Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Saturday, July 09, 2005



Randy Hill of has some very funny and interesting things to say about his all-disappointment team this year. It's so funny, I will minimize my commentary...

Let's begin with the marketing chant for what could become my mid-summer baseball classic: "This time, we count." And we're counting backward in preparation for this event, making certain that every player truly gets what he deserves.

The official title of my event is the Major League Baseball Fall-Star Game, and it pits the most disappointing players from the National League against their American League playmates.

To qualify, each player has to have had at least a whiff of stardom before going bad with even more speed and ferocity than Paris Hilton.

The key numbers have been provided by Stats, Ick.

The first ball will be tossed out by John Kerry, who is expected to refer to his signature pitch as "the splinter."

We also are considering peripheral Fall-Star festivities, such as the Grounding-Into-A-Double-Play Derby.

Anyway, before their numbers can get worse, let's take a look at the field-position starters and two pitchers for both teams:

National League

First Base: Jim Thome (Philadelphia Phillies)
The injury-delayed Thome, who hit .274 with 42 homers and 105 RBIs last season, checks in at .207/7/30 in 2005. For the record, Jim slugged 47 homers in 2003 and 52 the year before.

It should be noted that underachieving in Philly is as dangerous as playing poker on your wife's birthday.

Shortstop: Jack Wilson (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Jack's 2004 numbers (.308/11/59) included the first 200-hit season for a Pirate since Dave Parker in 1977. Jack also became only the ninth NL shortstop to bang out 200 or more hits in a season.

But what do you get when you combine Wilson's 2005 numbers (.219/4/16) with the memory of Honus Wagner?

You get Jack Wagner.

Can someone parse this for me? Honestly. I don't understand the joke.

Outfield: Carlos Beltran (New York Mets)
After swatting 38 home runs and knocking in 104 runs last year, bat-for-hire Beltran is giving the Mets .266/9/41 this season.

Perhaps these mediocre (based on remuneration) numbers should cause Scott Boras clients to require a shining bonus.

Again...a "shining bonus?" Am I missing something?

Catcher: Mike Piazza (New York Mets)
Piazza, perhaps the greatest hitting catcher ever, has a career average of .313. That's 56 points higher than his 2005 average.

An admitted heterosexual, Mike now seems capable of only hitting straight pitches.

That's...I don't...what?

Starting pitcher: Jason Schmidt (San Francisco Giants)
Dig the earned run averages in 2004 (3.20) and 2003 (2.34). Now compare them to the 5.11 Jason is flipping this year.

It seems that this guy is absolutely wrecking his trade value.

Is that a joke?

Relief pitcher: Dan Kolb (Atlanta Braves)
Dan has checked in with several blown saves and an earned-run average of 5.63. Kolb was 39 for 44 last year in Milwaukee, where his ERA was a lovely 2.98.

His inability to close has pitching coach Leo Mazzone rocking sideways in the Braves dugout.


American League

First Base: Jason Giambi (New York Yankees)
A recent hitting salvo has hiked Jason's numbers to .268/8/27. Most of us recall that — during his days of alleged supplementation — Giambi whacked 41 homers in 2002 and 2003.

Watching the sleeker Jason attempt his comeback seems as peculiar as King Kong attempting to become a finesse-oriented monster.


Second Base: Bret Boone (Sort of unemployed)
The Seattle Mariners played the designated-for-assignment card on Boone, who had recent seasons of 107 and 117 RBIs.

In the good, ol' days, Boone used to flip his bat immediately after launching a pitch. These days, he just flips off the bat.

Third Base: Adrian Beltre (Seattle Mariners)
Beltre, who challenged for the NL MVP with 2004 numbers of .334/48/121, is hitting 70 points lower in Seattle. He also is on pace for about 15 home runs and maybe 78 RBIs.

To the good, his first half had the rare capacity to make the L.A. Dodgers personnel guys look really smart.

Shortstop: Angel Berroa (Kansas City Royals)
The 2003 AL Rookie of the Year has fallen on hard times. Angel hit .287 with 17 home runs as a rookie, but has managed just .238 with 18 RBIs in 2005.

Take the O out of Berroa and you have Berra, who might tell us that Angel's days as a potential star were over when they were over.

Oh my God.

Outfield: Sammy Sosa (Baltimore Orioles)
Sammy hit 40 home runs in '03 and 49 in '02 — both seasons were considered down years relative to the years that preceded them.

This season, Sosa has provided Baltimore with 9 home runs and 26 RBIs inside a batting average of .229.

Eventually, moving to sixth in the batting order will be a step up for Sammy.


Outfield: Steve Finley (Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim)
Finley hit 271 with 36 home runs and 94 RBIs in 2004. This season, he's on pace to be heckled by the Rally Monkey (.225/8/39).

Let's hope Steve gets to know AL pitching like it apparently knows him.

Catcher: Jason Kendall (Oakland A's)
Kendall is hitting 36 points lower than his career average (.302) and hasn't hit one stinking home run.

If this production continues, the A's may no longer be a Triple-A farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The A's got the better of that deal. Inarguably. Look at the stats, look at the salaries, look at the-- what am I thinking? Like this guy has any idea what he's talking about.

Relief pitcher: Keith Foulke (Boston Red Sox)
Despite an ERA of 6.23 (down from 2.17 in 2004 and 2.08 in 2003), the Queer Eye team still may visit for a 2006 spring training production referred to as Queer As Foulke.

Please note that the close doesn't always have to make the man.



posted by Anonymous  # 2:12 PM
Wasn't Jack Wagner the actor on Melrose Place? I don't know why he thinks its funny, but there you have it.
John Kerry's signature pitch is the splinter? You got me.
Brett Boone 'flips off the bat' What the hell does that mean?
the piazza joke is referring to an incident in which a new york tabloid society section (I think it was Page 6) stated something along the lines of "there is a famous player on the mets who is always seen with hot girls but is really gay." In response Piazza had a press conference with the singular purpose of declaring that he was straight.
The Kolb/Mazzone joke refers to the habit that Mazzone has of rocking up and down while sitting on the bench in the dugout. Just to provide a mental image it is very similar to the Jewish practice of dovening.

I think Ken understands all those things. He just doesn't understand why they are jokes. Neither do I.

Why would Kolb's messing up make Mazzone rock sideways. What does that even mean?
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