield and Jeter throws one away and then Soriano throws one away and before I can get a clear picture, it's 7-6. Okay, that was bad, but they can still win. I can still watch history.

Ziele then hits an opposite field homerun and Clemens is again up by two. He pitches a perfect sixth inning and waves his hat to the fans. Oh boy, it's time for the Yankee bullpen. I can't bear to watch after all and go downstairs and practice my karaoke (Yes, I can sing, "New York, New York"). I sing for a couple of hours and figure it should be safe to go upstairs and finish watching history.

Somehow it's the bottom of the tenth inning and it's a tie game 8-8! Oh man! What happened. I switch over to Yahoo to look at the box score and sure enough, Sterling Hitchcock, who has pitched well backing Clemens up in other wins this season blew the lead. Crap. It's over. Another chance wasted and still we go on waiting for history. I cannot believe that a bunch of pros can't raise the level of their game and get this done. Errors in the field and relief pitchers blowing the game...sheesh...if the team can't take the pressure of this type of situation, what are they going to do if they make the playoffs. This isn't the same team without O'Neal and Tino and those guys. This is a team that has no real backbone. The Flagrant Fan is steaming!

Taking a deep least I'm not a Diamondback fan. They get Hildenbrand to bolster their hitting attack and instead of sticking him at first, they release Matt Williams? What? Williams is the kind of hitter that can get hot and put ten over the fence in a hurry. He was fourth on the team in RBI and now they lose that production. You get a player like Hildenbrand to bolster your offense and then you release a guy with 378 career homeruns and end up losing more ground. I don't get it.

The Red Sox moving Johnny Damon to ninth in the order is a good move. Mueller is hot and his batting average is higher than Damon's OBP! But I don't agree with the Sox demoting Bruce Chen and keeping Rudy Seanez. For one thing, it would have been great for Kim to have Chen around for companionship and second, you can never have too many left arms on your team.

The Red Sox post game show is on in the background and it's sad when a pretty good player struggles. Again it's the no mercy thing. The fans are calling in and blasting Grady Little (who was a genius last week) for using Jeremy Giambi when he is struggling at .178. But I watched the game and Giambi looks great but has been unlucky. His first time up, he put the Blue Jays centerfielder on the warning track with a drive. He just didn't pull it enough. In the Red Sox big inning when they hit five doubles, it should have been six doubles. Giambi smoked one down the line but hit the bad and went right to Delgado for the out. That's bad luck.