And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

Leave a comment

Red Sox 4, Angels 1: Say what you want about the guy, but Dice-K
has always done well on 89 days rest (6 IP 3 H, 0 ER). I’m not sold
yet. Even Dontrelle Willis had a good game his first time back this
year.

Blue Jays 10, Yankees 4: Fisticuffsmanship! Jorge Posada and
Jesse Carlson threw down in front of the Yankee dugout in the eighth.
Unlike most baseball fights, however, someone connected.
Girardi got popped once too. Even an umpire was taken out, with crew
chief Derryl Cousins leaving the game after the fight. Either Cousins
got a case of the vapors or else someone is going to be suspended for
about a decade for roughing up an ump. UPDATE: according to the game
story he was hit in the knee with a bottle of soda thrown from the
stands. So basically everyone was misbehaving.

Giants 10, Rockies 2: Barry Zito struck out nine and the Giants pull to two and a half back. Nervous Jim Tracy?

“Here’s the deal. Here’s our situation. It’s very simple.
It’s black and white. There’s no gray. There’s no middle area. We’ve
got an opportunity to win a game in this series, which is something
that we’re obviously striving for, and you move on and you’re 3½ ahead.
Or you lose and you’re 1½ ahead and then everything’s up for grabs. I’m
not sitting here saying to anybody that we’re trailing. We’re not going
to trail. We’ve still got a lead. But the opportunity of having a
cushion versus giving it back — that’s what tomorrow is all about.”

With quotes like that, I give it greater than even odds that that man is sitting in a broadcast studio someday.

Dodgers 5, Pirates 4: Andre Eithier gets his fourth walkoff home run of the year. He’s the first Dodger to hit 30 home runs since 2004.

Braves 6, Mets 0: The Mets had absolutely no answers for Tommy
Hanson. Couldn’t even get a man past second base on him during his
seven innings of shutout ball (his second straight start without
allowing a run). Adam LaRoche homered twice and drove in three, doing
nothing to harm his second-half-stud reputation. Too little too late
for Atlanta, but it’s nice to see them play out the schedule on a high
note.

Phillies 5, Nationals 0: After three lackluster starts, Cliff
Lee returns to being Superman (CG SHO 6 H, 9 K). Lee is an Adam LaRoche
All-Star himself, improving to 20-3 after the break over the past two
seasons.

Royals 11, Tigers 1: Good thing Detroit doesn’t have to play
Kansas City in the playoffs, because KC has their number, taking their
fifth straight from the Tigers. Magglio hit an $18 million groundout in
the fifth. Play was delayed briefly in the top of the seventh when a
shirtless fan ran onto the field. I have some nogoodnik kin up in
Detroit who don’t do much all summer besides drink beer with their
shirts off, so I’m expecting the call for help with bail any moment
now.

Orioles 10, Rays 5: After lulling the American League into a
false sense of security, Matt Weiters finally decides to strike: 3-5, 5
RBI. It begins.

Marlins 2, Cardinals 1: Wainwright pitched well, but got the
loss because Sean West and the Marlins’ bullpen pitched better.
Wainwright stays at 18 wins. Unless La Russa decides to give him extra
rest heading into the playoffs, he probably has three starts to go. I’m
going to assume at this point that if he wins 20, he’s a lock for the
Cy Young.

Reds 5, Astros 4: I’m not going to say that it’s hard to find
something interesting to talk about in a late-season, no-hope
Astros-Reds series, but here are two of the “game notes” from the game
story: “Janish became the first Reds batter with three doubles in one
game since Jorge Cantu on Sept. 21, 2007, at San Francisco” and “ESPN
college basketball announcer Dick Vitale watched the game with Reds
owner Bob Castellini.” Feel the magic.

Cubs 13, Brewers 7: The Brewers walked 12 guys and hit three
more, so this wasn’t exactly a crisp one. Carlos Zambrano kind of
melted down after four good innings. I’m sure this has absolutely nothing
to do with him being rattled at the “we’re gonna trade you” talk from
earlier in the day, because Carlos is totally composed and cool when
he’s out there and let’s no emotions intrude on the task at hand. Total
iceman.

Athletics 6, Rangers 1: That sound you hear is the Rangers’
playoff hopes being stuffed into a burlap sack and thrown into a river.
The sack’s technically still floating, but it’s about to go under any
minute now. Michael Young came back as a DH after missing two weeks,
but he pulled himself from the lineup because he tweaked the hamstring
again. It’s been a nice season for the Rangers and the future is
bright, but it’s just not happening.

Twins 5, Indians 4: The game stories still talk about the Twins
having a chance to make a run at Detroit, but then you read something
like this: “Along with Morneau, third-baseman Joe Crede is likely out
for the season with back problems, and recent call-up Justin Huber is
day to day with a strained oblique. But Gardenhire said his desire to
call up reinforcements was “squelched” by the front office.” Has the
front office thrown in the towel, or is Gardenhire asking for
unrealistic things? And why is he telling reporters about that kind of
family business? Stange.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2: Mark Reynolds hit what proved to be
the game winning homer in the 9th. Nick Hundley made a pretty spiffy
defensive play, acrobatically pursuing an overthrown ball into the
dugout (he went in, not the ball) and throwing out Eric Byrnes at the
plate, who was tagged out by Ardian Gonzalez, who was sliding/diving
for the throw. I’m guessing video does that play better justice than
that description did.

White Sox 6, Mariners 3: The White Sox have gone back and fourth between wins and losses for nine games. One more and they have a Dutch 200, right?

J.R. Graham is in The Best Shape of his Life

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher J.R. Graham celebrates after the final out as the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 12-2 in  a baseball game, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Minneapolis. The Twins won 12-2. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Leave a comment

Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that Twins reliever J.R. Graham has lost “roughly 30-40 pounds this offseason.” It’s not a result of workouts, though. Just a change in diet. Bollinger says that Graham cut out sugar, alcohol and foods heavy in carbs and focused on a high-protein diet with lots of salads, meats and vegetables.

That’s an awful lot of weight to lose in four months, but the dude is only 26 and guys in their 20s lose weight just by thinking about it. Which is so very annoying to those of us who aren’t guys in their 20s.

The real test, of course, will come when he is working out far more strenuously once spring training starts and gets into the season. Normal schmos like me can keep up that kind of diet without much of a hitch as long as we have the willpower. An athlete’s energy requirements are far greater and far more specialized, so he’ll need more fuel than he’s probably been getting this offseason. Word is, however, that professional sports teams have people on staff that, you know, have made monitoring that kind of thing their life’s work.

In the meantime:

“I can just feel the change,” Graham said. “The energy. Everything. I feel great. I’m excited to see how it’ll translate into spring. I know I shouldn’t have any problems because I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m faster. All that. So it’s really exciting.”

It’s very exciting indeed. Because, with that, Graham becomes the latest baseball player to be . . . In The Best Shape of His Life.

The time my family invited itself to Gaylord Perry’s house for lunch

Gaylord Perry
3 Comments

I mentioned my Gaylord Perry story in the last post. I feel like I’ve written this up before, but I couldn’t find it in our archives. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Maybe I’ve just told it to friends and radio hosts and people so many times that it feels like I’ve written it before. Oh well, I’ll tell it again because I like telling this story.

In 1984 I was on vacation with my family in the big RV, driving through North Carolina. As we always did on those long family road trips, my brother and I spent all of our highway time sorting through boxes of baseball cards we brought along with us. As we passed through a little podunk town, my dad suddenly pulled over and stopped to make a call at a pay phone. He got back into the RV and said “we’re stopping for lunch.” As we pulled away from the phone booth, I saw a sign that said “Welcome to Williamston, North Carolina, Home of Gaylord and Jim Perry.” Maybe Jim got first billing since he’s older. I don’t remember. But that was the upshot.

Five minutes later we are pulling up to a house next to a large farm. A woman came out of the house and said, “You’re the fella who just called? Come on in!” She welcomed us inside. “Gaylord will be here in a minute,” she said. My brother and I freaked out as we looked around the living room. There were photos of Gaylord Perry in action. Trophies and awards. Jerseys in frames. All kinds of other stuff. The thing I remember most was a giant leather chair shaped like a baseball glove that, to this day, I wish I had (maybe the 1984 version of this?). Five minutes later Gaylord freaking Perry walked in. He was wearing dirty jeans, work boots, a dirty white t-shirt and a Kansas City Royals cap. It was his first summer not playing baseball since he was a kid and he was spending it farming. Still had the cap on, though.

Gaylord and his wife, Blanche, were warm and welcoming. They said that not too many baseball fans just up and stopped by, but that they were happy someone did. Blanche made us sandwiches. Gaylord signed autographs (we had a few Perry cards in the RV stash). Even at that age I knew Perry’s reputation as a ball-doctorer. He told us a bunch of spitball jokes and stories which he had no doubt honed on the banquet circuit over the years, but they were mostly new to me. My parents, who were not baseball fans and didn’t know much about Perry apart from the fact that he was a famous baseball player, were delighted when Perry asked me to explain to them what I thought a spitball was. You could tell Perry thought that it was absolutely adorable that I thought the best way to doctor a ball was to, you know, spit on it. He talked about Vaseline and all sorts of other stuff, adding “or so I’m told” or “some people say” every now and again with a wink.

After lunch, Gaylord took us back to his office, in a separate building. He opened a file cabinet containing autographed baseballs from his former teammates and his friends in the game. I got a George Brett ball, which Perry said he gave me because Brett was the best player whose autograph he had sitting around handy. My brother said he was a Tigers fan so Perry gave him a Lance Parrish ball Perry had gotten somewhere along the way. He had a bunch of others too, but we weren’t greedy. He gave my mom a T-shirt he had which commemorated the Pine Tar Incident, in which he played no small part. He autographed the shirt for her, apologized for it being so big and said that maybe she could use it as a night shirt. My dad took Polaroids of my brother and me with Perry which I still have around here someplace. Then off we went, with Gaylord and Blanche Perry waving from the porch.

I was saddened to hear a couple years later that Perry’s life took an unfortunate turn not long after we met him. Two years later he lost his farm to bankruptcy. A year later Blanche died in an automobile accident. Perry went on to coach college baseball for a while. I remember seeing an interview with him around that time and he seemed like a much sadder guy than the smiling fellow we met that day in 1984. It makes sense given all that had happened.

In 2012, while in Scottsdale to cover spring training, I walked into the Giants clubhouse one morning and sitting at a table were Willie Mays, Ernie Banks and Gaylord Perry. They were there for some sort of pregame ceremony and were just shooting the breeze and telling old baseball stories. Perry was laughing and animated and at times was practically breathless due to all of the cackling. He had Mays in stitches too. It was fantastic to see him smiling.

When the conversation ended Perry got up and walked from the table. I thought about saying something to him about the time in 1984 when my dad impulsively took his kids to Gaylord Perry’s house and to thank him for the kindness he and his wife showed my family that day. I didn’t, though. He was soon in another conversation and, on some level, it seemed awkward for me to have brought that up there, in the clubhouse, wearing a press credential when people were working and preparing and things. In hindsight I wish I had.

I’m going back to Scottsdale to cover spring training again in March. I hope he’s there again. If so, this time I will.

Giants player who cheated in order to achieve milestones to be honored with statue

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 1973 file photo, home plate umpire John Flaherty checks Cleveland Indians' pitcher Gaylord Perry's cap, at the request of Milwaukee Brewers manager Del Crandall,  during the first game of a doubleheader against the Brewers,  in Milwaukee. Well after the end of his Hall of Fame career, Perry could still joke about his infamous spitball, but in 1982, the Seattle star was ejected for allegedly throwing the pitch against the Boston Red Sox. (AP Photo/File)
Associated Press
5 Comments

Hey, I didn’t say “records,” I just said milestones. Milestones which I recognize as totally valid, by the way.

We’re talking about Gaylord Perry here, of course. As Hank Shulman reports, he’ll be getting a statue at AT&T Park. It will be unveiled on August 13, and it will go alongside statues of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Juan Marichal.

Perry was a fantastic pitcher, of course. A man who won over 300 games and struck out more than 3,500 dudes and, without question, belongs in the Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted eons ago. He belongs even if he cheated because, Jesus, a lot of dudes did or at least tried to do what he did and they didn’t become amazing pitchers as a result, so maybe the cheating didn’t make or break the man’s career? And because how on Earth can you have a baseball Hall of Fame without Gaylord Perry in it? That’d be preposterous.

Moreover, he’s a player for whom I have a great deal of personal admiration for personal reasons no matter what he did on the field (have I told you my Gaylord Perry story? If I haven’t told my Gaylord Perry story before remind me and I’ll do a post on it; he was a prince of a man to my family one time). UPDATE: Here’s that Gaylord Perry story.

See, you can separate the rule breaking from the rest of it if you try even a little bit.

Bonds next, please.

Delmon Young arrested for choking, threatening a valet

Delmon Young
Getty Images
26 Comments

Major leaguer Delmon Young was arrested in Miami last night after allegedly choking and threatening a valet attendant, and using ethnic slurs. Andy Slater of 940-AM WINZ in Miami was the first to report Young’s arrest. HardballTalk has independently confirmed the report after speaking to the Miami Police Department. The actual police report can be read below.

According to the report, Young was angry that a valet at the Viceroy Hotel in Miami wouldn’t open a door with access to a club. He allegedly put his hands around the valet’s throat and said “Stupid Cuban, open the f***ing door,” and “I’m gonna f***ing kill you, you Latin piece of s**t.” Young, who lives at the Viceroy, fled the scene and was later arrested in his room. He initially denied that he took part in the confrontation but the valet identified him to police officers. When he was being arrested Young allegedly told the police officer “I’ll slap you in the face with money you f***ing Cuban.” Oh, and he was naked from the waist down when he first opened the door for the police and appeared to be intoxicated, slurring his speech.

As you no doubt recall, Young was arrested in New York in 2012 and eventually pled guilty for harassing people on the street and using antisemitic slurs while appearing in a “highly intoxicated” state.

Young, 30, hit .270/.289/.339 in 52 games for the Orioles last year. He has played for the Devil Rays and Rays, the Twins, the Tigers and the Phillies before two seasons in Baltimore. The veteran of ten major league seasons is a free agent right now. And, from the sound of things, he’s likely to stay that way indefinitely.

Here’s the police report:

Delmon Young Police Report EDITED