Off Base
Marlins Throw Caution to the Wind - Mate Throws No-Hitter

September 8, 2006

To what can we attribute Anibal Sanchez’ no-hit, no run ball game? Or more precisely; why now, after two long years? Why now, why him?

Why, indeed. Sanchez made it through nine hitless frames due to some rare support from his teammates. The fine play of the defense behind him? Please. Nothing as mundane as that. Here’s an idea: the Marlins actually talked to the guy between innings. There’s your difference maker.

All Sanchez needed to make history was a little idle chatter. Was that so hard? Yes, I’ve been harping on this for years, and for good reason. There are some lame superstitions in baseball, but this not talking to the pitcher while he’s throwing a no-hitter is the lamest. It's not like it works.

Do the math. Baseball has celebrated some 200 no-hitters, out of thousands upon thousands of contests. Countless masterpieces, all fallen by the wayside in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, each and every one of them, with the poor guy on the mound in solitary.

So, props to the Florida Marlins for breaking the string, and keeping Anibal Sanchez company. And way to go, Sanchez. You contributed too…

Meanwhile, the Dodgers, and especially Brad Penny, sure look like crap, don’t they? I mean, wow. “Crap” is a kind word, actually. And it’s amazing how fast this club can go from bad to good and back again, like nobody’s business.

It’s up one series, down the next; up one week, down the next. Up, down, up, down, up, down. I’m getting the bends right here in my living room.

This much is for sure: Brad Penny is no ace. He’s a big-bodied, big-mouthed, big-time second-half Dodgers bust, at five innings an outing.

So, with the Dodgers postseason hopes hanging by the flimsiest of threads, the best Grady Little can offer is an “undecided” about letting Mark Hendrickson start another game.

Uh, hello? Earth to Grady Little, come in Grady Little. Undecided?! Undecided?! About Mark Hendrickson?! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND??!!

Mark Hendrickson is a complete zero; nothing more than a geeky left-hander with a pituitary abnormality, for whom retiring the side in order once an evening is a moral victory. Thoroughly unwatchable. Undecided? You sure you want to stick with that answer?

More over, while Little has done a yeoman’s job keeping his older slash injury prone players mostly active, and a gazillion times better than did his predecessor, enough already.

From here on out, the veterans play. Garciaparra, Lofton and Drew (yes, Drew). Period. And no more platooning at third base; and certainly not with Julio Lugo. No way. Ramon Martinez, maybe, but what do you say we keep the playing of any and all Tampa Devil Rays to an absolute minimum, shall we?

Remember in “Midnight Express,” when the girlfriend comes to visit? Dude’s busted for Hershey-sized hash bars. He’s been in a Middle Eastern prison that would put Guantanamo to shame, surrounded by male butts on all sides, for God knows how long. Chick shows up with an album full of bribery money (“Mr. Franklin, from the bank.”) and he’s thinking about his own little private Girls Gone Wild.

She’s obliges, kind of, and if you don’t remember, we’ll spare you the graphic detail, but the message at full-volume-scream is still this: “You’ve got to get yourself together, Billy!!!”

Well, 2006 is this close to turning into a Turkish prison nightmare, and since the Dodgers don’t warrant a conjugal visit, I see no reason to mince words. “YOU’VE GOT TO GET YOURSELF TOGETHER, DODGERS!! Sabe? Get yourself together, Dodgers!!

Ouch: About thirty seconds after escaping the rigors of Jim Tracy’s Pittsburgh program, Oliver Perez pitched his best game in years Wednesday, tossing a five-hit shutout of Atlanta, for his new Mets club…

Who Goofed: From Jon Heyman, in his Daily Scoop column: “Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies. He's well within reach of Roger Maris' legit single-season home run record of 61 (as's  Tom Verducci pointed out Tuesday). Some scoop, pal (as's Off Base pointed last Friday)...

Rumor has it, now that he’s been named president of the Arizona Diamondbacks, old friend Derrick Hall’s first order of business will be the commissioning of a long overdue statue at Chase Park…of Travis Lee…

Yankees Win Another Championship: At least, that’s the consensus in the New York media. What else are we to conclude from representative quotes like this one::

"A-Rod's baptism has come in the waters of Yankee expectations. No matter if he is the MVP, or Jeter is, as many people believe he will be this season, their relationship will be dissected until they win a World Series.” It’s from T.J. Quinn of the New York Daily News, so maybe that’s all the explanation required. Another T.J. But what’s with the “until they win a World Series” thing?

It’s nice that Alex Rodriguez has shaken himself a little. Good for him. But all things are temporary in baseball, and before New York gets too excited, much less warm and fuzzy, about A-Rod’s recent play, the Yankees ought to put in a call into John Smoltz’ old psychologist. You know, the guy in the red sweater. Because if ever an athlete needed a little couch time, it’s that guy...

Asleep at the Switch: Yep, we're busted. Missed Denis Leary's going ape-wire on Mel Gibson completely. had it in timely fashion, You Tube of course, was there; even Wikipedia has a page up already.

But let’s defer to the Jerusalem Post. With a headline and a byline like this, how can we not? “Red Sox fall, but Jews rise - at least in Denis Leary's telling,” by Menachem Wecker. Here’s the link to the article, and the video, courtesy of Enjoy…

Investors Wanted: No joke. Really. We’re looking for partners, silent or otherwise. Invest a thimble full of venture capital today; make major league minimum tomorrow. Inquire

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

Remember, glove conquers all….





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