Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moustache or No Moustache: Wedge's Mariners Are Keeping the Nightmare Alive

Eric Wedge tried to shake things up by shaving his vaunted moustache, but the Mariners are still sinking to unpredecedented lows with each loss.

As if it wasn't bad enough that a big fat Gypsy Moth flew into Eric Wedge's eye on Saturday night at Fenway (see vid above), Wedge happens to be the manager who has conned the U.S.S Mariner to a new level of stinkiness.

The Mariners were thumped by The Redsox 12-8 today for their 15th consecutive loss today, even though the teams hard luck manager decided to shave off his Fu Manchu moustache before the game. I guess that is bad news for the 142 people that "liked" Eric Wedge's mustache on Facebook, but good news for the three passionate souls who joined the group "People against Eric Wedge's Mustache."

"Drastic times, drastic measures," said Wedge.

The Mariners, whose previous worst losing streak was 14 in 1992, will play their next three games in the Bronx against the Yankees. Seattle is only 8 games away from breaking the previous modern era MLB record of 23, which is held by the '61 Phillies. They will face the Rays at home next weekend if the streak is still going, and finally the A's on August 1-3.

"I hope they don't push forward that T-shirt order," added Wedge, who was referring to the Mariner's "Fear the Stache" T-shirts that are reportedly being sold at Safeco field.

Can the Mariners top the Phillies record of ineptitude? Can they push it even further and break the Tampa Bay Bucaneers record of futility for an American sports franchise, which stands at 26 consecutive losses? More importantly, will Eric Wedge find new and even more creative ways to express himself without the moustache?

My guess is no, no, and no, but I'm hoping for yes, yes, and yes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Draft Excerpts: What's really going on?

The players aren't quite ready to sign off on this thing. The owners are putting the pressure on. What comes next?

NFL Insider Kevin Lynch was on KNBR yesterday trying to make sense of the NFL Lockout. Here are some excerpts from his conversation with Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert: Click here for the full audio.

Tolbert: What it sounds like, what I've been reading, is that the owners had stuff in there that hadn't been could they have thought they would get away with that when they didn't even negotiate stuff they put in there to ratify -- it sounds absurd.

Lynch: It does, but I think again it's kind of a payback thing. I think the owners felt that, 'hey, we were still negotiating and you pulled the plug on us.'

Tolbert: So they knew the players wouldn't sign this then.

Barbieri: The owners figured they'd lay it out this way and they'd make the players look like the bad guys.

Lynch: Exactly, I think that is their biggest motivation. It does seem strange, I mean they haven't even negotiated what workers comp is going to be, and yet they're already -- boom -- saying, 'hey, it's a go,' and I don't even think even think they negotiated what the drug policy is going to be.

And of course there is this big contention between the players saying 'well look if you vote yes as owners, you end the lockout right now, and we'll still negotiate' and the owners are saying 'no, you have to vote to re-certify first." So that's another big hurdle that they are still going back and forth on.

Tolbert: Do they have to do one or the other first?

Lynch: I think they have to -- well -- the problem is if the owner say 'look, end the lockout right here,' then they could still not drop their lawsuit, so there's a trust level there, and of course there is no trust between the two sides.

Tolbert: Is this going to upset the players to where they just say screw it?

Lynch: As a tactical maneuver this is brilliant on the owners part. You're at this precipice where you've got to get it done or you are talking about missing pre-season games and you are talking about losing money on both sides.

The bottom line: Who the heck knows? I'm definitely siding with the players here. I hope they have the courage to toe the line and get all these issues ironed out. If the owners want to pull bunk tactical maneuvers like this and taint the spirit of the negotiations than I think the players should make them eat it.

What, are these owners hoping that the brain damage that a lot of these players suffer from is going to hinder their ability to negotiate?

If Lynch's suspicions are correct, than this is a very disappointing display by the owners and the public should get behind the players.

At least that is my take. What's yours?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stephen Drew's Ankle Injury Evokes Theismann

Stephen Drew of the Arizona Diamondbacks got the raw end of this play at the plate last night.

I'm pretty much speechless. And...I'm sorry. I just don't know what to say about this video that I just came across on Poor Stephen Drew -- how about that?

Drew suffered a fractured ankle on the play, will need surgery, and is likely out for the season. And the D-backs lost to the Brewers, to make matters worse.

I've never seen an ankle do a 180 like that. It reminded me of a Great Horned Owl, which can turn their necks up to 270 degrees because they have fourteen neck vertebrae. It also reminded me of good old No. 7 for the Washington Redskins, Joe Theismann.

Drew's ankle fracture has that same "I hate watching this yet I have to watch it over and over because it's addictive" quality as Theismann's tangle with Lawrence Taylor did.

I'd give it a 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, and of course Theismann gets a 10. Poor Stephen Drew, he just can't win tonight. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery for the 28-year-old.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bucs On Top of NL Central? Huh?

Surprise, surprise! The Bucs top the NL Central standings heading into play on July 20. Oh yeah, and cows can fly too...

Checked the standings today and saw that the Pittsburgh Pirates are in first place. Fainted. Checked it again, and saw that it wasn't a joke. Fainted again.'s Jonathan Mayo commented on the Bucs solid play of late on KNBR 680 in San Francisco this morning.

"It's been pitching," said Mayo. "That's the simple and correct answer. I think entering the year I thought they would be improved, but mostly because they would take some steps forward offensively."

Turns out it hasn't been the swashbuckling bats at all (no offense Jose Tabata). It's been the pitching, says Mayo. "I don't know if there has been a better pitching staff top to bottom than this one. They have one of the better bullpens, they have for my money one of the best closers in baseball in Joel Hanrahan, and the starters are going deep pretty much every time out."

He's right. The Bucs are currently 8th in the majors with a combined 3.37 ERA. Jeff Karstens, who will take the hill today as the Bucs look for the sweep against Cincinnati, is 8-4 with a 2.34 ERA. When you look at his career numbers (20-31 with a 4.41) you have to drink some water to keep from fainting -- again.

"Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens have been among the biggest surprises in the National League, period," said Mayo. "People are coming to see them play, and it's been a lot of fun."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vogelsong Staying Strong

33-year-old San Francisco Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong will try to keep the dream alive against the Dodgers tonight.

Feeling stale? Didn't get that recent promotion at the salt mine? Looking for inspiration? If it sounds like I'm talking directly to you, then you might want to tune into the Giants-Dodgers game tonight to see MLB's surprise of the year, Ryan Vogelsong, take the hill tonight.

If you aren't familiar with Vogelsong's story, allow me to give you the highlights: After being drafted in '98 by the Giants, and labeled as a future big-name starter, Vogelsong's career got wildly off track. He was traded by the Giants to Pittsburgh in the deal that brought Jason Schmidt to SF, and while he did manage to get his ERA under 6 for one season (detecting sarcasm?), he eventually got injured, hadTommy John surgery, and found himself looking for a job when he got healthy.

He bounced around like an old ratty tennis ball with teeth marks, no fuzz and no air, limply landing in Japan for three years, and on a few minor league rosters after that.

All the while -- and this is where you need to get your handkerchiefs ready -- he didn't quit. Thankfully for Ryan, his wife Nicole wouldn't let him. "She's the optimist and I'm the realist," said Vogelsong. "I was ready to talk about (quitting), she wasn't."

After 1,760 days without a Major League Job, Vogelsong ended up back on the roster of the team who drafted him, and earlier this year, he got his first MLB win after 2,413 days without one.

It's crazy, and the more you crunch the numbers, the crazier -- or more inspiring -- it gets. According to Elias, the last man to go four years without playing in the bigs, then make the all-star team in his first season back, was Mickey Harris, who played for the Red Sox in 1946.

At 33, Vogelsong has continued to ride this wave. The righty from Charlotte, N.C. is currently 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA in 91 1/3 innings pitched. The last time Vogelsong threw that many innings he ended up going 6-13 with a 6.50 ERA for the 'Bucs in '04.

What a difference 7 years makes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Showtime Features New Docudrama on SF Giants

The 2010 World Series champs are taking part in a new Showtime docudrama that takes you behind the scenes with the SF Giants.

For die-hard baseball fans, and especially Giants fans, you might want to subscribe to Showtime, as "The Franchise" aired this week for the first time on the network. The show takes a look inside the clubhouse of the Giants, and the hour-long premier episode featured, among other things, Jeremy Affeldt making an emotional visit to victimized Giant fan Brian Stow and a close-up look at Buster Posey's slightly mangled ankle.

In my opinion, cutting-edge cable networks simply can't make enough of these "inside the game" features, and given that I live in SF and have become attached to the Giants of late, I'm so totally sold on this.

Just when I was about to cancel Showtime due to my ongoing economic crisis and the lack of a Californication episode for some time, I've got a reason to believe.

Read more about the show here and here and here.

Vancouver Kissing Couple Rocks the ESPY's

You remember the iconic image, the one where two young people in love braved the violence to display their affection...THEY'RE BACK!!!

Great idea for a skit for last night's ESPY awards, but I have to wonder, WTF is wrong with the people in the audience? Are they suffering from colon issues? Have they forgotten how to laugh? Or, am I simply the only one in the world that thinks this skit was funny?

Okay, there were the occasional smatterings of laughter, but Bieber couldn't bust a smile out?

Help me out here, people...

"Kissing at home is what American's do. Kiss at home and eat your Big Mac's."


Monday, July 11, 2011

Vin Scully to Call 2011 World Series?

A petition has surfaced on the web, asking that the great baseball broadcaster Vin Scully call the World Series this year. Joe Buck is game. Are you?

Saw this interesting tidbit the other day and clicked through to see if it wasn't some kind of newfangled internet gag. Turns out it wasn't. There really is a petition to get Vin Scully back in the booth for the 2011 World Series. Better yet, Joe Buck, Fox's current play-by-play man for the fall classic, is all for it. While this article quotes Buck as saying he'd "happily step aside" for the legendary voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a Fox spokesperson wasn't as eager to let Buck exit stage left.

"Having Vin join Joe and Tim for a few innings is definitely something we'd consider," said the spokesperson.

Evidently, the Fox spokesperson isn't getting it. A few innings of a cluttered-up booth where Scully reminisces about his glorious past (calling Koufax's perfect game and Hank Aaron's 715 HR) would only detract from the broadcast. What the petition calls for is a total takeover of the booth by Scully. We (I signed, hell yeah) want the man to go to work and show these young, polished whippersnapper broadcasters how it's really supposed to be done.

No offense to Buck or McCarver, but I'd take Scully and Garagiola any day of the week.

How about you?

Just Like That, I'm Hooked

It took one goal, seen here, to get me all fired up for the Women's World Cup semis.

Hell yeah. I was spending an otherwise boring Sunday keeping tabs on MLB's final Sunday before the All-Star break and watching the American's get beat by Spain in Davis Cup, when suddenly, like a dream, it hit me.

Women's soccer rocks! I'll admit, I had barely paid attention to the World Cup until yesterday, but man, I'll be watching for the rest of the week.

What a game! USA Today is reporting that the cell phones of team members were 'blowing up' after the game. If I had their number, I'd have been texting them too. "We're kind of building," said veteran midfielder Shannon Boxx. "You're hearing, 'I've never watched a soccer game before, but now I'm watching."


The second that Abby Wombach saved the USA's life, you knew this was the sporting moment of the week, the month, the year? Ah, just gorgeous to see and feel the jubilation of the victors.

Hope you enjoyed it too.

The bad news? How the heck are the American women going to top this? Sure they'll probably win the whole thing now, but I can't imagine them producing high drama like this for many years to come.

My advice? Enjoy the youtube video above, and cross your fingers that the magic will continue.