Around the NL East - Every single Phillie injured, Verlander favors Strasburg, David Wright outfielderlol, Fish's poo-poo and pee-pee passes

Remember in Fight Club, how Edward Norton's character began to think negative thoughts and be upset by the mere presence of Marla Singer (Helena Bonham-Carter) at all of the self-help and therapy sessions he attended? That's kind of how I felt at the last game of the season at Turner Field, when in between one of the late innings the camera people put "famous" ballhawk/uberdork, Zack Hample up on the big screen.

Suddenly, I stopped focusing so intently on the baseball game, and trying to channel positive thoughts and energy to the Braves' success, and I began thinking about how irritated I felt that this dork was in my home ballpark. Why was he here? Was it coincidental? Or was he trying to apply false sense of significance to being at Turner Field for a critical game, and the baseballs he begged for were somehow more special? Didn't matter. Him being in the same place as me began to bug me. I'm sure he was switching back and forth between Braves and Phillies hats and jerseys begging and pandering and pleading and whining for baseballs from players and coaches. And because he's so aggressive and willing to stoop to using gloves and cups on strings to fish for baseballs, he probably had like 20+ baseballs by that point.

I know there are so many things worse than this guy, but for me, he represents bad baseball fandom for me. Fake allegiances, and the pitiful desperation and lengths traveled for just free baseballs. A tourist, a phony. Cheaper than a movie and baseballs are free. Fan of no team, since he's too busy being a fan of the balls themselves. Yeah, I'm aware of how petty this makes me sound, but it's a fun story in itself. Because after I was aware that he was in the park, my mood soured, the next thing I know Scott Linebrink's in the game, Hunter Pence is bat-knobbing a ball past Uggla and Freeman, and then fans in the stands are ripping apart their foam tomahawks in frustration.

I am Jack's petty delegation of inappropriate blame. Welcome back to the basement.

PHILLIES

Jimmy Rollins doesn't BS around - Philles Nation
J-Roll wants five years and/or a boatload of money, and he'll go to any team that provides both on adequate to his standards level.

Ryan Howard has full tear in Achilles tendon - The Good Phight
Before the official news came out over what it was, I couldn't help but think about the high ankle sprain that Howard suffered in 2010, that I made remarks over about how it seemed like he would never recover from it when he talked about his limited mobility prior to the 2011 season. Now, I can't help but wonder how much of that had to do with this unfortunate outcome.

Skepticism for Howard's recovery time - Phillies Zone
The initial estimate said 5-6 months. But any fan of baseball knows that estimated recovery times are always egregiously optimistic, and almost never realistic (Johan Santana, Chase Utley). Here's a list of just Phillies who had return aspirations, and were either derailed, delayed, or completely given false hope.

Ryan Howard riding around Whole Foods on a rascal motorized shopping cart - Amazin' Avenue
Cell phones. Nothing really seems quietly discreet and private anymore these days.

A whole bunch of other Phillies getting work done too - Phillies Nation
Hunter Pence has surgery for a sports hernia. Cole Hamels will have surgery to get rid of "loose bodies" in his pitching elbow (fragments of cartilage or bone floating around). And a hernia too. Placido Polanco will also have surgery for a hernia as well.

Speaking of Polanco, what's his future look like? - Crashburn Alley
He's often injuries or battling nagging injuries that affect his performance, and he's still owed $6.25M for 2012. Naturally the Phillies are thinking upgrade, so where does this leave Polly?

Who didn't see this coming - slightly depleted farm system? - Beerleaguer
Now that the Pitching Rotation of Destiny experiment is over, it's time to look at the future. The reality is that a lot of the guys acquired from Seattle during the Phils-Ms-Jays-As that sent Lee to Seattle, who were supposed to be promising prospects, none have really panned out. Despite some talents in the low-levels, there really isn't anything to call home about in the standby pool, and that's causing some concern for a team with guys at many positions threatening to leave, or are high injury risks.

Meet the man who's going to try to help with that - High Cheese
Joe Jordan, formerly of the Baltimore Orioles, joins the Phillies as their new director of player development.

The Season That Never Was - Phillies Nation
If you have a smart phone, download an app called "World's Smallest Violin" and every time you get to a part about the Phillies losing, play it. Makes this piece that much more enjoyable.

 

NATIONALS

Justin Verlander is a very promising comparison - Nationals Journal

"He throws 100 with a hammer and a changeup," Verlander said Wednesday, during a brief conversation following his news conference. "There’s really nobody else. Comparison-wise, it’s him and I right now."

Yeah, if I were Stephen Strasburg, I'd be pretty stoked to know that Justin Verlander is the one making that comparison to me.

Regardless, expect the predictable innings limit for 2012 - MASN
Even if the Nationals find themselves amidst the playoff hopefuls, don't expect the Nationals to break protocol and push Strasburg into duties exceeding a post-TJS innings limit.

Guess which former National is running his mouth again? - Nats NQ
If you guessed Nyjer Morgan, you'd be correct. Now I'm not a big fan of Jayson Werth or anything, but Morgan's quotes are coming off as spiteful, jealous, and overall, very immature. I'm looking forward to the Brewers giving Morgan a deal, and then having him tank, like he did after he grew complacent in Pittsburgh and Washington previously.

John Lannan's future with the Nationals - MASN
I for one, am pretty tired of seeing John Lannan dismantle the Braves with his purportedly underwhelming stuff, so I have no qualms if he's traded out of the division. But truthfully, despite the criticism for the underwhelming stuff and sucking against the Phillies, Lannan's a solid, durable, lefty starter who would easily slot into most major league teams' rotations.

Veteran players think pregame drills are beneath them - The Nats Blog
Vets like Jayson Werth apparently think it's embarrassing or other convoluted opinions on why they shouldn't have to do them. But if the defense is an issue, then work on it, every opportunity you get. I just remember watching in the last World Baseball Classic, teams like Japan and Korea doing small drills in between innings. Also, in the championship game.

Riggleman interviewing with the Mets, a few Nats going to Taiwan - Nats Insider
The Riggs is trying to get back on the employment train, hoping to snag a third-base job with the Mets. Meanwhile, several Nats, like Mike Morse, Ivan Rodriguez, and of course, Chien-Ming Wang are going to be on the traveling MLB All-Star team that travels to Taiwan later in the winter.

I swear this is like Jango Fett's story - News Press
For your nerdy Star Wars reference for the week, Jango Fett created a clone of himself to raise as a son, and named him Boba Fett. Now look at Dereck Rodriguez, and tell me he's not ripped straight out of the Pudge Rodriguez rookie card. He's also 19 years old, and currently in the Minnesota Twins' system, playing in the outfield with a gun for an arm.

Man, I can't wait for ESPN3 to start broadcasting Winter Ball again - The Bog
Last seen as a National, Dmitri Young has been spotted in Venezuela, playing Winter Ball, with aspirations to get back into playing shape, and attempting to come back to the Majors. Again.

 

METS

David Wright pondering his future in New York - The Mets Police
Being the face of the franchise doesn't change the fact that if a formula continues to not work year after year, a change is needed. Although the talks of possibly moving Wright to LF to put Daniel Murphy's bat at 3B were quickly squashed, in a rebuilding phase, assets like Wright are always a possibility to be moved.

"Everything is quiet" - NBC
In regards to Jose Reyes's contract talks, that is. Considering no team is allowed to negotiate with him until five days after the World Series, the Mets pretty much don't see any point in exerting effort to a guy who has made it evidently clear he wants to test the waters.

Ryan Braun thinks Brewers have a shot at Reyes - NY Post
Even more than re-signing Prince Fielder. He peppers in the bits about how Jose Reyes is pretty much his favorite player to watch when not playing in baseball games.

K-Rod trying to keep door to New York open - NY Daily News
Naturally, with free agency coming up for K-Rod, he's doing the wise thing and making nice with all possible suitors, including his former home in Flushing. Highly doubt they would want him back though.

Doc Gooden would trade Jason Bay for A.J. Burnett straight up, immediately - MetsBlog
Interestingly enough, it's not as silly as the first impression is. Even with the walls coming in a little, Citi Field would be a far pitcher-friendlier venue than Yankee Stadium, and peripherally, such a change could be beneficial to a guy like Burnett.

I have to admit it's not as funny this time - Amazin' Avenue
And I agree with the consensus over there, this doesn't warrant the turning of every single comment green like the last one did. This one's too obviously fake troll.

 

In the United States, identity theft is very much punishable - Miami Herald
"Leo Nunez" wasn't a made up name, there actually is someone Juan Carlos Oviedo knows by that name, and assumed his identity and birthdate to become the marginally talented relief pitcher in the majors everyone knew. I digress though, too much culture clash to get into it. But this little nugget:

Charles Farrell, a former Washington Post journalist who now runs the Dominican Republic Sports and Education Academy, said he believes there are (at) least 30 Dominican players in the major leagues still using false identities.

Fascinating...

Reasons behind the poo-poo and pee-pee card - Palm Beach Post
Back when Trader Jack took the reigns of the Marlins again, stories surfaced of his old-timey, dictator-style micro-managing, most notably the necessity to require players to utilize hall passes to go to the bathroom. As is often the case, there is two sides to the story, and in the wake of allegations that Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey were loafing in the clubhouse during games while the Red Sox collapsed, McKeon emerged and recalled such behavior leading to his locking of the clubhouse in the first place. The biggest perpetrator who led that? Former Marlin, Josh Beckett!

More information about the "piece of (art)" - Fish Bytes
So apparently, the gigantic eye-sore that will make baseball fans actively root against home runs in New Marlins Starship Contraceptive, cost $2.5M to make, by a "world renown" "pop artist." I'm an artist for a living, and even I don't get this (crap).

Apparently, some positives came out of SunLiphinShark Robbie Player Stadium - Miami Herald
A heartfelt goodbye to the now-defunct home of the defunct Florida Marlins.

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