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Tag:Rays
Posted on: May 29, 2008 10:25 am
Edited on: May 29, 2008 2:47 pm
 

Thursday's Must-See Bloggy

While sipping on your morning protein shake, here are the top 10 things you need to know about for Your Morning Constitutional:
  1. Dice-K's next start in jeopardy: Daisuke Matsuzaka left for Boston Wednesday to get an MRI on his fatigued pitching shoulder. Manager Terry Francona has not ruled him out for Monday's start at Baltimore. There's a day off in there, so the Red Sox could juggle the rotation a bit, according to The Boston Globe. Tim Wakefield could start Monday, and Justin Masterson had his debut at Triple-A Pawtucket moved up from Saturday to Thursday, which would put him in line to start Tuesday against the Rays.
  2. Pedro could return next week: Pedro Martinez threw six solid innings in a Class A rehab start for Port St. Lucie on Wednesday. The hamstring injury is behind him and he's just building up strength at this point. He gave up two runs on four hits (82 pitches), with six strikeouts and no walks.
  3. Pedro who!?!?!? David Price outpitches Mets' superstar: The Rays' No. 1 overall pick from 2007 threw six scoreless innings for Class A Vero Beach against Pedro Martinez's Port St. Lucie team. Price has now thrown 11 consecutive shutout innings to start his pro career. He allowed two hits and one walk -- and nine strikeouts. "I want (Pedro) to go home and one day tell his grandchildren about me," Price said. You have to like that!
  4. Celtics win again at home, Rip questionable for Game 6: The Celtics went up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals after Ray Allen dropped 29 on the Pistons. And now Richard Hamilton has an elbow injury that puts his start back in Detroit in question. Kevin McHale is still counting the bolts in Boston.
  5. Crosby scores first two goals of Cup career, Penguins win: The Pens do their best to make this Stanley Cup Finals interesting, and they finally score a goal against G Chris Osgood (6-1 in Finals history). Sidney Crosby scores his first goals to get his Stanley Cup career going. Pittsburgh is 9-0 at home, but the Red Wings are now 14-2 in their past 16 Finals games.
  6. Johan Franzen scores 13th goal of postseason: The Wings center leads all scorers in the playoffs. My question is, where does the 28-year-old Swede get drafted in Fantasy play next season? He'll be entering his fourth season in the NHL, coming off a career year (27 G, 11 A, 14 PPG). Going into this past season, he was the 44th center drafted on average and he ended the season owned on only 44 percent of Fantasy Hockey leagues. From March 2 to the end of the regular season, he has 20 points (15 G, 5 A, 7 PPG). Only Alex Ovechkin scored more goals than him in that span, and only six players had more points. Franzen could be a sleeper pick that could drop to the third round of a 12-team draft.
  7. Royals suck and blow: The former is for their 10th consecutive loss Wednesday, and the latter is for blowing a five-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning. Then they make sure they keep Joel Peralta in -- after he gave up the tying homer to Craig Monroe in the ninth -- so he can give up the go-ahead homer to Morneau on the first pitch of the 10th.
  8. Fernando Tatis hits game-winning double for Mets: Tatis hit a two-run double in the bottom of the 12th to beat the Marlins. He has been out of baseball for two seasons and he's already stealing headlines from the high-paid disappointments in the field. If you recall, Tatis hit 34 homers for the Cardinals in '99 before taking a step back in '00. Then the Cardinals traded him in the spring of 2001 to Montreal to make room at third base for a prospect named Albert Pujols.
  9. Michael Cuddyer interview this afternoon: Things I plan on asking the Twins RF for today's podcast: 1. After a breakout '06, along with MVP Morneau and batting champ Mauer, he fell off in '07. What's tougher: establishing himself or maintaining? 2. He went to the same high school as the Upton brothers, who he's still friends with -- which one will have the better career? 3. He was drafted in a great OF class of '97 (Berkman, J.D. Drew, V. Wells), but he was drafted as a shortstop. When can we get five games played there for Fantasy eligibility?
  10. Cody Ross wins Fantasy POD for Wednesday: Thought about giving it to Jose Reyes for his 2-for-5, HR, SB evening, but Ross likely helped his owners more, with two homers and four RBI against Reyes' Mets. Ross has a fireplug body, with a scary Xavier from X-Men head. He now has nine homers -- just four away from the career high 13 he hit two seasons ago, but the .202 batting average (and just 18 RBI) in part-time work hurts his value. Although, he's only owned in three percent of leagues -- which I'm going to guess is the lowest number of any player with nine home runs in the majors.

The interview with Cuddyer went very well -- super knowledgeable guy that understands why Fantasy owners would listen to an interview with him. But from now on, in the office, he's known as Michael Cuddeeay.
Posted on: May 22, 2008 10:12 am
Edited on: May 22, 2008 10:14 am
 

There Are No Songs About Thursdays

I'm guessing you were lazy and just drive through Burger King this morning, picking up a sausage/egg/cheese croissanwich, with hash rounds, coffee -- and an order of the Cinni-minis because you couldn't resist. Here's Your Morning Constitutional:
  1. A-Rod homers twice, gets credit for just one: Despite hitting two balls out of the park, Alex Rodriguez was rewarded with just one homer and a double (the ball bounced off some outfield steps before returning the field and unjustly credited as a double by the umps). My Tout Wars team was quite upset over the ruling. But he has four hits, two homers, four RBI and three runs scored in his two games since returning from his quad injury.
  2. Joba Chamberlain begins to get stretched out for the rotation: The big Nebraskan threw two innings Wednesday and the Yankees will try to give him more innings in each outing, but you have to expect he'll take a trip to the minors for a couple of starts. His ownership has gone up from 79 to 84 percent in CBSSports.com leagues.
  3. Jason Taylor's career in Miami is likely over: J.T. won't be attending team activities, which signals the end of his Dolphins career. I can hear the phone calls now from Bill Parcells to other teams: "Hey, remember when I laughed at you for that trade offer you made on Draft Day for Taylor? ... Well, I'll take it! And I'll get Tony Sparano to get an autographed pic of Sylvio for you as well." Way to get less for a commodity, Fins.
  4. The Falcons acquire Tony Gonzalez and Jamal Lewis in monumental day: This wide receiver and safety won't have the same effect as the more famous Tony Gonzalez and Jamal Lewis, but still! Someone wanted to play for Atlanta!?! That's a coup in itself.
  5. The Rays look good on the new cover of Sports Illustrated: Our media relations guy, Alex Riethmiller, texted me yesterday to tell me about the new cover of SI. It's in comic-book style, with a Rays player holding Derek Jeter over his head, with the headline, "Bizarro Baseball!" Then I went to SI.com to look at it yesterday -- and I couldn't find it on their site. Nice marketing, boys. It might be up there by now.
  6. One player hit by pitch, one pitcher hit by batted pitch: Chipper had to leave Wednesday's game after getting plunked in the right ankle, but he hopes to be able to play on Thursday in the series finale against the Mets. Chris R. Young took an Albert Pujols' line drive in the face and had to leave his start in the third inning. He's questionable for his next start Tuesday, so whoever might replace him could see a two-start week.
  7. Bartolo Colon takes a break from the buffet, pitches five innings vs. Royals for a win: After a long wait, we finally got to see Colon make his Red Sox debut -- allowing six hits, two runs and two walks in five innings against Kansas City Wednesday. His ownership has climbed up 19 percent in the past week to 67 percent. He'll be a two-start pitcher in Week 9 (at Seattle, vs. Baltimore).
  8. The 2008 American Idol winner is David ... : That's how many people's Tivo's cut off the end of last night's finale. Cook is the winner, while Archuleta goes back to being an expensive underperforming safety in my dynasty IDP league for the last season of my stupid four-year contract with him.
  9. Speaking of David's you care about: I'm doing well. The other David you care about, David Price, is set to make his pro debut Thursday night for Class A Vero Beach. He has battled shoulder issues and an elbow strain in recent weeks. He struck out 10 batters in five innings in an extended spring training game Sunday. He even struck out A-Rod -- and served up a homer to him. The Rays' pitching staff is currently deep, so they can afford to remain cautious with the No. 1 overall pick from 2007.
  10. Thomas Diamond pitches in a game for the first time in 14 months: The last remaining DVD prospect left in the Rangers' organization pitched 4 2/3 innings for Double-A Frisco Wednesday night. Diamond underwent Tommy John surgery early last season. He allowed six runs on four hits and four walks, to go with five strikeouts. He was hit hard in the first inning, which can be written off for nerves. He's a 25-year-old prospect that was a first-round pick in 2004. The Rangers named him their Minor League Player of the Year in 2005.
Posted on: May 14, 2008 9:48 am
Edited on: May 14, 2008 5:18 pm
 

Your Morning Constitutional

I believe your order was two scrambled eggs (not dry), with four slabs of crisp bacon, some thick-cut home fries, two slices of buttered rye toast, a cup of diner coffee, and large glass of orange juice (from concentrate unfortunately).

  1. I knew "The Daily Dose" had a good ring to it: Saw yesterday that another site uses that for its morning column. I prolly stole it. So I figure, you're likely reading this after your first trip to the can anyway (bacon and coffee does it to me too). I'm changing it to "The Morning Constitutional."
  2. Mariano Rivera's perfect season is officially ruined: The Yankees' future HOF closer allows his first earned run of the season to the Rays in extra innings Tuesday. In a season where closers are shakier than the office chair I'm close to breaking, it's been great to see Mo pitch this good in the first six weeks. (Oh yeah, and Troy Percival blew the save ... whatever.)
  3. The Rays are YOUR AL East leaders almost one quarter of the way through the season: In Tuesday's 11th inning, Jonny Gomes came on to pinch run for Cliff Floyd (Floyd is making it hard for me to continue to not like him) and then Gomes stole his third base in two games (what?), to get into scoring position for Gabe Gross' game-winning single. Gomes, Floyd and Gross combined to help the Rays to their 11th-straight win at Tropicana Field. But completing their fourth sweep in a row will be tough -- it's a four-game series against the Bombers. Tampa Bay has the best record in baseball over the past 19 games (14-5).
  4. Who are the two hottest teams outside of the state of Florida? The Houston Astros and Shermboat19's Texas Rangers. Houston is 8-2 in their past 10. And along with the Rays and Marlins, the Rangers have now won seven of their past 10 games, including last night's 5-2 win over Seattle. Has anyone else noticed that Gerald Laird is finally starting to hit like we hoped he would? He's batting .275 right now, which is up from .207 as late as April 20 -- just 13 games. He has 18 hits in 51 at-bats (.353) with 16 runs scored in that span. Lock him up! He's only owned in 18 percent of Fantasy leagues!
  5. Rocco Baldelli takes BP Tuesday: I know you're sick of reading about the Rays, but I found this point interesting. His body fatigue wasn't enough to sideline my favorite player, he even had an infection in his leg. My take -- it was probably from bed sores. COME ON, ROCCO! Man up!
  6. The Red Wings and Penguins are up 3-0 in the conference finals: Can't we just skip right to the Cup Finals?
  7. Great Scott! Luke Scott hits his second homer of the season Tuesday for Fantasy POD honors: He took Josh Beckett deep, which probably hurt more owners than it helped. Scott is batting .281 on the season, but we thought he'd be exhibiting much more power at this stage.
  8. Ross Devonport's New Orleans Hornets are now up 3-2 against the Spurs: Both teams are undefeated at home in the playoffs -- and it's heading back to San Antonio. Devonport is one of our Fantasy writers. He's British, worked for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies, roots for the Hornets and is a devout Florida Atlantic fan. Weird. He also won Fantasy Golf Writer of the Year from the FSTA this year. Another cool thing -- he lent me a DVD series called, "Little Britain" -- it's a BBC sketch comedy show. QUITE FUNNY! Here's a link to one of their skits.
  9. My favorite Cincinnati Reds pitcher, Edinson Volquez, runs record to 6-1 on the season: He allowed just one earned run in six innings against the Marlins Tuesday. He has 34 strikeouts in his past four games, he's second to Cliff Lee in the majors with a 1.12 ERA, and his 57 strikeouts for the year lead the majors. I LIKE! I LIKE!
  10. Oh yeah, and the Patriots cheated.
Posted on: May 13, 2008 7:49 am
Edited on: May 14, 2008 10:45 am
 

Gonos is Burning

Here's our most recent podcast from this afternoon. We get a little goofier than usual. Emack's turkey pops out of the oven, Jamey takes five-minute no-talking breaks and I expound on the greatness that is Rays Baseball.

Looking at what happened over the past 24 hours, here's what you need to know while you scarf down three blueberry pancakes with plenty of syrup, four thick sausage links, a glass of cold milk and a cup o' joe:

  1. "Happy Mother's Day Mom! ... Now SIT YOUR ASS DOWN!": LeBron James' mother got in on the action in the crowd as a ruckus among LeBron and a couple Celtics moved off the court Monday night. King James turned around and yelled at the Queen Mum to take her seat ... Reports indicate that Paul Pierce will no longer be allowed to come over to LeBron's house after school.
  2. History's revenge: The South burns down the Yankees: Wildfires have enveloped Florida over the past day, especially in Central Florida. Including the Bay area, where the Rays torched the Bronx Bombers 7-1 for their 10th win in a row at Tropicana Field. SP Andy Pettitte lost to the Rays for the first time in eight starts.
  3. Asdrubal Cabrera turns an unassisted triple-play against Toronto: And some Fantasy owner in an obscure Head-to-Head league that thought it would be fun to add that as a scoring option got 398 points for that play.
  4. FSU C Buster Posey plays all nine positions in a 7-inning game vs. Savannah State: Every now and then, Noles head coach Mike Martin will allow a special player to play all nine positions in a game as a reward for his career. Posey is such a player, and he struck out two hitters and added a grand slam at the plate. It reminds me of that old cartoon, "Now playing first base, Bugs Bunny. Second base, Bugs Bunny. Third base, Bugs Bunnny ..." The other reason this note was interesting is that Tampa Bay, with the No. 1 overall draft pick in back-to-back seasons for the first time in MLB history, is considering drafting Posey No. 1 overall.
  5. Pavel Datsyuk pots hat trick Monday: The Red Wings are now just one win away from heading back to the Stanley Cup Finals after going up 3-0 on Dallas Monday. He has eight goals this postseason and he's just behind Henrik Zetterberg (18) with 17 total points. He came three points short of 100 this past regular season, playing in all 82 games, posting career-highs in goals (31), assists (66), plus/minus (plus-41) and points. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Russian should be a second-round Fantasy pick in 12-team leagues next season.
  6. Rafael Furcal's super season on hold for now: The Dodgers' SS is second only to Hanley Ramirez in Head-to-Head points, but he had to go on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained lower back. Chin-lung Hu will likely see time in his place, which makes him a nice add in NL-only leagues. Furcal's .366 batting average is third in the NL.
  7. Eric Gagne said he's ready to close again: Also in "It's not up to you" news, I've decided to give Jennifer Aniston another shot at making this work between us. Emack says he's ready for people to like his bad breath. And Dave Richard is willing to let people say he's skinny.
  8. Cliff Lee wraps up AL Cy Young award Monday night: Cliff Lee threw nine scoreless innings against the Blue Jays Monday (it went into extra innings and he didn't get the decision), but Lee has now posted the lowest ERA (0.67) after seven starts since the early '40s.
  9. Milton Bradley equals the Angels and demons of Fantasy Baseball: He homered for the sixth time this season, then left the game with a sore shoulder. Expect news that he also injured his hand after punching the doctor when he told him his diagnosis.
  10. Ramon Vazquez (yeah, Ramon Vazquez) earns Fantasy P.O.D. honors: Vazquez had two hits (including his second homer of the season) and two walks against Seattle Monday. He continues to start at third base in place of Hank "sugar-glass" Blalock, and he's now hitting .406 in nine games this month. He's owned in just three percent of CBSSports.com leagues -- and to be honest, we can't blame the other 97 percent.

Emack and I were discussing which catchers were top picks over the past decade or so, and I thought it would make a nice review piece for the ol' blog. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I have an affinity for backstops -- and Emack has a distaste for them. Which makes me cool and him lame.

Since the inception of the MLB draft back in 1965, there have been six catchers selected with the No. 1 overall draft pick:
  • 2001 -- Joe Mauer, MIN: The Twins knew they could sign the Minnesota native, so he was picked ahead of Mark Prior, Gavin Floyd and Mark Teixeira (oh yeah, and TB's fabulous selection of Dewon Brazelton). He was the first catcher to lead the AL (.347) in batting in 2006.
  • 1985 -- B.J. Surhoff, MIL: Started career as a catcher for six seasons, moved over to third base, shortstop and left field and ended up playing 19 major league seasons.
  • 1975 -- Danny Goodwin, CAL: The only player in MLB history to be draft first overall twice! After getting drafted by the White Sox in '71, he chose to enroll at Southern University.
  • 1971 -- Danny Goodwin, CHW: Unfortunately, he couldn't play college ball for eight years. His MLB career consisted of 252 major league games, with a .236 batting average and 13 homers.
  • 1970 -- Mike Ivie, SD: Split time between the Padres and Giants throughout most of his career, but he became a first baseman after his first season in the bigs.
  • 1966 -- Steve Chilcott, NYM: The Mets passed on Reggie Jackson (second overall to A's), and Chilcott never made it to the majors. Ahhhh, the Mets.
Going all the way back to A-Rod's draft class of 1993, here are the other catchers that were selected among the top 10 picks:
  • 2007 -- Matt Wieters (fifth), BAL: He was named the Carolina League's Player of the Week Monday, and he's now hitting .345 with eight homers, 22 RBI and 26 runs scored in 34 games at High Class A Frederick. With Ramon Hernandez a free agent-to-be, we could see the 21-year-old backstop at Camden Yards sometime next summer.
  • 2005 -- Jeff Clement (third), SEA: Getting at-bats at DH and catcher, with Kenji Johjima struggling this season. Clement isn't doing much yet in the majors (.162, 0 HR), but he could has the potential to be a 20-HR catcher in the majors.
  • 1999 -- Eric Munson (third), DET: The movie "Kingpin" came out in 1996, yet the Tigers still chose to get Munson'ed. He has a career batting mark of .214 in the majors, and he's batting just .136 with Triple-A Nashville.
  • 1995 -- Ben Davis (second), SD: The Padres just don't have great luck picking catchers high (Ivie, No. 1 overall in 1970). Davis was picked just after Darin Erstad, but ahead of Kerry Wood (fourth) and Todd Helton (eighth).
Posted on: April 18, 2008 11:47 am
Edited on: April 18, 2008 3:37 pm
 

Rays lock up Longoria until 2014

So here's the deal.

The Rays have announced a announcement by executive vice president Andrew Friedman for Friday at 1 p.m. at Tropicana Field.

After much chatter amongst the group, here are the possibilities we've determined:
  • The new stadium got the green light.
  • A major player got a contract extension.
  • Manager Joe Maddon got a contract extension.
  • They decided they missed "Devil" Rays more than they thought and re-added it.
  • The Rays have signed Barry Bonds.

So just for kicks, I went through my leagues to see where Bonds was available, and I was able to pick him up in a mixed keeper league, by dropping Edwin Encarnacion. Relatively low risk, for what could be high reward.



Well, now we know.
Evan Longoria signed a six-year deal with Tampa Bay worth $17.5 million. the club has a one-year option in 2014, and a two-year option after that. If the Rays exercise all of their options, the deal increases up to $44 million.

Couple thoughts on that:
  • Good for the Rays -- This is a team that started its franchise built on younger players, only to abandon it completely during "The Hit Show" period of 2001, when Vince Naimoli barked at then-GM Chuck Lamar after their expansion sister D-Backs became successful so early. The team quickly got old, going with has-beens Vinny Castilla, Greg Vaughn and Jose Canseco. They finally got back on track once the keys were ripped out of Naimoli's hands, putting Stu Sternberg in the driver's seat. Andrew Friedman became the team's 29-year-old phenom GM, following Boston's lead with Theo Epstein. They've now locked up Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and James Shields.
  • Good for Longoria -- When does such a young player, with just seven days worth of major league experience (not coming over from Japan), get such a solid deal? With that said, he could be a bargain with three years of this deal if he produces like many expect. While the Rays continue to say that this deal was close to happening when he was still with Triple-A Durham, you have to figure them sending him down last month gave them a little more leverage.
  • Good for Fantasy Owners -- You can bet the Rays will want Longoria to earn his money in the majors, which means he might never see Durham, N.C., again. (He has reached base safely in five of six games, btw.)
Here’s the annual breakdown of the deal:
  • 2008: $500,000
  • 2009: $550,000
  • 2010: $950,000
  • 2011: $2 M
  • 2012: $4.5 M
  • 2013: $6 M
  • 2014: $7.5 M
  • Buyouts: 2014: $3 M
  • 2015: $1 M
    OR
  • 2015: $11 M (If option picked up)
  • 2016: $11.5 M
The next question is -- When does B.J. Upton, who has already done more than Longoria in the majors, and is only 14 months older than the third baseman, get paid? It appears he's next on the list, as is fragile Scott Kazmir. The latter, of course, has to make the Rays think a little longer, considering the recent fate of also oft-injured Rocco Baldelli.

Meanwhile, Barry Bonds is still looking for a locker room to put his recliner in.

Almost lost in all of this news is the fact the Rays picked up Dan Johnson Friday also. This guy is a streaky hitter that has proven in the past he can knock in runs by the bunch. He makes for a nice AL-only pickup right now, while Carlos Pena (hamstring) and Cliff Floyd (knee) are sidelined.



Category: MLB
Posted on: April 1, 2008 9:58 am
Edited on: April 1, 2008 6:11 pm
 

The Day After

Tout Wars adds a ringer!?!
Jeff Ma, who joined Tout Wars for his first season of action, comes from ProTrade.com, which is a sports stock market website. He also happens to be the character that the movie "21" is based around. The movie "21" is based on the book, "Bringing Down the House," which is about six MIT graduates that go to Vegas and run the blackjack tables by counting cards. Kevin Spacey plays Kaiser Soze.

Next thing I hear is that Brandon Funston is actually just a robot with the supercomputer, Big Blue, telling him what to do.

By the way, here are the links to the Tout Wars standings! On these pages, you'll also find links to the rosters and transactions.
Opening Day II: The Sequel After working a loooooong Opening Day that ended with Jake Peavy's excellent outing at Petco Park (seven scoreless innings, three hits, two RBI at the plate), I woke up at 8:30 this morning -- usually the time I leave for work. So I got in a little late, needless to say. I'll start you off with the predictions from a couple buddies about their teams:

Michael Fabiano used to be one of our Fantasy Football writers, now he pens columns for NFL.com. He's a Yankees fan: "While I am worried about their middle relief, the Yankees still bolster some exciting young arms and one of the top offensive attacks in baseball. I can also see the Bombers making a trade or two to improve their pitching if Ian Kennedy or Philip Hughes falter and/or Joba Chamberlain is thrust into the rotation. I'm not solid on Boston as the best team in the American League or the AL East (what Yankees fan is?) so I'll pick the Yanks to win 96 games and the division title. I'm afraid to pick them to win a postseason round based on their recent failures, but a World Championship will be in the cards if the right trades are made down the stretch."

And Reds fan Johnny Rosenstein, otherwise known as Johnny Roast-Beef, works in our newsroom: "It's really a shame my Reds have so much offense, but the pitching -- mostly middle relief -- sucks. It's nice that they added Francisco Cordero, but how will they get to him? With Kent Mercker? Pleaaaaazzze! Plus, please remind me how much of a great leader Junior is? Watching him strike out in the first inning of the opener, it was mentioned he has seven Opening Day homers -- all with the Mariners. I expect a 73-89 season, which might just keep them in the NL Central race until early September. ... I would also like to go on record that Flood (our former worker in the newsroom that made his predictions Monday) is obviously smokin' some wacky-tobackky and the Yanks will not make the playoffs."

Pros and Prose
So Ross and I were discussing some of the different baseball blogs in the known universe, and I came across this one at Humbug. (My favorite was this one from Score Bard a couple months ago.)

So here's my submission from this afternoon, about Bobby Kielty finally accepting his minor-league assignment ... Ahem ...

Bobby Kielty will now play for Pawtucket.
He thought of telling Boston to "Suck it."
Then he thought one day,
As he was swinging away,
"I'm Kielty -- I'm no Kirby Puckett!"

Dave Richard came up with a good one that I can't post too.

First Alstott retires officially, now Rocco's gone?
After hearing that the Rays declined Rocco Baldelli's option, making my favorite baseball player a free agent after this season, I said, "Maybe it's an April Fool's joke?"

To which Emack responded, "The Rays signing him to that contract in the first place was the April Fool's joke."

Then I ran over him with a car.

Fun with Links
Speaking of April Fool's jokes, Ross Devonport (my cube neighbor and workmate) has introduced me to the world of being "Rick Roll'd." For those apparently as out of the loop as myself, this is when you trick someone into clicking on a link, only to take them to a Rick Asten video, preferably of "Never Gonna Give You Up." So he got me on "Muppet Bloopers" just now, it's pretty darn good too. Please post links to some likewise good Rick Roll'd links so I can get him.

Speaking of fun links, I found this -- Playing For Peanuts -- it's a reality show that follows the South Georgia Peanuts, a minor league baseball team. They haven't shown which channels will be showing the shows yet, but you can sign up for the email list, which I did, and it'll let you know when and where it will air.
Posted on: March 31, 2008 3:19 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2008 12:49 am
 

The REAL Opening Day! (Part II)

Here's the link to the first part of this blog written earlier today.

12:49 a.m.
Officially winding down, wrapping up, getting ready to heave-ho. Peavy has allowed just three hits in seven innings, and now big Heath Bell comes in to nail down the eighth inning before possibly Hell's Bell's plays before the ninth.

I went to Petco Park last August for an Astros game, coincidentally. I have to say I fell in love with the city, the people I met and the park, without question, the park. From the pristine seats and walking area, to the great food (Rubio's fish tacos were soooo good. Randy Jones BBQ was good, but the sauce on the fish tacos was fantastic. I even wore some of it.)

The park is based adjacent to the Gaslamp District, which is where all the nice bars and clubs are.

The park has a grass berm just outside of left field where a big screen plays the game for fans to sit and watch picnic-style, while their kids can play whiffle-ball on the tiny diamond. Then, over a little, Tony Gwynn's statue stands erect just outside of center field.

The fans have some great traditions, including hanging up extra K's in right field, just beyond the Petco Porch, for every one of Jake Peavy's K's. They do something for when Greg Maddux pitches too, but I can't remember what it was. Anyone know? Plus, you have to love the "Koooooooz" chants raining down on the then-rookie third baseman. This experience blew away my Dodgers game experience, although that was really nice too.

I'm going to try and hit Nationals Park and Camden Yards this summer I think.

10:11 p.m.
Roy Oswalt is getting his sixth-straight Opening Day start, which happens to be a team record for the Astros. He also owns the longest active streak in the NL, and he's tied with Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays in the majors. He is 2-0 lifetime against Jake Peavy, his opponent tonight, with a 0.60 ERA in those games. (Peavy has an ERA higher than 5.00 in both games.)

9:15 p.m.
Jered Weaver threw 99 pitches in his final spring training start -- and he leaves Monday's game at the Twins after 106 pitches in 6 1/3 innings. He's on the hook for the loss, despite throwing a quality start (3 ER). Livan Hernandez, who has thrown just 85 pitches through seven, is simply having a better game.

8:47 p.m.
Michael Cuddyer rumbled down to second base with a stolen base in the fifth -- the Twins' fourth of the ballgame -- and Napoli's throw was high again. You can tell that Jered Weaver is really starting to get frustrated by his catcher, who has now allowed four runners to get into scoring position.

Carlos Gomez now has a single, a double, a walk, two runs scored and two stolen bases.

8:20 p.m.
NEWSFLASH -- Braves CF Mark Kotsay gunned down SS Jack Wilson at the plate in Monday's game against the Pirates -- and he did not immediately go on the DL with a broken arm. Scotty Blanco later informed me that he heard on the broadcast that Kotsay leads all outfielders in assists since 1998 ... We still would rather see Jordan Schafer in center.

8:18 p.m.
Mike Napoli is having a tough game defensively behind the plate for the Angels. Two runners have stolen second successfully, and both of his throws were high and well off the mark.

8:08 p.m.
Bid Daddy Vladi singles through the left side against Livan Hernandez (one of few hits against the former Marlins/Giants/Nats/D-Backs pitcher) -- and Vlad has now hit safely in his past nine Opening Day games! In that span, he is 18-for-35 (.500) with five homers and 19 RBI!

7:40 p.m.
Carlos Gomez is showing no signs of the strained hamstring that limited him late in spring. He tried to bunt in the first, but it ran foul, then he bunted in the bottom of the third against the Angels, and this time it was a push-bunt up the first base line. He flew up the basepath and dove at first base to reach base successfully. Then he stole second base, as Mike Napoli hummed a throw into center field. Gomez, the prized prospect from the Mets in the Johan Santana deal, is playing well defensively so far also. It's a tough night for him, considering he's facing a team with the center fielder (Torii Hunter) he is replacing. The fans are greeting Hunter with ovations and class, by the way, as they should.

The Brewers, by the way, blew more three-run leads last season than any other team in the majors ... I thought that's why Eric Gagne was brought in as their closer? No?

6:48 p.m.
Hurcomb just tried to talk with Scott White about which games each would cover, and Scott White got Gonossy on him. That's not cool. He snapped like when you mess with a cat that's trying to lick itself. RrrrrAAAAAARRRRRR!!!

Get it together rook, it's Opening Day.

6:22 p.m.
Eric Gagne comes in to close out the game against the Cubs with a three-run lead. He lets two men on, throwing just three strikes on 12 pitches, then the big free-agent pickup, Kosuke Fukudome goes yard to tie it up!!! There was no doubt once he hit it. The fans at Wrigley call for a curtain call, and their new right fielder obliges! Gagne's owners, meanwhile, aren't very happy.

5:51 p.m.
OK, I have to get to some updates now that the boxscores are rolling in, but I'll leave you with this: The Marlins picked up Johan Santan off the Astros roster as a Rule 5 draft pick, then they traded him AND CASH to the Twins for Jared Camp.Johan could be starting FOR the Marlins today instead of AGAINST them.

Here's Emack's Mets predictions: "The Mets traded for and signed Johan Santana to not only erase the memories of 2007's finish but to also dominate through October. The Mets will win 95 games and the NL East and with any luck win 100. Then they get through October as World Champs. Lock it up, championship.

And these are Guerrera's Mets predictions: "The Mets are looking to rebound this year after the historic collapse of last year. They'll make the playoffs (either as a division winner or wildcard) as long as they can stay somewhat healthy. "They're getting old. But as long as Wright, Reyes, Beltran, and Johan stay healthy, they'll be in contention this year. Think the Mets are good for 90 wins and a playoff berth. I’m predicting a rematch of the ’86 World Series. Sox-Mets. Of course, you know who I think is winning."

Tony Fernandez, not to be outdone by the Mets fans, offers this about his Marlins: "They’ll finish 71-91, a few games worse than the Nationals for last place in the NL East. Good offense, even without Cabrera, but the worst pitching in the league, which is compounded by having perhaps the worst defense since they started using gloves. "

5:35 p.m.
Carlos Pena made a great diving stop on a shot down the line, but Dan Wheeler can't make the catch on the flip to first, and the Orioles stay alive on the error by the pitcher.

5:21 p.m.
Melvin Mora gets called out for interference because, while batting, he stepped in front of C Dioner Navarro, who was going to try and throw out Brian Roberts at second base again.

5:10 p.m.
James Shields went seven innings in 20 of his 31 starts for the Rays last season. He's almost the anti-Scott Kazmir in how efficient he has been. He finishes Monday's start with just two runs on five hits and three walks in seven innings. He threw 86 pitches in the outing and he should be plenty fresh for his next start Sunday at the Yankees. Last year, Shields allowed an average of 10.3 runners on base per nine innings, which happened to be third-best in the AL. LHP Trever Miller comes in to pitch the eighth for Tampa Bay. The Rays' bullpen was brutal a year ago, so we'll see if there has been improvement. The lefty then leaves the game to bring in last season's right-handed closer, Al Reyes. Troy Percival's presence at closer allowed the Rays to push Reyes back.

Brett Tresky, another former co-worker and frequent blog reader, gives us his take on the '08 Boston Red Sox and their chances of repeating: "I predict we will win the East and march all the way back to the World Series and eventually go on and beat the Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series. I hear rumors again to watch out for Toronto ... Yeah, right, whatever. It is still a two-horse race with the Skankees. My heart tells me we are still better then them. The Sox should be able to win over 90 games this year. They pretty much have the same team as last year's World Championship team. One obvious question mark is the pitching. After Josh Beckett and Dice-K, it's up in the air. I believe with Jon Lester putting on 20 lbs. this year he will be a pleasant addition to the rotation, able to take us deep into October. And if we can get something decent between Clay Buchholz, Bartolo Colon and Curt Schilling we will be in good shape for another. Back to Back baby!

5:02 p.m.
I'm about to go into a diabetic sugar shock from that piece of cake ... I'm going to have to offset it by eating some more potato chips.

GOOD NEWS FOR V-MART OWNERS -- He's considered day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Considering he hobbled his way to second base and looked like he hyper-extended his knee, that's great news for Martinez's owners. Riethmiller can take his head out of the vendateria microwave now.

Just got done watching my video from this morning -- why does it look like I ate two Dave Richards?

4:44 p.m.
I'm starting to warm up to this Jason Bartlett kid. On Akinori Iwamura's fielder's choice to third base, Bartlett slid high into second bade -- not Shelley Duncan-like, mind you -- but more with his hips high, and Brian Roberts was unable to get the throw off for the double-play. The Rays have men on the corners with two outs and Carl Crawford up.

Leave it to the Rays to screw that one up. They tried the double-steal and Luis Hernandez made them pay with a nice throw home to get Navarro for the third out.

4:40 p.m.
The Cincinnati Enquirer talked with manager Dusty Baker about his Opening Day experiences. He was actually on deck with the Braves when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974 on Opening Day. "Hank told me he was going to look for that slider on the outside and he was going to hit it over the left field fence," Baker said. "He said he wanted to get it with over. It was packed. Jack Billingham threw him a slider, and he hit over the left field fence like he said."

Jeremy Guthrie gets the hook after another basehit (nine on the day) scores the Rays' sixth run -- he's still responsible for the two runners on base, however. Good, let's get to those Orioles middle relievers.

4:32 p.m.
You know how you always have one guy on your team that you just don't want to see do well? Like, you want him to help your team win, but when he fails, you like to gripe about him? That's Cliff Floyd for me this season. He roped a double into the right-field corner. I don't like it -- unless he ends up scoring, then it's cool.

4:29 p.m.
Emack and I have a running bet on whether Brian Roberts will steal 45 bases or not this season (I have the under), so I was happier than normal to see SS Jason Bartlett make a nice pick of a low throw from Dioner Navarro to keep Roberts from stealing his second base of the day.

4:26 p.m.
You have to love Opening Day when guys like Riethmiller are already walking around with their heads hung low. Between his O's ace, Jeremy Guthrie, giving up a homer to Hinske, and saying Victor Martinez is "going on the DL" before he even saw the injury -- Riethmiller has a loooong season ahead of him.

4:12 p.m.

To check out our video from this morning -- go here and click on the video box on the right side. The crappy pixelated one that makes me look like a bad guy from Super Mario Bros. Emack had been bragging all morning how awesome his SlingBox was, so I asked him during the just before the video started if he used the SlingBox to make the stink from his toilet come out of his mouth. He said no.

Scott White is wearing a T-shirt of himself today. I don't know where to begin. Although, he brought me cake, so he's good there.

4:04 p.m.
Eric Hinske hits a solo shot off Guthrie -- and that signifies me going to eat a piece of Scotty Blanco's cake -- and no, that's not a euphemism.

4:01 p.m.
You thought J.D. Drew sitting out last Tuesday screwed you up? How about Victor Martinez pulling up lame running to second base on a passed ball against the White Sox? He left the game after two innings and Kelly Shoppach is behind the plate in his place. I'll keep you in tune with any news that comes across.

3:50 p.m.
The Cubs unveiled a new statue of Ernie Banks (Mr. Cub) and that made me think back to my trip to Wrigley Field back in 1998, the year after Harry Caray died. They put up a statue of the great announcer, just outside of right field, which is just a block away from a billion bars. But fans kept putting beercans in Harry's open left hand, so they finally had to build a little gate around it. I wonder what they have now. Readers? Anyone?

3:49 p.m.
Guthrie tried to jam B.J. Upton (with the bases loaded, hoping for a double-play) on three straight pitches, then finally got the grounder he wanted -- but it slipped through the hole and two runs were able to score. Here comes Cliff Floyd. Ugh.Something tells me he's going to be a huge pain in the butt all season. He has "Human Inning Ender" written all over the gauze on his injuries. He flies out to center and moves a runner over at least.

3:45 p.m.
Markakis just made a really nice play in right field, taking a ball off the hop and throwing to second base for a rare 9-6 putout to get Jason Bartlett. But the Rays score on the next play when Melvin Mora can't pick up the slow-roller from Crawford's bat. It would have been a very close play at first had he picked it up, but Mora still gets the error.

3:37 p.m.
I'm starting to feel some pressure down below ... Must ... wait ... through ... bottom ... of ... second ... inning.

3:34 p.m.
Interesting point made by Dana Wikiji of the Detroit News -- Verlander has had 1-2-3 innings in both innings after the Tigers have scored. That's a good thing, for sure.

3:31 p.m.
Cliff Floyd takes the first pitch he sees from Jeremy Guthrie -- and immediately goes on the DL with a strained eye, knee, shoulder and uterus.

3:30 p.m.
Did you know? The Mariners were 49-33 at Safeco Field in 2007 despite being outscored 406-386, according to the Tacoma-News Tribune.

3:22 p.m.

Orlando Cabrera stole a base and Jim Thome hit a homer for the White Sox already at the Indians today. Here's my co-worker, and White Sox fan, Dave Richard's take on the White Sox this season: "Short of a miracle, the White Sox will be lucky to finish .500. I’m a die-hard fan of the ChiSox but their pitching staff is brutal. I love the lineup – the Sox might finish in the Top 10 in baseball in runs scored – but they’ll lose a lot of games 11-10. It’s 1997 all over again."

And now counterpoint, here's my other co-worker, and Indians fan, Chris Soblotne's view on the Indians in '08: Tribe 94-68, 1st-place AL Central -- While the Tigers made significant offseason improvements to strengthen their lineup, at the end of the day (corporate cliché No. 1), the Tribe's superior pitching depth will carry them through the regular season and lead them to a playoff run. The Tribe defeats BOSOX in ALCS and advances to defeat the Phillies in 6 games to win their first World Series since 1948. Following Phillies defeat, Victor Guss finally gives into Rubio’s advances." (That's what we call -- an inside joke that will never end.)<o:p></o:p>

Crawford dove for the bloop single by Nick Markakis, but he couldn't get to it. Then both Markakis and Brian Roberts pull off a double-steal to perfection. Then Crawford had a chance at Kevin Millar's bomb to left field, but it bounced out of his glove when he leaped up to grab it at the wall. Two runs score for the Orioles and James Shields' owners hold their head in their hands.

3:18 p.m.
Carl Crawford smacked a single up the middle and eventually stole his first base of the season, when O's catcher Ramon Hernandez decided not to even throw the ball. Carlos Pena blasted a shot to the deepest part of the park in center field, but Adam Jones was there to catch it a foot away from the wall. That loooong out gets you nothing in Fantasy, but it's good to see from a guy people are wondering might have been a fluke in '07.
Posted on: March 31, 2008 3:19 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2008 12:49 am
 

The REAL Opening Day! (Part II)

Here's the link to the first part of this blog written earlier today.

12:49 a.m.
Officially winding down, wrapping up, getting ready to heave-ho. Peavy has allowed just three hits in seven innings, and now big Heath Bell comes in to nail down the eighth inning before possibly Hell's Bell's plays before the ninth.

I went to Petco Park last August for an Astros game, coincidentally. I have to say I fell in love with the city, the people I met and the park, without question, the park. From the pristine seats and walking area, to the great food (Rubio's fish tacos were soooo good. Randy Jones BBQ was good, but the sauce on the fish tacos was fantastic. I even wore some of it.)

The park is based adjacent to the Gaslamp District, which is where all the nice bars and clubs are.

The park has a grass berm just outside of left field where a big screen plays the game for fans to sit and watch picnic-style, while their kids can play whiffle-ball on the tiny diamond. Then, over a little, Tony Gwynn's statue stands erect just outside of center field.

The fans have some great traditions, including hanging up extra K's in right field, just beyond the Petco Porch, for every one of Jake Peavy's K's. They do something for when Greg Maddux pitches too, but I can't remember what it was. Anyone know? Plus, you have to love the "Koooooooz" chants raining down on the then-rookie third baseman. This experience blew away my Dodgers game experience, although that was really nice too.

I'm going to try and hit Nationals Park and Camden Yards this summer I think.

10:11 p.m.
Roy Oswalt is getting his sixth-straight Opening Day start, which happens to be a team record for the Astros. He also owns the longest active streak in the NL, and he's tied with Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays in the majors. He is 2-0 lifetime against Jake Peavy, his opponent tonight, with a 0.60 ERA in those games. (Peavy has an ERA higher than 5.00 in both games.)

9:15 p.m.
Jered Weaver threw 99 pitches in his final spring training start -- and he leaves Monday's game at the Twins after 106 pitches in 6 1/3 innings. He's on the hook for the loss, despite throwing a quality start (3 ER). Livan Hernandez, who has thrown just 85 pitches through seven, is simply having a better game.

8:47 p.m.
Michael Cuddyer rumbled down to second base with a stolen base in the fifth -- the Twins' fourth of the ballgame -- and Napoli's throw was high again. You can tell that Jered Weaver is really starting to get frustrated by his catcher, who has now allowed four runners to get into scoring position.

Carlos Gomez now has a single, a double, a walk, two runs scored and two stolen bases.

8:20 p.m.
NEWSFLASH -- Braves CF Mark Kotsay gunned down SS Jack Wilson at the plate in Monday's game against the Pirates -- and he did not immediately go on the DL with a broken arm. Scotty Blanco later informed me that he heard on the broadcast that Kotsay leads all outfielders in assists since 1998 ... We still would rather see Jordan Schafer in center.

8:18 p.m.
Mike Napoli is having a tough game defensively behind the plate for the Angels. Two runners have stolen second successfully, and both of his throws were high and well off the mark.

8:08 p.m.
Bid Daddy Vladi singles through the left side against Livan Hernandez (one of few hits against the former Marlins/Giants/Nats/D-Backs pitcher) -- and Vlad has now hit safely in his past nine Opening Day games! In that span, he is 18-for-35 (.500) with five homers and 19 RBI!

7:40 p.m.
Carlos Gomez is showing no signs of the strained hamstring that limited him late in spring. He tried to bunt in the first, but it ran foul, then he bunted in the bottom of the third against the Angels, and this time it was a push-bunt up the first base line. He flew up the basepath and dove at first base to reach base successfully. Then he stole second base, as Mike Napoli hummed a throw into center field. Gomez, the prized prospect from the Mets in the Johan Santana deal, is playing well defensively so far also. It's a tough night for him, considering he's facing a team with the center fielder (Torii Hunter) he is replacing. The fans are greeting Hunter with ovations and class, by the way, as they should.

The Brewers, by the way, blew more three-run leads last season than any other team in the majors ... I thought that's why Eric Gagne was brought in as their closer? No?

6:48 p.m.
Hurcomb just tried to talk with Scott White about which games each would cover, and Scott White got Gonossy on him. That's not cool. He snapped like when you mess with a cat that's trying to lick itself. RrrrrAAAAAARRRRRR!!!

Get it together rook, it's Opening Day.

6:22 p.m.
Eric Gagne comes in to close out the game against the Cubs with a three-run lead. He lets two men on, throwing just three strikes on 12 pitches, then the big free-agent pickup, Kosuke Fukudome goes yard to tie it up!!! There was no doubt once he hit it. The fans at Wrigley call for a curtain call, and their new right fielder obliges! Gagne's owners, meanwhile, aren't very happy.

5:51 p.m.
OK, I have to get to some updates now that the boxscores are rolling in, but I'll leave you with this: The Marlins picked up Johan Santan off the Astros roster as a Rule 5 draft pick, then they traded him AND CASH to the Twins for Jared Camp.Johan could be starting FOR the Marlins today instead of AGAINST them.

Here's Emack's Mets predictions: "The Mets traded for and signed Johan Santana to not only erase the memories of 2007's finish but to also dominate through October. The Mets will win 95 games and the NL East and with any luck win 100. Then they get through October as World Champs. Lock it up, championship.

And these are Guerrera's Mets predictions: "The Mets are looking to rebound this year after the historic collapse of last year. They'll make the playoffs (either as a division winner or wildcard) as long as they can stay somewhat healthy. "They're getting old. But as long as Wright, Reyes, Beltran, and Johan stay healthy, they'll be in contention this year. Think the Mets are good for 90 wins and a playoff berth. I’m predicting a rematch of the ’86 World Series. Sox-Mets. Of course, you know who I think is winning."

Tony Fernandez, not to be outdone by the Mets fans, offers this about his Marlins: "They’ll finish 71-91, a few games worse than the Nationals for last place in the NL East. Good offense, even without Cabrera, but the worst pitching in the league, which is compounded by having perhaps the worst defense since they started using gloves. "

5:35 p.m.
Carlos Pena made a great diving stop on a shot down the line, but Dan Wheeler can't make the catch on the flip to first, and the Orioles stay alive on the error by the pitcher.

5:21 p.m.
Melvin Mora gets called out for interference because, while batting, he stepped in front of C Dioner Navarro, who was going to try and throw out Brian Roberts at second base again.

5:10 p.m.
James Shields went seven innings in 20 of his 31 starts for the Rays last season. He's almost the anti-Scott Kazmir in how efficient he has been. He finishes Monday's start with just two runs on five hits and three walks in seven innings. He threw 86 pitches in the outing and he should be plenty fresh for his next start Sunday at the Yankees. Last year, Shields allowed an average of 10.3 runners on base per nine innings, which happened to be third-best in the AL. LHP Trever Miller comes in to pitch the eighth for Tampa Bay. The Rays' bullpen was brutal a year ago, so we'll see if there has been improvement. The lefty then leaves the game to bring in last season's right-handed closer, Al Reyes. Troy Percival's presence at closer allowed the Rays to push Reyes back.

Brett Tresky, another former co-worker and frequent blog reader, gives us his take on the '08 Boston Red Sox and their chances of repeating: "I predict we will win the East and march all the way back to the World Series and eventually go on and beat the Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series. I hear rumors again to watch out for Toronto ... Yeah, right, whatever. It is still a two-horse race with the Skankees. My heart tells me we are still better then them. The Sox should be able to win over 90 games this year. They pretty much have the same team as last year's World Championship team. One obvious question mark is the pitching. After Josh Beckett and Dice-K, it's up in the air. I believe with Jon Lester putting on 20 lbs. this year he will be a pleasant addition to the rotation, able to take us deep into October. And if we can get something decent between Clay Buchholz, Bartolo Colon and Curt Schilling we will be in good shape for another. Back to Back baby!

5:02 p.m.
I'm about to go into a diabetic sugar shock from that piece of cake ... I'm going to have to offset it by eating some more potato chips.

GOOD NEWS FOR V-MART OWNERS -- He's considered day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Considering he hobbled his way to second base and looked like he hyper-extended his knee, that's great news for Martinez's owners. Riethmiller can take his head out of the vendateria microwave now.

Just got done watching my video from this morning -- why does it look like I ate two Dave Richards?

4:44 p.m.
I'm starting to warm up to this Jason Bartlett kid. On Akinori Iwamura's fielder's choice to third base, Bartlett slid high into second bade -- not Shelley Duncan-like, mind you -- but more with his hips high, and Brian Roberts was unable to get the throw off for the double-play. The Rays have men on the corners with two outs and Carl Crawford up.

Leave it to the Rays to screw that one up. They tried the double-steal and Luis Hernandez made them pay with a nice throw home to get Navarro for the third out.

4:40 p.m.
The Cincinnati Enquirer talked with manager Dusty Baker about his Opening Day experiences. He was actually on deck with the Braves when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974 on Opening Day. "Hank told me he was going to look for that slider on the outside and he was going to hit it over the left field fence," Baker said. "He said he wanted to get it with over. It was packed. Jack Billingham threw him a slider, and he hit over the left field fence like he said."

Jeremy Guthrie gets the hook after another basehit (nine on the day) scores the Rays' sixth run -- he's still responsible for the two runners on base, however. Good, let's get to those Orioles middle relievers.

4:32 p.m.
You know how you always have one guy on your team that you just don't want to see do well? Like, you want him to help your team win, but when he fails, you like to gripe about him? That's Cliff Floyd for me this season. He roped a double into the right-field corner. I don't like it -- unless he ends up scoring, then it's cool.

4:29 p.m.
Emack and I have a running bet on whether Brian Roberts will steal 45 bases or not this season (I have the under), so I was happier than normal to see SS Jason Bartlett make a nice pick of a low throw from Dioner Navarro to keep Roberts from stealing his second base of the day.

4:26 p.m.
You have to love Opening Day when guys like Riethmiller are already walking around with their heads hung low. Between his O's ace, Jeremy Guthrie, giving up a homer to Hinske, and saying Victor Martinez is "going on the DL" before he even saw the injury -- Riethmiller has a loooong season ahead of him.

4:12 p.m.

To check out our video from this morning -- go here and click on the video box on the right side. The crappy pixelated one that makes me look like a bad guy from Super Mario Bros. Emack had been bragging all morning how awesome his SlingBox was, so I asked him during the just before the video started if he used the SlingBox to make the stink from his toilet come out of his mouth. He said no.

Scott White is wearing a T-shirt of himself today. I don't know where to begin. Although, he brought me cake, so he's good there.

4:04 p.m.
Eric Hinske hits a solo shot off Guthrie -- and that signifies me going to eat a piece of Scotty Blanco's cake -- and no, that's not a euphemism.

4:01 p.m.
You thought J.D. Drew sitting out last Tuesday screwed you up? How about Victor Martinez pulling up lame running to second base on a passed ball against the White Sox? He left the game after two innings and Kelly Shoppach is behind the plate in his place. I'll keep you in tune with any news that comes across.

3:50 p.m.
The Cubs unveiled a new statue of Ernie Banks (Mr. Cub) and that made me think back to my trip to Wrigley Field back in 1998, the year after Harry Caray died. They put up a statue of the great announcer, just outside of right field, which is just a block away from a billion bars. But fans kept putting beercans in Harry's open left hand, so they finally had to build a little gate around it. I wonder what they have now. Readers? Anyone?

3:49 p.m.
Guthrie tried to jam B.J. Upton (with the bases loaded, hoping for a double-play) on three straight pitches, then finally got the grounder he wanted -- but it slipped through the hole and two runs were able to score. Here comes Cliff Floyd. Ugh.Something tells me he's going to be a huge pain in the butt all season. He has "Human Inning Ender" written all over the gauze on his injuries. He flies out to center and moves a runner over at least.

3:45 p.m.
Markakis just made a really nice play in right field, taking a ball off the hop and throwing to second base for a rare 9-6 putout to get Jason Bartlett. But the Rays score on the next play when Melvin Mora can't pick up the slow-roller from Crawford's bat. It would have been a very close play at first had he picked it up, but Mora still gets the error.

3:37 p.m.
I'm starting to feel some pressure down below ... Must ... wait ... through ... bottom ... of ... second ... inning.

3:34 p.m.
Interesting point made by Dana Wikiji of the Detroit News -- Verlander has had 1-2-3 innings in both innings after the Tigers have scored. That's a good thing, for sure.

3:31 p.m.
Cliff Floyd takes the first pitch he sees from Jeremy Guthrie -- and immediately goes on the DL with a strained eye, knee, shoulder and uterus.

3:30 p.m.
Did you know? The Mariners were 49-33 at Safeco Field in 2007 despite being outscored 406-386, according to the Tacoma-News Tribune.

3:22 p.m.

Orlando Cabrera stole a base and Jim Thome hit a homer for the White Sox already at the Indians today. Here's my co-worker, and White Sox fan, Dave Richard's take on the White Sox this season: "Short of a miracle, the White Sox will be lucky to finish .500. I’m a die-hard fan of the ChiSox but their pitching staff is brutal. I love the lineup – the Sox might finish in the Top 10 in baseball in runs scored – but they’ll lose a lot of games 11-10. It’s 1997 all over again."

And now counterpoint, here's my other co-worker, and Indians fan, Chris Soblotne's view on the Indians in '08: Tribe 94-68, 1st-place AL Central -- While the Tigers made significant offseason improvements to strengthen their lineup, at the end of the day (corporate cliché No. 1), the Tribe's superior pitching depth will carry them through the regular season and lead them to a playoff run. The Tribe defeats BOSOX in ALCS and advances to defeat the Phillies in 6 games to win their first World Series since 1948. Following Phillies defeat, Victor Guss finally gives into Rubio’s advances." (That's what we call -- an inside joke that will never end.)<o:p></o:p>

Crawford dove for the bloop single by Nick Markakis, but he couldn't get to it. Then both Markakis and Brian Roberts pull off a double-steal to perfection. Then Crawford had a chance at Kevin Millar's bomb to left field, but it bounced out of his glove when he leaped up to grab it at the wall. Two runs score for the Orioles and James Shields' owners hold their head in their hands.

3:18 p.m.
Carl Crawford smacked a single up the middle and eventually stole his first base of the season, when O's catcher Ramon Hernandez decided not to even throw the ball. Carlos Pena blasted a shot to the deepest part of the park in center field, but Adam Jones was there to catch it a foot away from the wall. That loooong out gets you nothing in Fantasy, but it's good to see from a guy people are wondering might have been a fluke in '07.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com