July 2006

TBN: The Bullpen Network

Tnt_logoHave you heard?  TNT?s Monday night lineup features the ?The Closer? at 9 followed by ?Saved? at 10, leading Hollywood insiders to speculate that ?The Fireman? can?t be far behind. Still no word on the network?s plan to stick with the not-so-subtle theme, change its name to TBN (The Bullpen Network) and develop a night of original programming centered around middle relief ? say, ?Setup Saturday.? ?

With the arrival of his kid brother Jered in the Majors, Cardinals right-hander Jeff Weaver has come to assume a most questionable box-score alias: ?Jef. Weaver.? Which makes me wonder if ?Jef.? even qualifies as an abbreviation for ?Jeff." Not to spell it out, but seems to me it?s just as long. ?

Mcdonalds_3In conjunction with McDonald?s, the Rangers are offering clinics to local Boys and Girls Club members to ?teach baseball and the importance of exercise and nutrition in leading a healthy life.? Of course, given the mission statement, you’ve gotta believe that ?Never eat at McDonald?s? is priority No. 1 on the lesson list.

Diamondback Recognition Day

Dback2In an honorable development, the Diamondbacks recently celebrated ?Native American Recognition Day,? during which an inter-tribal cast of youth showcased dance, song and spirit as part of a pregame ceremony. More to follow on whether the Indians will recognize the ongoing threat that venomous snakes pose to humanity as part of ?Diamondback Recognition Day.? …

A charity softball game scheduled to feature Green Bay Packers players at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, has been cancelled due to a lack of demand. In the end, watching football players play softball in a baseball stadium just isn?t all that appealing. Watching baseball players play football in a softball stadium, on the other hand, still has a chance at catching on. ?

OprahWith the support of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Brewers have launched a mission to "Take Back Miller Park" from the legions of Cubs fans who crowd the stadium whenever the two National league Central rivals square off in Brewtown. As part of the promotional campaign, the team invited Chicago’s own Oprah Winfrey to taste a Klement’s Sausage and observe the famous Klement’s Racing Sausages as the guest of honor for a game against the South Siders. "In Milwaukee," said Barrett, "baseball and sausage go hand in hand." Of course, Oprah and sausage haven’t gone hand in hand since 1992, when the media giant tipped the scales at a career-high 237 pounds. ?

Pirates southpaw Tom Gorzelanny sounds more like a character from the ?Harry Potter? series than a big-league pitcher. ?

Speaking of which, Royals southpaw Jimmy Gobble recently returned to the team after taking a day to be with Mrs. Gobble for the birth of their first child. "Everything went great," said Mr. Gobble, adding that "there wasn’t much strain on" his wife. And why should there have been? All she had to was sit around and wait for the egg to hatch.

Booing, Bashing & Tongue-Lashing

ArodIn an historic development, United States Postmaster General John E. Potter recently dedicated stamps commemorating Yankees legends Mickey Mantle, Roy Campanella, Hank Greenberg and Mel Ott during a pregame ceremony at Yankee Stadium. Still no word on whether Potter will succumb to growing pressure from the New York media to add a living legend to the mix ?- namely, reigning American League MVP Alex Rodriguez ?- so boo-happy Bomber fans can give the third baseman a thorough tongue-lashing at any hour of the day. ?

Speaking of ?A-Rod,? would a good nickname for Tigers reliever Jamie Walker be ?J-Walk?? If so, wouldn?t he be the first man in Major League history named after a traffic violation? ?

The Braves Wives recently raised $36,000 for charity with their annual Brown Bag Bonanza, during which fans purchased $40 brown paper bags, each containing a baseball signed by an Atlanta player. After spending their week?s earnings at the event, local bums were outraged to find that the bags contained no booze whatsoever. ?

Triple_h?H? abuse is running ramping in Major League Baseball. Indians shortstop Jhonny Peralta, for one, misplaces his. Astros right-hander Taylor Buchholz, meanwhile, continues to make flagrant use of the ?double h.? Of course, baseball?s problem pales in comparison to that of the WWE, where ?Triple H? has been running roughshod over the competition for years. ?

Lefties don?t have ?better? pickoff moves than righties. It?s just easier for them to get the ball over to first. Same way it?s easier for righties to get it over to third, or reach for the cold knob in the shower. …

Renowned figure skater Sasha Cohen threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to a recent D-Backs-Dodgers game at Chase Field. To nobody?s surprise, the reigning Olympic silver medalist later took a shot running the bases, stumbling out of the batter?s box before cruising into second.

Sew What?

Twins In conjunction with the National Needlearts Association, the Twins have invited their fans to knit, crochet, embroider, cross-stitch and ?- yes ?- needlepoint during an upcoming game against the Indians. ?We are looking forward to an exciting ?Stitch ?N Pitch? event at the Metrodome,? said Patty Parrish, executive director of TNNA. ?This event is for anyone who has an interest baseball and the needlearts.? Which begs the question: Who are these people? ?

During a recent state of the union address, USOC chief executive officer Jim Scherr named 18- to 34-year-olds as the committee?s chief target demographic, just ahead of sewing baseball fans. ?

Wally_1 After watching Mets left fielder Lastings Milledge nervously botch a pair of routine flyballs in the shadow of the left-field wall at Fenway Park, you have to wonder if the rookie is afraid of Green Monsters. …

The Red Sox received right-hander Caleb Clay ?- the 44th overall choice in the MLB draft ?- as a compensatory sandwich selection between the first and second rounds. Call it a meal deal.