September 2006

Milking The Joke

Crisp_1In a homogenized development, HP Hood has inked Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp as the spokesperson for New England’s leading dairy company. And why not? The marketing practically writes itself: Because if you?re looking for a balanced breakfast, what goes better with milk than Coco Crisp? …

At 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, meddlesome Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein is perennially among the hardest men to fan in the National League ?- without a nickname to show for it (?The Eck,? of course, has long since been taken by Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley). If Eckstein were an insect, he?d be a mosquito. And if Eckstein were an adjective, he?d be annoying. So forget about the 5-foot-9, 168-pound Red Sox legend. David Eckstein is the real Johnny Pesky. And the bat he totes is the real ?Pesky Pole.? ?

Peskypole_1He might sound like a butler, but Kyle Farnsworth is a reliever for the Yankees. Not surprisingly, the hard-throwing right-hander routinely sets the table for closer Mariano Rivera. ?

After months of negotiations, the Nationals signed third-round draft choice Stephen King, a middle infielder from Winter Park (Fla.) High School. Still no word on whether general manager Jim Bowden & Co. realize they were getting a promising shortstop, not a ?Dreamcatcher.?

Choose To Lose

SunglassesMembers of the Astros recently spoke to students at Houston-area grade schools as part of the ?Fielder?s Choice Program? ?- the gist of it being that making good decisions in life is really no different than making a fielder?s choice play on the baseball diamond. Still no word on the organization?s plan to launch a ?Defensive Indifference Program? to teach America?s future all about letting the adversary run all over you because you?re too apathetic to do anything about it. Call it "Choose to Lose." ?

Only time will tell if he has enough pop in his bat to live up to his namesake, but rookie Corey Hart has been rock solid as the Brewers everyday right fielder, hitting well over .300 since taking over for struggling veteran Geoff Jenkins in mid-August. Though the 24-year-old Hart doesn?t wear his ?Sunglasses at Night? on the diamond, you?ll be pleased to know that he does in fact ?Never Surrender? out there. ?

Marx2Speaking of Brewers outfielders and cheesy ?80s pop icons, Laynce Nix recently met with Milwaukee-area foot specialist Richard Marks regarding a course of action for his turf toe. More to follow on whether the good doctor directed Nix to the ?Right Here Waiting? room before seeing his star patient. ?

Looking to give their pitching staff wings, the Yankees recently purchased the contract of southpaw Sean Henn from Triple-A Columbus. Of course, Henn isn?t the first pro athlete named after an avian creature. Just ask ageless NFL punter (and onetime Eagle) Jeff Feagles, former Cardinals defensive tackle Eric Swann, Reds left-hander Mike Gosling, former Yankees closer Goose Gossage, Hall of Fame right-hander Robin Roberts, longtime Blazers center Kevin Duckworth, Celtics legend Larry Bird, former C?s guard Chris Herren and Grizzlies forward Brian Cardinal. ?   

Is Mark Mulder?s labrum not frayed? Afraid not. In fact, the Cardinals southpaw is expected to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery in the coming hours. ?

Is it any coincidence that 1990 home run king Cecil ?Big Daddy? Fielder ?- all 6-foot-3, 240 pounds of him ?- has a 6-foot, 260-pound son named Prince?

Riding The Life Of Pine

HammockSince being called up from Triple-A Round Rock last month, Rockies catcher Robby Hammock has been familiarizing himself with unfamiliar territory ?- the bench. Of course, Hammock isn?t the first athlete named after a comfortable seating device to have made the not-so-comfy transition to the Life of Pine. Once the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, Tim Couch hasn?t taken a regular-season snap since 2003. And after earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors as a center at Penn State, Calvin Booth has averaged a paltry 13.6 minutes per game and started only 82 of 283 contests over his seven-year NBA career. ?

GloveFree-agent point guard Gary Payton has long been dubbed ?The Glove,? and for good reason. The future Hall of Famer has been named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team nine times and nabbed Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1996. Still, none of that explains why a bare-handed basketballer earned the nickname before any of the thousands of glove-wearing baseball players before him. ? 

Boston-area medical experts can run all the tests they want, but I know
the real source of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz?s recurring heart
palpitations. It has to be all those D?Angelo sandwiches he?s been
eating. I went there the other day, and the sandwich they call the ?Red
Hot Papi? has ham, bacon, turkey, roast beef, two cheeses, mayo,
mustard and hot sauce on it. I?m no doctor, but if he cuts out one of
the cheeses and the hot sauce, believe me, he?ll be fine. ?

Upon completing his rehabilitation stint with Class A St. Lucie (Fla.), Mets outfielder Cliff Floyd was expected to fly out to Colorado or Houston ? because if hitting a baseball three-quarters of the way across the country isn?t proof enough thata guy is ready to return to big-league action, what is? ?

Anchorman_fondoOutfielder Adam Dunn hits fourth in Reds lineup and ?- coincidentally
?- bears a striking resemblance to comedian Will Ferrell. Call him
Cincinnati?s ?Anchorman.? ?

Redskins linebacker Lamar Marshall should cut to the chase and rename himself ?Lamarshall.? Likewise, former Red Sox southpaw John Johnson should just be ?- what else? ?- ?Johnson?? ?

If S-E-A-N is pronounced ?Shon,? then call me ?Don? — D-E-A-N Don. But I?m not the only one who has qualms with the traditional spelling of this name. Just ask former Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston, Diamondbacks outfielder Shawn Green, Angels utilityman Chone Figgins, Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander and Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman.