Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-1-29

1/29/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on a curveball

Monday, January 29, 2007

Top of the 1st
EIGHTEEN DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS AND CATCHERS
With just 18 days to go until Spring Training officially begins, I really felt the need to celebrate by just talking baseball.

Enjoy…

Top of the 2nd
TALES FROM MAYBERRY
Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star writes these stories about former Royals first baseman John Mayberry who as a young player said there was not much religion in the clubhouses (Mayberry ended his career with the Yankees on September 28, 1982 by pinch-hitting for Willie Randolph and striking out against Rick Sutcliffe). As he started getting older, though, Mayberry noticed more and more Bibles in players’ lockers. He asked Frank Howard, the former slugger, “Why are there so many more Bibles around these days?” Frank Howard said: “John, that’s the split-fingered fastball. Make a believer out of anybody.”

Mayberry says when he played first base that he would not dive for baseballs much except when Cleveland’s Rick Manning was at the plate. He would do anything to get Manning out. It seems that one day in Cleveland, with the bases loaded, Mayberry crushed a ball to center field. He knew it was gone — he went into his trot — only he watched in horror as Manning ran back, leaped and took the home run away. “I’ll never forgive that #%$#&,” Mayberry says. “If he hit a ground ball right now, I’d dive to steal a hit from him. You don’t forget that stuff, man, no matter how old you get.”

Yet when Mayberry was asked what advice he would give kids interested in playing baseball, “I’ll give you the same advice I gave my own son,” Big John said. “And it’s this: When you play baseball, be sure to get your uniform dirty.”

Top of the 3rd
BOSWELL ON RIPKEN
The Washington Post’s Tom Boswell remains one of baseball great writers. Here’s an example as writes about Cal Ripken:

“From his first day in the big leagues in 1981 until he was voted into the Hall of Fame yesterday with the third-highest percentage ever, Ripken always has been baseball’s perfect answer — even before the sport knew the ugly question. Yes, he’s at it again. In an age when jocks show up at midnight in a white Hummer limo, Ripken will ride into Cooperstown in July on a white horse at high noon.

As Barry Bonds stalks Hank Aaron all summer, like Rambo on Bambi’s trail, Ripken is positioned to steal the stage: the accidental antidote, the hero by happenstance. In ’95, after the sewage spill of a canceled World Series, baseball needed a stench-free symbol of dependability, a hometown boy who understood responsibility and an adult who grasped that players simply were custodians of a game owned by its fans.”

Top of the 4th
ROGER THAT
Roger Clemens isn’t prepared to say whether he’ll be back for another season. Clemens said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.” Oh, I do Roger, tomorrow you’ll just string everybody along a little bit more.

Top of the 5th
HOMER COULD BE A HUGE HIT
The Cincinnati Reds may have a storybook pitcher with a storybook name. He’s 20-year old pitcher named Homer Bailey who last season went 10-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 26 starts split evenly between Single-A Sarasota and Double-A Chattanooga. Baseball America ranks him as the second-best pitching prospect in all of baseball (behind the Yankees Phillip Hughes). Bailey has the look and the strut of an ace befitting a starter with a 98 mph fastball. At Double-A Chattanooga he went 7-1 with a 1.59 ERA. He struck out 77, walked 28 and allowed 50 hits in 68 innings.

The Reds have a number of exciting young players in their farm system including Joey Votto, 23, who led the Southern League in hitting (.319) and was named the league’s MVP. He also led the SL in hits (162), doubles (46), on-base percentage (.408), slugging percentage (.547), extra-base hits (70), total bases (278), runs scored (85) and walks (78). He was second in homers (22). Righty Johnny Cueto, 21, combined to go 15-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 26 starts at Single-A Dayton and Sarasota. He led all Reds minor league pitchers with 15 wins and finished second in the organization with 143 strikeouts.

The player I am rooting for is Josh Hamilton taken in the Rule V Draft from Tampa Bay. Hamilton is good kid who suffered through drug problems after being a number one choice. He has worked hard to get himself back onto the field following drug suspensions and injuries and still just 26 years old.

Top of the 6th
THE WELFARE OF BASEBALL
According to Major League Baseball, 18 teams received financial aid through baseball’s revenue-sharing plan in 2006.The three largest welfare recipients were the Devil Rays who received $36 million, the Marlins $33.4 million, and the Royals $33.2 million. Making this largesse even more annoying is the fact that the Royals opened the 2006 season at $47 million in payroll, the Devil Rays at $35 million, and the Marlins with less than $15 million after getting $31 million in revenue sharing after the 2005 season.

Top of the 7th
HOT TODDY
Baseball is holding its collective breath waiting to see if the Boston Yankees, err, Red Sox will add another huge name to their All-Star lineup. The proposed Todd Helton deal has become the cynosure for all as the Yanks, uh Sox, are still haggling with the Rockies as to what players would be sent to Colorado in exchange for Todd Helton (and paying half of his $140 million salary). The Rockies are insisting on at least one of the following young prospects: center fielder Jacob Ellsbury, right-handed pitchers Daniel Bard, Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen and Clay Buchholz or perhaps Jon Lester, who underwent chemotherapy for a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year, pending medical approval. Boston general manager Theo Epstein has offered past Mike Lowell and Julian Tavarez and that’s it although they would be thrilled to include Matt Clement in any deal.

The Rockies have cut payroll to the point that they have gone from near the top in the league in terms of salary to the bottom five teams, and ownership is concerned that Helton’s salary is too large a portion of the total payroll and that perhaps Todd’s decline the last couple of years will continue.

In spite of all the talk, I’m not certain this deal will go through; these two teams don’t play well together. As Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News reminds us, in July 2005 that the Rockies thought they had a deal in place to acquire catcher Kelly Shoppach and center fielder Adam Stern in exchange for outfielder Larry Bigbie, who was with Baltimore at the time. To make the deal, the Rockies traded outfielder Eric Byrnes to the Orioles for Bigbie, but the Red Sox backed out on the deal. Initially, the Red Sox said owner John Henry vetoed the deal, but it later turned out that it came down to a difference of opinion in the front office and was cited as one of the reasons that Epstein briefly resigned as GM after the 2005 season.

Top of the 8th
AND I QUOTE…
Nomar Garciaparra’s wife, soccer great Mia Hamm is pregnant and due around mid-April. At a fund-raising event for their new “9 to 5” charity to support the National Marrow Donor Program’s registry, Mia said, “I can feel some kicks. I can’t decide whether that’s like me or like Nomar’s fidgeting when he’s playing baseball.”

Top of the 9th
GO WEST YOUNG MAN
Cactus League calendar
Wednesday, Feb. 28
Colorado vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 1
Arizona vs. Chicago White Sox (ss) at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m. (charity)
Chicago White Sox (ss) vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 2
Texas vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee (ss) vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee (ss) vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 3
Arizona vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 4
Texas vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle (ss) vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle (ss) vs. Arizona (ss) at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. Arizona (ss) at Tucson, 7:05 p.m.
Monday, March 5
San Francisco vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6
Seattle vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. San Diego at Peoria, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 7
Kansas City vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee (ss) vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco (ss) vs. Milwaukee (ss) at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco (ss) vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 8
Seattle vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 9
Chicago White Sox vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego (ss) vs. L.A. Angels (ss) at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego (ss) vs. Chicago Cubs (ss) at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City (ss) vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs (ss) vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels (ss) vs. Kansas City (ss) at Surprise, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 10
Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado (ss) vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago WS (ss) vs. Colorado (ss) at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. Chicago White Sox (ss) at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 11
San Diego vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco (ss) vs. Oakland (ss) at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland (ss) vs. L.A. Angels (ss) at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle (ss) vs. San Francisco (ss) at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Seattle (ss) at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels (ss) vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 12
L.A. Angels vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 13
Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 14
Colorado vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 15
Texas vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle (ss) vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco (ss) vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco (ss) vs. Seattle (ss) at Peoria, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 16
Kansas City vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Texas at Surprise, 7:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 17
L.A. Angels vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 18
Colorado vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. L.A. Angels (ss) at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels (ss) vs. Oakland (ss) at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland (ss) vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 19
San Diego vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle (ss) vs. Chicago Cubs (ss) at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs (ss) vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. Seattle (ss) at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 20
San Francisco vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. San Diego at Peoria, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 21
San Francisco vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 22
Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 23
Kansas City vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Texas at Surprise, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 24
Oakland vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 25
Texas vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. Colorado at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 26
Chicago WS vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. Texas at Surprise, 6:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. San Diego at Peoria, 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 27
Colorado vs. Arizona at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, 1:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
San Francisco vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego vs. Texas at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 28
San Diego vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 1:05 p.m.
Texas vs. Seattle at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 1:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, 1:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels vs. Oakland at Phoenix, 1:05 p.m.
Arizona vs. Chicago White Sox at Tucson, 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 29
Colorado vs. Chicago White Sox (ss) at Tucson, 12:05 p.m.
Arizona (ss) vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, 12:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels (ss) vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 12:05 p.m.
Seattle (ss) vs. San Diego (ss) at Peoria, 12:05 p.m.
Kansas City vs. Texas at Surprise, 12:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox (ss) at Birmingham (AA-SL), 4:05 p.m.
Oakland at Sacramento (AAA-PCL), 6:05 p.m.
San Diego (ss) at Arizona (ss), 6:40 p.m.
L.A. Angels (ss) at Los Angeles (ss), 7:10 p.m.
Seattle (ss) at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m.
Friday, March 30
Arizona vs. San Diego at Peoria, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox at Atlanta, 4:05 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Texas at Frisco, Texas, 5:05 p.m.
Oakland at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. Seattle at Las Vegas, 7:15 p.m.
L.A. Angels at L.A. Dodgers, 7:40 p.m.
Saturday, March 31
Chicago White Sox at Atlanta, 10:05 a.m.
Kansas City at Houston, 11:05 a.m.
Oakland at San Francisco, 1:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. Seattle at Las Vegas, 1:05 p.m.
San Diego at Arizona, 1:10 p.m.
Milwaukee at Texas, 4:05 p.m.
L.A. Dodgers at L.A. Angels, 6:05 p.m.
Sunday, April 1
San Francisco at Oakland, 1:05 p.m.

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.