Category Archives: baseball

Source: T.O., Witten cancel plans to attend opera

"I'm a sensitive human being. I still cry when Rudolph gets banished to the Island of Misfit Toys, and I love 'Die Fledermaus.' I don't know why Jason would do me this way."

Terrell Owens: "I'm a sensitive human being. I still cry when Rudolph gets banished to the Island of Misfit Toys, and I simply adore 'Die Fledermaus.' I don't know why Jason would do me this way."

As the Dallas Cowboys’ public relations machine worked overtime to dispel rumors of war between receiver Terrell Owens and tight end Jason Witten, the two offensive stars canceled plans to attend the Dallas Opera’s Saturday night performance of “Die Fledermaus,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported Saturday.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, citing team sources, confirmed that Witten and Owens exchanged words after practice Friday at the Cowboys training facility. One team employee, who requested anonymity because both Owens and Witten are capable of crushing him like a cockroach, said Owens was visibly upset after the altercation.

“I thought Terrell was going to weep when Witten looked at the floor with disgust, bit his lip and said, ‘I never liked Johan Strauss the Second and I have no interest in this weightless Viennese schmaltz you call art. I’m a man. Give me Sturm. Give me Drang. Give me Wagner. Leave me out of this. You can go by yourself.'”

The incident came in the wake of media reports that Owens believes Romo and Witten meet privately, go out for milkshakes, play pinochle and draw up plays without including Owens.

Owens later issued a statement on his Web site, terrellowens.com, saying, “I love and respect Jason as a teammate and a friend. I think Jason understands this. I’m a sensitive man. I still cry when Rudolph gets banished to the Island of Misfit Toys, and I simply adore ‘Die Fledermaus.’ And this is the last performance of the season.

“I don’t know why Jason would do me this way.”

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The Cup of Christ (or, Beach Football)!!!

As rivalries go, this one has been a lifetime in the making.

Literally, brother vs. brother.

As every chapter is written, with each victory and mirroring defeat, both sides live or die, rise or fall, smile or cry with one another in mind.

What was once a healthy competition, has evolved into an all-consuming disease. Neither side will ever truly satisfy their lust for victory or quench their ultimate thirst for domination. But they must continue to return, if only to deny their opponent even a minor moment of enjoyment.

And so it was this year in the annual battle for the legendary Beach Party Cup. For those of you who don’t know about it–fuck off. For the rest of you out there, read ’em and weep Gray Team.

Not only will we continue to drink from the sacred plastic gold chalice all year long, but you will never taste the goodness of a frothy beverage from its confines again! The Red Team rules! Beach Party ’08 Champs!

Box score:

Grayland Beach Bowl ‘08

Red Shirts 4, Gray Shirts 3 (3OT)
Gray 0 1 2 0 0 0 0— 3
Red 0 0 0 3 0 0 1— 4
Second Quarter
Gray—Parker 10 pass from Pollock.
Third Quarter
Gray—T. Smith 15 pass from Pollock.
Gray—Beck 5 pass from T. Smith.
Fourth Quarter
Red—J. Turnbull 15 pass from T. Turnbull.
Red—J. Turnbull 12 pass from T. Turnbull.
Red—J. Turnbull 8 pass from T. Turnbull.
Third Overtime
Red—Aguilera 7 pass from T. Turnbull.

Seat-of-the-pants frontrunner


What do you cretins want, back-to-back division titles?

The long-suffering, occasionally short-sighted fans of the City of Brotherly Love’s mercurial baseball team are seething with rage and dreaming whimsically of full-scale rebellion.
The bloggers are breathless, and their irate devotees are hurling invectives across cyberspace with the incendiary quality of Molotov cocktails.
They were mad enough when the Phillies lost three in a row to the Dodgers and fell into a tie for first-place in the National League East.
But now comes MVP shortstop Jimmy Rollins, in an appearance with teammate Ryan Howard on that damn sports show, calling the notoriously troubled fans of Philadelphia “frontrunners.”
Then, apparently stealing a line from Montaigne, he derided Phillies fans as “the mother of ignorance, injustice and inconstancy.”
Mon dieu!
Rollins did more than impugn the already dubious name of the Fanaticus Philadelphiensis. Apparently unsure they possessed the sensitivy to feel the sting of his barb, he went so far as to say that Phillies fans are a whole lot worse than St. Louis Cardinals fans.
Ouch.
It’s really hard to know whom to side with in this escalating love-hate affair.
Let’s take a look at their respective cases:
First, the fans:
Say what you will about their poor table manners and judgmental natures, Phillies fans have been showing up at the ballpark in numbers that tend to support that beloved aphorism, erroneously attributed to Phineas T. Barnum, that suckers tend to reproduce at an alarming level.
The Phillies rank fifth in the major leagues in fans per game and are on pace to draw more than 4 millions broken-hearted losers to Citizens Bank Park this season, shattering franchise attendance records. They drew more than 3 million last year, when the Phillies needed an epic collapse by the Mets to become something approximating a frontrunner.
And this probably is arguing over semantics, but it is hard to imagine Phillies fans as literal frontrunners. Their team has won a single World Series in 105 years, and they existed for 20 years before the World Series was born. They remain the only major league franchise to accumulate the staggering figure of 10,000 losses. A legion of Phillies fans have known little else but disappointment.

As for Rollins’ preference for Cardinals fans, we’ll introduce potentially mitigating evidence in support of their Philadelphia counterparts.
Cardinals fans, if more good-natured than Phillies fans, have some cause to be well-adjusted. The Cards have won 10 World Series to the Phillies one, and 17 National League pennants to the Phils’ five. They even won four straight American Association titles in the 1880s. The Phillies never won a National League crown in those fallow years prior to the dawn of the World Series.
Now for Jimmy:
Well, it has been a rough season for the increasingly maligned shortstop. He’s making only $8 million this season, just a fraction more than deposed starting pitcher Adam Eaton gets. The fans aren’t booing Eaton, either. At least not now. Of course, he’s pitching in Reading for the franchise’s Double-A affiliate.
But, when you consider their respective salaries, and what with Jimmy being the reigning National League MVP and all, you can see where he might get to feeling ill-used and unappreciated.
What’s more, fans have been raining boos down upon him with a vengeance and flaying him viciously in the blogosphere.
He’s been benched twice by manager Charlie Manuel this season, once for not running out a pop fly and once for showing up late for a game at Shea Stadium.
After the not-running-out-the-pop-fly incident, fans on one blog went so far as to give him the malicious nickname “J-Stroll.”
Hey, you’d be angry too, if you got punished for niggling offenses that should only apply to non-MVP winners.
The verdict:
First, a confession.
That I am a Phillies fan is an accident of birth. I moved 3,000 miles away, thinking I could outrun their perennial failures. I succeeded for many years, until their sudden return to prominence resusciitated my interest.
Therefore, I cop to the charges Rollins leveled.
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool frontrunner.
It’s excruciating enough to follow this team when they’re in or about contention. It’s plain masochism when they’re bad.
I used to fancy myself as a quasi-intelligent creature.
Now I find myself seething when Chase Utley grounds into a double play with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game, and angrily threatening to forswear my allegiance when Ryan Howard strikes out with the go-ahead run on third and fewer than two outs.
I know when these ephemeral events occur because, in the age of the Internet, it is too easy to keep tabs on games taking place on the other side of the world.
And so I neglect my work, impulsively clicking onto ESPN.com’s gamecasts to keep inning-by-inning tabs on my forlorn favorites.
It gets worse.
On more than one Sunday I’ve sat hunched over my home keyboard, my infant son sleeping on my shoulder as the summer sun shines outside, huddling in the semi-darkness, clicking the “refresh” icon and following the action in halting fashion.
When the gamecast was not fast enough, I began to consult a fan blog, gleaning the team’s latest successes and pratfalls from the relief and vitriol of posters watching the game on TV thousands of miles away.
There must be more than this to life.
Sure, I don’t get you Jimmy Rollins and your seeming lack of urgency when it comes to a season that is fast slipping away from the Phillies. First you dismiss your fans, then you go 0-for-5 and strikes out twice in another frustrating defeat.
But I get less why I should be so consumed by his successes and failures, and that of his teammates, his coaches and the team’s front-office personnel.
If I’m stupid enough to fritter away my fleeting time on such a trivial obsession, I shouldn’t get bent out of shape when the object of my obsession calls me a frontrunner.
What’s more, he’s right.
I’m a frontrunner.
A fairweather fan.
A poor excuse for a human being.
A despicable, pathetic, cowardly wretch.
Mea culpa, Jimmy Rollins.
Mea culpa.

A Walk through History with Jamie Moyer

Jamie Moyer, the venerable Philadelphia left-hander, beat Washington on Wednesday to post career win No. 240. Along the way, he left in his wake the player with the single greatest name in the colorful, often absurd history of baseball.
Come to think of it, the word “venerable” hardly does Moyer justice. The Venerable Bede, well, he was venerable. Jamie Moyer, he’s simply ridiculous.

The Venerable Bede, left, and The Ridiculous Jamie Moyer

Did Moyer really strike out Ted Williams when he was a callow rookie, leaving the infuriated Splendid Splinter ranting about his “grade-school” fastball and “sorority house” curveball? Is it true Moyer called Babe Ruth a “drunken, whoremongering fat-ass” in spring training in 1935?
No, those stories, like many of the legends that surround Moyer, are apocryphal. But he’s still pitching and winning games at age 45, and he’s doing it with natural gifts that wouldn’t overwhelm a high school coach in Peoria, Ill.
Since Moyer seems bent on pitching until dies of natural causes or spontaneously ascends to heaven in the Rapture, he’s a natural choice to serve as distinguished docent in our fledgling online baseball history museum.
Thus we bring you installment No. 1 of “A Walk through History with Jamie Moyer.”
Today we take a look at the man Moyer passed for good Wednesday, 239-game winner Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three-Finger” Brown.

239: MORDECAI PETER CENTENNIAL “THREE-FINGER” BROWN

More than just a name, Mr. Brown. But oh, what a name!
Mordecai! Peter! Centennial! Three-Finger! Brown!
(Editor’s note: There’s a character with a similar name who was an original contributor to this site. He is not related to the famous baseball pitcher. His whereabouts are unknown. Last we heard he was wrestling alligators in the swamps of Louisiana with his old pal, Rube Waddell. God bless him.)
The wonderful, majestic Mordecai Peter Centennial Three-Finger Brown was born in 1876 (thus the “Centennial”). In a name, he exposes one of the most depressing problems with baseball nowadays: Dull names. Uninspired, hackneyed nicknames.
A-Rod? ManRam? J-Roll?
Insipid, at best. Criminally lame, at worst.
The death of the family farm is partially to blame. Not many country boys refashion their God-given hands in a corn shredders and survive to become Hall of Fame pitchers anymore.
Perhaps more should, though. Mordecai’s misfortune became an unlikely blessing. Not only did he permanently alter his makeup in the corn grinder, but a subsequent hog-chasing accident added further uniquenesss to his pitching repetoire.
The unorthodox manner in which he was forced to grip the ball after sacrificing his index finger to the agricultural gods created an unusual amount of topsin and turned him into one of the game’s early “groundball pitchers.” Some say his curveball was a cross between a split-fingered fastball and a knuckleball. Most, like Ty Cobb, agreed it was difficult to hit.
“That old paw served me pretty well in its time,” Brown said. “It gave me a firmer grip on the ball, so I could spin it over the hump. It gave me a greater dip.”

No, not many mangled farm boys pitch in four World Series in five years anymore. Not many boys from anywhere pitch in the World Series wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform.
At least not since Three-Finger Brown left the stage.
Old Mordecai beat the Detroit Tigers in the decisive game of the 1907 World Series, then came back the following October and beat the Tigers twice as the Cubs won again. By now you probably know 1908 was the last time the Cubs won a World Series. Why, even the Philadelphia Phillies have managed to win one World Series since then.
The Cubs last World Series triumph would have been in 1907 had Mordecai not saved them in 1908. That and Merkle’s ill-starred boner. Brown came on in relief in the first inning to get the Cubs out of trouble before a frothing, overflowing crowd at the Polo Grounds and beat Christy Mathewson and the New York Giants in a virtual playoff in the final game of the 1908 season. That was the game that never would’ve been had it not been for Merkle’s Boner.
The less you know about that, the better.
Other fun facts about Mordecai: He hailed from Nyesville, Indiana, which is famous for, well, producing Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three-Finger” Brown.
He won, yes, 239 games. He lost 130. Had a 2.06 ERA.
Had he not given into the temptation to see just how sharp those knives in the shredder were, he would still have had a pretty sweet nickname. Mordecai “Miner” Brown worked in coal mines around Coxville, Ind., and played sandlot ball before hitting it big.
And finally, when he was Moyer’s age, Mordecai was running a filling station in Terre Haute, Ind.
Next: 240: Herb Pennock

RIP (still) George McQuillan

Hey there, Georgie Boy,
Moulderin’ in the grave so quietly,
If you were only alive and well today
Your team could use you.
Hey there, Georgie Boy,
You’ve been dead for so long now,
Is it worse that watching your Phillies play?
Or is this impossible to say?

Poor George McQuillan lost his tenuous grip on history Sunday when Oakland Athletics reliever Brad Ziegler broke the major league record that he had held for 101 years.
McQuillan began his career in 1907 with the Phillies by throwing 25 scoreless innings. The following season he showed himself to be an innings eater of glorious magnitude, and, unlike Jowly Joe Blanton, a helluva pitcher. McQuillan, who turned 23 that May, went 23-17 with a 1.53 ERA, starting 42 games and throwing 359 innings.
One hundred years hence, the Phillies could sure use the 175-pound right-hander to shore up their tissue-paper pitching staff. Back then, they called him the “Giant Killer.” Apparently he got fat on the National League team from New York. Yes, they could use him now.
Not that there’s not precedent for such a move. On Aug. 20, 1915, the Phillies, who had traded McQuillan away five years previously, picked him up off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates for what nowadays is called the stretch run. He went 4-3 with a 2.12 ERA, and the Phillies won the pennant and appeared in their first World Series. McQuillan didn’t pitch in the series, and the Phillies lost to the Red Sox in five games.
Unfortunately, he’s been dead for 68 years.
All that’s ancient history, right? Ziegler, the new record holder with 27 shutout innings at the dawn of his career, was born 94 years after McQuillan came to life in the booming city of Brooklyn in 1885 – two years after the building of the namesake bridge.
Well, I know you Internet-savvy kids think 94 years is a long, long time, roughly equivalent to an ice age. But it’s fleeting. Gather ye rosebuds.
A blink of the geological eye, 94 years. Nothing. Four score and 14 years before McQuillan was born, well, it was 1791, George Washington was President of the United States, King George III was still getting mad props in England, and baseball was alive and kicking in the former colonies. That year in Pittsfield, Mass., an ordinance was passed banning the playing of the game within 80 yards of the new meeting house, apparently aimed at “the Preservation of the Windows.” That’s the earliest known reference to the national pastime, if the Google Thucydides can be trusted.
In another 94 years, it’ll be 2102, and the Phillies, if Philadelphia is not a nuclear moonscape, will be torturing their still-suffering fans.
Come back, Georgie Boy. Come back.

Lest we forget

  

Weep the Mets, weep the Mets,
On your belly and creep, you Mets!
Shield the kiddies and spare the wife,
A shame that’ll last to the end of life.
Yesterday the Mets were sockin’ the ball,
Now they’re tumbling, bumbling, an epic fall.
East side, West side, everybody’s getting down
On the M-E-T-S Mets,
Of New York town,
Of New York town.
 

   

Oh, the butcher and the baker and the people on the streets,
Are blue with rage, singing, To HELL WITH THE METS!
Oh, they’re hollerin’ and moanin’ and cryin’ in their seats,
A bitter chorus of betrayal: To HELL WITH THE METS!
All their hopes and dreams laid low,
Nobody thought they’d ever blow,
A seven-game lead with 17 to go,
Greatest chokers you’ll ever know,
The Mets of New York town!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give ’em a yell! Give ’em the finger!
And let ’em know the stain will always linger!
At least until next summer!
Come on and …

Weep the Mets, weep the Mets!
On your belly and creep, you Mets!
Boys and girls, always remember,
The season’s not over till September.
Today the Mets are sockin’ the ball,
But never forget ’07’s cruel fall!
East side, West side, everybody was ashamed
Of the M-E-T-S Mets,
Of New York town,
Of New York town.

All together now…

Meet the Mets, meet the Mets,
Step right up and greet the Mets.
Bring your kiddies, bring your wife,
Guaranteed to have the time of your life.
Because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball,
Knockin’ those home runs over the wall.
East side, West side, everybody’s coming down,
To meet the M-E-T-S Mets, of New York town.

Oh, the butcher and the baker and the people on the streets,
Where did they go? To MEET THE METS!
Oh, they’re hollerin’ and cheerin’ and they’re jumpin’ in their seats,
Where did they go? To MEET THE METS!
All the fans are true to the orange and blue,
So hurry up and come on down –
’cause we’ve got ourselves a ball club,
The Mets of New York town!

Give ’em a yell! Give ’em a hand!
And let ’em know you’re rootin’ in the stands!
Come on and…

Meet the Mets, meet the Mets,
Step right up and greet the Mets.
Bring your kiddies, bring your wife,
Guaranteed to have the time of your life.
Because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball,
Knockin’ those home runs over the wall.
East side, West side, everybody’s coming down,
To meet the M-E-T-S Mets,
Of New York town,
Of New York town.