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!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Don't Be a Dick

April 6, 2005. Wednesday night, top 8, Safeco Field. Nick Punto on 3rd, Luis Rivas on 2nd (running for Justin Morneau, who had been struck in the helmet by Ron Villone), Matt LeCroy on 1st. Jacques Jones at the plate. Jones hits a fly ball to right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Punto tags from third. Dan Wilson bobbles the throw from Ichiro, and while doing so throws his leg into the baseline, forcing Punto to choose between getting tripped and leaping awkwardly toward home plate; Punto chooses the latter, missing home plate entirely. Punto does score, howver, because Wilson doesn't bother to look back to see him scrambling for the plate like a catfish on a driveway. So: trying to trip a guy who's running toward home plate is not a nice thing to do. I agree. But then Twins broadcaster Dick Bremer, refering to an incident between the Twins and White Sox last year, makes the following statement:

You know, when I saw that the first time, the first flashback I had was Jamie Burke, who was in a similar spot when Torii Hunter came home in Chicago and some people had the audacity to criticize Hunter for running into the catcher; you see a catcher pull a play like that, and if you're the runner, you've got--you're well within your rights to clean out the catcher.

Talk about a false analogy. Here we are in Seattle, with Dan Wilson whipping his leg into the baseline and Dick is using this as proof that Torii Hunter was beyond reproach for bowling over Jamie Burke. In Chicago. Last season. It's clear that Mr. Bremer will (still) go to nonsensical lengths to defend Hunter's actions, even if it means bringing the incident up out of nowhere and suggesting that Burke whipped his leg into the baseline last year, which he did not.

Despite Mr. Bremer's assertion that Jamie Burke was in a "similar spot" last season as Torii Hunter came down the third baseline, let us recall that Jamie Burke last year, unlike Dan Wilson this week, did not have the baseball; furthermore, let us recall that Jamie Burke last year, unlike Dan Wilson this week, was neither in the baseline nor blocking home plate; and finally, let us recall that Jamie Burke last year, unlike Dan Wilson this week, did not in any way extend any part of his body into the baseline in an attempt to trip or in any other manner waylay the progress of Mr. Hunter, who himself took a step toward first base in order to lay a full-body blow on Burke, who never saw it coming--again, because he did not have the ball and was not blocking the plate.

It seems that Mr. Bremer believes that when "you see a catcher pull a play like that" (referring to Dan Wilson, this week) it serves as proof that any runner, at any time, regardless of the circumstances, is within their rights to "clean out the catcher." Among the people who "had the audacity to criticize Hunter for running into the catcher" was Twins fan Aaron Gleeman. You can read his comments here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Eesh

Cleveland's starters, Jake Westbrook and Kevin Millwood, have combined for 14 innings without giving up an earned run. Their offense has scored 3 runs in 18 innings. Their closer, Bob Wickman, has an ERA of 108.00. The "Tribe" is 0-2.

Is it me or are the umpires not calling many breaking ball strikes?

Bert Blyleven keeps pronouncing Seattle RF Suzuki's first name as "Eesheero." Come on, Bert, the guy's Japanese, not French. Okay, so it's your birthday and you're drunk on tv and wearing a plastic lei. Fine. But stop saying "Eesheero." Dork.

Hey, Torii Hunter, there's a venus fly trap on your face, and you look like a stupid asshole. There must be a better way to hide your little man-braces. Don't try that scorpion lipstick-holder that Rivera's got, though. You should both fire your agents. At least Pujols looks scary in that mask.

Curmudgeonly is a word, by the way.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Show Them My Motto



Around the Horn (Pt1: AL West)

In our attempt to be less curmudgeonly (is that a word?), I wanted to do a quick go-round to see what's happening in the world of baseball during this oh-so wonderful time when hope springs eternal.

First off, here's a nice little tidbit from Aaron Gleeman which I think very neatly highlights a very small detail that also sums up what is so wonderful about baseball:

When a batter smacks a ball into right field against the Mariners and it appears as though they are going to try to stretch the hit into a double, the crowd at Safeco Field starts buzzing in preparation for Ichiro! throwing a laser into second base. Jacque Jones hustled a double out of a hit to right in the top of the sixth inning yesterday, and while Ichiro! had no shot at throwing him out, the Seattle crowd started getting audibly excited as soon as they saw Jones round first. Little stuff like that is why I miss baseball so much during the offseason.

Granted, my own bias as a Mariners fan makes this especially meaningful to me but I think almost any baseball fan can appreciate this kind of collective thrill (except, of course, if you're a Mets fan ... then I guess it's about a collective groan)

In the world of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (and that will be the only and last time you ever hear me refer to the Angels by that stupid monker), the folks at Purgatory Online have a funny observation I thought was worth sharing:

Today's Angels-Rangers preview at ESPN.com describes Bartolo Colon as a "burly righthander," "burly" being the selfsame epithet used to describe Kelvim Escobar a few days back by the Register. Time to start a burlywatch! Or maybe change the name: The Los Angeles Burlies of Anaheim.

And speaking of funny ... apparently some Oakland A's fans have a serious case of low self-esteem problems. The The Elepheants in Oakland for some reason feel their team is greatly underappreciated:

The A's are picked to finish dead last in the AL West by just about everybody but A's fans, Rob Neyer and Baseball Prospectus...The Yankees are the favored team by most 'experts'...In case you have missed the last century of baseball, apparently not a lot has changed.

I don't know what those elephants have been smoking but the A's had been favored to win the AL West several years in a row and even with their rebuilding project are still considered to be in the running.

And while we're on the topic of people who smoked a little too much crack ... Hank Blalock is apparently bullish on the Ranger's pitching:

"I think our starting pitching has been one of the best things about spring training," third baseman Hank Blalock said. "Everybody kept saying we needed to sign starting pitching in the off-season, but these guys have shown they can do the job."


Sure, the Rangers pitching has improved steadily but that's a lot like comparing two pieces of dog crap and saying one smells better than the other. Sure, that may be true but you're still sniffing two pieces of crap. Ah, yes, everyone's a contender in the Spring.

We're Back ...

Alrighty, we're back in business ... hopefully this time around we'll be a lot less bitter and vitriolic in our posts but no guarantee and, truth be told, I'm sure about one-third into the season something is going to piss off one of us enough that we'll feel compelled to vent right here.

Hey, if anyone knows how to create a custom template on blogger please let me know. I've been trying to upload a template with a nice little graphic that Steve created but I can't seem to get it to look right and so I've given up. Keep in mind that both Steve and I are English Teachers so there are many facets of technology that are way beyond us (or at least me ... perhaps I shouldn't speak for Steve).

Welcome to 2005!