Friday, July 31, 2009

Deadline Deliberations Deliver Delicious Drama, And Pizza

The non-waiver trading deadline in Major League Baseball passed a couple hours ago, and in contrast to recent years this one actually had some spice. If I have one request of you, the educated House of Georges baseball fan, it's this: be aware that trades will still get made for the next month. Don't be that guy, the one that wonders aloud in a week why the Cubs acquired some dumpy reliever from the Padres. We've been over this.

There was also some news that popped out yesterday, news about a couple of fringe utility guys that may or may not have played for my favorite ballclub, allegedly testing positive in a fake survey test back when steroids were totally legal. I have no idea about any of this, I don't really follow baseball very closely.

WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE RED SOX? Glad you asked, this team doesn't get nearly the attention lavished upon such large-market juggernauts as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Asheville Tourists. Boston pulled off the deal for the most immediately impactful player, Indians catcher Victor Martinez. After a sluggish '08, V-Mart has rebounded with an All-Star campaign this season (although he's slowed noticeably in the second half).

Martinez will take over nominally from Jason Varitek as the Sox starting catcher, although I doubt he'll don the tools of ignorance more than four times a week. He'll also spell Kevin Youkilis at first and Large Papi (Winstrol-free since 2003!) at DH, as well as providing even more insurance for gimpy Mike Lowell (Youk can slide to third). If that ain't enough versatility for ya, Martinez is also a switch-hitter with power and can recite many Jeff Foxworthy comedy routines. Good guy to have around.

In case you thought Sox GM Theo Epstein was only good for big-boy serious deadline moves, he also provided quite a bit of slapstick over the last few weeks. He designated Julio Lugo for assignment in anticipation of cutting him, except the Cardinals were actively looking for a strikeout-prone shortstop with hands of stone. So Theo shipped Julio to the Lou in exchange for Chris Duncan, who's equally awful only younger and able to get sent down to the farm. Enjoy Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Theo traded a couple of disposable prospects to Pittsburgh for Adam LaRoche, one of the uglier active big-leaguers (even uglier than Duncan and Lugo). Today he capped off this spree with a final swap of LaRoche for Atlanta first-sacker Casey Kotchman, who's closest comparable player is Adam LaRoche.

All in all, not a bad haul, although an actual shortstop would have been nice. I'm ecstatic that Martinez only cost the Sox Justin Masterson and some parts, leaving the franchise's best pitching prospects (Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden and Oil Can Boyd) wearing crimson hosiery.

As for that business from yesterday, I'll leave my comment to Craig Calcaterra, who's not even a Boston fan:

You're not surprised, so please don't pretend you are. The only people who will truly surprise you to be associated with steroids are Derek Jeter, juniors Cal Ripken and Ken Griffey, and dudes like Jason Tyner and whatnot (though guys like him shouldn't surprise you).

You've not been betrayed, so please don't claim to be. You enjoyed the baseball of those years and nothing of value has been taken from you as a result of recent revelations. While it's totally legitimate to be turned off and disappointed and generally depressed about all of this, if your sense of trust has been so violated by all of this steroids business that you actually feel the need to claim "betrayal," you probably need to examine if you're still a fan or not.

And you know this one is going to come up like crazy, so let's be perfectly clear: the Red Sox' championship in 2004 is not tainted. At least no more tainted than the outcome of any other championship won by any other team in at least the past 20 years, not to mention the awards and the regular season games and everything else, so please don't even go there. Baseball had a steroids problem. Not just the Red Sox, not just the Yankees, not just the Orioles, Rangers or A's. As such, to the extent one uses this latest news as a means of singling out the Sox, one is simply showing that they see the entire world through rivalries and not reason.

Now, with that out of the way, you may resume your regularly-scheduled outrage.


COME ON. WHAT ABOUT THE YANKEES OF NEW YORK CITY? If you insist. Those crazy Bombers got their mitts on utilityman Scott Hairston, who'll share a bench with recently added Eric Hinske.

THE BAY-RAYS WON THE AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST LAST YEAR, DID THEY HELP THEMSELVES AT THE DEADLINE? Tampa tried unsuccessfully to reacquire the "Devil" in their name, thinking it would give them the additional cruelty needed to make a push for the playoffs. Unfortunately, Satan has a full no-trade clause and refused to play on the Gulf Coast of Florida. He'll continue protecting A-Rod in the Yankee lineup.

DID TORONTO EVER TRADE ROY HALLADAY? To say that BJ's GM J.P. Ricciardi overplayed is hand would be a colossal understatement. He asked for a king's ransom for Doc, which is understandable--Halladay is arguably the best pitcher on Earth. But when the bidding war involving the richest teams never materialized (it would have been problematic for Ricciardi to deal within his division to the Red Sox or Yankees anyway), J.P. was unable to land a suitable package from the handful of contenders remaining. The Phillies really wanted him, but they refused to part with all four of their best prospects. The Dodgers, Angels and Rangers also had lines they would not cross.

So Halladay stays put, and Ricciardi is now fucked. He'll be lucky to get half the prospect value this winter when he picks up talks again, and for what? So Halladay can pitch August and September of this season for a team that doesn't want him and fans that don't care? Dumb.

ISN'T THERE ONE MORE TEAM IN THIS DIVISION? Indeed there is, it's the Baltimore Orioles. For a team that once again totally blows, they sure are playing it smart. The O's reaped a fortune in talent when they dealt Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard a couple years ago, and at this year's deadline they flipped George Sherill (filler from the Mariners in the Bedard deal) to the desperate Dodgers in exchange for a pair of nice prospects. The Baltimore system is loaded with good young arms, the first wave of which was seen Wednesday when Chris Tillman started against the Royals. Catching all those freaks is Matt Weiters, a 6-5 leviathan of a catcher who may someday hit 50 home runs. In a single game. The outfield corners are set for a decade with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. All they need is a trained assassin to dispatch of Melvin Mora and Aubrey Huff and you've got a scary club on the horizon.

BUT WHAT OF THE REST OF BASEBALL? SURELY MORE ROSTER MOVES WERE MADE TODAY YOU CAN WISE-ASS-I-PHIZE ABOUT?!? Patience, little man. I'll be back with the rest of our deadline happenings soon. Perhaps even by the end of the season, when Midseason Report Cards are due.
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Historically Speaking: Trade Deadline

Oh, boy. When will it end? Another strike for Manny, and now Pig Slapi's in the PED-fold, too. Do people care more because guys like this are known as power hitters? Would they care if some Washington Nationals and Kansas City Royals were juicin'? Think about that as you study your final lesson for the week.

* We mentioned Ford Frick yesterday and we'll do it once more: It was today in 1962 when the National League rejected the commissioner's proposal for starting interleague play in 1963.

* In a 1972 Twins game against the White Sox, Dick Allen became the first player since 1950 to hit two inside-the-park home runs in a game.

* Seven years later, Pete Rose smacks a single off of Phil Niekro stretching his hit streak to 44 games, tying an 81-year-old National League record.

* Today in 1981, the second Major League Baseball strike ends after a 42-day holdout.

* Trade deadline history: In 1989, the Twins traded Cy Young winner Frank Viola to the Mets for five players; in '97 McGwire is shipped to St. Louis, Pudge to Texas, while the Mariners part ways with Jose Cruz, Jr. and Jason Varitek; and the Mariners are at it again the following season as they send Randy Johnson to Houston for John Halama, Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen.

And your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of...

...former Indiana University English professor Edwin Cady, who, in 1967, spoke of a Hoosiers victory in which the club was outpassed, outgained, and out first-downed by Wisconsin, yet victorious: "We have had enough moral victories over the years; it is high time we had an immoral one."
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday ThumbTubes & YouNails: Just Four 'Tubes, People. Just Four 'Tubes

Below the jump you'll find us straying from the norm. There are no YouNails with attached links, but four Tubes of the Stub variety. Two of them don't really matter. Two of them don't really matter, either. You might enjoy one or more, though, so get watching.

If you like U2, and you liked the "Money for Nothing," the "Sledgehammer," and the "Land of Confusion" videos, maybe you'll like this, maybe you won't.

Shatner on Palin on Conan:

Uh, yeah...

Saw this one recently. It rules.

This one's been making the rounds a bit lately, but damn. For anyone that's ever been a part of any wedding, you gotta love it:

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Baseball in the Daytime: Slabs O' Suck

I'm not sure how I keep drawing six-packs of day baseball, but I'm into it. At least the matchups move around, and I'm not stuck with stroking the Cubs' Johnson every Friday. 'Cause, you know, that would suck. Since I mentioned suck, allow me to say that you've come to the right place, as there are significant heapings of sucky baseball on today's platter. Not every last bit of it sucks, but a solid 67 per cent of it should leave you about as aroused as a 350-pound trucker woman that wants to hop in the sack with you. And be on top.

Know who doesn't suck, though? This guy. That guy's name is SethfuckingSmith, and today is the first day of the season that the Iron Triangle must get behind the Colorado Rockies. I'm channeling Cecil to give up hopes on the Cubs. I'm paging Old No. 7 to forget about the tailspinning Media Rojos. It's time to get Rockuppied, and that shit begins and ends with SethfuckingSmith. He's hitting .292, slugging .486, has eight homers, 28 RsBI and has walked 32 times while only striking out twice more. And let's not forget an OPS of .882. Granted, this is only through 185 at bats, this is the guy. I tole y'all: the leftfielder's the sleeper. I haven't heard much noise since I threw the first shovelful of coals on the SethfuckingSmith fire, and I don't get it. He's stolen four bases, hit two triples. What more do you want? And then there's the number. LOOK AT HIS FUCKING UNIFORM NUMBER, for Pete's sake.

Anyway, day baseball, post-jump.

Colorado @ New York, 11:10 Central: With all of the post-Hurdle success the Rockies have had, they'll need a bit more if they want to make anything out of this season as they head into a double-header today at Citi Field. Your starting pitchers for the first half of the tilt are Jason Hammel for the visitors, Johan Santana for Los Mets, who've won four straight, but that hasn't been enough to get them back to .500. DirecTV carries the first half of this tilt on 735, while XM has it on 183. Lefties Jorge De La Rosa and Jonathan Niese try not to suck this evening.

Kansas City @ Baltimore, 11:35: Speaking of suck, the Royals can't decide if they want to suck worse than anyone in baseball or just almost. At this rate, the Nationals could easily catch them. Royal righty Luke Hochevar gets the nod today. He fanned 13 and walked none in his last outing giving him his sixth victory of the season. Brad Bergensen, his lefty counterpart today, also has six wins and a better E.R.A. (3.56 to Hoch's 4.84). KC took the first two of the four-game series, but in shocking developments, saw their bullpen blow a late-game lead last night. If you're into crummy, crummy baseball, tune in to DTV 736, or XM 176.

San Diego @ Cincinnati, 11:35: The beat of suck goes on with two National League righties next on the slate. This bad batch of day ball pits Whale's Vagina Tim Stauffer against Redleg Johnny Cueto. Both of these cats have kept their earned-run average under four. Stauffer seeks his first win while Cueto goes for number nine, number nine, number nine...It'd be another battle of last-placers if it wasn't for Pittsburgh, home of pedophiles-- I mean pierogies. DirecTV says "That game sucks so bad we'll not carry it." XM is a bit more sensitive; they'll have it on channel 184.

Oakland @ Boston, 12:35: Sticking with the theme of same-handed pitchers, it's Gio Gonzalez and Jon Lester in our first post-noon game of the day. Oakland's place in the basement has quite the cusion: They're 10 and-a-half back of third-place Seattle, 17 behind first-place Los Anaheim. Boston has seen the Yankees win eight of their last 10, giving the 'stripes a three-plus game lead over the Sox, so they'll need some of that Lester magic today at Fenway. Seven twenty-one and 722 are your DirecTV dials, while XMers can enjoy if they point their knobs at 177.

Washington @ Milwaukee, 1:05: Still more righties. It's J.D. Martin and Yovani Gallardo in the continued slate of suck. Gallardo's the exception with his 9-7/3.09, but his club has lost enough recent games to fall one game below .500. They're only four games out of first, but they've managed to let Houston into the fold, which really isn't good for business. Washington's won six of their last 10, bringing them to an even 27 games behind division-leading Philly, who I'm sure we'll hear about later, what with yesterday's trade with the Tribe. DirecTV 725 and 726 are your satellite television answers. If you're listenin', it's XM 185.

Houston @ Chicago, 1:20: To close the day-baseball gap, it's, yep, two more righties. The Astronauts trot Russ Ortiz to the mound while Kevin Hart toes the slab for the Cubs. Easily the most playoff-savory game on today's board, Ortiz looks to improve a 33-5/4.75, while Hart looks to keep a teammate or two hurt, thus keeping him in a starting job. The Cubs and Cardinals are tied for the lead in the N.L. Central, and Houston could do themselves a favor by getting the win this afternoon and getting back to the hotel to cheer for Hiroki Kuroda and the Dodgers tonight who visit St. Louis. Three choices, 307, 723, and 724 are your DirecTV options. One eight six is where you wanna be on XM.

And them're today's affairs, chillens. Unless you're in the Windy City, enjoy the slate of suck.
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Historically Speaking: 7-30-09

Don't you hate it when the wife insists on talking to you from like six rooms away, even though she knows you can't hear her in the next room? Lord, grant me the sanity...

* The Philadelphia Athletics took three weeks off in July 1873 as they apparently needed the rest. They returned on the 30th, facing Boston on the road, and apparently needed a few more days, as they lost 24-10.

* It was Uruguay. It was Argentina. It was 1930, and it was the first ever World Cup. The home team (Uruguay) won, 4-2. I'd mention that England's club won it today in 1966 but nobody cares about a bunch of wankers.

* The Atlanta Braves, in 1982, returned Chief Noc-a-Homa and his teepee to the left field seats. The organization had removed them for more seating and the club lost 19 of its 21 ensuing games, as well as a 10 1/2 game division lead. After his return, the team regained the first-place lead.

* Some nutjob named Ronald J. Dossenbach had the brilliant idea of riding his bike across Canada. He started today in 1988, in Vancouver, and set a record time 13 days, 15 hours and four minutes later when he got to Halifax. Frankly, I'd rather stab my eyes with a rusty fork while sticking my fingers in a blender.

* Today in 1990, Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent (a.k.a. Captain Taintlick) forced George Steinbrenner to resign as principal partner of the New York Yankees.

And your quote of the day game from the mouth of...

former National League president and MLB commissioner Ford Frick, who, circa 1947, having been informed that big-league players may strike when Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, delivered this statement:

"If you [strike] you will be suspended from the league. You will find that the friends you think you have in the press box will not support you, that you will be outcasts. I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United (Editor's Note: Fucking) States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We Are Hot Chicks Wednesday: Game Face

Taking a week off is something that everyone should do from time to time. We've done it with a certain frequency with nearly everyone of our features in recent months, and last week, it was time for a break from the ol' WAHCW. After some R and R, though, it's always nice to get back onto the playing surface, mug your opponent somethin' fierce, and get after it like a worker on a six-minute lunch break. Kinda like Sir Gary might've done when he readied himself to play ball for the advertised club.

He leads off an example or two, all of which you can find, other side of the jump.

Aida Veliz

Aida Veliz takes a simple approach:

She kills you with kindness.

Her other favorite techniques are to play the insubordinate,

the innocent victim,

the distracted pacifist,

and finally, the self-inflictor.

Amanda Pogrell

Amanda Pogrell exudes serenity,


and a come-and-get-it style of intimidation.

Amber Marie Kush II

Miss Kush pretends she's not interested.

Her opponents, however, are seldom aware of her secret weapons.

Carley Lynn

Miss Lynn wants to come off as inviting,

though she's a fan of the enticing form of game face, too.

CJ Miles

CJ Miles may or may not employ the language-barrier approach. Sixty per cent of the time, it works every time.

Clara Morgane

Clara likes to think.

Not surprisingly, this gets her opponents thinking, too. Perhaps a bit too much.

Erin Lea

Erin Lea is a ninja.

She's flexible and stealth, yet provocative.

Her game centers on luring one in for the kill.

It's a game I'd like to play, regardless of any inherent danger.

Gemma Massey

Miss Massey's the everyday player. She gets in on the action, regardless of the challenge.

Jasmin Pacheco

Jasmin Pacheco will attack, be it from land or water.

After going in for the kill, she'll linger around, boastfully.

Klara Smetanova

Though most gamers know that a Smetanova will hang the bait out for the taking,

one's approach must be cautious, no matter how leisurely the dual may appear.

Michelle Moore

Michelle Moya

Michelle Moore wants you to know it's on.

Michelle Moya, however, wants you to know she's holding.

I, for one, would advise adversaries to take heed.

What she's holding is certainly more powerful than it originally seems.

Nicole Jackson

Miss Jackson will show any cowboy a buck-wild affair,

Paula LaRocca

while Miss Paula prefers to take on the surfing types.

She hangs loose but makes quick work of anyone in her way.

Rachel Mestonen

Rachel's all about the party.

I'm not saying you'll wake up in a tub filled with ice, missing a kidney,

but check those mashed potatoes good before considering putting your dick in them.

Thanks to our sponsors for their limitless supply of face lotion, cold cream, and eye black.

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Baseball In The Daytime: July 29 2009

Yesterday was about the most miserable day of the whole summer. I was intensely hung over from the night before, when I volunteered to help serve food at a concert and ended up drinking a vast amount of Evan Williams "bourbon." The Red Sox, who I follow with great relish, blew a seemingly unblowable game--up by three in the ninth with Pap on the hill. The Rockies, who I keep track of with noticeable regional pride, got worked 4-0 by the New York Mets. To call the Mets a train wreck is to insult many proud drunken railroad engineers who once got plowed on Evan Williams and derailed their vessels. The Mets are chaos wrapped in a riot surrounded by a disorganized circus of unsupervised screaming children.

So the mood was sour when I went to play softball. I know, softball. It's not really a sport, and it's barely a game. To compare my softball foibles to what happens on a major league baseball diamond, even if it involves the Mets, is a leap that strains all credibility. But I'm telling the story and you're stuck reading it, so kiss off. My team, which normally defines mediocrity, has been on quite the little postseason run. After an unremarkable 3-5 regular season, we caught fire in the tournament and advanced to semifinals against our hated nemeses, the Rapist Kangaroos. In the midst of losing to these dicks, I took a line drive off my throwing hand. I don't think it's broken, but my right ring finger is about the same color as those two-tone batting helmets the Rockies wear. If I fumble a few Ks and Us while typing today, that's my excuse.

Now that all my whining is out of the way, let's move on to today. The sun is shining, there's day baseball on the docket, and all is right and peaceful with the world. Join me after the jump, where I'll preview today's ballgames and give you several indispensable bits of baseball trivia you can show off around the water cooler...

Houston @ Chicago Cubs, 12:20 Mountain Boy howdy has this National League Central turned into a humdinger of a donnybrook. After languishing in Suckville for three-fifths of the season, the Cubs have decided in the past two weeks to start playing up to their promise, payroll and preseason predictions. Chicago briefly wrested control of the division from the Cardinals on Monday, but then they gave it right back last night following their heartbreaking gag job versus these dirty Astros. Today the Cubs assign rookie Randy Wells the task of painting the black, while Mike Hampton gets the start for Houston.

Cleveland @ Los Anaheim, 1:35 On the site of an old citrus grove in Orange County today, we get a pitching matchup of Aaron Laffey v. John Lackey. In the annals of funny pitching names, these two are nowhere near the ironical humor of Kevin Slowey, Grant Balfour or Bob Walk. But still, Laffey-Lackey is pretty smirk-inducing. Also, the Indians really blow.

Pittsburgh @ San Francisco, 1:45 While we're getting cheap laughs off of puns involving the random distributions of starting pitchers, let's head to the City By The Bay. There, in a seemingly nondescript tilt betwixt the Pirates and Giants, your starting pitchers are Zach Duke and Matt Cain. Duke-Cain. Same pronunciation as Duquesne, a respectable Catholic university located in...wait for it...Pittsburgh. ZOMG! what are the odds? I guarantee I was the only scribe in Blogstralia to pick up on this stupid, stupid coincidence today.

Toronto @ Seattle, 2:40 Our final day game today features...what? Why are you looking at me like that? I promised you insightful analysis and all you got from me is a rote glance at the standings and a couple dumb jokes? You want stats? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE STATS! I'm here for a few yuks and maybe a guffaw, pal. You want stats, buy an abacus.

Anyway, back to lovely Safeco Field, where Roy Halladay will be on an unfamiliar short leash for his start today. Not because he's shitty or the Blue jays have anything to play for, but because he could literally be traded ANY MINUTE NOW. Seriously, in the middle of his windup he might be tackled by two player-personnel guys from the Phillies and whisked to a waiting helicopter. It's that secretive and intense in the Roy Halladay Saga.

Everyone is shocked, shocked I tell you, that Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi's super-serious Halladay trading deadline of yesterday was complete bullshit. Doc is still in play, but most teams publicly claim to be offended by Ricciardi's immense greed in the number and quality of prospects it will require to secure his services. Philly refuses to part with Kyle Drabek, the Red Sox balked at Daniel Bard, the Dodgers won't even discuss Clayton Kershaw. Which is all fine, those three kids are fucking studs, and there's a chance that all three will some day win Cy Youngs.

There's also a chance, however, that all three are in a holding tank with Ryan Leaf in two years recounting how they blew out their elbows and no one gave them a second chance. If you're a second-tier club like the Pirates or the Orioles, you don't sell the farm for Halladay. You have to win through homegrown players, it's your only route to success. if you're championship-caliber, as the Phillies, Dodgers and Red Sox are, I think you have to seriously consider giving up your top two, three, or four prospects to get him. This ain't Freddy Garcia we're talking about here, this is the meanest ass-kickingest bulldog in the game. Put him on any of the aforementioned three clubs and the road to a title becomes smooth and straight. I'm not saying it guarantees a title, no one player can do that. But it makes it infinitely easier.

If I'm the Sox or the Phillies, and I just won a ring in the past 22 months, I can see backing off and protecting the depth of your organization. You won titles without Halladay and you might do so again. But the Dodgers, come on. The Cards, the (shudder) Yankees, the Angels...what are you guys doing? You get Halladay, you can start printing World Series tickets. Prospects are just that--they may pan out they may not. The Angles have hoarded their minor-league kids for years, and in my opinion it's cost them at least one additional championship. Remember Dallas McPherson. Supposed to be the top power-hitting prospect in all of baseball, now he's an usher for the Shreveport Slugs.

If Humberto and his fellow felons in the bleachers at Dodger Stadium think that a playoff rotation of Chad Billingsley, Kershaw and someone from the Kuroda/Wolf/Schmidt grab bag is going to cut it, I say good luck with that. It could happen--no one thought Cole Hamels was ready to be a postseason workhorse last year. I'm just saying that getting Halladay is worth the long-term damage to your system.

The Phillies are supposedly working up a cheaper deal for Cliff Lee, which I think is insane. Why would you give up 80 per cent of the talent you offered for Halladay for an inferior arm? Cliff Lee's a fine pitcher, and he's definitely better than Joe Blanton or Jamie Moyer or Pedro Martinez in terms of giving you a compliment to Hamels come October. But let's get serious here--championships require sacrifice.

Opposite Halladay at Safeco today is Ryan Rowland-Smith, a distant cousin to Malcolm Jamaal-Warner and Mahmoud Abdul-Raouf. If the hyphen doesn't get you the changeup will, so keep your head in and Play Ball!
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tradition Tuesday: Keepin' Up Appearances, Tradition-Style

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos. We know 'em, love 'em, and hate 'em. All at once. This, Tradition Tuesday, is our weekly state-of-the-rivalry address, wherein we aim to keep The Tradition -- a nine-year-old gig in which The Iron Triangle travels to one another's stadiums and seldom remembers fresh sanitizer for our tongs -- alive and going. This time of year, we can say a few things. They usually have to do with training camp being a couple of days away, draft-pick signings, and schedule analyses.

Today, however, we bring you none of the above. In fact, we're going to look at some highlights. Two come in the form of newspaper excerpts. Two are video compilations of the days of yore. All of them, after the jump.

USA Today is running a feature on the history of all 10 American Football League franchises. The article on Kansas City calls the Chiefs the toast of the league, and has lines such as "the club reeled off an AFL-best 87 victories, won a league-record three titles and developed half a dozen Hall of Famers, all while bringing innovation and integration to the gridiron," and "the Chiefs field a superior product on the field," and, most especially "'Before there was a player, coach or a general manager in the league, there was Lamar Hunt,' late Boston Patriots owner William Sullivan said at Hunt's Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio, in 1972. 'Hunt was the cornerstone, the integrity of the league. Without him, there would have been no AFL.'"

The Denver installment has a few choice lines as well: "'A playbook? 'They put the plays on a blackboard, and you had to copy them. That was it...There weren't any handouts,'" and "'We were like lost souls when we traveled. Everything was second-class,'" and especially "'Kansas City was using three- and four-receiver sets. They were really ahead of the curve. We hated to play them because we had to look at so many formations.'"

Read the piece on the Chiefs here; the Broncos installment is here.

In the world of StubTubes, here's some Joe Montana footage:

And, for every Montana clip, there's an equal and opposite Elway highlight reel. The picture isn't that great, but at least the music makes up for it.

That's it for today. No, seriously. That's it. But join us next week where we'll eat chicken fried steak and eggs in the breakfast nook with none other than Scott Pioli and Brian Xanders. We'll have everything on personnel updates to how general managers like their toast (Editor's Note: For quality purposes, we will reserve the right to omit either or both of those items.).
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Historically Speaking: 7-28-09

In an effort to make up for your lack of historical sports nuggets, yesterday, we'll try to cram some more information into the week's remaining posts. Lucky you.

* Two Olympic Games have opened on this day in history: the ninth in Amerstdam, 1928, and the 23rd in Los Angeles, 1984.

* Today in 1933 the National Football League divided into two five-team divisions.

* Nineteen eighties baseball, July 28-style: Lee McPhail, American League President in 1983, ruled on this day in that year that George Brett's pine-tar home run (07/24) should count. The remainder of the game was played on August 18, a Kansas City victory, 5-4, over the Yankees; Lou Brock, Enos Slaughter, Arky Vaughan, and Hoyt Wilhelm were inducted into Cooperstown today in 1985; and today in 1989, Vince Coleman's MLB-record 50 consecutive stolen bases ended when Montreal Expo catcher Nelson Santovenia put out Coleman.

* Little known fact: Twenty-one ser humanos have orbited the moon. Eighteen have thrown perfect games. Two of them happened on July 28. Today in 1991, Montreal Expo Dennis Martinez tossed number 13. Three years later, Texas Ranger Kenny Rogers threw the next.

* Mark Messier signed with the Vancouver Canucks today in 1997. The transaction followed Messier's 12 years with the Edmonton Oilers, six more with the New York Rangers, and was the first of his three seasons in Vancouver, and preceded a four-year stint back in New York. The 15-time All-Star won a Conn Smythe, two Hart Memorial, and two Lester B. Pearson awards. He retired with 694 goals, nearly 1200 assists, and six Stanley Cup championships.

And your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of...

...former lightweight boxing champion Sean O'Grady, who, in 1989, while working as a USA Network boxing analyst, informed the viewing audience that a number of boxers go shower-free for consecutive days before a fight. "Talking to a fighter at a weigh-in is like learning to swim. You have to remember to turn and breathe, turn and breathe."
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Baseball Bits For A Monday Morning Afternoon

There's no day baseball to fill the afternoon, but we're drawn to the game nonetheless. The trade deadline is in four days, the extra-special super-secret Roy Halladay Deadline is tomorrow, and a few swaps have already been consummated. Some big important series, vital homestands and gruelling road trips kick off tonight. And, on top of all that, we inducted a new class into the Baseball Hall Of Fame yesterday, a class that did not include either Pete Rose or any infamous steroid users. Yet all anyone in Cooperstown could talk about were Pete Rose and infamous steroid users.

Back in the day, they used to schedule the Hall Of Fame Game on this very Monday afternoon, at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. That would have meant the A's and the Red Sox, the clubs most associated with newly minted inductees Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice, would have been forced to travel to a sleepy hamlet in upstate New York for a pseudo-exhibition in the middle of a pennant race. That was a hassle, I agree. But the A's and the Red Sox are already playing tonight, as luck would have it, at Fenway. We couldn't have played that game in daylight? Pricks.

Join us, you nocturnal baseball vampires, after the jump...

If you haven't seen Rickey's speech, please watch, it's timeless. I knew Rick was a kook and took some, um, serious liberties with the English language. Until yesterday, however, I had no ideas that he was physically incapable of pronouncing words that end in the letter S. "I was called up to the major, to play for the Oakland A." At first, I wondered if this is some kind of a condition, like Tourette's or bedwetting. But Rickey's presentation was so thoughtful, so funny and so...Rickey that I am now convinced he has created his own dialect on purpose. If Cormac McCarthy can write entire novels without using punctuation and be considered a literary genius, Rickey should be applauded for creating a world all his own.

The staff of the House of Georges conducted a series of online drafts this weekend, selecting topics for an upcoming series where we'll list our Top 25 of the last 25 years in a variety of categories. The details are unimportant, trust me, if you read this blog you will hear A LOT about this draft in the coming weeks. Let me just say that I had the pleasure of taking Rickey among my Top 25 hitters, and his numbers are just insane. Even my wife, who's not exactly the hugest stat freak you've ever met, did a double-take when she heard that Rickey stole 130 bases in 1982. "That's almost one a game!" she exclaimed.

Speaking of baseball conversations with the wives, this one at Shysterball made me LOL my ass off.

Hank Aaron is one of the most respected figures in the game, and his opinion carries a lot of weight. Unfortunately, a lot of people jerk Hank Aaron around and cash in on his credibility. Bud Selig went on Mike and Mike a few weeks back and defended his moronic scheme to tie winning the All-Star Game with home field in the World Series, and he said that because Aaron and Ron Santo told him the ASG had lost intensity from their day, he had to make the move in order to restore the game's spark. Bud Selig blamed his crackpot idea on Hank Aaron, only one of the ten best baseball players of all time. God I hate Bud Selig.

But back to Hank--he gave an interview over the weekend that raised a few eyebrows. he said that Rose should get in, and he said that juicers should too, with an asterisk on their plaques. I applaud Aaron for this on many levels. One is that he's right--Rose, Bonds, Manny and Rocket are among the greatest to ever play the game and deserve enshrinement. Two, just because you grant someone entry into the Hall of Fame doesn't mean you're calling them perfect people. Everyone knows that Reggie Jackson struck out more than anyone else in history, that Nolan Ryan issued more walks, hit more batters and permitted more stolen bases than any other pitcher, and that Ty Cobb left a trail of murdered people across the American South. Still Hall of Famers.

But mostly, I applaud Hank Aaron for speaking rationally on the subject, because if Bud Selig and the baseball writers follow his advice Hank Aaron will lose a significant amount of money. Keep that in mind whenever you hear Joe Morgan, Goose Gossage or any other sanctimonious douchebag HoFer opine on the Hall-worthiness of modern players--the more guys they keep out the more cash they keep from merchandising and card shows. It ain't all about the purity of the game or of the shrine in Cooperstown.

On the actual field of play, the Red Sox are dropping in the standings like a stone while the Yankees never lose. Luckily for Boston, they get four games at home against the sad-sack A's while new York heads to Tampa for a three-game set. The Yanks currently lead the AL East by 2 1/2 over the Sox and 6 1/2 over the Bay-Rays, while Boston leads the wild card by 2 1/2 over the Rangers.

So much for Mark Buehrle's perfect game getting the White Sox back into it--the day after the gem Chicago showed up in Detroit for four and promptly dropped the first three games. This took them from a divisional tie to three games out, and although the Pale Hose won last night to draw within two of the Tigers, we're all reminded of the fact that the White Sox aren't very good. Detroit's not either, but they will win this division barring a major collapse or unconscious run by someone else (hello, Minnesota).

I'm still saying that the NL East and West are decided, and that Philly and LA can start booking hotels for October. Stuck in the middle is St. Louis, who saw their Central lead evaporate over the weekend. The Cards dropped two of three to the Phils and today welcome the Dodgers to Busch for four more. Getting Matt Holliday was a major coup for St. Louis, and if they can keep Chris Carpenter healthy they have a major leg up should they make the playoffs. The one-two punch of Carpenter-Adam Wainwright is unmatched in the NL, unless Philadelphia or LA ends up with Roy Halladay.

In the NL wild card, Colorado dispatched the Giants yesterday to win their series and open up a two-game lead over the G-Men. After ceding first place in the Central to the red-hot Cubs, the Cardinals sit 2 1/2 back. The Rockies embark on their toughest and most crucial stretch of the season tonight as they start a four-game set with the Mets in Queens. Then they head to Cincinnati and Philly before coming home to battle the Cubs. Can Colorado's remarkable starting pitching hold up? Can their bullpen continue to get key outs with no-namers and minor-leaguers? Will Carlos Gonzales figure out how to hit, thus making the lineup completely unstoppable? I don't have these answers, folks, if I did I'd have a job writing for a seldom-read sports blog whose rough focus was the rivalry between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. Enjoy your week.

UPDATE: Our Smart Guy of the Day award goes to this dude at Wrigley. Thanks to Neyer for the link.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Baseball In The Daytime: July 24 2009

As is often the case on Fridays, we've got Chicagocentric baseball during our daytime. In a rare twist, it's not just the Baby Bears but the Pale Hose making an appearance--and fresh off a perfect game to boot! Mark Buehrle became the 18th man in the history of the sport yesterday to go 27 up, 27 down. No-hitters are pretty hard themselves, but that's happened 262 times. Dime a dozen. Hell, all Nolan Ryan ever did was throw wild pitches for 23 years, and he ended up with seven of them.

So head with us to the breezy Second City, where the Nationals host the Redlegs and the tavern televisions will show the Americans battling the Motor City Kitties...

White Sox @ Detroit, 11:05 Mountain If you're in the market for a few more fun facts about Buehrle's feat, disco. If you're not, you've come to the wrong Otter Pop stand, fella. Buehrle chucked a garden-variety no-hitter back on April 18, 2007. The same umpire, Eric Cooper, was behind home plate for both yesterday's no-no and the '07 game. Both games took two hours and three minutes to elapse. But my favorite piece of data about Buehrle's perfection concerns his catcher.

Ramon Castro called balls and strikes yesterday at U.S. Cellular, and earned himself a spot in the record books. Why is this notable? Because Ramon Castro had never caught Buehrle before. Pitcher and catcher were completely unfamiliar with one another, yet somehow they kept the team with the third-best on-base percentage in baseball from, you know, getting on base.

Best of all, Castro has been with the White Sox for less than two months, after spending the last five years with the Mets. Those Mets have never had a no-hitter in their entire history, dating back to 1962, and Castro snares one in his first turn catching Mark Buehrle. Crazy game. Today the White Sox send Jose Contreras into the Tigers' den at Comerica Field to tussle with Justin Verlander--who also threw a no-hitter in 2007.

Cincinnati @ Chicago Cubs, 12:20 Not nearly as much interesting trivia is circulating around Wrigley today. The Cubs last saw a no-hitter from one of their pitchers on September 2, 1972, when Milt Pappas turned the trick. Is that the same Milt Pappas once traded for Frank Robinson, you ask, in one of the worst MLB deals ever that did not involve Dayton Moore? One and the same. Today young Randy Wells (no relation to David Wells, who threw a perfect game for the Yanks in 1998) starts opposite Aaron Harang (who tries to replicate Tom Browning's '88 perfecto for the Reds). Remember, boys, if you allow even one baserunner you're an abject failure, now go Play Ball!
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Historically Speaking: Pine Tar Anniversary

I love the fans' faces in this photo. And I love you too, single, solitary reader. Now go study your history, as I want a bright future for you.

* Proving that Jesus hated Cleveland even as far back as 1882, the city's baseball team dropped a game on this day of that year by the mark of 35-4.

* It was today in 1965 that Casey Stengel resigned at manager of the New York Mets.

* Three years later, Hoyt Wilhelm broke Cy Young's appearance for Major League appearances by a pitcher when he logs number 907.

* Today in 1978, Pete Rose got a base hit in his 37th consecutive game, tying the modern-day record held by Tommy Holmes. The starting pitcher, New York Met Pat Zachry, kicks the dugout steps out of frustration after surrendering the hit, which broke his foot, which ended his season.

* Finally, the year was 1983 when Kansas City Royal George Brett hit a home run off of Goose Gossage with two outs in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. The jack put the Royals up 5-4, but Yankee Skip Billy Martin tells the officiating crew that Brett's bat contains more than the allowed 17 inches of pine tar. The crew called Brett out (which he didn't particularly care for), giving New York the win. For a month.

And your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of...

...some guy named Jimmy Demaret, who, after golfing with Bob Hope in 1979, said, "Bob has a beautiful short game. Unfortunately, it's off the tee."
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