that outfielder Jose Tabata, the high-upside crapshoot of a prospect, doesn’t even have to succeed for this to indeed be a ripoff – for Pittsburgh. Nady may never play again, and nailing Thome on a ground out on Sunday lowered Marte’s ERA to 10.57.
Just a quick trip back in time, to 1964, after the late Senator had broken his back in a plane crash, in route to accepting his nomination for his first full term. Two of these figures are instantly recognizable – the one at the far left has chops particularly relevant here… try to ID them all before reading the caption below.
Got him yet?
One more line and the quiz ends, regardless.
Johnny Pesky – just before or just after his two-year tenure as Red Sox manager ended; legendary Celtic star and then announcer Tom Heinsohn, coach-GM Red Auerbach, coach-GM (and 20-year star center) Milt Schmidt of the Bruins, and Heinsohn’s teammates Bill Russell and Bob Cousy.
Russell – who basically does not do interviews unless he truly wants to – came on with us after the Kennedy Funeral service in Boston, which is not at all a tribute to the interviewers, but rather to the man whose funeral he attended this morning and early afternoon – who just happened to have thrown out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park this April. And that is baseball history, too. Kennedy’s grandfather, Mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald threw out the first pitch at the first Red Sox opening day ever at Fenway, in 1912.
From this blog on June 18th:
Johan Santana Must Be Hurt
This does not come from Mets sources, and it does not come from ballpark speculation, and it certainly does not come from the player himself, but barring an extraordinary breakdown in the mechanics of the game’s most-mechanically sound pitcher, Johan Santana must be pitching with an imposing injury.
This thought had been in the back of my mind since a fired-up Santana virtually willed the Mets to a victory in Boston, then followed that with a six-walk game against Washington on May 27, and finally his four-homer victory over the Phillies last week. Having now gotten to see Santana from field level during his implosion this afternoon at Yankee Stadium, there is not only the loss of velocity suggested by the radar guns, but he also seemed to have a softer break on his breaking stuff, and he clearly had trouble keeping the ball down. Many of the Yankees’ nine hits would have been swinging strikes on Santana pitches in the dirt, if he was 100 percent. Hideki Matsui’s homer might as well have been hit off a tee.
The problem, of course, is that all pitchers from Little Leagues to Jamie Moyer start hurting after the 50th pitch of the season and never really stop hurting. With experience comes the ability to push the threshold outwards. As Santana proved last year, shutting out Florida just days before surgery, you can go mind-over-matter on such things.
Often it’s even worse. The impediment to effectiveness can come before the pain. This was the middle of June; Santana now says he first felt discomfort in the elbow just before the All-Star break. It is certainly plausible, given that he’s had chips cleaned out of that elbow before, that he had stiffness or just a minor loss of his usual functionality, in the joint, long before it began to really hurt.
And thus this has been one of the few truly amazing Mets seasons. The opening day line-up in Cincinnati:
Reyes, ss (all but officially done for year)
Murphy, lf (failure to field there, moved to first, failure to hit there)
Wright, 3b (concussion, assumed to be back next week, don’t assume)
Delgado, 1b (out since May, might make it back for a token appearance)
Beltran, cf (out with an endless bruise, might have a cameo yet)
Church, rf (traded to Atlanta)
Schneider, c (to disabled list, back, in a platoon with non-roster invitee Omir Santos)
Santana, p (done as of August 25)
Relieved by Green, p (totally inconsistent)
Pinch-hit for by Anderson (released days later)
Relieved by Putz, p (just shut down, possibly for the year)
Relieved by Rodriguez, p (at key moments, utterly inconsistent).
Were that not amazing enough, the host Reds produced the following line-up:
Hairston, LF (now with the Yankees)
McDonald, CF (to the minors, just recalled)
Replaced by Dickerson, CF (back to the DL)
Votto, 1B (to the DL)
Phillips, 2B (inexplicably healthy)
Bruce, RF (out in July, presumably for the season)
Encarnacion, 3B (hurt, traded, hurt after he was traded)
Hernandez, C (hurt, moved to 1B to replace Votto, hurt again, might make it back this year)
Gonzalez, SS (to Red Sox)’
Harang, P (out for the year after my injury, the emergency appendectomy)
Already this year we’ve seen Frank Francisco pitch for Frisco of the Texas League, and had reason to invoke Johnny Podres of the Padres, and mention that the first draft choice of the Mets was a fella named Matz.
Absolutely love this. Over the weekend, when things looked bleakest for Your Washington Nationals, a respected baseball writer with a fantasy league team revealed he filled a vacant roster spot with Stephen Strasburg. The punch-line is: it’s not a keeper league…What I don’t get: ownership of Billy Wagner at 0.6% in ESPN leagues and 6% in CBS leagues. He was in uniform at CitiField tonight and unless his arm falls off after a bullpen session tomorrow, he’ll be activated by Friday. How many contenders could use him, at the comparatively low price the Mets would ask – and wouldn’t teams like the Cubs, Marlins, Phillies, and maybe even Rays, contemplate using him in at least some save situations?…Gaby Sanchez came out of the New Orleans game early tonight and headed to join Florida. It seems implausible that he isn’t there to replace either Nick Johnson at first, or go to third and let Jorge Cantu move back to first – but the Marlins have already done bizarre things this year, like the last time Sanchez came up and didn’t play, and the fact that they’ve left Cameron Maybin in the Coast League even as he dominated it, just to make sure he wouldn’t become a “Super Two” arbitration guy…And the Brewers did let Mat Gamel come up and largely rot on the bench, setting him back a season’s development…Bizarre statistic that might not even qualify as such, maybe it’s just a coincidence: The Mets were 7-4 with ex-Rockie Cory Sullivan starting in left. They have now put him into a platoon with Angel Pagan in centerfield and when Sullivan starts there, the Mets are 1-3…While some agonize over the lack of a no-brainer Rookie Of The Year among N.L. hitters, there’s nothing wrong with just giving the trophy to Tommy Hanson…Atlanta also might earn the reverse equivalent of the Comeback Player Award: Kelly Johnson went from one of the majors’ premiere speed-and-power second basemen, to the victim of lingering injury, to Martin Prado’s backup, to going hitless today in a spot start while all around him were pounding Max Scherzer…Some in the Mets’ front office say they were told, but do not believe, that their first-round draft choice Steven Matz pronounces his last name “Metz.” Matz of the Mets is close enough, and Matt Helm, the seventh-rounder signed by Arizona, had a fictional counterpart in a ludicrous Dean Martin James Bond ripoff movie in the ’60s…Lastly, most politically incorrect joke in New York: they were really worried about David Wright after he got beaned Saturday because he couldn’t answer the traditional simple questions during the neurological work-up at the hospital. Then it turned out the doctors weren’t that baseball-savvy and had asked him to name the Mets’ starting shortstop, centerfielder, and first baseman.
erry Manuel tells the Media at this hour that he does not think David Wright lost consciousness although he saw Wrights eyes go back and forth in his head but heard Wright tell everybody Im all right – but they have no update on his examination yet. Manuel is convinced there was no intent on the part of Matt Cain; that the book on David is to pitch him up and in and that he did not talk to Johan Santana about what appeared to be a retaliatory throw behind the back of Pablo Sandoval an inning after Wright was hit. Baseball has its unwritten rules, he said. He did not disagree that Wright would certainly miss time but did not say the problems with Ryan Churchs post-concussion syndrome would influence how gingerly he would handle Wright.
had not seen David Wright since early July and we had not had time for more than a quick hello since before the Met injury plague had hit its apex. He is the proverbial good fellow and very little of his rookie-year enthusiasm has yet worn off and he greeted me with a warm handshake. How, I asked him, do you like being the last Man standing? he laughed and corrected me: Last MET standing. we then talked about the ludicrousness if the criticism of the Mets for not having replacements for all the fallen. if we had anybody three quarters as good as Beltran, hed have been starting for us, wouldnt he? Wright then said he still couldnt get over the sheer volume of injuries (there were nine Mets on the DL as the day began). And then two hours later he lay in a heap in the batters box here at CitiField and the place was utterly silent. Fortunately he made it off the field on his own power, walked to and through the clubhouse, and climbed into the ambulance that took him to his CT-scan rather than being lifted into it. As a past recipient of a concussion I can tell you it is a good sign that his motor skills seemed unaffected and his walk confident but it might be of some concern that he was breathing as heavily as he was. Of course lost in the equation of the batter hit flush above the ear with a fastball is the terror – and even less frequently cited is the awful sound – like having your head inside a ringing churchbell for a minute or more. Updates as available.
The very first entry in this blog was about the spring training work of a young relief pitcher, so impressive that it inspired home plate ump Tim Tschida to come over to the pitcher’s bench and say it was the most remarkable thing he’d seen all spring. Daniel Bard had not only struck out the Tampa Bay side, but he had cleared 100 MPH four times, and, according to Tschida he had put one in each corner of the strike zone.
For more than 25 years, Dan Patrick and I have had the same debate.
Nate McLouth, since his trade to the Atlanta Braves:
.263/.344/.433/.777, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 9 SB, 34 R
.293/.349/.488/.837, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 9 SB, 37 R
Did Pirates Upgrade In Center?
Don’t get me wrong about Nate McLouth. Great guy, hustles, works hard, busted his butt at an All-Star Game, better than anything the Braves had in their outfield before tonight’s trade. I’m just not convinced Pittsburgh didn’t improve its line-up by replacing him with Andrew McCutchen….The key to this trade is that McLouth’s replacement does not come from it. McCutchen, who arrives in Pittsburgh as McLouth’s equal in speed and outfield skill, probably more than his equal for batting average, and eventually capable of producing 75% of his power, nearly made the majors out of spring training. The Pirates were sorely tempted to damn arbitration and take him north – that’s how authoritative a hitter he looked in Florida.
I do not see McCutchen keeping up homer-for-homer with McLouth and the RBI margin seems out-of-joint. But the point is, you’d be hard-pressed to criticize the Pirates for this trade – and this wasn’t the trade.