Tue May 21 11:32am EDT
Can you "jump the shark" while dressed as a "Killer" pea? Fans of the San Francisco Giants might have found out Monday night at AT&T Park when four folks in the bleachers tried to nickname a segment of the team's roster.
Did you know that Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval (head obscured by child) form the "Killer P's"? It's a riff on what the Houston Astros used to call the "B" part of their lineup, which included at times in the late 1990s and early 2000s: Craig Biggio, Derek Bell, Lance Berkman, Jeff Bagwell, Sean Berry, Carlos Beltran, Chris Burke, Eric Bruntlett, Michael Bourn, Geoff Blum, Tim Bogar, Doug Brocail and Brandon Backe.
This "P" phenomenon is not as phenomenal.
The pod costumes are great. But, as noted curmudgeon Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in April, stuff like "Killer P's" has been done. It's time to eat your peas, grab a giant Bruce Bochy head and do something with that.
Tue May 21 10:22am EDT
For a guy who hasn't played in the majors in a dozen years, Jose Canseco sure does find ways to hang around the game. This week, he's in Texas, serving as a player-coach for the independent Fort Worth Cats for a homestand. And if that wasn't enough to interest you, his first opponents are the Edinburg Roadrunners, coached by none other than Canseco's brother Ozzie.
“I am excited to come to Fort Worth and mentor the young ballplayers,” Jose said in a statement. “I love Dallas/Fort Worth and I can’t wait to go up against Ozzie.”
The player/coach is a noble profession, but one that's fallen into disfavor in these days of specialization. The last player/manager in the majors was Pete Rose back in the late 1980s. As recently as 2011, the White Sox toyed with the idea of making Paul Konerko a player/manager, but ended up hiring former player Robin Ventura instead. Jose Canseco was, apparently, not considered for the position.
And in other "what the heck...?" news, Canseco has written the foreword to the novel "Air Force Gator 2: Scales of Justice." In case you missed the first installment — come on, get with the program — "Air Force Gator" is the tale of an alcoholic alligator that flies a plane shaped like a gator's head. It's fiction, we're assuming, but you never know. Anyway, the author, Dan Ryckert, apparently got into a Twitter war with Canseco and somehow persuaded him to write the foreword for free.
After Ryckert insulted Canseco on Twitter, the erstwhile Bash Brother replied, "how many copies of Air Force Gator did you sell dan? Let me know if u need help mine made the NY Times Best Seller list."
Canseco later offered to write the foreword, and Ryckert agreed: "I am not kidding at all when I say you can write the foreword for Air Force Gator 2. I'm totally not spellchecking it, though."
Canseco wants to play the gator in the movie version, because of course he does. If you're interested in checking out some of the literary stylings of Canseco, as well as the tale of a gator who flies a plane, click here to see the book's Amazon page.
Related: the Internet is weird.
Tue May 21 09:32am EDT
While it hasn't been confirmed yet by Major League Baseball, Paul Lukas of Uni-watch reports that every team will wear camouflage jerseys and caps come Memorial Day on Monday. Lukas notes that replicas of the uniforms, which are on sale at MLB.com, appear to be similar to the camo colors the White Sox and Angels recently wore on Armed Forces Day.
How does Lukas know MLB's plans for May 27? The league gave them away on its website:
In each case, the team’s online shop only shows a home camo jersey or a road camo jersey — not both — depending on whether the team is playing at home or on the road next Monday. Tucked away in the fine print is the following line: “As worn on-field Memorial Day May 27th, 2013.”
Yes, they did:
Tue May 21 08:15am EDT
It remains to be seen what Major League Baseball will do, if anything, to right-hander Alex Sanabia of the Miami Marlins for spitting on the ball Monday night. Umpires didn't seem to notice. The Philadelphia Phillies didn't seem to notice. Broadcasters didn't either. But fans did.
While Sanabia awaits his fate, if he's waiting, let's give him a nickname. Any one of these 10 would do:
10. Alex Salivia: Sanabia's name lends itself perfectly to our game.
9. Oscar Spitorius: It's not baseball, but it's too good to go unused.
8. Rob Dribble: Can strike the grandstand with a mouth projectile from 400 feet away.
7. Hakan Loogey: Or go with "Hawk Harrelson" to keep hockey out of it.
6. Spew Burdette: Spahn and Sain and you don't want to pray for this kind of rain.
Tue May 21 07:37am EDT
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong was having perhaps his best start of the season for the San Francisco Giants on Monday. But this is the National League, where pitchers bat and accidents happen, and now Vogelsong is slated to have surgery Tuesday to fix a broken pitching hand. He had pitched five innings of three-hit ball against the Washington Nationals in an 8-0 victory at AT&T Park, but that's the extent of the good news. (And Brandon Belt had four hits and scored four runs — that's also good.)
Swinging in self-defense during his at-bat against Craig Stammen in the fifth inning, Vogelsong didn't get enough wood on the ball. The Associated Press reports:
Vogelsong broke two bones along the right pinkie and dislocated a knuckle the area that the medical staff couldn't get popped back into place. He was scheduled for surgery Tuesday morning at Stanford and said he likely would have pins inserted to stabilize the hand and help speed the healing process.
''We're not talking about Tommy John or anything here,'' Vogelsong said, his eyes misty. ''Basically as fast as we can get it to heal so I can start throwing again.''
Someone lend a hand: Remarkably, we have another broken hand to announce regarding a pitcher named Ryan on one of these teams.
Tue May 21 06:05am EDT
A funny thing happened after Alex Sanabia of the Miami Marlins allowed a home run to Domonic Brown of the Philadelphia Phillies in the second inning Monday night: He didn't allow any more runs over his 6 1/3 innings of work and picked up his first victory since April 16.
Was it in part because Sanabia was aided by putting a foreign substance on the baseball? The question arises naturally because the Phillies broadcast clearly shows Sanabia spitting on a new ball as Brown circled the bases in Miami's 5-1 victory at Marlins Park.
The Phillies might be looking at a case of highway slobbery right here. It doesn't appear that any reporters covering the game asked Sanabia about his spit take. They probably will Tuesday, if he's around the clubhouse. Heck, Major League Baseball might even try to get him to spit into a beaker.
In the meantime, let's take a look, frame by frame, to see what Sanabia might have been up to:
Mon May 20 08:20pm EDT
Before the walkoff, came the muff.
Seattle Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen, messing up a play that pitchers and first basemen across the league work have worked on time and memorial during spring training, muffed a flip from first baseman Justin Smoke in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday afternoon, dropping the ball for an unbelievable error that allowed the Cleveland Indians to score the tying run.
It was right of Smoak to throw the ball, after a grounder came his way, and not try to beat Carlos Santana to the bag himself. Smoak's flip didn't have too much on it, or not enough. It wasn't too high that Wilhelmsen had to reach, and it wasn't too low that he had to stoop. Wilhelmsen wasn't late covering the bag, and Smoak didn't lead him too much. The ball hit him right in the leather. Everything about the play was right — except for the catch. Wilhelmsen, who came in 11 of 11 converting saves and really had pitched as well as anyone in ninth innings this season, just didn't catch it. After time was called Smoak bent over at the waste in apparent disbelief.
The Mariners re-took the lead in the top of the 10th, but manager Eric Wedge chose not to use Wilhelmsen for another inning, and they lost on a three-run home run by Yan Gomes — Cleveland's backup catcher — in the bottom half. It was an exhilarating ending to one of the more entertaining games of the season. For one side, anyway.
Wilhelmsen spoke matter-of-factly about his error, via Geoff Baker's Mariners Blog in the Seattle Times:
Mon May 20 08:14pm EDT
Here's a fun fact: The number of NBA championships won by Phil Jackson as a basketball player and coach is more than every baseball team except the New York Yankees has won World Series rings. Jackson has won 13 NBA Finals. After the Yankees' 27 titles, the next highest is the St. Louis Cardinals, who have 11.
That's a weird set-up for two weird tidbits: (1) Phil Jackson might want to be a baseball coach. (2) He's already an adviser to a couple MLB managers.
The New York Times' magazine detailed at length how NBA teams are still chasing Jackson and how he can't really leave the game. One passage reads: "Jackson will almost certainly return to basketball. One of his other great talents is coming out of retirement."
But about three-fourths into the story comes this baseball-centric nugget:
Mon May 20 04:51pm EDT
With the Los Angeles Dodgers in last place in the NL West with a 17-25 record and a 4-11 record thus far in May, speculation is rising to new levels that manager Don Mattingly might soon be out of a job.
Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports wrote a column Sunday with the ominous headline, "Ax soon to fall for LA's Mattingly," citing a scout and his own baseball instincts.
The Dodgers, however, are denying that. The Los Angeles Times reports the team has "no plans" to fire Mattingly "when the team returns home Thursday or any time before then." That comes from an unnamed club official, spoken with Sunday night after the Dodgers lost to the Atlanta Braves 5-2, completing a three-game weekend sweep.
It's funny, though, because when was the last time you heard, "Oh, yes, we DO have plans to fire our manager and we're going to do it on Wednesday?" Having "no plans" could mean they just don't have the press conference scheduled yet. Or haven't gotten around to ordering the "goodbye" cake.
Mon May 20 04:44pm EDT
What does it take for Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds to blow a save for a second consecutive appearance?
How about Chapman being bloated from binging on "18," he said, of the yummiest Cuban pastries anyone could stuff in their face Sunday before the Reds faced the Phillies? And it was one of the Phillies announcers, also a Cuban expatriate, who sabotaged Chapman by bringing him the goodies!
That's the story Phillies' Spanish-language broadcaster Rickie Ricardo told the 94-FM WIP morning show Monday. Friends with Ricardso since he came to the U.S., Chapman had asked him to pick up two boxes (100 total) of flaky Cuban pastries filled with cream cheese and guava from a place down in Union City, N.J. — described by Ricardo as a "Cuban stronghold." Two or three of these things would clog your arteries and send you into a food coma. Only, Chapman didn't stop at two or three, Ricardo said:
“Could you imagine cream cheese and guava on a baked pastry? Well Chapman asked me for a box of 100, two boxes of 50. When I saw him on Sunday morning before the game, he was in the clubhouse, he had just eaten about 18 of them. He couldn’t breathe! I looked at my partner, I said, ‘he’s ripe for the taking today.”
The "Ripe Guava," or the "Flaky Pastry," is now the Philadelphia nickname for Chapman, who had come in with a 2.41 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.