Tag:Fountains of Wayne
Posted on: August 22, 2011 1:48 pm
All this talk about Dan Uggla, Andre Ethier and hitting streaks this season, the Rangers have had quite the hit streak of their own lately, you know:
Nearly two weeks ago, Aug. 11 to be exact, snapped a streak of 40 consecutive days of 100-degree temperatures in Dallas. A record? Close: It just missed the 1980 Dallas-area record of 42 consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures.
That the Rangers played on, unaffected, and continued to thrive is yet another testament to the current group of strong-willed players constructed by club president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington: When was the last time you heard talk that the Rangers won't make it to October because they'll wilt in the heat?
Used to be an annual topic of conversation.
Yet this summer, the hottest on record in Dallas since Pat Corrales' Rangers went 76-85 and finished fourth in the AL West in '80, so far hasn't even come close to melting Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Co.
As the Red Sox arrive for a three-game series starting with an excellent pitching match-up Monday -- new Boston acquisition Erik Bedard vs. C.J. Wilson -- the first-place Rangers have produced their third-best record ever after 128 games (73-55).
"We monitor it," manager Ron Washington says of the heat. "We go out in it, we don't go out in it, we've still gotta play in it.
"You work in it less. We'll have weeks where we will have worked out in the heat for three days, and on four days we did not. But you've gotta get your work in to get used to it."
During the 40-day streak of temps of 100 or higher, the Rangers played 22 home games. They went 16-6.
"It's our home-field advantage," pitching coach Mike Maddux says. "We take our pitchers out in the heat of day. That's when we do our running, and throw in the bullpen.
"We see it as a challenge: 'I'm going to out-last the other guy.'"
The absence of third baseman Adrian Beltre, out since July 22 with a strained left hamstring, has hobbled the Rangers more than the heat has suffocated them.
And it remains scorching: When the 40-day streak of 100 ended on Aug. 11, it wasn't exactly with a cooling trend. The temperature reached 98 that day.
More of the same is awaiting the Red Sox and Rangers this week: Highs of 104 are predicted for Monday and Tuesday, 102 Wednesday and back up to 104 Thursday.
The Angels follow Boston in on Friday for another AL West showdown. Again, the high is predicted to be 104 on Friday.
"There are nights when we're dragging," Washington says. "But really, who wouldn't drag in that stuff?"
Likes: Absolutely fantastic job by the Padres on Sunday in the ceremony retiring legendary closer Trevor Hoffman's No. 51. One of the best I've ever seen. They presented him with a 1958 Cadillac convertible, based on the stories Hoffman has told regarding how his late father, Ed, loved to drive the family around in a convertible. They brought plenty of ex-teammates and coaches back. And in the best move of the day, the Padres tracked down an old video of Ed Hoffman singing the national anthem at Fenway Park on opening day in 1981 when Trevor's brother, Glenn, played for the Red Sox. Watching Trevor, his wife Tracy and his mother Nikki watch that video -- and brothers Greg and Glenn -- if your eyes weren't moist, then you weren't human. ... Reading the book ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun. Some entertaining stories, and it's written at a fast-moving clip (oral-history style). But it's a guilty read, too: I can't help but think, don't I have more important things to read? ... If you haven't seen it yet, make sure to Netflix (or rent or whatever) Win Win on DVD. It's terrific. Paul Giamatti as a small-town New Jersey lawyer and wrestling coach who is struggling in both areas. ... College football in less than two weeks.
Dislikes: Where, oh where, are the exciting playoff races?
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"In between the stops at the Cracker Barrel
"And 40 movies with Will Ferrell
"I need some way to occupy my time
"So I'm writing you a road song
"I sure hope you don't mind"
-- Fountains of Wayne, A Road Song
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 1:52 pm
Waaaay behind in the mailbag department. The problem? Duh: I haven't been able to get to the Post Office to get stamps. ...
Re.: Newest Phillie a perfect fit in Pence-ylvania
Great article. I think it's funny you referred to Hunter as a young colt ... because he was. He went to Arlington High School with me and we were the Colts.
I'll bet you were.
Hey Scott, guess the Yanks didn't fleece everyone when they gave up Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson for Curtis Granderson in that 3-way trade with Detroit and 'Zona. For all the crap the Yankees take about them not being able to raise pitchers, looks like Kennedy is doing great as the No. 1. of the D'Backs staff. So let me get this straight going forward so we're consistent in our analysis. When it is a young pitcher and he is in NY, he has zero time to grow and improve himself, otherwise he is an overrated NY prospect. But if he comes into his own elsewhere, then it is OK? Plus I'm assuming all the other young pitchers in other systems are allowed to be eased into the big leagues with no stupid scrutiny that the media pays to young NY players? I'm convinced that the media, not the Yankees, ruined Joba's chances at having a normal chance of becoming a frontline starter. Anywhere else, he would've been given the chance, but since it is preposterous in the media's eyes to allow the Yankees to grow their own starters, he failed.
Hey Ben, you play in New York, you pay in New York. Your points are accurate. The problem is inherent in the Yankees' $200 million payroll and in who they are: They themselves will tell you their goal every year is not simply to compete, but to win the World Series. By that self-proclaimed definition, no, the young pitchers do not get fair time to grow and develop in the Bronx. It's true.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Pirates, Indians on the move, fortified by July
Are we jumping the gun here? Cleveland is one game over .500 and Pittsburgh is two. The Sox and Yanks are not going to get worse as we head into the home stretch and the Phillies may have the best rotation ever assembled. I realize you have to keep people from all areas of the US interested in your smack, but I have to give you the NFL version of C'mon Man!!!
Fair enough, my man. You bet I was jumping the gun. When it's July and the Pirates are in first place, you jump! We'll have plenty of time in September, October (and November, December, January and beyond) to dissect the Yankees, Red Sox and everyone else.
FROM: Robert W.
Re.: With slump behind Jimenez, why would Rockies deal him?
Well, I can see you are obviously a Yankees and Red Sox hater. Why, when writing a story about a pitcher getting traded, you have to make a comment like that when the Phillies are the team that is buying the pitching? Way to go with an unbiased opinion, jackass!!!
I'm not quite sure to which comment you're referring. Lots of pithy, witty and intelligent comments leave me open to being called "jackass" by those who wish they were as creative as yours truly. My compliments, by the way, to your read of me being both a Yankees AND Red Sox hater. Most of the time, I get one of those sides accusing me of hating their team.
I don't think people give the Rockies pitchers enough credit. It's a miserable place to pitch. Curves don't curve, so you end up screwing around with your pitch selection, always fearful of the long ball. Typically N.L.pitchers coming to the A.L see their ERAs go up anywhere from 0.5 to 1.0 runs. I'll bet Jimenez injected into a pennant race will see his go down. I wish him good luck!! Seems like a good kid.
He is a good kid and Cleveland can really, really use the help.
FROM: Tony D.
Be honest. Have you seen Sabathia pitch even once this season. And I don't mean on Sports Center.
Several times. Next question?
No-no is a stupid expression. Before ESPN had to rename everything to be cute, the universally accepted term was no-hitter. No-no comes from no hits, no runs. Ervin Santana gave up a run. He pitched a no-hitter. Pass that on to your headline writer.
Done. And good take on ESPN and cute.
Likes: Atlanta's Dan Uggla and the streak. Hope it keeps going, in case you hadn't read. ... The Braves retiring legendary manager Bobby Cox's No. 6 tonight. It was terrific seeing him in Cooperstown at the Hall of Fame induction last month. ... What a fun week with the Tigers and Cleveland and the Brewers at Cardinals. Good stuff and a great glimpse of September. ... The turnaround of the Arizona Diamondbacks. ... The Iowa straw poll this weekend. ... My Weber grill. ... Late-summer blueberries. In pancakes, on cereal, in cobbler, topping vanilla ice cream. One of life's greatest treats. ... The new one from Fountains of Wayne, Sky Full of Holes. Good stuff.
Dislikes: Seeing all the back to school sales already. No, no, no! Can't be that time already, can it?
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Every day's so caffeinated
"I wish they were Golden Gated
"Fillmore couldn't feel more miles away
"So, wrap me up 'Return to sender'
"Let's forget this five-year bender
"Take me to my city by the Bay
"I never knew all that I had
"Now Alcatraz don't sound so bad
"At least they'd have a hella fine Merlot
"If I could wish upon a star
"I would hitch a cable car
"To the one place that I'll always call my home"
-- Train, Save Me, San Francisco
Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:47 pm
LOS ANGELES -- All credit to the all-world Phillies rotation. With Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels leading the way, it is pitching for a place in history.
And we've all seen the damage wreaked by a highly decorated lineup led by Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
But you don't compile baseball's best record based behind just eight or nine players. And as such, the Phillies are getting plenty of help from these easily overlooked parts in their machine:
-- Reliever Antonio Bastardo: With closer Brad Lidge on the shelf for most of the season, Bastardo has played a key, late-innings role and currently is holding opponents to a .128 batting average -- second lowest among NL relievers. His 1.49 ERA is fifth-lowest among NL relievers.
-- Starter Vance Worley: With Joe Blanton done for the year, Worley is 8-1 with a 2.35 ERA and currently has won six consecutive decisions. He's fanned 66 hitters against only 28 walks in 84 1/3 innings.
-- Infielder Michael Martinez: With third baseman Placido Polanco hurt again, it is Martinez, plucked from the Nationals as a Rule V pick last winter, who is providing steady relief. Martinez's 15 RBI during the month of July ranked third among all NL rookies, behind Atlanta's Freddie Freeman (18) and the Padres' Jesus Guzman (18).
-- Outfielder John Mayberry Jr.: Acquired from Texas in a trade in November, 2008, Mayberry, 27, continues to develop into a serviceable backup outfielder with an intriguing future. Of his past 23 hits, 17 have gone for extra bases (and overall, 52.5 percent of his major league hits, 31 of 59, have been for extra bases).
-- Infielder Wilson Valdez: He's plugged in at second base, third base and shortstop at various times this season and, in an extra-innings pinch against the Reds on May 25, became the first player since Babe Ruth in 1921 to start a game in the field and then become the winning pitcher. Though light-hitting overall, Valdez is batting .390 with runners in scoring position this season.
Shane Victorino, twice a Rule V pick himself (the Phillies took him from the Padres in 2004 after the Padres took him from the Dodgers in 2002), raves about Martinez and the "energy" he brings.
"Little pieces," Victorino says. "It always takes 25 guys. Somebody gets hurt, somebody else steps in."
Recalling when the Phillies signed pitcher Pedro Martinez for the stretch run in '09, Victorino said he was extremely wary of Martinez because of the reputation the pitcher brought as a fiery headhunter. But Martinez went 5-1 for Philadelphia in nine starts, pitched the Phillies into position to beat the Dodgers in a key NLCS game and Victorino now calls Martinez "the greatest teammate I've ever had."
"Here, it's all about winning, and winning right now," Victorino says. "If you don't care about winning, don't show up.
"We have so many superstars in here -- MVPs, Cy Young winners, All-Stars, Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers. But Martinez is no different from me because it's all about winning."
That's the way it is throughout the Phillies' clubhouse right now, an impressive culture that is steamrolling everything in its path.
Likes: With the trade deadline having passed and at least a little more free time in August, looking forward to a big date night with my wife to see Crazy, Stupid Love sometime soon. ... Lots of TV to catch up on as well: Last couple episodes of Treme, last five episodes of Friday Night Lights (that's only with trepidation, though, because it's the last season and while I can't wait to see the last few FNLs, I don't want to get through them because then one of my favorite shows in recent memory will be done, sniff, sniff) and the first few episodes of Entourage. ... Haven't gotten all the way through it yet, but I'm liking Sky Full of Holes, the new Fountains of Wayne disc.
Dislikes: I realize there are plenty of parents out there who disagree with me, but man I hate to see summer dwindle down to its last few weeks before school starts again. Summer is never, ever long enough.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Then she wakes me with coffee
"And kisses my head
"And she starts to explain
"About something she's read
"I say, 'Darlin', you haven't heard a word that I've said'
"And I love that girl."
-- John Hiatt, I Love That Girl
Tags: Antonio Bastardo, Babe Ruth, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Fountains of Wayne, Friday Night Lights, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, John Hiatt, John Mayberry Jr., Michael Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Vance Worley, Vance Worley, WIlson Valdez
Posted on: March 23, 2011 11:06 am
PHOENIX -- It seems like, at 27, Oakland lefty Dallas Braden is just coming into his own. But on this talented and young -- emphasis on young -- staff, Braden is the graybeard.
There's All-Star Trevor Cahill (23), who was 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA over 30 starts last year.
There's Brett Anderson (23), who was 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA over 19 starts last year.
There's Gio Gonzalez (25), who was 15-9 with a 3.23 ERA over 33 starts last year.
"I love watching these dudes," Braden says. "I'm excited to be a part of this staff.
"I'm the first guy Cahill ran into in his professional career. I've been taping his shoes together and putting baby powder in his pants [for years], and now look at him."
Braden and Cahill first bumped into each other in 2006, when Braden was rehabbing following shoulder surgery and Cahill had just signed after the Athletics had picked him second in the '06 draft.
"He was all of 18," Braden says.
So of course Braden messed with him.
"Tied his shoes together, baby powder in his pants, eyeblack in his hat, Icy Hot in his sliding pants and shoes," Braden says. "You name it, he wore it.
"Now look at him. He's an All Star, and damn near a Cy Young winner. You talk about people high ceilings ... you tune in three out of every five days to watch the A's playing because when those three guys take the mound [Cahill, Anderson, Gonzalez], they may do something special."
Sunblock Day? The rain has moved on, but temps early Tuesday were in the low 50s. You'll need the sunblock by Wednesday, though, when we're supposed to climb back into the 70s in the Phoenix area.
Likes: Go Butler. ... Old Town Scottsdale. ... The predicted return of the sun to the desert valley. ... Home in a couple of days. ... Home in time for my daughter's play this weekend. ... NCAA tourney games back on Thursday for four more days. ... Opening day next week. ... Final roster decisions starting to arrive. ... www.Segerfile.com for all your Bob Seger news as his new tour lifts off Saturday.
Dislikes: I've loved Bob Seger forever, and I'm thrilled he and the Silver Bullet Band are going back on tour (opening March 26 in Toledo, Ohio). But I'm sorry, I'm not thrilled with the first song I've heard from a new disc coming out this summer. Look, Tom Waits' Downtown Train is a great song, but Rod Stewart did it 20 years ago. Seger always has had an affinity for a well-chosen cover, but he could have been far more creative here. Plus, that's the second song he's covered off of Waits' Rain Dogs, following New Coat of Paint. Bob, at least choose from a different Waits album. ... Aw, my Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central boys' hoops team was bounced in the quarterfinals of the Michigan tournament Tuesday night, 48-45 by Schoolcraft. But the Falcons still made it further in the state tourney than they ever have. Well done, fellas.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Working all day for a mean little guy
-- Fountains of Wayne, Hey Julie
Posted on: September 8, 2009 9:25 pm
Unless ... Lincecum returns to the rotation on Friday against the Dodgers, which would then put him on target to start the finale of a huge series against Colorado next Wednesday and. ...
This is the time of year for conspiracy theories, with all hands on deck and all eyes on the out-of-town scoreboard. And if the Giants were to use a sore back as camouflage to shuffle their stretch-run rotation and set Lincecum up to face both the Dodgers and the Rockies, well, it could be a move of sheer brilliance.
Alas, there are enough indicators that signal this probably is no ruse.
But in speaking with the San Francisco media before Tuesday night's game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy did say it's "possible" that Lincecum could start before his next turn in the rotation (Monday night against the Rockies).
Bochy also did say that his ace will start as soon as he becomes available.
"The sooner we can get him out there, the more starts he would get," Bochy aptly noted.
Now, about those indicators.
Lincecum's velocity has been down in his past few starts, climaxing with the Giants' mysterious decision not to display pitch speeds during the right-hander's last start at home, back on Aug. 28. Instead of his usual 94 m.p.h., Lincecum's fastball has been tracking at 92, 93. Not enough to set off serious alarms, and yes, sometimes a power pitcher's velocity will drop late in the season.
Of course, as the excellent website FanGraphs.com noted in an analysis of Lincecum's slow start back in April, the Cy Young award winner's fastball over his first two starts this season averaged just 92.8 miles an hour, a small drop from the 94.1 career average on his fastball. And nothing apparently was wrong then.
Given his violent motion and small frame (5-11, 170 pounds), durability questions always have hounded Lincecum throughout his career. Not only has he avoided any serious issues so far, he's been a true workhorse. Lincecum leads the NL and ranks second in the majors with 200 1/3 innings pitched, though he ranks sixth in the majors in pitches thrown (3,034).
At 13-5 with a 2.34 ERA, Lincecum is making an excellent case for a second consecutive Cy Young award while the Giants make a spirited dash toward a potential playoff spot.
Best-case scenario right now is if Lincecum makes an extraordinarily rapid recovery and suddenly becomes available to face the Dodgers and the Rockies.
Worst-case scenario? Nobody wants to think about that one right now. And hopefully, we won't have to think about it. The Giants insist this is just a "flare-up", and nothing more.
"The best thing for us is to talk about this in a couple of days," Bochy said. "We'll have more information."
Good news on Thursday or Friday would be most welcome.
Likes: The Giants' upcoming homestand against the Dodgers and Rockies, beginning on Friday night. ... September scoreboard watching. ... Brad Penny making it known to other clubs after he left Boston that he was heading straight back to the National League. He's no dummy. One taste of the AL will do that for a pitcher. ... Stephen Colbert on the cover of the current issue of Rolling Stone. Good interview. ... Sam Kashner's piece on William Manchester and his book Death of a President in the current issue of Vanity Fair. Manchester was asked to write the definitive account of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Kennedy's widow, Jackie, but it turned political and took a toll on Manchester over the next several years as he attempted to complete it and deal with the changing attitudes of Jackie and Robert Kennedy, JFK's brother. Very compelling read.
Dislikes: The Pink Pony closing in Scottsdale, Ariz. In its day, you could find executives and players from every team that trained in the Phoenix area hanging out there each spring. In its dotage over the past few years, you still could find stray baseball officials and writers hanging out there. A steak joint located in Scottsdale's Old Town, the Pony was legendary.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Beth McKenzie got the job of her dreams
-- Fountains of Wayne, Someone to Love
Posted on: May 7, 2008 10:56 pm
One of those only-in-baseball characters passed away, Pat Santarone, the former head groundskeeper at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Back in the day, Santarone and George Toma, the old groundskeeper in Kansas City (who now tends to Minnesota's spring fields in Fort Myers, Fla.) were the Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron of their profession.
Anyway, one of the most interesting things about Santarone was the tomato-growing contests he and Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, the former Orioles' manager, would engage in each summer. The plants were down the left-field line, and the Orioles players used to have a grand time egging on the two combatants.
Terrific quote from Weaver in Roch Kubatko's soulful obit on Santarone in the Baltimore Sun regarding who had the better crop of tomatoes each summer: "Well, he was there when I'd go on the road, and I think there was a little tomfoolery," Weaver said. "He might have been pinching off some of my buds."
You can read Roch's entire piece here.
Likes: Cliff Lee of Cleveland, now with an 0.84 ERA. Wow. ... In Detroit this week, the honeysuckle trees on the grounds of the Dearborn Inn are absolutely gorgeous. And oh my, the fragrance is intoxicating. Smells like spring. ... The fact that Ty Cobb's name is listed on one of the Comerica Park walls with all of the other Tigers whose numbers have been retired, but they left the place for Cobb's number blank. He played before baseball teams wore numbers on their uniforms. ... Detroit Beach Pizzeria and Restaurant, serving outstanding pizzas and Italian food down in Monroe since 1966. ... Leo's Coney Island in Comerica Park. Coney dogs, mmm.
Dislikes: A total of 75 students were arrested in a drug bust at San Diego State University, a bust that included guns? And one of the students arrested was majoring in criminal justice and another was majoring in Homeland security? You've gotta be kidding me. Nice, real class there.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Well it was Saturday night, I was sitting in the kitchen
-- Fountains of Wayne, Strapped for Cash
Posted on: February 22, 2008 7:39 pm
FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Just returned from a nice, long run on one of the back practice fields here at the Minnesota Twins' spring training complex, one of those mind-clearing runs that blows out the cobwebs, burns your lungs and gives you time to think.
And among other things, what I was thinking about was ... cows.
The Twins' complex here is terrific, one of the best in baseball, and Lee County does a wonderful job of maintaining it. Friday, workers spent much of the day putting up the latest touch across the press box facade facing out into the stadium: Colorful pennants featuring the years the Twins have won division titles, AL titles and WOrld Series, and banners depicting the Twins' retired numbers.
But one of the most down-home touches from the past is long gone. Where once there were grazing cows, now there now are condos and other buildings beyond the Hammond Stadium outfield fence.
The cows, which were still around as recently as the mid-to-late 1990s, were one of the quaintest sights in the Grapefruit League. They'd be out there grazing, heads down to the grass, and doing whatever else cows do, and the Yankees or Red Sox would arrive, the game would start and you'd wonder whether any of the cows were in danger from a home run ball.
I never saw one get struck, but you had to hand it to the cows. Often the herd would be grazing just on the other side of the outfield fence. But as the game progressed, they'd slowly move further and further away from the stadium. It wasn't a stampede or anything but, suddenly, you'd look up in, say, the fifth inning and the cows would be several hundred yards from the park.
I guess the noise from the crowd and the public address system probably drove them away. I don't know. Maybe they just tired of watching Rich Becker take another called third strike. Perhaps they were offended that, as the steroid era took hold, guys started becoming almost as big as them.
Whatever, it was a soothing effect, watching those cows. I liked the cows.
Among the other new touches at the stadium this year are improved, brighter lights -- the outfielders should love that -- and a bigger batter's eye in center field.
See, as more buildings were built, there is this large, beige building off in the distance that sometimes made it difficult for hitters to see the ball.
Far as I'm concerned, with the buildings having replaced the cows, they may as well extend that batter's eye from foul pole to foul pole. The background is the one thing the stadium folks haven't been able to improve.
Likes: Rick Stelmaszek, longtime Twins coach, in uniform here and back in action after winter hospitalization because of seizures. Stelly looks good and says he feels good, and here's to his long-term health. ... George Toma, the legendary Kansas City groundskeeper, moonlighting this spring here in Fort Myers as one of the main guys taking care of Minnesota's field in Hammond Stadium. For a guy in his 70s, Toma looks to be in incredible shape. How do I know? The guy was pushing a fertilizer cart across the field Friday morning shirt-less. ... Congratulations to Michael Cuddyer, one of the greatest human beings in the game, and his wife, Claudia. They're expecting their first child, a boy, in June. ... Notre Dame's hoops team winning again. ... Thursday night's Democratic debate. Very nice gesture at the end by Hillary, shaking Obama's hand and remarking about what an honor it was to be there with him. Great to see so many people enthused about politics, and the University of Texas students seemed an exceptional audience. ... Not just the chicken parmagiana at Nino's Pizzeria and Italian Ristorante here, but the sauce that goes over it. Best fresh tomato sauce I've had.
Dislikes: Kelvin Sampson's incredibly poor judgment. Nice job by Indiana University, running Bobby Knight out a few years back, running the classy Mike Davis out, and then ending up in far worse shape ethically.
Sunblock day? Let's just say there was a bright sun and 80 degrees by 9 a.m. Let's just say nobody's shoveling snow anywhere near here.
Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:
"She knows the score
-- Fountains of Wayne, Revolving Dora