What a week it was for the Chicago Cubs.
I've had so many Cubs-related notes that were all big stories that I've had to combine them all into one of my opening statements.
Can we start with this knucklehead Milton Bradley?
It feels like I could just write an entire article on Bradley every week. This guy never stops; is it any wonder he feels like a target? He does so many stupid things that it's impossible not to make him a target.
The latest episode in the hit drama that is Milton Bradley's playing career has the Gameboy getting upset and taking his frustration out on a water cooler.
Now that’s nothing unusual for Bradley if you've seen his gems the past few years. But this was the final straw for manager Lou Piniella, who yanked Bradley from the game and basically sent him home.
Piniella then said after the game that he had enough of something. It was unclear if he was talking about Bradley, or just the abuse taken out on water coolers and Gatorade machines in general.
Either way, the childish antics of the Cubs players, including Bradley of course, of taking their frustration out on inanimate objects multiple times is enough. I'm with Piniella there.
What saddens me is how soft Lou seems to have gotten with his apology that he issued after the fact.
Why apologize for saying what you said Lou? Milton pretty much deserves any of the flack he gets and eventually, enough has to be enough. You can't keep saying and doing stupid things and expect your manager to put up with it.
Maybe Lou is just getting old as he said in one quote. Earlier in the week he defended the positive drug test of catcher Geovany Soto.
Pot was found in Soto's system when he underwent testing for the World Baseball Classic. To me, big deal, but then again, I call Jeremy Jeffress stupid later. However he did it twice, so maybe he deserves it.
But Piniella was rather quick to defend Soto and say that even he experimented with "dope" at one point. I haven't experimented with dope, but I can respect Lou telling it how it is. However, I fail to believe Soto was just experimenting this time around. He isn't a kid—who knows how common this is for him?
I know it's just pot, but in-season, or close to in-season, players should be smart enough to stay away from something like that.
The crazy thing about all this Cubs drama? It took all the attention away from the fact that they were playing the White Sox.
Mark DeRosa headed to the Gateway
The Indians had initiated probably the first big trade of 2008 when they sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee.
They might have done the same this past week when they traded Mark DeRosa to the St. Louis Cardinals.
DeRosa is going to be a fantastic addition to the St. Louis lineup, clubhouse and defensive alignment.
If Troy Glaus happens to come back, which is a rather unknown at this point, DeRosa can pretty much play anywhere. Although he did make his first Cardinals start in left field, the Cardinals do have a hole at third.
And Cub fans can tell you first hand what a blow it will be to see a guy like DeRosa in the opposing dugout and not theirs. You wonder why it was a big deal they replaced DeRosa with Bradley.
From the Indians' perspective, this deal says they might be waving the white flag, but they did acquire major league talent in a spot that they really need it, so maybe not?
Well, Chris Perez figures to be a big part of the Indians bullpen in the future, not just an aid to the woes they are having this year. So you can take from that what you want. The Indians are 12 games out of first place at this point in the season and as the deficit grows, the season shrinks.
A few weeks ago they were only a few games out of second place, which made things look not difficult at all. Now they are just as far out of second as they were of first a week ago. They've got issues and there pretty much is no more hope left for this team.
Still, that move doesn't signal the end for them. They aren't done competing. They won't be done competing, but Mark Shapiro hasn't waved the white flag quite yet. That won't happen until he actually trades a piece that he expects to contribute this year for pieces that he doesn't.
I think the white flag should be waved rather soon, but for the Indians, they still believe they've got some fight left in them. They haven't shown the promise to say that a comeback is possible, though.
You can say what you want, but...
You can say what you want about Texas pitching as a whole in the past, but Kevin Millwood is really getting the job done. He's got a 2.64 ERA so far this year and it looks like Mike Maddux has at least had a big enough impact on the rest of the staff to have them contending.
Here are my thoughts that aren't long enough to drag out or just too stupid for someone to even think of. They are randomly scribbled notes in my notebook, duh.
—The Mets lineup on Monday was pretty crazy. Alex Cora hitting leadoff and Fernando Tatis in the clean-up spot? Fearsome!
—Matt Palmer lost his first game of the season. He lost two games in three starts last year with the Giants. Speaking of the Giants, Jonathan Sanchez lost his eighth start.
—Nyjer Morgan made one of the hardest catches for an outfielder and made it look rather routine. There is no link to the specific highlight, but it's hard to find an outfielder that can take a smart route and utilize his speed like Morgan does. I'd take him on my team anytime.
—President Obama will be throwing out the first pitch at the All-Star Game. Just in case you missed it.
—You might have not missed Joel Pineiro throwing a two-hitter, but you might have not known he did it with a 52 minute rain delay thrown in the middle of it.
—Troy Tulowitzki hit two home runs on Tuesday and I'm sure you saw Andre Ethier hit three on Friday. Vlad Guerrero and Pat Burrell hit their second home runs of the year on Wednesday.
—I have Tim Lincecum down for 12 strikeouts. I have it listed as "Timmy 12 K." Why is this note important? Hindsight, I don't know.
—Hey, Justin Upton is having quite the season. Why is this important? He's only 21 and he's getting on base at a .399 clip with 14 long balls and 45 RBI. Too bad his team sucks.
—The San Diego and Seattle game on Tuesday had 14 scoring plays. That's a lot.
—How about the Yankees getting held hitless for five innings, then going out and scoring eight runs in the final four innings?
—So every time I look at a boxscore for the Reds and notice Micah Owings is pitching, I immediately look for his hitting line. I did that this past week and well, the Reds were playing in an AL park, therefore he wasn't hitting. Sad face.
—Franklin Gutierrez homered off former Indian teammate Edwin Mujica.
—At this point, my pen started to show signs of running out of ink.
—Rest in Piece to the 21 game hit-streak of Derrek Lee.
—I like looking at the headline pitching matchups of the week, especially after they've happened. Johan Santana got the best of Chris Carpenter this past week. I didn't write down any other one though, shame on me.
—The Phillies got the best of the Rays in the rematch of last year's World Series, winning two out of three games. All of them had the winner scoring a lot of runs, though.
—John Smoltz's Red Sox debut was five innings long, but he gave up five runs off seven hits. I guess it isn't all that bad for his first start in a long time.
—Did anyone notice that Cliff Lee is carrying a 2.92 ERA? He may not have the wins he had last year, but Lee is pitching just as well as he was in 2008.
—Chris Davis had a four-hit game on Thursday and only managed to boost his average up to .209. He's got some work to do.
—Brewers Minor Leaguer Jeremy Jeffress was suspended 100 games for failing a drug-test. It was substance abuse though, not steroids, so he's getting suspended for being a very stupid not once, but twice.
—This notebook scribble thing always points out really silly things, like Franklin Gutierrez homering off Edwin Mujica, but I can make it useful as well.
Pirates’ fill-in catcher Jason Jaramillo loves PNC Park. He's got three home runs, 13 RBIs, and a .323 average in 62 at-bats. Away from home, he's got zero home runs, just five RBIs, and a .235 average in 68 at-bats.
—Jason Bartlett had a 19 game hit streak come to an end and I said I'd never mention a hit streak unless it surpassed 20 games. Well this is an exception because Bartlett spanned his over a disabled list stint. Bartlett also manufactured the game-winner on Saturday all by himself.
—The Angels scored eight runs in the second inning on Friday and also hit for the cycle as a team. That was one eventful inning.
—Jason Hammel loves June with his 4-0 record and 3.70 ERA. Before June, he was 1-3.
—Braves relief pitcher Jeff Bennett broke a bone in his hand while punching a door. When will athletes ever learn?—especially ones who use their hands for a living.
—ESPN had a nice stat on Tim Redding's start the other day. He allowed two hits on his first 98 pitches and then four hits on pitches 99 through 102. Yes, that's four hits off four pitches.
—Remember what I said last week about Albert Pujols not being allowed to knock in six runs? Albert Pujols should also never hit two home runs in a game, ever. Especially with people on base for both of them.
—Whenever someone pitches a good game, like a complete game shutout, I feel the need to make sure people know it. Congrats to J.A. Happ for doing it on Saturday.
—Jayson Werth hit a fifth deck home run in Toronto. That's special.
—I love a good old fashioned pitchers duel between Atlanta and Boston. One total run, 10 total hits and it’s just well played baseball when that type of stuff happens.
—Erick Aybar reached base on a bunt single, advanced on a wild throw all the way to third, and ended up scoring on a wild Justin Upton throw. That's why the Diamondbacks suck.
—Felix Hernandez is very good. How is he allowed to be this good at this age?
—Tommy Hanson has started his career 4-0. Matt Palmer, eat your heart out.
—Zack Greinke has reached 10 wins, the third AL pitcher to do so. You would have thought he'd been there first the way he started.
—Milestones of the week include two guys doing the same thing. Both David Ortiz and Lance Berkman knocked in their 1,000th RBI of their careers.
These Are My Links, You Shall Click Them
Remember Joe Morgan's fib from last week? Yeah well, he did it again. This is getting pretty sad and it's giving the people who want Morgan ousted more ammunition.
I still can't find this ball. I've watched this video like nine times now.
Deadspin is bringing up this thing where they rip baseball stadiums or something like that. I don't know if this is the first one they've done, but it's probably the only one I'm going to talk about.
I hate the Ballpark in Arlington with a passion. Why? Why not? It was the New Yankee Stadium before the New Yankee Stadium.
Ozzie Guillen went off yet again. This has been the fifteenth different weakest call Ozzie has ever seen.
Fans, please leave players alone. If you are drunk, please pass out or something. It just doesn't end well for anyone when you mess with players, especially when you are messing with them about steroids.
You might be wondering where the title of this article is from. If so, you might need to watch the show Frisky Dingo, which I frequently quote, in life lessons as well as baseball columns. That particular line is in this video here. Caution for language and very crude comments, please and thank you.
A shortage on links this week, but I have one more. Remember Clay Council from last year's Home Run Derby? He was the older gentleman who threw the batting practice pitches to Josh Hamilton last year. I guess he's doing the same for 16-year-old phenom Bryce Harper.
Roundabout of Randomness
It’s great to see Joey Votto back for the Cincinnati Reds. We've finally got some light shed on to why he was out as long as he was. He's battled bouts of dizziness and ear infections and all that, but the main things have been anxiety and depression
The anxiety and depression was because of the death of his father last year. Indians minor leaguer Chuck Lofgren had a disaster year in 2008 because of a distraction at home with his mother battling cancer. I give all the credit in the world to Votto not only playing, but playing as well as he has this past year.
There hasn't been too much in terms of injuries this past week, at least not too many notables. But you do have to point out that Xavier Nady is now out for the season. I could have told you that was happening back when it was first reported he might need Tommy John Surgery.
How can you go from, maybe needing it, to not maybe needing it? I'm no doctor, but if the injury is that close to needing major reconstructive surgery, then damnit, you better do it.
ESPN has this Manny Ramirez watch on their MLB homepage. I think it's downright silly to be honest. Ramirez hit a home run in his first at-bat with Class-A Inland Empire the other day and I'll be glad when he's back. Do we really need Manny Watch everywhere and grainy footage of him hitting for a team called the Isotopes?
I really think Ricky Nolasco is going to be a huge key for the Florida Marlins the rest of the season. After he's returned from Triple-A, Nolasco has at least been better than he was to start the year.
But if Nolasco can do serious damage, him and Josh Johnson are quite the 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation for a team that, as we saw to start the year, can get on a roll.
Eric Wedge needs to bench Kelly Shoppach unless Cliff Lee is pitching. Shoppach is horrible at this point and has lost all value he gained last year when he hit all those home runs.
Shoppach is the definition of go-for-broke in terms of a hitter. Not only that, but his defense has fallen off considerably since his first year with the Tribe.
It's dawned on me that Jeremy Sowers, the Indians starter, and Homer Bailey, Reds starter, are one in the same. Both won their first games as starting pitchers this past weekend. They both have the same type of issues though as far as pitching.
Lights out in the Triple-A level, but then they reach the Major Leagues and hit a wall. Not only that, but they can't seem to give their teams length. Bailey is just crazy though with his seven walks.
Finally, I didn't make it a huge story because I'm not all dusted up on the history of Donald Fehr. However it does deserve some face time as Fehr was a major player in the history of baseball and we can pretty much thank him for all that is bad with baseball.
Inflated player salaries, no cap, and the disappointing era of steroids running rampant, all can pretty much be pinned on Fehr. Some will say Bud Selig was the commissioner during the era of steroids, but Fehr is a big reason it and those other things have gone on.
Let's face it; those three things I mentioned are really bad for baseball in general. The fact that Alex Rodriguez can make thousands of dollars per at-bat he takes is just not good. Neither are steroids, or the fact that the Yankees can spend till they see fit.
Fehr unfortunately was very good at what he did because not only did all this happen, but it was all his goal. Maybe not the steroids, but the environment was created to do steroids and that environment was something Fehr strove for.
He was damn good at his job and the people who would like a salary cap are hoping the next guy isn't as good as Fehr was.
Nino Colla is Talking every Monday of the baseball season, or whenever time needs to be wasted, provided objects don't get thrown.