June 22, 2007

Why the Streak Matters

2,632 consecutive games played. That seems like a silly record. It's the equivalent of baseball's perfect attendance award, and yet we have elevated Cal Ripken, Jr., to mythical status because he achieved it. Why do we care?

It's the only record in sports that defines the nature versus nurture argument. We weren't all born with the ability to play professional sports, to hit 755 homers, to score 100 points in regulation, or to rush for 28 touchdowns. Most of us were born with the ability to go to work each day. Granted, the vast majority of us aren't talented enough to play baseball at the top level for a decade and a half. Whatever we do, though, we are talented enough to show up each and every day and do our job, whether that job is running a Fortune 500 company or scraping gutters, even when we don't feel well, or drank too much the night before, or have a personal crisis. We all CAN be Cal Ripken, Jr., in our own worlds and we're not--and that's okay.

Rather, Cal Ripken, Jr., received from his father a unique combination of great baseball genes and a great upbringing. He was taught to play by the rules, show up for work, and put in a hard day. He was born with the talent and the work ethic was imbued upon him by his family. It is remarkable, and not a coincidence, that two athletes in our time have been so father focused: Tiger Woods and Cal Ripken, Jr. Both achieved excellence in their sports through a combination of the luck of physical ability and the ethos received from their parents.

To want to be the Iron Man is to want to be a perfect American. It's steel and Henry Ford and buying war bonds and putting your children in a better position to succeed than you had. It's the notion that a rocket scientist and a garbageman can be neighbors if they both work hard and save right. It is that ideal of hard work, no matter how close we actually come to accomplishing it, that makes this country special and a beacon for people around the world.
That's why The Streak matters so much to so many of us, and that's why Dave Trembley and Miguel Tejada's perversion of the chase for that accomplishment is so disgusting. Cheating comes with baseball, and the steroids scandals have changed our concept of achievement. Those substances, however, only improve the athlete's already superior God-given abilities. This exploitation is intolerable.

June 21, 2007

Great Article About Carl Pavano

Check out Michael Weinreb's (http://www.michaelweinreb.com/) article about Carl Pavano for ESPN.com. I knew he was a free agent bust, but I didn't know the whole personal backstory. Sounds like the man isn't cut out for the New York spotlight (but who in their right mind is?).

Terps OT Gaither Academically Ineligible

Thank God the Ravens still appear to be in one piece. This hasn't been a good year for Maryland sports.

ESPN story here.

Dave Trembley - Not Even a Good Liar

Orioles interim manager Dave Trembley explained why Miguel Tejada bunted and then was pinch run for in the top of the first. According to Trembley in the post-game interview, Miggy wasn't comfortable once he got in the batters box because of his wrist injury.

How did you know that? How did you give him the bunt sign then? Roberts was running pre-pitch so he knew the bunt was on.

Why did you move Miggy up from 4th in the batting order to 2nd before the game, prompting the radio crew to comment, "He's going to keep the streak alive and then get yanked"?

Trembley knew he was caught in a lie right after he said it. He started answering questions very slowly and kept citing Tejada's illustrious career. As Lewis Black has said (in better words), I don't mind be lying to by authority figures, but at least humor me and do it right.

If Trembley manages this team one more time, I'm officially totally done with baseball. I can deal with crappy meddlesome owners, but I won't deal with a manager participating in a sham that could lead to Ripken's legitimate record being stolen.

Fire Dave Trembley NOW

Is that Sam Perlozzo character still available? Miguel Tejada was struck on the wrist last night by a pitch. X-rays were negative, and Tejada said he'd play today so long as the wrist wasn't broken. He played all right. He batted 2nd in the top of the first, bunting weakly back to the pitcher and getting Brian Roberts thrown out at second. Tejada was immediately pinch run for by Chris Gomez.

Why? To keep his consecutive games streak alive. To my knowledge, Ripken never did that. In fact, Ripken also holds the record for consecutive innings played. In the town where Ripken can do no wrong, cheaply keeping Tejada's consecutive games streak alive is unacceptable. Even though Tejada ultimately makes the call, I have to blame Trembley for letting Tejada perpetuate this fraud on the Charm City. We're searching for a new manager to re-institute the Orioles' Way. Trembley's Way is not in tune with that spirit.

On the list of sham attempts to influence records, this, to me, exceeds Brett Favre lying down so Michael Strahan could get Gastineau's sack record. The whole point of being the Iron Man is that you not only show up every day, but you show up every day to play every out, and you're good enough to do it without hurting the team. I, personally, can't wait for the O's to trade Tejada, but they can replace Trembley without a suitor. Bring on Rick Dempsey!

June 20, 2007

Special Guest Post! - Joe Girardi's Agent

L'chaim readers. My name is Saul Rubensilversteinberg. I used to be Albany Patroons' head coach Michael Ray Richardson's crafty Jew lawyer, but since that situation, well, deteriorated, I've been focused on my top client, Joe Girardi.

There has been a lot of speculation that I am negotiating a deal with Peter Angelos (goy) for Mr. Girardi to take over managerial duties with the Orioles. That much is true. Actually, I'm forwarding every offer the O's send to us to the Yankees and White Sox, in the hopes that those teams will panic, fire their current struggling managers, and then overpay Mr. Girardi. It's unfathomable to me that the Baltimore media really thinks there is any chance that Mr. Girardi would sign with their two-bit organization when my client would clearly have first dibs at the Yankees job this offseason.

blahblahblahblahblahblahblahbla Mr. Rubensilversteinberg c.2005
To stall the O's, I've asked for an opt-out provision, just in case my client is offered a REAL job this offseason. I know they'll never take it because the embarassment of having my client bolt after 100 games to the hated Yankees would be unacceptable to Baltimore. Actually, I just sent Peter Angelos, Jim Duquette (goy), Mike Flanagan (goy), and new team "president" (whatever that means) Andy MacPhail (goy) four different counter proposals. Once they sort it all out, Torre should be on his way to Chicago, Girardi will be in Yankee pinstripes, and Ozzie Guillen (Ripken's former rival) will suddenly look like a good fit for the orange and black.

So yeah, that's where we stand. If you or a loved one ever need quality managerial representation, or if your child suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of a medical mistake, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected].

New Caps Jersey Leaked

Wow...this is ugly as hell. Great job Caps.

Pac-Man Indicted - Game Over

Forget "Make It Rain", apparently Adam "Pac-Man" Jones also partook in some anklebiting. Two felony indictments, not bad. Now the Atlanta incident might earn him the lifetime ban.


Don and Mike (Radio Gods) have made an excellent suggestion. We should only call him Adam Jones so that a great nickname like Pac-Man can be recycled for someone better.

Giambi Against Wall - Tejada to Be Sacrificed?

It has been widely reported that Yankees 1B Jason Giambi is being forced to talk to Fmr. Sen. Mitchell, the MLB steroids investigator. Giambi is busy trying to negotiate the parameters of the sit-down discussion, and it's logical to wonder whether he might be able to shake some heat by throwing another player under the bus.

blahblahblahblahblahblahbh Tejada shows off his new B-12 forearms

Guess who was in Oakland with Giambi from 1997 to 2001? Miguel Tejada. I've suspected that Palmeiro dropped Tejada's name in the famous "B-12 shot" incident when Raffy was catching heat for a couple of reasons. The first is that Raffy knew Tejada was juicing. The second is that Miggy isn't very popular with teammates, or around the league.

If Giambi has any substantiated knowledge about Miggy, it would make sense for him to toss him to the sharks. First, Tejada is high-profile and unpopular. Second, Miggy plays for a divisional rival, which will numb some of the backlash on his own team for snitching. Thirdly, the Orioles are obviously shopping Miggy around for next month's trading deadline. Do you think it's a coincidence that MacPhail was hired just in time for the trading deadline? Deals didn't get done in the past because other GMs didn't know who to negotiate with in the Orioles convuluted power-sharing scheme (See Redskins, Washington). Giambi could crush the Orioles and get the media and MLB off his back. Why wouldn't he do it?

June 19, 2007

Perlozzo Says It All

I'm not going to quote anything from this article because it's a great scoop and it comes from a small town (Cumberland, MD) paper. Perlozzo really talks openly about everything he is feeling in the wake of his firing.

Check the article/interview out HERE.

Cowher to the Skins in 2008?!?!?!

ProFootballTalk is reporting that a league source informed them that the Redskins have had discussions with Bill Cowher to be their coach in 2008.

Why Bill? Now that you're out of Pittsburgh I can finally come out of the closet and admit that I always admired you. One of the great things about being a Ravens fan is that we never really hate our rivals. The rivalries with Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Jacksonville have been mostly built out of a respect for guys like Cowher, Hines Ward, Bettis, Eddie George, Steve McNair, Jeff Fisher, Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. The Redskins are the only team we truly hate.

blahbla Please, God, don't let me see this in the menstrual blood and piss color scheme

In one respect, I'm very pleased with the story. Gibbs is now a lame duck coach whether the story is true or not. Gregg Williams will be owed $1M if anyone other than him is the next head coach. I can only imagine the shitfit he's throwing right now. It probably guarantees the Redskins a 4-12 or worse season next year.

On the other hand, The Chin will surely return the Redskins to respectability, which is frankly intolerable. This is the second bad news Redskins story of the day, the other being that Snyder has bought Dick Clark's production company. Any Snyder distraction from the Redskins is a bad thing for Skins haters.

I'm torn. I can only hope that Cowher is using the Skins and Snyder to leverage other teams as so many have done before him.

Formula 1 Roundup

I know I've been slacking on the F1 posts lately, but I didn't have much to say about the incredibly boring Monaco GP (and I'm a big fan of Monaco). Canada was exciting, I just didn't get around to blogging about it. The US Grand Prix was another nose-to-tail parade, with the most exciting moments being Alonso's near-passes of Hamilton. That's the highlight of an F1 race. Someone almost passes the guy in front of him. What a sad state of affairs. I'm not sure whether to blame the cars or the tracks or both for the total lack of overtaking at the front of the field, but whatever the cause, it detracts from the excitement of a Formula 1 race.

Lewis Hamilton
None of this should take anything away from Lewis Hamilton's accomplishments. Alonso may have looked faster on the track on Sunday, but Hamilton dominated qualifying (again) and rode the advantage all race. F1 definitely has the stars in Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, and Raikkonnen to replace Michael Schumacher. I'm sure that the Hamilton-Tiger Woods comparisons will be flowing freely, especially now that the American press has discovered him. That's almost certainly overstating Hamilton's impact, but it's tough to deny that this is the most impressive showing ever by an F1 rookie.

Now that we're halfway through Fox's 4 races coverage, I feel like I can give a fair assessment of their coverage. I'm very happy that Fox chose to keep the Speed announcing crew intact. Last season's races on CBS were almost unwatchable because of the announcers. In Canada, I thought the Speed crew tried to dumb down the coverage a bit too much. They assumed that none of their viewers had ever watched an F1 race before, so they attempted to explain a lot more of the basics than they normally do. It was a decent thought, but I think it would just have been more confusing for an F1 newbie. Varsha, Hobbs, and Matchett are at their best when they seem to be just talking to each other about the race.

The one thing that drives me crazy about the Fox coverage, though, is the timing. The race broadcast starts as the cars are completing the formation lap. This means there is a grand total of about 90 seconds of pre-race. I really enjoy Peter Windsor running through the starting grid and throwing a microphone in the faces of drivers and engineers. I know Fox probably wanted to cut out the pre-race due to ratings concerns, but they could have at least given me a half hour of pre-race on Speed and then switched over to Fox for the race itself.

There's one week off, and then the F1 teams will be in France for the final race of the first half of the season. I'll try to give a mid-season report after the race. Hopefully there will also be some overtaking to discuss.

June 18, 2007

Adam "Pacman" Jones' Appeal

I've gotten my grubby little hands on the confidential, sealed letter of appeal in the matter of Titans CB Adam "Pacman" Jones' suspension. With respect to due process in the matter, I'll only say that the letter aptly points out 285 separate criminal incidents involving NFL players that all occurred since Jan. 1, 2000. Only most of them involved Ravens.

LaVar Arrington Hurt in Cycle Crash


Move over Kellen Winslow, Jeff Kent, and Ben Roethlisberger. LaVar Arrington is joining the cavalcade of wannabe daredevils. He wrecked his motorcyle on the ramp from I-495 to join U.S. 50 east of the D.C. Beltway in Prince George's County, Maryland. Early reports say he broke his arm and his leg in three places, and suffered a "priority one" head injury, which is apparently not life-threatening.blhblahblahblah At least Arrington can fall back on his sales job at Easterns Motors

No word yet if the broken arm and leg are the same arm and leg Snyder paid LaVar to rah-rah from the sidelines in his last season with the Redskins.

WUSA 9 has photos of the motorcycle:

Perlozzo Fired; Trembley Interim Manager

Apparently Peter Angelos is capable of change. For only the second time, he has fired a manager midseason. Sam Perlozzo couldn't survive a combination of being on the wrong side of a number of managerial decisions and having a group of players who seem to have given up. According to the Baltimore Sun, bullpen coach Dave Trembley will serve as interim manager while the O's court last year's NL Manager of the Year and former Yankees catcher Joe Girardi.
blahlahblahblahblahblah Sam Perlozzo is making sexy eyes at you

I have not seen any reports on the future of Leo Mazzone, the Orioles' pitching coach and Sam Perlozzo's childhood friend from Cumberland, MD (where the official girlfriend (as opposed to the official fiancee and official wife) of ECB is currently on business). I would have to assume he's going to take a couple months off, which won't allow pitching coaches around the league to be comfortable for the rest of the season.
blahVin Diesel's brother, Joe Girardi, is the favorite to be the 17th Orioles manager
No matter where the O's go next, they won't be making a run at .500 this year unless Girardi gives Gibbons, Mora and Tejada their "B-12" shots back.

June 17, 2007

Nats AAA CF Breaks Hit Streak Record

Columbus Clippers' CF Brandon Watson has hit safely in 43 straight games, breaking a 95-year-old International League record, ESPN.com reports. The Clippers are the AAA affiliate for the Washington Nationals.

That puts the Nats in a bit of a quandary. Their regular centerfielder, Ryan Langerhans, is batting an anemic .167 in 118AB this season. Alternate CFer Nook Logan has fallen to a Tony Womack-esque .215 through 79AB. Ryan Church and Austin Kearns have both filled in at CF, but to the detriment of their natural positions.
bllahblahblahbl Brandon Watson would like to parlay his streak into MLB $$$$

So obviously the Nats could use the hot hand up at the big league level, but do they have to wait for him to conclude his hit streak? Does it look bad if they bring him up right after he loses the streak? Given their outlook for this season, would they rather just let Watson continue to develop in AAA, hoping that this isn't a once-in-a-lifetime hot streak for a guy who will return to his previous performance level?

Given that Watson is batting .341, CF Michael Restovich is batting .284, and power-hitting former FSU phenom Darnell McDonald (6HR in one game against Maryland) is batting .317, all with regular at bats at Ottawa, and none of them have been called up, I think it is safe to assume that the Nats are comfortable with their current run production and defensive alignment. If their hot streak continues, they might wonder about some games they might have won with a couple extra hits and runs here and there down the stretch.