In 1881 the future National League wanted to upgrade its image and target a more upscale fan base by doubling ticket prices, banning gambling, and outlawing alcohol sales. Several team owners who happened to be brewers refused to accept the new rules and banded together to form what would eventually become the American League. The National League attempted to discredit the new league by dubbing it the Beer and Whiskey League. This, of course only made the new league more popular. Duh!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Free Access to Internet Around the Horn

Here’s my irregularly regular roundup of what’s going on in baseball and the blogosphere:

First thing’s first, we bring you the Crosby Watch:




Poor Bubba didn’t get a single at-bat during the much over-hyped Red Sox/Yankees series. Considering how anemic that offense has been, I can't see why they don't give ol’ Bubba a few more at-bats just to make the Crosby Watch a little more interesting.

We’re the Alternablog: Since there has been no shortage of press on the ridiculously overhyped Yanks/BoSox series, I’m going to limit myself to four comments.

1. I’m glad to see that I was not the only one annoyed by the fat white guy with the ugly striped shirt sitting (or standing) behind homeplate. Who the hell is this moron and does he realize he’s a moron? It seems that he made quite an impression on the blogosphere.

2. Truppiano, the voice of the Red Sox (at least on radio), did a post-game interview with The Passion after Saturday’s game. The BoSox won the game 5-2 but did so with the help of four walks and a buttload of singles. In pointing out that the game lacked any big hits (outside of Money Ramirez’s solo homerun), Truppiano felt compelled to break into Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and then proclaim that the Boston beat the Yankees by “Killing them softly with singles and walks.” There’s got to be a rule about drinking and doing broadcasts … even in Boston.

3. At one point on Friday’s game, the world’s most annoying baseball announcer, Tim McCarver, mentioned that Jeter, Sheffield, Giambi, and Posada were very selective hitters while Enrique Wilson, Tony Clark and A-Hole are willing to chase pitches. Hmmm, has the.156 hitting MVP taken such a large tumble that he’s now compared to Wilson and Clark? Oh, how the mighty (annoying) have fallen.

4. Did anyone else stick around for the post-game interview after Friday’s game? Did anyone else think it was weird for Bill Mueller to open his interview on national TV by saying, “Well, first, let me thank God, my lord and savior, since it is through Him that everything is made possible”? I don’t have anything against religion but it always annoys me when athletes thank God. Hey, if everything goes through God then is Mueller suggesting that God is responsible for the Curse of the Bambino?

Let’s keep making fun of post-game interviews: Terry Mulholland, who was traded from the Mariners to the Twins for $1 (I kid you not), made his Minnesota debut this last Saturday against Kansas City. While the interviewer was quick to point out that Mully did technically pitch 1.1 innings, he apparently forgot to mention that in those 1.1. innings, Mully allowed four hits and had to be pulled when he loaded the bases. If it wasn’t for J.C. Romero’s ability to come in and get two outs, Mully’s ERA would be out of the stratosphere.

We Suck Less: Well, the Mariners finally won a series but as those eternal pessimists at the U.S.S. Mariner point out, there’s still a lot to be worried about. The Mariners may have hit three homeruns on Sunday’s rubber match but that puts them on pace for a whopping 94 homeruns for the season. In the last three years, no team, according to John Levesque of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who has hit less than 150 homeruns has made the playoffs.

And maybe the Angels really suck too: There’s been a lot of talk about how good the Angels are and all the great moves they made over the off-season. And, certainly, as a Mariners fan who has seen the M’s drop five of six to the Halos I would have to agree that they look good but then I took a quick glance at their record. The Angels are currently 7-6. If you take out the six games against the Mariners, the Angels are a rather woeful 2-5 against the Elephants and the team formerly owned by George Dubya. Kind of makes you wonder or at least it does me.

What are you doing Lou?: On Saturday, the Drays were trailing the PaleHose 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, the Drays were able to get a man on first and second with the number nine hitter, Fick (.143 at the time) due up. Not surprisingly, Louie put in a pinch hitter. Marte, a lefty was pitching, and I know Louie loves the lefty-righty matchups (which I personally think is incredibly over-rated). On his bench were Toby Hall (hitting .333) and Tino Martinez (.320). So, Louie decides not to put in Tino since he’s a left-handed bat. Ok, makes sense. You would think then he would be put in Hall especially since Hall and Fick are both catchers. Yeah, you would think that but instead he puts in Jason Romano. Jason who? Exactly. Jason Romano, he of the might .125 season average and the even mightier .200 career average. Someone please explain this to me. I think Louie might be spending too many late nights at the tracks with his new best buddy, Zimmer-man.

Let’s stay with the Drays a little longer: Whoo-hee, Paul Abbott has two quality starts in a row. Perhaps he will be this year’s Esteban Loiza? Or maybe not. Anyhoo, despite his 1-1 record, Abbott has pitched 13 innings over two games and has chalked up a 1.38 ERA. I’m definitely going to have to keep an eye on old Mr. Abbott. I wonder, though, if he’s ever going to get enough strikeouts in a single game to reward those Drays fans with free hot wings from Hooters. Man, I love that promo.

And for something new entirely: I realized that there were some teams that I have hardly mentioned in any of my posts so I decided to look around for an interesting story and, to be honest, there’s really nothing about the Blays, the O’s, or the Roys that I find particularly interesting. It’s fun to write about good teams and really bad teams but not so fun to write about mediocre teams; however, I did manage to find something rather interesting about the Indians. Most notably: these guys are actually pretty good despite having a 4-8 record (hey, that makes them a game ahead of the Mariners). They have the third-best team batting average (.298 … right behind Texas’s .312 and Minnesota’s .304). They also have the second-highest number of team home runs (17), the third highest OBP (.364), the third highest RBI (65) and they lead the league in total hits (145). In fact, if you take into consideration park factors, the Indians probably have the most potent office thus far this season (since the only two other teams close to them, Minnesota and Texas, both have extreme hitting friendly parks).

So, why the hell are they 4-8? The obvious answer would be because their pitching sucks but, in fact, that’s not true at all. While not stellar, they currently have the fifth-best team ERA (.429) right in front of the Yankees (.431) but way behind the number four Red Sox (.389). Perhaps this is just a matter of some bad luck? I don’t know the answer but I do know it’s a rather interesting set of stats that might indicate some good things to come for those Tribes fans. Perhaps the Indians will be this year’s version of the White Sox (the team in 2003 who led the league in run differential – that is, the difference between the number of runs scored and number of runs allowed – but still managed to end the season with a rather subpar record).

And finally: How badly do the Red Sox miss ramoN and Trot “skip, and run” Nixon? Their replacements Crespo (who is playing second while Pokey "friend of Gumby” Reese moves over to short) and Ellis Burks are respectively hitting .176 and .091. No, that’s not a typo. Burks is hitting .091 – that would even be considered a slump for Cirillo.