What an exciting week it's been in baseball, and most notably the NL East, what with rookie debuts, draft days, and an ever-tightening race for the top spot in the division. Meanwhile, the Braves have gone perfectly .500 against the NL West, and now we're into my favorite (sarcasm) time of the year, Interleague. The Braves just seem to always get the short straw when it comes to the teams they're up against at the time they face them; take for example, last year, when the Braves were saddled with six games with the Red Sox and three with the Yankees when they were both the tops of the AL East, and somehow completely avoided the mediocre Rays, and this year the Braves get their games with the Rays, but now they're the best team in MLB right now. I'm kind of beginning to understand how it works, and you may or may not have noticed that the Braves will be playing every AL Central team except the Indians, so expect to get them next year; but the question would be if they're good again then, while we completely miss them this year while they're ripe for the picking.
But I digress. Back to my one limited piece of contribution to the ol' Chop while I'm busy with freelance work and other important things. Welcome to another week's edition of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.
Some guy by the name of "Stras-Burg" debuted this week - MLB
Go ahead and accuse me of copping out on the Nationals this week, but try and refute that there has really been anything remotely newsworthy in relation to the Nationals that doesn't include Stephen Strasburg. I think the only people who have never heard of his legendary 14 strikeout debut to a packed out Nationals Park by now are maybe the Amish. And even that's debatable as long as the concept of speech exists.
Mike Stanton, finally called up - Miami Herald
The wait for yet another Jesus-rookie in the NL East ended, as the Marlins finally called up Mike Stanton to rescue their outfield. Despite the fact that many were expecting moonshots and towering blasts, Stanton didn't disappoint with the lumber, going a solid 3-for-5 (all singles) against the Phillies, while scoring twice.
Hanley Ramirez passes Rollins in ASG voting - MLB
Well that's a relief, knowing that a guy who's hardly played any baseball this season won't be starting the ASG.
Nate Robertson to temporarily move to the bullpen - MLB
At first, I thought it was because of ineffectiveness, but apparently, it's more due to the fact that a rainout has pushed all Marlins starters back a day, so they decided to move him down to get another lefty in the pen.
Jorge Cantu seems like a really cool guy; apparently he's a big hockey fan too - Miami Herald
Generalizing doesn't work on a guy like Cantu, who despite his rich Mexican heritage, is a diehard Oakland Raiders fan who oft-sits in the Black Hole with a skeleton mask, but is also a big hockey fan, and was in attendance in Philadelphia as the Blackhawks finished off the Flyers for the Stanley Cup.
This can only end in disaster - Miami Herald
I love fish. I once had a 55-gallon aquarium that I loved with all sorts of tropical fish, before Father Time did his thing. But with the new Marlins ballpark's bright idea to integrate some aquariums as the backstop to home plate, I can see nothing good coming out of it. Now I'm certain they'll have all sorts of reinforced glass to make sure a Strasburg heater, or a Heyward foul tip doesn't create aquatic genocide, but the amount of obnoxious kids who despite the warnings to not touch the glass, will be banging and poking at the glass and disturbing our finned friends; when it comes to fish, stress kills.
Ike Davis hits first ever walk-off home run - New York Daily News
Hard to believe a kid with as much talent as he did never won a slow-pitch softball, little league, or HS game in his life with a homer, but kudos to Ike for absolutely obliterating a pitch that went into the second deck of iti Field.
"He hung a splitter and I was looking fastball, saw it early and happened to hit it on the sweet spot… Oh, God, it was awesome. To win a game with one swing, walk-offs are amazing. I think that’s really the first true walk-off in my life, so that was pretty sweet… I was gonna jump really high (on to home plate), but I saw my teammates yelling, ‘No,’ so I gave like a fun little hop."
81 games are on the road, too, unless you're the Phillies - MLB
Mets players, coaches, staff, can't really figure out why they play so well at home, but not nearly as adequate on the road.
Carlos Beltran playing the field again - MLB
The long road to recovery is making progress as Beltran is seen down in Extended ST back in the field, registering two putouts in three innings. Apparently, his bat is still in decent shape, which is bad news for everyone else when he ultimately returns.
Jerryball - The Art of Giving Away A Game - Amazin' Avenue
Honestly, I don't know how I missed this, and technically it's over a week old, because I got a great deal of amusement out of it. But I don't care, if you haven't read this, it's a must-read, courtesy of our rivals up in New York.
John Maine latest Met to turn the drama switch to "on" position - NY Daily News
Apparently, Maine was pretty close to filing a grievance suit with the team for his DL stint, since he felt that some anti-inflammatory shots might've done the trick, but he held his head high and took the paid time off instead. Supposedly, when Maine returns, it will be to a relief role.
Why is it so hard to hit a knuckleball? - Amazin' Avenue
Most everyone's thought it, when watching Tim Wakefield - "I could destroy that pitch." But for whatever reason, Major League hitters are more often than not baffled by it, and justify the careers of the Wakefields, and in this case, R.A. Dickey, the Mets' resident knuckler.
The Mets are "due" for a no-hitter - NY Daily News
I like the notion that Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana are seen as the "most likely" candidates to throw the first no-no for the Mets in over 7,500+ games, as if it were that simple to predict. Out of all the pitching talent in the Braves organization, would anyone have through that Todd Redmond would have been the most likely to throw a no-no this year? Anibal and Jonathan Sanchez are not bad pitchers by any means, but even their no-hitters just kind of came out of nowhere.
Is there a 600-day DL? - Metstradamus
Conveniently, before he can be moved off the roster, Oliver Perez developed some knee problems, and was put on the DL for sucking. While on the DL, he cannot be cut, or moved, and obviously, nobody's going to trade for an injured player. And as we all very well know about the Mets, there's no such thing as a 15-day DL stint. And in a ironic state of affairs, apparently while he's on the 600-day DL, Elmer Dessens of all players in baseball gets to use his locker.
Best Carlos Beltran jersey. Ever - Mets Police
I'm utterly in shock. Two shades of blue, orange trim, a diamond-patterend number, and most importantly, a screen print of Carlos Beltran himself, pretty much where your ass is going to be sitting on.
But wait, there's more - player-designed Mets apparel - Mets Police
Out of the three, Francoeur is probably the least offensive shirt (but that facial hair is whacked out of proportion, making me wonder if he's trying to be Jayson Werth) - at least his is discernably Mets apparel, unlike Jose Reyes who has a shirt with nothing but himself on it, and Jason Bay, who appears to be holding a road jersey with his name and number on it . . . for the Cleveland Indians.
In draft news, Mets select John Franco . . . junior - MetsBlog
Yes, the son of legendary LHRP John Franco was drafted as a shortstop, in the 42nd round.
Otherwise, the Mets are looking for pitching, pitching, pitching - MLB
To my count, it's one RHP, and three LHPs, in addition to a handful of position players as well.
Mets f ans behaving badly - Dad yoinks gift baseball from David Wright from kid - Deadspin
To this guy's credit, at least he gave it to his own kid, but still, it's kind of a low move to swoop in and take what was obviously meant for someone else. David Wright plays the good samaritan and then gives both kids (another) baseball.
Jimmy Rollins has no timetable for return - MLB
The balky right calf of J-Roll has pretty much left question marks to whenever he may or may not return. I do wish that he comes back strong and healthy as I wish no ill-will on any player, friend or foe, but the scariest thing is how little distance the Braves are not capable of increasing without their All-Star/Gold Glove/Silver Slugging shortstop.
Charlie Manuel accuses Jayson Werth of Andruw Jonesing - MLB
Y'know, pressing too hard due to impending free agency and instead hurting the team instead.
Why Raul Ibanez should be cut - Phillies Nation
Sure, it took about a year, but it looks like all the reasons why our old pal RainDelay really, really opposed the very thought of bringing Raul Ibanez to Atlanta and why he was going to anchor down the Phillies is coming to fruition now. Interestingly enough, almost as if it were in direct response to PN's article, philly.com shoots back the exact opposite argument.
In draft news - Minnesota Twins select Jamie Moyer . . . 's son - MLB
John Franco isn't the only ancient LHP to see their son given the dubious honor of being wanted by a Major League team, as the Twins use their 22nd pick to pick up SS Dillon Moyer, son of the Phillies' ageless wonder, Jamie Moyer. On the thought of pitching to his own son:
"The first one, just for mom, would be in the ribs,"
I do like Jamie Moyer. There's no shred of seriousness coming from him, unlike Roger Clemens who threw at his own son's head in the past.
Oh yeah, he's also the third pitcher in MLB history to win 100 games after the age of 40 - MLB
Not only did Moyer win his 100th game after turning 40, he did it in complete game fashion. Fun fact - Roy Halladay leads the Phillies with five complete games. Jamie Moyer has two. Nobody else has any.
Shane Victorino starts charitable foundation - MLB
I really, really want to dislike Shane Victorino, but I'm a sucker for when athletes use their star power, and wield some good out of it. The Shane Victorino Foundation to "promote opportunities for underserved youth in Philadelphia and Hawaii by engaging in projects which provide children with educational, recreational and wellness programs." certainly is a mouthful, even as an acronym (SVFPOFUYIPHBEPWPCWERWP), but I have to tip my e-hat to the guy for doing something good with his fame.
"Victorino will host a fashion show in August, which will raise funds for the foundation."
Uhh, maybe not a good idea, though.
Phillies f ans behaving badly - Child Phillies fan takes a swig of beer - ESPN
Whether the video will remain up is yet to be determined, but long story short, cameras catch a little boy leisurely tipping the bottle back in the midst of a warm summer day game. Out of all the NL East rivals, this just seems to fitting for Philadelphia. This is also not an isolated incident, either.
And a few selected bonus links of stories read this week that piqued my interest:
Chuck James sighted in Double-A, and delivers meat of a combined no-hitter - MiLB
As if it is any surprise, he's with the Washington Nationals organization now, playing for the Harrisburg Senators, and this week, he threw seven shutout, no-hit innings, and two relief pitchers combined for yet another no-hitter registered in professional baseball this season. Great news from James, whom is looking to possibly get back to the big leagues after some major shoulder issues.
Armando Gallaraga is like Clay Aiken, and Roy Halladay is like Ruben Studdard - Fightin Phillies
Yes, I know this is a lame American Idol joke, but it's so true in this instance - Gallaraga, who sure, it was wrongfully so, loses his perfect game, is awarded a brand-spanking new Chevrolet Corvette for his near-Perfecto, while Roy Halladay, who actually successfully threw a Perfecto is awarded nothing but a fishing pole. Now I'm fairly certain neither of these guys thinks it's that big of a deal, but come on, please tell me I'm not the only one who sees this joke?
Cardinals fans behaving badly - Little boy's failure to catch Pujols HR results in emasculation, free bat - Deadspin
Jeffrey Maier, he's not. This young Cards fan completely fails to catch a Pujols dinger, it hits him in the chest, he reels back in tantrum, and apparently the Lord got wind of it, and made sure to have an autographed baseball bat sent over to him. What is wrong with America today???