Around the NL East - Giancarlo has knee surgery, Bryce Harper's All-Star experiences, Cole Hamels wants to stay in Philly, Dickey miffed he didn't get to start ASG

Even Melky's former teammates don't want anything to do with Melky Cabrera anymore.

Since I'm such a terrible baseball fan, I didn't really watch much of the All-Star Game. It's not like I was particularly busy or anything; in fact, I was watching America's Got Talent alternatively. By the time I bothered to check on the ASG, I learned that the game was already well out of hand, and the NL was up 5-0 when I finally checked in. I DVR'd the game, telling myself that I'd go back and watch it, but I've already skipped all the game parts, and only sought out anything that was remotely Braves related, like anything that had to do with Chipper Jones' farewell, or seeing Craig Kimbrel mow down two batters.

I know I won't actually go back and watch any of the game itself, because frankly, it'll just be one gigantic reminder of how stupid it makes me feel, because I trashed the Giants players on the starting roster like crazy last week, and it turns out that it was pretty much all the Giants players that set the tone and won the game for the National League for the third straight year. I'll be the first to admit my blatantly biased and horribly incorrect prediction, but it serves to remind us how unpredictable every single game is, even a silly exhibition game with a silly stipulation attached to it.

I don't like to throw the "hate" word around too much, because it attaches an involvement that I really don't often have towards baseball. My non-Braves fans friends who sort of watch baseball always ask me what my "deal is" with Melky Cabrera, the newly-crowned All-Star MVP, and why I say such negative things about him. Thankfully, I don't need to explain it to most of you guys, but for the sake of clearing things up for everyone else, exhibit A:

Melky_sucks_medium

And exhibits B: Yankees. Braves. Royals. Giants. One of these is most certainly not like the others.

I've seen guys like Shawn Kemp and Santana Moss show up to their NBA and NFL teams out of shape and initiate the ends of their careers a bit more prematurely than what people may normally have planned. And aside from pitchers, I can't really say that I've seen it happen too often in baseball except for Dmitri Young, and maybe I'm paraphrasing for the sake of writing this, but never really for the Braves. That is, until Melky Cabrera showed up to Kissimmee in 2010 like a bloated narwhal and predictably played the worst baseball of his entire career with the tomahawk on his jersey. A guy giving up on his career I can sort of understand, but then he had to go find God or find some sort of revelation or have some epiphany that made him want to start playing hard again, and then he shows up to Kansas City the following year, in great shape, puts up a solid season, gets traded to the Giants and gets in even better shape, and is playing so out of his head that even Tony LaRussa and the 2006 World Champion Cardinals' pitching staff looks over and says "damn."

But the fact that he decided to phone it in, give up on life, get fat, lazy and ineffective in the one year he played for my team; our team, OUR Atlanta Braves, before deciding that he wanted to actually start trying again, is precisely why I loathe Melky Cabrera. Grantland agreed.

Welcome back to the basement.

2012mia_medium

Giancarlo to miss 4-6 weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery - Fish Stripes
Well, this is going to put a pretty big hurt on the Marlins' playoff hopes. Giancarlo had knee surgery to remove loose bodies in his knee, and is expected ot miss 4-6 weeks not to mention rehabilitation time before returning to the Marlins.

Hanley Ramirez attacks cooling fan in frustration, cuts himself, naturally Ozzie calls him stupid - Palm Beach Post
And for once, Ozzie's completely not out of line in making such statements. Amidst a 2-for-22 stretch, Hanley punched a fan, and it sliced up his knuckles, requiring two stitches to close. Bravo!

Ozzie claims Heath Bell might be demoted after All-Star Break. Again - Fish Stripes
After tying the Major League's worst, six blown save right before the All-Star break, Ozzie might actually demote Heath Bell. Some may recall this being the case back in May, where Bell was demoted for all of one game, before he was back pitching the ninth the next day. It's almost like the Jeff Francoeur demotion back in 2008.

Leo Nunez is now pitching again - Fish Bytes
And as if Bell doesn't need someone else breathing down his neck, the guy formerly known as Leo Nunez has begun pitching again, in the minors, getting the kinks out and breaking the rust, and has about 16 more days on a rehab stint before he'll end up back up with the Marlins.

And now, it's the dreaded "C" word until Bell stops sucking - Fish Bytes
Committee, that is, and that's how the Marlins will be closing games until Heath Bell can get his stuff back together.

Ozzie says Logan Morrison has the makings of a Marlins leader - Palm Beach Post
Just two weeks ago, Ozzie Guillen says he doesn't want leaders, he wants players. So by saying that LoMo is leadership quality, he this a backhanded compliment and that LoMo isn't wanted, or has he already forgotten his prior statements? Maybe a little of both, or maybe too many Presidentes and sleeping pills.

Marlins unlikely to sign first-round draft pick Andrew Heaney - Fish Stripes
The Fish refuse to give the ninth overall pick the full $2.8M recommended slot bonus to the Oklahoma State lefty, offering $2.6M instead. Regardless of it was accepted or not, team policy dictates that a full physical and bloodwork needs to be done, and they simply waited too long.

106 degrees? Pffh, wimps - Fish Bytes
106 degrees sets a Marlins record of hottest game they've ever played. But that's still nothing compared to the consecutive days just two weeks ago where the Braves had starting temperatures of 104, 112 and 108 in consecutive days, that I had the dubious privilege of being at all three of.

Marlins president upset that no Marlins were picked to replace Giancarlo - Sun Sentinel
The best part is that instead of name dropping the guys with any name value as viable replacements, he goes on to push all of them under the carpet and suggest that AAAA player on a hot streak, Justin Ruggiano, should have gotten onto the NL roster ahead of this year's Baseball Jesus, Bryce Harper. That was a clown suggestion, bro!

Logan Morrison headlines list of Marlins who will shave their heads for children's cancer awareness - Palm Beach Post
Twitter blabbermouth, inconsistent baseball player, but one thing that has also remained constant is LoMo's eager willingness to jump to the front lines when it comes to charitable work and raising cancer awareness in all forms. This time, LoMo, and an undetermined number of Marlins teammates will be shaving their heads to raise awareness for pediatric cancer patients.

Jeff Conine, Pudge Rodriguez, Scott Cousins and a whole lot of odd coincidence - Sun Sentinel
To have an afternoon honoring former Marlin Ivan Rodriguez, Pudge and Jeff Conine plan on reenacting the specacular defensive play which preserved a Marlins win over the Giants in the 2003 NLDS en route to a World Series championship, where Mr. Marlin gunned down San Francisco's J.T. Snow who barreled into Pudge, but held onto the ball, to end the series. An interesting suggestion is bringing up Scott Cousins, who is no stranger to barreling over people, and in spite of killing Buster Posey, is a San Francisco native, grew up a Giants fan, and whose favorite player was, J.T. Snow.

Marlins Park's Clevelander bar looking for meathead musclebro to entice the ladies - Palm Beach Post
Since probably one person was offended by the bikini-clad women who are paid to frolick around in the Clevelander's pool at Marlins Park, the bar has decided to be fair, and seek out a beefcake to appease the wimmins and those who might bat for the other team.

2012was_medium

Ian Desmond voluntarily sits out of first-ever All-Star Game, puts team first - MASN
Ian Desmond kind of gets it. The ASG is a joke to begin with, and even with the stipulation of home field in the WS behind it, it's still sort of pointless. Seeing an opportunity to rest a balky oblique, he chooses to sit out of the game, and in the process help re-jigger the roster to where Bryce Harper could make it onto the team ultimately.

Where he wore gold cleats, and Skip Bayless couldn't get over them - The Bog
Calling them "LeBron-esque" and other veiled remarks of criticism.

And lost a ball in the lights - Nats Enquirer
Harper was probably pleased that his first All-Star at-bat didn't result in an out, but a walk, but he was ultimately thrown out at third with yet some more over-aggressive base-running, but that wasn't the most humbling moment of his evening. That would have to be where he lost a Mike Napoli flyball in the Kansas City sky, and let it plop innocuously four feet away from him.

But he got to meet some of his childhood favorites and greats - Nationals Journal
Like George Brett and Mark McGwire, while Stephen Strasburg seemed to be content with making buddy-buddy with just Buster Posey.

And most importantly, Chipper Jones - Nats Enquirer
Clearly attracted to legitimate greatness, Bryce Harper saw fit to stick to Chipper's right arm as long as he could during the All-Star game itself.

But it was okay, because to Chipper, the feeling is awkwardly mutual - The Bog

"I love Mike Trout," Jones said. "But I have a man-crush on Bryce Harper."

Speaking of Mike Trout, Bryce Harper sees the two of them like Bird and Magic - Nationals Journal
I get it, but I don't think it's a particularly good analogy, since it's not like basketball where it's not like it would be Harper and Trout pitching to the other directly, to go mano-a-mano. But the question is, who's Bird and who's Magic? Both won five championships, but the Lakers bested the Celtics 2/3 in their head-to-heads in the Bird-Magic era. Does it really matter, with the potential for such success in the works?

Gio Gonzalez on Bryce Harper getting to be an All-Star? - The Bog
Yep, that's a clown question, bro.

And Harper himself elaborates on what brought on the fabled quote - The Bog
Read it for yourself, but the best part of the article is that Harper's most surprising moment in his short minor league career so far: Hitting a home run off of (a hindered) Jonny Venters. As complimentary as it is, pretty much everyone knows that if Jonny can start pitching like the Jonny Venters we all know and love, that probably won't ever happen again.

Since I'm all out of Bryce Harper links, the All-Star Game might come to D.C. by 2015 - Nats Insider
That would mean two straight NL East All-Star games, and maybe three, if Miami is considered sooner rather than later as well. Newer ballparks tend to get favoritism when it comes to selecting ASG sites, but the alternating league rule doesn't budge.

Nats' pitching coach Steve McCatty on strikeouts - SBN

"Strikeouts are bullshit."

Welp, an out is an out, as it's oft-said...

Stephen Strasburg's take on the purported inning limit - The Bog

''Well, they’re gonna have to rip the ball out of my hands, that’s all I can say"

Very interesting.

The Nationals were, and still are, interested in Michael Bourn - Nationals Journal
Bourn recalls knowing that the Nationals were very hot and heavy over trying to get him at last year's deadline, before the Braves got their hands on him, but that still doesn't mean that the Nationals aren't going to try to pursue him at this year's deadline, or during free agency next year. Currently, Bryce Harper isn't doing a terrible job out in center field, but he wasn't really ever considered to be in their long-term plans for the position.

Mike Morse bobblehead ready to unleash something, alright - The Bog
In the third game of the Nats/Braves series, I found myself in a perfect position to heckle Mike Morse. Don't worry, I kept it PG, but I criticized the cost of his BEAST MODE clothing line, asked him how he was ever a shortstop prospect, but most importantly, re-informed him that he wasn't the lizard-cobra-samurai-ninja-snake-narwhal he claims he is when he does his pre-at-bat pose. Mike Morse emoted for me to shut up after one inning, and before I could refute it, he was lifted for a defensive replacement. Anyway, Morse's bobblehead, I get it and all, but man, does it look like he going to pass gas in this picture.

2012phi_medium

Cole Hamels says he wishes to stay in Philadelphia, so probably kiss him goodbye - Philly.com
He didn't say he wanted to finish his career in Philadelphia so it's not a guaranteed split on the horizon, but if history is an indication this is still the kind of remark that a guy is going to depart when the time comes. Interestingly enough is the theory that even if Hamels is traded off, the belief that the Phillies will still be given every opportunity to re-acquire him once he declares free agency.

Phillies will make a push to extend Hamels very soon - Phillies Nation
Jayson Stark reports that the Phillies will make an offer to Hamels in coming days. As is the case in today's game, the issue isn't so much cost of the contract, so much as it's the length that is causing some complications.

Slumping Phillies are now shunning the media - Crashburn Alley
After the gratifying sweep of the Phillies, J-Roll pretty much told the reporters that there wasn't any point before walking out on them. Leading the media to fall back onto pointing the finger at the team and declaring the lack of leadership, and that it's different when the team's winning.

If the Phillies are to make the playoffs, they're going to need to be historic - High Cheese
Historic in the sense that they will have to overcome a 10 games below .500 deficit starting later than any other team, but the interesting thing is that the hypothetical 51-27 over the last 78 is something that the Phillies have done before, as recently as 2010, when they closed out at 53-25; but they were good all prior to that point, so it wasn't historic then.

But if they falter, would they consider Teixeira-ing Hunter Pence? - Phillies Zone
Between impending free agents Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels, I guess I didn't think about the option of trading Hunter Pence, who might be more appealing due to the fact that he still has the remainder of 2012, as well as 2013 as his last controllable year. Teams like to have control beyond a rental 8-9 weeks, and Pence's additional year might be more appealing than the rentals that Victorino and Hamels would inevitably be.

Jonathan Papelbon and Shane Victorino team up to detain would-be bullpen intruder - Crossing Broad
Honesetly, the way things developed it looked almost as if Paps and Victorino were trying to maneuver the guy into a position where Victorino could superplex him back onto the warning track.

Roy Halladay beginning rehab assignment - Phillies Zone
So that means he could be back in as soon as just one more week.

Here's Ruben Amaro flicking someone off - Crossing Broad
It's a slow week. Time to go the route of the tabloids.

2012nym_medium

Mets, Dickey, not happy about not getting to start All-Star Game as if it meant anything - NY Daily News
R.A. Dickey, the Mets and all their fans were none too pleased with Dickeyface not getting to start for the National League for the All-Star game, in place of San Francisco's Matt Cain. It's one of those touch-and-feel scenarios, but I have to agree with LaRussa. It's like last year, when Jair Jurrjens was 11-2 and the ERA leader, but Halladay still got the start first; sometimes you just want to start strong and set the tone and shut the opposition down from the get-go. Much like I was more comfortable seeing Doc over Jair, I'm more comfortable with Cain over Dickey.

David Wright also unhappy with not getting to start at DH - NY Post
I'm technically writing this before the ASG, and I don't really plan on watching it. But in terms of strategy, I don't disagree with this as well; I'd rather see David Wright come in to relieve Pablo Sandoval as soon as humanly possible, as opposed to see him play no defense on the day, and ultimately be replaced at DH by someone like Jose Altuve.

Speaking of David Wright, he's currently in some pretty fancy company - ESPN NY
Out of New York baseball players, there are only a handful of guys who have ever had such dominant first halves, based on a .350 batting average, 1.000+ OPS out of 250 plate appearances. David Wright joins a list that has such names like Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and... Derek Jeter.

Dillon Gee goes on DL with blood clot in artery in right shoulder - MetsBlog
This is actually more serious than it sounds; being where it is, the flow of blood to vital organs is sometimes restricted or inhibited, which has the capability of being pretty dangerous. Gee will likely miss the remainder of the season with this.

Should the Mets bring up Matt Harvey? - NY Daily News
With Gee knocked out of the rotation, there's a pretty big whole created. In Buffalo, 22-year old Matt Harvey has been having a fairly notable season as he is currently 7-3 with a sub 4-ERA against AAA competition, leading some to believe that now would be as good of time as any to call him up and see if he can help patch up the pitching.

The Mets themselves do not agree - MetsBlog
Perhaps they learned from rushing Jenrry Mejia two years ago, that rushing a talent like Harvey is probably not a good idea. They're pretty sure he'd do adequate at the big league level, but frankly, they don't want adequate from a guy who they are envisioning being a solid cornerstone in their rotation once he's truly ready.

Looks like we'll have to wait a few games before we see the inevitable Matt Diaz vs. Johan Santana matchup - NY Daily News
Much like Stephen Strasburg, pitchers like Johan Santana returning from pretty big injuries will be given the extra rest and pushed back in the rotation once regular season play resumes. If all goes according to plan, the Braves will face Santana on Sunday, or miss him outright.

Odd stats: Mets versus lefty starters - AA
Fact: The Mets are 12-20 when playing against lefty starters (versus 34-19 vs RHSP). Odd fact: In spite of the splits, the Mets hit better and score more runs against lefty starters. Aside from runs allowed, an interesting look at this odd anomaly.

Mets have hit 31% more homers at home this year - MetsBlog
Who'd have thunk that moving in the fences a little bit would make that much of a difference?

Jerry Seinfeld wishes to remain just a fan, not a partial owner - NY Times

It’s not a better experience if you own the team. It’s like the Empire State Building. If you like it, go there. You don’t need to own it.

Subway Series 2013 reduced to just four games - MetsBlog
"Just" two games at Citi Field, and two games at Yankee Stadium. Oh noes!

Binghamtom to remain Mets' AA-club, stay in the United States - ESPN
Despite reports that the Binghamtom baseball club was planning on selling and moving to Ottawa, Canada, they're apparently staying put. After this year, the Mets will be capable of renewing their player development deal, and not having to worry about finding a new franchise for at least two more years.

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