Friday, August 31, 2007

Baker Three Outs away from Perfect Game Gets Twins Past Royals 5-0

I spent the first six weeks or so of this season covering the Rochester Red Wings so I could get my first taste of Minor League Baseball after covering the Cleveland Indians for the previous 11 years. It was a great experience, the Twins Triple A franchise is a class organization and they play in beautiful little ball park called Frontier Field. Their manager Stan Cliburn is a great leader, and will have that team in contention for as long as he manages there. I also got to spend time with some up and coming players who were on the verge of making that leap to the Bigs. One of those young men was Red Wings starter Scott Baker who had electric stuff and is a quality guy. Last year Minnesota demoted him back to the minors, and that is where he started this season. Baker has been back with Minnesota most of the campaign getting promoted not long after I ended my stay with them. Baker almost made history on Friday night as he went into the top of the ninth inning with out allowing a baserunner on the entire game. Unfortunately, the perfect game was broken up by the first Kansas City batter John Buck walked. The next batter Esteban German grounded into a force out, but Royals pinch hitter Mike Sweeney had a bloop single to left center to break up the No-No. Baker got the next two batters out and had to settle for a complete game shutout, as the Twins won 5-0.

© Copyright 2007

MLB Tells Joba The Heat To Cool Down Suspended For Two Games

The man that none other than New York Times baseball guru Murray Chass says is the biggest thing to hit New York since the Beatles has been hit by MLB with a two game suspension. New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain was suspended Friday for throwing two pitches at over 90 MPH over the head of Boston's Kevin Youkalis Thursday. The Yankees swept Boston in the three game series and went into Friday nights action five games behind Boston in the American League East. Chamberlain was also fined $2,000 and will not appeal serving the suspension Friday and Saturday. Chamberlain said there was no maliciousness or bad intentions in his actions.

© Copyright 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Reversal Of Fortune Yankees Sweep Bo-Sox Take Finale 5-0

Okay let's review, the New York Yankees came into their three game series against the American League Eastern Division leading Boston Red Sox on the ropes. They returned to the Bronx after a devastating 2-5 road trip losing their last game of the trip to the Detroit Tigers 16-0. They had seen deficit grow from four games to eight games behind Boston in about a weeks time. Meanwhile the Red Sox had just swept the Chicago White Sox in a four game series by an aggregate total of 46-7. This did happen didn't it? I wasn't in some alternate universe, or had an extended dream did I ? Well the tables were turned completely as New York took game three sweeping the series, and winning Thursday afternoon 5-0. Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang did not give up his first and only hit of the game until the seventh, and Robinson Cano took Curt Schilling yard twice. Those would be the only two runs that Schilling would give up but it was enough for him to get the loss. The other three runs were were surrendered by Hideki Okajima in just two thirds of an inning by far his worst appearance of the year. New York is now back to just five games behind Boston after the sweep. The Boston Red Sox have put out an APB in Chicago looking for the offense they left behind there.

© Copyright 2007

National League West Report

It is going to be a wild and woolly month of September in the National League as MLB starts to ramp up for the home stretch as teams battle it out to make the Post Season. Right now maybe the most exciting division in all of Baseball is the National League West where the San Diego Padres now lead the Arizona Diamondbacks by .001 %. San Diego who trailed Arizona by five games just twelve days ago, have won the first three games of their four game series against Arizona to gain the upper hand.

San Diego threw their ace on the mound Monday night as Jake Peavy opened the series for the Padres facing off against Livan Hernadez. The D-Backs drew first blood as left fielder Eric Byrnes hit a home run off Peavy to break the scoreless tie in the sixth. But that would be all the runs Arizona could muster against Peavy who struck out 11. Hernadez pitched well enough to win most nights, going seven innings scattering six hits and not getting into trouble until he walked Padres catcher Josh Bard in the seventh. San Diego second baseman Geoff Blum was up next and Hernandez was determined not to walk him fearing the start of a big inning. He didn't walk him, instead he gave up a two run homer Blum's third of the season. Milton Bradley added an insurance dinger in the eighth off reliever Juan Cruz, and the Padres had won the first game of the series 3-1.

Brandon Webb the D-Backs ace got the assignment to start game two. He was 14-8 going into the game and was 6-3 in his last starts and had not lost a game since July 2o. Webb proceeded to have his worst outing of the campaign giving up six runs the most all year and only going 5.1 innings. Justin Germano got the win for San Diego as they won 6-4.

Rookie starter Micah Owings had hit some rough patches over the last six weeks. Owings was at one time 5-3 but going into Wednesday night's game he was 6-7 having gone 1-4 in his last ten games, and looking like hit the "rookie wall." But Wednesday night he pitched fantastic, going seven innings allowing only one run on three hits. Unfortunately for him veteran Greg Maddux was on the hill for San Diego and pretty much duplicated the effort going seven and allowing one run. Both starters walked away without a decision, but Arizona's bullpen as reliever Doug Slaten gave up the tie breaking run and the Padres would tack on one more to win that game 3-1. Kevin Cameron got the win for San Diego.

San Diego is in the drivers seat going into Thursday nights game as Chris Young makes a return to the mound after recovering from a sore back. Young toes the rubber with a 9-4 record and a minuscule ERA of 2.12. He goes up against Doug Davis who comes into the game with the D-Backs hopes of coming out of this series still in first place resting squarely on his shoulders. Davis has a record of 11-11 so it truly is a 50-50 shot with him on the mound.

Even if San Diego wins Thursday night, the pressure does not go away. Next up the third place Los Angeles Dodgers who are only 3.5 games behind both teams. On the mound for L.A. Friday night, none other than the man the Padres released earlier this month the Boomer David Wells. Wells won his first game in Dodger blue against the Mets even beating out a bunt for a single to help his cause. Knowing the competitive nature of Boomer you know he will be ramped up for this one. The Dodgers are still in the hunt for the Wild Card which if the season ended today would be Arizona's slot. However the Philadelphia Phillies are only three games behind them and of course the Dodgers 3.5 games back.

And let's not forget about the Colorado Rockies who at 68-65 are only 5.5 games back and would be tied for first if they were in the N.L. Central. As the late great Bette Davis once said in a movie called "All About Eve" "Fasten your seat belts, it looks like we're in for a bumpy ride."
© Copyright 2007

Sabathia Finally Wins Number 15 Tribe Beats Twins 4-3

Cleveland Indians starter C.C. Sabathia has been trying to get his 15th win of the 2007 since August 3. And though he had pitched good enough to win most if not all of his starts between then and Wednesday night the Indians offense never came through for him. Wednesday night Cleveland did all their scoring in the first off Minnesota Twins starter Johann Santanna. But Cleveland's newest folk hero rookie second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two run home run, catcher Victor Martinez hit a solo shot, and recently returned veteran Kenny Lofton had a RBI single. C.C. and the bullpen were able to make that lead hold up and the Tribe won 4-3. Sabathia gave up only two runs solo runs in the fifth and the sixth. Indians closer Joe Borowski got his 39th save of the year tops in the American League. The win gave the Indians a sweep over Minnesota, who fell 8.5 behind Cleveland in the A.L. Central. Cleveland also increased their lead over the Detroit Tigers to 4.5 games as Detroit fell to Kansas City 5-0.

© Copyright 2007

Yankees Take Game Two From Boston 4-3

Just when the Red Sox thought it was safe to go back to the Bronx, the Yankees woke up from the coma they were in on last week's road trip. New York starter Roger Clemens looked like vintage Rocket as he allowed only one run over six frames, and Mariano Rivera got the save as New York defeated Boston 4-3 Wednesday night. Alex Rodriguez had the key hit for the Bombers as he hit round tripper number 44. Boston's Kevin Youkalis cut the lead to one with a long ball of his own but Rivera came through for the save. New York now finds themselves behind the Red Sox by only six, and are now tied with Seattle for the Wild Card as Seattle fell to the Los Angeles Angels 8-2. Seattle who were swept by L.A. in the series are now five back in the A.L. West.

© Copyright 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yankees Take Game One From Boston 5-3

"Team Schizophrenia" is at it again! After coming home from a 2-5 road trip including going 1-3 against Detroit, the New York Yankees looked like they were a team ripe for the picking. The Yankees were hosting Eastern Division leaders the Boston Red Sox who they trailed by 8 games after cutting the lead to 4 games a week earlier. But the Yankees behind a solid start by Andy Pettitte manned up Tuesday night and beat Boston 5-3 in the first game of a three game series. The big offensive blow for New York was a tie breaking home run by former Boston centerfielder Johnny Damon off Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka who lost to New York for the first time. The win gives Pettitte a 12-7 record, Matsuzaka falls to 13-11. Mariano Rivera got his 21st save.

© Copyright 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Triple Play Helps Tribe Top Twins 8-3

The Cleveland Indians turned their first triple play since 1992, and Paul Byrd continued his dominance of the Minnesota Twins as the Tribe defeated Minnesota Monday night 8-3. The 5-4-3 triple play occurred in the top of the seventh as Mike Redmond hit a ground ball to Cleveland third baseman Casey Blake with two on and nobody out. Blake said that turning the Triple play was "cool". Victor Martinez hit his 20th home run of the campaign. Cleveland remains 2.5 games ahead of Detroit in the American League Central.
© Copyright 2007

Bombers Bombed By Tigers 16-0

Will the real New York Yankees please stand up. Are they the team that just a week ago was the hottest team in the American League, reducing what was once a 14.5 game lead by the Boston Red Sox to just four games? Or are they the doormats that they appeared to be Monday night in the last of a four game series against the Detroit Tigers. The Jekyll and Hyde bunch from the Bronx sure looked like a team that had peaked prematurely and are now on the downward slope, as they lost 16-0. Detroit starter Justin Verlander kept New York in check for seven frames, scattering just three hits. Yankees starter Mike Mussina on the other hand was beaten like a pinata lasting just 3 innings and giving up six runs. And then the New York bullpen, which looked like a team strength until recently gave up an additional 10 runs including nine off Yankees reliever Sean Henn. Detroit out hit New York 20-3, and took the series by winning 3-4. New York takes on Boston on Tuesday are now eight games behind the Red Sox.
© Copyright 2007

Garner And Purpura Axed By Astros

The manager and the General Manager that led the Houston Astros to their only World Series appearance in team history, are now history themselves. Houston Owner Drayton McClane announced on Monday that he had fired team G.M. Tim Purpura, and bench boss Phil Garner. Garner who had a record of 277-252 since taking over as skipper, but the club had a disappointing mark of 58-73 this year. McClane said the main reason he made the change was that the club showed no enthusiasm on the field, and his mind had no fire. Team President Tal Smith will be acting General Manager, and Cecil Cooper has been named interim manager. McClane said he expects to hire a new G.M. in September, and a new manager shortly after that.

© Copyright 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bo-Sox Beat Up Chi-Sox Again 11-1

Back in the day, they used to say that the Boston Red Sox built their teams for Fenway Park. After this weekend, it looks Boston G.M. Theo Epstein built this edition of the Bo-Sox for the stadium formerly known as Commiskey Park{Hey, I still call where the San Francisco 49ers play "Candlestick." Some old habits never die} The Red Sox beat the Chicago White Sox in four games by a total tally of 46-7, culminating in a Red Sox 11-1 victory on Sunday. Things are going so well for Boston that starter Julian Tavarez won the game his first victory since June 20. Javier Vasquez got the loss, his first in the month of August. The win pushes Boston 7.5 games ahead of the Yankees, a gain of 3.5 games in a week's time.

© Copyright 2007

Granderson's Inside Job Gives Tigers Edge Over Yankees 5-4

MLB has a lot of exciting moments. A perfectly executed 6-4-3 double play, an infielder running into the outfield with his back to the plate making an over the shoulder catch. A centerfielder, reaching into the stands to to rob an opposing player of a sure home run. Or when a flame throwing pitcher goes up against a power hitter, which ever way it goes with a dinger or a "K" swinging it will keep you on the edge of your seat. But for my money the most exciting play in baseball is an inside the park home run, especially if the last 90 feet are close. Detroit Tigers centerfielder Curtis Granderson led off the bottom of the first with an the park round tripper, and that turned out to be the margin of victory as Detroit beat the New York Yankees 5-4 Sunday. Granderson who leads the Majors with 21 triples hit his cue shot off New york rookie starter Phil Hughes who suffered only his second defeat in the Bigs. Detroit also got conventional homers from Marcus Thames, and Carlos Guillen. The win keeps the Tigers 2.5 games behind Cleveland in the American League Central, and they are within 5.5 of Seattle who leads the Wild Card chase. The Yankees who were the hottest team in Baseball last Sunday as they were leading the Wild Card race and only four games behind Boston in the A.L. East, now trail Seattle by 2.5 in the Wild Card derby, and are now 7.5 behind the Red Sox. The series concludes on Monday.

© Copyright 2007

Pronk's Single In 11th Gives Tribe 5-3 win over Royals

The Cleveland Indians Sunday came from behind with two out in the ninth to tie their game against the Kansas City Royals. Two innings later also with two they pushed the eventual winning run and an insurance run across home plate to defeat the Royals 5-3, and win the series two game to one. The Indians looked they were headed for an unhappy plane ride back to Cleveland when with two out in the top of the ninth, rookie second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera drove home Grady Sizemore to tie the game at three. They took the lead in the top of the 11th as the"Pronk" Travis Hafner had a RBI single, catcher Victor Matinez followed him up with another run producing single, and the Indians led 5-3. With the in the Indians remain 2.5 games ahead of Detroit in the American League Central as they defeated the Yankees Sunday.

© Copyright 2007

Rookie Starter Laffey Pitches Tribe To win Over K.C. 9-4

Cleveland Indians rookie starting pitcher Aaron Laffey saw his record in the Majors grow to 2-1 as the Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 9-4 Saturday. One day after the Tribe could only muster one run behind a stellar effort by C.C. Sabathia, who lost the contest 2-1, the Indians scored five runs in the first inning off of Royals starter Kyle Davies. It was only the third time since July 27, that Cleveland has scored more than seven runs in a game. Grady Sizemore and Victor Matinez each went deep for Cleveland. Every one in the lineup with the exception of Ryan Garko got a hit, while leftfielder Kenny Lofton went 3-5. With New York's victory over the Tigers, Cleveland's lead in the American League Central is back to 2.5 games.
© Copyright 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bo-Sox Bats Remain On Fire Beat Chi-Sox 14-2

Maybe Boston Red Sox hitters like deep dish pizza. What ever the reason Boston has outscored their hosts the Chicago White Sox 35-6 in three games as they beat up on the Pale Hose Saturday wining 14-2. Boston, who saw Thursday nights contest in Chi-town rained out pummeled Chicago Friday in a double header winning the first game 11-3 and game two 10-1. Boston torched White Sox starter Mark Buerhle who saw his record drop to 9-9. Mike Lowell had four hits for Boston while recent acquisition right fielder Bobby Kielty had four RBI. Tim Wakefield continued his remarkable season at age 41, seeing his record grow to 16-10 with the win. He and teammate Josh Beckett, who won Friday are MLB's only 16 game winners.

© Copyright 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lofton's Pinch Hit Single Leads Tribe Over Tigers 3-1

The Cleveland Indians on Thursday brought back memories of their glory days from 1995-2001, as Kenny Lofton hit a pinch hit single in the tenth to break a scoreless tie, and the Tribe went onto defeat the Detroit Tigers 3-1. The victory gave the Indians the series 2-1 and increased their lead over Detroit to 2.5 games in the American League Central. Cleveland's Jake Westbrook and the Tigers Nate Robertson each pitched eight scoreless frames but Detroit's Joel Zumaya gave it up in the tenth. Rafael Perez got the win for Cleveland Joe Borowski got his 36th save.

© Copyright 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rangers Beat Orioles 30-3

The Texas Rangers trailed the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 going into the top of the fourth inning in the first game of their doubleheader Wednesday. They then scored 30 unanswered runs to defeat Baltimore by the amazing score of 30-3. The 30 runs scored by Texas, is the most ever in the history of the American League which was formed in 1901. It is the first time 30 or more runs were scored in a MLB game since 1897, as the Chicago Colts, who eventually became the Cubs beat the Louisville Colonels 36-7 in a National League game. Texas scored five in the fourth, 9 in the sixth, 10 in the eighth, and 6 in the ninth. The Rangers also won the second game of the doubleheader 9-7 breaking a 70 year old American League record held by the Detroit Tigers who scored 36 runs in a double header in 1937.

© Copyright 2007

Trembley Will Be Bench Boss For Birds Next Year

Baltimore Orioles interim manager Dave Trembley had the interim taken out of his title on July 31. Wednesday Trembley's job security became even stronger as the team released a statement that he will be back in 2008 with a club option for 2009. Trembley took over as bench boss for the Orioles back in mid June when the club fired former manager Sam Perlozzo. Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy McPhail praised Trembley saying he was a good fit for the team and the city of Baltimore.

© Copyright 2007

Anderson Drives in Ten Angels Beat Yankees 18-9

Los Angeles Angels left fielder Garrett Anderson had such an incredible game on Tuesday night that he made New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez who hit two home runs for the MLB lead at 42 an afterthought. Anderson drove in 10 RBI Tuesday night, enough to beat the Bronx Bombers by himself, but the Halos tacked on eight more runs and beat the Yankees 18-9. Anderson hit a grand slam, a three run blast, a two run double, and drove in his last RBI with another double all in the game's first six innings! He had a chance to tie the American League record, and possibly taken the Major League Record as he came to the plate with runners at first and third in the eighth, but grounded out. Anderson set a team record with ten RBI, became the 12th player in MLB history to accomplish the feat, the last player to do it ironically was A-Rod against the Angels in 2005. The American League record is 11 RBI for a game set by Yankees legend Tony Lazzeri in 1936. The Major League record is 12 accomplished by two different ST. Louis Cardinals players nearly 70 years apart; Jim Bottomley in 1924, and "Hard Hittin'" Mark Whiten in 1993.
© Copyright 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Smoltz New Braves "K" King Atlanta Beats Arizona 6-2

Atlanta Braves starter John Smoltz took over the franchise record in strikeouts as he collected 12 on Sunday, and went eight innings to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2. Smoltz scattered five hits and two runs over the eight frames, while first baseman Mark Teixiera hit a pair of home runs and drove in four runs in the win. Smoltz takes over the franchise record from the old knuckler Phil Neikro who had 2912 strikeouts. Smoltz finished the day with 2920.
© Copyright 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yankees Pummel Tigers 9-3

The New York Yankees have cut Boston's lead in the American League East to just four games, after beating up on the Detroit Tigers 9-3 on Sunday. The Yankees sport the best record in the American League since the All-Star break going an incredible 27-11 during that period and have won 15 out of their last 20 games. New York starter Chien-Ming Wang saw his record go to 14-6 with the win. New York got huge days out of Hideki Matsui with three RBI, and Wilson Betemit who started in place of shortstop Derek Jeter who got a day off took advantage of the playing time and got four RBI. The game was tied at 3-3 in the sixth when Johnny Damon took Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman deep for a solo blast to break the tie. Bonderman falls to 0-5 in his last 5 starts and Detroit remains a game and a half behind Cleveland in the race for the top of the American League Central.
© Copyright 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tribe Increases Lead In Central With 5-2 Win Over D-Rays

The Cleveland Indians increased their lead in the American League Central Division to a game and a half over Detroit as they trounced the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-1 Saturday. Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook had one of his best starts of the campaign, allowing just 2 hits and one run over seven frames. Offensively for Cleveland the big boppers were centerfielder Grady Sizemore who hit a solo dinger, and rookie second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera hit his first Major League home run a three run shot in the second. Cabrera, who was acquired last year from Seattle for first baseman Eduardo Perez has made a meteoric rise this year in the Indians system. He was called up to the Bigs from Triple A Buffalo on August 7, and may be pushing regular second baseman Jesse Barfield for more playing time. The win combined with Detroit's loss to the Yankees 5-2 have given the Indians a little breathing room in the tight A.L. Central race.
© Copyright 2007

Dye Signs Two Year Deal With Chi-Sox

Less than a month ago Jermaine Dye was a free agent in waiting, and appeared to be changing the color of his Sox from White to Red. But Boston and Chicago never could quite come to terms, and on Saturday the White Sox took free agency out of the equation signing the outfielder to a two year contract extension. Dye who was the MVP of the 2005 World Series reportedly received $22 million over the two years with a mutual option for a third year. Dye who is 33, broke into the Majors with the Braves, and has also played for the Royals and Oakland.
© Copyright 2007

Angry No Longer Zambrano Cubs Agree To Five Year Deal

The Chicago Cubs and their highly emotional starter Carlos Zambrano came to terms on Friday to a five year contract extension reportedly worth $91 million. The contract also contains a vesting option for a sixth year. Zambrano started his pro career with the Cubs organization, and really did not want to test the free agent waters. Zambrano who is 14-9 was in the midst of some controversy earlier this season when he had an altercation with then teammate catcher Michael Barrett. Now Barrett is gone, and Zambrano has gotten his contract, sometimes life just kind of works out.
© Copyright 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Selig Says Giambi Faces No Suspension

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig released a statement Thursday saying that he was pleased with the cooperation he received from New York Yankees DH Jason Giambi, and that the player would receive no punishment. And so ends another sad chapter in Baseball as we know it in 2007, as we are immersed in an era in the entire World Of Sports that future historians may aptly name the "Scandal Age." The reason I call this a sad chapter, is that if handled correctly by Selig and the rest of the MLB Brain-Trust, could have ushered in an era of trust and Baseball could have started to recover some of it's integrity after the strike of 1994, and the "Steroid Era." In an interview with USA Today Baseball writer Bob Nightengale back in May, the New York slugger who had testified in front of a Grand Jury in 2003, told the reporter that he regretted taking "that stuff." Giambi also chastised MLB for not clearing the air on the steroid issue. He said that Baseball should have come clean a long time ago, on all levels including players and management, and admit they made a mistake. He said that MLB should have put rules in place and gone forward.

Instead of seizing the opportunity, to make a clean breast of things and to put the issue once and for all behind them, Selig and company circled the wagons. Instead of hailing Giambi as a brave individual, who admitted his own wrong doing, and urged the sport he loved to do the same, he was turned into Public Enemy Number One. Selig called him on the carpet making him speak with MLB "Steroid Czar" George Mitchell. Baseball fans can take solace in the fact that a stand-up guy was not punished, but should regret the opportunity missed by the powers that be.
© Copyright 2007

Atlantic League Suspends Offerman Indefinitely

Just when you think you have reached a point in covering sports, when you think nothing can shock you anymore something happens that repudiates that feeling. Such is the case with Jose Offerman who was suspended indefinitely by the Independent Minor League, the Atlantic League for assaulting the opposing pitcher and catcher with his bat after being hit by a pitch earlier this week. Offerman who was playing for the Long Island Ducks led off the game Tuesday night against Bridgeport hitting the first pitch of the contest over the left field fence with a home run. Offerman was up the next inning, and was hit by Bridgeport pitcher Matt Beech in the calf. The normally mild mannered Offerman charged the mound with bat in hand and started swing at Beech eventually hitting him in the hand and breaking his finger. Bridgeport catcher John Nathans running to the mound to come to his pitcher's defense got hit in the head, ending up with a concussion that could end his season. Beech, Bridgeport manager Tommy John, and Offerman were all ejected from the game. Offerman was then arrested by Bridgeport police, and charged with two counts of second degree assault, he is free on $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on August 23. Beech says that Offerman was swinging at his head, and definitely feels he was assaulted. Offerman who last played in the Majors in 2005 was hitting .325 for the Ducks, and was hoping to use this as a springboard to get back to playing in the Bigs. Offerman made the All-Star team twice in 1995 with the Dodgers, and in 1999 with Boston.

© Copyright 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yankees Hall of Fame Shortstop Phil Rizzuto Dies At 89

The World of Baseball mourned the death Tuesday, of former New York Yankees shortstop, and long time broadcaster Phil Rizzuto who died from complications from pneumonia. Rizzuto was 89, and had been living the last few years in a New Jersey nursing home as his health started to fail him. The man who brought the phrase "Holy Cow" to the Baseball Lexicon as a Television analyst for the Bombers was inducted into Cooperstown as a player in 1994, by the veterans committee after failing to be voted in by the BBWA. Rizzuto was the American League MVP in 1950 when he got 200 hits hit for a .324 average, and a .439 slugging percentage. "Scooter" was known as a slick fielding shortstop, and the Yankees won 10 pennants and 8 World Series while he was the shortstop. Rizzuto also made the American League All-Star team five times.

© Copyright 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Red Hot Yankees Torch Tribe 11-2

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez should have to wear a warning label stating that he should be not allowed near gasoline, because he is simply on fire. And his team is just about at the same temperature as they roasted the Cleveland Indians on Saturday by the score of 11-2. A-Rod went deep twice for the Bombers giving him 39 for the year, 503 for the career. Mike Mussina was the beneficiary of the New York offense giving him a season mark of 8-7, but more significantly his 100th win in a Yankee uniform. he is only the ninth pitcher to win more than 100 games with two different franchises, having won 147 for the Baltimore Orioles. Paul Byrd took the loss for Cleveland, his season record now is 10-5. With the loss the Indians saw their lead over Detroit in the American League Central division shrink to just a half game as the Tigers beat Oakland Saturday 5-2.
© Copyright 2007

Ankiel Goes Deep Twice Cards Top Dodgers 6-1

In what is turning into one of the few feel good stories in an era in sports when we desperately need more ST. Louis Cardinals right fielder Rick Ankiel had himself a very successful Saturday. Ankiel who was a pitcher the last time he played in the majors hit two home runs on Saturday his third long ball since being called up to the Majors on Thursday, as the Redbirds beat the LA Dodgers 6-1. Ankiel went 3-4 with 3 RBI six since joining the team after coming up from Triple A Memphis. For Ankiel and the Cardinals this is the culmination of a long process that saw a once promising starting pitcher, who all of a sudden just lost his ability to throw the ball over the plate. However instead of giving up playing, he simply gave up pitching in Spring Training 2005, and proceeded to rebuild his career as an outfielder. The ST. Louis crowd gave Ankiel a standing ovation.
© Copyright 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bombers Spank Tribe 6-1

New York Yankees rookie starter Phil Hughes pitched a masterpiece, and A-Rod came back from a sore calf with number 501 as the Yankees took the first game of their weekend series in Cleveland 6-1. Hughes shut down the Indians throwing six frames allowing just one run on four hits. New York third baseman recovering from getting hit in the calf by Blue Jays starter Josh Towers Tuesday night hit a solo shot off Tribe starter Fausto Carmona to lead off the second. The "Pronk" Travis Hafner Cleveland's DH missed the game due to a sore right knee, that he hurt sliding into second Tuesday night against the White Sox. Hafner could end up having to sit out the series.
© Copyright 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

Barry Bonds Home Run King...Deal With It

Up until a year ago I was affiliated for over a decade with the Ohio Center for Broadcasting, located outside of Cleveland in a town named Valley View, Ohio. Before my beautiful bride of almost 24 years and I moved to New York, I held a myriad of positions there including, instructor, Assistant Director of Education, and Director of Education. I still miss the daily interaction with the students, who at times could be challenging, and at times could be the source of great joy. There is no greater high to me in the world than seeing that light turn on in some body's eyes that had been vacant just seconds before. Even though I was a full time reporter, the old hippie in me wanted to give something back to the community, and the industry{Yes I know that if you go to our sister site and check out the picture on the Home page I look like your eighth grade Gym teacher, but I used to have hair down to my shoulders.} The reason I bring this up is a discussion I had with a class back in 1998, that has resonated in my mind over the last couple of days. It was the day after the end of the 1998 MLB regular season, the year that Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs. As I spoke to the class that day I told them how awe struck I was at the achievement, 70 Home Runs a feat we never really felt could be accomplished before that magical year! I spoke of how I had said on the Radio Sports Talk show I was doing in 1997, that we used to imagine a slugger like Albert Belle going to the Colorado Rockies. At the time Denver was a launching pad for baseballs and we theorized that if Belle went to the Rockies, playing in their stadium for 81 games he could possibly not only break Roger Maris' 1961 home run benchmark of 61, but possibly do the unthinkable, and strive towards 70. For McGwire to actually attain that number playing in ST. Louis of of all places {Busch Stadium was not particularly homer friendly} as well as Sammy Sosa challenging him all year long was incredible. I told my students most of whom ranged in age from late teens to early twenties that they would talk about this to their grand children some day.

We fast forward nine years to August of 2007. McGwire's record was broken three years later, by Barry Bonds who had 73 homers in 2001, a season that held none of the magic of the year three seasons prior. McGwire no longer a hero is a pariah, maybe even more so a non-person like in Stalin's Soviet Union where they would literally expunge your name from the official records and the history books. Baseball wishes they could do exactly that with the one time "Golden Boy", but there is no cause or justification. In his first year of eligibility to go into Cooperstown MLB's "Valhalla" he received less than 30% of the BBWA vote, falling far short of induction. So instead of proudly holding his plaque with Cal Ripken, and Tony Gwynn as he should have been doing he has turned into kind of a wraith like figure, existing in the shadows. Yes that is right I said Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame, and if I had a vote he would have received it. Because his non-testimony in Washington before Congress did not detract in my mind from what he accomplished not only that year but in his career. And you can deny it to me, but you can't deny it to your self that you enjoyed that year as much as I did. You got a lump in your throat when McGwire saluted the Maris family after eclipsing the late New York Yankees slugger's mark. You felt chills when McGwire crossed home plate after number 70, and picked up his son and embraced him. If you did not then you are not a baseball fan yet now you say you feel deceived, cheated some how. And like a broken hearted lover you want to see McGwire suffer, but exactly what did he do wrong? Mark McGwire acknowledged that season that he was using Creatine a "steroid percurssor" that basically allows you to recover quicker from physical wear and tear more easily than the body does naturally. Although banned now from MLB at the time it was acceptable according to the rules of the game, McGwire was not doing this covertly. The reason it came to light in the first place was a reporter saw it in McGwire's locker and asked him about it. Popularized by weight lifters and body builders, McGwire probably picked the stuff up in his local health food store. There was nothing black market about it, and nothing illegal either by the laws of the land or the laws of MLB. In fact McGwire stopped using it the following season even though it was still allowed by MLB.

The man who topped Big Mac's single season record Barry Bonds, broke another record earlier this week, that being Henry Aaron's career home run total of 755. Bonds currently sits at 757 as I am writing this. There has been all sorts of talks of asterisks, and the record being tainted over the last few days and that Bud Selig MLB Commissioner should make the title null and void. Get this through your skull; there will be no asterisk, and the record will stand you can bet your house on it. And even if the Grand Jury finds him guilty of tax evasion, perjury, or even if they have the "smoking gun" a vial with Barry Bonds bodily fluids testing positive for Steroids in 2001 {which does not exist} MLB would have no recourse. Do you know what the punishment for testing positive in steroids was in 2001? Counseling, that's it no suspension you had to talk with a professional! So even if MLB could prove Bonds was taking steroids there were no penalties in place to punish him and make the home runs "go away." Barry Bonds is not warm and fuzzy he comes off as arrogant and paranoid. I have never interviewed Bonds, although I interviewed McGwire many time before he retired. But being difficult, may make him a less likable character it does not strip him of the title.

I have not lifted weights since I was in my twenties, and I am certainly not into body building, again I reference my picture. Although not a "little midget man" like the TV Personality that Bonds castigated the other day, I am 5'10" and 150 pounds soaking wet. But I do not believe that weight lifters and body builders can command the salaries that Pro Baseball players do. I really don't think that even the most successful weight lifter makes close to $20 million a year do they? So if that's the case, and I am correct, then if all it took was muscles to hit home runs why aren't all these "Mr. Universe " types playing in the MLB? You know what, you could take enough steroids, and lift enough weights until you can pick a Mercedes up over your head, that does not mean you can hit a baseball. And it certainly does not mean you can hit home runs. Does it give you any advantage if you already have the ability, I am not a scientist, but I could see how an argument could be made that it does. But how much, I don't know can you honestly say you do? If Babe Ruth had taken steroids could he have hit 900 home runs, who knows? But you know that Ruth died very young a husk of his former self, would steroids have hastened that demise, again who knows. If steroids are an advantage, are they a greater or lesser advantage that because MLB players make the exorbitant money they do, they are in far better shape year round than their predecessors even 40 years ago. They don't sell insurance in the off season or sell cars, they can spend all 12 months of the year keeping their body in shape. How many more homers could Ted Williams have hit doing that, again we will never know.

To me the biggest travesty of this whole controversy we are seeing in Baseball right now is how MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is trying to come off as a victim in all this, where at best MLB allowed the "Steroid Era" to go on by turning a blind eye. And after two events for Selig to vindicate himself and the game, I am starting to wonder if the powers that be in MLB were not more complicit than we previously conjectured. The first incident was last season when Baltimore Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids, the first true "smoking gun." Selig right then had a chance to draw a line in the sand by making Palmeiro ineligible for the Hall of Fame, he did nothing. The second incident to me was much more ominous. It occured earlier this year when Yankees DH Jason Giambi had his now infamous interview with USA Today's Bob Nightengale. Giambi apologized for "taking that stuff" and said that Baseball owed the fans an apology for whatever has taken place over the last decade or so. I at the time embraced Giambi as a hero, for trying to clear the air, and it was a perfect opportunity for Selig to enter a new era for Baseball. Instead he circled the wagons, went into protect mode and called Giambi onto the carpet making him speak with "Steroid Czar" George Mitchell. Giambi also had to issue a public apology stating that he was not trying to implicate MLB in his previous statements. Anybody who read the interview knows that in no way shape or form was there even a hint of Giambi trying to do that. As Shakespeare said Mr. Commissioner, "Me thinks thou dost protest too much." And maybe the most chilling moment of all was when Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was asked about the Interview, Steinbenner tersely said "He should have kept his mouth shut." Yes King George and Lucca Brazzi sleeps with the fishes.

Let's remember one thing; the "Steroid Era" would still be thriving in baseball except for a book, written by Jose Canseco. Because of that book and the public's reaction to it Congress held hearings, and threatened to get involved unless Baseball got it's house in order. That is the only reason that Fehr and Selig toughened the penalties. If you believe anything else you are truly living in a fairy tale. Barry Bonds is the product of an era, and we are all to blame. We the media, for not asking more questions, MLB for at best turning a blind eye, and you the fan for supporting the product. Even my own father who swore up and down that after the strike in 1981 he was through with baseball, still loves his Red Sox. And this season he is getting even more pleasure by teasing my mother about her Yankees. Selig's only recourse with Barry Bonds would be to make him ineligible for the Hall of Fame on the "Morality Issue" if he is ever convicted by the Grand Jury. But the record will always be there until somebody breaks it whether you or Bud Selig likes it or not.
© Copyright 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rocket Grounded For Five Games

MLB announced on Thursday that they were issuing a five game suspension to New York Yankees starter Roger Clemens, as well as giving a one game suspension to New York manager Joe Torre following Clemens hitting Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios with a pitch in their contest Tuesday night. There was tension through out the three game series, bad blood from an earlier game in the season when Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez pulled a bush league move. A-Rod distracted Toronto third baseman Howie Clark back on May 30, by yelling something causing Clark to miss a normally easy pop fly. On Monday Rodriguez dodged a ball that was thrown behind his legs by Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch. Jays starter Josh Towers hit A-Rod in the calf Tuesday night in the third. Both teams rushed out to the field tow separate times but there no punches thrown. Clemens threw at Rios in the seventh, and hit him square in the back resulting in an immediate ejection for the Rocket, and the Yankees skipper. Fines were also issued to Clemens, Torre, and Rodriguez as well as New york coaches Tony Pena, and Larry Bowa. Toronto drew fines for Towers, Matt Stairs, and Blue Jays coach Brian Butterfield. No word yet on whether Clemens will appeal the suspension.

© Copyright 2007

He's On A Roll Bonds Hits 757

Looks like now that the pressure is off Barry Bonds is on a roll as the new MLB Home Run King hit his second in two nights, number 23 of the season and number 757 Wednesday night. The San Francisco Giants outfielder hit a two run shot to McCovey Cove in the first inning off of Washington starter Tim Redding on a1-1 pitch. Bonds went 1-2 before being removed from the game, a routine San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy may use more often to get Bonds rest during the dog days of August.
© Copyright 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Party May Be Over For Boomer

The San Diego Padres announced on Wednesday that they were ending their relationship with veteran starter David Wells as they need the roster spot to activate All-Star starter Chris Young on Thursday. Padres General Manager Kevin Towers told the 44 year old pitcher that he would not make his next start, and if he wanted to keep pitching the team would designate him for assignment in order for him to possibly latch on to another team. Towers also told "Boomer" that if he wanted to retire the Padres would work out the arrangements. The southpaw has struggled all year going 5-8, but especially recently as he has gone 0-3 in his last four starts.
© Copyright 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Barry Bonds MLB New Home Run King

History was made on Tuesday night as MLB crowned a new home run king. San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds hit Home run number 756 breaking his tie with former MLB slugger Hank Aaron, as he hit his 22nd round tripper of the campaign against Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bascik in the fifth inning. The blast was to right center field, and was Bonds third hit of the game. Neither MLB Commissioner Bud Selig or Aaron were in attendance. Ironically this is Bascik's second brush with baseball history. Although he will never be in Cooperstown other than as a spectator, Bascik allowed the Cleveland Indians to come back against the Seattle Mariners on August 5, 2001 in his first major league game. Bascik who relieved Cleveland starter Dave Burba pitched until the eighth inning as the Indians mounted the greatest comeback in MLB history. Although Bascik did not figure in the final decision he stymied the Mariners, as the Indians came back twice from a twelve run deficit, at 12-0, and 14-2 to beat Seattle 15-14 in coming back from the biggest deficit in MLB history. The Nationals ended up winning the game Tuesday night 8-6.
© Copyright 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Glavine Gets Win Number 300 Mets Beat Cubs 8-3

New York Mets starter Tom Glavine capped off a historic weekend for MLB Sunday night by beating the Chicago Cubs 8-3 and winning his 300th career game. The southpaw threw six and a third frames scattering two runs and six hits. The 41 year old pitcher was taken out with one on and one out in the seventh. He is the 23rd pitcher in MLB to attain 300 victories and joins Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux as the three active pitchers to achieve the feat.
© Copyright 2007

Bonds Hits Historic Homer Number 755

Barry Bonds became a part of MLB history on Saturday as he it career home run number 755 tying him with Hall of Fame outfielder Henry Aaron for the most home runs in a MLB career. Bonds hit the historic round tripper in San Diego against Padres starter Clay Hensley the 445th pitcher that has given up a homer to the San Francisco Giants slugger. There was a five minute stoppage of play as the San Diego crowd applauded Bonds. Bonds was greeted at home by his 17 year old son Nikolai who embraced his father. Very quickly the rest of the team came out to congratulate their teammate. Bonds then went to the part of the stands where his wife and daughter were sitting and kissed them both. In spite of the homer San Diego ended up wining the game 3-2. After the game he said that getting that last home run was the hardest thing he had ever accomplished. He said he had broke into a rash on his scalp due to the stress. Bonds went 28 at bats between homer number 754 and 755. He said he would take Sunday off.
© Copyright 2007

A-Rod Hits Number 500 New York Wins 16-8

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player in MLB history to hit 500 career home runs as the Yankees beat up the Kansas City Royals Saturday 16-8. A-Rod went 3-4, scoring three runs, driving in three and had a walk for good measure. Rodriguez becomes the 22nd MLB player to attain 500, and at 32 years and 9 days he is now the youngest , edging out former youngest player Jimmie Foxx who was 32 years and 337 days old when he accomplished the feat.
© Copyright 2007

Saturday, August 04, 2007

MLB Comes Down Hard On Neifi 80 Game Suspension

Detroit Tigers infielder Neifi Perez has tested positive for what MLB is labeling a "banned substance" for the third time, the second time this month. Because of the test results Perez has been suspended for 80 games ending his 2007 season. Perez had been suspended on July 6, for 25 games for the second positive test, the first positive test only results in a player needing to seek counseling. It is believed that Perez has tested positive for some sort of amphetamines, which were banned before the start of the 2006 campaign. Before that they were basically omnipresent in many MLB club houses.

© Copyright 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Royals Bell To Resign At End Of Season

Kansas City Royals manager Buddy Bell announced on Thursday that he would resign his position as manger at the end of the season, but will remain with the team as an adviser. Bell who is 55 had a brush with cancer last September, as he had a growth removed from his throat and he said that played a major part in his decision. Bell said the reason he is resigning is strictly to spend more time with his family, and does not reflect any disagreement philosophically or otherwise with the Royals organization. Bell will be based out of Cincinnati which is his home, and will become a senior adviser to Kansas City General Manager Dayton Moore.
© Copyright 2007

Bridge Collapse Causes Twins To Cancel Game

No this is not a photo from the latest Bruce Willis flick, this is a picture taken on Wednesday In Minneapolis, Minnesota where a bridge collapsing forced the Twins to cancel their scheduled game with the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. The bridge was located near the Metrodome, and may effect the scheduled weekend series against division rivals the Cleveland Indians. If you believe in karma, this may have been a bad sign; groundbreaking ceremonies for the Twins new stadium also had to be cancelled because of the collapse.
© Copyright 2007

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