On Tuesday night, I'm sitting on my couch, watching as the Braves and Phillies head into extra innings. I have a giant pit feeling in my stomach, and no, that's not because I'm 427 lbs., but like I'm getting the feeling that I'm going to be disappointed. Yunel Escobar leads off the 11th with a single, and I'm thinking "Great, ready to be wiped out with a Vidro." And then it's followed with an absymal bunt attempt from Matt Diaz, making me cringe like the O.J. Simpson in court SNL parody. Somewhere along the road, I forgot that Matt Diaz had a habit of making some really foolish looking swings/bunt attempts before unleashing his true intent, which turned out to be an opposite field gapper which broke the tie, en route to three big go-ahead runs. And then Billy Wagner didn't try anything cute and simply slammed the door on the Phillies for a satisfying, renewing feeling win.
On Wednesday night, I'm sitting at a barstool at a pub, playing trivia with my friends as I've been doing every Wednesday for a while now. While the emcee is reading the answers to questions, I strategically use this time to check the score of the Braves game, so it's obvious I'm not doing so during the question, making people think I'm cheating, and see that Kris Medlen had given up a two-run bomb to Ryan Howard. If this were any time during the last three years, that homer would have made me deflate like a balloon, and sour like milk in the sun. And then ten minutes later, like a creature of habit, I begrudgingly check the score again, and suddenly the Braves are up 7-3, wth?? Invigorated and excited, I opt to not check the scores again until after the game is over, and I saw that the Braves prevailed, and once again, Billy Wagner slammed the door on the Phillies, capped with a looking K on Raul Ibanez.
Now I'm not trying to get ahead of myself here, since it's just now getting to the All-Star break, and I really, try hard to keep level-headed and think rationally and not get swept away in good times. And it has been a long time since 2003, 2004, and 2005, my first years of actually living in Metro Atlanta and witnessing the magic of the pennant race first-hand. But I am really loving the team we have this year, and I'm finding it really difficult to not getting super excited whenever I see the Braves doing the exact opposite of all the things they did from 2006-2009, that ensured them comfy couches come October.
Welcome back to another week of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.
To Mets fans - would you cheer for Chipper Jones's last game in New York? - Mets Police
Personally, one thing I love about sports, is when good sportsmanship is demonstrated. It was touching when the fans at Yankee Stadium stood up and exploded for Cal Ripken, Jr. in his last ever game at Yankee Stadium. I didn't think about it, because a part of me hasn't fully believed that this is the last year for Chipper, but the question is, would Mets fans be willing to show similar class and respect to an opposing divisional adversary who has been pretty well known to torment them on their home field his entire career, when the day eventually comes that Chipper Jones is facing his last ever game in Flushing?
Carlos Beltran set to return on July 15 - MLB
After a long season of surgery, rehab, and question marks, a date has finally been set for Carlos Beltran to make his return to the Mets. After playing in consecutive rehab starts for the first time, Beltran is feeling better, stronger, and preparing to return, which will be July 15th, against the San Francisco Giants.
David Wright is the National Leagues's June Player of the Month - MetsBlog
Wright has apparently gotten the hang of his swing again, and had a torrid June, hitting .404 with 11 doubles, six home runs and 29 RBI.
Don't expect Oliver Perez back until July 29 - MLB
Because that's the absolute longest that he is allowed to remain on the DL doing rehab starts. For now, he's apparently being stretched back out to possibly be a starting option again, but with Hisanori Takahashi not doing too bad in the interim, there's no room for Perez right now. He will be headed to AAA-Buffalo to finish out his rehabilitation.
MetsBlog, reporting all the rampant trades the Mets are interested in - MetsBlog
So far, there have been upper-echelon talent being mentioned such as Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt, and third-tier talents such as Ted Lilly and Ben Sheets. But it's obvious the Mets are looking for more pitching.
Carlos Delgado seeking to return, not opposed to starting in the Minors - MLB Trade Rumors
Former Met 1B isn't quite done yet, and with injuries to Nick Johnson and Kendry Morales for the Yankees and Angels, the rumors are running wild for the former slugger. He wants to reach 500 homers (27 away), and has no problems starting in the minors to get back on the path to a statistical milestone.
Mr. Met lambasts LeBron James for choosing Miami over New York - MetsBlog
Oh, you thought you could come here onto this baseball website and not hear something about LeBron James, right? Wrong. I'll keep my thoughts short and sweet - every sport needs a villain, and it's easy to point to the team amassing superstars. People loved watching the 1998 Rockets fail, the 2004 Lakers fail, and the 2009 Celtics fail, and despite the throngs of mindless sheep likely to suddenly become Miami Heat fans in '10-11, there will be a noticable minority rooting against their every game. Their key is simple, chemistry.
Arguably the Worst. Jersey. EVAR. - Mets Police
Wrong, in so many ways, from decor, accessory, to player choice.
Phils behaving badly - Shane Victorino - MLB
Look Shane, it's okay to mouth off to the fans, as long as you can back it up. Jimmy Rollins did it, got booed, but then backed it up. Being booed because the team is slumping is what Philadelphians do, it's okay, I still respect you as an adversary. This isn't The View, you can tell them how you really feel.
"We been fans since, forever. We've been following this team since they made the playoffs in '07."
Yeah, I guess 2007 to now kind of constitutes as "forever." Front-runners!
Phils behaving badly - Jayson Werth - NBC Sports
Atta boy, Jayson, give it right back to them. Fans interfering with inning-ending, catchable foul balls, in a tense, extra-inning game? That's right, tell them to GTFO. I lol'd extra hard at literary device to incorporate the kid into the scenario to create extra drama.
Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard are your Phillies All-Stars - Beerleaguer
With Utley injured, and Howard a reserve, and Roy Halladay doesn't get the starting nod over Ubaldo Jimenez, the National League All-Star team will start with no Phillies in the lineup. I kinda like that.
Ruben Amaro, Jr. contradicts everything he said two weeks ago - Philly.com
In short, Domonic Brown, whom he said will not see major league time this year, might now see some major league time now. The Phillies, who two weeks ago, didn't really need to make any moves, now are thinking about moving an outfielder between Werth or Victorino to help make room for another pitcher. And they also need an infiedler to help fill the void left by the injured Chase Utley.
J.A. Happ sent to AAA - Philly.com
Now activated off the DL, Happ is remaining in AAA to work things out and prepare for a return to the rotation.
Ryan Madson activated - MLB
After throwing a hissy fit after a blown save and kicking a chair and subsequently breaking his toe, setup man Ryan Madson is ready to assume his bullpen duties for a much maligned Phillies bullpen.
A win-win trade? - Philly.com
Kyle Drabek, a key ingredient in making the Roy Halladay trade into a reality threw a no-hitter in AA-New Hampshire for the Blue Jays organization earlier this week. Sure, it's no MLB Perfect Game, but it's gotta at least quell the notion that the Jays got nothing for Doc.
OPS guy really wants to get paid - MLB
I try not to glorify any individual games, but OPS guy just hammered three blasts in a single game to essentially carry the Nationals over the Padres earlier this week. I hate to think that there are players that genuinely hold back their ability to leverage themselves into a position of getting paid, but with the trade deadline coming, and uncertainty towards the future, OPS guy really wants to send a message out there that he wants to get paid.
You guys want to talk about snubs? - MLB
Ryan Zimmerman is going to be sitting at home next week while Matt Capps is going to be at the All-Star game. No doubt that Votto deserved that last spot on the team, but if I had it my way, Zimmerman would be on this squad over Capps in a heartbeat.
Matt Capps oblivious to All-Star bonus clause in contract - WaPo
For making the All-Star team on a technicality, Matt Capps is getting a little $50,000 bonus. I wonder what his bonus for NLDS MVP is?
Jordan Zimmermann, continuing to progress in rehab starts - WaPo
The former Nationals top pitching prospect before being shelved by TJS is steadily continuing on his path to the majors after a small outing in A-Potomac.
Scott Olsen, too, joins list of potentially returning pitchers - WaPo
If you stop and think about it, the Nationals have a litany of pitchers slated to return, to collide with the guys already in the rotation, and now throw Scott Olsen's name into that hat as well.
Add Orlando Hernandez to the list of maybes too - Teddy Never Wins
El Duque signs to a minor league deal, and hasn't pitched since 2007, so maybe that 44-47 year old arm still has a little bit of life in it. Maybe he can go play racquetball with his half brother, Livan Hernandez, and get ITBSOHL, and make an appearance or two for the Nats before the season is over?
Tony Gwynn proud of Stephen Strasburg - MLB
To those who aren't aware, Tony Gwynn personally coached and developed Stephen Strasburg himself, when he coached him at San Diego State University. It's a warming relationship they have, and it's safe to say that the HOFer has done a bang-up job of keeping Jesus's head in the right place, and trained him very well in preparation for the majors. With the Padres most recent trip to Washington, after BP, Strasburg himself sought out Gwynn for a brief reunion.
Former National All-Star Dmitri Young busted for "medical" marijuana - WaPo
As much as I got a great deal of amusement and enjoyment from D'meathook's tenure in Washington, there is no way a fairly corpulent sized individual is going to convince me that any pot on his person is for medical reasons, because well, it's supposed to help stimulate appetite. And as a known diabetic, and obese individual, I don't think Dmitri's fooling anyone into believing he needs to be eating more.
Ryan Zimmerman Foundation event headlined by David Blaine - Nats320
Not to bust too hard on a guy trying to do something charitable, but David Blaine? Seriously? The guy who made a name for himself starving himself, drowning himself, or some other severely harmful self-mutilation? I know there's a joke to be here about enduring Washington Nationals games as being something self-torturous, but I can't really bring myself to it.
An uncomfortable conversation with Nyjer Morgan - WaPo
Not going to lie here, this interview was really unusual.
Josh Johnson, named NL Top Pitcher for June - MLB
I didn't think it was going to be possible, but someone has finally clawed their way to a better ERA than Ubaldo Jimenez, but Josh Johnson has been having one beast of a season, quietly in the lights of quiet South Beach.
Gaby Sanchez, named NL Rookie of the Month for June - MLB
Well, with Jason Heyward hurt, I guess it's acceptable for someone else to win it for a month.
Chris Volstad sent back to the Minors - Miami Herald
After more or less failing to live up to expectations, Volstad is sent packing back to AAA-New Orleans.
E-Rod wants more late-inning scoring - Miami Herald
Yes, and I want to have more luck with women, and someday get under 400 lbs.
Marlins excited that LeBron James coming to Miami - MLB
News travels fast. And despite the fact that the Fish were out in dry, dry Arizona, news traveled pretty quickly into the Marlins dugout that LeBron James was the newest addition to the South Beach sports family.
So Hanley Ramirez probably wants an hour long ESPN special to decide if he'll participate in the HR Derby - Miami Herald
I swear, it's Vlad Guererro's fault that players are so scared of the HR Derby now. Ever since his career decline following the HR Derby of 2008, players are so scared to compete anymore. Given the current list of acceptees, I'm putting my money on Miguel Cabrera to win it.
Bonus links of relative interest to me:
Fan interference costs Mariners game - Deadspin
Sometimes, the misery of others' foolishness is hilarious to me. Russell Branyan rips a sure double down the first base line, and a fan reaches out and grabs it. Ichiro, on first, with great speed could have easily tied the game, but is instead held up at third. Naturally the Mariners fail to convert afterward, and the fan is blamed for the loss. Save that kind of behavior for the road team, son!