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Going to the dollar store for some detergent and Chris Burke who was traded for himself April 21

Chris Burke has joined the ranks of baseball trivia infamy. Traded for himself and it didn’t cost all that much

One of the classic old school New York Mets tales involved the inimitable Harry Chiti who was traded to the Indians for the infamous player to be named later. That player, two months later, was Chiti.

Well, surreal sports fans, this scenario happened again April 21 without any fanfare, and remember you heard it first here. Chris Burke was traded for himself.  

Apparently, not only do the Padres and Mariners share a spring training facility at Peoria. They also share players.

The Padres sent Burke to the M’s for cash considerations on April 1.

Perhaps it was an April Fools Day joke. The purchase price turned out to be $1.

As the worm, I mean season, turned, the Padres lack of depth almost immediately revealed itself. That, coupled with solid efforts from former Padre Russell Branyan and fellow Rancho Santa Fe resident Mike Sweeney for the M’s, meant Burke suddenly became available for re-trade, sort of like a bottle getting returned for deposit.

So, April 21, Burke was traded back to the Padres for cash considerations. The savvy M’s even turned a profit for their care-taking effort.

Wait for it…Wait for it…Drum roll please…

The Padres paid the M’s $1.25.

That’s correct. In this era of multimillion dollar MLB contracts while many Americans scrimp and starve, after being traded for a dollar, Burke was traded back for $1.25. The M’s turned a fabulous 25 cent profit for their trouble

Kind of makes one wonder about the values available at the dollar store these days. Maybe, a smart shopper can pick up an MLB player, or two, while they’re grabbing bargains.

Weep not for the versatile Burke, however. He made $955,000 last year. Not bad for 86 games and 165 at-bats as a D’back.

Don’t know what Burke is making this year, but that $1.25 purchase price says it all about something, I’m just not quite sure what yet.


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Watching Padres games on television is a drag

That’s because the Padres have the worst announcing crew in MLB hands-down, with the exception of post-game reporter, and former hurler, Bob Scanlan. Hopefully, someone with an eye for talent will promote Scanlan to the game-time booth although it will have to be outside San Diego, which is afflicted with the incompetence of Cox Cable 4 and its exclusive contract through next year, yet another John Moores era travesty.

Thanks to MLB Extra Innings and MLB.com we are able to experience the entirety of MLB coverage every day now. So, the Padres misannouncers are exposed totally as the worst.

Mark Grant is a joke and not in a ha-ha way, but pathetic beyond belief. He is obnoxious, self-promoting and despite his playing experience remarkably uninformed about baseball. Of course, he tries to cover up with fake baseball rhetoric that anybody remotely familiar with the game instantly recognizes as a sham. Then, there is the business of him constantly yelling about ball and strike calls, beginning usually about one pitch into the game. How tired. Matt Vasgersian, before he left for the MLB Network, always called Grant on this disgusting bit of stupidity, but Matt is gone so no check is in place.

The new guy, Mark Neeley, is very bland and not particularly knowledgeable. He came from many years of Tulsa Triple A experience, which isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just that he is uninformed and boring, bringing nothing to the table. His hiring would have been curious except for the utter incompetence and stupidity of Cox 4 management and its GM, forgot his name, so it’s no surprise.

One of the more odious aspects of their coverage involves the self-promotion and homerism of the broadcasts. For example, Saturday, while the Padres-Pirates game was in progress, Cox 4 spent a half inning promoting “Sam, the Cooking Guy” who apparently has a show on their channel. As bad as it was to be confronted with a half inning of nothing to do with baseball, Cox 4 also didn’t believe it prudent to show the on-field action, instead showing only the booth. Nobody is watching the baseball game because they care in the least about Sam and cooking. Thanks for nothing. 

How tired is the Cox 4 product. With so many legitimate issues revolving around the Padres descent into awfulness in order to fatten Moores’ bank account, this crew of morons ignores any intelligent discussion of the situation or anything baseball-related.

San Diego baseball fans thank the lords of baseball for being able to watch the Padres with the ability to turn down the Cox 4 noyze chatter and listen to the opposing announcing crew. Last night, I listened to the Pirates crew who do a great job in a similarly small market. I found Bob Walk’s comments on the Padres quite refreshing.

Walk pointed out how the Padres had been boasting about assembling a pitching staff on the fly this year. (For those not following, the Padres signed two-thirds of their staff from other team castoffs during the last two weeks of spring training). Walk pointed out the BS factor there. What happened to the Padres minor league system that should have been producing that pitching talent to fill the holes just like the real teams, he said.

Exactly. As impartial minor league system ratings, and current on-field Padres product, clearly show, the Padres have one of the worst, if not the worst, minor league system in baseball, Padres management BS notwithstanding. You’ll never hear word boo on this from Cox 4 miscasters.

What’s truly funny — make that despicably disgusting —  is the Cox GM telling the Union Tribune, the announcing and presentation must be OK since nobody complains through e-mails. Usually people complain if they don’t like something, but say nothing if they like the product, he said.

 Are you kidding me???

Nobody complained for two reasons. Number one, the station does not provide e-mail addresses making it extremely difficult to send comments. Number two, nobody complains BECAUSE NOBODY CARES.

The product is so awful and so historically awful — with the exception of Vasgersian who always seemed to be kept under wraps, and Scanlan; I also liked Ted Leitner on TV — THAT NOBODY CARES. So, why complain?

Anyone doubting that I’m telling it like it is need only examine the Padres TV ratings. They’re off the chart miniscule. Anyone else doubting, check out the Padres broadcast on MLB Extra Innings and MLB.com. They’re an embarrassment to San Diego, a very sophisticated and lovely place, and to baseball.

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Sunday addendum:

As if to emphasize all the points I made earlier, Cox 4 had some guy from a show called “Brainwave” that was “immediately following” the game during the second inning. Same old crap, booth pictures, game as afterthought. A half inning wasn’t enough apparently. They held him over to the third inning to talk about whatever brainwaves they failed to kill in the second.

And in an incredibly revealing aside, Neeley, who moved to San Diego this month, said he was from Rancho Bernardo, “the most boring part of San Diego,”

Huh?

A place is what one makes of it. As a 10-year Del Dios-Rancho Santa Fe resident, just across Lake Hodges from Rancho Bernardo, I can state unequivocally Rancho Bernardo is no more boring than anywhere else in the world. Talk about calling the kettle a cup, Neeley’s comment said it all about himself and the Padres broadcasts.

UH-OH HOT DOG; Padres back to losing ways

Looks like the party didn’t make it to May for the Padres who went 9-2 to start the season before losing three games in a row this week.

Front-runner that I am, I’m back off the Padres bandwagon. They’re back on track to that coveted 100-loss season.

Some of it was inevitability somewhat postponed as the boys came out scrapping, stole a few games, caught a few teams flat-footed in the April gloaming.

Lack of depth and heaven forbid talent proved the team’s undoing. It’s always a good sign to win one-run games, which they did for a while, but now they’re losing them with no end in sight.

Jake Peavy and Chris Young have been pitching well, but it’s hard to win with no run support, which has been the case. A few injuries and blown bullpen outings later, the writing is on the Lake Hodges Dam graffiti wall. It’s all over baby beige and blue.

Then again, what did you expect?

Consider very carefully my 2009 MLB predictions because I am very often correct although I don’t get no Rodney Dangerfield respect

I don’t get no respect. Shout ode to Rodney Dangerfield, one of my ideals. I picked the Rays to go to the World Series last year, but nary a nod anywhere in the world of faux baseball punditry.

Therefore, consider my picks for 2009 with the utmost respect and expect the expected this fall. That’s just the way my baseball prognostications roll.

AL EAST

1. Boston

2. New York

3. Tampa Bay

4. Baltimore

5. Toronto

AL CENTRAL

1. Kansas City

2. Minnesota

3. Cleveland

4. Chicago

5. Detroit

AL WEST

1. Los Angeles

2. Texas

3. Oakland

4. Seattle

NL EAST

1. New York

2. Philadelphia

3. Atlanta

4. Florida

5. Washington

NL CENTRAL

1. Chicago

2. Cincinnati

3. St. Louis

4. Pittsburgh

5. Houston

NL WEST

1. Los Angeles

2. Arizona

3. Colorado

4. San Francisco

5. San Diego

PLAYOFFS

AL

Bos v. KC

NYY v. LAA;

Bos v. NYY;

Bos….

NL

Chic v. Phil

NYM v. LAD;

Chic v. NYM

Chic….

WORLD SERIOUS 

Yes, that’s correct, dream matchup Red Sox v. Cubs and I predict the Red Sox in six games.

So, who needs to watch. See you in October.

Pity the poor Padres: Free fall below, as in Opening Day awaits with105 losses to go

The arty party line as spring training ends is this team is going to surprise people.

Lose 105 to 110 games. Surprise!

The Padres somehow while we were sleeping or something became the worst team in baseball. Surprise!

While plenty of blame can go around, the continual spin is quite disingenuous. Saying this team is better than it looks is such a misrepresentation that trying to fool people will work only so long, say the first 10 or 15 games of the season.

Let’s see what the Padres bring to the table. Adrian Gonzales, Jake Peavy, if he doesn’t get hurt;  Kouzmanoff, Headley somewhat, maybe even a bit of an occasional spark from Gerut.

That’s not even enough for team mediocrity considering the rest of the story. An incredibly overpaid Brian Giles, adequate in right, Eckstein adequate at second even though other teams couldn’t wait fast enough to get rid of him in the last few years.

Ahh, hmmm, pitching, Besides Peavy who would be gone asap if the Padres were at all reasonable in trade demands, Chris Young, who does not appear right and can’t win on the road even when he is right; no other starting pitching, really none. Bullpen in disarray, Bell might be good, but consider Meredith as his primary set-up man followed by five pitchers acquired in the last two weeks, each of whom was about the be cut and by teams such as the Nationals.

This team is a disgrace. John Moores is to blame of course. So is Sandy Alderson whose tenure as baseball president was a disaster. I wouldn’t blame Bud Black since his hire was a Good Old Boy network type of thing apparently. His in-game moves are pitiful, but he seems like a stand-up guy. First manager to be fired this year? Possibly. It’s hard to see how he could last the season unless management feels the season is so lost it doesn’t matter. Otherwise, he’s gone.

Not helping the viewing fan is Cox Channel 4 monopoly on coverage yielding the insipid Mark Grant — probably the worst MLB announcer in the nation, a sad combination of zero actual baseball knowledge with disgusting self-promotion of the nothing brand that is his awfulness — and a new guy who spent 20 years at Tulsa and is boring, over-his-head, etc. 

Thanks goodness for MLB.com, Direct TV baseball package, etc. so at least we’ll be able to watch baseball, and not be limited to Padres games circa 1970s baseball world.

It’s going to be one of the worst seasons ever by an MLB team.

Thanks for nothing Moores-Alderson ad nauseum liars all. Enjoy your MLB bailout and non-performance bonuses.

Astros Win! Astros Win! Stop the cyberpresses…

Sure, spring training baseball games matter not, permanent record-wise. What was the Rays spring training record last year? Nobody cares, but it was 18-8. The Phillies were 12-18. So there.

However, the Astros have posted an impressive string of futility this spring, winning the first game against MLB competition, then proceeding to lose 16 games in a row, with three ties thrown in for bad measure. Even a blind squirrel wins one of those games, one might John Lennon imagine.
But spring, in its true sense, emerged on March 20. And with the season turn turn turn, an Astros prison break-out, four whole runs. Hoo-ra!
It wasn’t easy, of course. Cecil Cooper said he was going to manage the game as if it counted and had to back that up with a 9th Inning call to the bullpen for a closer after the Reds scored two runs and sent the tying run up to the plate.
Katie slammed the door, however, for Win #2 this springless training. First win since Feb. 25. They celebrated like it was 1999.
Win #3? At this rate: April 17.

Lookee Lookee Dontrelle Willis is in mid-season form

Who says you need Spring Training? Look at the D-Train, Dontrelle Willis in action He was in rare mid-season form at 4 p.m. Pacific Time. Shellshocked.  Three runs home. Bombs away.

But seriously, Willis looks like hell. Maybe he got hit by a truck. He weighs a ton and can’t take the humidity, er, heat.
Se ya’ in Lakeland, April, Florida State League Dontrelle.
That’s all, folks…