This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Roll Call starts in Gotham, where cornered Mets manager Willie Randolph received what seems like his 124th vote of confidence from team management. So because firing Carlos Delgado is impractical, Randolph's job is safe for now — as long as Gary Carter doesn't just take over one day without asking anyone.
Game of the Day: Marlins 7, Mets 3
Randolph! Winthorpe!: Boy, $138 million just don't buy what it used to. The Fish are 10 games over .500 with an opening-day payroll of $22 million — or just a few million more than what Carlos Beltran makes. The Mets, conversely, are closer to the Nationals at the bottom of the AL East. So, the manager's had to take a few meetings lately to make sure he's still employed.
Nelson Doubleday was out of the office: Willie reportedly has received votes of confidence from all of the Mets hierarchy: Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, Michael Bloomberg, Howard Stern, Howard K. Stern, Howard Johnson, Mr. Met, Omar Minaya, Omar Sharif, Sharif Abdur-Raheem, Omar Khayyam, Victor Kiam, the King of Siam, Sam Horn, the Sons of Sam Horn, Gary Thorne, Gary Carter, Jimmy Carter, Garrett Morris, Matt Morris, Matt Chico, Chico Escuela, Ed Kranepool, Frank Taveras, Willy Taveras, Telly Savalas, Kelly Stinnett, Rennie Stennett, R. Kelly, Roberto Kelly and Roberto Petagine.
Nah: What if the Marlins and Rays play in the World Series? They'd have to put everyone on the same side of the stadium like in some AFL broadcasts just to make the stadiums look full on TV.
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AL Game of the Day: Blue Jays 7, Royals 2
True story: I was attending a college media convention with my school paper in 1999. We land at KCI and board a shuttle bus to the downtown hotel. I've been to KC at this point and know its reputation for having best starting lineup and deepest bench in all of barbecue — but I never had a chance to eat there before. So I ask the shuttle driver, who's a nice older man of about 65, where to go. Do I hear Arthur Bryant's? Gates? BB's Lawnside? Heck, KC Masterpiece? No. The guy says, and I'm not kidding, "Applebees." Applebees? A restaurant chain with locations in 49 states? With a menu that groups ribs and fajitas together — because, sure, they're similar foods? The one that plays those sappy commercials with the coach who thought no one gave a crap but then they tack the picture of him to the wall — with the 10,000 other pictures so that no one can tell any of them apart? That Applebees? Out of protest, never, ever will I step foot in an Applebees — never, ever — not even if I someday wander out of the desert after a week and into the Applebees in Amman, Jordan. Not ... going ... in ... ever.
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Feelin' rundown (Monday's other games)
Braves 7, D-backs 3 — Things there should be a law against: Steven Spielberg making any more movies, Brandon Webb losing two starts in a row and Chipper Jones (1-3, .416 BA) making outs. Unfortunately, this liberal culture allows all three. Also alarming: Micah Owings is in an 0-for-11 moment, and Jurassic Park IV is on the way. They should have stopped Spielberg at "A.I." If he had just made "A.I." about the teddy bear, maybe you got a watchable movie in there. Boy, he lost his fastball long time ago.
Cubs 3, Dodgers 1 — Nobody saw the Spanish Inquisition coming and fewer saw Ryan Dempster coming. He's 6-2 with a 2.56 ERA. He's got a solid K/BB ratio and he doesn't allow many home runs, so don't look there for weakness. He's also from Canada and will tell you all of what you need to know to plan a trip to British Columbia. He could also help carry the South in an election because of his disarming but homespun humor. Kind of like Will Rogers. Less encouraging, Soriano needs a Rascal to get around, which might be a problem when he doesn't hit a home run or has to play defense.
Phillies 20, Rockies 5 — Now that, in the name of Vinny Castilla's mullet, is a Rockies score. At least half of one, anyway. Fitting, with the Rockies putting half a team out there. Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe and Clint Barmes all went on the DL over the weekend. Say, is Vinny available, come to think? On the Phillies side, six RBIs for Chase Utley and Jamie Moyer has 235 career wins — one more and he ties contemporaries Whitey Ford and Clark Griffith on the all-time list.
Orioles 6, Yankees 1 — Nick Markakis is 9-for-11 against Darrell Rasner, which puts five points on his career batting average (.291). Markakis also threw out Johnny Damon at home plate in this game; he leads the AL in assists for OF'ers with eight. He also rolls around on heelys like a 6-year-old boy. As for the Yanks, Jeetah is 1-for-20 since being hit on the hand with a pitch. Willie Randolph's job is safe as far as Hank Steinbrenner is concerned, too.
Rays 7, Rangers 2 — All we do is win ballgames. We're 11 games over .500, in first place in the AL East and we have classy fans — all two dozen of them. Josh Hamilton, who just royally screwed up his life in the Tampa organization for a number of years after we made him the No. 1 pick in the '99 draft, made his debut at the Trop and received a standing ovation (along with some boos — whatever).
Red Sox 5, Mariners 3 — Thanks to another good outing by Bartolo Colon and a four-run eighth, including a go-ahead double from Dustin Pedroia, the Sawx snapped a seven-game road losing streak. They allow those in New England? Ichiro made a terrific catch in this one, getting more personal with the wall than perhaps he ever had before. Please donate your canned goods to the Mariners.
Angels 1, Tigers 0 (12 inn.) — Bases-loaded walk to Garret Anderson decides it. Dislike the term "walk-off" almost as much as Applebees. It's in the lexicon now, thanks to Stuart Scott or someone, and there's no deleting it. But "game-ending" or "game-winning" is much more accurate and much less trite. Not everyone walks off the field when the game ends. Some sprint. Some guys just sit there for a while. Some do walk, but who cares what the other team does when, for example, Garret Anderson's walk forces in a run? Why do we need to rub it in the faces of losers? "Oh, you're walking off the field in shame 'cause you lost." Bee-essssss. Gosh, go eat some ribs or fajitas at Applebees with your walk-off garbage.
White Sox 6, Indians 3 (12 inn.) — Carlos Quentin went 2-for-6 with an RBI one night after a one-man show on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball against the Angels. A new team and a healthy shoulder have him hitting like scouts thought he might when Quentin was a top prospect in Arizona. The White Sox aren't so much going to win the AL Central as the division is going to lose it to them.
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Photo of the Day: Papi the Sailor Man
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Shaun Marcum (Blue Jays) 7 1/3 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win
Garrett Olson (Orioles) 7 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 7 K, Win
Ryan Dempster (Cubs) 7 IP, 7 H, ER, 3 BB, 3 K, Win
Chase Utley (Phillies) 3-6, 2 R, HR, 6 RBI, SB
Pedro Feliz (Phillies) 4-6, 2 R, 4 RBI
Chris Coste (Phillies) 3-6, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI
Scott Kazmir (Rays) 7 IP, 3 H, ER, 10 K, Win
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Felix Hernandez (Mariners) 7 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, Loss
Jorge De La Rosa (Rockies) 3 1/3 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, Loss
Paul Konerko (White Sox) 0-6
Grady Sizemore (Indians) 0-6