Off Base
Speaking of Turkeys

November 23 , 2006

There are a lot of ways we can go here. Another discussion of J.D. Drew is both apt and tempting, but a little too obvious.

The Angels trading right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg for right-hander reliever Chris Resop is borderline-blockbuster, but of very little interest to anyone outside of Anaheim. Or in it.

OK, fine; so they signed Gary Matthews, Jr. BFD.

Not to be eclipsed in the competition for south Orange County dominance, the Padres secured deals for coaches Craig Colbert and Bobby Meacham, while bringing in a reliever of their own, in Royce Ring.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers re-signed Nomar Garciaparra, and locked up center fielder Juan Pierre with a big deal (that’s actual center fielder, Juan Pierre; as opposed to agent-labeled center fielder, J.D. Drew). The Pierre contract’s a turkey, you say? Oh contraire, succotash breath.

I don't understand the criticism over this one. Yes it’s a lot of money - I’ll pay an extra quarter for a cold hot dog; 50 cents for one that’s actually cooked - but the man shows up and earns it. He’s a team guy. The contrast to Drew couldn’t be more stark.

Pierre never misses a game, and I mean never, hits .300 in his sleep, steals bases, and unlike Kenny Lofton at this stage of his career, can actually catch a fly ball. On top of that, he's been a World Champion, and hit .300 in his one postseason. What more do you want?

Plus, there’s the “Two First-Names Club” to consider. “J.D.” is a lame first name anyway, so with Juan Pierre replacing him, and joining Jeff Kent, Brad Penny and Russell Martin, and with Ted Lilly still a possibility, the Dodgers are in good stead.

Carlos Lee makes Olmedo Saenz look like Tripp Cromer, and wasn’t motivated to play on the West Coast, Cliff Floyd is another Drew, Mark Loretta is headed to San Francisco, and with Jeff Francis signing an extension to stay with the Rockies, L.A. really needed Pierre’s two first-names in the fold. I’m all for it…

Awards: The writers got it mostly right this year, so let’s lay off the conspiracy theories, shall we. There was no gerrymandering. Reporters didn’t get together on anything, and the fix wasn’t in to keep Albert Pujols or anyone else out. It’s not the Veterans’ Committee and Joe Morgan keeping the Hall of Fame safe from middle-infielders with a lifetime batting average above .271. Secret ballots equal democracy. Enough, already. The process works.

Well, except for the moronic Joe Girardi National League Manager of the Year thing. Girardi’s Marlins finished with the 9th best record in the NL, six games under .500, and closer to last place than to first. There’s no “Tony Pena Award” in baseball. You shouldn’t win a trophy just because your working conditions include having a boob for an owner. There’s not enough bronze on the planet…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Rhetorical Question of the Day (that’s RQOTD to you new folks): Why does Jim Rome insist on spelling out the name, “R-O-M-E,” for his listeners 15 to 20 times per week?

Media Savvy: Memo to Sports Illustrated. Sure, is just the lowly World Wide Web, but your name is all over it, and a little more care is required. You know, in case this Internet idea ever catches on.

If you’re going to publish and feature the work of bloggers, and one of them isn’t me, you better put some professional editors on the job. What with Jon Heyman and all, I can’t keep doing it for free.

Alex Belth is the answer to what is now a weekly “who goofed” question at, with his stunning, two-base “Bobby Thompson” spelling error. Right through the wickets.

Here’s an excerpt from the elementary school-like book report, in which Belth starts by getting the title of the book wrong:

“The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thompson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World , by Joshua Prager.In 2001, Prager wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal claiming that the New York Giants stole signs during the final part of the 1951 season. That was the year that ended with "The Shot Heard Round the World," one of the singular moments in baseball history. Prager's full-length work is finally out and it does not disappoint. Written in an absorbing, literary style, The Echoing Green is not chiefly about exposing the Giants as cheats -- it is about the enduring friendship that Bobby Thompson and Ralph Branca have shared, and the secret they kept under wraps for so long.”

While Branca may admire Bobby Thompson’s 64 games as a Texas Ranger bench player in 1978, I’m pretty sure the two guys aren’t buds. And yes, the homer hit by Bobby Thomson was a “singular moment;” all the more reason to get it right. The Thomson misspelling has appeared in print before, but surely never in a publication as prominent as our beloved Sports Illustrated. As I write this, the boner has been online for seven days, which is six and a half too many...

Most Overused Phrases of the Year: “Five-tool player” and “it’s only May” are regulars, so they really don’t qualify. Same for “intestinal fortitude” and “visa problems.” These dandies, on the other hand, were difference-makers in the year that was 2006. Let’s hear it for “flu-like symptoms,” “strained oblique,” “sample size,” “run the table,” and “it’s just business.”

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

Remember, glove conquers all….









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