Missed it by…that much: Maxwell Smart, Miguel Batista and the unusual suspects


Would you believe…?


Passive-aggressive moment of the week

Milton Bradley expressed his displeasure in no uncertain body language as the weak foul ball fluttered due right of the batter’s box. He skulked away ready, willing and almost able to flip his disgusting bat in utter disdain. A’s catcher Rob Bowen had other ideas. He lunged and — mixed sports metaphors for Toronto Bills fans — missed it Scott Norwood breath…by that much, wide right. After some extended drama, Bradley finally was persuaded to return to the dish. He promptly got jiggy with it, smashing a double off the Left Field wall. Two fists pumped up at Second Base, Bradley, as usual, played the KAOS agent.

Passive-aggressive moment of the week II

Fans of the Paddy Chayefsky movie “Network” take note. This Rockies fan was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Ex post facto closer Manny Corpas had walked the bases full. What, again? Suddenly, a blur from the stands bee-lined to the mound. Security tackled him within spitting distance of Corpas. But, Corpas? Didn’t flinch. Didn’t even look surprised. After his misadventures this year, acted as if he expected it. No big whoop. What can you say? Colorado Springs ain’t all that bad this time of year. Hopefully, Corpas won’t need additional security.

Dropping the “Cone of Silence” over Miguel Batista

Get Smart. Or at least get Maxwell Smart, CONTROL agent 86,  on the damn shoe phone already. Miguel Batista has gone deep undercover. Consider the circumstantial evidence. An April 20 start against the Angels with no runs and eight strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. A May 1 start against the Indians with one run and four hits, six strikeouts in seven innings. Sandwiched between was a groin injury and one inning start against the A’s with five walks, two hits and three runs, which Batista called a temporary physical setback. But now, say what, chief? Batista claims a “secret” weapon. In an interview last week with the Seattle Times, Batista “let it slip” he had discovered new “ways to hide the ball from hitters,” according to writer Geoff Baker. It has something to do with focus. Let’s hope KAOS doesn’t get wind of this. Time for the cone of silence to be lifted.

(UPDATED — Typical CONTROL mission: Agent 0h-for-0h-My-0h, Batista used the hidden ball scenario to great prejudice on May 6 agaInst the Strangers. He posted three hits, six walks, six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings to reverse his record to 2-4. Mariners were sunk 10-1 when the bullpen shoe phone exploded.)

Padres Upfakes

Samson Met Delilah Department: Here’s a coaching tactic not recommended for home use. The slumped-over Padres coaching staff decided to grow moustaches to encourage team morale and make some kind of point. Eight losses in 10 games later, voila’ clean-shaven. How about beards? Goatees?

More strange defense: Paul McAnulty went over to the other side..of the foul line and plausibility respectively. Running down a foul ball near the Third Base stands, he caught the ball alright. And his glove, with ball firmly ensconced, dropped off his hand. Would you believe… 

Problems, problems

Rays — No last name? — were the “It” team last week as they tied for first place in the AL East. Now, they’re the “was” team having been swept out of Boston. Oops. Premature parity celebration. Not quite ready for prime time. Taking the devil out of the name may not be enough just yet.

Sue you. Or sue the ump union. Eric Gagne should sue somebody. Got squeezed worse than a lemon on ball-strike calls Sunday, resulting in walking the bases full, blowing ye-gads his sixth save. The Krewe proceeds to lose in 12. The box score, not to mention fantasy point count, will appear brutal.  Gagne didn’t throw that badly. But…Can anyone say Saloman Torres or Guillermo Mota to the rescue.

Big Yellow Banana Department

Turn back the clock to 1972 uniforms at whatever they call the stadium at Oakland this week. Ouch, sound the frutti tutti alarm. Bedecked in Charlie Finley hues, Frank Thomas was like a giant sun, his bright yellow helmet and trim on kelly green searing a blinding experience on all who dared witness. Especially nice touch though with Vida Blue doing the 7th Inning on the A’s telecast. Blue definitely speaks his mind. 

Text Messaging Department: Wt Tl Nxt Yr  

May Day May Day: Sound that call for alarm at sea why don’t ye for the ancient Mariners. They had a titanic plan perhaps. It’s not hitting much except for icebergs.

Turn out the lights, the potty’s over: Pirates, Nationals, Padres. There’s trouble in River City. Pray for rain or at least better draft day irrigation. Honorary mention — Tigers. So much talent, so few results.

wt tl ths yr: The Orioles have been an interesting exprience, sort of like the Brewers last year. They’re definitely pitching better and playing harder. While the East is just too too for them, they’re fun to watch, this after long years of dull-droms.

Bck n th USSR: Best in National League —  D-Backs, duh; second tier, Cubs, Mets and Phillies; third tier Dodgers, possibly Cardinals.

Quick Hits:

Lo-and-Behold Alikes: A sure sign of the apocalypse. The Mayans said the world will end Dec. 23, 2012. It may have ended for me on Sunday. that’s when I noticed the now-uncanny resemblance of  Jim Kaat  with…Randy Qu
aid? Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Birds of a feather: It’s a wondrous and beatific sight to behold by the San Francisco Bay at Ma Bell Park. Right about quitting time, those lovable, laid back sea birds rally around the upper decks, ready to swoop on discarded nachos, chips and tasty fried treats. Picture postcard nice nature stuff. Not so nice the sea birds in the former mistake by the lake, Cleveland rocks. On Sunday, May 4, these birds got downright Hitchcock-esque. They swarmed the stadium near quitting time with more than a bit of attitude, bad and getting worse. These big bad birds meant business as they dive-bombed the stadium. Scary stuff. Maybe they’re disgruntled after the Tribe lost two of two to the Royals. Or maybe its just a Cleveland thing like the river burning way back when. Either way, not good.

Eric Byrnes Dating Show? Hello. Am I the only one alarmed that Eric Byrnes might be involved in any way, shape or form with the future of the human race’s DNA gene pool? The dating game on the Eric Byrnes Show, would you believe…the girl with the triple-jointed shoulders and Conor Jackson? The next episode promises a three’s-a-crowd date with the girl, the guy and Byrnsey. Kiss it good-bye.

Fantasyland:  Once upon a time, I sneered at rotisserie baseball, saying it detracted from the pure spectacle of actual games played, not stats stirred. Now, everyone loves the fantasy game, in some cases even more than the real deal. I pledge to do my bit in order to encourage more blog hits by identifying certain hidden gems. This week, for deep leagues, allow me to mention Moises Alou is back on his feet. He’s good for some lofty stats before his next designated DL trip.  Relief-wise look at Saloman Torres. He’s chalking up good appearances with some depth and is slated to replace a faltering Gagne. Shelly Duncan can hit even if he’s not doing so much now. More playing time will help. Of course, what did they do to the real Augie Ojeda and who is that now sporting his uniform? He’s hot and playing while Hudson is out although Hudson may return imminently. 

Sorry about that chief: John McCain must be feeling good about his presidential chase. He took the time to take in the game at Chase Field, Phoenix on Sunday. Then, there was President Bush, the other one, at This Used to be Enron Field, Houston. But what’s most alarming in a non sequitor sort of way is that bizarre canned voice at Chase Field, intoning, “Everybody clap their hands” followed by the canned hands clapping. Would you believe…

AND LOVING IT. Say goodnight, Agent 99. Goodnight Max. And goodnight for Dan Weisman, Baseball Investigator.

(BTW:  Check out my online community journalism site at http//:92067FREEPRESS.COM).

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