MLB

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Go Figure: Cubs move Zambrano to the bullpen

April 22, 2010

Zambrano is the new setup man for the Cubs in one of the most bizarre baseball moves I can remember. (Pic via sportsmaven.com)

Just as I was thinking that something else needed to happen on this lovely Wednesday evening to distract the national sports media from Ben Roethlisberger suspension, the Chicago Cubs stepped up to the plate.

The Cubs have moved Carlos Zambrano, their opening day starter and longtime ace, to the bullpen.

Zambrano will serve as the setup man to closer Carlos Marmol, who has been dominant this season. Ted Lilly, coming off a stint on the DL, will assume Zambrano’s spot in the starting rotation.

Is Lou Pinella trying to get fired? Here only a few of the many reasons why this might be the dumbest move in baseball during the 27 years I have been on planet earth:

– First of all, the Cubs have only played 14 games this season. A slow start has been due in part to a woeful bullpen, consisting of young unproven arms, but primarily due to a ineffective offense. Aramis Ramirez is barely hitting above .100 and the rest of the lineup has been woefully inconsistent.

– Zambrano’s greatest asset is his durability. He has pitched over two hundred innings four times in his eight year MLB career, making at least 30 starts in seven of those eight years. The results have been somewhat varied, but his overall record of 106-70 and 3.56 ERA makes him one of the better STARTING pitchers in all of baseball.

Phillies fan takes harassment to a unprecedented level

April 12, 2010

(USA Today Photo)

Just when you think you’ve seen it all from sports fans, something like this happens.

Matthew Clemmens, 21, of lovely Cherry Hill, New Jersey, intentionally vomited on the 11 year-old daughter of a off-duty Police Officer attending the Phillies-Nationals game Wednesday in the City of Brotherly Love.

The incident began when Clemmens and a companion began cursing, spilling beer, and spitting at Captain Michael Vangelo and his three daughters. Vangelo reported the behavior to authorities, who kicked Clemmens’ friend out of Citizens Bank Park.

Later, Clemmens stated he was going to be sick and stuck his fingers down his throat to begin vomiting. He then threw several punches at Vangelo before he was restrained by security.

Not exactly a delightful fan experience.

Clemmens was arrested (duh!) and charged with a slew of offenses, including aggravated assault and resisting arrest.

Philly fans have long maintained a reputation for being the rudest and crudest in sports, but Wednesday’s incident was beyond comprehension.

Doc Gooden arrested–again

March 24, 2010

Gooden's public battle with drug abuse continued today when he was arrested in New Jersey. (Pic via FoxNews.com)

Whenever he seems on the verge of turning his troubled life around, Dwight Gooden takes a step back. The former Mets ace added to his arrest record Tuesday morning in New Jersey.

Gooden was arrested after fleeing the scene of an accident, according to a story originally reported by Deadspin.

Not surprisingly, the early indications point to drug use as the cause of the accident.

Gooden was charged with being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, driving while intoxicated with a child passenger, child endangerment, and reckless driving, along with four other charges.

The 45 year-old Gooden in scheduled to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on August 1. He turned down an invitation from the Mets to serve as a special instructor during Spring Training this year.

More on this story as it continues to develop.

This is Jayson Werth’s impression of a hobo

March 23, 2010

I caught a bit of the Phillies-Yankees Spring Training action yesterday and beheld the joy of Jayson Werth’s mane for the first time.

Evidently Werth is going Damon on us this year. (Pic via Twitpic/ToddZolecki)

Werth looks like a grown-up version of one of those kids from The Boxcar Children–tell me you read those books growing up. Werth apparently told ESPN’s John Kruk that he hadn’t picked up a razor since the World Series. Not sure if I buy that, but I love the look nonetheless.

Mets’ Reyes cleared to resume “baseball activities”

Reyes is expected to rejoin the Mets Wednesday, but there is no timetable for his return to the lineup. (Pic via SI.com)

Jose Reyes has been cleared to return to Florida to resume baseball activities, ESPN is reporting.

Reyes has been sidelined for nearly a month with a thyroid condition and has spent the last three weeks undergoing tests. Last week, the Mets announced he would be sidelined for 2-8 weeks. Reyes than claimed he didn’t have a thyroid problem.

Tuesday’s news brought the soap opera to a surprising end.

The nature of Reyes’ “baseball activities” is unclear. Mark Prior made the term famous by throwing a towel for days while remember his mysterious shoulder injury.

Don’t expect Reyes to return to the lineup for at least a couple of weeks. Mets GM Omar Minaya said Reyes could start the season on the disabled list.

It looks as if the Mets’ lengthly string of bad luck could finally be coming to an end.

Twins’ Nathan to have surgery, miss 2010 season

March 21, 2010

Nathan has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery on his troublesome right elbow. (Pic via MinnPost.com)

Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan will have surgery to repair his right elbow and will miss the entire 2010 season, according to a Yahoo Sports report.

The 35 year-old Nathan had been dealing with pain in his throwing elbow since the start of Spring Training. He initially attempted to rehab the injury, but opted to go under the knife after feeling pain while playing catch Saturday. He is expected to have his surgery within the next few weeks once swelling in the elbow goes down.

Nathan, who has emerged as one of the best closers in the game, should be ready for the start of next season. The Twins could try to move him in the offseason to free up cash in the quest to keep Joe Mauer in the Twin Cities.

The giant Jon Rauch is the most likely candidate to save games for the Twins, who open Target Field on April 10th.

We’ll have more baseball thoughts in the next couple weeks one March Madness begins to subside.

Deja Vu: Mets find themselves in middle of more injury drama with Reyes

March 13, 2010

Reyes said he doesn't have a thyroid problem, while the Mets say he does. So who is telling the truth?

The New York Mets have certainly experienced some difficult times in recent years, thanks to a combination of self-induced shortcomings and bizarre occurrences of bad luck.

Things don’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

The latest saga involves Jose Reyes, who was sent to New York to undergo more tests after being diagnosed with a thyroid condition at the start of Spring Training.

After the Mets put out a press release Tuesday evening saying Reyes would miss 2-8 weeks (a huge window) while recovering from what was diagnosed as an hyperactive thyroid, Reyes then told ESPN Deportes:

“The specialists who took care of me in New York have told me that I’m fine and that there’s nothing wrong with my thyroid. The test showed that I’m fine. We just have to wait for the results of the additional test. The (doctors) found inflammation in my throat and no medicine to treat the thyroid or any other condition has been prescribed.”

As it turns out, neither the Mets nor Reyes are being honest. Deliberately lying? Probably not. But confused as hell? Certainly.

Doctors have not finished running tests on Reyes, meaning he will certainly miss some additional weeks prior to the start of the season. As far as everyone can tell, the “2-8” weeks timetable was generated more by the Mets than the doctors who are monitoring the situation.

Reyes was perturbed by the report, especially since his condition is still somewhat unclear. For some reason, he chose to deny that he had a thyroid problem all together.

The Mets organization is clearly somewhat unaware of the health of its players. Carlos Beltran’s sudden decision to have right-knee surgery baffled and infuriated the Mets. Not wanting to get burned again, the Mets released a dubious proclamation regarding Reyes’ health. Ultimately, the correct answer is simply, “we don’t know yet.”

It’s only March, but for some reason it is starting to feel like the Mets season is already over.

A letter from a Cubs fan to Milton Bradley

March 11, 2010

Bradley's attitude makes him hard to love an easy to hate. (Pic via SunTimes.com)

Like most humans, I’ve had just about enough of Milton Bradley. I need to vent–punching the wall is dangerous and yelling at the TV frightens my girlfriend. So without many options left, I have no choice but to write Milton a heart-felt letter.

Dear Milton Bradley,

As an avid Cubs fan and member of the Hater Nation, I must say that you have made me very, very angry. Instead of looking in the mirror at your dopey-looking bad-bearded self, you have decided to do what so many athletes before you have done–blame others. Why stop at the media when you can attack the fans?

Your repeated willingness to play the race-card throughout your life says a lot about who you are…a miserable soul destined to blame others for your shortcomings as an athlete and human being. What are these shortcomings, you ask? Well, it’s a long list so I will summarize.

You have what is commonly referred to as “Anger-Management Problems.” Whether it’s blowing out your knee while arguing a call with the umpires or yelling at fans in the stands, you consistently loose your mind for no good reason.

You’re also not nearly as good at baseball as you think you are. Aside from that year in Texas, where just about every crappy player can hit, you haven’t done anything worth mentioning since the early part of the decade.

You choke hard. Last year you hit .205 with runners in scoring position. When things get tough, you give up, then quickly look for excuses and people to blame.

I knew all this before I heard your ridiculous interview. I’m not sure what surprised me more, that you actually accused the people of Chicago of being racist or that ESPN actually decided to air your comments.

So you’re blaming white people for your horrible 2009 season. The same white people who have cheered the likes of Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Lee Smith, Brian McRae, and of course guys like Michael Jordan, Gale Sayers and Walter Payton. The same white people who have cheered Derrek Lee through think and thin and will cheer wildly for Marlon Byrd this season at the friendly confines.

You’ve done this before; remember when you called pulled over, only you refused to stop for Police and later blamed the three days you spent in jail because of your dumbass maneuver on racial profiling? I’ve got another question Milton, do you know who Rodney King is?

But you do get profiled, it’s true. You aren’t seen as a black athlete, you are instead seen as an overpaid baby, a bad teammate, and a selfish and heartless individual. This is never going to change, you will always be who you are, a man with a huge chip on his shoulder jealous of others.

This is never going to change. You are a lost cause. I’m not even going to worry about you, I know what will happen in Seattle. You will fail miserably and be on the trading block by mid-season.

But don’t worry, there will probably be some takers. It’s amazing how many chances a person like you has gotten in life. Your one lucky guy Milton.

Unsigned.

No more Nomar: Garciaparra hangs it up

Nomar Garciaparra was once one of the best young shortstops in baseball, peppering the ball to all fields, leaping high to make throw out runners, and seemingly on the fast-track to the Hall of Fame.

How quickly things changed.

The Red Sox signed the well-traveled Garciaparra to a minor league contract Tuesday, allowing him to fulfill his dream of retiring as a member of the franchise he began his career with 14 years ago.

The six-time All-Star finished his career with a .313 batting average with 229 home runs and 936 RBIs.

Injuries led to a sudden downturn in Garciaparra’s career. He parted ways with the Red Sox amid speculation that he lacked toughness and was not willing to play hurt. His trade to the Cubs in 2004 helped bring a title to Boston and signaled a the start of a rapid decline in his career.

Garciaparra last played for the Oakland A’s after spending several seasons with the L.A. Dodgers.

What’s next for Nomar? He will join ESPN’s Baseball Tonight–you can never have enough slightly-informative baseball analysts.

Get ready for Ozzie Guillen unplugged

February 22, 2010

Brace yourself for angry broken-English tirades, practical jokes, off-color comments and a lot of loud bleeps. Ozzie Guillen is coming to your living room.

The goofy manager is set to star in “The Club,” a reality show documenting Guillen, GM Kenny Williams, owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox throughout the 2010 season.

Cameras will begin following the White Sox in spring training. The program, set to debut on the MLB Network on the Fourth of July, follows a premise similar to HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

Guillen says he won’t tone down his antics in front of the cameras. His tiffs with Williams, who Thursday ordered Ozzie to say off Twitter, should make for must-see TV.

Hopefully MLB uses subtitles for Ozzie, who continues to be almost impossible to understand.

Damon signs with Tigers despite wifey’s dislike of Detroit

February 21, 2010

Michelle Damon is bringing some glamor to the Motor City.

Apparently Johnny Damon isn’t concerned about his wife’s disdain for Detroit. The 36 year-old outfield has agreed to a one-year, eight million dollar deal with the Tigers, ESPN reported Saturday.

According to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal, Michelle Damon wanted no part of the city of Detroit. The original article has since been edited to make Michelle appear like, well, less of a pretentious snob, but it remains apparent the Damons wanted to avoid Detroit.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Damon had few suitors and ultimately none willing to meet his contract demands for a two-year deal, forcing him to settle for a deal with Detroit. Agent Scott Boras has tricked the Tigers before; clients Magglio Ordonez and Pudge Rodriguez got more than the Tigers were initially willing to offer in early talks.

The Braves and White Sox were he only other MLB teams to show serious interest in Damon, which prevented Boras from gaining any leverage in negotiations. The Braves have younger, more attractive alternatives to Damon and the White Sox don’t want a full-time DH–or an aging outfielder with little range–after finally bringing the Jermaine Dye outfield experience to a close.

It will be interesting to see if Michelle ever shows her lovely face in Detroit. Hopefully she won’t be attacked by an angry mob of bitter souls.

Bergesen nearly recovered from bizarre injury

February 17, 2010

Plumb dumb: Bergesen injured his throwing shoulder while filming a commercial. (Pic via masn.com)

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen is on the road to recovery after he sustained a strained throwing-shoulder injury during a commercial shoot for the team in December. Fantasy owners can now breathe a big sigh of relief.

To his credit, Bergesen was attempting to execute a very realistic performance while throwing pitches from the mound during the commercial. But since he hadn’t thrown since summer 2009, his arm wasn’t quite ready.

I wonder if the shoot produced enough takes to allow the Orioles to air the commercial? It would certainly be refreshing to see a realistic portrayal of a Major League player for once.

Frank Thomas formally announces retirement

February 12, 2010

Okay, admit it; you had no idea Frank Thomas hadn’t already retired. Friday the Big Hurt made official by announcing the end to his 19-year MLB career during a ceremony held at U.S. Cellular Field.

Thomas, now 41, finished his career with a .301 average, 521 home runs and 1,704 RBIs. He won back-to-back MVP awards with the Sox in 1993 and 1994, and claimed the batting title 1997.

Thomas won a World Series ring with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, but parted ways with the Sox following the season amid a contentious relationship with GM Kenny Williams. He signed a one-year deal with the Oakland A’s in 2006 and slugged 39 homers with 114 RBIs. He finished his career with the A’s in 2008 following a brief stint with the Toronto Blue Jays.

In an are clouded with performance-enhancing drugs, Thomas was one the first to speak out against their use and maintain his innocence–and one of the few to actually tell the truth.

Thomas’s legacy as one of the best hitters in the history of baseball should be elevated to an even higher status considering his success came while many of his counterparts were doping. He was the best player in baseball in the mid-90’s and won a batting title despite being one of the slowest players in the game.

A quiet demeanor and occasional brushes with management painted Thomas in a negative light at times during his career.

Thomas will likely be a first ballot Hall of Famer. The White Sox will retire his No. 35 jersey on August 29.

Report: Gerald Laird arrest stemmed from Grandpa’s groping wife of NBA player

January 28, 2010

Aside from being pretty average professional athletes, Gerald Laird and Eddie House have just about nothing in common. But for one night in December, fate brought them together.

Apparently fate came in the form of good ole Grandpa Laird.

Charlsie House, the wife of former Arizona State star and Suns sparkplug Eddie House, told security guards and that 70 year-old Grandpa Laird touched her inappropriately as she watched her husband’s Celtics team battle the Suns from a lounge area Dec. 30.

Police eventually responded to the incident and claimed Brandon Laird, a 22 year-old prospect in the Yankees organization, was shouting derogatory remarks before taking a swing at a woman in the lounge. Meanwhile, older brother Gerald and his enormous melon head was accused of sucker-punching a security guard.

Security reportedly warned the Laird mantourage prior to granting them admission to the lounge after suspecting (correctly) the men had been drinking heavily.

Charlsie House told Police she didn’t want to press charges against the rampaging Lairds, who were arrested on suspicion of assualt, along with their Uncle, Gregory Scott Collins, 51.

Talk about a family of idiots.

Laird, a journeyman catcher, signed a $3.9 million one-year deal with the Tigers in the offseason. He probably won’t be suspended, making him a safe pick in round 19 of your upcoming fantasy drafts.

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