Tag:Steve Goodman
Posted on: March 18, 2011 2:03 pm

Angels' "gold standard" Shields retires

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Scot Shields, one of the premier set-up men in the game for a five-year period as the Angels were racking up AL West titles from 2004 through 2008, will announce his retirement later today.

For a long period of time, Shields truly was, as former teammate Tim Salmon called him Friday morning, the "Rubberband Man." A 6-1 right-hander with a slight frame and a funky, deceptive delivery, Shields worked in 60 or more games every year between 2004 and 2008. He made more than 70 appearances in three of those seasons.

"He evolved into, really, the gold standard for what set-up men are," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "What impressed us about Scot was that he could have gone a lot of places and been the closer. But he committed to this organization, and this organization committed to him.

"He accepted the role when there was a lot of discussion about him being a starter. In the right situation, he could have been the closer. Except we had Troy (Percival) and Frankie (Rodriguez) here.

"He was about winning."

Shields made 43 appearances last season for the Angels, going 0-3 with a 5.28 ERA, before his season ended with arm problems.

Sunblock Day? Rumor has it that the temp in the desert is supposed to drop into the 60s Sunday or Monday. Today, though, it's great. Going to be back in the 80s.

Likes: Maxine Nightingale's Right Back Where We Started From pumping through Tempe Diablo Stadium as Angels ran through Friday morning workout. Great thing about it is, two nights ago I was flipping the TV in the hotel and came upon Slapshot -- and had forgotten how they keep playing that song throughout. Strange how stuff like that happens so often, isn't it? Hadn't heard that song in years, then I see Slapshot and now here it is again a couple of days later. ... Slapshot, by the way: One of the great moments in cinema. ... Thai Elephant in Tempe. ... Dallas Braden wearing that awesome Tam o'Shanter hat for St. Patrick's Day in the video interview we did with him on St. Patrick's Day. I was ready to go out and buy one for myself but, sadly, he didn't pick it up in Phoenix. His grandmother sent it to him.

Dislikes: Days like this, I want to stay back and watch wall-to-wall NCAA tournament games. I know we've got that "Boss Button" that you can click in case he walks up behind you in the office. Problem is, I do that and my bosses still know I'm screwing around because the baseball columns don't get turned in!

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car
"Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score
"Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
"Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor
"And the sons of pullman porters
"And the sons of engineers
"Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel
"Mothers with their babes asleep
"Are rockin' to the gentle beat
"And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel"

-- Steve Goodman, City of New Orleans

Posted on: April 5, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2010 4:09 pm

Opening Day: Ceremonial first blog pitch

Welcome to the last day of the best sports weekend of the year: Opening Day, and Final Four weekend. And yes, we count the Monday of the NCAA championship game and 13 baseball openers as part of the weekend.

If you haven't called in sick today, I have just one question: What's wrong with you?

While we count down to the Butler game (yes, it's the Butler game, not the Duke game, and I'll get to them in a separate blog in a little while), colleague Danny Knobler and I will be blogging throughout the day, sending quick hits regarding today's 13 openers. So check back often.

A couple of quick opening thoughts heading in:

-- Coolest moment: President Obama set to throw out the first pitch before today's Philadelphia-Washington game in D.C. I don't care whether you're Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian or a leftover reguee from the Whig party. You don't see presidents dropping the first puck, making the first handoff or tossing up the first jump ball. Just one more reason why baseball remains the best and most important sport going.

-- Best pitching matchup: Tough to beat the Detroit-Kansas City game at 4 EDT, when Tigers ace Justin Verlander goes against AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.

-- Most interesting home debut: Let's see what kind of ovation Atlanta right-fielder Jason Heyward gets when the Braves open against the Cubs this afternoon. I'm guessing it will range somewhere from raucous to exceptionally raucous.

-- Most interesting road debut: OK, so we never notice hitting coaches unless one of our favorite players delves into a slump. But when the Cardinals open in Cincinnati today, and they introduce the teams pre-game, let's just see what kind of reaction St. Louis hitting coach Mark McGwire gets as things begin again for real for him.

-- We're still unwrapping the season and: The Red Sox and Yankees already checked in with their first sub-4 hour game! They played Sunday night's opener in 3:46. Now the raging question becomes, can they do it again?

-- Opening day boos to: The Angels and the A's. Two things I know about Opening Day: It should always be a day game, and clubs should never schedule it opposite the NCAA title game. What, you think your fans don't want to watch the basketball championship? Why not just schedule an afternoon game?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The Cubs made me a criminal
"Sent me down a wayward path
"They stole my youth from me
"That's the truth
"I'd forsake my teachers
"To go sit in the bleachers
"In flagarant truancy
"And then one thing led to another
"I discovered alcohol, gambling and dope
"Football, hockey, lacrosse, tennis
"What did you expect?
"When you raise a young boy's hopes
"And then just crush 'em
"Like so many paper beer cups
"Year after year after year"

-- Steve Goodman, A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request

Posted on: September 14, 2009 9:28 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2009 12:25 am

Big Unit eyes bullpen comeback

SAN FRANCISCO -- Faced with a must-win series against Colorado this week -- that's must-win every night, not must-win as in must take two of three -- San Francisco's bullpen has help on the horizon: Randy Johnson threw 48 pitches' worth of a simulated game Monday and hopes to pitch in and help the Giants bullpen soon.

It won't be during the Rockies' series, but manager Bruce Bochy said that if Johnson comes through it and feels fine on Tuesday, he'll likely be activated soon.

He hasn't pitched since July 5 because of a torn rotator cuff.

"It's not strained or bruised, it's torn and I've been out for two months," Johnson said following his mid-afternoon workout. "I've recovered from the injury as much as I can."

Meaning: It's time to roll.

"I know [the Giants] bullpen is pretty beat up and we're playing a lot of teams with left-handed hitters," Johnson said, anticipating spot relief duty.

Bochy was pleased with what he saw, and everyone knows it's all-hands-on-deck now.

"It says a lot about Randy and how competitive he is," Bochy said.

Johnson looked strong, and backup outfielder John Bowker no doubt can attest to that: Bowker was hit by a Johnson pitch early in the outing. The only Giant who got decent wood on the ball was utility infielder Kevin Frandsen, who sliced a ball toward right-center field.

Johnson technically threw 53 pitches overall, if you include his warm-up tosses. There does not seem to be a sense from Johnson or Bochy that the big left-hander needs another simulated game before pitching in a real game.

"What happened today was encouraging," Johnson said. "I feel I'm ready to go. The first step is to be activated. The next step is finding out when I'm going to pitch again. Hopefully, it will be in a real game."

Likes: Randy Johnson working in a quiet ballpark at 3:30 in the afternoon. ... Terrific run along the Embarcadero on a stunningly gorgeous Monday morning in San Francisco. You could not have ordered up better weather. ... Lefty O'Doul's in San Francisco. I can still vouch for the corned beef.

Dislikes: Seeing Hall of Famer Willie McCovey struggling to walk with his arm brace/crutches. If only Stretch's knee injuries could have come with medicine and surgeries as advanced as they are today. ... The Virgin Records Megastore in downtown San Francisco? Out of business. ... Kanye West apparently is a punk.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Nighttime on The City of New Orleans,
"Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee.
"Half way home, we'll be there by morning
"Through the Mississippi darkness
"Rolling down to the sea.
"And all the towns and people seem
"To fade into a bad dream
"And the steel rails still ain't heard the news.
"The conductor sings his song again,
"The passengers will please refrain
"This train's got the disappearing railroad blues"

-- Steve Goodman, City of New Orleans

Posted on: February 13, 2009 6:56 pm

Joba: Start me up

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain smiled Friday when I asked about his imposter being fined $2,518 and placed on two years' probation in New Jersey on Wednesday.

But it was a knowing smile, not a ha-ha-isn't-that-charming smile.

"It goes further than people think," Chamberlain said. "It's my name at stake."

Ryan Ward, 30, of Toms River, N.J., was arrested last September for impersonating Chamberlain. He'd pose as the Yankees pitcher in bars, signing autographs, accepting free food and drinks and picking up women.

Even though Ward apparently did no serious damage and didn't commit true identity theft -- no credit card fraud or anything like that -- Chamberlain still wasn't amused.

"If he's rude to somebody or brushes them off, it all comes back to me," Chamberlain said.

That diversion over, the big right-hander is ready to go for 2009. And his days of bouncing between the rotation and set-up duties appear finished. The Yankees are committed to keeping him in the rotation this year, along with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte.

And Chamberlain is fully committed to starting.

"It's awesome," he said. "I'm excited. I'm ready to get going."

It's probably no accident, either, that the Yankees have placed his locker right next to that of Sabathia. The young Chamberlain is ripe to soak up all sorts of information from the sage Sabathia, and the relationship started long ago. Chamberlain, who broke into the majors in 2007, introduced himself to Sabathia in the outfield one day during batting practice when Sabathia, still with Cleveland, was doing his running.

"He just came up and started talking," Sabathia said. "We started rapping. We exchanged telephone numbers."

When Sabathia visited New York for his press conference back in December, Chamberlain made sure to be there, and he had dinner with CC and his wife, Amber.

"You see the baseball side of things every day, but I had a chance in New York to have dinner with him and his wife, and I got a chance to see what a family man he is," Chamberlain said. "You get a different feel for someone when you do that. I kicked it with him."

The benefits of Chamberlain being influenced by the ol' pro Sabathia probably outweighs the imbalance now in the Yankees' spring clubhouse, but the club may want to have structural engineers sign off on the new arrangement anyway, just in case.

With Sabathia and Chamberlain lockering next door to each other, it's a corner of heavyweights, what with Sabathia checking in at 6-7, 250 pounds and Joba at 6-2, 230.

"He's a big fella," Chamberlain said. "That's two big boys in the corner over there."

Likes: Goose Gossage coming to Yankees camp every spring as a guest pitching instructor. ... The way the Yankees bring all sorts of ex-players to camp each spring, from Gossage to Reggie Jackson to Graig Nettles to Frank Howard. It might get tiresome if you're not a Yankees fan, but nobody does history like the Yanks. Touching how they've changed the name of Legends Field at Yankees' camp to George M. Steinbrenner Field. With sons Hank and Hal Steinbrenner now running the club, the name change is just one more signal that the old boss is in his twilight. ... The hot sauce on my pulled pork the other night at Lee Roy Selmon's barbecue joint. Wow, was that good. ... Good UCLA-Arizona State game the other night. Love watching college hoops in the hotel room at night while prepping for whatever camp I'm headed to next.

Dislikes: Being away from my sweeties -- my wife and daughter -- on Valentine's Day. Awwww. ...

Sunblock day? Postcard perfect here in Tampa today. Warm sun, not too hot, not much humidity ... I'm guessing around 75 and gorgeous.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Night time on the City of New Orleans
"Changin' cars in Memphis, Tennessee
"Halfway home, we'll be there by mornin'
"Thru the Mississippi darkness rollin' down to the sea
"But all the towns and people seem to fade into a bad dream
"And the steel rails still ain't heard the news
"The conductor sings his songs again
"The passengers will please refrain
"This train has got the disappearin' railroad blues."

-- Steve Goodman, City of New Orleans


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