Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)
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Sunday, April 09, 2006
Top of the 1st
FIRST WEAK AWARDS
We have survived the first week of play. If I survive this week, I think I’ll take next week off. Here are my awards for the opening of the season.
The “First Week Counts as Much as the Last Week” Award
And the winners are Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, the Mets, Milwaukee, and the Cubs. Each of these teams lost only once, and other than Detroit (who might be battling to reach the .500 mark) these first week wins may mean something come the end of September. Perhaps not.
The “I’m Foreign Too” Award
A look at Opening Day rosters and Disabled Lists indicates that foreign-born players made up 223 of the 813 total players or 27.4%. After the first week, the Reds, Astros, Rockies and Giants were all 4-2.
The “In the NFL Mediocrity Means Parity” Awards
The recipients of these awards are the Devil Rays, Blue Jays, Angels, Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Dodgers. All these teams finished the week 3-3. I think Tampa Bay and Arizona would find their glasses half-full; while the other teams would find them half-empty.
The “Don’t Get Your Hopes Up” Award
This award goes to the Braves and the Mariners. Those Braves detractors who are sick of seeing this team win every year, don’t get your hopes up. The Leo Mazzone-less Braves will improve both their 7.58 ERA and their 3-4 record. And, for those of you in the great Northwest, I don’t think the Johjima-added Mariners will use their 3-4 start as a springboard.
The “Wal-Mart Special” Award
This goes, of course, to the Kansas City Royals, the only team to finish the week 2-3. Don’t worry, just like Wal-Mart keeps marking their prices lower, the Royals will go lower and lower in the standings.
The “Jack-Bauer 2-4” Awards
The Orioles, the Yankees, the White Sox, and the Nationals the first week were 2-4, but like Kiefer Sutherland’s character, “Jack Bauer” will attest, every week of the baseball season provides as many twists and turns as every hour on “24.”
The “I Guess It Is Okay to Mess with Texas” Award
This goes to the 2-5 Texas Rangers who keep wishing Frank Robinson luck with Alfonso Soriano.
The “One is the Loneliest Number” Award
Three Dog Night sings this salute to the Twins, the Marlins and the Padres each of whom won only one game this week. The Marlins should consider it a good week.
The Rick Santorum Award (a.k.a. Why Everyone Hates Pennsylvania Awards)
The Pirates and the Phillies each won one game and each won it on the last day of the week and enter the second week of the season with a combined record of 2-11. , The Pirates are now 49-80 in the months of March and April since 1996, the worst record in the majors over that span. And now the Phillies fans can start hating Pat Gillick.
Top of the 2nd
ON THE HIT PARADE
Through Saturday, the active hit leaders:
1 Craig Biggio 2800
2 Barry B*nds 2744
3 Julio Franco 2522
4 Steve Finley 2429
5 Gary Sheffield 2351
6 Omar Vizquel 2310
7 Ken Griffey Jr. 2308
8 Bernie Williams 2221
9 Luis Gonzalez 2220
10 Ivan Rodriguez 2197
Top of the 3rd
The Brewers started the season, 5-0 and Milwaukee trailed in each of its wins, becoming the first team since the 1901 Tigers to open a season with five consecutive come-from-behind victories.
Julio Franco played for that Tigers team.
Top of the 4th
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Last Friday night, Steve Trachsel was the winning pitcher as the Mets defeated Florida, 9-3. Of greater interest than Trachsel’s pitching was his hitting in which he drove in a run with the 10,000th double in team history. It came in the 7,000th game in franchise history.
Top of the 5th
The Texas Rangers demoted R.A. Dickey to Class AAA Oklahoma less than 24 hours after the knuckleballer allowed six home runs to Detroit, tying the post-1900 major-league record. Does anyone have Phil Niekro’s phone number?
Top of the 6th
GRIPE OF THE WEEK
I continue to be so sick of announcers and reporters who report that a player fell “just a triple” short of hitting for the cycle as if a triple is the easiest thing to hit.
Colorado Rockies leadoff hitter Cory Sullivan tied a major league record yesterday by hitting two triples in the same inning. It was the 11th time a big leaguer hit two triples in an inning, and the first since Gil Coan of the Washington Senators on April 21, 1951.
Sullivan fell a homer and a single short of hitting for the cycle.
Top of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM – 4/10/2006
On this date in 1989, he hit his first major league home run in Seattle’s 6-5 win over the White Sox.
FEIGN JERK FRY
BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA – 4/10/2006
In 1927, when Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, what major-league player came in second?
Send your answers to Bill@billy-ball.com
Bottom of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM ANSWER – 4/7/06
On this date in1969, this Dodgers pitcher was credited with the first official save.
LIBEL RINGS – Bill Singer – as Los Angeles defeats Cincinnati, 3-2.
BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA-ANSWER – 4/7/06
Who were the first brothers to each pitch no-hitters?
On April 7, 1979, Ken Forsch of the Astros shuts downs the Braves, 6-0. Ken and Bob Forsch, who hurled a no-hitter in 1978, are the first brothers to pitch no-hit games.
Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
The Marlins payroll dropped from $66 million to $18 million… and that includes payments to departed players Carlos Delgado, Pudge Rodriguez and Al Leiter. The Marlins ranked 28th in attendance among the 30 Major League Baseball teams last year with 22,792 fans per game, compared to 26th in 2004 when they drew 22,091 fans a game. In 2003, the year they won the World Series, the Marlins ranked 28th in attendance with 16,290 fans a game.
Top of the 9th
FIND YOUR STADIUM
Visit http://www.findstadiums.com/ – See your favorite team’s arena or stadium as you would from the blimp that flies overhead during games. While you’re at it, welcome the new Busch Stadium to the roster of ballparks as it opens today.
For the third time in their history, the Milwaukee Brewers will be the first visiting team in a brand new stadium. Tomo Ohka (0-0, 1.29 ERA) will face Mark Mulder (0-0, 3.86) in the contest, scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT. The Brewers are 2-0 in such occasions, opening SkyDome in Toronto (1989) and the Ballpark in Arlington (1994) with disappointments for the home team.
Bottom of the 9th
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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports, espn.com, sportsline.com, mlb.com and numerous other e-sources. Opinions expressed in Billy-Ball are obviously solely the opinions of the author of Billy-Ball and do not reflect those of source material no matter how off the wall they may be.