Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thomas Hits Number 500

Frank Thomas hit career homerun #500 in the top of the first inning off of Twins right-handed pitcher Carlos Silva. The three-run blast brings Thomas career RBI total to 1,616 24TH all-time. This compares to Sosa with 600 HRs and 1637 RBIS. Thomas capped it off by being run from the game in the ninth.

That leaves Craig Biggio as the next hitter to conquer a major milestone. He needs 3 hits. Houston has just returned to Houston to start a four-game weekend series. with Colorado followed by three games with Phillies and four with the Mets so a home celebration on Biggio's milestone is all but certain. Biggio is the only player in history to reach all of the following milestones: 600 doubles, 250 home runs, 2,700 hits and 400 stolen bases. The Astros infielder is just one shy of 1,000 extra-base hits with 999.
Coming up soon after the break should be A-Rod at 500 HRs, Griffey Junior at 600, and of course Bonds will go all-time leader when he passes Aaron as soon as pitchers have the courage to pitch to him.

Tom Glavine is now at 297 career wins with just three to more to join the elite 300 wins club. He's scheduled to start Sunday's game against Philadelphia. With at least one after that before the All-star Break. It seems likely he won't break the record until after the break, but it shouldn't be long after that.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Headlines and Haiku

Frank Thomas still needs one HR to move into the 500 HR club. He's at 499 and playing the next three games at the so-called homer dome so hopefully he should get a home run before the weekend. Too bad it couldn't be on the Chicago Southside where he played for so long.

Craig Biggio needs 4 hits to enter sacred territory. The Astros are on the road for the next three games, but home for the weekend series against the Rockies so his home park fans have a good chance of seeing him hit his three hundredth hit.

If you missed the eighth inning in Sunday's Cubs Sox game, you should watch the highlights on MLB. You can read my account of the very strange play on my Sporting News Blog.

One of the thinks I like about baseball is the way it lends itself to fiction, music, and poetry. Often I overhear and get involved in discussions about the best baseball movie. Some lines from baseball movies have even made their way into mainstream language. "There's no crying in baseball" and "if you build it he will come," for example.

Along these lines I recently I picked up a book at the library Baseball Haiku edited and translated by Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura. There are some marvelous haiku here. I recommend you take a look at the book.

Three of my favorites:

Rookie's first hit- picked off at first (page 5)

In memory of the recently deceased Clete Boyer and Rod Beck:

April shower

the obituary leads me

to an old baseball card (page 55)

And finally a perfect Little League or sandlot haiku:

long day

the right fielder is playing

with a dog (page 22)

Sorry about not providing better citations but I broke my left wrist on Monday and am typing (very slowly) with one hand.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

No-Hitter in Bellingham, WA

After being a baseball fan since the 1960s, I finally saw my first live no-hitter!

The local Senior American Legion Post 7 is hosting a weekend tournament. With the opening game, Kai Hatch pitched a seven-inning no-hitter allowing only one walk as the King Nissan team beat the Bethel Huskies 5-0.

What a beautiful day for baseball. Bright blue skies with soft Microsoft-like clouds (you do remember Windows 95 don't you). Sun and baseball. It was a perfect day with hardly a cellphone in sight or sound. The only thing missing was singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." However, since there was no seventh inning stretch, the absence was hardly noticeable

Throughout the game King Nissan played well and paid attention to fundamentals. It was a well-played game by the local team. They look like a good team with dominating pitching. In the twilight game they defeated Hudson's Bay 10-0.

I don't want to take anything away from the Kings' win, but sadly the Bethel team did not play with any interest in the game at all. They lacked verge and panache and all of those other qualities Annie Savoy talked about in "Bull Durham." The third baseman seemed glued to the spot where he chose to stand, failing to run in on slow hit grounders or even move side to side. His throws to first almost always gave the first baseman a chance to practice his acrobatic catches. The lackadaisical attitude of the Huskies showed itself when their firstbasecoach lacked focus and looked dazed as he adjusted his earring (or at least did something to his right ear) while in the coach's box.

It's cloudy here in Bellingham today, but I'm hoping to sneak over for at least a few innings before the College World Series starts this afternoon.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Major milestones being passed

Sosa's 600th home run has to be acknowledged. Personally I don't care about any of the claims of steroids, etc. for any of the players. Hitting 600 home runs is amazing and Sosa deserves credit for being the fifth to do so. With any luck we'll be able to see Ken Griffey Junior do the same later in the season. BTW for those who wonder about the Hall of Fame. If I had a vote, he'd be in.

The same goes for Bonds passing Aaron. I for one can't wait for him to break the record. I mean no on complained when David Aardsma took his place as the first player in the record book ;).

Continuing with HRs, Frank Thomas needs 4 HRs to break 500, the supposed Hall of Fame barrier. Alex Rodriquez needs just nine HRs to break in that elite 500 HR group. One can't help wondering if Frank Thomas will be voted into the HOF since many of his HRs have come when he has been at DH. Personally I say yes. 500 HRs is 500, but some so-called purists will probably will not vote for him. I don't understand why the Baseball Writers have such power. Some of them don't seem to know much about baseball and less about writing. I don't mind them having something to do with the voting, but it seems to me that baseball professionals also should be involved. They are the ones who really know what's going on.

And let's not forget that Craig Biggio is about to breakthrough that other HOF barrier: he needs just 11 hits for his 3000th hit.

From the pitching side of the game we should see Glavine get his 300th win this season. The last time I checked he was at 295. Randy Johnson needs 16 to break that barrier. It looks like he's going to come off the DL next week, but I don't see him winning 16 more games this year. If he's able to come back next season he should make it. After that it gets pretty thin. It might be awhile before we see another 300 game winner.

Thanks for reading. Congratulations again to Sammy.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Andy MacPhail Takes Over at Baltimore

Andy MacPhail hired as Chief Operations Officer for the Baltimore Orioles. At the press conference MacPhail plans on building a team that has an "identity." Unfortunately he didn't say what kind of identity. He did refer to Ozzie Guillen's remark that the Minnesota Twins were like piranhas. Hopefully he is planning on putting together a scrappy team like Baltimore has had in the past. He'll never be able to match Boston and New York for hitting power, but if he puts together a little ball team and spends money within the organization instead of trying to buy a championship.

Speaking of the press conference. When are MLB clubs going to realize they need to put a microphone in the press conference rooms throughout the league. How many times have you heard the answer to a question without any idea of what the question was? Lots of times for me. It's not like it would be that expensive.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Favorite Seats in Baseball

I've just started frequenting The Sporting News Website. I'm pretty impressed. It's more interesting than some of the sites I've seen that feature only professional writers without room for the fans to participate.

There is a lot of fan participation and I just read an article about the best seats and food in sports. I think the question and the responses are interesting.

Here is my response:

Gotta modify the question a little since I don't attend games other than baseball. For my money, the best seats in baseball are any seat where:

  • The game is in the afternoon, not at night.
  • People actually watch the game and talk about it.
  • The big leather lunged fan sits on the other side of the park.
  • People don't run in and out for concessions and bathroom breaks. A game only lasts two or three hours. Learn to hold it.
  • There isn't someone behind you talking on a cell phone about everything except the game.
  • The scoreboard doesn't encourage fans to make noise.
  • No one does the wave.
  • Someone gives me free tickets.
  • Real Chicago Dogs are served and dark beer is available (these could be free too, for that matter).
  • There isn't a two hour wait for the parking lot to clear out because public transportation is close by and easy to use.
  • Singing take me out to the ballgame is a major part of the game.

That sounds a lot like Wrigley Field to (except for the free tickets part). I've only been to one game at Wrigley, but it was the best.

I can't wait to go back.

While you're there, you might want to take a look at my new baseball blog, "tfedge's SportingBlog." I know the title is awful, but I haven't come up with a more clever name.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Monday, June 18, 2007

First Sacked MLB Manager

The first MLB ex-manager of the 2007 season has hit the road. Sam Perlozzo, manager of the Baltimore Orioles has been fired. The O's are 15.5 back of the Red Sox with no hope of catching them. Sam won't be traveling too far as the O's have announced he will stay with the organization in some capacity.

I always liked Sam. He was with Lou Piniella here in Seattle for a while. I always liked his calm, steady presence, especially when compared to the fiery Lou Piniella.

Sam had a brief major league career, but really blossomed as a minor league manager in the Mets' organization during the eighties. He always struck me as one of those managers who teaches better than inspires. This seems to be to be increasingly important. Especially these days when fundamentals seem to have disappeared from professional baseball. Frankly, I don't see the need for a rah rah type of manager. If someone needs to be inspired to play baseball professionally, something's wrong with them.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Watson Breaks the Record!

Brandon Watson broke the forty-two year old hitting streak record today in Ottawa so he's first in the International League. That ties him for eighth all-time in minor league baseball. For the all-time streak list.

Congratulations Brandon. There's got to be room for him somewhere on a MLB roster.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Chicago Dogs

As a Cubs fan, I think I'm required to love Chicago Dogs. Fortunately I do love them. I've just launched a new blog dealing with one of my favorite passions, food and cooking. In honor of Chicago and the Cubbies, my first post has to do with how to make a Chicago Dog. I also found a link where it's easy to buy the necessary Sport Peppers for a genuine Chicago Dog.

Meanwhile, I'm listening to the Columbus Clippers game to see if Watson extends his hitting streak to forty-three. In his first at bat, he flied out (flew out?) to leftfield and lined out to short in the third. Ottawa seems to be scoring at will. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Do any of you recognize the young baseball player in the pitcher below? I didn't. Any guesses?

How about a very young Greg Maddux.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Near No-Hitter Baseball Game and a No-hitter Brawl at Wrigley

Saturday, June 16, 2007

In case you didn't notice, Carlos Zambrano had a near no-hitter today at Wrigley. Marcus Giles hit a single in the top of the eighth to end the no-hitter. Russell Branyan's ninth inning solo home run scored the only run as the Padres defeated the Cubs 1-0.

In the fourth inning, after being hit by a Chris Young pitch, Derrek Lee charged the mound. Well, he actually sauntered along the first baseline jawing back and forth with Young. As near as I could tell, it looked like Young hit Lee by accident. As Lee walked toward third it looked like Young asked him if he was all right because Lee nodded his head smfsaid I'm okay. At that point it looked like Young made a remark about getting on down to first then. Lee took offense and threw a punch. None of the punches landed. San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy was also run.

Oddly enough, the Chicago hitting coach Gerald Perry was thrown out too. I couldn't help wondering if Perry had worked with Derrek Lee a little bit more, one of his punches would have landed.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

42 Game Minor-Leage Hitting Streak

Brandon Watson extended his hitting streak to 42 game hitting streak with a double in the fourth inning. Watson plays for the Columbus, Illinois Clippers the AAA team for the Washington Nationals. Forty-two games ties him with Jack Lelivelt had a 42 game streak in 1912 while playing with the Rochester Hustlers.

Brandon Watson plays outfield and currently sports .338 batting average. He doesn't have too much pop in his bat since he has no home runs or RBIs but does have 12 stolen bases. He appeared in thirty-five MLB games with a batting average of .233.

Despite Watson's remarkable achievement, the 42 game streak only ties Watson for eleventh on the all-time hitting streak. Care to guess the name of the player with the longest all-time streak? It's not Joe DiMaggio who managed a mere sixty-one game streak in 1933. It is Joe Wilhoit with sixty-nine straight games with a hit during the 1919 series when he played at Wichita.

For information about Watson's streak. For information about Lelivelt's Steak including a picture of him.

While you're at the Minor League Website. Look around. One of the great features is that you can listen lot of free minor-league games just by registering. By paying $30 for the season you can listen to hundreds of minor-league games and watch others (mostly AAA games). Monthly rates are available too. It's a great way to follow your favorite team's prospects and see who will be the players of tomorrow. By the way, it you want to practice your Spanish, you can listen to games from the AAA Mexican League.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We'll Miss You at Third!

I'm greatly saddened to hear that Clete Boyer died on Monday, June 4. I remember watching him and his brother Ken each playing third base during the 1964 World Series: Ken for the Cardinals and Clete for the Yankees

I never got a chance to see either of the Boyers play, but I do remember seeing Clete Boyer as a coach for the Yankees and was thrilled to see one of Yankees I'd watched as a little boy. While growing up I was a diehard Yankees fan. There wasn't a lot of choice. The only national baseball broadcast was on Saturday and seemed to cover the Yankees' games more than anyone else. I still think of the 1961 Yankees' as my all-time favorite team. In fact I've had in the back of my mind to try and get autographs from all the team members. I just purchased a Whitey Ford autographed ball to go with my Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Moose Skowron, and Hector Lopez. As you can see, I don't have an autograph for Mr. Boyer. There's a four signature ball available for about $275 that lists the infield. I've thought about buying it, but somehow I prefer to have only one signature on a baseball. Here's a link in case you're interested.

BTW, the Cubs have gone 2-0 since Lou got suspended. He always had the knack for knowing when to get thrown out to motivate the team. When he was in Seattle there was a commercial where an actor portrayed an umpire and talked about how compassionate Lou was. The actor told a story about how when his daughter was sick, he and Lou got into an argument during which Lou called the umpire all kinds of names but ended the argument with the statement, "I hope your daughter feels better."

Finally, after posting a few links to where you can buy bubbleheads, I found a larger site you might enjoy.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lou Piniella Overcomes His Shyness in Chicago!

Lou's Suspension: I would be lax if I didn't mention Lou Piniella's suspension for an "indefinite" time. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Pagano tried to take third on a passed ball and was thrown out. Replays looked to me like the umpire got the call correct. Most importantly, it provided an opportunity for Lou to express his displeasure with the team. Ironically Lou's fit shortly after he made a statement at a press conference "you don't need to see all of the silliness on the field." In response to questions about the Zambrano-Barrett confrontation in the dug-out and locker room (see my most recent post).

There was an occasion during his spree that Lou reached out and touched the arm of an umpire. It didn't appear malicious, it was more like an attempt to push the ump's arm aside so he could step around it and get closer to the third base umpire. Still, such the rules forbid contact of an umpire and could result in an extended suspension. Except for touching the umpire, I though the Lou's performance was a little restrained. I remember one game in the King Dome when he buried the plate.

Whatever the final fine and suspension, let's hope this whole episode wasn't wasted and the Cubs will start playing like a team. BTW in case you want to re-enact the incident, you can buy a Lou Piniella bobble head figure at the site below. It's head bobs up and down just like Lou's did on Saturday. BTW MLB Manager's Joe Torre, Tony Larussa, and Terry Francona are currently available.

MLB and MILB Broadcasts This year I've been watching and listening to a lot more games than last year. In part this because of my playing a fantasy baseball game. This encourages me to look at games I normally wouldn't because I may have a player on the team. However, I've also added a subscription to that offers many minor leagues games both video and audio. One of my favorite features is the inclusion of the MILB AAA Mexican League where the games are broadcast in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish, but I'm trying to learn. The announcers in Mexico seem much more enthusiastic than those in the States, except for Ron Santo. BTW —I'm 4 and 5 with three more weeks left in the fantasy baseball league, smack on the bubble to see if I'll be in the play-offs or not.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Dugout Fight

I want to applaud both Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano for their recent actions. Not the thirteen hits Zambrano allowed or the passed ball and throwing error Barrett made, but in their standup response. Zambrano admitted the fight was his fault, although Barrett certainly claimed a share as well.

With current trends to deny responsibility and point fingers, it's refreshing to have people own up when they mess up.

BTW, my take on the passed ball was that Barrett had sat up on the inside of the plate, there was a left handed batter, and Zambrano threw a pitch that tailed away to the outside; it could be argued as either a passed ball or as a wild pitch. MLB has a good story about it

I also should mention that I have officially changed my allegiance from the Seattle Mariners to the Chicago Cubs.

I've been thinking about doing this for awhile. I find the American League "wait for something to happen" style of play boring. I also HATE the way fans behave at the games. The scoreboard constantly asks for noise, even in situations where it isn't called for. Fans almost always stand up when it's strike three. You might as well go to a football game. That reminds me of a quotation from Erma Brombeck who said something like "Anybody who watches three games of football in a row should be declared brain dead." It sounds right to me. It's kind of like that going to a Mariners game.

Everyone' probably focusing on the Boston-New York/Beckett-Pettite matchup, but the Dontrelle Willis v. Ben Sheets matchup with the Marlins at the Brewers looks interesting too.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!