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, May 03, 2004

What About Car Talk?

Errata non grata: In a recent post I mistakenly characterized Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me as the most annoying show on National Public Radio. That prompted the following response from the show's host, Peter Sagal, who writes: "What the hell do you mean, the most irritating show on NPR? What about Car Talk?"

Well, as an unrepentant Car Talk fan, I can only answer by saying that I misspoke. The most irritating show on NPR is really The Splendid Table. You know those skits on Saturday Night Live, where they make fun of public radio? Yeah. Anyway, apologies to Mr. Sagal and fans of the show. This also brings to mind that we should probably stop calling everything and everyone "annoying," or "irritating" as we have already done 9 times on this blog: Braves games; the aforementioned "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me"; Tim McCarver; Alex Rodriguez; the Angels; a sports bar in Minnesota; Jack McDowell; the actions of Curt Schilling; Angels broadcaster Rex Hudler.

Who, exactly? We at Beer and Whiskey are not surprised that Manny Ramirez is fifth in the AL in batting average (.365). We are, however, surprised that #4 is Ken Harvey (.366), #3 is Juan Uribe (.384), #2 is Lew Ford (.391) and Ronnie Belliard is batting .400 to lead the Junior Circuit. Perhaps Tommy's Affordability Index could help determine whether Kansas City can afford to keep Carlos Beltran (though in most corners it's a foregone conclusion that they can't). In the meantime, we are not terribly surprised that Mr. Beltran tops the AL in runs (25), homers (8) and slugging (.721). He also has 7 stolen bases, good enough for a third place tie.

Gerut/stick: Cleveland outfielder Jody Gerut had an impressive rookie campaign (.279, 22, 75) but is off to a relatively slow start thus far, hitting just .258. His plate discipline, however, seems to be improving. He already has 15 free passes in 89 at-bats, compared to just 35 walks in 480 at-bats last year. And, to this point, his K/BB ratio is much improved--11/15 this year vs. 70/35 last season. Add to that the fact that the Stanford grad writes a better blog than we do. Check out his thoughtful reflections on former teammate Milton Bradley.

Making sacrifices: The White Sox are now 9-1 in one-run games and 10 of their 15 wins are of the come-from-behind variety. Toronto starter Miguel Batista allowed only 6 hits in 8 innings against the ChiSox on Sunday, but the Pale Hose executed two sac bunts and two sac flies to make the difference in a 3-2 win. There is ball of the small variety being played on the South Side, and people are calling it Ozzieball. The folks over at White Sox Interactive are now featuring both an "Ozzieball Update" and a "Maggli-o-Meter" in their "totally biased" game recaps.

I'm going down: Yankee's don Joe Torre put a damper on Tommy's ongoing Crosby Show by sending Bubba down in order to make room for Kenny Lofton. White Sox "pitcher" Dan Wright was optioned to AAA Charlotte this week, after failing yet again to give his team a chance to win (3.0 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 6 ER on Saturday). According to The Southsider, Wright has a career 3.31 ERA the first time through the batting order, which rises to 5.75 the second time and up to 8.90 the third time around. Chicago will go old-school and use a 4-man rotation in the meantime.

Burning bright: Pasco, WA native Jeremy Bonderman pitched pretty darn well against the M's this weekend (7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K), and Ugueth Urbina got his second save with style, doing that swinging-leg half-pirouette thing for emphasis and/or style points. Pudge was on the bench, so no kissing. Talking Baseball discusses Bonderman in some detail here.