Sunday, January 6, 2008

About Fellini as a technical filmmaker…

(Hey, it’s as good a title as any.)

So … I have two things jockeying for position around my one brain cell.

The Hall of Fame--whom I think will get in, whom I think should be given the nod and my debut column regarding baseball’s ‘Heroes and Zeros’ for the week. After batting around ideas with THT’s staff, we finally settled on a name (with a big assist from Joe Dimino). It will be called “The Pujols Awards” with the winners getting ‘Alberts’ and the losers ‘Luis.’ (Luis's? Luises?)

For the record, Luis Pujols was a backup catcher for the Astros, Royals and Rangers from 1977-85. He had a batting line of .193/.240/.260 that translates into an OPS+ of 44. In 850 career AB, he hit six home runs (and oddly enough six triples) and grounded into 26 double plays.

I am glad this particular Pujols is over 50 years old lest J.P. Ricciardi gives him an NRI to spring training. On the bright side, he was more productive in his career than Jason Smith, Ray Olmedo and Sal Fasano were for the Jays last year.

At any rate, we are going to give him a shot at THT immortality.

I think the first few editions will likely be handing out awards for 2007 since not much has transpired thus far in the new year. I have one nomination that I will use since he did distinguish himself last season. Potential candidates for the ‘Alberts’ include Alex Rodriguez for his MVP season and finally taking control of his career from Scott Boras. David Ortiz for yet another superlative year in both the regular season and playoffs certainly qualifies, as does Jimmy Rollins for sticking to his prediction regarding the Phillies and having a tremendous season.

Other notables are Frank Thomas for volunteering to speak with George Mitchell because he feels strongly about steroids in the game, Joba Chamberlain for just being freakin’ awesome, Curtis Granderson for his 20/20/20/20 season, David Wright for not collapsing as the Mets crumbled, Greg Maddux for winning Gold Glove No. 17 and looking for win No. 350 in ‘08. I might toss in Rockies’ skipper Clint Hurdle as team rep. for one of the greatest playoff pushes ever. Going into September 16, the Rox were in fourth place, 6.5 games out of first in the NL West and 22 games and 21 wins later were National League champions.

I haven’t decided whether to bestow 3-5 Alberts (and Luis) yet. I’m hoping to let this feature define itself.

There are so many candidates for ‘Luis’ I scarcely know where to begin. Bud Selig (for any number of reasons), Don Fehr, Gene Orza, Scott Boras, Roger Clemens, Jeffrey Loria, David Samson, Hank Steinbrenner, Jim Leyritz, the Veterans Committee, Elijah Dukes, Shea Hillenbrand, Bill Conlin, Stephen A. Smith, Barry Bonds, Pope Paul, Malcom X, British politician’s sex, JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say? We didn’t start Stottlemyre… (boooo--I deserve a Luis for that one).

I’m sure come edition two of “The Pujols Award” we’ll be able to award something to the BBWAA. I predict they’ll vote to induct Goose Gossage (good), Jim Rice (not so good), and miss Tim Raines (overqualified), Alan Trammell (ditto), Bert Blyleven (a solid pick thanks to the education provided by Rich Lederer), and Andre Dawson (ditto ... the solid pick part). I’m cool with Mark McGwire not making it--I still think more time is required to get a better grasp of how prevalent steroid use was in the game and how it skewered the numbers.

McGwire’s case is built primarily on power and on base ability. Since McGwire’s OBP was influenced to a large extent by his power and that extra muscle getting him there, he’s a perfect test case for the juiced player era. If he would’ve had a career with his HR totals hovering around 500 absent the juice, then I’m inclined to say no. If he’d still be a fair distance past 500 and it turns out he did it on a reasonably level playing field--then I’d say he belongs.

There's still no news on the MSN Canada front. I'm getting seriously worried that something nasty happened to Scott or a member of his family. If you're inclined in that way, be sure to say a few words for him to your deity of choice. He's a good family man--there's not enough of those around anymore sad to say.

You're Joshing me...

Josh Towers signed with the, the ... Colorado Rockies?


Uh … let’s hope he remembers to wear his cup at all times. I’d hate to think that his south-of-the-border tower could end up Manzanilloed. The thin air does unusual things to balls of all stripes whether stitched or about to be. Back in 1997 Josias Manzanillo got feeling a little testy (or is it the other way around?) after Manny Ramirez launched a rocket up the middle that hit his cup--had he been wearing one.

The game report listed it as "M Ramirez Fielder's Choice P; Thome out at Hm/P-C." I guess the fielder had to choose which ball to pick up and which one to return to its rightful owner.

His career neutral won-loss record was 13-15; his career neutered one-loss record was just that.

Roasted nuts, barbecued wiener, the sick gags came early and often for the erstwhile soprano--the reliever in desperate need of relief. I even penned a poem in honour of the event. Detectives believe alcohol was a factor:
The Ballad of Josias

This is a truly sad story, that I'm about to relate,
About a moment in life, my lowest moment I'd rate.
The pitching coach beseeched me, "Make sure your pitches aren't up"
I forgot that kindly advice--and also my cup.

If it were only Mark Lemke, or a hitter that's pesty,
But I had to let Manny line one off of my testes.
Why couldn't the ball have hit on my uniform tunic,
Instead of nailing a spot that nearly made me a eunuch?

I dreamt that in baseball I'd win cups of both gold and pewter,
Now I'll be known as the pitcher, the one that got neutered.
The pitching coach oft told me: "Your pitches have to be mixed"
I ignored that timely advice and nearly got myself fixed.

When I got myself hurt, my skipper berated:
"Had you listened to me you'd not be castrated.
Don’t tell me I don't have a legitimate beef;
since there is just no way I can provide you relief.

One thing I've learned, that made my mind keener,
That you can love hot dogs, but not barbecued weiners.
For the rest of my life, I will hear the same gag,
That whenever I pitch, I'll have the game in the bag.

I'll consider myself smarter and pitch for the Hall,
I cannot walk batters with two strikes and one ball.
Though out of the frying pan, I'm still in the fire,
I am being treated by -- Doc. Oscar Meyer.

Ernest Lawrence Thayer I am most assuredly not. Send the hate mail to the usual location.

Best Regards


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