Monday, June 30, 2008

Name that stadium: Round 3

I really didn't mean for this to become a regular feature on the blog, but I have to throw in another stadium that may need renaming. This time it is Miller Park in Milwaukee. OK, so Miller's contract with the Brewers organization is through 2020. I am still throwing this out there because of the news that Miller Brewing Co. will most likely move out of Milwaukee. With the formation of Miller Coors, SABMiller is looking to relocate the US headquarters. I don't know if there is a way for Miller to opt out of the contract early, but it is still fun to suggest new names.

How about Sausage Stadium (in honor of the sausage race...among other things)?
Cory Heart Field...after my arch enemy (not Hank Steinbrenner this time).
Grizzly Adams Park...since everyone in Milwaukee has a bushy beard...even the women.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Awesome Shirt

Captain Awesome, your reputation preceeds you. You now have your own shirt.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Jimmy Ballgame Odyssey: Vol. III

Jim Dandy knocked in two home runs today...both in the bottom of the 4th inning...against the White Sox, no less. In 26 games with the Padres, Edmonds was batting .178, slugging .233, and getting on base at a .265 clip. Those numbers in 25 games with the Cubs are .311/.581/.358. So far, this is working out well for the Cubs. Edmonds fit a very specific role that the Cubs needed. The Cubs wanted a left handed bat that could platoon in CF with the righty, Reed Johnson. They are paying him $284,000 this year. What is wrong with all of that? Absolutely nothing. I'm not saying that Jimmy boy was the best acquisition of the season. I know J2T is waiting for me to commit myself. Here it is: Edmonds has worked out well for the Cubs so far. I am happy he is a Cub so far. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Name that stadium: Round 2

As some of you remember, I posted a while ago and asked for new names for Wrigley. The impending sale of the team and the stadium has me quite worked up. Anyways, this may be somewhat premature, but who wants to guess at the new name for Busch Stadium III? With the impending sale of our beloved A-B to those Belgian beer whores, I am predicting that InBev will want to cut all unnecessary expenses. I'm sure naming rights to an American baseball stadium falls under an unnecessary expense. I understand that Busch Stadium III is under contract until 2025, but what about after that? What if InBev can buy out of that contract? Will we have Purina One Field? Capri Sun Stadium? I would personally love to see the Cardinals play at Summer's Eve Field. I know I am probably jumping the gun on this one. Maybe the InBev people won't be so bad. Maybe they'll honor A-B commitments to the city of St. Louis. Maybe not...a Cubs fan can always dream...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

St. Louis Sports Talk

To start I have to say that I very much like living in a city where there is always sports talk on the radio. I realize that if everything that I said about sports or my initial thought about certain subjects was aired to thousands or millions that I would also have a resume of stupid quotes and suggestions.

I think the best in STL is Bernie Mikalasz, I think the worst is Bob Fescoe followed very closely by Kevin Slaten. Bernie does get on my nerves sometimes with his attempts at coolness but solid analysis. Fescoe I believe tries hard but for some reason I don't feel like his heart is in this here. Kevin Slaten is pretty much horrible, although entertaining. His logic is horrible, his consistency in analysis and strategy is horrible, his perspective on players is horrible but he does call callers names and his whole show was like watching a car wreck. For now the car wreck is on hold as he got kicked off the air for putting Dave Duncan on the air without his permission and Duncan and the Cards threatened to take it to government authorities.

Also, the callers sometimes just don't get it. They call in and will make suggestions such as "Lets trade Anthony Reyes and Adam Kennedy to the Astros for Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez". Or "Albert is going to be going away in the next three years, lets trade him for some young guys".

Or "we would be better off if we had Eckstein right now".....

F You San Diego.......and Philadelphia

So Taguchi came to town last week and apparently he plays on a team full of assholes. The Philly team beat the Cards down pretty hard last Friday 20-2 plus the night was a mess with Springer getting ejected for absolutely no reason, followed by LaRussa, followed by Oqeundo, followed by some fan setting behind the ump. This made the next two days very sweet as we (The Cards that is) took the next two games . Regardless after Friday I came to the conclusion that Howard, Burrell, Utley, Rollins, Hamels, Jenkins, Gordon and definately Bruntlett are all assholes and for a brief few moments last weekend I hated them as much as I dislike the Yankees and at times the cubs.

Will the local artsy and edgy and free paper have an article on Taguchi's smile?

Baseball Tonight just closed with So Taguchi bowling.

On another note, I have no idea why the Cards fans always and I mean always talk about the Cards/Royals series as if it is pointless and doesn't mean anything and is the worst thing to happen since the All Star game ended in a tie. A couple of things to point out here:

1. A win is a win and a sweep is a sweep. It works both ways.

2. The Royals being a small market team and basically at the mercy of the 6 years that they get with players before they are eligible to become free agents and sometimes even at the mercy of the 3 years that they get before a guy becomes arbitration eligible will typically be either strong in hitting or strong in pitching albeit young but they will be strong or becoming strong or somewhere trending upwards with either their hitting or pitching and they will lose those players before they peak. This is why they are bad, its not because they don't have good players, its because they can't keep their good players and cannot acquire top talent. My point is this, this year they have some very good young pitchers, very good, better than the Cards and this was a tell, I'm sorry to say this was a good indication of how this Cards team matches up against good pitching in a short series. Its a long season, I know, but it was a short season in that the Cards had every opportunity to pick up two games on the cubs. Wasted opportunities add up, even against the Royals, no matter how much we look down on them and attempt to downgrade them.

3. This is a rivalry, ok, its not cubs/Cards or Red Sox/Yankees but I like it, I'm not a fan of interleague play but I like to see the Kansas City Royals at least once a year. Again, Zach Greinke, Alex Gordan, Teahan, Bannister, Soria, Buckner, maybe even DeJesus are potentially good to great players. Maybe the future Beltran or Damon will come out of that group. Plus, the Royals may not be bad forever and these early games are the foundation of long heated rivalry. What's the alternative, play the Reds or Pirates again?

4. Also, why was it such a big deal that the All Star game ended in a tie, I actually see this as one of the more intelligent moves that Selig made. Why go deep into extra inninngs using pitchers and risking injury for an exhibition game? Why was this seen as such an embarrasment? The game didnt' mean anything then, now it does, which one would I rather have? I would rather have the tie and the best regular season team getting home field advantage instead of what we have now. This could have made a huge difference to the 2004 Cards.

5. The Cards really won the 1985 world series, don't get me wrong I'm glad George Brett got to win a world series but c'mon, we all know who really won that series.

6. Yes, injuries happen, luck happens, players are streaky...I know but it works both ways. The Cards getting swept exposed some weaknesses, exposed some players. Can the Cards rebound ?Yes, absolutely.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I have a new arch enemy.

Hank Steinbrenner on Chien-Ming Wang's injury running the bases in Houston:

"My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century. They need to grow up and join the 21st century. Am I [mad] about it? Yes. I've got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He's going to be out. I don't like that, and it's about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s."

I can't even begin to tell you how angry this makes me. My anger is probably fueled somewhat by my hatred of the Yankees, but I would still be mad no matter who said it. First, let me start with the obvious. Baseball was invented in the 1800s. Back then, the pitchers had to bat. That didn't change in the American League until 1973. Technically, wouldn't the National League need to "grow up" and "join" the 20th century? Last time I checked, 1973 was in the 20th century. Second, why do National League rules need to change because the Yankees said so? The Yankees are not MLB. Call me crazy but if the Yankees were to no longer exist, MLB would not fold. It would be less profitable, but it would not go away. Third, I like the idea that the National League pitchers have to bat. This is for three reasons. The first is that pitchers cannot throw at opposing batters without consequence. They will have to bat against that team may not be that same game, but they will face that team again. Also, I think NL pitchers are better athletes for it. It really takes a more complete skill set for pitchers to be able to pitch and bat. It is more physically demanding as well. The final reason is that there is a whole different aspect to the game regarding strategy. In late innings with your starter dominating after throwing 90-100 pitches in a close game, do you stick with him and risk injury or go to the bullpen? As you can see, I am not a fan of the DH. There's not as much strategy when you don't have to work around a batter in your order that hits .150, but is invaluable in the field.

I'll get off my soapbox now. I just really don't like Hank Steinbrenner and his whining.

Friday, June 13, 2008

He's Baaaaaaaack!

I am sad to report that yours truly, J-2-T was in attendance at tonight's slugfest featuring the fightin' Phils. In the midst of all the slugging, ejections, etc, our favorite player made his triumphant return to St. Lou. Upon striding to the plate in the sixth, he tipped his cap at the standing ovation he recieved from the STL faithful. Then he promptly struck out. It was truly a sight to behold. On the night, he was one for two with a run scored and a K. I would like to point out that, as of the completion of tonights game, he has a higher average than your '06 NL MVP, big bad Ryan Howard.

The Taguchi Watch continues throughout the weekend. Go, So, Go. Johnny-2-Turds reporting live from Busch Stadium...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Exclusive Interview with Big Brown

Wow, I never thought this would happen but I had the chance to interview Big Brown this morning. A couple of wierd things, 1. Horses can't talk, 2. Oddly his lines matched word for word those used by Sgt. Dignam in "The Departed". I say the interview spirals out of control, I'll let you be the judge.

Runningman: So, Big Brown...or is it Mr. Brown or can I just call you Big?

Big Brown: Whoa, let's say you have no idea and leave it there. No idea. Zip, none. If you had an idea about what we do we would not be good at what we do. We would be c****. Are you calling us c****?

Runningman: Um, OK. Sorry, ah, I was just trying to establish how to address you, regardless congratulations on winning the Derby and the Preakness and for all your victories.

Big Brown: My Pleasure

Runningman: So, what happened at the Belmont? You seem poised to be the first triple crown winner in many, many years?

Big Brown:Closed casket?

Runningman: Ok, that's wierd, I don't know how to take that. Are you threatening me?

Big Brown:I got a question?

Runningman: Ok, I'm here to ask the questions but go ahead fire away.

Big Brown: How f***** up are you?

Runningman:That's uncalled for, you're not even giving me a chance here. Are you injured? Did something happen the last two weeks that caused you to finish in last place at the Belmont?

Big Brown:What the f*** did you say to me, trainee?

Runningman: I'm trying to find out why you finished in last place, there was so much hype about you. What did your jockey say to before the race?

Big Brown: I need you, pal. You've already pretended to be a Costigan from South Boston.

Runningman: Wierd, A Costigan from South Boston. Is that some type of horse or something? And why Boston?

Big Brown: Who forged your transcript, d***head?

Runningman: Again, why the hostility? So, I'm just going to ignore you. What did your jockey say to you after the race?

Big Brown:Sorry I'm late......

Runningman: And what else?

Big Brown: Luck of the Irish. All that and you're still young enough to f*** undergraduates.

Runningman: Seems somewhat laidback about the whole issue? Do you take any responsibility for how things turned out?

Big Brown: Where?

Runningman: At the Belmont, you know the race? Many are questioning what type of horse you are, if it was all the steroids before that helped.

Big Brown: I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.

Runningman: Actually, I'm not getting paid for this so I don't know if it can be considered a job or not.

Big Brown: Just because you play a f******* tough guy doesn't mean you are one, you lace curtain f******* p*****.

Runningman: Wow, there must be a lot of tension behind the scenes in the Big Brown camp. There was a lot of hype about the steroids issue, you were on them, your trainer acknowledged it. Many have called for the government to look into this matter and regulate horse racing. Are you ready to acknowledge that you were on steroids?

Big Brown:Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe f*** yourself. My theory on Feds is they're like mushrooms. Feed 'em s*** and keep in the dark. You girls have a nice day.

Runningman: Wow, Big Brown,...Mr. Brown...Don't leave yet...Big?

Friday, June 6, 2008


After seeing last nights events in the Red Sox game, I thought we should pay tribute to some of the most memorable freeze-frames in baseball fighting lore. This is to accomplish two things:

1. Prove that baseball players don't know how to fight.
2. Take part in a little schadenfreude. Nothing wrong with that, right?

I will be assigning points for various categories. I will most likely make them up as I go along. The fight with the most points wins.

Let's get to the list:

Honorable Mention: Some fight involving the Red Sox and Orioles.

Cause: I have no idea, since I can't find any other references to this obscure picture.

Points: 50
+50 points for the old guy doing the choke hold on the guy grabbing the catcher's suspenders.

Commentary: I don't know what started this brawl, or how it ended, but the Mr. Choke-Hold-Old-Guy better watch himself, lest he end up like Don Zimmer (see below).

7. A-Rod v. Jason Varitek, 2004

Cause: Bronson Arroyo plunked A-Rod, Varitek got in the middle.

Points: 75
+50 to Varitek for trying to beat up A-Rod.
+50 to A-Rod for trying to beat up Varitek.
-25 Points to Varitek for jush smooshing A-Rods face instead of actually punching him.

Commentary: Varitek: "I told him, in choice words, to get to first base." How diplomatic of you, Jason.

6. Clemens v. Piazza's Broken Bat, 2000

Cause: Piazza broke his bat.

Points: 100
+100 to Piazza for breaking his bat in Roger's general direction.
+50 to Clemens for roid-rage overreacting
-50 to Clemens for throwing the bat at Piazza from the set position instead of the wind-up.

Commentary: Instead of misdirecting his anger, Clemens should have snapped the broken bat barrel over his knee a-la Carlos Zambrano. 'Roids make you do some crazy stuff.

5. Coco Crsip v. James Shields, yesterday

Cause: Shields plunked Coco in the leg.

Points: 120
+100 points to Shields for the wicked looking haymaker.
-80 points for missing.
+50 points to Coco for the Matrix-esque footwork.
+50 points to Coco for having a breakfast cereal named after him.

Commentary: If they continue whiffing on punches like those, the Rays will always be just a second place team.

4. Derek Lee v. Chris Young, 2007

Cause: Young threw at Lee's head. Boo.

Points: 160
+150 points to Lee for picking a fight with the only guy in MLB taller than himself.
+100 points to Young for the huge right hook.
-80 points for missing.
-10 points to Lee for scrunching up his face. He looks like Varitek just smooshed him with his glove.

Commentary: Shame on Chris Young for throwing at Lee's head. But had he not, we would never have this awesome picture. Karma: Young taking a liner to the nose from Pujols last month?

3. Barrett v. Pierzynski, 2006

Cause: After a hard slide into home, Pierzynski emphatically slapped the plate.

Points: 180
+50 points to the photographer for capturing this awesome moment.
+150 points to Barrett and Pierzynski for fighting with each other. Both deserve an ass-whoopin'.
-10 points for the mooky look on AJ's face.
-10 points to Sweet Lou Piniella for not being involved.

Commentary: Let's hope the Cubs make the postseason so we can all witness fights like this (and No. 4) on national television.

2. Pedro Martinez v. Don Zimmer, 2003

Cause: Roger Clemens threw at Manny Ramirez which cleared the benches.

Points: 200
+100 points to Pedro for taking out a seventy-year-old man.
+50 points to Zim for good form on the face-plant.
+50 points to both for fighting in the postseason.

Commentary: Where does Zimmer get off picking a fight with someone 1/3 his age? The whole fracas sent him to the hospital. Wonder if the thinks it was worth it.

1. Nolan Ryan v. Robin Ventura, 1993

Cause: Ryan plunked Ventura with a 93MPH fastball.

Points: 275
+200 points to Ryan for the headlock.
+50 points to Ventura for picking a fight with Nolan Ryan.
-25 points for losing.
+50 points to Ryan for being able to sign these pictures for the rest of his life.

Commentary: Don't mess with Texas.

I guess after looking over the list, there are a few baseball players who can fight, but most just throw punches and look foolish. Of all the great baseball fights out there those are only the ones that come to mind right now. Add your favorite if you feel like it. Just don't mess with Texas.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Name Dropping....

1. Big Welcome to J2T to the TST family, our standards are high here in what we consider the Triple A of Sports blogging. I know it was a long road but you finally made it....

2. Part of the requirements for being part of the TST family is that I get to call you 4-5 times a week and talk about how great I am and how much of an A-hole you are. Ask Captain Awesome for the details.

3. What's up with FJM? This whole open letter business? Its not their style, stop it.

4. Big Brown has one job this weekend and this is: to not be euthanized on the track. If this should happen Horse Racing will be in trouble with Congress for awhile. There will be a national outcry and special news stories from CNN. Sure, people will be disappointed if you lose and don't complete the triple crown but in reality your only job is: don't get a lethal injection.

5. MLB , Roger Clemens and the New England Patriots are wishing and hoping that Big Brown is put down on the track this weekend taking the Congressional spotlight off of them for the next year.

6. I met Brian Mckenna from 590 the Fan and his wife this past weekend. He was suprisingly cool. I think we are best friends now. I'll add him to my list of major/minor/local/business celebrities that I have met or conversed with. Here is the list:

1. Rickey Henderon--In a hotel elevator. He was holding his daughter and he was with his wife and he told me not to bug him. JDCTCB and I did not say anything to him before he said this and we were standing behind him. Sort of funny.

2. Storm Davis-In a hotel elevator. Here is how the conversation went:
Runningman: Hey Storm Davis, can I have your autograph?
Storm Davis: I don't do that, I don't have the time.
Runningman: OK
Runningman: We are the only ones in the elevator and its 9 in the morning?
Storm Davis: I don't want to.
Runningman's friend JDCTCB: A-Hole

3. Mike Greenwell--Had long conversation with him. He was pretty cool. Talked about how he liked talking to people and how he slept till 10 am everyday among other things.

4. Dave Parker--Long convo. He talked about the HOF. Actually called back after he had to go for awhile.

5. Paul Molitor--At Ballpark and on phone. Long convo.

6. Tony Pena--Hotel Lounge. Claimed he didn't speak English. This was about 18 years ago so it might have been true.

7. CJ Nitkowski--We talked about his arbitration process and arbitration in general. He really hated the process. Also, I told him that JD Drew wimped out here and he disagreed and said he was cool and awesome. Also, he said he was surprised the Cards fans booed. I was surprised someone heard them boo.

8. Tony Beason--KY3 news anchor

9. Woody Paige--ESPN commentator and news columnist

10. Tim McKernan--The Morning After host on 1380 and founder. Former host of the Morning Grind on 590.

11. Jim "The Cat" Hayes--I yelled the "The Cat" while he was talking to Mark Lamping and he pointed at me and said "Thanks"

12. Mark Lamping--At the ballpark, rainy and dreary day and nobody around and it was about 1 hour before the first pitch right behind the Cards Dugout. Lamping was introducing "The Cat" to a group of rich people and Lamping said "Have you ever met Jim Hayes, he's like a celebrity here. Surprised no one is yelling his name or he isn't being swarmed, he's really popular". Refer to #11 to see what happened next.

13. CJ Wilson--Closer for the Rangers

14. Markus Heinsohn--Developer and Founder of OOTP baseball series

15. Dave Stewart--Former A's Pitcher

16. Jeff Small--Reporter--Race for the Cure

17. John Pertzborn--2 Fox Morning Anchor--Email

18. The CEO where Captain Awesome works.

19. Mike Gallego-Former A's Player

20. Walt Weiss--Former A's Player

21. Mike Wehner--Center for the Miami Hurricanes-Played Highschool football with him.

22. Zach Kelm--Manager for Skillet and other bands in Nashville--One of my very good friends in highschool.

23. Dennis Eckersly--HOF Pitcher, Cards, Red Sox, A's.

24. So, pretty much everyone from the 1989-1991 A's and Red Sox 25 man roster. Several times, JDCTCB and I went to a weekend series with them and Royals and we stayed at the same hotel. We made it a point to talk to all of them at least briefly. I pointed out those that went beyond "Hello". There are probably several other players from the Cards that I've talked with but can't recall right now. Typically, I don't ask for an autograph. The first one I ever did was Paul Molitor and the 2nd was Storm Davis. After Davis I felt like a complete tool for asking so I never did after that, plus I think autographs are cool but I'm more into talking about the process of the game, preperation, what the hell do you talk about in the bullpen, offseason activities, things like that.

25. Evan Crocker--KFNS GM

26. And now...Brian McKenna--Host of Mayhem in the AM on 590 the Fan.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Everything Changes

Firstly, I would like to thank the Academy for my call up to the bigs. I've always dreamed of a day when my days of slaving away in the "Minor Leagues" of the Comment section would pay off. Looks like that day is here.

Now, on to the main dish: Instant Replay.

I thought on the eve of baseball implementing instant replay in its minor league and spring training games, it would be useful to take a look at the way baseball has changed over the years. It's easy for many of us to look at the game we love and think that there has always been divisional play, a seven-game LCS, and a designated hitter. Any change seems detrimental, and we're always quick to imply that baseball is, unlike other sports, immune to change, or already perfect just the way it is.

Before we get to the instant replay issue, consider some of the more notable baseball rule changes that have occurred over the past couple of centuries. Here are a few of my favorites:

1845 - There are no restrictions on bat size or shape. [1.10]

1848 - A rule is introduced requiring that a baseman must hold the ball in order to put out a runner. (Before this the base runner was out if the ball hit him.) [7.08]

1863 - The pitcher is not permitted to take even a step in his delivery. Both feet must be on the ground when he releases the ball. [8.01]

1877 - To choose an umpire the league selects "three gentlemen of repute" in each city where there is a team. At least three hours before a game the visiting team chooses the umpire from among them. [9.01]

1879 - There are nine balls in a walk. [6.08A]

1893 - The pitcher’s box disappears (never to be seen again) and is replaced by the rubber–a slab twelve inches long and four inches wide. [1.07]

And some more recent additions or changes:

1969 - The category of Saves is added to baseball statistics. [10.20]

1973 - The year of the DH. The American League votes to accept the designated hitter rule on a three-year experimental basis. The National League votes against it. [6.10]

You can find a complete list of the rule changes here.

The point I'm trying to make here is that the game is always changing. Some of the rules are for the better, some don't work out so well.

Instant replay, used judiciously, can serve to get the important calls right, 100% of the time. I'm not talking about balls and strikes, but rather, home run or not, fair or foul.

And what is a change to the game other than change to the game? We're not solving world hunger here, people. And seriously, it's baseball, how much slower can the game get?

For a little more perspective on the issue, see this editorial by Brian Burwell over at the Post. He pretty handily tackles the fear of slowing the game down.

The only conceivable downside to implementing instant replay, is that one day our kids will never experience the sheer joy of watching Sweet Lou Piniella freak out over some minor blown call. And then charming little commercials like this will have lost all meaning. What a shame that will be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Jimmy Ballgame Odyssey Vol. II

I am going to throw out this touchy subject again. Johnny 2-Turds loves it when I talk about Mr. Edmonds. I am at odds with baseball announcers when they talk about Edmonds’ stellar defense in CF. OK, OK, CF is a hard position to play. There’s no position in baseball where you have to be able to cover more ground. Jim Edmonds is a pretty good centerfielder considering he is like 110 in baseball years. He does make some pretty spectacular catches in the field, although I am not going to go so far as to say he is a great fielder. Edmonds makes those spectacular catches out of necessity. What do I mean by that? Edmonds gets such a bad jump on the ball that a routine catch can turn into a running catch, a running catch turns into a diving catch, and a diving catch turns into a “how the hell did that find his glove” catch. Jimmy Hollywood makes centerfield a little tougher than it needs to be. Having said that, he’s a solid centerfielder. I’m not sure that his lack of hitting makes his defense worth it. However, the Cubs have a good enough team to carry him during his slumps, but the question is: Will they want to all season?