Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Can't you see that it's just rainin'/Ain't no need to go outside

Ten free minutes for me, 10 free waterlogged wisecracks for you . . .

1. I found the Sports Illustrated players' poll that ranked Derek Jeter the most overrated player in baseball to be more amusing than accurate, but I think it's plainly obvious why his peers feel that way about him: He is completely immune to criticism and blame, even when he deserves it. I'm speaking of course of his bad throw that gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in their rubber game victory in the Bronx last weekend. Not only was the brunt of the blunder blamed on novice first baseman Miguel Cairo - as if the calcified Jason Giambi would have caught that ball - but Jeter didn't even receive an error on the play. Further, he had to make the throw from his knees because - and every defensive metric ever invented will support this - he lacked the range to get to the ball without a half-dive. It's a play quite a few shortstops - many of whom don't own Gold Glove awards - would make look fairly routine. That's not to say Jeter isn't a wonderful player; I just don't understand why it is inappropriate to criticize him when the moment calls for it. Hell, during this series, Don Orsillo actually said at one point, "He's won wherever he's been." Now I know Orsillo is a vinyl-covered automaton who has no control over what he says - but Jeter has spent his whole career in New York! With the richest team in baseball! Surrounded by superstars! Even a droid should know better. Let's send Jeter to, say, Kansas City and see if they call him Mr. November there.

2. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, if only to keep the slim hopes that it might actually happen alive in my mind: The best move the Celtics could make this offseason is to tell Doc Rivers to stick to broadcasting.

3. If there is any justice in the world, Barry Bonds will still be stuck on 713 homers (or better yet, hobbling on crutches as he ponders an anticlimactic, McGwire-esque ending to his career), when that abominable piece of deceptive propaganda called "Bonds on Bonds" ends its season. I'd say ESPN should be ashamed for selling out its journalistic integrity and getting into bed with perhaps the biggest fraud in baseball history, but then, "ESPN" and "integrity" have been pretty damn far from synonymous for a long time now.

4. All right, his daily double and Gold Glove defense have convinced me. Mike Lowell is pretty freakin' far from finished.

5. Whatever happened to the NHL gambling scandal, anyway? One minute, "SportsCenter" is making it sound like Janet Gretzky is going to spend the rest of her life making female prison movies (not entirely a bad thing), and the next minute the saga of apparent Soprano-wannabe Rick Tocchet is all but forgotten as they've moved on to the Next Big Controversy or the day's sixth Barry Bonds story.

6. Obviously, receiver's true colors tend to show once he tries to catch a pass with the likes of Rodney Harrison eyeballing his spine, but even the most cynical members of the media admit that second-rounder Chad Jackson is putting on a show at Patriots rookie camp. I'm actually more excited about this Pats rookie class than I usually am, probably because Pioli and Belichick focused on offensive skill players this time around. All of us La-Z-Boy quarterbacks should be able to have fun tracking the tangible progress and contributions of Laurence Maroney, Jackson, and David Thomas easier than we would, say, watching a brute like Logan Mankins or Nick Kaczur.

7. I probably shouldn't recommend this - the language is definitely NSFW - but if you want to hear the funniest audio from an NHL game you will ever come across, go to Google video search, and type in "Bellows," then search until you find the clip from a Penguins/North Stars game. Trust me, you'll know it when you hear it. (And personally, if I were Brian Bellows, I'd have turned to Kevin Stevens there and said, "Why are you hassling me? Are you on crack or something?")

8. I'm hesitant to break the news to these good folks who started this Bring Back the Rocket petition, but I'm afraid the writing is on the wall: Roger is heading back to Houston. I've been convinced all along that the only way Clemens ends up ion Boston or New York is if the Astros a) fall out of contention or b) offer him a low-ball contract. Neither has happened, and Houston shrewdly made the preemptive strike in the bidding with a supposed $20 million offer for 3 1/2 months' work. Unless he's getting sentimental in his old age - and considering he's the ultimate mercenary, I'm not counting on it - or unless Steinbrenner offers him $10 million a start, there's simply no way he comes East when he has all he requires in Houston.

9. I've rerun the DVR more times than Jim Garrison watched the Zapruder film, and I am convinced that in the transcendent final seconds of the season finale of "The Office," Pam whispers this to Jim after she pulls away: "I love you . . . I can't." To which Jim replies with a resigned, "Yeah." Now, you can't quite hear them, and nothing shows up on the closed captioning (a device, by the way, that makes you realize just how talented certain actors are at delivering their lines, John Krasinski in particular), but I am convinced that's what was said. If you picked up on it too - or if you think my crush on the exceedingly lovely Jenna Fischer is now causing me to hear things, as one of my friends at work suggested - shoot me an email and let me know. Oh, and in a related note, my email address is changing to officepam.obsessednerd@yahoo.com. Hey, at least I'm still man enough to realize "Grey's Anatomy" sucks.

10. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

The Red Sox's top prospect seemingly from 1977 until last year, the likeable Ramirez is leading the NL in hitting, followed closely by . . . Edgar Renteria. Considering what the rejuvenated Nomahhhhhh! and Orlando Cabrera are doing in different parts of Southern California, I'd say this is shaping up to be a heck of a season for ex-Sox shortstops.