Around the NL East - Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper take May honors, Roy Halladay actually hurt, Mets fans wear Jorts

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WELCOME TO OAKLAND

Three weekends ago (yeah, doesn't feel that long), I made a trip out to the Bay Area for one of my annual baseball trips. In the process I crossed San Francisco and Oakland off of the list of 30 MLB cities to go see games at, which puts me at 23/30 MLB parks seen (excluding cities that have new parks now). Long time readers might recall that I typically do write-ups in collaboration with these teams' blogs on the SBNation network, and earlier this week, I finally got to posting my reviews of both AT&T Park, as well as Oakland Coliseum to both McCovey Chronicles, and Athletics Nation. One or two of you have given me favorable reason to share with the home fans, and well, I don't really have anything else to write this week.

In short, both parks were great experiences, but much to the dismay of some in San Francisco, I actually felt I had a better time in Oakland than in California, even if the Coliseum is seen as a dilapidated, old, concrete dungeon. So that being said, if you were sadistically hoping that I'd get verbally obliterated like I did with the White Sox fans, didn't happen. Instead, much appreciation, admiration and gratitude to both Giants and A's communities for being civil, hospitable, and/or just plain tolerant of a wandering Braves fan.

Welcome back to the basement. Interleague is stupid.

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Giancarlo named NL Player of the Month - Fish Stripes
Is this really a surprise? Pretty much the only guy in the month of May that was better than Martin Prado. 12 HR, 30 RBI, broke one scoreboard.

Former Marlin Dan Uggla first to hit the Home Run Sculpture - Palm Beach Post
Omar Infante was the first to homer in the new park, Giancarlo broke a scoreboard, but both pale in comparison to Dan Uggla, whose sun-blasting homer on June 5th, is the first blast to hit Jeffrey Loria's prized home run sculpture. Metaphorical much?

Matt Kemp wants "Mike" Stanton on his HR Derby team - Fish Bytes
Oh noes, but what about hurting his swing?

Heath Bell calls out Marlins fans to vote for Giancarlo - Palm Beach Post
My favorite part about this article is where Joe Capozzi essentially remarks about how Bell doesn't seem to get the apathetic South Florida lifestyle, and that trying to force the issue probably isn't going to do much.

Does Carlos Zambrano have a shot at being the pitcher with the most homers ever? - Palm Beach Post
Ehhh... no. I highly doubt it. He's maxed out at 6 HR in 2006, and hasn't hit more than two in three years. He's still 15 away from passing Wes Ferrell's mark of 38, so he's still got a ways to go.

Ozzie Guillen, Stats, and the Hidden Advantage - Fish Stripes
I'm sure this is news to a lot of you, but Ozzie Guillen apparently doesn't let stats dictate his managing style. But an interesting glimpse at how in the case of a guy like Ozzie Guillen, and probably only Ozzie Guillen, is this not that terrible of a thing.

Marlins relievers let their hormones ruin a chance to put visitors at a disadvantage - Palm Beach Post
The Marlins home bullpen is right next to the Clevelander bar - the bar with women in bikinis swimming in a pool, dancers in booty shorts dancing on top of the bar, and loud, obnoxious music. The visitors get the nice tranquility of a regular old bullpen out in right. If the team kept up with their original stance from April, that it was a nuisance, then such configurations would have surely been switched for next season. But nope, the Marlins relief corp now says the like it. Lawl.

In spite of visual evidence, the Marlins attendance increase is still the best in baseball - Marlin Maniac
Oh those pesky loopholes. Since these numbers are tabulated based on tickets sold, and not the butts actually in the seats, technically, the Marlins attendance increase is still the best in baseball, even if the stands tend to look a little bare from time to time. But still, it's way better turn outs than when it was at the Land Shark.

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Gio Gonzalez named NL Pitcher of the Month, Bryce Harper, Rookie of the Month - MASN
For the second month in a row, a Nationals pitcher has taken the Pitcher of the Month award, with Gio Gonzalez following Stephen Strasburg in May, with his 5-0 record, 2.25 ERA and 45 Ks in 32.0 IP. And Bryce Harper's debut month, where he hit .271 with 4 HR and 10 RBI has garnered him the NL's Rookie of the Month award.

Bryce Harper hits his first ever walk-off hit, Gatorade bath - Nats Enquirer
Big whoop, Jason Heyward did in his 12th professional game, almost a third of the time it took Harper to become a hero. Also, former SEC reporter/eye candy Kristina Akra did smack her face into a cameraman trying to escape.

Bryce Harper leaving his teammates in awe - MASN
One of the more telling notes from this post is the fact that at the time I'm writing this, almost 50% of all of his hits have been for extra bases.

Bryce Harper and Steve Lombardozzi first rookies to go back-to-back in modern era - Nationals Journal
And it all happened off of Tommy Hanson, no less. But lest we need reminder, those were the only two runs Hanson gave up on that day, and the Braves still won, 3-2

Not to mention Bryce Harper's over-aggressive base running did not please Davey Johnson - MASN

What say you, Davey Johnson? Was going for third the right play in that situation?

"No"

<3 Simba's arm

Denying aches and pains is an easy to way to miss time, young Padawan - Nats Enquirer
Bryce Harper has apparently been dealing with back pain for a little while. His response to everything "I'm good." Isn't that what the coked-out sex slaves in Taken always said before being rescued by Liam Neeson?

STRASBRUG - The Bog
Uh oh, the Natinals have a challenger.

Ian Desmond uses two ill children as motivation to be awesome - MASN
In Tuesday's marathon with the Mets, Ian Desmond delivered three separate times, tying up the game in the 8th, 10th and 12th innings. Although Harper got the game-winning hit, it was Desmond who pretty much won the game, notching a WPA score of +1.017. And he owes it to two children he met, suffering from two separate diseases.

Nats lose yet another catcher - Nats Insider
Carlos Maldonado becomes the third Nationals catcher to hit the DL in over the span of the last month. The last remaining backup catcher is now Jhonathan Solano. OF/1B Tyler Moore is recalled to take his roster spot.

Henry Rodriguez goes on the DL for bathroom-slammed finger, Brad Lidge activated - Nationals Journal
After getting the bathroom door slammed on his hand, Henry Rodriguez is put on the DL. The bright side is that Brad Lidge is nice and ready to be back on the roster, and will be activated just in time to take his place.

The misfortunes of other teams could lead to some interest in John Lannan - MASN
At first, nobody was interested in the pro-rated $5M that would be owed to John Lannan if he were acquired, but there are several teams that are soon on the verge of looking for a warm body with an arm that won't make too much of an embarrassment of themselves. John Lannan meekly raises his hand in Syracuse.

Adam LaRoche will probably have a harder time finding rednecks in DC than in Georgia - The Bog
The hunting enthusiast wants to bring some of his Nats teammates with him on a future hunting outing. But nobody currently really sounds like suitable hunters, especially Gio Gonzalez.

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Second opinion confirms Roy Halladay is indeed hurt - Phillies Zone
The lat injury is indeed confirmed by two doctors now, and there's a good chance Doc will miss anywhere from two months to possibly more, at the expected rehabilitation timetable.

Since he won't be playing any time soon, Doc resorts to lobbying for Carlos Ruiz - High Cheese
The Roybot implores persons that prefer the Philadelphia Phillies to place favor with catcher, Carlos Ruiz, for the All-Star game. Good luck outvoting Yadier Molina, which pretty much almost never happens anymore.

Jonathan Papelbon blows game, whines about umpires - Crossing Broad
After allowing a triple and then a go-ahead RBI single to the Dodgers that ultimately lost the game for the Phillies, Jonathan Papelbon decides to air his frustrations out to the press, directed at home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

As the Phillies mire in the cellar, trade rumors swirl - TGP
In spite of their last-place standing, the Phillies are still just three games out (at time of writing). It's easy to assume they'll sell given the circumstances, and if it gets to that point, Ruben Amaro would likely move his impending free agents first: Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino.

Chase Utley in Clearwater, rehabbing in extended spring training games - Phillies Nation
In his first game as a DH, he went 3-for-4 with a homer, against lesser talent. In light of the rumors that a position switch might happen, they're shot down to be unlikely, but not completely out of the question, either.

It's a good thing too, because Freddy Galvis just went down - Phillies Zone
Lower back soreness, he had to be removed in the middle of an at-bat due to the pain. It's implied that he will hit the DL as a result, too, leaving pretty much the only options at second base to be Mike Fontenot or the freshly returned Michael Martinez.

Also, Placido Polanco's wrist and finger are giving him more trouble - Philly.com
At this point, it's almost more newsworthy when Polanco is capable of playing, instead of when he's hurting, aching, or incapable.

Jose Contreras put on DL for torn UCL, probably finished - TGP
A rough way to go for the old Bronze Titan, after all the hard work he put in to get back into the big leagues, but a torn UCL is no laughing matter. With his second sever injury to the same pitching elbow, if I'm a betting man, I'm saying that Contreras' career is probably over.

Looks like Jimmy Rollins might be declining at a bad time - Crashburn Alley
In short, walks down, strikeouts up, little effectiveness from the right side, and he's popping up more than ever.

Four Phillies pitchers deemed "overrated" by anonymous peers - Crossing Broad
SI polled 227 anonymous MLB players on who they thought were the most overrated pitchers in baseball. Anonymity can be amusing sometimes. Regardless, out of the top 15, Jonathan Papelbon (5), Cliff Lee (11), Roy Halladay (13) and Cole Hamels (15) were named. Not a single Braves pitcher made the list.

Phillies prospect takes photo with Mr. Belding - TGP
There is absolutely no way a SBTB reference doesn't get linked here. Even if Mr. Belding is like the Darren Oliver of old-school television.

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This is why we CAN have nice things - Amazin' Avenue
Personally, I thought it was pretty low-brow of the St. Louis media to react in the way it did after Johan Santana snapped the Mets' streak of years with no no-nos. For the record, I agree with this post from the good folks at AA about how really, what isn't marred with a potential asterisk anymore these days?

PSA: If you're going to storm the field, don't wear jorts - NY Times
Mets diehard fan Rafael Diaz was arrested for interfering with a sports event and criminal trespass, when, overcome with emotion at witnessing Johan Santana's no-hitter, stormed the field. Says Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who absent-mindedly put his arm around Diaz at one point during the celebration:

I didn’t really think twice about it until afterward. The jean shorts gave it away.

Ramon Ramirez put on DL for strained hamstring from excessive celebration - NY Times
While running to the mound to celebrate the no-hitter, the relief pitcher strained his hamstring. Talk about a buzzkill:

He was so excited he just burst out of the bullpen and started running," Collins said, "and they said about halfway to the infield he just stopped.

Mets no-no ticket stub selling has forced The Apple to write non-fiction - The Apple
The funny thing is, I don't remember there being ANY controversy at all, when the Marlins tried to sell ticket stubs from the Roy Halladay perfect game. There's an obvious attendance joke in play here, but I'm going to be better than that, but the Mets seem to have run into a little bit of potential backlash, trying to do the same thing with Johan Santana and the Mets' first-ever no-hitter. The complication seems to be that the Mets are willing to reprint every ticket seat that wasn't owned by a season ticket holder, plan or pack holder, and sell them for fifty bucks a pop. That's great and all, but this excludes the typically large numbers of walk-ups, who will now have to contend with people who buy reprints who can say they were there too now. Solution? REPRINT watermarks.

As if the Mets bullpen weren't thin enough, Jon Rauch to miss time with elbow "debris" - NY Post
In other words, probably loose bodies. Either way, the Mets will not use him and put the volatile Bobby Parnell to take eighth inning duties in the interim.

Jon Niese experiences rapid heartbeat - ESPN
And apparently this isn't the first time either. After striking out ten Cardinals in six innings, Collins removed him from the game from what was reported to be a rapid heartbeat. Tests showed nothing alarming in the aftermath. UPDATE: Jon Niese will undergo albation surgery in the off-season, to treat heart arrhythmia, which appears to be the reason for the rapid heartbeat. But he is cleared to continue pitching otherwise.

A relaxing read about R.A. Dickey - WaPo
Nothing a lot of people aren't aware about, but Dickeyface's an interesting guy, so it's always a pleasure to read things about the guy, and the litany of interesting stories, from getting lost in cities, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the endless plight to harness the knuckleball.

Ruben Tejada aggravates quad, has to come out of rehab start - MetsBlog
Hoping to make it back for the start of the Subway Series, it looks like Tejada is taking a step in the wrong direction.

The Mets clearly need some depth at shortstop - NY Post
After three errors by stop-gap shortstops Omar Quintanilla and Jordany Valdespin essentially cost the Mets an important game against the Nationals, the Mets realize that they could use some future help in the position. Which is maybe why they took shortstop Gavin Cecchini in the first round of the draft.

Ike Davis doesn't believe a demotion would do him any good - MetsBlog
Good thing he doesn't make the decisions, nor have the kind of pull Chipper Jones has to essentially decide his own fate:

If I hit .400 down there, what’s it going to do up here? You can’t just hit in the minor leagues. That’s not going to help.

What's not going to help is if he continues to hit .164, when there's maybe someone in the minors who could do better. It's not always about the guy facing demotion, y'know...

Comedian Bill Maher buys minority share of Mets - The Mets Police
And then immediately insinuates his contributions to the team are what led to the Johan Santana no-hitter, and that more good things cold potentially come out of his investment.

Johan Santana no-hitter graphic pre-determined, others too - The Apple
Maybe they should have one for Manny Acosta, if he ever makes it back to the big club. Not for throwing a no-hitter, but for making appearance where he doesn't implode. It's about as rare as a no-no.

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