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Tag:John Prine
Posted on: February 24, 2012 5:50 pm

K-Rod digs Milwaukee: "I want to make that clear"

PHOENIX -- Meanwhile, over in the non-Ryan Braun corner of the clubhouse Friday, former closer Francisco Rodriguez took time out from contemplating a lawsuit against his former agents to report for duty as the 2012 Brewers' set-up man.

In what could be termed as a mild surprise, Rodriguez was smiling and appeared happy. Once intending to declare free agency over the winter and find a job as a closer, K-Rod wound up discovering a tepid market and wound up accepting a one-year, $8 million deal from the Brewers.

Unhappy a year ago because he did not pitch in one save opportunity after being traded to Milwaukee on July 12, Rodriguez again is slated to pitch the eighth innings while Milwaukee closer John Axford works the ninth innings.

Though Rodriguez is contemplating a malpractice and fraud suit against former agents Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem of the Wasserman Media Group because they failed to file a no-trade provision on his behalf when he pitched for the Mets, he emphasized that he is not unhappy to be returning to Milwaukee.

"I want to make that clear," said Rodriguez, who had the Brewers listed among 10 teams he could not be traded to in the paperwork that was never filed. "Some newspapers said I did not want to come here, and that's not the point.

"Three years ago when they asked me about the list, it was not that I did not want to come to this city or this team, but the closer was Trevor Hoffman. It had nothing to do with the fact that I did not want to come to Milwaukee.

"That's true."

Because of Hoffman's presence, Rodriguez explained, he placed Milwaukee on his no-trade list because he never intended to pitch for a team on which he would not close.

"I'm honored and happy to be here," Rodriguez insisted. "If I didn't like the city, trust me, I'd go my separate way."

Sunblock day? Great day. It's heating up in the desert, close to 80 degrees. You want to see Cactus League clubs, you'd better slather on the sunscreen.

Likes: Looking forward to serving as a panelist at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism on Monday night. I'll be joining Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Janie McCauley of the Associated Press and Bob Nightengale of USA Today in a panel discussion talking about covering spring training. ... Cool scene with the Rangers with Yu Darvish in camp. His parents are really nice folks. ... Meatballz Italian Deli in Peoria. Had the eggplant parmesan the other night and it was great. And I don't say that lightly: I've never before had eggplant parmesan. But it was Ash Wednesday, and I was going meatless, so I skipped the chicken parmesan. ... The shrimp creole at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in Phoenix. ... Sirius/XM Satellite radio's E Street Channel. Been digging the unveiling of a new track each day from Bruce Springsteen's forthcoming Wrecking Ball record.

Dislikes: Grady Sizemore, hurt again in Cleveland. Poor guy, and poor Indians. What was shaping up as a brilliant career now looks certain to fall way short of that.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Kiss a little baby
"Give the world a smile
"And if you take an inch
"Give them back a mile
"'Cause if you lie like a rug
"And you don't give a damn
"You're never going to be
"As happy as a clam"

-- John Prine, Big Old Goofy World
Posted on: August 18, 2011 3:14 pm

Love Letters: The Thome & Zambrano edition

Jim Thome. Carlos Zambrano. Discuss. ...

FROM: Jack M.
Re.: Thome's 600th HR, like his career, comes with class, style

I attended a charity auction in the Peoria area in the winter following the 2002 season. The organizers reached out to Thome, asking if he could attend. He said he couldn't, due to a prior commitment, but donated various autographed items to the auction. Then, on the night of the auction, he showed up unannounced about a half-hour before it began, donated a sizable check, and gave a short speech. After this, he went to the airport and flew back to his prior commitment -- being introduced as a member of the Phillies. The guy's whole life was changing, and he made time for a small auction back home. Ever since then, I root for Jim Thome -- even against my favorite teams.

I know there are those who say, bottom line, it's about what they do on the field. And that's true. But watching a class act like Thome join the 600 club sure is more fun than watching a miscreant who can barely squeeze his enlarged head through the front entrance to 600.


Greetings! The difference between the Big Zero and Jim Thome, there is a reason why I cannot support certain players. And for the Union to file a grievance? The Big Zero CLEANED OUT HIS LOCKER. One may say that was done in the Heat of the Moment but, having played COLLEGIATE baseball, do you realize just how long it takes to do that ? The Big Zero has earned his nickname, and I wish the spoiled little child well with whatever he does in life.

You must be hell on wheels at the dart board, your points are so accurate. And very magnanimous to wish Zambrano well, by the way.

FROM: Wayne A.

Scott: If you check the background of Jim Thome, I believe you will find he went through high school at Limestone H.S. in Bartonville, Ill., which is across I-474 from Peoria. Almost everyone says he is from Peoria. If I am incorrect on this matter please correct me.

I checked, and you're right. Apologies to good ol' Limestone/Bartonville. I expect to see a Paul Bunyan-like statue of Thome there one day.

Re.: After yet another Zambrano meltdown, will Cubs learn lesson?

ZOOM-brano -- the Jim Piersall of this decade. Haven't we all seen enough of this emotional infant? A bowel movement with teeth is what he is.

Oh, man ... hold on ... I'm still doubled over in laughter ... I'll get to an answer in a moment. ... hahahahahaha.

FROM: Terry F.

I don't think that Z should be on the DQ List. This isn't really about Zambrano. He is what he is. This is about the Cubs. I agree with you in that they need to pay him whatever they owe him and move on. They supported him in his first fight, which was a mistake. When the second fight occurred, or perhaps before as there were plenty of other incidents like throwing the umpire out, they should have traded him or released him. Zambrano is responsible for his own actions, but the Cubs deserve far more blame than Zambrano this time, because they knew what they were dealing with and they let it happen.

Really hard to argue against those well-reasoned points. Cubs, your move.



Well done. Great article. However, it's not so easy cutting loose a guy making that much cabbage knowing you're NOT going to get ANYTHING in return. Are you forgetting the Cubs had two extensive injuries in their starting rotation this year? They even tried trading Carlos before the deadline. They even put him on waivers. NOBODY claimed him. Nobody wants him. The Cubs best hope is Carlos really does retire so it voids the contract. The very last thing the Cubs will do is let him go via release and by suggesting that, you don't know as much as you think you do.

Yeah, the Cubs never should have extended him in the first place. But if you remember, at the time of his extension, MANY teams would have paid top dollar for him based on his numbers. He was one of the top pitching free agents out there that year. The Cubs best solution is to do what they did. Let him sit for a month and NOT pay him. Let things cool off. See what he says in a month. If he retires? Awesome. If not? Move him to the Restricted list so he doesn't pitch again this year and try once again to move him in the offseason. If by Spring Training he's still hanging around like a snot, THEN you release him.

Cabbage. Love the term. And you're right, Zambrano is making so much cabbage even Peter Rabbit would be exquisitely jealous -- and better behaved.

FROM: Dorothy B.

He should be fired. I didn't watch all the game, but figured with that many home runs against him, he'd throw a fit and he did.

See? If you can see these things coming, why can't the Cubs?

FROM: Gary

I know he's a f------ nut, but why was he still in the game after giving up five homers?

Legitimate characterization of the Big Z(ero), and legitimate point regarding the Cubs.

FROM: Dan S.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Giants need to fix their puny offense

Understand your column about Giants offense, but on the other hand they have three people in the ERA leaders and one at 3.5. Their game is low scoring, if they keep the opposing team in the game then they have a chance. If they had an offense like Cincy, for example, and score seven to eight runs but the pitchers give up eight or nine, what good is the high scoring offense? Sure it would take pressure off their pitchers to get four runs early.

Valid points, and we see the troubles the Reds are having. But isn't there a middle ground somewhere the Giants could find? The best argument right now is how banged up they are.

FROM: Frank


You're right on target. As a longtime Giants fan, it's really frustrating to see such futility at the plate. Outside of maybe Sandoval and Schierholtz, all the rest are hitting well below their career avg's. Belt could be a spark...two dingers [the other day] in Florida was a good start.

The Giants need a few new Belt loops.

Likes: The season Michael Young is having for the Rangers. ... Merle Haggard's take on Texas manager Ron Washington's lovely phrase, "That's the way baseball go." It's now a Haggard song, and you can download it on iTunes. The money goes to Rangers charities. ... Modern Family. Terrific characters and snappy writing. ... Steve Earle's book I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive. Very entertaining read, with lots of colorful, skid-row characters. Let's just say one of the main characters is a junkie doctor who helped country legend Hank Williams score dope and may have been the last person to see Williams alive (fiction, this book is fiction). Earle's CD of the same name is terrific, too -- especially the track Waiting For the Sky to Fall.

Dislikes: Being a captive audience to merchants on the other side of the airport security screening and paying something like $12 for a small "breakfast" to go at Starbucks. Highway robbery is what it is. In this crappy economy and in these days in which airplanes have scrapped food, that's got to be a great business to go into: Running a food shop between the security screening and the flight gates. I imagine those people all live in mansions, with servants, eating prime rib and lobster every evening.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Kiss a little baby
"Give the world a smile
"And if you take an inch
"Give them back a mile
"'Cause if you lie like a rug
"And you don't give a damn
"You're never going to be
"As happy as a clam"

-- John Prine, It's a Big Old Goofy World
Posted on: February 21, 2010 9:09 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2010 10:22 pm

Pujols' elbow may give pitchers fits in 2010

JUPITER, Fla. -- National League pitchers may not want to hear this, but St. Louis slugger and three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols says he's "pretty excited" with his surgically repaired right elbow because it feels good and his rehabilitation went well over the winter.

"I feel some good extension," Pujols said after taking batting practice and hitting off of a tee Sunday, his first day in camp (the Cardinals' first full-squad workout isn't until Tuesday). "It's so much better. You're talking, they took out six bone spurs about as big as your pinky fingernail. That's pretty huge."

Pujols is hopeful that the surgery will allow him to avoid Tommy John ligament transfer surgery in the future, the specter of which has been shadowing him for the past few seasons.

"Nine years here, and he's had significant pain in more than half of them," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "That's part of his greatness. He still goes out there, still produces. He had a typically great year.

"He's not oblivious to it but he deals with it."

He dealt with it to the tune of 47 homers, 135 RBI and league-leading on-base (.443) and slugging (.658) percentages last year. He also scored an NL-high 124 runs en route to his third NL MVP trophy.

Of La Russa's assessment that he's played more than half of his career with significant pain, Pujols didn't flinch.

"I can agree with that," he said. "It's something probably with me having such a hard head and not taking the time I need to take during the season because I care about the organization and I love my teammates.

"I believe if I play and can give 85 or 90 percent to help this ballclub, that's good for me."

This was the second surgery on Pujols' right elbow in as many years. In 2008, he had his ulnar nerve transposed, and this winter he had the bone spurs taken out. He was happy after the surgery when the operating physicians, noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews and Dr. George Paletta, indicated that they thought the work done on the elbow would preclude the ligament transfer surgery.

"I might be wrong, because I just woke up from the anesthesia," Pujols joked. "But I think that's what he told me. That day, I woke up and that's what I heard."

What he's tired of hearing is talk about his contract, which runs through this season with a club option for 2011. As if the nearing end of Pujols' deal isn't intriguing enough on its own, the fact that the Cardinals re-signed Matt Holliday to a seven-year, $120 million deal over the winter added another layer. How St. Louis will fit two whopper contracts -- if the Cardinals do negotiate an extension with Pujols -- into its budget is grist for armchair GMs.

The subject arose again Sunday because Pujols previously has indicated that he would not negotiate once the season begins.

"I don't want to talk about that right now," Pujols said. "It's been the talk for the last three years, and it's getting to the point that it's getting irritating to talk about. Let's wait until something happens."

Sunblock day? Heck, yes, Beautiful. Temperatures in the mid-70s. Enough to make me scurry by a pharmacy to pick up some sunblock -- something I had delayed doing because it had been jacket weather for the past several days.

Likes: Working in the room the other night with the Olympics on the tube, I saw Katie Uhlaender on the skeleton and couldn't help but smile. And feel sad. Her father was Ted Uhlaender, the former major league outfielder who passed away last February. Ted was a baseball lifer and was scouting for San Francisco at the time of his death. He was a terrific man, owner of a ranch, horses and who knows what else. How did I know his daughter was on the U.S. team? Her proud papa told me about it two or three years ago during a conversation in this very same hotel I'm in now. A few years later, he's gone, she's in her second Olympics and I'm in this hotel, watching her and thinking of him. ... Caught Crazy Heart a few days before spring training and highly recommend it. Jeff Bridges was outstanding as a burned out, alcoholic country singer. The character is modeled after a composite of old country musicians including Waylon Jennings, but watching Bridges, I kept thinking of Kris Kristofferson. The physical resemblance is striking. ... Love the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute on Alabama's license plates, which I hadn't seen in a long time until driving to Cardinals' camp this morning. They read "Alabama" on the bottom. Across the top it reads "Sweet Home."

Dislikes: Can't help but laugh each time I stay at this ol' hotel in Palm Beach Gardens, because it's very close to Wackenhut headquarters. I was employed by Wackenhut -- "a world leader in providing high-end armed and unarmed security personnel. ..." -- a long, long time ago. Matter of fact, it was for a few weeks the summer after I graduated from high school. It was the overnight graveyard shift at a nuclear power plant, and I was an unarmed security guard. Hated the job and the hours, and all these years later I still shake my head. Me, an 18-year-old unarmed security guard making the rounds at 2 and 3 a.m. at a nuclear power plant. I still have no idea what I was supposed to do had the bad guys showed up.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"If dreams were lightning, thunder was desire
"This old house
"It would have burned down a long time ago"

-- Bonnie Raitt (John Prine), Angel from Montgomery


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