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August 30, 2012

Giants Plan Bruce Lee Tribute Night

There are some baseball giveaways that tie-in incredibly well with the team that takes the field.  Conversely, there are some baseball giveaways out there that make no sense whatsoever.

The San Francisco Giants marketing team has found a way to blend both ideas seamlessly...and the output is consistently superb.

Over the past couple of seasons, they've managed to capitalize on Brian Wilson's immense popularity and both encase him in carbonite and turn him into a garden gnome.  On September 4, they are planning on immortalizing another Bay Area icon...San Francisco-born Bruce Lee.

Yes, THAT Bruce Lee.

When the Giants take the field Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks they'll be celebrating the "Year of the Dragon" by paying tribute to the original dragon.  Great seats are, more than likely, still available.

Now please, please, please watch the video below.  Wow.

Charlie Sheen Talks Future Cy Young Winners

Alright.  Confession time.  When guys I like talk baseball...I listen. 

So when Jay Mohr, one of my all-time favorites, sat down with Charlie Sheen for his latest installment of "Mohr Stories", I was instantly riveted.  Sure, I knew there would be crazy talk about Sheen and his antics over the last 18 months, but I also knew they'd talk baseball. 

Because, well, both dudes are huge baseball fans.

But what I wasn't prepared for was who the now kinder, gentler Sheen predicts as future Cy Young Award winners.

Sure, the star of "Major League" could've gone with the obvious choices (Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander or Stephen Strasburg), but, he went with a pair of interesting choices instead.

First was Miami Marlins righty Josh Johnson who, while struggling this season, Sheen calls the "most underrated and quietest Cy Young threat in baseball.  Period.  The end."

The other one, however, was a head scratcher.

"Another guy who is going to win a Cy Young is the kid from Cincy...Homer Bailey," the Cincinnati Reds fan declared.  "Watch."

"I like Homer Bailey," Mohr added, "but I don't think you can win a Cy Young in that park.  Too many longballs."

Johnson I get...dude, when healthy, can be a beast.  But Bailey?  I think I've gotta agree with Mohr on that one.

What do you think?  Is Sheen spot on or is he as crazy as he once wanted you to believe?

Put your name on it!

Mohr Stories

August 29, 2012

Omar Vizquel Wants to Manage

Is it possible that the grizzled, older managers of our youth have fallen by the wayside and been replaced by scrappy, younger skippers?

Well, if the recent successes of Kirk Gibson, Robin Ventura and Don Mattingly are any indication...the answer might be "yes". 

That in mind, is it surprising to anyone that eleven-time Gold Glover Omar Vizquel has his sights set on managing one day?  And is it surprising that the Toronto Blue Jays infielder made his desire to be a big league skipper known via Twitter?

Probably not.

The 24-year veteran was doing what he does often, answering fans via the opular social media website when someone asked, can read the exchange below.

The 45-year-old Vizquel has been pretty much been hanging on as a mentor so none of this is all that shocking.  More shocking will be the number of teams that end up passing on the opportunity to have this future Hall of Famer (yes, I said it) take the helm of their clubhouse.

Ugandan Little Leaguers Hit The Big Apple

The Ugandan National Little League team has been on quite a roll as of late.

Not only did they become the first African team to advance to a Little League World Series (they finished their inaugural visit Thursday with a win in a consolation game), but now...they're making their way to Major League ballparks.

Tuesday night, they were in Philadelphia to catch a Phillies game.  But cooler than getting a chance to dance with the Phillie Phanatic...they got to meet Jimmy Rollins.

Rollins, you could say, is partly responsible for the youngsters even getting the chance to play baseball. 

You see, the All-Star shortstop went to Uganda in January and left as the team's unofficial sponsor.  Dude has been sending the kids money for equipment and their education ever since.

"Jimmy Rollins is a great man to us, as a brother, as a father, as a caretaker," Ugandan coach Odong Henry said. "When he's with us, he's really down to earth. He's not like a superstar. He talks to us freely. He plays with us. When he comes to our country, he doesn't care where he sits. He eats with us."

And on Wednesday, the team made their way to the Big Apple where they were able to catch a matinee at Yankee Stadium.

"It’s a wonderful story. It takes everyone back to your Little League days," New York skipper Joe Giradi said. "To watch what these kids accomplished, talking to their coaches...none of them had ever even seen an airplane before or ever traveled before. For them to accomplish what they have is truly amazing."

Oh, and almost as cool as meeting big leaguers and mascots, they even got to hang out with friend of The Hall "Bald Vinny" Milano.

Not too shabby, boys.

Surf's Up, Chipper!

I mentioned it before and I'm going to say to it again...when I heard that Chipper Jones was retiring, I was worried that he'd be subjected to the hackneyed "farewell tour" gifts every time he came to town.

And, well, thanks to the San Diego Padres...I was justified.

Earlier this week, former Padres great, closer Trevor Hoffman, presented Jones with his very own, what appears to be, Teen Choice Award.  Sure, the retiring Atlanta Braves great probably doesn't surf, but still...a surfboard?  Yuck.

You can check out a breakdown of some of the other gifts Jones received over at Big League Stew.

Naturally, I had to check in with "The Girl with the Chipper Tattoo" to see what her favorite was and what she would do to honor her hero.

I'm with Megan...I don't know what I would give him either.  Rumor has it, however, that the Boston Red Sox were offering up John Lackey, Mike Aviles and $10 million had the eight-time All-Star made his way to Fenway one last time. 



August 15, 2012

Six "Sickest of the Sick" Aroldis Chapman Stats

Once in a great while, a baseball player hits the scene that, when he's clicking on all cylinders, is virtually unstoppable.  Or in the case of Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman...virtually unhittable.
It's probably an understatement to say it, but the Cuban Missle's overall numbers are sick. 
Consider this, dude has a 1.26 ERA, a 0.65 WHIP and a staggering 106 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched.  Opponents are hitting just .127 against him!
Here's Mike Garrigan with the Six "Sickest of the Sick" Aroldis Chapman stats this reverse order.

6.  Since the All-Star Break...
In Chapman's 17.2 innings pitched since the All-Star Break, his ERA is 0.00.  He's allowed just ten baserunners and has struck out 35 of the batters he has faced.

5.  The Best Hitters Have the Worst Numbers Against Him
Number three hitters this year are batting .100 against Chapman with 14 strikeouts in 20 at bats.  Number five hitters are hitting .074 against him with 13 Ks in 27 at bats.  And number six hitters are struggling even worse...batting just .037 with 16 punchouts in 27 at bats.

4.  Perfect Outside June
In the month of June, Chapman was 0-4 with a 6.97 ERA...eight earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched.  In every other month the lefty is 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA.  He has 86 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched and has allowed just 26 baserunners.

3.  With Two Outs and Runners in Scoring Position...
Hitters are 0-23 against Chapman with no RBI and 16 strikeouts.  And to think...some people say there's no such thing as "clutch".

2.  "Oh" Outside of Ohio
Of the eight earned runs Chapman has allowed, six have come at home at Great American Ballpark and just two have come on the him a 0.57 road ERA for the season.  However, both of those road earned runs came against Cleveland. Meaning...dude has yet to give up an earned run outside the state of Ohio.

1.  Intraleague Dominance
Seven of the eight earned runs that Chapman has given up have come during 5.1 innings of interleague play.  That means, he's allowed just ONE earned run against his own league in 51.2 innings pitched!  This amounts to a 0.17 ERA against the National League.  So what can Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Michael McKenry claim that no one else can?  He is the only player in the ENTIRE National League that has an RBI off the Cuban Missle thanks to a tenth inning double on June 7 that  scored Clint Barmes.

How can you not give this guy the Cy Young award?  Not only is he the best in the National League, he's this close to being PERFECT against them. And he's doing it for a first place team.
Just food for thought.

August 12, 2012

Now, You Too, Can Live Like A-Rod!

Before you add "dude has an elevator in his house" to the list of reasons you dislike Alex Rodriguez...the New York Yankees superstar wants you to be able to have one as well.


Yeah, according to the Thirty Mile Zone, the three-time MVP has put his Miami mansion on the block...for a staggering $38 million price tag.

A-Rod bought the super modern crib back in 2010 -- while it was still under construction -- for a reported $24 mil. But now he's looking to sell off the 20,000-square-foot pad and make a cool profit at the same time.

The 9-bedroom, 11-bath beachfront estate is freaking AMAZING if you've got the cash. It offers 275 ft. of water frontage, a home theater, a heated pool, gym, rooftop deck, an elevator AND a 3,000 square-foot sports room complete with a batting cage.

Wait, hold on...ONLY eleven bathrooms?  And since you're all thinking, no word on whether or not the mythic centaur painting is included.

***Click here for a full assortment of pictures of A-Rod's pad.***

August 10, 2012

Tommy John Talks Stephen Strasburg

Hey Washington Nationals fans, your team is in first place in the National League East with the best record in baseball...why the long faces?

Oh, that's right, manager Davey Johnson and team brass aren't budging and still plan to shut down your ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg once he hits 180 innings pitched.

Yeah.  That's a tough one.

For the uninformed, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said, before the season, that the 24-year-old phenom would be placed on an innings limit...playoffs or not.

Why?  Because dude is still rehabbing from his 2010 Tommy John surgery. 

And while there are plenty of skeptics out there, no one could be more puzzled that the 2012 Hall of Very Good inductee himself.

"They have a lot of money invested in him and are erring in the side of caution.  Is it right?  I personally don’t think so," Tommy John told The Hall of Very Good exclusively.  "After I had (Tommy John surgery), the only way we knew to get my arm stronger was to throw.  So I threw every day.  And the more I threw…the better my arm felt.  I never missed a start in the thirteen years after arm surgery because of my arm being sore or stiff because I threw off a mound to a catcher every single day."

The 23-year-old Strasburg is 12-5 with 160 strikeouts through 127 innings...but all that might be moot if he won't be available for the postseason.

"It’ll be hard to tell the other 24 guys on the ballclub, ‘you busted your ass and we’re not going to pitch our best pitcher the last month of the season’," John continued.  "If I was Strasburg, I’d be lobbying to pitch.  What you play for all season is to pitch in the postseason."

Mike Lieberthal Selected to Wall of Fame

Friday, former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal was enshrined on the team's Wall of Fame.  He became the third catcher (Bob Boone and Darren Daulton are the others) among the 34 inductees.

"What a tremendous honor it is to be added to the Wall of Fame along with some of the greatest players in Phillies history," the career .274 hitter said back in June.

Which brings me to this...dude's Wikipedia page.

I'm not going to lie, this kind of stuff makes me laugh.  And if/when it does...I'm passing it along to you.

***Props to @soundofphilly for the screen grab.***

August 9, 2012

Wanted: Scrappy Baseball Players

Not long after the St. Louis Cardinals sent Tyler Greene to the Houston Astros, this ad popped up on Craigslist.

The St. Louis Cardinals are currently looking for a man to fill their 25th roster spot.

Some baseball abilities are required, including pinch-running, sliding headfirst, getting your uniform dirty and pandering the local fan base with boilerplate cliches such as "these are the best fans in baseball" and "this is where everyone wants to play". Failure to comply with the aforementioned requirements may lead to immediate termination.

Applicants must be willing to get spot-starts on Sundays after the Cardinals have won the first two of a series and/or pitch a mop-up inning during games where the opposing team is winning by more than 10-runs. mention of the applicant being "scrappy"?  The ghost of David Eckstein does not approve.

***Tip o' the cap to @JoeSportsFan for the Craigslist link.***

Cleveland Releases Johnny Damon

Five days ago, the Cleveland Indians designated Johnny Damon for assignment.  Thursday, the 38-year-old outfielder was released.

What say you, Twittersphere!

Sweet ass or not, Damon had been struggling this year for the Tribe, hitting just .222 in 64 games. He did manage, however, to inch closer to the 3000 hit plateau.

Dude leaves Cleveland with 2769 base knocks on his resume.

Catcher Gets First Career Steal...Keeps Base

Step aside, Michael Bourn, the Atlanta Braves have a new threat on the basepaths.

David Ross.

After more than ten seasons in the bigs and 636 career games, the backup catcher swiped his first base Wednesday night as the Braves upended the Philadelphia Phillies 12-6.

But here's the best part about 35-year-old's inaugural theft...dude was actually able to go all Rickey Henderson get the base from the Phillies grounds crew following the game.

“I’m going to have it in my house so everybody knows I at least got one,” Ross said. “I’m pretty proud of it. I got a good jump, that’s for sure. I better get a good jump if I’m going to steal a base.”

And in case you were wondering (you weren't), Ross's career best was back in 1999, when the then-22-year-old swiped five bases for the Vero Beach Dodgers.

***Click the picture above to see the spectacular highlights!***

August 7, 2012

John Rocker is at it Again...Again

Jeff Pearlman, one of my favorite scribes, got it right Tuesday afternoon when he succinctly stated "John Rocker really was misunderstood...he's even worse than we thought."

Pearlman, you might remember, was the Sports Illustrated writer who, in 1999, exposed the former pitcher as a world class bigot.

Most recently, the one-time Atlanta Brave wrote book, made questionable political choices, expressed his disdain for President Obama and, on Tuesday, penned an editorial that was picked up online by the white nationalist American Third Position Party.

Here's some of fun from Rocker's piece entitled "Time to Wake Up, America!"

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it! This country was not founded and did not rise to become the greatest nation this world has ever known on the back of liberal principles, yet these ideals are forced down our throats daily while conservative ones are exploited as somehow rudimentary and fundamentally archaic.


For the full enchilada...head on over to A3P's website.  Have fun.

Frank Viola's Daughter Set to Compete

If you're like me, the fact that 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola has a daughter competing in the Olympics makes you feel old.

But, he does.  And I do.

Brittany Viola, daughter of the three-time All-Star, will be making her Olympic debut later this week when she goes for the gold in the women's 10-meter platform diving competition.

Naturally, pops will be there as well.

I caught up with @FrankViola3, er, Frank Viola III to see what he and his family thought of their favorite Olympian.

"I've honestly never been so overwhelmed with emotion. I'm so proud/nervous/excited it's hard to put the feelings into words," Frank III said.  "I think a lot of the feeling for all of us is, it's about time because she has worked so hard for so long and overcome so much adversity. Just being a part of watching her through thick and thin, for her to turn into this amazing woman is the most gratifying part for all of us.  Dad and I are just excited to see her happy and fulfilling her dreams!"

So what's next for the 25-year-old when she wraps up her Olympic endeavors?

"There's no doubt she will turn this into a platform where she can touch people all over the world for the better," the proud brother added.  "She's the hardest working, most diligent and caring person in the world. I wish I could have half of her drive, passion and focus."

I'm pretty sure we all do.

August 6, 2012

Coco Crisp Gets Creamed By Spiderman

When it comes to pies in the face...I'm not a big fan.

When it comes to Oakland A's outfielder Josh Reddick dressing up as Spiderman and delivering not one, but TWO pies in the face?  Count.  Me.  In.

I mean, what else would you expect from the guy who proudly displays this hardware?

Dana White: Shaq "Doesn't Want" Canseco

Plenty of stuff has transpired since Shaquille O'Neal first hit the Twittersphere and tweeted his desire to fight Jose Canseco.

For O'Neal, an entire NBA season came and went which made the basketball legend (and current studio analyst) incredibly busy. 

But not all that shocking, Canseco has had his hands full as well.  Since he was first challenged by the 7'1" bohemoth, the former American League MVP has quit two baseball teams, joined a third and, recently, filed for bankruptcy protection.

Which makes me wonder...could this fight be a way for the embattled slugger to get out of debt?

One guy that might have an inside scoop on whether or not the two heavyweights might don the gloves and enter the ring is Dana White.  As you might recall, both O'Neal and Canseco, while tweeting back and forth this past fall, included the UFC President in their war of words.

"I have a buddy in Boston trying to make (the fight) happen," White told The Hall exclusively.  "Listen, I'm friends with Shaq and he doesn't want that.  Can you imagine if he got clipped by Jose Canseco?  (Laughs)."

No...I can't.  But I'd watch.