Tuesday, August 02, 2005

News and views

(Messing around with a new column/post/rant format just for the heck of it today . . . shoot us a message and tell us what you think. - CF and Buckethead.)

News: Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro is suspended 10 games for testing positive for steroids, although he again adamantly - and almost convincingly - tells us he never, never, never used performance-enhancing drugs deliberately.
View: Fool me once, shame on you/Fool me twice . . . Next thing you know, Raffy will be telling us he never, never, never uses Viagra, either, even though he's shilling for the stuff during every other commercial break. Let's just hope his nose is the only thing that grows when he lies.

News: Former Yankees reliever Buddy (I Lost My Job To Alan Freakin' Embree? You've Gotta Be Kidding Me) Groom rips Joe Torre on his way out of New York, saying you don't get a fair shake there if you're not one of "Joe's guys."
View: Jay Witasick, Felix Heredia, Gabe White, Armando Benitez, Steve Karsay, Antonio Osuna, Chris Hammond and Randy Choate nod in agreement. Kenny Rogers answers by decking a puny cameraman.

News: Barry Bonds, the Giants' ailing slugger/human bobblehead, admits he will likely miss the entire 2005 season, but promises to play again . . .
View: . . . in 2006, when he again will look like this:

(Nope, I still can't get enough of those old Bonds-as-a-Pirate photos. He looks like a cross between Kenny Lofton and Eddie Murphy.)

News: Peter Gammons is honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious service to the sport as a print journalist.
View: The inspiration for a generation of sports writers (hello there), Gammons's speech Sunday ranks among his most enjoyable work, and that is high praise coming from someone who spends his moments of downtime at work scouring and devouring The Commish's old Sunday Globe notes columns from the '70s and '80s.

News: The Rockies are furious that the Red Sox backed out of the Larry Bigbie-for-Kelly Shoppach-and-Adam Stern swap.
View: Seems to me the only team Bigbie ever hits against is the Red Sox. Colorado/Exile is a good place for him, and who gives a flying hoot what the Rockies think anyway? What, are they going to refuse to deal B.H. Kim back to the Sox now? Shut up and drink your disgusting Coors, hippies.

News: Speculation is rampant that Tom Verducci's source on the original "Manny wants to be traded" story is none other than one Pedro "Deep Throat" Martinez.
View: I hadn't thought of this, but I've heard the same theory from more knowledgeable sources than the one on this link, and I'm starting to think there's something to it. Verducci was working on a Pedro/Mets feature for Sports Illustrated during the same time frame. The revelation that Manny had made his annual half-hearted trade request came as news to his teammates, including David Ortiz, who may be closer to him than anyone in that clubhouse. We also know Pedro stays in touch with Manny frequently - he recently revealed that the voice-mail answering message on Manny's cellphone is of Manny coughing - how perfect), and we know he'd love nothing better than to stick it to Sox management and stir up some controversy. I'm not saying this whole drama started as some one-man plot devised from beneath the mango tree. Just saying there are people much smarter than me who believe precisely that to be true.

News: Sox fans show Manny the love, Manny reciprocates by doing what he does best - knocking in the winning run and acting like a lost-in-space goofball immediately afterward. And all is well again after a trying week in the Nation.
View: Yeah, we've already spent enough words on this, we know. But I just want to emphasize again that I simply don't understand Sox fans who wanted Manny gone. I felt queasy when I heard Manny was pulled from the lineup Saturday. Crushed is the appropriate word. If the talk-radio blowhards and their blind minions in this town could run off an occasionally selfish, historically productive, and completely harmless and likeable human being (at least to anyone with open eyes and an open mind), then what the hell does that say about us? Or do I really want to know? Sure, he's childlike, and sometimes even childish. Sure, he's reluctant to hustle sometimes. Sure, he has funny hair. But when you consider his amazingly consistent production and his impact on the rest of the lineup, it's apparent that the pluses of having Manny on your side outnumber the minuses by such a significant number that it's not even worth debating. To put it another way: You want Aubrey Huff or Mike Cameron up there trying to get that go-ahead run home instead? Damn right you don't. But at least they would have run out a grounder to short hard, right?

News: The TATB editorial staff is accused by more than one glue-eating reader of flip-flopping and being contradictory, primarily for pleading for A.J. Burnett deal a week or two ago, then breathing a sigh of relief yesterday when it didn't happen.
View: Of course we contradict ourselves - we're sports writers. And by the way, we always stand behind everything we write. Got it?

As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

News: The Seattle Mariners release former Red Sox pitcher/pussycat Aaron Sele.
View: The Yankees have already penciled him in to start next Sunday, following Hideo Nomo, John Halama, Andy Hawkins, and Mel Stottlemyre in the rotation. (Fortunately, they're all "Joe's guys.")