20 April 2004

Short Attention-Span Theatre

Yankees-RedSox Series...

I got to watch (parts of) my first few Yankee games of the season this past weekend. Bad timing. Living in Pennsylvania means that you either have to own a bar or shell out several hundred dollars of your own money to get DirecTV and YES Network, and neither category applies to me, so I have to wait for those rare games on Fox or ESPN. (Too bad I'm not a Giants' fan. I could have seen their entire first series against the Astros, all three games, and then another game, against the Padres, on Easter, as ESPN tried to ride the ratings bus with Barry's pursuit of Willie Mays. Oh, wait. I did.)

Anywho, as you may have heard, we lost. Three out of four. The defense was bad, the pitching was bad, the hitting was bad. The Yankees were bad. A-Rod is hitting .160 with a sub-Neifi .543 OPS. Mike Mussina's 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA.

However, as I told my boss, a Red Sox fan: Sure they can win three out of four in April, but it's four out of seven in October that really counts. They've never shown that they can do that against the Yankees or much of anyone else.

1918, baby. Nineteen-eighteen.

Larry Walker Finds a Body in His Yard

Now, you must understand, Larry Walker's "yard" is not like yours or mine. Heck, I personally don't even have a "yard" or at least I fon't have any grass. Just a slab of cement with astroturf on it, and a couple of small trees. Bushes, really. Vines, I guess. Well, weeds. OK, just one weed. And it's dead.

But Larry's gotta get on and ATV [sidenote: Isn't ATV riding one of those things that voids a major league contract? Shouldn't it be? I mean, the guy's already on the DL. ] to survey his property, and when he did so this weekend, he found a body. That's right, a real-live dead guy. No, Larry's not a suspect, as authorities pointed out that he hasn't been killing much of anything in about two years.

Rumour has it that Arizona GM Joe Gariagola Jr. sent a scout to measure the body's temperature and see if he was fit to help fill out the Diamondbacks' bullpen, maybe even lower their relievers' 8.20 ERA. Callouses on his left hand seem to indicate that the body was a southpaw, so he's been signed to a minor league contract with performance bonuses.

"Now pitching for Arizona: John Doe."

There are rumblings out of the morgue that he may have to be placed on the Disabled List. Will keep you posted.

Mark of the Beast

Barry Bonds hit career home run #666 last night. It's the sixth consecutive game in which he's homered and the sixth home run he's hit since tying Willie Mays for third place, which is half of sixth. His team ( G-I-A-N-T-S, six letters) now has six wins and the homer was it in the third inning, which, as you'll recall, is half of six. It was his 36th at bat of the season (6x6).

Bonds' teammate Jerome Williams pitched 6.66 innings for the win, so he may be in on the conspiracy.

Nasty Pitches, Nasty Omission

ESPN's got a feature article today highlighting what some scouts, managers and general managers described as the best "out pitches" in the majors.

1) Mariano Rivera's cut fastball
2) Kerry Wood's curveball
3) John Smoltz' slider
4) Eric Gagne's changeup
5) Roger Clemens' split-finger fastball
6) Tim Wakefield's knuckleball
7) Billy Wagner's four-seam fastball
8) Barry Zito's curveball
9) Kevin Brown's sinker
10) Jim Mecir's screwball

Jim Mecir's screwball???

Look, I'm all for equal opportunity and making the game a little more interesting, and I would love to see more pitchers out there with something besides the usual fastball/curve/change-up combo, but let's give credit where's it's due, y'know? And not to Jim Mecir.

While it may be one of the more interesting pitches in the majors right now, Mecir's screwball can hardly be accurately referred to as one of the ten best pitches in the majors. If the guy had a 5.60 ERA in 2003 and "...right-handed hitters don't have nearly as much trouble with [his screwball as lefties do]", by the writer's own admission, then it can't be one of the best, can it? An "out-pitch" that isn't very effective against slightly more than 60% of the batters in the major leagues isn't much of an "out-pitch", is it?

So how do they find room on this list for Jim Mecir, but leave off Pedro Martinez entirely? Granted, he's not exactly been himself lately, but when he's "on" (and he will be again, don't you worry) the guy's got a 95+ mph fastball that moves, a wicked curve, and a changeup that screws better than anybody's screwball! Heck, forget Pedro. Most of John Burkett's repetoire was better than Mecir's last season, and Burkett was so good that he's RETIRED NOW!

End of diatribe.

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