Lumber Delivery, Floyd’s Return, Twin Killings Kill Twins

 

Paul Konerko hitting

Cap’n Paulie goes deep to right. Just not in this photo.

Twins 4 White Sox 7

The White Sox snapped a 5-game losing streak behind the successful return to the rotation of Gavin Floyd (W, 8-8, 6IP, 6H, 2ER, 1BB, 2K) following a bout of elbow tendinitis.  Floyd’s previous eight starts against the last-place Twins had gone for losses; tonight he had control over enough of his 99 pitches to suppress hitters and produce four double play grounders.

Feasting first on mistakes by Francisco Liriano (L, 3-10, 2.2 IP, 7H,1R, 2K) Pale Hose bats woke up with a start, hammering the ball just as hard as they hammered Liriano’s trade value in the eyes of scouts attending while the trade deadline approaches.  Homers by Dunn and Rios were joined by Paul Konerko’s, whose first four-bagger since June was also his first opposite-field shot all year, decorating the right field stands and setting off enough fireworks to distract hundreds of drivers on the Dan Ryan expressway from their smartphones.

As usual, there was no room for complacency tonight in White Sox Nation; some venerable voices on Twitter were less than impressed with the outcome:

Indeed, with the trade deadline approaching, pushing around the hapless Twins is less a cause for celebration than a basic requirement to avoid disaster. A struggle with the division’s basement dweller risks, some believe, turning the Sox into sellers.  Yet, the nearly full house on Monday night is a signal that there’s room in Chicago for support of baseball with elevated on-field standards.  It would take some spectacular ugliness in the coming days to lead the front office to second-guess itself.

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Posted in Twins, White Sox, White Sox Game Wrap

High & Outside: A Baseball Noir

“Fast-paced, dark and gritty,” promises the Kickstarter campaign for the feature film “High & Outside”, a hardball story produced by John Cook and directed by Evald Johnson, son of big leaguer and Blue Jays manager Tim Johnson.  ”Keep it coming,” says Baseball Prospectus’s Kevin Goldstein of the funding for the independent film.  And no wonder, when it stars The Jesus Lizard / Scratch Acid frontman David Yow, whose pantsless work has been thrilling rock audiences around the world for decades.

But even if Kevin hadn’t highlighted the film on the Up and In Podcast’s 99th episode, I’d mention it here, because if David Yow’s involved, it seems to be my destiny to write about it.

 

 

 

 

 

Note: not to be confused with the (also) excellent documentary film of the same name about Bill “Spaceman” Lee.

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Posted in Film

AL Central, Meet Your New #1…For Now

White Sox 1 Tigers 7

With this victory, the Detroit Tigers move 1/2 game into first place in the AL Central. Efforts to adjust to life under Juggalo rule may be premature; a mere half-game margin is likely not enough to hold, given tomorrow’s Detroit starter Jacob Turner was hammered for seven runs in two innings in his last outing.  But in the event the season actually has turned, here’s a long, unpleasant taste of what life will be like in the Faygo Era.

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Posted in Tigers, White Sox

Brett Myers Joins White Sox, And How You Can Help

It is with a heavy heart that I report the White Sox have traded for Astros reliever Brett Myers.

Exactly what they’ve traded — other than a truckload of respect — is unclear at press time.

As most of you know, I write about the world through the lens of baseball.  There’s great joy that comes with the relationship between this game and the world, and I like spending time exploring that.

As demented and absurd a world as we’ve inherited, much of that time is spent being funny.

But when it comes to the idea of Brett Myers on the South Side, I’m not laughing.

Eyewitness accounts of Myers’ 2006 punching of his wife’s face in Boston leave little doubt as to one episode of spousal abuse. That was the opening of the door.  It closed for me the next year, when, like a lot of people, I became more closely aware of Mr. Myers’ deeply dumb and violent nature while listening to a 2007 recording of a clubhouse interview he had with Philadelphia jorno Sam Carchidi, posted at Can’t Stop The Bleeding,  presented here:

Repellent people can be gifted artists, musicians, athletes. Johnny Ramone was a kill-em-all, I-got-mine Republican, and one of the three greatest rock and roll guitarists to ever have plugged in. Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations and kicked his wife out of the house for the crime of being heavy after having ten kids. Uggie Urbina had 243 saves and tried to kill five guys with a machete.

Because having two whole ideas in one’s head at the same time is not some amazing feat, the work and the person can be seen all at once.  That’s what I’ll be doing this season every time Brett Myers gets up in the pen: see all of him. And I’ll be reminded of the world as it is — as revolting as it can be.

Which means each time I see him, I’ll be donating to Connections for Abused Women and Children. As their annual report shows, this modest nonprofit works to provide safe refuge to Chicago’s women and children who are victims of domestic violence, to provide education, training and outreach, aiding hundreds of Chicago’s abused women and kids. Kids whose exposure to violence at home is probably not much different than Brett’s was.

As long as the White Sox can put Brett Myers — all of Brett Myers — on display, it’s the very least I can do to not look the other way.

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Posted in Astros, White Sox

Selig: Not Every Goddamn Surface Under The Sun Is An Invitation To Advertising, Thank You Very Much

MLB commissioner Bud Selig has his detractors.  There are those who point to his failings concerning PED control in the game.  Some look askance at his league realignment principles when they led the team he owned to cuddle up to the cash fountain called Cub Nation.  MLB fandom’s relationship with Bud can be so contentious, ordinary baseball fans have been known to grapple with the thorny problem of writing him a letter.

Indeed, the commissioner’s office is one where decisions are made on behalf of team owners and the game, in that order. Which is why the commissioner’s less-than-enthusiastic attitude about advertising on MLB uniforms  — effectively rejecting the idea — might come as a surprise, when the NBA just allowed small patches on player uniforms and expect to see $100 million from the move.

“You learn never to say never, but you know, with us, uniforms are really important,” Selig said on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “They’re history. “You can close your eyes, and that Cub uniform, my goodness gracious, I can remember (that from) when I was 10 years old, and that’s a long time ago. And there’s the Yankee pinstripes, and the Red Sox and so on and so forth, so I’ve been pretty consistent on that.”

The welcome sentiment and equally welcome appeal to history aside, when *I* close my eyes, I can’t help but think of what kind of eye-rolling the above earns Bud from MLB’s team owners, who never found a revenue stream they didn’t kick their desks over to grab. Bud may retire in 2014; we shall see if he will be the last commissioner to see baseball uniforms as something worth protecting from demotion to the status of a billboard, bus, or blog.

A picture of John Boehner wearing lobbyist advertising patches on a NASCAR-style jumpsuit
In-game uniform advertising the country could actually use.

 

Posted in Bud Selig, The Business Of Baseball, Uniforms

Jersey Grazed, White Sox Dazed

 

Tigers jersey

Nearly a dozen cotton fibers were disturbed.

White Sox 2 Tigers 4

After starting with five strikeouts, Jake Peavy’s (L, 7-7,  7IP 8H 4ER 0BB 7K) third inning saw a series of throws that looked like they got away to his left. The fourth of these grazed speedster Quintin Berry’s jersey for a HBP with two out, extending the inning just enough to bring Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to the plate. The resulting inevitable hits included Prince’s single tying the game at 2, then a Delmon Young double into the gap moving the Tigers up 3-2. The Sox never recovered.

Uncharacteristically short a step in right field was Alex Rios, covering the vast reaches of Comerica with effort but not customary results, coming up short twice and reminding the world you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Or until it’s shaking off jet lag from Boston.

It’s tough to tell if the Sox offensive shutdown is chronic or if Verlander’s (W, 11-5, 2.42, 8IP 4H 2ER 6K 2BB) ten dozen nasty, nasty baseballs simply tacked on one more night of brownout.  But with AL Central first place on the line tomorrow, (Sale vs. Porcello) the (Insane) clown (Posse) question will be definitively answered.

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Posted in Tigers, White Sox, White Sox Game Wrap

One Is, In Fact, The Loneliest Number

 

LHP Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana: Three outings of 8-inning shutout ball — all for no decisions. He can’t believe it, either.

White Sox 1 Red Sox 3

Dropping their first series in four weeks, the Sox lineup-wide sag in production extended itself courtesy of a sharp outing by Clay Buchholz (8IP, 6H 1R, 1BB 6K).

But the truly twisted tale of the mound was yet another excellent wasted outing by Jose Quintana.  Riding his slider and some nice corner touches, The New Q went for 8 shutout innings, retiring 19 of 20 before yielding to Matt Thornton (L, 2-6) whose offerings by comparison were up, fat and good for 2 ER when it was all over.

Worse, the profoundly wasteful pattern for Quintana is historic – just how historic was illustrated by Daryl Van Schouwen:

<statistical illiteracy>So it can never, ever, happen again, right?</statistical illiteracy>

The Sox AL Central lead is down to just 1 ½ games up on the Tigers as the team heads to Motor City for the weekend series starting tomorrow with Peavy vs. Verlander.

To flow the tears of the Juggalos, one run isn’t going to cut it.

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Posted in White Sox, White Sox Game Wrap

Chipper Jones: Generous With Souvenirs

Giants 9, Braves 4

Perhaps with beer league softball underhand pitching already on his mind, the soon-to-be-retired Chipper Jones commits a rare throwing error by fielding Justin Christian’s soft grounder with a little less panache than usual, allowing Joaquin Arias to score in a wild game that saw the Braves pen give up two three-run homers in the 11th after the Giants blew a 2-run lead in the 10th.

A motion gif of Chipper Jones throwing error

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the interest of equal-time fairness to Mr. Jones, I had planned to create a gif commemorating the last humiliating mistake I made, but as it turns out, they don’t allow video cameras in the theater when you pay to see Prometheus.

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Posted in Braves, Giants

Bert Blyleven Joins Growing Line Formed To Kick Reggie Jackson

Bery Blyleven wears a I Heart To Fart T-shirt

Bert Blyleven: Orifice Enthusiast

I’m beginning to wonder if Reggie Jackson isn’t working on becoming the Howard Beale of baseball; an “angry prophet denouncing the hypocrisies of our time” seems to work well as his job description lately. Recently censured by Tweedledee and Tweedledum Steinbrenner for his not-especially-controversial comments concerning A-Rod’s accomplishments in light of certain substances, Reggie has now directed his straw to stir the drink of Bert Blyleven and the Minnesota Twins generally, telling SI’s Phil Taylor:

I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice, I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer.”

On whether Bert Blyleven should have been elected into the Hall of Fame: “No. No, no, no, no. Blyleven wasn’t even the dominant pitcher of his era, it was Jack Morris.”

Blyleven’s response, rich in theological-proctological implications:

God gives us many holes in our body,” Blyleven said [on WFAN] Wednesday morning. “And [Reggie] just spoke out of the wrong one. That’s the way I look at it.”

With any luck, Reggie’s combative posture will continue to challenge bedrock baseball assumptions at least as vigorously as he challenged Bill Russel’s double-play throw in Game 4 of the ’78 World Series.

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Posted in National Media

Bosox 10, Pale Hose 1, Venezolanos 3

Map of Venezuela

Venezuela: Major exports: Oil, Infielders

As written up over at South Side Sox, the Pale Hose took a 10-1 shellacking at the hands of the Carmines this evening.  Reaching into the surprising farm system for perhaps one arm too many, the Sox called up and started LHP Pedro Hernandez, who found himself headed back to Charlotte after turning in a miserable 4IP, 12H, 8R, 1BB, 2K 3HR, 18.00 ERA.

While the South Side might have taken a loss, the very, very far South Side racked up a win.  The nation of Venezuela, long a key exporter of hardball excellence managed to claim both starting pitchers and the home plate umpire in tonight’s tilt. As alerted by some of my amigos de Twitter:

That’s SP Felix Doubront for Boston, Pedro Hernandez for Chicago and home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez.  How many Venezuelans does it take to get a major league ballgame done?  Mas y mas!

 

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Posted in Venezuela, White Sox Game Wrap
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