Tagged: arizona

LUCK AND LIES: The Padres suck and will continue to do so into the forseeable future

Turn over the Padres they are done. And by done I mean really, really well-done like that stinky hunk of blood-red meat you need to stop eating immediately or die from coronary or related disease

The heady barely surpassing mediocrity lifestyle that was an 85-win-in-a-crappy-division and get bounced out of the playoffs in three games days are ended. Sadly.
Luck and lies. Each has caught up with the team that actually had something in 1998 and probably won’t have anything until 2013 at the earliest.
As they say at the old school essay competition, compare and contrast.
1. Our farm system is much better than people give us credit for:
       So bogus. For the last decade, the Padres have had one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Everybody knew it. Turnover was a problem. They kept hiring and firing key scouting personnel and management. Instructional framework was bizarre. Furthermore, the drafts were terrible. Hardly any Padres draft picks have made it to the majors. The Matt Bush syndrome rules. Try to get prospects on the cheap and see what happens. The Padres have had no international presence. It’s a disaster and as we all know — thank you Branch Rickey — the farm system, and development process is the key building block to a succsessful franchise.
2. We will spend what it takes to compete in the middle market bracket:
      Never true. John Moore has penny-pinched for years. Finances are a problem, always have been. My Rancho Santa Fe neighbor borrowed and spent $80 million to buy the club. It is his main — I would say sole, but let’s not get technical — financial resource, income and economic vehicle. So, he’s always looked to save each hay-penny. And that lovely new government issued downtown stadium to draw fans and all notwithstanding, the situation just went from bad to beyond worse. Tammy Wynette breath anybody: D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Yes, once again marital affairs have risen to strike the Friars. Moore’s divorce with his (soon-to-be) ex-wife in community propertyland has meant they need to do something about the franchise. Divide it down the middle Solomon (not Torres, the real one) fans? Not likely. The Padres are the Moores’ main asset and surprise, surprise, the divorce is right out of War of the Roses; not ye olde jolly English kind, but the Danny Devito-Kathleen Turner-Michael Douglas fight-a-thon. This will take maybe years to sort out. Don’t be surprised to see this team for sale within the year. Who knows when financial solvency will return?

3. Our players are good:
      Not really. Team officials always have hyped their players. This tired smoke finally has engulfed their lies. Adrian Gonzales, Jake Peavy and many, many question marks, some of them with exclamation points, that’s all folks. A lot of Triple A-Plus talent. No pitching. Other dumb stuff like giving Jim Edmonds a big contract and then just cutting him. Huh? And now L’affaire Giles. Talk about over-rated at this point. Padres officials even had the temerity to say they kept naked beer-swiggling man around because he was such a good influence on the other players. Huh-Huh-Huh? And they were going to pay him $9 million? Come on. Then, Giles vetoes a trade that would have given him his only World Series opportunity ever not to mention millions of dollars and free agency in two months, and blames people for leaking his name in trade rumors. He has LOSER written all over him. But I digress.

Now, let us turn our attention to LUCK,
It’s plumb run out for this tired excuse — and by excuse, I mean lots and lots of excuses, more excuses than Maxwell Smart on a good day — of a team. Officials have answers for everything, but the fact is the NL West has been a mediocrity for years and the Padres were lucky to squeak out enough wins to win a few division crowns. They got lucky for several years with bargain basement relievers who blossomed. This luck ran out as most clubs got savvy in their middle relief conceptions and started paying the best of this bunch a little more money than the stngy Padres, always looking to get help on the cheap. Now, the Pads are left with dregs, no help forthcoming from the minors and nothing else in the cupboard either. Since relief pitching was their stregnth and they are just about last in any offensive category, 
All good things must come to an end? The Padres 21st Century version haven’t even been that good. But they sure have come to their end.

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).

From Japan with love

You may want to use this trivia question to win an iced tea bet at the local library.

Who are the four pitchers in Major League Baseball history to toss no-hitters in each league?

The first three are pretty good. Cy Young. Jim Bunning. Nolan Ryan. Start a rotation with that bunch, why don’t you.

And then there’s that elusive fourth man. Hideo Nomo who threw a no-no in that least likely of venues, the only one in fact in the history of Coors Field. Nomo repeated his feat for the Red Sox at Camden Yards. The first one there.

And now the Tornado is back.

Nomo’s baseball history easily is as convoluted and downright different as his tortuously twisting delivery. A delivery so unusual that even in Japan, the land of weird fits of pitching fancy and mojo delivery gyrations, he was famously named the Tornado.

Nomo also broke the Japanese financial mold. He got an agent — unheard of at the time — who got him out of a contract on a technicality and did a dastardly deed considered dishonorable at the time. He defected, er, let’s say, signed with the Dodgers. Since Nomomania — not quite Fernandomania, but as with L.A.’s Japantown, a nice touch for a while — he moved around quite a bit and had a solid U.S. career.

Which brings us to the present day as Nomo got back into the Major Leagues after a long hiatus. His usual Number 19 already was taken by Brian Bannister on the Royals, so the contrarian in Nomo went with Number 91. Get it?

Lo-and-behold, Nomo pitching and the matchup of the day in a way. Hideki Matsui came to the plate. Matsui’s career with the Giants, Yomiuri division, began in 1994 just as Nomo nearly dearly departed Nippon. And Matsui is legend in Japan, sort of a Hank Greenburg type, dominant power hitter. He’s been very, very good in the States, too, but his power numbers aren’t quite the super-colassal-happy-fun numbers of his play in Japan. Yet an all-star here.

Matsui is considered a solid citizen, but has some considerable quirks. He likes women. Really, really likes women. He boasted about dating five women at one time. Perhaps that phase is over since he recently married. But he couldn’t afford to divorce. After all, who would get his porno film collection? He is said to have more than 50,000 items and has spoken openly about the collection. Sorry, a bit too creepy for me, not the concept, but the size. And don’t go there…

There it was Japanese Central League fans: Kintetsu Buffaloes v. Yomiuri Giants. Nomo versus Matsui. The Tornado versus Godzilla. All on a wet Kansas City field with about a dozen people in the stands somewhat outmaneuvered by the few dozen Japanese media people hanging around the dugouts.

Great moment. Not. The at-bat was short and sweet. Matsui hit a weak pop-up and so it went. Maybe next time Nomo will face Matsui’s arch-rival, the inimitable Ichiro, and we’ll see some fireworks.

Other Notes From the Field:

C.C. No. No. Sabathia looks way over the weight limit and someone is going to have to throw him back back back. His fastball looks very straight and he is getting bombed, and not at the local hoo-hooery hole in a good way…

Talk to the hand says Jake Peavy. Does anyone who saw his hands as he left the mound after shutting out the Dodgers doubt he was as covered with pine tar as George Brett’s legendary bat? Put it this way. That wasn’t magic mud fairy dfust. With the whole world watching the reprise against the Dodgers, he clearly was not doing the dirty hand dance. Looked clean and pitched well, but not quite as well as the previous effort.

The Arizona Diamondbacks. They are hot. And as such, they look like Colorado looked at the end of last year and then some. With all the Rock-stuff last year, people tend to forget the D-Backs won the most games in the National League. They look better than last year. Fittingly, the Rockies have been their latest victims.

But it’s only April. So, all enjoy the Birds (Orioles, Jays, Cardinals, et a;) and the Bees (Salt Lake, best I could do) and all that jazz…