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

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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

Columnist calls for Sammy Sosa to “come clean.” He probably shouldn’t.

15 Sep 1998:  A silhouette portrait of Sammy Sosa #21of the Chicago Cubs taken in the dug-out as he looks across the field during the game against the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Park in San Diego, California. The Cubs defeated the Padres 4-2
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Yesterday Sammy Sosa — quite ridiculously — compared himself to Jesus Christ. The idea: he has suffered greatly since retirement, having been shunned by the Cubs and disparaged by the baseball establishment and . . . well, I don’t know how that makes him Jesus, but forget it, he’s rolling.

Today, predictably, a Chicago columnist does what columnists have been doing for years with respect to guys suspected of PED use: argues that Sosa should “come clean” if he wants to come in from the cold. Here’s David Haugh of the Tribune:

The game welcomed back Barry Bonds and McGwire from steroid exile after both separately acknowledged their involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. Fox Sports employs Alex Rodriguez, who admitted to PED use during his career. The door back to baseball is open for Sosa, but only if he follows the same path his contemporaries from the steroid era did. The Cubs have made this clear to Sosa, in no uncertain terms, yet he continues to paint himself as the victim.

This is not accurate. Bonds has never “come clean” about his PED use. He was in litigation over it until 2015 and wasn’t giving any confessionals about it. When the Marlins hired him he said nothing. He made allusions to being “an idiot” in an interview last summer, but that was clearly focused on his cagey attitude, not his drug use. There was no deal with the Marlins that his job was prefaced on his “coming clean,” and he never did.

The same can be said for McGwire. Big Mac was hired by the Cardinals as a hitting coach on October 26, 2009. His acknowledgment of PED use came months later, just before spring training in January 2010. While it may be plausible that the Cardinals told McGwire that they would not hire him absent a confession of PED use, that’s not how it tracked in real time. At his hiring, John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt each said there was no set blueprint for how McGwire would proceed as far as his public statements went and they allowed him to control the timeline. His confession seemed to be very much a function of heading off spring training distractions and questions from the press which would have access to him everyday, not some precondition of his employment.

But even if we grant the apparently erroneous premise that Bonds and McGwire “came clean” to return to baseball’s good graces, such a road map is of no use to Sosa. He’s not looking to coach or, as far as we know, even be employed by a club. If the study we talked about four years ago remains accurate, coming clean about PED use makes an athlete look worse in the eyes of the public than those who deny. Ask David Ortiz how that works. It likewise will do nothing for his Hall of Fame vote totals. Ask McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro how that works.

Sosa may be engaging in some unfortunate hyperbole, but as far as can be determined, he’s not asking for a whole hell of a lot. He’s not asking for a coaching job or to have his number retired or for them to rename Wrigley Field after him. He’s asking to be acknowledged as a part of Cubs history. He’s asking for the same kind of treatment other retired greats receive from time to time. A first pitch? A public appearance or two? Some minor role as a team ambassador? The bar for that isn’t very high.

The Cubs, who benefited greatly from Sosa’s production — and, necessarily, by whatever juicing Sosa did to achieve it — aren’t being asked to do much. Just to be decent to a person who is an important part of their history. That should not require that Sosa give a weepy interview about steroids which will serve no one’s purpose but the tut-tutting media. A media which, if McGwire’s example is any guide, will still slam Sosa if he comes clean and claim that his confession wasn’t good enough and his contrition wasn’t genuine. If he does confess, bank on that reaction. Bet the mortgage on it.

All of which makes me wonder if it’s the media, and not the Cubs who are the ones who really want to see such a thing.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.