Guest post: Joe Tetreault's 164 lines about 82 All-Stars


Remember our Home Run Derby contest? Well, the winner was Joe Tetreault, HBT reader, Business of Sports Network Managing Editor, and notorious man-about-town. As we said before, the winner got a guest post, and Joe wrote a doozy. Specifically, he has put together something that old people like me and/or New Wave fans will appreciate: a takeoff of The Nails’ “88 lines about 44 women.”  Except instead of lyrics about freaky and interesting women, he made it about ballplayers. Oh, and he nearly doubled the length, too.

I appreciate the effort involved here, even if I’d rather hear about Tanya Turkish’s leather biker boots and Judy from O-HI-O. Still, it beat out the second place guy who was going to do a send-up of Jim Carroll’s “People who Died” starting with Thurman Munson. Yikes!

Take it away, Joe!
It’s true Evan Longoria,
Gives all the Rays euphoria
Josh Johnson is making his case
At the head of the Cy Young chase.
Hanley Ramirez has the tools,
Makes all the pitchers look like fools
Struggling hitters, take my advice,
Don’t go oh-two on David Price

Make sure you watch Jose Reyes.
One pause and he’s off to the races.
You know CC Sabathia
Would win twenty for Carpathia.
Though lacking last year’s power,
Still, all is well played Joe Mauer.
Yes, sir, Yovani Gallardo
Is a pitching Leonardo.

Mighty mite Dustin Pedroia,
He’s a real baseball destroyer.
Bulldog Tim Hudson pounds the zone.
Opposing hitters he does own.
New York Mets fans take much delight
In walk off hits from David Wright.
A breakout season is not news.
Success is a journey, Phil Hughes.

So many Phillie wins are powered
By the bat of Ryan Howard
Boston hopes that for Clay Buchholz
Being the best tops all his goals
They all fear Miguel Cabrera
Most lethal bat on all Terra
Chris Carpenter is the Cards’ ace;
Sets down foes; puts the in their place.

Look out, Ichiro Suzuki,
Stealing bases makes pitchers kooky.
Teammates call Roy Halladay “Doc”;
Facing him, hitters get brain lock.
When pitchers face Martin Prado,
They’re next incommunicado.
The most sought after, you’ll agree,
Is the exceptional Cliff Lee

Albert Pujols‘ skill with the bat
Sends subpar pitchers to the mat.
When Joakim Soria throws well,
Opponents’ chances’re shot to hell.
Robinson Cano, you’d agree,
Has been the Yankees’ MVP
Pittsburgh sent Matt Capps far away
Washington’s glad to have him play.

What a hero, Derek Jeter
Yankees know he’s a world beater.
Retires the side Adam Wainwright
Up to nine times in the same night.
Adrian Gonzalez crushes;
Leaves spectators in awed hushes.
Good results for Jered Weaver
A real over-achiever.

A meatball thrown to Ryan Braun
Inevitably will be gone.
For the years of Andy Pettitte
All New York is now indebted.
All hail, Vladimir Guerrero,
Belts longballs like shooting arrows.
Ask not for whom Heath Bell doth toll,
In the Pad’s pen, he’s in control.

Josh Hamilton wows the home crowd
As he boosts pitchers’ runs allowed.
Tim Lincecum is the San Fran freak.
Dig in, but your outlook is bleak.
The Brewers learned with Corey Hart
Platooning him was not so smart.
He’s so good that fans wish daily,
Geren could pitch Andrew Bailey

Andre Ethier‘s walk off knocks
Are measured not in feet but blocks.
Achieve success, Trevor Cahill,
Whatever the role you may fill.
All Tampa hopes that Carl Crawford
Will accept what the Rays offered.
Billy Wagner has a grand plan
Set to the tune “Enter Sandman”.

Victor Martinez and his swing
Are feared summer, fall, and spring
Jonathan Broxton chucks high cheese;
With the results fans are most pleased.
Try as you might, hard as you can
You just can’t stop Brian McCann
Look out for Neftali Feliz.
Soon he’ll make his starting reprise.

Sure, Joey Votto leads the Reds;
It’s his power the pitcher dreads.
Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona
An excellent mound persona.
He suffered a hitting disease
Better now is David Ortiz
Setting new expectations is
Thy name, Ubaldo Jimenez.

Brandon Phillips, don’t say maybe!
Always go first to third, baby!
Just look at Justin Verlander
Conquers more than Alexander.
When pitchers face Justin Morneau,
All their efforts are but for woe.
Brian Wilson‘s stuff’s terrific,
To hitters it’s just horrific.

Possessing both power and speed
Ian Kinsler‘s set to succeed.
Elvis Andrus and his slick glove,
With all the skills to rise above.
Alex Rodriguez gave a shout
He’s nearing his 600th clout.
Adrian Beltre flashes leather;
His stick’s surprised altogether.

Few hitters can bear the brunt more
Than the Angels’ Torii Hunter.
Nick Swisher, Kenny’s after thought,
Now look what Nick hath wrought.
The Blue Jays tried last year to sell,
but are glad they have Vernon Wells
On first, fleet of foot Michael Bourn
Makes all pitchers and catchers mourn.

Jon Lester overcame great odds-
Now the scourge of Yankee gods.
See, Mariano Rivera
Best reliever of the era.
Rafael Soriano knows
Every win he’ll get to close.
Jose Valverde made his case
Just by keeping runners off base.

Chase Utley anchors the Phillies
Few weaknesses, like Achilles.
Rafael Furcal sparks LA
To opposing pitchers’ dismay.
Troy Tulowitzki sets the pace,
Keeping the Rockies in the race.
Rejuvenated Scott Rolen
Blasts a long ball, then he’s stollin’.

The Cubs’ show, starring Marlon Byrd,
He has been their only good word.
What a talent, Jason Heyward!
From this path, he won’t go wayward.
Matt Holliday took to the Cards,
Blasting balls out of NL yards.
Chris Young, blessed with speed and power,
Stands tall, Zona’s man of the hour.

Trying to sneak one past John Buck,
You’ll quickly find you’re out of luck.
Paul Konerko has called his shot.
Blasting baseballs onto your yacht.
Versatile with a power bat
Ty Wigginton is where it’s at.
Jose Bautista like home runs.
Mid-Year, he’s already hit tons.

Yadier Molina guns down
Even baserunners well renown.
Injuries slowed Hong-Chih Kuo,
On the hill outs are status quo.
Evan Meek‘s the apparent heir
To Pittsburgh’s bullpen closing chair.
The Colossus of Arthur Rhodes
Confidence in batters erodes.

Matt Thornton is on in relief.
His numbers are beyond belief.
Omar Infante, how ’bout this
The last All-Star will end my list.

164 lines about 82 All Stars

White Sox acquire right-hander Tommy Kahnle from Rockies

Tommy Kahnle
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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According to the official Twitter account of the Chicago White Sox, the club acquired right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the Rockies on Tuesday evening in exchange for minor league pitcher Yency Almonte.

Kahnle was designated for assignment by the Rockies last week in a flurry of moves made in preparation of next month’s Rule 5 Draft. The 26-year-old former fifth-round pick posted an ugly 4.86 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, and 39/28 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings this past season for Colorado and he wasn’t much better at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Almonte, 21, had a 3.41 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 110/38 K/BB ratio in 137 1/3 innings this past season between Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem.

It’s a straight one-for-one deal of two non-prospects, and the timing of it — in the evening, with Thanksgiving approaching — has our Craig Calcaterra wondering whether an executive was just trying to get out of some family responsibilities …

Mark McGwire to become the Padres bench coach

Los Angeles Dodgers batting coach Mark McGwire roams the field during practice for the National League baseball championship series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in St. Louis. The Dodgers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The other day Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres were in discussions with former Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire about their bench coach job. Today Jon Heyman reports that the deal is done and will soon be announced.

McGwire has been the hitting coach for Los Angeles for the past three seasons. When his contract was not renewed following the end of 2015 he was rumored to be up for the Diamondbacks’ hitting coach job. He likely view staying in Southern California to be a plus, as he makes his home in Irvine, which is around 90 miles from Petco Park. That’s a long commute, but Mac can afford the gas, I guess.

How to talk to your family about the designated hitter at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner

While political topics are normally the subject of awkward conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table, hardcore baseball fans know that it can be just as awkward to talk about the game with relatives.

They don’t know baseball as well as you do — not by a long shot — but for some reason everyone thinks they have the God-given right not only to offer their baseball opinions but to demand acknowledgement that those opinions are correct. Baseball may be dying, you guys, but it’s vestigial status as our National Pastime makes everyone think they’re an expert by simple virtue of being an American. It’s maddening.

I can’t tell you how to keep your family away from sensitive topics, but here are brief answers to some frequently asked questions about the state of the game, and how you can defuse combustible conversations:

Will the National League adopt the designated hitter?

Despite the fact that the DH has been around four 43 seasons, your relatives — even those far younger than 43 — will loudly proclaim it to be a new-fangled abomination as they pass the sweet potatoes. While the best way to avoid conflict here is to say something like “I think the differences between the leagues are special and should be preserved” and try to quickly move on to something else, we don’t progress as a civilization by indulging foolishness in the name of peace. Tell your relatives that pitchers batting is dumb and that the DH should be universal. And then tell them to get their own sweet potatoes. You’re trying to eat here for cryin’ out loud.

Where will the big free agents go? Don’t the Yankees spend all of their big money and buy championships anyway?

My god, your uncle/cousin/sister’s boyfriend who probably shouldn’t be piping up about ANYTHING right now given that none of you really like him and it’s not going to last anyway is out of touch when it comes to such things. Tell them that the Yankees haven’t won jack since the first year of Obama’s first term and that even when they were winning the World Series all the time they did so on the back of homegrown talent, savvily-developed. Indeed, they STOPPED winning championships once they went huge on free agency and jacked up payroll and, despite the fact that they still owe a lot of old guys money, they are back to developing talent again and are way less likely to spend stupid money in free agency than they used to be. Careful here, though: people have strong feelings about the Yankees regardless of their ignorance and will likely fight back on this point. Maybe it’s safer just to discuss Obama. Here’s an idea to that end: how — as your drunk uncle claims — can Obama simultaneously be the least effective president ever AND a total dictator? Maybe Obama is one of those two things, but my drunk uncle has never given me a satisfactory answer to how he can be both.

Why doesn’t baseball have a salary cap? The players make too much money.

The idea of a salary cap in baseball is dead. Deader than vaudeville. It blew up the game in 1994-95, and the owners blinked rather than try it again in 2002.  Since then the money has been flowing, competitive balance has been better than most people will admit, and the owners seem to have very little desire to fight that fight again.  It’s not going to happen. Yet, for some reason — likely the Football Industrial Complex’s propaganda machine — every sports dilettante thinks that baseball not only needs a salary cap but that it’s actually something that could happen, even though it isn’t.

Here some ju-jitsu is in order. Rather than bog things down with facts which show that there is no need for a salary cap, turn the question around on them and ask them when the billionaires who own baseball teams will accept a cap on how much they should earn for their “labor.” When they spout off about how owners built the business themselves and are entitled to whatever they can get, ask them which of the current owners, who form a veritable Who’s-Who of Paper Movers, Genetic Lottery Winners and Men Who Were Born on Third Base Yet Think They Hit a Triple, built a dang thing. Peter Angelos, maybe. Just don’t tell them that he’s a rich plaintiff’s lawyer who had the union’s back during the 1994-95 strike.

What’s wrong with young players today? Why don’t they act professionally and respect the game? 

By this time your uncle may be so drunk on the Beaujolais Nouveau that he may actually slip and say “Latin players” instead of “young players,” and that’s assuming he’s polite enough to use words like “Latin” to refer to people from the Caribbean, Central and South America. If so, skip the lecture about how arguments regarding baseball decorum and “playing the game the right way” are really just proxies for cultural anxiety and creeping xenophobia and go directly to the inevitable conversation about immigration, refugees and Donald Trump. It’ll save you time and make everyone angrier way, way faster. And this is a wonderful thing.

Or, at least it is for me. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year and the quicker people get to open warfare the quicker I can kick everyone out, bringing some peace and quiet back to my house. Plus: more pie for me.


(with both thanks and apologies to Brendan Nyhan of the New York Times)

Jerry Dipoto refutes the notion that Robinson Cano is unhappy

Robinson Cano

Yesterday John Harper of the Daily News reported that, according to a friend of Robinson Cano‘s, Cano is unhappy in Seattle and would like to go back to New York. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto responded to that report, saying that it’s totally false based on his conversations with Cano and his agent:

“[Cano’s agent] reached out to let me know that did not come from Robbie and that’s not at all reflective of how he felt,” said Dipoto, who replaced former GM Jack Zduriencik two months ago. “Shortly after the season ended, I sat down with Robinson in my office for two hours and we had a great talk and I think we left with a very clear understanding of who one another might be.

There are official lines and things one says to one’s friends. Then again, there are also friends who know things and “friends” who assume things thought by others and then talk to newspapers about it too. Where all of this falls on the truth/knowledge spectrum is something none of us can ever know.

What can be known for sure is that (a) Cano had a rough season from both a health and baseball perspective; (b) Cano is a professional who knows that there is zero upside to communicating displeasure with one’s current team to the press, either directly or through surrogates; and (c) when one is productive and one’s team is winning, one feels very differently about life than if one is not productive and not winning.

In short: there could very well be truth from both sides of this little happening.