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!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Broken Promises


So I lied ... well, no, I didn't lie because I wasn't intending on writing about the Yankees but recent events made it just too damn hard to avoid another swipe at the Stoneboners.

After da Boss made his big-bad-wolf declaration that "Enough is enough. I am bitterly disappointed, as I'm sure all Yankee fans are, by the lack of performance by our team," the Yankees went on to answer this criticism by putting together an offensive juggernaut of an evening with a 19-8 pounding of ... THE DEVIL RAYS! Yeah, that's showing them.

Most news coverage saw this as a direct answer to Steinbrenner but, thankfully, there was one sane voice in Yankee Land: Larry Mahnken of Replacement Level Yankee Blog. In his analysis of the first game between the Drays and The Stonboners, Mahnken rightfully points out that any win is a good win and any offensive explosion is a positive but before people get too carried away let's not forget this one little tidbit: Jaret Wright had a horrendous outing. Granted, you spray enough perfume around a piece of crap and everything smells like roses but, at the core, there's still a piece of crap on the ground and, in this case, that piece of crap is Jaret Wright and his career 5.18 ERA.

Look at this guy's line for the night:

5.1 IP, 11 Hits, 8 Runs (all earned), 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Now, I'm sure Wright will have a decent outing a couple times this season but unless Stonboner somehow manages to buy Leo Mazzone away from the Braves, Wright's going to quickly turn into the very mediocre pitcher he's always been.

Oh, and by the way ... did you all notice that the very next night the Stoneboners "answered" the boss by losing to the Drays 6-2. Hmmm ... isn't the definition of an ace supposed to be someone who can carry a team in a must-win situation? I guess the offensive juggernaut that is Eddie Perez (career .246 avg/.424 slg). I mean, boy, Johnson must have had one hell of a pitching performance to allow ONLY TWO homeruns to such a fierce hitter as Perez. As my friend, Paul (a lonely Twins fan living in Mariner country), said the other day, "Maybe if George had spent 206 Million instead of 205 ..."

In other baseball observations ...

Eric Neel, from ESPN's PAGE TWO, had a great little story a few days ago about how baseball out West is the best. Well, if parity means anything, there's some exciting new brewing in the AL WEST where every team is sitting at .500 (Oakland, Seattle, and Anaheim -- you heard that right, Moreno, I said ANAHEIM, mofo -- are all sitting at 7-7 and the Rangers are 7-8). It's early in the season, anything can happen, blah blah blah ... but from the perspective of a fan whose team, the Mariners, will most likely finish third or fourth, seeing such parity is indeed rather exciting. Ah, let hope spring eternal and the facts be damned.

Shut Your Trap

Minnesota 1, Chicago 3

Hey, Torii, your (Venus fly) trap is open! So why don't you shut it, bitch? Last night, the normally defensively stellar Torii Hunter let a line drive struck by Joe Crede go over his head for a double, allowing his former teammate, A.J. Pierzynski, to score. Perhaps he was too busy trying to keep his gum from sticking to his little braces.

Speaking of Joe "Not Speedy" Crede, he advanced to third on the next play thanks to a funny-looking bunt by Juan Uribe. From third, Crede tagged and scored on a sac fly by Scott Podsednik (not "Podesnik," as he was announced at the Triple H Metrodome). As Crede came running toward home plate, Twinkie the Kid moved toward the line as if to block the plate. Mr. Crede then lowered his shoulder and brushed Mauer, who had thought better of it and stepped out of the way. As Dick Bremer would say, "if you're the runner, you've got--you're well within your rights to clean out the catcher."

Wouldn't it have been something if Joe Crede had, with the Franchise, Twinkie the Kid, the guy the Twins drafted instead of Mark Prior, standing there in front of the plate, waiting so patiently for a sad little throw from Shannon Stewart to finally arrive--wouldn't it have been giddy and high-five inducing if, with all the bad blood between these teams, and even though Mauer had backed off the plate, Crede had just gone ahead and flattened him anyway?

No, you're right. It would have been a cheap shot. But I wish he'd done it. He was, after all, "well within" his "rights."

Oh, and the Twins got 10 hits off El Duque without scoring a run, something no team had been pathetic enough to accomplish since 1983. Versus the Cubs.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Permission to Speak Frankly

Last night, the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox were tied for first place in the American League Central. Joe Crede hit one and Carl Everett hit two home runs for Chicago.

In the top of the 5th inning, Torii "Fly Trap" Hunter, clearly revelling in the rivalry, stole second base, advanced to third on a throwing error by his former teammate, A.J. Pierzynski, and scored on a wild pitch by Jose Contreras, who had already balked home a run in the inning.

In the top of the 9th, Twins 21 year-old catcher Joe Mauer, whom I will refer to henceforth as "Twinkie the Kid," hit yet another home run off struggling Sox closer Shingo Takatsu (10.80 ERA), who managed to hang on and get the save anyway.

With the win, the White Sox regained sole possession of first place in the Central and notched the second best record in the major leagues (9-4) behind the Dodgers (10-2). The White Sox, like the Dodgers, have yet to lose a series and have a better record than the Yankees, Red Sox or Cubs.

But, this morning's only headlines that mention the White Sox (or Twins, for that matter): Frank Thomas unhappy Guillen called him out Thomas, Guillen set record straight
CBS Sportsline: none
Fox Sports: White Sox manager rips Thomas' 'bad attitude'

Frank Thomas, though he has certainly been a sourpuss through the years, has not taken a single at-bat this season because he is recovering from surgery to repair a bone in his foot. I understand that gossip and infighting and heresay and all of that is fair game as news. However, even though we're still hearing about Sheffield this and season ticket revocation that, we're also hearing about the games that the NYY actually play on the field.

Is it so much to ask that a first place team, with the best record in its league, get some coverage of its actual baseball games, in addition to the coverage of comments made by their manager about players who are not currently on the roster?