Tag:Arcade Fire
Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Rhodes eyes Orosco's longevity record

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lefty specialist Arthur Rhodes is apparently just getting revved up.

Fresh from making his first All-Star team last summer, Rhodes, at 41, now has another milestone in sight as he limbers up to help the Texas Rangers defend their American League pennant in 2010.

"I haven't decided how long," I'm going to pitch," Rhodes said here Tuesday. "I keep telling everyone I want to catch Jesse Orosco in appearances.

"That's my goal."

Cool.

Except Orosco is atop the all-time leaderboard with 1,252 career appearances.

Rhodes currently ranks 34th at 849.

"I haven't run into him lately," Rhodes said of Orosco, with whom he played in Baltimore from 1996-1999. "I told him four or five years back that I was going to catch his record.

"He started laughing and said, 'Keep going.'"

So far, Rhodes has. And he's gaining momentum.

The 69 appearances for Cincinnati last summer represented the third-highest total of his career, and the most for a season since 2001, when he pitched in 71 games for Seattle.

Last summer, he became the oldest All-Star "rookie" ever in the National League when he was named to the Midsummer Classic for the first time.

That came after he equaled a major-league record by working 33 consecutive scoreless appearances during the first half of last season.

So, what about it? Can the man who currently stands 403 appearances behind Orosco's record last a few more years and parlay that into an all-time record?

Um, highly doubtful.

Orosco pitched until he was 46. If Rhodes can do the same -- a big if -- he would need to average roughly 67 appearances every season to tie Orosco.

Then again, you know how lefty relief specialists can hang around longer than childhood memories. If he matches last year's workload, Rhodes will leap from 34th to 21st all-time in appearances.

"I think I shocked a lot of people last year," said Rhodes, who signed a one-year, $3.9 million deal with the Rangers this winter. The contract also includes a $4 million option for 2012 that becomes guaranteed if Rhodes makes 62 appearances and is not on the disabled list at the end of the 2011 season. The Rangers are his eighth organization.

"I feel good," Rhodes continued. "Everything feels good. My body feels good.

"I came over here to help them win, to help get them to where they were last year. The only thing you can do is have fun and play hard."

Sunblock Day: Scorching in the desert. Upper 80s. Bring lots of sunblock. And lots of water.

Likes: Texas lefty C.J. Wilson's work ethic. ... Hope closer Neftali Feliz never loses his smile. He's a classy, enigmatic kid. ... Rangers GM Jon Daniels getting a four-year contract extension. One of the game's sharpest executives. ... Retired Trevor Hoffman back with the Padres, but declining to sign one of those one-day contracts so he could retire as a Padre. He's no phony. ... The way fans have enthusiastically embraced the Giants after their World Series win. ... The Drive-By Truckers on Conan O'Brien the other night. ... Oregano's in the Phoenix area. Fabulous thin crust pizza, and the pizza cookie for dessert is a must, too.

Dislikes: Many prayers for Japan and all affected by the earthquakes and tsunami. It's just awful.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Do you know where I was at your age?
"Any idea where I was at your age?
"I was workin' downtown for the minimum wage"

-- Arcade Fire, Building Downtown (Antichrist Television Blues)

 

Posted on: February 14, 2011 7:37 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Outtakes from a day with a Phillies' rotation that is moving into history's on-deck circle (maybe):

-- It bears repeating, because Cliff Lee mentioned it a couple of times Monday: He signed with the Phillies, he said, because "it was really about what team gave me the best chance to win world championships over the life of the contract."

He did not say he signed with Philly because it was best for his family. He did not say his wife loved it there. He did not say he signed to be close to Philly cheesesteak sandwich heaven (though he did allow, "I like Philly cheesesteaks. But that had nothing to do with me coming back to Philly.").

"I think Philadelphia fans should feel real proud about that," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said, referring not to the scrumptious sandwiches, but to Lee's feeling that Philadelphia can become Titletown. "I think things really started rolling as far as putting us back on the map, so to speak, when Jim Thome came here [in 2003].

"Ed [Wade, former Phillies GM] did a fantastic job bringing Jim here.. I think it legitimized what we were trying to do."

-- Lee's decision to bypass the Yankees and Texas reinforces what has been becoming fact these past few years: Philadelphia has become a destination for ace pitchers. Lee by choice, Roy Halladay waving no-trade powers to land with the Phillies and Roy Oswalt doing the same.

Which is very interesting, given that Citizens Bank Park has earned a unanimous reputation for being a hitter's haven.

"It's kind of a testament to the fans' support, and to winning, too," Amaro said. "It's a testament to the faith that our ownership group has in the front office to make these moves. It's a testament to all in our organization creating an atmosphere where Philadelphia has become a place where people like to go, from the guards who watch the cars in the players' lot to the people who take care of the wives' lounge, the medical staff.

"We make a concerted effort to build relationships here."

-- Manager Charlie Manuel opted to pass when asked which of his Murderers' Row rotation members would get the opening day start.

"We've got a chance to have a special club," Manuel said. "We've got a guy who threw two no-hitters and won a Cy Young [Roy Halladay] last year, and the other three guys standing there are tremendous pitchers.

"We're going to have a No. 1 starter going every day, so it doesn't really matter."

Of the Phillies' quintet, Cole Hamels is the only one never to have started on opening day. Halladay did it in Toronto and in Philadelphia last year, Lee's done it, Oswalt did it plenty in Houston and Joe Blanton did it in Oakland.

"The real good part of it is, it doesn't matter who you pick, it doesn't faze the other guys," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "I don't think any of them has a big enough ego to say 'I have to have the ball on opening day.'

"They all want the ball 33 to 35 times."

Sunblock Day? It was perfect. High right around 70 degrees.

Likes: Great line from Yankees' starter CC Sabathia, that he lost a bunch of weight over the winter because he "stopped eating Capt'n Crunch." I would have picked A.J. Burnett as the Captain Crunch eater of that group. ... Phillies pitching prospect Justin DeFratus, who pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year, taking it all in early Monday morning before the first workout for pitchers and catchers. "It's been crazy here so far," DeFratus said ... Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro wearing a baseball cap with the final scoreboard line score from Halladay's playoff no-hitter against Cincinnati stitched onto the front. ... Arcade Fire winning a Grammy for best album for The Suburbs. Excellent. Great performances, too. ... Winter's Bone.

Dislikes: Getting to the gate for your flight at 6 a.m. and hearing the attendant say, "Sorry, this flight is delayed until at least 10." ... Missed Bob Dylan on the Grammy's Sunday night because of a too-long travel day.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Kids wanna be so hard
"But in my dreams we're still screamin' and runnin' through the yard
"And all of the walls that they built in the '70s finally fall
"And all of the houses they build in the '70s finally fall
"Meant nothin' at all
"Meant nothin' at all
"It meant nothin'
"Sometimes I can't believe it
"I'm movin' past the feeling
"Sometimes I can't believe it
"I'm movin' past the feeling and into the night
"So can you understand?
"Why I want a daughter while I'm still young
"I wanna hold her hand
"And show her some beauty
"Before this damage is done"

-- Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

Posted on: October 12, 2010 2:51 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 4:54 pm
 

Thoughts on Game 5, Rangers-Rays

There is nothing like a Game 5 (or Game 7) in sports, and nothing like the pitch-by-pitch tension that builds in an elimination baseball game with the October leaves changing and Halloween costumes in the stores.

Tonight's Rangers-Rays game is so big, Tampa Bay not only removed the Tropicana Field tarp and put 5,000 extra tickets on sale, the Rays sold 'em!

Seriously, some thoughts as we count down to first pitch tonight of what should be a priceless matchup (so to speak) between aces David Price and Cliff Lee.

-- Texas can say what it wants about having Lee on the mound, and there is no question he's The Man. But it would be more of a guarantee if Tampa Bay was pitching some slob not named Price. Unless you're wearing a Rangers uniform, you'd much rather be in the Rays' cleats tonight: Price on the mound, bats coming back to life, the momentum of winning the past two games in your back pocket and what will be a thunderous, sold-out crowd behind you.

-- Crazy how things work out, and how perfect is this: Price, the man who sparked a controversy in Tampa by criticizing the Rays' fans via Twitter for not showing up on a potential clinching game in late September, pitching in front of not only a sold-out crowd tonight, but a crowd that voraciously snapped up those extra 5,000 tickets. This is a chance for burned bridges to be rebuilt, a chance for Price, 25 and as good a pitcher as there is in the game, to stand tall now that Tampa fans have put their money where Price's mouth is.

-- Maybe you don't realize this, but here is how rare a Game 5 is: We haven't had one since 2005, when the Los Angeles Angels beat the Yankees 5-2 in Anaheim to advance to the ALCS against the Chicago White Sox. Not only that, there's been very little drama in the Division Series' since '05, period: Entering this fall, a total of 11 of 20 series since then have been 3-0 sweeps.  Last fall, Game 163 between the Tigers and Twins -- not a Game 5, but an elimination game nonetheless, was by far the most exciting game of the entire postseason. It was all downhill after that.

-- The home team has yet to win in this series. Only once before has a team won the first two games of a best-of-five postseason series on the road and then gone on to lose: the 2001 Oakland A's, who played the New York Yankees. Texas will do everything tonight to make sure that changes, and don't be surprised to see manager Ron Washington call on starter C.J. Wilson if, for some reason, Lee is off.

-- This either works in Tampa Bay's favor -- or in Texas', if you figure odds are that this eventually will change: Never before in major league baseball history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, has there been a postseason series in which the road team has won every game in a best-of-five series.

-- In Game 1, Lee threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of 27 hitters, and threw 76 strikes out of 104 total pitches. The Rays ranked third in the AL this season with 802 runs scored, but only 13th with in hits -- only Seattle, in the AL, had fewer. That partly explains why the Rays were no-hit twice this summer. And it explains how steep their challenge is tonight: They cannot expect to get extra runners on base via walks. They must be aggressive in swinging at Lee's strikes -- but it's a fine line between being aggressive, and coming too far out of their game.

-- From Texas' perspective, taking an early lead is a must. That would take the Tampa crowd out of the game, it would allow the Rangers to settle in and it might give Lee all he needs. "I think it depends on how many runs is put on the board when you score first," Rangers manager Ron Washington said Sunday in Texas while looking toward Game 5. "If you put one run on the board, you figure you can catch up with that. You put two runs on the board, you figure you can catch up with that. As long as it doesn't get past a grand slam, I think you're in good shape."

-- More Washington: "This was a five-game series when it started, now it's a five-game series. They proved they can beat us on our field, we proved we can beat them on their field. This is what it's about now. They have the right person they feel that's going to be throwing ... and we certainly feel the same way. So it's a matter of going out there, getting Cliff some runs, and if we get him some runs, he'll take it to the finish line. That's what it's all about."

-- Great stuff from Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler on Game 5: "Everyone understands it's just one game now. It's the same game, there's just more cameras. The bases don't eject out of the ground. Guys aren't throwing 150 miles an hour. There's a little more intensity." Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena agreed that there will be no ejecting bases in Tropicana Field tonight, but, as he said, "I can't deny it, it's going to be pretty exciting. It's not as easy to control your emotions. It's fun. It's fun to be a part of it."

-- Tampa Bay's attitude? "We came here facing our elimination," catcher John Jaso said as the Rays dressed after Game 4 to fly home to St. Pete for Game 5. "And we still are facing our elimination." So far, so good with that.

-- The Rangers, for one more day at least, remain the only team in baseball never to have won a playoff series. Someone asked Lee the other day about pitching for a team with such a "sorry history." "I've heard something about that," Lee deadpanned during a post-Game 4 news conference the other day. "But that really doesn't matter to me that much, to be honest. This is a different team than has ever played here. It's a whole different set of circumstances."

Likes: Game 5, for "all the marbles" (as Texas third baseman Michael Young says). ... Bobby Valentine in line to manage again, either in Florida or Seattle. Great fit in either place, but especially the Mariners with their Japanese ownership and Bobby V's ties to Japan. ... Sandy Alderson interviewing with the Mets as a potential general manager. I disagreed with many things Alderson did as president of the Padres, but he would be a great fit with the Mets, who need an adult to run that sorry franchise. Allard Baird, who interviewed Monday, would be a very fine choice as well. ... The Jim Joyce Twitter controversy that erupted on Tuesday. Suddenly, the umpire showed up with a new Twitter account and several tweets that looked authentic -- until MLB-PR tweeted that it was not the real Jim Joyce. ... Baseball working with Stand Up 2 Cancer. ... I don't plug a whole lot of things like this, but if you have a minute to vote in this Pepsi Refresh Project, Gabby's Ladder is a terrific organization for bereaved children in Michigan and Ohio that could really use a helping hand.

Dislikes: Glee.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"If the businessmen drink my blood
"Like the kids in art school said they would
"Then I guess I'll just begin again"

-- Arcade Fire, Ready to Start

Posted on: May 23, 2008 11:01 pm
 

Did Dusty do The Bump?

Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker was steaming Friday afternoon after being socked with a two-game suspension and $1,500 fine for "bumping" umpire Eric Cooper a night earlier.

It was an animated argument, but Cooper's definition of "bumping" might be different from the average guy's. Replays barely showed a graze, if that. If Baker was deserving of a suspension, then Earl Weaver, Billy Martin and Lou Piniella -- among many, many other managers -- probably earned lifetime bans several times over.

At this rate, it won't be long until managers are required to wear priest collars and carry prayer books in the dugout. Two games? Really?

Baseball long ago went corporate, but the way Bob Watson is doling out punishments, the goal appears to make the game as antiseptic as possible.

The one-gamer handed to Yankees manager Joe Girardi for his dirt-kicking tantrum the other night was excessive, too.

As for Baker, he was expecting a fine for his ejection but was shocked at the suspension -- though Cooper did accuse Baker of bumping him during the argument.

"I didn't see it and I didn't feel it," said Baker, who was intending to watch Friday night's game in San Diego from the manager's office. "(Cooper) told me I sprayed him with dip, tobacco, and that I grazed him and made contact with him. I was trying everything I could not to make contact."

Baker said he didn't even bother watching the replays because he would "get mad all over again."

And let me tell you, it was an odd experience listening to Baker vent ... while bouncing son Darren, 9, on his lap.

When Baker acknowledged that he was " more pissed now than I was earlier today", Darren, with an actor's sense of timing, turned around and wrapped his dad in a big hug.

It was difficult not to laugh.

And definitely difficult not to chuckle at baseball's evolving code of conduct for managers.

Someone needs to give Watson some more things to do so he's got less time on his hands. Last time I saw discipline this over-the-top, it was from Sister Furmine and the other nuns in my Catholic elementary school. And I still shudder.

Best line of the afternoon came from Ken Griffey Jr., who had this to say when he learned that Baker was suspended: "Dusty just wanted to take his kid to Legoland."
 
Likes: Former outfielder Kevin Mitchell stopped by to say hello to Baker the other day, and among other things in the manager's office, it generated a conversation regarding the time the television show Silk Stalkings filmed a few scenes -- including one of Mitchell sliding into his pool -- at Mitchell's San Diego beach house. "Now I can't slide no more -- I've gotta crawl," quipped Mitchell, who isn't as big as you might suspect, or remember him being. ... Reds television broadcaster George Grande, one of the finest men in the business. ... Actual rain in San Diego. If only for a day. ... Arizona's Doug Davis winning his first start back after thyroid cancer surgery. Outstanding. ... Atlanta manager Bobby Cox signing a one-year extension to manage the Braves in 2009.

Dislikes: In case you missed it the other day, allow me to repeat: American Airlines now charging $15 for the first bag you check. Every time you step near an airport now, the airlines nickel and dime you. Two bucks for checking a bag curbside. Twenty-five or more bucks if you want to change from a middle seat to an aisle seat on Northwest. Gouge, gouge, gouge. Just like at the gas pump. Every time you wake up anymore, there's more bad economic news.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"A vial of hope and a vial of pain
"In the light they both looked the same
"Poured them out on into the world
"On every boy and every girl"

-- The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

 
 
 
 
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