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Off Base
Last One In is a Rotten Diamondback

July 6, 2006


Tell the teacher we’re surfin, sports fans. School’s out for summer. It must be. Just look at the signs.

It’s 100 degrees in the Valley, the beaches abound with babes, and we’re halfway into the baseball season. There’s burgers a-grillin, all cries of "it’s only June” have ceased, and a baseball team has imploded after a player got caught with his hand in the steroid jar.

Is that a bad club or what? The Arizona Diamondbacks, winners of six games in a month; fumbling, bumbling and hiding from the Federalies. Not knowing what’s around the bend – that next double-play ball thrown to no one in particular, or that fresh stash of contraband, thought to be well-hidden in a bat rack.

Of course, the DBacks’ predicament isn’t without precedent; the 2005 Rafael Palmeiro Baltimore Orioles feel their pain, so maybe we shoulda seen this coming. Come to think of it, we did see it coming; we just figured it would be in San Francisco.

By the way, did you notice that never-win-a-case Mark Geragos is representing Barry Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson, and that Anderson is already back in jail? Geragos really knows how to pick em, too. Unfortunately for Anderson, he also knows how to lose em. Geragos should give up defense lawyering to become a sports agent. He’s certainly shown a knack for setting his clients in pinstripes…

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, for getting Jeff Weaver. Enjoy. And congratulations to the Angels, for trading Jeff Weaver. Enjoy…

What the Fuss: Why all the talk about Greg Maddux changing uniforms? He’s not the answer for the Dodgers, anyway.

Some team will get lucky with a trade for a pitcher who has a great second half for no apparent reason, but it’ll be just that; luck. My guess is Billy Beane, fresh off that Andre Ethier for a sack of mush trade, will try even harder this year to show how smart he is, to show the flukiness of that one deal gone bad, by proving he can win the American League East without Barry Zito.

And Zito is the guy to trade for, with John Smoltz a close second. I say, if you’ve got a ton of acres, you don’t have to sell the whole farm. A good-sized parcel will do.

From a Reliable Source: “Money is the sole reason for not designating Odalis. It screws up the promises Nick made to Frank. And yes, Guzman is definitely on the market. If Nick can package Odalis with
him, I'm sure he'll do it. Just pray it isn't another deal to Tampa.”

From the “All-Star Games That Don’t End in a Tie” File: There’s little that I can say (yes, it happens) about the rosters that hasn’t been said a hundred times already, and since I can go a week without making fun of the commissioner as easily as the next guy, I’ll pass on the topic.

But just to show you that contrary to popular belief, anal retentivity doesn’t necessarily lead to jails and institutions, here’s what my 1982 whole-punch ballot looks like; National League followed by American, with the actual starters in parentheses:

1B: Evans (Oliver); Carew (Carew).

2B: Hubband (Sax); Whitaker (Trillo).

SS: Thon (Smith); Ripken (Yount).

3B: Guerrero (Schmidt); Boggs (Brett).

Catcher: T. Kennedy (Carter); Simmons (Simmons).

OF: Dawson, Hendrick, Murphy (Dawson, Raines, Murphy).

OF: Kittle, Rice, G. Ward (Lynn, Rice, Winfield).

Dave Stieb was the AL starter and winning pitcher; Mario Soto the NL starter and loser. The highlight of the night was Fred Lynn’s first grand slam in All-Star Game history, off Giants' stud lefty, Atlee Hammaker…

Ouch: From Rotoworld.com: “Incoming team president Stan Kasten said he'll retain Jim Bowden as the Nationals' general manager after the club is officially sold. There wouldn't be much point to dumping Bowden during the season. Kasten might want to reevaluate his position in the offseason, which is when Bowden can do the most damage.”

Memo to all Earth’s Sportscasters: There is an “I” in tennis, but there’s no “T” in Wimbledon. Not now; not ever. The word is pronounced Wim-bull-DON. Not Wim-bull-TON; Wim-bull-DON.

And while were at it and much more importantly, that great Pittsburgh shortstop; you know, the guy with the 3415 hits and the eight batting titles; “the Flying Dutchman” guy. Remember him? Wouldn’t pose for a baseball card promoted by a tobacco company. That guy. Well, the man’s name is HA-nus Wagner. Not HO-nus, OK. HA-nus.

We love you, Vin Scully, and Keith Olbermann, you da man; but there’s no such person as HO-nus Wagner. Once and for all, a little reverence please, it’s HA-nus Wagner! HA-nus Wagner!! HA-nus freaking Wagner!!!

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Raise your hand if you’re already sick of the Ford commercial with the “American Idol” Taylor Hicks guy…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…




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