April 2011


The days of Orel Hershiser dealing for a winning, respectable club are long gone.

I love and will always love the Montreal Expos, but I wouldn’t want my favorite team mentioned in the same breath as them too often.

In 2002, baseball took over a team that had been gutted of everything from its players (including a personal favorite, Pedro Martinez) to its computers and printers. It was a last-ditch move for a team that losing money, had alienated all their fans and was, by that point, dragging down the reputation of the league.

Alas, that’s where the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves today. As collateral damage in the divorce of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, the Dodgers have been dragged along in the proceedings, falling short on money while crumbling in the front office, the team has dropped from the top of the National League to near the bottom. And when Frank McCourt took a $30 million loan to cover payroll for the team, the league had enough:

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig told Frank McCourt on Wednesday he will appoint a trustee to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the club. At the same time, Frank McCourt was preparing to sue MLB, a baseball executive familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because McCourt had not made any statements.

“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the club,” Selig said in a statement. (more…)

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Jed Lowrie has followed through on a few hits this year, to say the least.

Editor’s note: Last night’s powerless display will not be included in the discussion below. Oy.

There was a time not long ago when I was convinced I’d never see Jed Lowrie play meaningful innings with the Boston Red Sox. Beset with injuries (a broken wrist, mono, insert other ailments here) in rapid succession, Lowrie looked not injury prone, but cursed.

It’s no stretch to say that those fears are now unfounded. Lowrie is playing every day, hitting everything in sight, and may or may not have saved four babies from a burning building this weekend.

Living out in Arizona, I experienced his debut and initial success from a distance, catching games on ESPN, reading how he’d run with the starting shortstop position when Julio Lugo was hurt, and watched him prove he belonged in the playoffs — he hit .364 in the American League Division Series against Anaheim, and struggled along with everyone else in the Championship Series against Tampa. (more…)

1988 was a great year, from Sparky to Fisk to Scioscia to Cecil.

I recently had something of a baseball card windfall fall into my lap. A family member had come into a box full of cards, and not knowing what else to do with them, passed them onto me. As it turns out, inside was the complete 1988 Topps set, with all the cards in damn-near perfect condition.

Naturally, that meant me spending a day or two flipping and sorting through them, checking out card backs, old player photos, figuring out doubles and reminiscing about days spent as a kid, sitting in my bedroom collecting cards, sorting them into sets and teams and trying to complete an entire year.
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Somewhere, Ryne Sandberg is either furious or laughing too hard to move.

I don’t often put up a post just to link to a video.

I also don’t normally like to call attention to something so utterly horrible.

But, sometimes, exceptions have to be made, because this is everything that’s wrong with baseball. Maybe not baseball, but every horror show masquerading as a fan.

On April 1, 2011, the Chicago Cubs opened up at Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and NPR station WBEZ 91.5 was out looking for fans to interview. And find a fan they did. They found a doozy. The results are here.

And, if you do anything for me, ever, please be sure to watch this until the very end. You will not be disappointed, I promise.

This video is amazing.

Thanks go out to @RobEffinBrown for alerting me to the best moving picture I’ve seen since Black Swan.

Josh Beckett summoned some old magic and didn't screw around with the Yankees.

That was old school Josh Beckett Sunday night.

En route to a 4-0 win over New York, Beckett locked down, got in a rhythm with catcher Jason Varitek, worked quickly and provided the kind of ace stuff that Red Sox fans have only seen in spurts the past two years.

Through eight innings of work, Beckett surrendered just two hits and one walk, struck out 10, didn’t allow a run and was economical in his approach, needing just 103 pitches to work through the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball. And were it not a chilly and wet April night, it’s easy to imagine Beckett going out there to finish what he started in the ninth.

Alas, after retiring the final 14 batters he faced, Jonathan Papelbon was called into duty, and quickly retired the side. Inning over, game, over, and the Red Sox took two of three from New York after dropping the first six games of the season. (more…)

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