Posted on: October 13, 2011 7:58 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 7:59 pm
ST. LOUIS -- Say this for Brewers manager Ron Roenicke: He's a man of his convictions.
One day after his Mark Kotsay decision became a flashpoint in Game 3, Kotsay was back in the lineup for the Brewers for Game 4, albeit starting in right field in place of Corey Hart instead of in center field.
Roenicke, meanwhile, steered part of his pre-game news conference back to his decision to play Kotsay in center field a night earlier.
"I know you guys hammered me for Kotsay yesterday, but Kotsay is a good outfielder," Roenicke said. "I didn’t put somebody out there who was a bad outfielder. I just didn't have Carlos Gomez in there. Carlos is a fabulous outfielder."
Roenicke again explained he likes Kotsay's offense and that's what he wanted from Kotsay in Game 3. And Kotsay did deliver: Two walks and a home run against Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.
Thing is, with Milwaukee ace Yovani Gallardo starting, there is an argument to be made that you want your best defense behind him. But Roenicke held fast to his reasoning, explaining that part of it, too, is that Gomez "hasn't started against a right-hander in, I don't know, four months?"
"Sometimes you want somebody in there that has a chance to get hot," Roenicke said. "Kotsay did what he was supposed to do yesterday. He got a home run and two walks in front of our big boys. That's what he was supposed to do.
"OK, he got caught off of second base. Kots, I know, wasn't happy about that play. But he did what he was supposed to do."
Likes: The Tigers have had such a good season, it would have been a shame to see them go down to Texas in five games in a heap of injuries. I'm glad to see that go at least six ... and I hope this NL Championship Series between the Cardinals and Brewers goes six or seven games, too. ... Make it seven, for both. ... If Reese Witherspoon truly is "showing her sexy side" in the flick This Means War due out in February, then sign me up. ... The beautiful weather continues in St. Louis. Great run Thursday morning through downtown and around the Jefferson Memorial National Monument, the park area where the Arch is located. ... New Tom Waits is always a good thing. ... The chicken parmesan at Charlie Gitto's Italian joint downtown.
Dislikes: Friendly's closing its doors for good via bankruptcy. I'll always remember those summer nights in 1982 with Jeannie, and other friends, when Friendly's was a post rec-league softball stop and the Reese's Pieces Sundaes were quite the treat. And the Fribbles. All gone now, sadly.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I'm the hat on the bed
"I'm the coffee instead
"The fish or cut bait
"I'm the detective up late
"I'm the blood on the floor
"The thunder and the roar
"The boat that won't sink
"I just won't sleep a wink
"You're the same kind of bad as me"
-- Tom Waits, Bad as Me
Posted on: September 2, 2011 1:31 pm
Of hurricanes, Orioles and White Sox ... which really aren't all that different, when you think about it:
FROM: Nick D.
Re.: Last-place Orioles remain stuck in familiar late-season rut
I started to read this article and then I stopped. ... Stop writing articles giving me hope for my woefully bad O's. I read these every year and every year they're the foundation holding up the AL East. Stop. Please. You people keep opening the same wound.
Next time I'll bring the cotton balls and hydrogen peroxide.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Rain postponements taking toll on 2011 - then comes Irene
The fact that fans who purchased tickets to Saturday's games at Fenway Park had to wait out those delays is absurd. The greed of the organization is the reason. They did not want to have to cancel the games and reschedule, or God forbid they would have to offer refunds or tickets to an alternate game. To try to play those games through the hurricane was absurd. It is frustrating to read your articles because none of this is mentioned and you show an unreasonable bias to the Yankees. If it was the Yankees organization that did this, you would be the first one criticizing them.
The Red Sox were so greedy they let fans into Fenway for free following the rain delay in Game 2 Saturday.Appalling, wasn't it? It's called trying to make sure the games get played when there is precious little time left in the season to reschedule them, mister.
There is no reason to have rainouts anymore. If a small-market team like Seattle can have a retractable roof stadium, why haven't the BIG GUNS protected game revenues with new Stadiums, including retracting covers. Hellloooo Yankees!
Put a retractable roof on Yankee Stadium, the ghost of Babe Ruth will rip his plaque out of Monument Park and install it somewhere in Montana.
FROM: J D
Hey, Miller ... More Yankee bashing, huh? Shocking. And you're not right. Like Joe Girardi said, a lot of other games in baseball and other sports changed their schedules to be amenable to Hurricane Irene. They still could have played an actual DH, not split, and honored Flanagan -- which the Yankees did the night before in very good form, btw, before their game with the A's. Or they could have played a game on Saturday in the early morning before the storm hit. It's all about the fact of the O's not wanting to lose a gate in one of the rare times they would actually make some money with the Yankees in town. Now, the Yankees will have to use up one of their rare September off days to play a game in Baltimore after finishing up a three-game series with the aforementioned O's the very next day, and with a long West Coast road trip looming. ... And way not to mention the Red Sox's unwavering interest in getting both games in no matter what the weather to improve their standings and keep a September off day.
You lost credibility with the sentence "And you're not right." Because, fact is, I'm almost always right. Including on this topic.
FROM: Jack L.
Re.: Up-and-down White Sox look to final month to save season
I'm a lifelong, die-hard White Sox fan who literally follows the team hour by hour, not just day by day. You did a very nice job of summing this season up. The only difference between being a gawker checking out a freeway wreck in the other direction and watching the White Sox play this year is that the freeway wreck is at least somewhat interesting, even if you can't really see much of it. IMHO, Kenny Williams is clearly the guy that needs to go. Trader Kenny completely lost his touch with the first stinker of a Nick Swisher trade and has just made one bad move after another ever since save for unloading Edwin Jackson prior to the trade deadline.
At least don't follow the White Sox minute by minute. Think how miserable you'd be then.
Fire Kenny Williams, he sucks as a GM. It's been his signings that brought the White Sox four of the worst contracts in White Sox history. Let's not forget the Manny Ramirez deal last year as well after letting Jim Thome slip away. The Sox paid Ramirez multiple times what Thome was paid all year for one month of services. If not for Zambrano's and Soriano's contracts on the North Side, Williams would really be exposed for the horrible GM he has been. I think the players enjoy playing for Ozzie Guillen, and he has gotten a lot out his players considering the start the Sox have had in the last two years.
According to my Love Letters readers' poll, Williams' approval rating drastically trail those of Guillen.
FROM: Mike M.
Love your work. Love it if you could do a story about the Angels owner (Arte Moreno) vs. Scott Boras and include why Boras has that ground level box behind home plate at Anaheim Stadium. Boras looks like an idiot standing in the TV background of most pitches while he talks on his cell or works his laptop. As a Mariner fan I laugh thinking what Angels fans think about seeing him all the time.
It's a simple, economical issue: Boras' company purchases that ground-level suite with old-fashioned greenbacks. But while you may laugh, think of all the advertising that TV time translates into for hundreds of players who might be watching in other cities and contemplating what Boras could do for them.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Yanks getting stronger down the stretch
Scott, while I respect your opinion, how has the Yankees pitching been woeful? Their ERA is better than Detroit, Boston, and Texas's, their bullpen ERA is the best in baseball, and outside of A.J. Burnett, no one on that staff has been woeful outside of Phil Hughes before his injury. Right now, Ivan Nova and Hughes are pitching as well as anyone, CC Sabathia is an ace, and between Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, the Yankees have a respectable four starter for the playoffs. It just makes no sense why people are so quick to discredit the Yankees pitching without looking up the numbers.
If you read the column, and not just the headline and sub-head, you'd have your answer: I was EXAGGERATING, teasing Yankees' fans for being so quick to panic.
Likes: LA Marathon founder Bill Burke making a $1.2 billion bid for the Dodgers. It's funded in part by Chinese investors, and wow, think how much fun we all could have with THAT. Great take by Harold Meyerson in Friday's LA Times on the op-ed page: "There's no need to rehash the McCourts' destruction of one of American sports' most fabled and successful franchises. At this point, anyone who takes the team off their hands would be a better owner, right? Could there really be a more problematic proprietor? And then, along comes China." ... Absolutely loved Thursday's A-1 headline in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Obama jobs speech up against Packers opener." ... Good job, Falcons of Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High, getting on the board with a 12-6 win over New Boston Huron on Thursday after a tough opening week loss.
Dislikes: Sports Illustrated's rare regional covers. I know, business is business. But I'm old school and I don't like not having a particular cover.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"What's keeping you, keep pouring drinks
"For all these palookas, hey you know what I thinks
"That we toast to the old days and DiMaggio too
"And old Drysdale and Mantle, Whitey Ford and to you"
-- Tom Waits, A Sight For Sore Eyes
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: March 16, 2011 11:22 pm
PEORIA -- Outtakes from time spent hanging out with San Diego (the Padres, not the Chicken). ...
-- New center fielder Cameron Maybin breezed through an early gaffe: He tweeted at the beginning of camp that he had become ill after eating at Panda Express.
Innocent mistake. No, not eating at Panda Express, but tweeting about getting sick afterward. What he didn't know was that one of the Padres' minority owners also owns that fast-food chain.
He subsequently cleared that up on Twitter, and now it's a funny story. Not long afterward, the owner sent him a $100 gift certificate to Panda Express.
-- Ace Mat Latos is helping Maybin break in a second outfielder's glove this spring. Maybin has his gamer, but he -- and others -- always have a second glove he's breaking in. Latos' job: He's using Maybin's "future" gamer to shag balls during batting practice.
"Me and him chat in center field a lot, and whenever there's batting practice I'll get out there and use his glove," Latos says. "You've gotta help your outfielders. You think back to what Will Venable and Tony Gwynn Jr. did for me last year, making all those plays.
"He's a great guy. I've gotta put a pocket in there for him."
The glove he's using was given to him by former Rockies teammate Todd Helton, a three-time Gold Glove winner. One clue is the way "Todd Helton" is clearly stitched onto the thumb area of the black glove.
"I'm working on breaking in some other gloves, but until I get something ready, I'm using this one," says Hawpe, who was a first baseman in high school and at Louisiana State but moved to the outfield once he landed in the Colorado organization because Helton sure wasn't going anywhere.
Hawpe said the advice Helton gave him over the winter about playing first simply was to "keep everything slow."
There was not much teasing about Hawpe's impending position change.
"No," Hawpe says. "He's excited. Like he said, 'We're boys.' He was nothing but excited."
Sunblock Day: Whew boy, high of 90 on Wednesday. Hot, hot desert sun. Love it.
Likes: The Tee Pee Mexican joint in Phoenix. Funky little building and outstanding food. Recommended: The chicken burro covered with enchilada sauce. ... Tom Waits, Darlene Love and Leon Russell inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Perfect, and long overdue. Love is incredibly underrated and Waits is one of the all-time great songwriters and lyricists. And glad to see Elton John get Russell back in the limelight. Their disc, The Union, is very good. Some of Elton's best work in years. ... The Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High basketball team beating Hillsdale 49-35 Wednesday night to win its first-ever Regional tournament. Next up for my Falcons: A state quarterfinal game next Tuesday against 24-0 Schoolcraft.
Dislikes: Too many teams and people left to see, and too few days left of spring training to get to everybody. It's going to take some creative scheduling.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"The piano has been drinking
-- Tom Waits, The Piano Has Been Drinking (But Not Me)
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:43 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 2:44 pm
Last mail call before spring training. Now, doesn't THAT sound nice? ...
FROM: Bert L.
May need some sand to dump on Burnett as well as salt to make sure he's good and thawed for spring camp and beyond.
You'd really put A-1 on filet mignon? You're about as smart as a bag of hair.
Depends on who's cooking the filet mignon. If I'm grilling it, no need for A-1.
FROM: Alex B.
I think he made a lot of fans and, as I wrote, he put a human face on the umpiring profession. And some of those guys really need it.
FROM: Kurt K.
Very well written article on Joyce. It was really interesting to see what he has been up to recently. What a class act Joyce is. I am sorry that it had to happen to Armando Galarraga but I am actually glad it did happen. It just shows what true sportsmanship is all about and why baseball is so much classier than all other professional sports.
Another thing: When baseball sells seats to a World Series, the seats are actually there for the ticketholders.
FROM: John B.
I like your thinking but here's why it won't work: The Mets are not on Young's list of eight clubs to whom he will accept a trade. I don't see Young being interested in playing for the Mets. And Beltran has a full no-trade clause.
FROM: Frank D
You're right about Rivera, and Napoli wasn't ever a Mike Scioscia favorite. And you're right that Wells is a pro, just like Hunter. But that's a lot of dough for a player where there are other, more significant needs.
FROM: Scott D.
Nice hatchet job on the Angels Scott. It will be interesting to see what you have to say if Wells brings a big bat to go with his contract. Three center fielders in the outfield adds up to a great defensive unit, and Mike Trout is waiting in the wings. If the underachievers from last year play up to potential, we could see the Angels winning the division and more, again. Enjoy your vacation, moron.
If Wells plays a key role in the Angels winning this year, here's what I will say: I was wrong. But I'm not counting on it. I still think Angels need infusion of youth and speed.
FROM: Travis B.
Dear Mr. Miller,
Come on, Bourjos batted .204 with a .237 on-base percentage over his 51 games in Anaheim last summer! Unless he grows into his offensive shoes in a hurry, I don't put him anywhere near the leadoff slot.
Likes: On deck in just a few days: The daily spring training Bull Pennings with news, notes, quips, likes, dislikes, the whole package. And, of course, the rock and roll lyrics. A Florida (and then Arizona) travelogue. Stay tuned. ... Could go from a Green Bay Super Bowl title to a Milwaukee Brewers' playoff appearance later this summer. The Brewers have made some great offseason moves. Wisconsin is a fabulous sports state. Could be fun. ... The Eminem/Chrysler/Detroit Super Bowl commercial. If you missed it, it's here. ... Jane Leavy's biography of Mickey Mantle is a terrific read. ... Go see The Fighter. You will not be disappointed. Christian Bale is everything you've heard, Mark Wahlberg is good and Melissa Leo -- one of the most underrated actresses around -- is as great as she usually is. ... Hey, the groundhog saw his shadow! Spring is right around the corner. Right?
Posted on: October 13, 2009 12:33 am
DENVER -- It was about as difficult a way to lose as there is.
Colorado scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth Monday to take a two-run lead, 49,940 purple-clad fans were ready for the ride to continue and closer Huston Street moved the club to within one strike of sending this NL Division Series back to Philadelphia.
And then blam, blam, blam.
Manager Jim Tracy removed Street in favor of Joe Beimel at that point, but it was too late.
"I'm in shock, really," Street said after the 5-4 loss in the library-quiet Rockies clubhouse. "I tried to focus as much as I could on every pitch."
But he still couldn't stop the game from unraveling on him.
"I was out there fighting as hard as I could fight," continued Street, who was tagged with two losses and a blown save in the series. "Sometimes you get beat."
"Huston Street has no reason to hang his head," Lidge said. "Maybe he gets it done against another team."
From the beginning, the Rockies knew that Philadelphia and all of their left-handed starters was going to be a difficult matchup. Really, the Rockies matched up far better with St. Louis. Though they were careful with their words publicly, many privately were hoping that the Cardinals played their way into a first-round seeding against Colorado.
But it didn't happen. And just when the Rockies thought they were ready to roll, their season came crashing down around them.
"To have the game in your hands and then have them drop three [runs] on you," said shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who struck out with two on and two out to end the game in the ninth. "We had an opportunity at the end. That's all you can ask for."
"I'm proud of every one of these guys, no doubt about it," Colorado first baseman Todd Helton said. "[Manager Jim Tracy] was talking about guys being unselfish, and there's no doubt about it.
"We do have good guys. The guys here care."
Likes: Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, the projected Game 1 starter in the NLCS and the would-have-been Game 5 starter had the Phillies-Rockies series gone that far, never made it to Colorado. His wife delivered their first baby, a boy named Caleb, last week and Hamels stayed put, preparing for Tuesday's Game 5 start if it was needed. "We would have sent him back home yesterday anyway," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ... Colorado manager Jim Tracy is right. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is going to be a big-time star one day. ... Sam's No. 3, a terrific breakfast joint downtown Denver. "So good it'll make ya wanna slap yo momma" says the marquee outside. And I've gotta say, as I was eating my Denver omelet Monday morning -- what else are you going to order in Denver? -- I was glad my momma wasn't with me, because the food was as advertised. ... In case you missed it when the season ended two Sunday's ago, Hal McCoy's sign-off column was exceptionally eloquent. The Hall of Famer is done as a beat writer, and reading this column, you can see why he lasted 37 years covering the Reds, one of the great runs of our time.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"And you can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter
-- Tom Waits, The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)
Posted on: April 23, 2009 12:29 am
Edited on: April 23, 2009 12:30 am
Four weeks after open-heart surgery, Houston infielder Aaron Boone is thrilled with his progress.
Why, on Wednesday afternoon, he even drove himself to a haircut appointment, the grocery store and to "a very light workout" near his home in the Phoenix area.
"The big thing is fighting fatigue," Boone said during a telephone conversation Wednesday afternoon. "The first two weeks, the littlest things would make you tired."
The guy isn't quite ready to play nine innings yet, but he's making very steady progress.
And he hopes to play nine -- or, at least, a few innings -- before this season ends.
Boone, 36, was diagnosed in college with a congenital defect in his heart where the valve had two -- not the normal three -- cusps to manage blood flow. He had it checked every year, but it wasn't until this spring that his cardiologist determined that it had reached the point where he needed to have it repaired.
So he left Houston's camp in March, and surgeons replaced his bicuspid aortic valve at Stanford University.
He's not supposed to lift anything heavier than five pounds during the first six weeks, and he can gradually increase that between the sixth and the 12th weeks following surgery. He's on blood thinners now for a little while longer, and he's looking forward to getting through these first 12 weeks following surgery.
"By 12 weeks, you can do whatever you want," he says. "I'm even thinking about trying to play later this year. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. But it would be cool to show myself I can do it."
The Astros, he says, have been in very close contact.
"Houston has been awesome," Boone says. "They've treated me like I've been there for 12 years. I'm really appreciative."
He's also been inundated with well wishes from throughout baseball.
"It's been overwhelming," Boone says. "I'm so appreciative of the number of messages from very close friends and family, and the random people who have called. It's been very touching."
He was hoping to travel to Houston for the Astros' next homestand -- May 6-10 against the Cubs and San Diego -- but he probably will have to wait for the following homestand (May 19-24) unless he acquires an assistant in the next several days.
See, it's difficult to travel when you're still under doctors' orders not to lift more than five pounds.
Here's wishing Boone the very best, a complete recovery and a return to the field this season, if that's what he wants.
And in the meantime, whenever his playing days are finished, I know of one talent he's got that definitely should keep him involved in the game. Check it out here.
Likes: Aaron Boone making a strong recovery. Best news of the day. ... The Detroit News' Tom Gage and his excellent piece on the late Mark Fidrych. ... The Pirates, winning? Really? You go, Buccos. Look forward to seeing them soon. ... David Newhan signing with the Phillies as a player-coach at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... You can never go wrong with Rubio's Fish Tacos.
Dislikes: Brutal scoring decision in the first inning in Anaheim on Wednesday night when Tigers right fielder Ryan Raburn butchered a Maicer Izturis fly ball. Inexplicably, it went as a double instead of a two-base error. Worst scoring decision I've seen in a long, long time. And making it worse, three batters later, Kendry Morales blasted a three-run homer when Justin Verlander should have been out of the inning. Ugh. ... I really like Amy Poehler, but from what I saw of her new show the other night, Parks and Recreation, she's finally met something that can make her not funny. And that's really hard to do.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"So buy this fool some spirits and libations
-- Tom Waits, Bad Liver and a Broken Heart