With the season rapidly winding down to its inevitable conclusion, this past week brought us lots of stories and games that very well may have a lasting impact on the 2009 regular season.
Also since I spent my entire weekend up in Boston I really didn't have a chance to put a lot of thought into a long opening today. So aside from a few observations which I'll make below, we'll dive right into all the news and notes from around the world of major league baseball:
As I said befpre I was able to make it up to Fenway this weekend to catch the Yankees-Sox game on Saturday (H/T to Mr. Bruin Jim Mulligan) and since it was the one game this weekend that the Yankees decided not to make an appearance in, I had a lot of time to just observe Fenway Park and let my mind wander. Here are the two things that bothered me the most:
1) What ever happened to No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service? Granted it was probably approaching 100 degrees if you were sitting out in the right field stands with the sun bearing down, but is it really necessary to take your shirt off? Must I be hot and disgusted at the same time? Not to mention the guys that take off their shirts are always the ones who should never walk around topless under any circumstance, I repeat ANY circumstance. All someone had to do was hook up a projector behind me and I could have watched the game in HD on this one guys gargantuan back. Not to mention, why remove your shirt and subject your skin to the sun? You would have gotten a tan even if you had SPF 1,000 on Saturday afternoon. Just one of those things that boogle my mind.
2) Let me get this out of the way now….I really like Fenway Park. Sure it's old, the seats are a bit cramped and it has that distinct smell of urine, but it still has its charm. I'll even give credit to the Redsox ownership for expanding parts of the stadium and making it more attractive and enjoyable while you are away from the action. This is especially true in right field, where it is a festive atmosphere before the game with a band playing beneath the seats. However….i'm just not a big fan of the Green Monster. True it looks cool and can make things interesting at times, but it's just too gimmicky and influences the game far too much. There were multiple times on Saturday where balls were hit off the wall that should have been easy flyouts. Or balls that were triples became doubles. Or doubles became homeruns, etc. I'm sure most people will disagree with me on this, but it's a bit much at times.
I know people like to point out that the short porch in Yankee Stadium has just as big of an influence on a game (especially this year) as the monster does in Fenway, so all I ask is if you are going to give Yankee fans a hard time for their stadium, be fair and take a look at how much Fenway Park influences a game.
Those points aside, I had a great weekend, aside from driving through the state formerly known as Connecticut (which IMO died when the Hartford Whalers left town leaving nothing of value behind, and I don't count UCONN because even people from Connecticut couldn't locate Storrs on a map), but I did make sure I flipped off the sign for Bristol each time I passed it, as well as every hospital sign because it may have been the birthplace of Carl Pavano. Oh speaking of him, he has 11 wins now this year, that's more wins then he had in 4 years while with the Yankees. Eat a dick Carl.
Around the Majors
- This article is a little old, but I couldn't get it to load last week so I'm posting it now. Basically it reinforces what every Knick fan already knew….never trust a Dolan.
- So after posting that Ichiro quote from last week I think it's only fair that I give some love back to the city of Cleveland. Perhaps there is some hope in their future. However my pick of them winning the World Series this year still appears to be wrong.
- Coolest play of the week, perhaps the whole year? I'd say so. At least those that attended this game got their money's worth, although Oliver Perez should still refund their tickets. Pedro Martinez was good enough to get the win. However we have seen this before from him. We say he's done, he comes back and wins a handful of games, then comes down with a season ending injury. I give it two weeks.
- Despite continuing to rack up wins, the news hasn't been all great for Phillies as of late. The NL MVP talk for Raul Ilbanez has died down quite a bit. Since June 1st his slash line is .240/.305/.474, which is a .779 OPS for those of you where are mathematically challenged. He also has a K/BB ratio of 55/17, which is something he might want to work on.
- Fred Wilpon announced that GM Omar Minaya will “absolutely” return next season, which drew cheers from all Philly fans around the country. Minaya later said that manager Jerry Manuel is still his guy going into the 2010 season. Guess that means Adam Rubin can now withdrawl his resume.
- Speaking of Jerry Manuel, he may deny poor intentions, but he deserves a punch in the mouth from Ryan Church after these comments. It is nice to know that Jerry can run a playoff contending team into the ground and diagnose the serverity of brain injuries.
- If you are holding stock on Francisco Liriano, I think your chance to sell high has passed. His career died quicker than River Phoenix.
- Perhaps the Twins can find Liriano's replacement in Germany, because I doubt many other teams are looking over there.
- From one dead ace to one on the rise…..I really hope Seattle doesn't consider trading Felix Hernandez again.
- Big props to Jack Cust of the Oakland A's…..at least someone had the balls to say it. However he is now off Peter Gammons Christmas card list.
- I love watching the guy play, but Johnny Damon doesn't really have much credibility left regarding statements like this.
- So in the span of a week, John Smoltz went from being released by the Boston Redsox, to signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, to dominating the Padres. True, it was just the Padres, but I bet Whitey Ford could still win 10 games in the National League.
- Last year Justin Duchscherer made a bid to start the All-star game for the American League. This year, despite arm problems, many figured he'd be a big trade piece for a team down the stretch. Now it appears his season is over as he deals with clinical depression.
- Speaking of depressing, how must Dodger fans feel now that they had to go out and sign Vincente Padilla? Probably
the same as Yankee fans felt when they went out and signed Sidney Ponson last year (and the year before that).
- Ivan “don't call me Pudge” Rodriguez is back in Texas, and he brought his sub-.300 OBP with him. I can understand why they made this trade, and sadly, needed to make this trade. While he will provide some leadership to a young team and it's nice to see him back in Texas, bottom line is he's just not very good anymore.
- Sweet Crap the Royals finally did something smart! Obviously if you click the link you'll see that I disagree with the writer of this story. The key in sending Alex Gordon down is that it delays his free agency by a year. For a guy hailed as the next George Brett, Gordon has been a colossal disappointment thus far. He's still young though, and he needs to learn how to hit lefties before comnig back to the majors.
- Just wanted to post this take from Fangraphs.com. It was basically what I was trying to say last week when I talked about the draft. It seems no matter what he does, Scott Boras just can't win with people.
- I'd pay serious money to see Papelbon & Billy Wagner square off against one another. Perhaps by Tuesday I may get my wish. I mean you can tell a guy you think he sucks, even kick him when he's down, but when you compare him to Eric Gagne, well then you've crossed the line. That said I think Papelbon should quiet down, since adding Billy Wagner could be a good move for the Sox. I have a feeling Boston did this to block him from the Yankees however. Also keep in mind Wagner should be a Type A free agent this winter.
- I didn't hear about this Jim Rice story while I was up in Boston this wekend (there's a shock!). Also I don't understand how he claims he was misquoted, seeing as he specifically mentioned Derek Jeter by name. It's not enough the writers foolishly voted Rice into the Hall of Fame, thus making him arguably the worst player entered into Cooperstown, but now we have listen to him preach about the “good ol days”. Two things Jim:
But thanks for playing Jim.
- Finally, funny quote of the week comes from Nick Swisher, courtesy of Peter Abraham's Lohud Blog:
When asked why Swisher was packing a fuzzy pink bathrobe into his travel bag tonight I had to ask. “Gift for a lady friend?” He replied. “I’m a sensitive guy.”
Or if you want a non-Yankee quote (and I do realize I mentioned them far too much in this column) how about this one:
“Loyal? I'm the most loyal player money can buy.”
Feel free to try and guess who said that….
Anyways that's it for me this week. I'll be back next Monday with more news and notes from around the league. As always feel free to comment below or email me any questions or comments. You can get me at JosephGallo@sportstalkbuzz.com. Enjoy the week.
About the Author
Written by Joseph Gallo