Archive for » April, 2011 «

A Hawk Named Randy

I think I finally have the answer to the age old question: If you were reincarnated what would you like to return as?

My answer: The Cooper’s Hawk trapped inside Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park.

This Hawk had the best seats in the house during the Brewers win over the Astros on Sunday April 24th. He hung out in the outfield grass for almost an entire inning. Perched himself high in the rafters for a bird’s eye view of Rickie’s home run. And he terrorized fans for some Usinger sausages and even attempted to train Nyjer Morgan to slide. He even managed to open a twitter account in between innings and is quickly learning the language of tweeting.

But the hawk’s most important trait is his name. I believe he tried to tell the world that his name is Randy. No not like creepy Uncle Randy, but more like Randy Johnson. In the middle of an inning, Randy (the hawk) swooped out from the sky to do his best Randy Johnson impersonation and made pigeon feathers fly above second base. On a scale of 0 to 10 on Randy Johnson resemblance, I give it an 8. But I’ll let you be the judge. Check out the freeze frame of the hawk Randy (or watch the video footage of the hawk’s terror here) followed by the real Big Unit’s feat in a 2001 spring training game.

A close runner-up in naming the hawk was Dion after Dion James of the Braves who hit a dove with a fly ball to left field which should have been an out but was awarded a double. A distant third was Dave after Dave Winfield who struck a seagull with a warm-up throw, but his bird was not in flight like the other two men. Winfield was arrested for this incident and as of right now Randy the Hawk is still at large.

Category: Baseball History, Baseball Stories  Comments off  Tags: , , ,

Dream Homes By Jeff Suppan

An interesting article for those non “Do-It-Yourselfers” who are already sick of updating their Fantasy Baseball Rosters two weeks into the season (or for those DIY fellows who also agree with Fred Romero and “Don’t have time for this *fill in blank here*” and all of your projects have stalled because you are concentrating on baseball… aka people like me).

Speaking of Do-It-Yourself (so you like to Do-It-Yourself?) home renovations, according to a very reliable news source, my favorite ex-Brewer Jeff Suppan is currently picking up side work to make ends meet in Omaha. A year after making $12.5 million with the Brewers plus getting the 2011 Buy-Out option of $2 million AND receiving the pro-rated league minimum from the Cardinals (who mistakenly signed the bum), Suppan is now playing for the Kansas City Royals minor league affiliate after already being cut from the Giants in 2011. Both teams signed the “Soup-pan” to minor league deals so both still owe him money, but it still isn’t enough to cover his Los Angeles restaurant “Soup’s Grill” (which doesn’t even specialize in soup which is even a bigger disappointment to me than his Brewer career).

To help pay his wife’s plastic surgeon mortgage, Jeff Suppan has agreed to help out local Omaha residents with “small pitching projects around the house“. I would take “Soup” up on his offer in a heart beat. I would make him throw cutter after cutter into my five 20-foot pine trees in the back yard until all are in campfire proportions. Or if his cutter can cut ceramic and glass tile with the 1/16th inch precision, he can finish my bathroom remodeling projects. I just want to see him fail in person so he can actually hear my jeers (and I can finally stop having nightmares of the 2008 playoffs).

It’s still scary that somehow Suppan keeps getting closer and closer to my actual residence…

Double fist bump to my brother-in-law, Too High?, for keeping me informed on my most hated Brewer’s life struggles.

Category: Baseball News  Comments off  Tags: , , ,

Don’t Touch The Big Red Button

Could life get any better on this Sunday afternoon? It finally feels like summer in the northern Midwest (temps nearing 80F). Amazing storms are rolling through the plains (everyone keep safe). Tiger is crafting a masterful comeback on the last day of the Masters climbing the leader board with ease (Tiger showing the new young guns how to play golf). The Brew Crew are playing the Cubs and I get to listen to Uecker announce the game while the Masters are on in High Def. AND the AL East is collapsing (Are the Red Sox and Rays really 1 and 7).

The only thing that could make this any better is having the Yankees and Rays switch records.

Both the Rays and Red Sox opened the 2011 season 0-6, but both got off the schnide on Friday (I dare you to click that link). The Rays did it off the ChiSox by rallying from three down in the 9th inning to score five and win by two, while the Red Sox got their first victory from their AL East nemesis, the Yankees. Boston fans finally rejoiced and thought, just maybe, that the Red Sox were finally on their way to winning games.

The best part about the Red Sox horrific start: no it’s not the fact that they spent $172MM (this doesn’t include the Adrian Gonzalez contract extension which could push $150MM), the best part is watching the entire Red Sox nation squirm in their seats that their team is starting the 2011 season this poor. I’ve already discussed the life of a fan of a sub-0.500 sports team and listening to the panic of fans from one of the big three teams gives me warm fuzzy feelings.

The worst part about the Red Sox start: having to put up with all of the major sports media covering ‘the end of the world‘. Seriously, ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, and SI need to stop being so east coast biased (click that link, it’s ESPN even calling themselves out or this one where they are called out by others). The NL Central (Cubs get it all) and the AL/NL West (Giants get it all) want some love too. Just to put all the talk to rest, there has only been two teams in MLB history have started 0-6 and made the playoffs (the ’74 Pirates and the ’95 Reds), so history says there is still a chance for the Red Sox. Plus the season is 162 games for a reason and we are through only seven. When the season hits the end of May, then everyone can start making a big deal about poor starts. No valid conclusions can be drawn from a sample size of 7 out of 162 (this also applies to Pick Me Out A Winner, Bobby and Warning Track Power in the Home Run Derby). So I beg of you major sports media… please stop covering the coasties’ sports teams and start spreading the coverage with the Royals blistering start with one of the youngest aged teams in the Majors (I try my best on covering all divisions of the MLB but may be bias towards the Brewers and NL Central, so if you see an interesting bit of MLB news, don’t hesitate to drop me an email about it). Tune in for the Red Sox 1-8 start tonight on ESPN’s SUnday Night baseball against the Yankees.

On other side notes, Casey McGehee (the golden boy of a lot of the Wisconsin based HR Derby teams) has come off the bench and the schnide by hitting a game winning 8th inning two-run home run of the Cubs’ Kerry Wood to lead take the first Brewers/Cubs series of the season!!! Thome also came off the HR schnide for all you Twins fans but not enough to beat the Billy Beane’s A’s.

Manny Finished Being Manny

Manny Ramirez… when you hear that name do you think of a great baseball player or an on field entertainer?

The answer… it should be both.

Manny’s Hall-of-Fame career came to an abrupt end when the MLB requested Manny stop being Manny informed Manny he failed an illegal substance test and would face a 100-game minimum suspension. After an $18 million pay cut this off season, Manny has decided to call it quits rather than waiting until 2011 to continue his Hall-of-Fame statistics.

Manny finished in the top-15 for total Career Home Runs in the MLB and has the fourth highest Career Batting Average among the 500-HR club (only behind Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and Jamie Foxx… all elite players). Not to mention Manny is a 12-time All-Star and appeared in every All-Star game from 1998-2008.

Manny may be remembered as being part of the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series Champions where they game back from a 3-game deficit to the New York Yankees in the ALCS and then swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Or for leading the Dodgers back to the playoffs in 2008. BUT, what Manny may be remembered most for is “Manny being Manny” (ESPN reports 63% of poll voters agree).

I can remember watching a game where the Dodgers were down by four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and Manny blasted a solo home run to right center and stared it down like he just hit a walk-off. Or how about the time he decided to take a break in the Green Monster to chat on his cell-phone. Or the time he took a bathroom break in the middle of an inning and almost missed the start of the next inning. Or him taking a break in the off-season to play some Cricket. Or when he cut-off Johnny Damon’s throw in center field. But my favorite has to be his high five double play off the wall catch (see the video below).

Whatever you may remember Manny for, he was an elite player and deserves a place in the Hall-of-Fame. Rumors are that the now retired Manny plans to party with Ricky Williams, Michael Phelps, and Tim Lincecum followed by a late night trip through Taco Bell’s drive through… mmmm chili cheese burritos.

Category: Baseball News  Comments off  Tags: , , ,

Selig Chicks Do Dig The Long Ball

It’s only 7 days into the season and there is already a controversy and this time it doesn’t involve an umpire. It takes a true baseball fan to enjoy a pitchers’ duel of 1-0 where the only run came on a solo home run by the pitcher suicide squeeze. What most fans want to see… The Long Ball.

What is the new conspiracy? Due to a down economy, the MLB has changed the hardness of baseballs to aid in easier to hit home runs (according to a bullpen catcher). You can find an entire story here on yahoo or here on NBC, both stating the same ‘facts’ myths. MLB did officially report that the consistency of baseballs has not changed. And I think some of our Home Run Derby owners can agree that the baseballs aren’t flying out at an unusual rate (Congrats to Pick Me Out A Winner Bobby who was the last team to record a homer, and no FRANtastic Five you may not choose an entirely new team).

To my amazement, the first fingers to point are not pointed at ‘The Clear’ aka Roids. Can we actually say that we have moved on past the steroids era? Rickie Weeks seems to have put on some extra muscle and Howie Kendrick already has a third of his typical season home run total. I’m not pointing fingers, but its only a matter of time before someone important does.

Or what about the bats? This isn’t the first time… or the second time… or the third time equipment has been modified to aid the player wielding it. Maybe the bat makers union has decided they are fed up with the Phillies Fab Four and took matters into their own hands. Or batters are sick of hearing that 2011 is the year of the pitcher.

Or maybe the MLB is just one big script and every season is predetermined from start to finish. We have already covered Strasburg’s Major League debut was scripted. I will seriously question this season if the BoSox come back from 0-6 to win the 2011 World Series in a sweep. I may stop watching baseball… may.

Category: Baseball News  Comments off  Tags: , , ,

Generation HR – Year of the Pitcher is Over


(If you haven’t seen the awful original version of this song, follow the link to Rebecca Black’s Official video)

Generation Z may come after Generation Y, but in baseball, last season was Generation P and this year it seems we may have transitioned into the start of Generation HR.

Twelve teams played on Thursday and the rest of them kicked off there season on Friday, part II of the 2011 MLB Opening Day(s). After only seeing two days of baseball, the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby may be entertaining overload this year as the Majors are on pace to launch 5860 total home runs (only 4612 were hit last season) during the regular season (already 17 home runs in 41 games). I’m a bit late in posting an Opening Day recap but its a celebration weekend (birthday) and we spent a few hours out last night laughing hysterically to a hilarious Josh Blue.

In part I of the 2011 MLB opener, there were SIX games played and there were SIXTEEN long balls. Six of them alone were in the Brewer/Reds season opener which included a Reds 3-run walk-off home run by Ramon Hernandez (#@&^$%!!) and the Brewers led off the day with Back-to-Back dingers by Weeks and Gomez. This was the first time teammates led off a season with Back-to-Backs in 42 years. Other notable home runs on Thursday belonged to Matt Holliday, who hit a solo home run in the 8th to put the Red Birds ahead (only to have Franklin blow the save) then found out he had to have an appendectomy which will sideline him indefinitely, and Jason Heyward, who is now two-for-two on hitting a home run in his first bat of the season and also jacked the first homer of 2011 (which all voters were incorrect on).

It’s Friday, Friday, Gotta get down on Friday. Everybody lookin’ forward to the Weekend…
Part II of Opening Day started with Doc Halladay leaving the game without the lead (only giving up one run), but Philly rallied in the Bottom of the 9th to a Rookie’s walk-off single. Then came the White Sox game. The ChiSox came out doing what they do best… swinging the bat. They opened a 14-0 lead on the Indians only to squandering it and pulling off a 15-10 victory, but not before Adam Dunn became the first player in Group A to hit a home run in 2011. Texas also did what they did best (hitting home runs) and upset Boston’s first game of what is supposed to be ‘The Season’ after their big acquisitions in the off-season. Another power team, the Blue Jays, took to the air with Jose Bautista picking up where he left off. Maybe those 54 homers last year wasn’t a fluke. However, Jose Bats was outdone by one of his own, Rookie JP Arencibia. He jacked 2 long ones to take the official HR lead for 2011 and is on pace for 322 more (no one took him in the HR Derby unfortunately). Two other rookies made a grand entrance on Friday (although for both it was their second game of the year). Brandon Belt of the Giants hit a 3-run home run in their 4-3 loss to the Dodgers and Kila Ka’aihue (phonetically “KEY-lah Kuh-eye-HOO-ah”) added a walk-off solo home run to his short resume. It also gave me excitement that I may have finally picked the right player for the write-in group (but probably not).

After the two-part opening day was finished, the team atop the Home Run Derby standings was the Kettle Poppers who reaped the rewards of Adam Dunn’s only home run in Group A. Don’t fret my home run friends, there are plenty of days left in this marathon (unless you own Holliday, Hart or Sizemore, all of whom are currently on the DL or in the ER.)

Time to go enjoy the Brewers first win of the year with a nice PBR.