My apologies for not posting up highlights last week; both my partner and I were out of town & it was tough to get everything together. I promise this won’t happen again because the season is just starting to heat up! We’re almost to the half way point and I’m looking forward to the All Star Game & Break. I will be going to the parade and the Workout Day, but won’t be staying for the game itself. The tickets are really pricey and it’s going to be scorching HOT!!! This will be my first visit to St Louis, so I’m looking forward to checking out the Cardinals stadium too. As always baseball is never dry and there were tons of great stories this week. I decided to pick some stories that I was following previously and some funny ones as well. I hope you enjoy them and I appreciate your feedback.
I was really upset to see that Sony pulled the plug on the production of “Moneyball”. Filming had been scheduled to start this week and Brad Pitt was going to play the lead (Billy Beane). The script is based on Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball,” about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. Sony cancelled the production late last week after Soderbergh turned in a rewritten script substantially different than an earlier draft by screenwriter Steven Zaillian. (Soderbergh was probably just making the script a little juicier!) That’s according to a source close to the production who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record. I also heard that Sony gave Soderbergh the opportunity to set the project up at a different studio. I really hope that someone else picks up this movie, because it’s such a fantastic book & portrays the management of the game really well; which is a much bigger part of baseball than many people think. Can anyone spare $50 million to make this movie?
There is not a week that goes by without our friend Alex Rodriguez in the news. In the beginning of the week A-Rod was closer to first base with Kate Hudson than he was at work. Way too much Rock Star behavior! A-Rod has fallen to .212/.373/.462 supposedly because of "fatigue" (basically meaning that he’s partying all night and who can play good ball with a massive hang over?) He also reserved about 100 tickets for family and friends, including his mother and high school coach, but didn’t give them much else to cheer about. He finished 1 for 4 with two strikeouts, including one leading off the ninth on Monday. The three-time MVP had been benched the past two games for what he and the team called fatigue = exhaustion, and Girardi said he will try to rest Rodriguez one day per week until the All-Star break to avoid him tiring in the future. I just can’t believe how A-Rod gets off the hook so easily; he’s simply NOT doing his job! There is plenty of time off season to be a rock star, but right now the Yankees need this guy & he’s screwing around…. What a shame
Later on in the week it seemed as if A-Rod was starting to get his groove back when he tied Reggie Jackson with his 563rd home run on Thursday night. His 10th homer in the first, a solo shot, tied Jackson for 11th place on baseball’s career list. “I’m sure Mr. October will have something to say about that,” Alex said of Jackson. That same night Mariano Rivera earned his 499th career save in the New York Yankees’ 11-7 victory over the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees have won two straight after a three-game losing streak. New York took sole possession of second place in the AL East and moved four games behind Boston in the AL East (they’re getting close!) A-Rod drove in six runs over seven at-bats before striking out in the eighth, giving the Yankees a 10-6 lead with a two-run single in the seventh off reliever Peter Moylan. Good job!
I had to mention the ballpark attendance this year and how much it has dropped. The home of the Red Sox just celebrated its 500th straight sellout; it's a whole different ballgame around the rest of the Majors. Attendance is down 10% on a per-game basis from last year, and the average ballpark is only filling to 66% of capacity, down from 72% last year. Experts attribute the drop partly to inclement weather, but mostly to the economic downturn (I definitely think that it’s the economy mixed with higher ticket prices.) The top 5 teams with the lowest attendance are: 1.Comerica Park, its average crowd of 28,400 is down 28% from last year even though the Tigers are currently in first place. 2. Nationals Park, average crowds are down 27% to 21,200, meaning that half the ballpark's seats are empty on any given game day. Rogers Centre: is third-worst, with a 23% dip 4. Turner Field: with 21% drop in attendance & Progressive Field is the fifth. Let’s hope attendance will pick up again next year!
I noticed that there are a lot of bad things happening around the Angels and their stadium. I was shocked to read that an off-duty police officer shot and wounded two men who had assaulted him in the crowded Angel Stadium parking lot after Wednesday night’s Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Angels game. The shooting was one of three major violent incidents at Southern California ballparks this season (the stadium is close to Disneyland!). A man died two days after getting into a fight on opening day at Angel Stadium in April, and another man was stabbed multiple times at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles after that team’s home opener but survived. Be careful when going to an ANGELS game! I also want to mention that Angels DH Vladimir Guerrerohas had not hit a homer in 25 consecutive games; this is five shy of his longest career drought two seasons ago. He remains seven shy of 400. (You can do it Vlad!)
Remember Big Papi? He’s back in No.4 spot for the Red Sox. Apparently there is nothing wrong with David Ortiz's eyes, swing or wrist lately. Papi was returned to the clean-up spot by Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona Thursday night. It was the first time the Red Sox's left-handed slugger has batted fourth since May 13, 2005, according to MLB.com. The move to fourth was simply a product of manager Terry Francona giving first baseman Kevin Youkilis the night off. "It's great," said Francona. "I'm thrilled. The other thing is he's willing. How many guys have you seen who have done what David has who will just hit where you ask him to. I appreciate that. It makes it easier on us." We’ll see how long Papi will stay in the fourth spot, I have a feeling that this is just temporary.
I was browsing through Yahoo Sports and came across this story. I thought that it was refreshing so I’m going to mention it =) According to the Associated Press, Lincecum downed an "ice cream taco" on Tuesday before going out and throwing a masterful complete game in a 4-1 win over the A's in Oakland. The effort marked the fourth time that Lincecum has gone the distance in his career and second time against Oakland this season. He's 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 124 strikeouts this season and is definitely in the NL Cy Young discussion. He'll almost definitely be appearing in next month's All-Star Game . Lincecum’s only blemish was Jason Giambi’s solo home run in the second as he led the Giants to their fourth win in five games. Is it the ice cream taco or is Lincecum just a good pitcher?
After that story I am going to mention A’s five-game skid to Giants. I was able to attend 2 of those games and watched the A’s loose, and not so gracefully either. They were also celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Battle of the Bay 1989” when the A’s beat the Giants in the World Series. This certainly wasn’t the case in 2009. This is the worst offensive month for the A’s since 1983. I hate seeing my team lose! But you have to stick by them through good times or bad & hope that there’s always next season.
I have to mention that Donald Fehr announced his retirement on Monday as head of the Major League Baseball Players Association after 25 years marked by a strike that canceled the World Series, record salaries and finally 14 years of labor peace. Fehr recommended that he be replaced by union general counsel Michael Weiner who is the No. 3 official and his longtime heir apparent. I found this paragraph @ larrybrownsports.com “Donald Fehr was so misguided and misled during his run as the head of the Union. Instead of viewing his sole purpose as trying to get the players as much money as possible, he should have made concessions for the best interest of the game. Nobody, not even the players, are bigger than the game itself. Unfortunately it’s now 2009 and about 10 years too late for him to finally be giving some ground. Thank goodness the worst figure in baseball is finally gone. I only wish more people knew who it was so that their blame would be properly placed and so that they could prevent history from repeating itself in the future.” I agree with him completely; no one is bigger than the game itself, it’s magic.
A small update on Manny as he brings his baggage to Albuquerque to play on the Isotopes. “He’s a cheater,” said a fan, “But I still want to see him play.” Isotopes 15,000-seat stadium sold out for Tuesday night’s game, including outfield berm seating. “It’s exciting. Manny’s a phenomenal player despite the allegations or issues surrounding him,” Isotopes manager Lawson said. The question remains will Manny be able to hit after supposedly getting off roids? If we look at other power hitters who allegedly stopped using: Jason Giambi came clean (sort of) and then had the worst season of his career, for reasons chemical or psychological or physical. A-Rod came clean (maybe), is batting .213, and just sat out a couple games because of fatigue. Manny’s future remains to be seen. Asked Tuesday night if he’d ever used steroids, Manny answered, “I don’t want to talk about that.” That’s a smart move on his part.
Tigers jumped 5 whole spots (41-31; Previous: 8) according to the power rankings. Magglio Ordonez ended a career-long, 40-game drought without a home run by connecting for the go-ahead shot, leading the Detroit Tigers over the Chicago Cubs 6-5 Thursday for their seventh straight victory. Ordonez connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning (maybe it’s because he cut off his long curly hair) The AL Central leaders held on to complete the three-game sweep, and matched their longest winning streak of the season. Now they just need more people to come and see them play!
The Cubs were in the spotlight once more when their catcher Geovany Soto tested positive for marijuana at this year’s World Baseball Classic. Soto, last season’s NL Rookie of the Year, drew a two-year ban from international competition by the International Baseball Federation. However Soto will not be suspended by Major League Baseball or his team. “I am embarrassed by my lapse in judgment,” he said in a statement released during Thursday’s 6-5 loss to Detroit. “While I fully acknowledge my inappropriate behavior, I want to assure my fans and my family that this was an isolated incident.”(Right….) Soto hit .285 with 23 home runs and 86 RBIs last year and started the All-Star game. Soto’s result will be treated by MLB like a first-time positive test. There is no suspension, but players can be fined and are subject to medical review. The team also said the positive test was the first for Soto, who was subject to testing in the minor leagues. It’s not like pot is going to help Soto play the game, if anything it may decrease his ability to catch the ball! (Don't you just love the image =)