In an ironic turn of events, former Pirates first baseman Sean Casey had appeared in only 59 of the team?s first 103 games when he sat out his own bobblehead night at Pittsburgh?s PNC Park due to a strained oblique.
"As the game went on, it just tightened up," said Casey, adding that ?it felt like it was a softball in my rib all day.?
Hmmm. Increasing, localized pain? Miniature dolls bearing the victim?s likeness? Sounds more like ?Sean Casey Voodoo Doll Night? to me. ?
According to STATS Inc., Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols has swung and missed at three pitches in the same at-bat only once in 2006 ? not bad, considering that the average American misses three cuts in the same plate appearance every night at dinner. ?
Shouldn?t Tigers rookie Brent Clevlen play for the Indians? ?
Astros first baseman Mike Lamb and his wife, Teresa, recently welcomed a baby girl into the world. McKayla Marie weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces, leading one man to conclude that — contrary to popular nursery-rhyme refrain — Lamb had a little Marie.
In a mind-numbing development, alleged fantasy experts have begun referencing ?batted balls over 380 feet? as an index of power in a fraudulent effort to prove their statistical worthiness to the masses.
Putting aside how ridiculous ?batted balls over 380 feet? sounds, ask yourself if a 381-foot flyout to dead center at Dolphin Stadium qualifies as a batted ball over 380 feet? It better. What about batted balls under 380 feet that leave the yard? Do they qualify? I hope not.
How might one go about tracking batted balls over 380 feet? Is this to suggest that every ball batted in the field of play qualifies as a tape-measure shot? If so, where?s the tape? And who?s measuring?
What?s so special about 380 feet? Why not 372 feet, or 383.7?
And where in the name of objectivity is this data coming from? Is ?batted balls over 380 feet? even a real statistic? Or is it nothing more than a fantasy fantasy? …
Less than a week after straining his lower back on a tag play, Royals first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz was placed on the 15-day disabled list. More to follow on when Mientkiewicz will return to the starting lineup, and — more importantly — why he was playing tag during a baseball game in the first place. …
In an innocuous development, the Phillies recently acquired non-roster infielder Hector Made from the Yankees in exchange for veteran catcher Sal Fasano.
Of course, the move carries some significance, at least in the name-game community, as Made isn?t the first man in big-league history with a past-tense verb for a last name. Just ask Reds outfielder Adam Dunn, Dodgers outfielder J.D. Drew, onetime Red Sox right-hander Tom Hurd and former A?s and Giants southpaw Vida Blue.
Have 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. ?
In 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.
In 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. ?
With 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.
In 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. ?
?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.
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. ?
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.
If he didn?t already, Astros second baseman Craig Biggio knows the bitter taste of irony after his 14th annual Sunshine Kids Celebrity Golf Classic was recently spoiled by a torrential downpour. ?
Speaking of which, the good people at the Marlins recognized the beginning of the 2006 hurricane season with ?Hurricane Awareness Night,? during which the first 10,000 fans received a free flashlight. More to follow on whether the Dodgers will recognize ?Mudslide Awareness Night? by serving an iced blend of vodka, Kahlua and Bailey?s to fans 21 and over. ?
The Astros killed two birds with one stone with their selection of Max Sapp in the first round of the MLB draft, getting both a catcher of the future and a face for their soon-to-be-launched line of ballpark syrup. ?
Is it any coincidence that Padres manager Bruce Bochy?s favorite pinch-runner is Ben Johnson? ?
If Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is ?A-Rod,? is Mets ace Pedro Martinez ?P-Mart?? What about Indians backstop Victor Martinez? Is he ?V-Mart?? And don?t those sound more like cheap convenience stores than big-league nicknames?
In 2005, no starter reached the 250-inning mark for the first time in big-league history ?- a sad reflection on the state of baseball. With all the pitcher pampering running roughshod over today?s game, consider that Frank Mountain threw 503 innings over 59 starts for the 1883 Columbus Buckeyes.
Talk about a man ?- a Mountain Man ?- living up to his name.
Frank Mountain didn?t need a pitch count, never mind an innings report. Heck, he didn?t even keep track of starts.
Frank Mountain trapped fur in the offseason, carried a muzzle loader and a butcher knife, dressed in animal pelts and sported the beard of God.
Frank Mountain traded himself to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1885 for an old pint of whiskey, with no regrets.
Frank Mountain stared Death straight in the eyes and vanquished him with a fastball.
And Frank Mountain threw a 20-inning, complete-game shutout on a three-legged horse with no name.
Opening day might be in early April, but the baseball season doesn?t officially begin until Cubs right-hander Mark Prior emerges from the disabled list after a long winter of R&R (that?s rest and rehabilitation).
This year?s debut showcased a shadow of a man (seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings), a sign that perhaps Prior ?- he of the strained right shoulder ?- should return to the DL for another six weeks. Indeed, the four gopher balls he served up were no coincidence.
It?s always something with the 25-year-old gas master:
Prior to the shoulder, it was the elbow.
Prior to the elbow, it was ? the elbow.
Prior to the elbow, it was the Achilles?.
And prior to the Achilles?, it was the shoulder.
The moral of the story? Don?t be shocked when Prior goes back on the shelf. And don?t blink an eye when Groundhog Day repeats itself upon his next return.
In a questionable turn of events, Jeromy Burnitz recently took some time away from the Pirates to nurse a sore calf. Still no word on why the calf was sore and ?- more importantly ?- why the veteran right fielder skipped work to tend to a young cow. ?
Would the story of Justin Morneau?s life be a Morneaugraphy? And would a biopic about the Twins first baseman be a Morneaugraphic film? ?
Seemingly unaware that Veteran?s Day is November 11, the Washington Nationals hosted ?Veterans Appreciation Day? on June 14. More to follow on the organization?s plan to celebrate ?Christmas in July.? …
When Yankees southpaw Randy Johnson and Indians right-hander Jason Johnson recently squared off, it was the first time in 2006 that two pitchers with the same last night had faced each other. So who was the better man? Who else? Johnson. ?
A?s team trainer Larry Davis was happy to report that Mark Ellis is recovering nicely from a broken hand, adding that the only thing the second baseman can?t do is hit and throw. Which begs the question: What can he do? …
Which Chad would make the better butler: Dodgers right-hander Billingsley or Jets quarterback Pennington? I?m going with Billingsley, since Pennington?s chronic shoulder problems could hinder his tray-lifting ability down the road.