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Tag:David Letterman
Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:20 pm
 

Dee the Flea and Lopes' Philly/LA influence

LOS ANGELES -- He scoots. He scrams. He flips and darts.

The Dodgers list rookie shortstop Dee Gordon at 5-11 and 150 pounds, and while he's still growing at 23, he's already grown much in the eyes of first-base coach Davey Lopes.

See, that's because Lopes has been working with Gordon since 2006, when Gordon's father, Tom, worked in the Philadelphia bullpen and Lopes served as a Phillies' coach.

Dee Gordon was 18 then, and even skinnier.

"He used to come to the ballpark and work out, take ground balls before he signed," says Lopes of Gordon, whom the Dodgers drafted in the fourth round in 2008.

Three years later, here they are, together again on the other coast.

"It's crazy," says Gordon, getting a chance while Rafael Furcal is on the disabled list. "It's the game, I guess."

Lopes was high on Gordon back then, and remains high on him.

"Most people question him because of his build, whether he can stand up to the rigors of a major-league season," Lopes says. "But the only guy I can compare him to is, when Ozzie Smith started, he wasn't very big, either," Lopes says. "And from the left side, you could knock the bat out of his hands, literally.

"He was very thin in San Diego. Maybe not as thin as Dee. But he was no body builder. Can it happen [with Dee]? Who knows? I don't think with Ozzie, people back then said he would be a Hall of Famer."

Lopes isn't putting Gordon in the Hall, rather, his point simply is, who knows? It's tough to put limits on kids this young either way -- what they can't do, or what they can do.

Gordon punched out multi-hit games in six of his first 13 starts -- he's also got four steals -- and he impressed Tigers manager Jim Leyland this week.

"He's going to be a hell of a player," Leyland said. "He's not bigger than a half-minute right now. He's going to be a tremendous player."

In 13 games, he's hitting .273 with a .298 on-base percentage. He remembers Lopes hitting him hundreds of ground balls when he was a kid in Philadelphia, and he remembers watching intently as Lopes talked stealing and baserunning with Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.

"He's very receptive to constructive criticism," Lopes says. "He wants to know when he's done something wrong. And that's the only way to get better.

"He's got a lot of energy. He has good genes, he's been around the clubhouse."

Likes: Congrats to Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper on his new five-year deal in Chicago. Good broadcaster, good guy. ... Cameron Diaz on the Late Show with David Letterman this week. ... Bad Teacher looks like it's going to be a hoot. ... The Drive-By Truckers on Letterman this week. ... Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the art of bringing people together and bridging the gaps between disagreements: Mexican food and beer.

Dislikes:
Goodbye, Big Man.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"We said we'd walk together baby come what may
"That come the twilight should we lose our way
"If as we're walkin', a hand should slip free
"I'll wait for you
"And should I fall behind
"Wait for me"

-- Bruce Springsteen, If I Should Fall Behind

Posted on: March 4, 2011 5:34 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column


SARASOTA, Fla. -- Outtakes from hanging with the team that once went to World Series' with Earl Weaver, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. ...

-- Strong, and interesting, words this spring from veteran second baseman Brian Roberts in assessing newcomers Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Vladimir Guerrero and, of course, manager Buck Showalter: "This is the most excitement, I think, that I've seen in my 10 years here. There's been some good excitement in the past, like when we got Sammy Sosa, but as far as realistic excitement, this is the most I've seen."

-- It's easy to get impatient with catcher Matt Wieters, 24, partly because it seems like he's been around longer than he has. We've been hearing about him for so long, a good year or more before he landed in the majors in 2009, that last year's .249 batting average, 11 homers and 55 RBI in 130 games sure seems ho-hum. Especially given that those numbers are down from his 86-game debut in '09: .288, nine homers, 43 RBIs.

"I don't give a lot of to Matt," Showalter says. "He's going to be as good as he's capable of being. Challenges off the field, physical toughness, mental toughness ... he brings all of those things. Like I was telling him last year, 'Matt, you make between 100 and 200 decisions a night with your fingers. You get four at-bats. You do the ratio of how much you impact this club.'"

As the Orioles' culture shifts into a new year, Showalter also is looking for his catcher to be more of a leader this year.

"I told him at end of year last year, the gloves are coming off," Showalter says. "You can't fool me. I know it's there. As long as you're not asking anybody else to something you're not willing to do yourself, then you're covered. If all of a sudden you go half-assed down the line, don't be saying anything to me about it. I want him to start taking more of a role in what's best for the Orioles."

-- For his part, Wieters should be more comfortable with Lee, Reynolds, Hardy and Guerrero around because it helps shoulder the load.

"It's big from an information standpoint," Wieters says. "It's big in that they've been on winning ballclubs. They let you know, this is no longer a rebuilding phase. It's time to win and win now. This is definitely a different camp this year."

-- And Wieters on Showalter: "He's probably the most prepared manager I've ever been around. You're going to come to the park and have a chance to succeed. That's the biggest thing. Every piece of information is there."

Sunblock Day? So far, there have been no days where you didn't need to slather on the sunblock this spring. Just gorgeous.

Likes: David Letterman's top 10 the other night, things you don't want to hear during spring training. Loved No. 9: "Instead of Tommy John surgery, I had Elton John surgery." For the whole list, check out our Eye on Baseball blog. ... A.J. Pierzynski getting pulled over and ticketed for speeding while wearing his White Sox uniform en route to a Cactus League game against Cincinnati. Classic story. And Pierzynski reports that the Arizona police still have not returned his insurance card. ... Boston's on A1A in Delray Beach, Fla. Great food, great atmosphere. ... Weather warm enough to wear shorts, and drive barefoot. ... Mavis Staples' disc You Are Not Alone, produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. Great, great stuff from a true -- and underrated -- soul legend.

Dislikes: Staying at the hotel in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., next to the Wackenhut corporate headquarters. The hotel is good. But seeing the Wackenhut building just gives me the shivers from a long ago time in my life. Scrounging for work the summer before going off to college, I got a job as a security man -- employed by Wackenhut -- at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Power Plan outside of Monroe, Mich. Now, here I was, an 18-year-old kid, working the graveyard shift (something like midnight-8 a.m.) making rounds to protect a nuclear power plant. There was a another security outfit, from what I remember, whose employees actually carried guns. Me, no. I just made rounds and reported anything suspicious. Fortunately, I found another job and only lasted, as I recall, about a month in that gig. It helped build character, no doubt. But I sure hope security has improved since those days.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The pretty little raven at the birdbath stand
"Taught him how to do the bop and it was grand
"Start goin' steady and bless my soul
"He out-bopped the buzzard and the Oriole"

-- Bobby Day, Rockin' Robin

 

Posted on: May 13, 2010 8:14 pm
 

Braden set for encore Friday night in Anaheim

When Dallas Braden takes the mound Friday night in Anaheim in the latest attempt to become the only pitcher since Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer (1938) to throw no-hitters in consecutive starts, he says he will not feel any different than he did in his last start despite. ...

-- Becoming only the 19th man in baseball history to throw a perfect game last Sunday against Tampa Bay.

-- Reading the Top Ten list on David Letterman's show on Tuesday.

-- Appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

-- Appearing with his grandmother on the CBS Early Show on Thursday.

-- Watching his Q rating shoot through the roof.

"I don't get too wrapped up in all that stuff," Braden was saying in a conference call Thursday, his last public words before facing the Angels' Joe Saunders in his next chance for greatness. "I take some of it for what it's worth.

"I almost relinquish to a higher power, my mother having had a hand in what went on. I don't even know that I had a choice."

Braden's mother, Jodie, died of melanoma when he was a senior in high school, and his grandmother who helped him after that -- Peggy Lindsey -- was in the stands in Oakland on Sunday.

She also was at his side for postgame interviews and, now something of a cult figure (especially after her memorable "Stick it, A-Rod" line), Lindsey joined her grandson in Texas this week for a spot on Thursday morning's CBS Early Show.

"Believe you me, she's enjoyed it," Braden said of his grandmother and the limelight. "We did the morning show here in Texas, and the CBS folks were so nice to fly her out and take care of her. And I treated her to a spa day.

"I'm going to have to grease the walls to get her into her house when we get home, because she's loving life right now."

With just 17 career victories before Sunday's perfecto, the key for Braden, 26, is a changeup that tantalizes hitters. His fastball sits between 84 and 88 miles an hour, nothing special. Tampa Bay hitters swung and missed a total of only five times.

Because of that, the self-deprecating Braden doesn't think opponents will view him much differently from here on out, either.

"I don't think so," Braden said. "Because of how rare the feat is. I think everybody understands I'm not going to rattle off four or five in a row. I don't think there will be any fear of that.

"I think there will be fights at the bat rack to get to my fastball."

This will be his second start in Anaheim of the 2010 season. On April 11, he allowed three earned runs and five hits over six innings in a game Oakland won 9-4. Bobby Abreu drilled a first-inning homer against him, then Braden settled down.

"Good changeup," Abreu said this week. "He's got command in and out, and he's not afraid to throw it in, and then throw the fastball away. He comes right at you."

The key to facing Braden?

"Sometimes he gets a little wild," Abreu said. "Make him throw strikes. See how it's going to be in your first at-bat, then after that you decide."

Likes: Ken Griffey snoozing in the clubhouse? Check out the Seattle Times' Larry Stone, whose wildly twisted mind immediately came up with The Boys of Slumber: My All-Sleep Team. Included: Nap Lajoie, Robby Hammock and Andy Sheets, and Stone went deep on Clarence Pillow and James Yawn. Love it. ... And speaking of twisted minds, you know what else is a good read? Former infielder Morgan Ensberg's blog. Check it out here. ... The Detroit Free Press did a very nice job on a three-part series from an extended interview with the late Ernie Harwell last fall, during which the Free Press acceded to Harwell's request that it be held until after his passing. ... Finished Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked. Very good read. Not as good as About a Boy or High Fidelity, but it would be nearly impossible to hit that bar again -- for anybody.

Dislikes: Lenny Dysktra needs money. So badly that he's selling crap on Craig's List.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

Now close your eyes and imagine new Royals skipper Ned Yost singing:

"I'll be standing on the corner
"On the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine
"I'm gonna be standing on the corner
"On the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine
"With my Kansas City baby
"And a bottle of Kansas City wine
"I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come
"I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come
"They got a crazy way of loving there
"And I'm gonna get me some"

-- Fats Domino, Kansas City

Posted on: April 30, 2010 11:49 pm
 

Uecker comes through surgery, Brewers thrilled

SAN DIEGO -- Best news of the day for the Brewers on Friday came from back home in Milwaukee, where Hall of Fame radio broadcaster and beloved local icon Bob Uecker came through a six-hour heart surgery that was described by surgeon Alfred C. Nicolosi as having gone "smoothly."

Uecker, who had his aortic valve, aortic root and part of his ascending aorta replaced, is expected to remain hospitalized for approximately five to seven days, and a full recovery is expected in 10 to 12 weeks.

The Brewers were very happy when the news reached them in their clubhouse here before Friday night's game with the Padres.

"He's part of us, really," said infielder Craig Counsell, 39, a Milwaukee native whose father worked for the Brewers and who is in his fifth season with Milwaukee and 13th in the majors. "He's one of the guys. When he's not here, it's like a teammate is gone.

"We're hoping for the best and we can't wait to get him back."

Uecker, 75, is in his 40th season at the mike for his hometown team and in his 55th season of professional baseball overall.

"He gets around so good," Counsell said. "He doesn't really show any signs of getting older, ever. He just doesn't. He works out every day, swims."

The Brewers are not sure when Uecker will re-join them, but they're very happy to know that he will.

"On behalf of the entire Brewers' organization, we are relieved to know that Bob's surgery went as planned, and we look forward to his complete and speedy recovery," Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said in a statement. "I know Bob appreciates just how eager Brewers fans are to hear his wit, passion and knowledge of baseball as well as all things Milwaukee -- since listening to him is such a big part of our summers. Get well, Bob."

Likes: This bit from Craig Ferguson on the Late, Late Show last week: "Airports from London to Warsaw are on their sixth day of shutdown. The airports are closed because a volcano is erupting. Smoke and ash are spreading over Europe. The smoke cloud is big and thick. Meteorologists originally thought it was coming from Willie Nelson’s tour bus." ... Friday afternoons. ... The Hold Steady on David Letterman on Friday night.

Dislikes: Nothing personal, because he's a solid guy, but man is it tough to watch Milwaukee's Doug Davis pitch. Talk about taking forever to throw the ball. And 100 pitches later, you're still in the fifth inning.


Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"There are people in your life who've come and gone
"They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
"You better put it all behind you baby; cause' life goes on
"If you keep carryin' that anger, it'll eat you up inside, baby"

-- Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter

Posted on: October 1, 2009 6:11 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2009 6:12 pm
 

Short Hops: The Sequel

 If Detroit hangs on and wins the AL Central, the Tigers' key in their first-round series against the Yankees will come long before that series begins: They need to make sure their race with Minnesota doesn't go down to the last day on Sunday so they don't have to burn ace Justin Verlander. If the Tigers are to upset the Yankees in the first round, it's going to be because Verlander, Rick Porcello and Edwin Jackson pitch the games of their lives.

 Here's one small glimpse into why it's working so well in Colorado: Just before closer Huston Street was shelved earlier this month with biceps tendinitis, he was warming up to enter a game with the New York Mets when the phone rang in the Rockies' dugout. It was a call from bullpen coach Jim Wright, who had watched Street and seen enough. While Street was hoping to pitch through his soreness, Wright told Tracy that the closer didn't look right. So Tracy opted to go elsewhere in the pen for a reliever and the Rockies shut Street down. Though Street has blown two save opportunities since coming back, he still should help the Rockies in the playoffs. And if he does, credit an observant bullpen coach with a save.

 So Minnesota will take its slim chances into the final weekend of baseball in the Metrodome's history, heading home and straight into Kansas City ace Zack Greinke on Friday night. It will be the second time in five days the Twins will face him. Good luck with that.

 Attention, Phillies and Yankees: Angels manager Mike Scioscia the other day said Bobby Abreu is his team's MVP. Why? "For one simple reason: The balance he's provided on the offensive side," Scioscia says. Abreu's .394 on-base percentage leads the Angels, and almost as important, he's really helped the maturation of fellow Latin players Kendry Morales, Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar. Scioscia also qualified his pick, saying he would have gone with Torii Hunter as team MVP had Hunter not been injured (adductor muscle) an missed three weeks at midseason.

 You do the math ... on second thought, forget it, it's too tiring: Giants coach Tim Flannery figures coaches hit 44,000 fungoes a year. And he's been coaching 14 years. So he figures he's hit some 616,000 fungoes in his life ... and counting.

 No word yet from Giants owner Bill Neukom on whether general manager Brian Sabean and field manager Bruce Bochy will be offered contract extensions. Sabean and Bochy each is in the last season of his deal. Bochy has grown to love San Francisco and hopes to return.

 Ugh: Kansas City went 33-48 in Kauffman Stadium, it's second-worst home record ever. The worst: 29-51 in 1998.

 Now Jose Reyes has a torn right hamstring and will require surgery, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. And the clock is underway regarding whether he's going to go down as one of the great, unfulfilled talents in Mets history.

 I see Philadelphia lefty Jamie Moyer headed for season-ending surgery at 46 (groin), and I think: Now I know exactly why he dug up the pitching rubber and lugged it home from the clinching World Series game -- his first -- last fall. As a dying Warren Zevon told David Letterman, "Enjoy every sandwich." In the twilight of his career, Moyer is a guy who always has done just that.

 Did you see that when Oakland's Matt Carson hit his first career homer the other day, the fan who caught the ball wouldn't return it without a large ransom? The A's wouldn't do it, and Carson didn't get the ball (though he does have the bat). If I'm the A's, I find out who that greedy pig fan is and make sure he's never allowed to purchase another ticket to an Oakland game. What a jerk.

Likes: Bruce Springsteen opening a five-night stand at Giants Stadium with a new song, Wrecking Ball video here from the Newark Star-Ledger). The guy is unbelievable. It's just the latest example that you never, ever know what you're going to see when you see Bruce and the E St. Band. They are Willie Mays in his prime, Magic Johnson at his peak. Sure hope to catch another couple of shows before the tour ends in November. You owe it to yourself to do so, too, if you can. ... Those old black and yellow Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms were so ugly, but I'll tell you what, they look beautiful every time I see Willie Stargell leaping up and down in clips from the 1979 World Series. ... Greatest newspaper headline I've seen this year, and it ran a couple of months ago but I forgot to pass it along: From the Trentonian newspaper, Hide Your Beagle, Vick's an Eagle.

Dislikes: Cougar Town. I happened to be home last week and, against my better judgment, watched the season premiere. I'm sorry I did. It was embarrassingly bad. Suffice to say, I didn't make it to the second episode this week. ... Didn't much care for I Love You, Man on the Netflix video program, either. Funny coarse and vulgar is one thing. But this was that, without the funny.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now"

-- Bob Dylan, My Back Pages

Posted on: February 14, 2009 3:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 9:18 pm
 

Phillies: Less weight, and Hamels for opening day

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- You wouldn't know it by looking at their wallets -- Philadelphia's team payroll has ballooned to $131.5 million for 2009 -- but the world champion Phillies are lighter on their feet this spring.

Almost as soon as the Phillies' pitchers and catchers stepped onto the field here for their first workout, it was noticeable. Starter Brett Myers is significantly lighter from last year. Reliever Scott Eyre has dropped probably 10 pounds. Andrew Carpenter, who pitched at three different levels in the minors last year, has lost weight as he prepares to battle for a spot in 2009.

And hard at work scooping up ground balls on a different field, first baseman Ryan Howard, in early, has dropped 20 pounds, to 250 from 270.

"That's good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think we showed up in good shape."

Of course, it's one thing to show up in good shape and another to stay there, figuratively speaking, and the Phillies are about to find that out. No team since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees has repeated as World Series winners. The Phillies return nearly their entire team from '08, and Manuel thinks they have every chance to be even better. He told them as much, too, during his season-opening speech before they took the field.

"It was about winning and winning again," Manuel said. "I told them that's behind us. If you're thinking about yesterday, you're not doing nothing to win again."

Manuel estimated that the speech lasted 10 or 15 minutes.

"I was trying to find an ending," he said. "I finally asked (pitching coach Rich) Dubee, 'Do I need to say anything else? And he said, 'No, Chuck, you covered it.'"

It's way too early to make any definitive assumptions, but the fact that several Phillies have reported in good shape certainly bodes well. Myers, for example, is coming off of a tough season in which he was shipped back to the minors for a time before the All-Star break. He finished 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 30 starts and helped redeem the year with his postseason work, but he still comes in with much to prove in '09.

To Manuel, Myers losing weight "means he's been thinking about the season and getting ready for it."

"He finished (last) season strong, which was really great for him," Manuel said. "Also, knowing him, he's definitely thinking about how he'll pitch this whole season. And this is the last year on his deal, and I think he's thinking about another good deal ... and staying with the Phillies."

Manuel was in midseason form already after the workout:

-- On how he views himself as a speechmaker: "Sometimes when I speak at banquets I can get on a good roll and be funny. I never have my speeches (prepared). Today's wasn't very prepared. Usually, when I do prepare it, I'll look down and I can't find where I'm at, so I have to start making it up."

-- On whether he's ready to name ace Cole Hamels as his opening day starter: "You might as well go ahead and pencil him in. There's no sense in me bulls----ing."

Oh, and no word whether the manager lost weight over the winter.

"I don't talk about the manager," Dubee said. "I like my job."

Cracked Manuel: "That's smart."

Likes: Good line from new Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. just after the Phillies took the field for the first time this spring, while they were stretching in the outfield. No, it wasn't when he said that it was "like Groundhog's Day." It came when someone asked him how the Phillies were looking this spring. "They're really stretching," he quipped. "They're lifting their legs well." ... Another terrific episode of Friday Night Lights the other night. The scripts, the acting ... what a great show. Coach Taylor's character is especially strong, from the way he's in charge on the football field to the way he's a little befuddled at home sometimes by his wife and daughter. Hmm, maybe I can relate. ... Gran Torino. Another really enjoyable Clint Eastwood flick. ... The way David Letterman handled Joaquin Phoenix last week. What a dope Phoenix is. Make sure to check out the YouTube clip if you missed it. ... Daily reports from spring camps. Ah, happy new year.

Dislikes: Sad to hear of the passing of Ted Uhlaender, the former major-league outfielder and longtime coach who most recently was working as a scout for the San Francisco Giants. Uhlaender died of a heart attack on Thursday after battling cancer -- multiple myeloma -- for a couple of years. Uhlaender was a first-class guy who, among other things, was extremely proud of his daughter, Katie, who is an Olympian in the skeleton. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was exceptionally close to Uhlaender from their days together in the Minnesota organization in the 1960s, so much so that Manuel added Uhlaender to his coaching staff when Manuel managed in Cleveland a few years ago. Saturday, Manuel recalled how Uhlaender was in Double-A ball when Manuel signed professionally, and how they stayed in the same barracks in Melbourne, Fla., during spring training. "I was with him a long time," Manuel said. "I used to go fishing with him, go eat dinner with him, and we'd have cocktails together. He was a good friend." The two were so close that Manuel is considering attending Wednesday's memorial service in Colorado, though that's the day of the Phillies' first full-squad workout.

Sunblock day? Nice and warm, but very overcast much of the day.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
"Keep me in your heart for awhile
"There's a train leaving nightly called 'when all is said and done'
"Keep me in your heart for awhile "

-- Warren Zevon, Keep Me In Your Heart

 

 

Rants:

Posted on: February 15, 2008 3:22 pm
 

The wolves await Pettitte

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Whoo hoo, spring training at last! Time to break from the storm of steroid disc--

Ah, not so fast. One thread running from the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., all the way down south to the Yankees' spring base in Tampa, Fla., having to do with the one player not retired who was deposed earlier this month, is extraordinarily interesting and relevant.

What you've probably heard about Andy Pettitte, that he's caring, sensitive and earnest, is true. Which brings up an important question: How will Pettitte, whom the Yankees have given permission to arrive a few days late to camp, handle things once he arrives?

"That's a hell of a question," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who remains close to Pettitte after managing him in the Bronx for seven seasons. "I don't think anybody knows what the answer will be."

Even better questions are these: Will the subject dog Pettitte, 35, so badly that it affects his game? Will it haunt him into a premature retirement? He's already pondered retirement in the past, and talk about a sensational story. Not only did he admit using human growth hormone, but he obtained some of it from his father.

Plus, while he may be a good guy, let's not nominate him for sainthood. The guy may have come to the truth, but he arrived slowly and late. Upon release of the Mitchell Report, Pettitte said he used HGH twice. Now, suddenly, it's more than that.

"I feel for Andy," Torre said. "I've been with him for a long time and I still feel close to him. He always enjoyed the fact that there were others there for the press to talk to instead of him.

"I'm sure he'll be uncomfortable. I know he's a professional and he'll get through it, but it won't be comfortable for him."

Another Dodger who came of age in the Yankees' organization when Pettitte and Clemens were there, pitcher Scott Proctor, remains surprised that Pettitte finds himself in this predicament.

"You never expect something like that," Proctor said. "We all have to deal with temptation, and there are many different ones. The decision he made, he has to live with now."

Lots of people thought that Jason Giambi never would be able to play in New York again after he was caught up in the BALCO web because he cares too much about what people think of him, but GIambi hung in there and made it work.

Pettitte now faces the biggest challenge of his career, and who would have ever figured that perhaps Giambi, of all people, would be in position to offer a piece or two of advice?

Likes: Ryan Dempster predicting the Cubs will break their 100-year drought and win the World Series this year. What's he supposed to say? that he came to spring training thinking about a second-place finish? Or getting to the playoffs but getting knocked out in the first round by Arizona, like last year? Maybe Joe Namath's "guarantee" that the Jets would win the Super Bowl was shocking in 1968, but is it so shocking that one of today's players would be so bold as to come out and say something like that? Times have changed. People say all sorts of things today. Sometimes they even believe what they say. ... David Letterman on The Late Show revealing an "incident" related to Roger Clemens' appearance before Congress this week: "Clemens vehemently denied using steroids and at one point got so angry he snapped the Washington Monument in half like a twig." ... XM satellite radio in my rental car this spring. ... Doc's All-American burger joint in Boca Raton. Excellent cheeseburgers, and juicy.

Dislikes: Are we going to have to track down every one of the 89 players fingered as guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs in the Mitchell Report this spring? We are? It's going to be excruciating reading every day over the next three months.

Sunblock day? Absolutely. Strong start to the spring in Vero Beach, where it was a hot sun and about 75 degrees on Friday.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

For all you people included in the Mitchell Report. ...

"I ain't got the time

"And if my daddy thinks I'm fine

"He's tried to make me go to rehab

"I won't go, go, go"

-- Amy Winehouse, Rehab

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com