Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-10-26

Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Happy birthday, Mike Hargrove

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Top of the 1st
After printing the St. Louis forecast yesterday, Billy-Ball and his readers expected the rain that forced the postponement of Game 4 last night. That’s okay; I was absolutely wiped out from my session with my physical terrorist yesterday and couldn’t have stayed awake anyway.

As I turned on the Fox coverage I watched a couple minutes of the rain, the Doppler radar and then I switched off as Fox switched to their lowest common denominator programming, “War at Home.”

You can’t blame Fox they need to make money with all the commercials that need to run, but I have to tell you I only wish they could hang a little and engage in some interviews and conversation. I remember so distinctly, back in the day, when the camera would be directed to the rainy dugout and there would be an announcer interviewing a coach or a player. Actually, what made it so special was that it was less of an interview and more of a conversation that we got to be a part of.

There would be reminiscences of games and players long past and fun “what-ifs” and rankings and personal favorites or dislikes. I always felt I learned so much “inside” baseball history from those rain delays.

But these are different times, with many, many more options for viewers and the networks that cover the games and you can’t begrudge the way things are handled today. That’s why there should be no over reaction to the news about the ratings for this Series.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ 5-0 victory Tuesday night was the lowest-rated Game 3 in World Series history, and the three-game average also was the lowest ever. Game 3 drew a 10.2 fast national rating and 17 share, Fox said, down 7 percent from the 11.0 rating last year for the 7-5, 14-inning win by the Chicago White Sox over the Houston Astros. The previous record low for Game 3 was the 10.8 rating for the Anaheim Angels’ 10-4 win over the San Francisco Giants in 2002. The three-game average of 9.9/17 was down 7 percent from the previous low of 10.6/19, set last year.

Don’ panic. The networks don’t, MLB certainly doesn’t. You see our entertainment options are so much greater now. We have cable, On Demand, Tivo, VCRs , DVRs, Netflix, 24-hour sports channels, satellite dishes, satellite radio, the internet, cell phones, and so much more.

In spite of this, baseball is doing great. In addition to the fact that baseball had an attendance exceeding 76 million, breaking the attendance record for the third year in a row, it had a record-setting revenue exceeding $5 billion, nearly a 400 percent growth in the last 12 years.

Of course, those numbers pale in comparison to Exxon Mobil Corp. who says its profit rose to $10.49 billion in the third quarter, making it the second largest quarterly profit ever for a publicly traded U.S. company. But then baseball is in the entertainment business and the oil companies are in the blood-sucking, profit gouging business and spend their time tossing lavish gifts to Republican elected officials who provide tax breaks for these energy terrorists.

Large new baseball television contracts have been signed and most importantly Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association signed a five-year extension of their contract that left everyone happy hopefully including all of us fans.

Nevertheless, I still would have love to have heard Jeremy Bonderman, slated to start for Detroit against St. Louis’ Jeff Suppan, and eager to pitch in the light drizzle early last night, say “We aren’t sugar. We ain’t going to melt,”

Or cigarette-puffing Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who said Bonderman will start Game 4, whenever it is, explain how he was passing the time, “I smoked about a carton, probably the worst day of the year for my lungs.”

Some people believe the World Series ought to follow pro football and move its championship to a warm-weather, rain-safe landscape, such as Phoenix, or Los Angeles or wherever. I would have liked to have heard the proposal of Tigers reliever Todd Jones who suggests making Maui the permanent site of the World Series. But I really would have preferred to hear Jim Leyland speaking for every manager, player, front-office executive, hometown fan and baseball lover, “I would never go for that,” Leyland said. “I love this. I don’t care how miserable it is. I think it would be a crying shame to take something like this away from the fans of Detroit. I would never go for that at all.”

But all we can do is read these words and wish we heard them ourselves.

Wondering what I did?

Jennifer finished her homework and then she and I found a bunch “Scrubs” episodes on the DVR and watched them until I heard Game 4 had been postponed, at which point, I fell asleep.

Top of the 2nd
Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins
OAK wins 3-0

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
DET wins 3-1

St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
STL wins 3-1

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets
NYM wins 3-0

Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
DET wins 4-0

St. Louis Cardinals vs. N.Y. Mets
STL wins 4-3

STL vs. Detroit Tigers
Gm Date Site Time (TV)/Result
1 STL 7-2 @ Detroit WP – Reyes, LP – Verlander
2 DET 3-1 @ Detroit WP – Rogers, LP – Weaver
3 STL 5-0 @ STL WP – Carpenter, LP – Robertson
4 Thu. Oct. 26 @ STL 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
Bonderman vs. Suppan
5 Fri. Oct. 27 @ STL 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
Verlander vs. Reyes
6* Sat. Oct. 28 @ Detroit 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
7* Sun. Oct. 29 @ Detroit 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
* – If necessary

All games can be heard on ESPN Radio

Top of the 3rd
* Today: A steady rain this morning. Showers continuing this afternoon. High 52F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.
* Tonight: Rain showers this evening, becoming a steady, soaking rain overnight with a few rumbles of thunder possible. Low 49F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.
* Tomorrow: Cloudy with rain likely. A thundershower is possible as well, especially in the morning. High 51F. Winds NNE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall around a half an inch.
* Tomorrow night: Becoming partly cloudy after some evening rain. Low 41F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%.

Top of the 4th
The Oakland Athletics will interview former major league pitcher Orel Hershiser for their managerial opening sometime during the week of Nov. 6. Hershiser joined the Texas Rangers in November 2001 as an associate to former general manager John Hart, became pitching coach in June 2002, then was shifted last November to executive assistant to team president Jeff Cogen. Hershiser left the Rangers in February and rejoined ESPN earlier this year. The former NL Cy Young Award winner was an analyst for ESPN and ABC during the Little League World Series from 2000-01 and was on ESPN’s major league Wednesday telecasts during 2001.

Beane has already had a preliminary phone conversation with Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Bud Black, who was expected to interview with the club soon. Black already interviewed with the San Francisco Giants about their managerial opening.
Oakland’s internal candidates who will have interviews are bench coach Bob Geren, a close personal friend of Beane, and third-base coach Ron Washington.

Washington also interviewed last week with the Texas Rangers about becoming Buck Showalter’s replacement. Washington and Geren both interviewed for the A’s opening a year ago when the club briefly cut ties with Macha before bringing him back about a week later. Geren was promoted from bullpen coach in 2006. Washington, 54, just completed his 11th season with the A’s and is popular with the players.

Top of the 5th
The new edition of Lee Sinins’ sabermetric baseball encyclopedia is available and is now shipping. The encyclopedia can be ordered at

“Lee Sinins’ Sabermetric Encyclopedia is best reason yet developed to own a computer. I think I must own a copy of every baseball encyclopedia there is or ever was, and occasionally I find that I still need to pull out one of the others, but not very often; the Sabermetric Encyclopedia covers 97% of my needs. Whether I’m working or playing, calculating or daydreaming, the Sabermetric Encyclopedia pops up to help out. I turn it on in the morning; I turn it off when the house is on fire. Otherwise, I’m using it.”–Bill James

Top of the 6th
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown will host its inaugural Baseball Film Festival Nov. 10-12.

The juried competition will feature 11 films that cover topics including players, teams and stadiums. Judges include film critic Jeffrey Lyons and Mark Reese, son of Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese.

Each film will include an introduction by the filmmaker and will be followed by a question and answer session.
Friday, November 10
5 p.m. Up for Grabs
To open the film festival, the Hall of Fame has selected the widely discussed film Up for Grabs. This bitingly funny picture exposes the custody fight that erupted over Barry B*nds’ record-setting 73rd home run ball.
7 p.m. Opening Program and Boys In Winter
The opening program of the festival will welcome guests to Cooperstown and feature a screening of the digitally animated short Take Me Out to the Baseball Card Shop. The program will also feature a screening of Boys In Winter, a film looking at the heroes of the Brooklyn Dodgers during their twilight years, the final film in a documentary series created by Mark Reese, son of Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese.
Saturday, November 11
9:30 a.m. Henry Aaron’s Summer Up North
Henry Aaron’s Summer Up North chronicles Aaron’s one important, if not trying, first summer of professional baseball in the northwoods community of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
11:30 a.m. Play Ball: A Trilogy of Baseball Films
Play Ball!, a trilogy of short films paying tribute to baseball, honors the people whose passion and participation support the game – the groundskeeper, the fans, and the umpire.
1:30 p.m. Stranded at the Corner
Stranded at the Corner offers a frank exploration of the public and private maneuverings that resulted in the abandonment of a classic American ballpark.
3:30 p.m. The Republic of Baseball: The Dominican Giants of the American Game
Since 1956, over 400 Dominicans have played in the majors, today, this Caribbean nation of 9 million accounts for more than a 10th of all major leaguers and a third of all minor leaguers. The Republic of Baseball is the story of the pioneers who made it possible.
6:30 p.m. This Old Cub
This Old Cub, a documentary feature about former All-Star third baseman, broadcaster and Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo and his lifelong battle with diabetes.
8:30 p.m. Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey
Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey follows Bill Lee on a road trip from his farm in Vermont to the impoverished baseball mecca of Cuba and on his triumphant return to Fenway Park. Please note, this film has extensive use of adult language.
Sunday, November 12
9 a.m. The Emerald Diamond
Beginning in the early 1990s, a group of Irish natives and American expats gathered on rugby fields across Dublin in preparation for the European Baseball Championships. With no fields, no uniforms and no equipment, they trained in the infamous Dublin rain against all odds
11 a.m. The Kalamazoo Kings
The Kalamazoo Kings not only provide a lively, family friendly experience at the ballpark, they give back to the community as well. This documentary illustrates how the combination of baseball, fun and fans can create good that goes beyond the ballpark.
12 p.m. Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball
“Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball” opens up the world of Koshien by following the fortunes of two teams as they compete in regional games and then head for the 2003 tournament (the 86th annual games). In “Kokoyakyu,” the rules, uniforms and stadium hoopla may seem all-American. But — in what may be a revelation to Americans, especially American kids involved in sports — the intensity, discipline, earnestness and unselfish dedication to team, school and family are all Japanese.
2:30 p.m. Toots
A friend to the famous, a crook to the feds, father, brother, gambler, bum, but most of all Toots Shor was the owner of America’s greatest saloon. Directed by his granddaughter, Toots is a provocative, loving and unmistakably authentic portrait of the self-made, unapologetic and quintessentially American man who became the unlikely den-mother to the heroes of America’s golden age – Sinatra, Gleason, DiMaggio, Ruth, Costello, Eisenhower, Nixon, Warren.

Top of the 7th
On October 26, 1997 – Edgar Renteria singled with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Florida Marlins their first World Series championship with a 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. The 5-year-old Marlins became the youngest expansion team to win a championship.

Top of the 8th
The team’s with the worst winning percentage the year before it reached the World Series:
.401 – 1990 Braves
.432 – 1992 Phillies
.435 – 1960 Reds
.438 – 2005 Tigers
.438 – 1986 Twins

Top of the 9th
Gary Sheffield was told yesterday that the New York Yankees will pick up his $13 million option for next season, according to USA Today.

You would think that would make him happy, no?


Sheffield said he was hoping to test the free-agent market and get another three-year contract, “This will not work, this will not work at all,” Sheffield told the newspaper. “I don’t want to play first base a year for them. I will not do that.”

“I don’t know what they’re [Yankees] going to do,” Sheffield said. “Maybe they picked it up just to trade me. If they do that, if I just [go] to a team for one year, there’s going to be a problem.” That should enhance his trade possibilities.

The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that at least a half-dozen teams — the Angels, Orioles, Cubs, Giants, Astros and Rangers — are in the market for a power-hitting corner outfielder, and that doesn’t include the Red Sox and Mets, who could also use the help. The Yankees can now prevent Sheffield from going to such rivals without getting anything in return.

One GM reportedly called Yankees GM Brian Cashman last week about Sheffield. “To be honest,” he said, “I was kind of put off, leaving me to believe he’s got at least a couple of teams really pushing him hard [for Sheffield].”

Bottom of the 9th
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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports,,, 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.