Tag:John Mellencamp
Posted on: October 3, 2010 10:26 pm
 

Gutsy Padres put on heck of a show

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the end, a $40 million payroll was good for 29th in the majors, 90 victories and one big heartbreak on the final Sunday of the season.

The Padres pushed the Giants to the brink of a one-game playoff back in San Diego on Monday, but couldn't push them over the edge. San Francisco's 3-0 win here Sunday earned the Giants the NL West title, and Atlanta's win over Philadelphia gave the Braves the NL wild-card berth.

The Padres head home for the winter after a summer of vastly exceeding expectations.

Even in losing, this was one special team.

"It shows that if you have a bunch of guys committed to the team concept, you can compete in this league," second baseman David Eckstein said, "We had a good mix of guys. That's the tough thing about it.

"Because no one is going to care because we didn't make it."

Sad truth is, Eckstein probably is right -- but he should be wrong.

What the Padres did should have been headline news. They were the game's best story throughout the season.

They were the perfect team for these roiling economic times. They stretched their budget. They made more with less. They were responsible and paid attention to small details.

"A lot of clubs out there, small-market clubs, I'd love for them to take a page out of what we did," Eckstein said. "It proves anything is possible."

The Padres held first place from June 18 through September 16.

They and the Yankees were the only clubs to not lose more than three consecutive games until the Padres were ambushed by a 10-game losing streak beginning on Aug. 26 that ultimately became a mortal wound.

"It's a team game made up of individual battles," manager Bud Black said. "This truly was a team in the sense that guys cared about each other. The unselfishness. Guys understood what I was doing and what the coaches were doing.

"It was fabulous how strong, as a group, the team concept was. It was awesome."

The whole was far greater than the sum of the parts. And as these Padres quietly prepared for their final charter flight home of 2010, though it was a somber clubhouse, there was pride in what they had accomplished.

"I'm never one to be disappointed at the end of the year," said slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who now, along with closer Heath Bell, probably will re-enter the trade rumors market this winter. "You give it your all. When you play your heart out every day, you have nothing to hang your head about.

"Whether we came up one game short or 10 games short, I gave it all I had.

Likes: The Giants are deserving champions. Totally revamped lineup, and together with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and Co. will be tough in the playoffs. ... Every time I come to San Francisco, the beauty of AT & T Park hits me all over again. ... On to the playoffs. ... Michaelangelo's Café in North Beach. ... Congratulations to Coach Jack Giarmo, my old classmate, for notching his 100th win as Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central rolled over Grosse Ile 49-13 on the high school football fields Friday night. Coach Jack has the Falcons rolling again, I love it.

Dislikes: It's always a severe and harsh split when a baseball season ends. People you see practically every day of the summer, suddenly, you're done seeing some of them until next February, March or April. Reaching the end of a season is kind of like reaching the end of the school year. It's been a long grind and you're happy to be done, but you'll miss seeing a lot of friends. Looking forward to seeing some of those friends over these next several weeks in the playoffs.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Educated in a small town
"Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
"Used to daydream in that small town
"Another born romantic that's me
"But I've seen it all in a small town
"Had myself a ball in a small town
"Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town
"Now she's small town just like me"

-- John Mellencamp, Small Town

Posted on: September 26, 2010 10:01 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2010 10:01 pm
 

Reds on verge of clinching -- REALLY at home

So what's a team to do when it clinches a division title when it's not even at the ballpark?

Such a scenario could happen to Cincinnati on Monday: With a magic number reduced to one, the Reds have the day off and St. Louis hosts Pittsburgh.

If the Pirates win, the Reds win their first NL Central title since 1995 ... without even playing.

Will manager Dusty Baker call the troops in to Great American Ballpark for a celebration?

Nope.

"Guys have stuff to do," Baker says. "Family stuff ... you need some personal time, some family time. Guys are preparing to move out of their places. Some of their leases are up Oct. 1. That's a lot to do."

Baker also mentioned unpacking from the club's 10-day, three-city trip, resting, watching the Cardinals on television and watching Monday Night Football.

"That's what I'm going to do," Baker said, referring to everything mentioned in the previous sentence.

Undoubtedly, some in Cincinnati will be pulling for St. Louis to beat the Pirates so that the Reds can win the division title on the field Tuesday against Houston. That way, local fans could watch and perhaps participate in the celebration.

"It would be funny," infielder Brandon Phillips says of the idea of clinching Monday night while the Reds are scattered. "Some guys would be at clubs, some would be at Jeff Ruby's [a local steakhouse], some would be at the bowling alley, some would be home in their own houses celebrating by themselves."

One thing Phillips knows is, as a non-drinker, he's told his teammates that he will have his first glass of champagne when the NL Central title belongs to the Reds.

Likes: The seven-game sprint the end for San Diego. And six games for San Francisco and Atlanta. ... How good is Reds first baseman Joey Votto? When he cracked a homer against Clayton Richard on Sunday, it was the first homer the Padres' lefty surrendered to a lefty hitter since Aug. 1, 2009. Lefties had gone homerless over 241 at-bats against Richard since. Not Votto. ... How funny is it that the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys are both 1-2? ... Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central rolled over New Boston Huron 47-3 on Friday night. Excellent. The Falcons machine is up and going. ... Love John Mellencamp's new disc No Better Than This. Great stuff.

Dislikes: Watching Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka nibble, er, pitch.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Wanna go where the summer never ends
"With my guitar on the beach there with all my friends
"The sun's so hot and the waves in motion
"And everything smells like suntan lotion
"The ocean, and the girls so sweet
"So kick off your shoes and relax your feet
"They say that miracles are never seizing
"And every single soul needs a little releasing
"The stereo bumping till the sun goes down
"And I only wanna hear that sound"

-- Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sound of Sunshine

Posted on: August 31, 2010 12:06 am
 

Torre on Clemens: "I feel bad"

LOS ANGELES -- Busy trying to get his Dodgers back into contention, manager Joe Torre did not see video footage Monday of Roger Clemens' arraignment in Washington, D.C., earlier in the day on charges of lying to Congress about whether he used steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.

But Torre's heart was with the pitcher who helped him win two World Series titles with the Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

"I feel bad," said Torre, who managed Clemens with the Yankees from 1999-2003 and again in 2007. "I texted him today and said, "I'm thinking about you.' He sent back a text and said thank you.

"Roger's sort of like my son. He certainly wasn't anything like I thought he was when I watched him across the field.

"I really like Roger. I don't know what the right thing is to have happen."

Stubborn to a fault, Clemens entered a not guilty plea and insists he will fight the charges.

"When Roger says something, he believes it," Torre said. "I don't know what it is that causes that. But he's a very proud individual."

Likes: The front three in the Phillies rotation -- Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt -- is worth the price of admission. ... Love the MLB Network when I’m home. They've done a first-rate job. ... Sad, sad story in Detroit, where former Pistons PR man Matt Dobek committed suicide recently. This column from Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press is heartfelt and outstanding. ... First few listens to John Mellencamp's No Better Than This: Love it. ... Picked up The Morning Miracle, the new Dave Kindred book looking at the Washington Post's struggle for survival. Looks pretty good. ... Tough loss in Friday's opener for my boys from Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central, 43-28 to Detroit Crockett in the high school football opener, but I see a strong bounce-back against Monroe Jefferson this Friday.

Dislikes: Manny, Manny, Manny. He never leaves a situation better than he found it. ... How can school be starting already?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Save some time to dream
"Save some time for yourself
"Don’t let your time slip away
"Or be stolen by somebody else
"Save some time for those you love
"For they’ll remember what you gave
"Save some time for the songs you sing
"And the music that you’ve made"

-- John Mellencamp, Save Some Time to Dream

Posted on: August 21, 2009 12:24 am
 

Greene, Padres settle dispute

Khalil Greene arrived in San Diego on Thursday with his St. Louis Cardinals teammates -- but without union representation.

Which was a very good thing for him.

Greene and the Padres settled a grievance in which the club was attempting to recover up to $1.47 million in salary from last August and September when the shortstop was sidelined after a suffering a self-inflicted injury. The grievance hearing had been scheduled for this month.

"It was resolved a couple of weeks ago in a mutually satisfactory way," Padres chairman Jeff Moorad said.

Moorad declined to reveal terms because the parties signed a confidentiality clause. David Prouty, chief labor counsel for the major league baseball players association, confirmed the settlement Thursday.

"It certainly was something, as far as it being over and done, I'm glad it's over," Greene said. "It was something that was on my mind for a long time up until the point when it was finally finished.

"I'm glad to be done with it."

Greene suffered a broken hand last July 30 when, in a fit of anger, he punched a storage locker in Petco Park during a game. The Padres, angry to have lost their shortstop for the season and in a financial pinch, wanted to dock his salary for the time he missed.

It is believed that Greene wound up receiving most of, if not all of, the $1.47 million due him. One precedent the players' union was citing in its case involved former pitcher Doyle Alexander, who won a similar grievance in 1982 when the Yankees attempted to recover salary paid while he was sidelined for two months because of a similar self-inflicted injury. Then, Alexander fractured a knuckle when he punched the dugout wall.

Greene has been on the disabled list twice this summer with anxiety disorder issues and is hitting only .211 with five homers and 23 RBI in 57 games for St. Louis. He also has eight errors.

Likes: When people talk about Albert Pujols' greatness as a complete player, this is what they're talking about: Pujols swiping second on a 3-and-0 count to Matt Holliday in the ninth inning of a tied game in Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night. It caught the Dodgers so flat-footed that shortstop Rafael Furcal didn't even back up the play, so nobody was there when the ball skipped away from Orlando Hudson. So Pujols took third, then scored the winning run on Holliday's fly ball. It even got a smile from normally stone-faced manager Tony La Russa when I asked him about it. ... College football getting close. ... Don Middlebrook's new CD Beach Bar Serenade. Check out Don's stuff here. ... Bob Dylan's latest Together Through Life. Really good. ... Dark Star's Sports Tonight radio program in Minnesota. ... The latest leg of Bruce Springsteen's tour opening in the United States -- in Hartford, Conn. -- on Wednesday. ... The Farrah Fawcett photo on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair. And I'm particularly glad that, of the two covers of this month's magazine -- Fawcett and Michael Jackson -- the issue featuring Fawcett was the one that landed in my mailbox. ... John Mellencamp's new song Save Some Time to Dream, that apparently will appear on a CD to be issued this fall. He's playing it in concert this summer. ... The free Friday concerts in the park near my house in the summertime. Just one more to go this weekend. Quick, somebody slow summer down. It's disappearing too quickly.

Dislikes: Who says the education system in this country doesn't need fixing? And I'm not talking math, science or even diagramming sentences. I'm talking about the young police officers in New Jersey who didn't even know who Bob Dylan was last month. Very amusing story here.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
"He gets me my drinks for free
"And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
"But there's someplace that he'd rather be
"He says Bill, I believe this is killing me
"As the smile ran away from his face
"Well Im sure that I could be a movie star
"If I could get out of this place"

-- Billy Joel, Piano Man

Posted on: August 13, 2009 6:17 pm
 

Taking Chemistry 101 with White Sox, Phillies

Those who believe in clubhouse chemistry now have two riveting experiments to watch in these final six weeks: Alex Rios and his Chicago White Sox teammates, and Pedro Martinez and his Philadelphia Phillies teammates.

Both situations involve winning teams with high expectations, a new player with baggage and current players who are popular in the clubhouse and stand to lose playing time.

It is widely believed that Rios' arrival will punch Jermaine Dye's ticket out of town. Dye, a free agent this winter, Rios, Carlos Quentin and Scott Podsednik equal four players for three spots. So? Manager Ozzie Guillen's job just became ever-more challenging. And unless there's mega-understanding, somebody's not going to be happy with each new lineup card posting.

Between general manager Kenny Williams' uber-aggressiveness and Guillen's take-no-crap manner, these are just the guys to handle it. What these Sox have done so well over the years is put winning first, rather than cater to personalities, and that's not changing now.

"That's what we do here," Guillen told Chicago reporters this week. "We hurt your feelings? That's easy. Call your agent, your agent will call [general manager] Kenny Williams and then Kenny will do something about it."

The biggest key might be how much of an effort Rios makes. In Toronto, several sources say, he rubbed several teammates the wrong way with his disinterest in working too hard.

Meantime, Martinez's arrival has pushed veteran Jamie Moyer to the bullpen. Moyer is not a happy camper, and Pedro, historically a diva, could cause a clubhouse rift down the stretch. Especially if he isn't winning. Moyer, integral to the Phillies' World Series title last year, is popular with teammates and is viewed as a mentor by younger Phils (which, yes, pretty much includes all of them being that Moyer is 46).

The prediction here is that, as usual, it will come down to performance and wins in the end. If Rios hits and the Sox win, the rotating outfield quartet will be all smiles. If he doesn't and they don't, it could get ugly.

In Philly, same thing. Pedro's act always has tilted toward the endearing when he's winning, and toward the grating when he's not. His debut with the Phils, a 12-5 win over the Cubs, was a start. If he improves from there, the Phillies' callous shoving aside of Moyer will be far more easily overlooked in the clubhouse.

And if not, Pedro may not be around for the long haul, anyway. And maybe Moyer makes a triumphant, late-season return to the rotation.

At the very least, both situations have the chance to work out splendidly ... or to turn catastrophic. Either way, it'll be must-see TV.

********

How good are the New York Yankees' chances of playing in another World Series?

History tells us this: Dating back to 1995, eight of the 14 teams that owned the best record in baseball on Aug. 13 have advanced to that year's World Series (and four of those teams won).

The eight best record on Aug. 13/World Series teams: 2007 Boston Red Sox, 2006 Detroit Tigers, 2005 Chicago White Sox, 2004 St. Louis Cardinals, 1999 New York Yankees, 1998 New York Yankees, 1996 Atlanta Braves and 1995 Cleveland Indians.

The four World Series winners: 2007 Red Sox, 2005 White Sox, the 1999 Yankees and the '98 Yankees.

The Yankees, by the way, are the seventh different team over the past seven seasons to own the best record in baseball on Aug. 13.

Likes: Caught The Bob Dylan Show -- Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Dylan -- in Lake Elsinore, Calif., on Wednesday night and it was fantastic. Great venue -- at The Diamond, home of the Lake Elsinore Storm, Single A affiliate of the San Diego Padres -- gorgeous night and great sound. Willie Nelson opened, playing for about an hour, and the man may be 76, but his voice is timeless. Of course, his classics Whiskey River and On the Road Again were great, and a couple of Hank Williams numbers mid-show, Jambalaya and Hey Good Lookin', were really cool. Mellencamp rocks, though one of his highlights was an acoustic version of Small Town. He brought out his 14-year-old son, Speck, to play guitar on his final number, The Authority Song, and Mellencamp teased him pretty good ("Now you know you're not in the band, right?"). Pink Houses, Crumblin' Down, Rain on the Scarecrow and a couple of his new songs were stellar. Then, last came the master. And while I've heard Dylan can be maddeningly inconsistent, and barely able to be understood sometimes when he sings, I've gotta say, he and his five-man band were far better than I expected. There isn't any interplay with the audience, but that's fine. Watching Dylan was the same feeling I got when I was in a baseball clubhouse when Muhammad Ali entered a couple of springs ago. To me, there are only a very small handful of icons that can make you sit back and go, 'Whoa', and the reclusive Dylan -- like Ali -- is one. He killed on Thunder on the Mountain and Summer Nights, among many others. All Along the Watchtower, his show closer, was terrific. The Times, They Are A-Changing was barely recognizable until about a third of the way in, but it was great. Two songs from the new album, Beyond Here Lies Nothin' and Jolene, were highlights. All in all, when you can catch three Hall of Famers in one venue on one night, that's a pretty darn good night. ... Oh yeah, and there was a fourth Hall of Famer, too: Basketball legend -- and former Grateful Dead groupie -- Bill Walton was rockin' in the standing room area in front of the stage, about 20 feet to my right. Looked like people were leaving him alone and letting him enjoy the show.

Dislikes: A Cubs fan throws beer on Shane Victorino during Wednesday night's game? All these years later, and Lee Elia is still right. ... Can we just get past the Aug. 17 signing deadline so we don't have to listen to more of the Stephen Strasburg negotiations. Every baseball man I talk to expects, with Scott Boras as the adviser, that it will go right up until the midnight EDT deadline on the 17th. ... Aw, they sold out of the cool Bob Dylan Show concert poster I was going to pick up on my way out of the Lake Elsinore ballpark at Wednesday night's show. It would have looked so good on my office wall, too.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I'm listening to Billy Joe Shaver
"And I'm reading James Joyce
"Some people they tell me
"I got the blood of the land in my voice"

-- Bob Dylan, I Feel a Change Comin' On

Posted on: April 9, 2009 8:39 pm
 

Different Giambi set for Oakland home opener

Biggest difference between the 20-something Jason Giambi who played in Oakland in the 1990s and the 38-year-old graybeard whose encore performance there resumes in earnest with the Athletics' home opener Friday night against Seattle?

Probably the yams.

Yes. Yams.

"No more fast food runs," Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez says. "It's yams now. That's his big thing."

Like Popeye, Giambi yam what he yam in the twilight of his career.

"I've gotta stick around," says Giambi, whose fast-food drive-thru tales were legendary in his early days with the A's. "Those were the good old days. I'd get fast food and burn it off until it was all gone."

Whatever he's doing is working so far. When Giambi steps onto the Oakland Coliseum field for the first time since 2001 wearing the green and gold, he'll bring with him a .417 batting average and a .500 on-base percentage through three games. He's yet to have homered, and he has one RBI.

Booed lustily by the Bay Area fans whenever he'd return after signing as a free agent with the Yankees before the '02 season, the A's are expecting their home fans now to wrap Giambi in a giant, warm, standing-ovation hug during what undoubtedly will be one of baseball's emotional high points of the weekend.

"There's no doubt," says Chavez, one of Giambi's good friends on the team then -- and now.

"It's great," Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson, recovering from offseason surgery and a former teammate of Giambi's during those glory days in Oakland, said this spring. "I was happy to see him go back. I know the fans and the people in Oakland are really going to enjoy him.

"He's got a lot of years left to play, and hopefully the rest of them will be right there. He was a great teammate there for me. One of the best teammates I've ever had. He was as great a teammate as a superstar could be. He makes everyone feel important.

"He's got a heart of gold, and he's a likable guy. I've never met anybody that doesn't like him."

Hudson chuckled at the memory of Giambi's old penchant for junk food.

"I've never been through a drive-thru with him, but he's brought me some in the past, that's for sure," Hudson said. "In Oakland, he was the kind of guy who came into the clubhouse with a sack of McDonalds and everyone would get what they wanted."

Giambi's new diet is completely fat-free. According to www.nutritiondata.com, one cup of yam cubes (136 grams) contains 158 calories, five grams of dietary fiber, two grams of protein, 27 percent Vitamin C and zero grams of fat.

He's even made dietary converts out of outfielder Matt Holliday, second baseman Mark Ellis and, yes, Chavez.

"Chavy was busting on Mark Ellis the other day, saying, 'Look at those guys -- they're in the trainer's room riding (exercise) bikes and eating yams," infielder Bobby Crosby says. "The next day, Chavy was mowing down some yams.

"Heck, I'll probably be doing it today."

Giambi brings 396 career home runs, 1,280 RBI and way shorter hair back to Oakland for his second tour, not to mention a stricter diet (thank goodness the tattoos haven't gone anywhere).

"Trust me," Giambi says. "I drive by McDonalds all the time and say, 'Oh, man. Those were the good old days.'"

Likes: Kansas City could have swept the White Sox this week, but for Kyle Farnsworth's first relief outing for his new team. ... Not that I wish bad things for the White Sox, because I don't -- I really like the team, manager Ozzie Guillen and the city -- but it's nice to see perennial doormats Kansas City, Cincinnati, Baltimore and even Pittsburgh get off to reasonable starts in the first week. ... Ichiro on his way back to the Seattle lineup soon. ... This GQ article on Lenny Dykstra. Shady, shady, shady. ... Mooning a train? Sounds good to me.

Dislikes: Sad, sad times in Anaheim for the Angels.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Days turn to minutes
"And minutes to memories
"Life sweeps away the dreams
"That we have planned
"You are young and you are the future
"So suck it up and tough it out
"And be the best you can"

-- John Mellencamp, Minutes to Memories

 

 

Posted on: October 4, 2008 4:03 am
 

Hunter, sore knee, head to Boston

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Exactly how poorly things are going for the Los Angeles Angels in this series with Boston crystallized in the third inning of Game 2 when Torii Hunter, outraged over being called out in a close play at first, leaped into the air ... and hurt his knee when he landed.

Hunter remained in the game, and a check by Angels doctors following Los Angeles' 7-5 loss revealed no ligament damage. But the left knee is sore and a little swollen, and Hunter is hoping the cross-country flight and impending activity don't make it swell more.

What happened was, with two out, runners on first and second and the Angels already trailing 4-1, Hunter grounded to shortstop and thought he barely beat Alex Cora's throw.

Umpire Kerwin Danley thumbed him out, however. Hunter, after crossing first base, whirled around, jumped, and. ...

"I was about to stomp, and I might have stomped too early," he said.

He crumpled to the ground in what immediately looked like a severe injury. After several minutes, he eventually made his way out to center field.

"We'll see what happens the next couple of days," Hunter said. "Regardless, I'm playing. The only way they're going to get me out of the lineup is to put me in a cage."

Likes: I really liked Tampa Bay pitcher Scott Kazmir drilling White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera in the first inning Friday. Kazmir and Tampa Bay are in uncharted territory here in the playoffs, but it made an immediate statement following Cabrera's screaming and kicking dirt in the direction of reliever Grant Balfour in Game 1. The statement was, Kazmir will protect his teammates, and Balfour obviously is respected by those same teammates.

Dislikes: Frank TV. I don't care if the playoff games are televised on TBS, ESPN, Fox or the Home Garden Network (though I sure would love it if CBS would get the contract). But I am so sick of this Frank guy and the oversaturated commercials that, even though he looks like he's got some spot-on impersonations, I'll never watch the show.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The crops we grew last summer weren't enough to pay the loans
"Couldn't buy the seed to plant this spring and the farmers' bank foreclosed
"Called my old friend Schepman up to auction off the land
"He said, 'John, it's just my job, and I hope you understand'
"Hey calling it your job ol' hoss sure don't make it right
"If you want me to I'll say a prayer for your soul tonight"

-- John Mellencamp, Rain on the Scarecrow

Posted on: July 1, 2008 1:38 am
 

What if Brandon Morrow was a starter?

From his perch in the Seattle Mariners' bullpen, where he is chief set-up man to closer J.J. Putz, Brandon Morrow can't help but keep an eye on his old college rival.

He isn't alone. San Francisco's Tim Lincecum is tearing it up at 9-1 with a 2.38 ERA (second in the National League) and an NL-leading 114 strikeouts.

They pitched against each other in college, sort of, Lincecum starring for the University of Washington and Morrow for Pac-10 rival University of California.

"They were rained out or something right before we played them, and they jumbled their rotation and he didn't pitch that Friday," says Morrow, who did.

He wasn't exactly disappointed at the time -- "Gave us a better chance to win," he says -- and the two would run into each other across the country in the Cape Cod League as well.

Morrow was Seattle's first-round pick in the 2006 draft, fifth overall. The Giants chose Lincecum 10th overall in '06.

Morrow made the majors to stay in '07, ahead of Seattle's schedule, because the Mariners had a need in their bullpen. He was good as a set-up man last summer, going 3-4 with a 4.12 ERA over 60 appearances, but as Lincecum deals, he can't help but wonder what life might be like back in the rotation.

"I was always a starter," Morrow says. "You can't put enough importance on a quality start. If you don't get a good start, the relievers don't matter."

Until the Mariners traded for Erik Bedard and signed Carlos Silva as a free agent last winter, the club intended to slot Morrow in the rotation this season. He even made seven starts in the Venezuelan Winter League, working on building his endurance so he could pitch more innings.

"I was slightly disappointed I went through all that" and then was pushed back to the bullpen, Morrow says. "But anytime you're in the big leagues, you can't complain."

Meanwhile, several hundred miles south of Morrow, Lincecum's All-Star season continues for San Francisco.

"He's been throwing the hell out of the ball all year," says Morrow, who's seen it before.

Likes: Tampa Bay and Boston this week in a meaningful series. What fun. ... Roy Halladay, and six complete games. He would have fit in very well alongside Mickey Lolich,  Gaylord Perry, Catfish Hunter and Bert Blyleven. ... Safeco Field. Still beautiful after all these years. ... The way they arrange the AL flags in order of standing at Safeco. And yes, what an odd thing to see the Rays flag flying ahead of Boston's and the Yankees'. ... Seattle's "Countdown to Cooperstown" -- it's at 27 days -- in anticipation of legendary broadcaster Dave Niehaus' impending induction into the broadcasters' wing. ... Tim Lincecum pitching, any night. ... ... Ferndale, Wash., from Sandy Point to Barlean's Fishery.

Dislikes: Racial threats against Boston Red Sox players? What is this, 1859? Sad to say, that kind of backwater thinking continues to exist. Look at the Democratic primaries this year, where a stunning number of voters in West Virginia and Kentucky admitted in exit polls that race factored into the way they voted.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Racism lives in the U.S. today
"Better get hip to what Martin Luther King had to say
"I don't want my kids being brought up this way
"Hatred to each other is not okay
"Well, I'm not a preacher just a singer son
"But I can see more work to be done
"It's what you do and not what you say
"If you're not part of the future then get out of the way"

-- John Mellencamp, Peaceful World

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