Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)
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Happy 73rd birthday, Sparky Anderson
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Top of the 1st
News item: Man-Child Ramirez was the only Red Sox player not in camp yesterday, the day before the first full-squad workout.
News item: According to the promoter of the Atlantic City Classic Cars Auction, Man-Child is scheduled to appear at the event in New Jersey on Saturday.
News item: General manager Theo Epstein said Ramirez has the team’s permission to report March 1, two days after the deadline in the collective bargaining agreement, because of a family issue. But he said he wants the enigmatic left fielder to be “accountable” after that.
In light of the request for accountability, Man-Child has released his schedule for the upcoming season:
* March 1 – Man-Child reports, hits the first 17 pitches he sees for hits.
* March 18 – Man-Child’s knee will be bothersome
* March 19-23 – Man-Child fishing trip
* April 1 – Opening Day, Man-Child will go 2-4 with a homer and 3 RBI
* April 23 – Man-Child will be hitting .417
* May 5 – Man-Child’s grandmother gravely ill. Man-Child must go home.
* May 12 – Man-Child completes his drive from Minnesota to his grandmother’s home.
* May 13 – Man-Child’s grandmother all better
* May 26 – Man-Child rejoins the Red Sox
* June 13 – Man-Child announces that his hamstrings will be too sore to play in the All-Star Game on July 10
* June 29 – Man-Child announces his hamstrings are sore
* July 6 – Man-Child will be hitting .376 with 19 homers and 63 RBI
* July 11 – Man-Child returns from All-Star break after participating in Celebrity Rock Climbing event
* August 20 – Sox lead AL East by 11 games as they head to Tampa Bay, Man-Child’s knee not feeling right
* August 23 – Sox up by 10 head to Chicago to play the White Sox, Man-Child remains in Florida
* August 28 – Sox up 8 head to New York, J.D. Drew heads to Florida to check on Man-Child
* September 6 – Sox up by 3 head to Baltimore, Man-Child returns to club. Drew announces he is caring for Man-Child’s mother, grandmother, and children and says he’s done for the season.
* September 14 – Sox host the Yankees for 4 even in the standings. Man-Child can’t play suffering from Knicnacpaddywack.
* September 18 – Man-Child heads to Florida to care for J.D. Drew. Jonathan Papelbon after starting and relieving the last 8 days is shut down for the season after his arm falls off.
* September 20 – Sox fall to third place. Man-Child denies his teammates feel he has quit on them. Curt Schilling leaves the team to join John McCain’s campaign. David Ortiz starts looking for Man-Child.
* September 25 – Sox prepare for final homestand against the A’s and Twins. Dice-K returns to Japan and says in perfect English, “There’s not enough money on this planet to put up with this.” Matsuzaka ends the season 17-11. Josh Beckett surrenders his 50th home run ball of the season. Terry Francona begs for a hair implant so that he has something to pull out. Man-Child announces that for the first time in months his legs are feeling healthy, but can’t find a flight to Boston.
* September 30 – Final game of the season. Theo Epstein announces that Sox will be looking for a replacement at short for Julio Lugo, “It’s just something I do.” Coco Crisp announces that he is joining the Pro Bowlers tour. Jason Varitek announces his retirement. Mike Lowell announces he will participate in next year’s Tour de France. Kevin Youkilis ends his season hitting .199 with an on base percentage of .416. Man-Child calls a press conference for tomorrow.
* October 1 – Red Sox finish tied for fourth. Man-Child doesn’t show up for his press conference but his agent announces that Man-Child demands to be traded and then immediately denies it. Julian Tavarez announces that Man-Child will report to Sox camp March 1, 2008 because he has to care for his ailing mother.
Top of the 2nd
Seventeen months after reconstructive surgery on his left elbow, Mike Hampton threw batting practice during the first full-squad workout for the Atlanta Braves of spring training. But he stuck mostly with his fastball, mixing in a couple of changeups before calling it a day.”Nice and easy,” said Hampton, who estimated he was throwing at about 75 percent. “I didn’t want to push it. Now, we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Can anybody remember who is paying most of Hampton’s salary these days?
Top of the 3rd
YOUNG’S STORY IS GETTING OLD
“I like Dmitri Young very much, and I wish him the best,” manager Jim Leyland said. “But in my opinion, Dmitri Young was not an asset on the field last year and he also had to take care of some very important issues for the welfare of Dmitri Young.”
Tell us how you really feel, Jim.
“You can hold me totally responsible for his dismissal last year,” Leyland said Tuesday. “Don’t put it on the organization or anyone else. I did not think Dmitri’s performance on the field was an asset to this organization — and it broke my heart because he was a guy we were counting on.
No really, Jim, be honest.
“The part that upsets me is that this guy missed a lot of the season taking care of a problem he created, not one the Tigers created. The fact that we didn’t support him is (wrong). We supported everything.”
Young, who is in minor league camp with the Nationals, missed much of last season because of personal problems, ranging from an assault charge to treatment for alcoholism and depression. The Tigers released him before the end of the season, a decision of which Young said, “They were probably covering their own tail because they thought the whole court thing was going to be a distraction.
Okay Jim, let it out brother…
“For Dmitri to criticize the organization for lack of support is totally out of line. That’s uncalled for. If you want to know the truth, it appears that Dmitri feels the organization disappointed him, and I’m sorry he feels that way. But I feel Dmitri disappointed us.”
Top of the 4th
OPENING DAY PITCHER
The Dodgers named Derek Lowe as their Opening Day starter.
Top of the 5th
DYE FOR PLAYERS LIKE THIS
White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye feels pretty relaxed about entering the final year of his contract without an extension. Dye tried to get a contract extension done this offseason but was told by general manager Ken Williams that he would have to wait.
”They write the checks,” Dye said. ”They say what goes on. I’m not going to get upset about it. It’s not going to affect my play. I’m just going out and worrying about what I can do to help this team win this year. At the end of this season, we will look at whatever possibilities there are out there. I’ve already expressed to them that my first choice is to be here, and I wanted to get something done this offseason. But they have other things they wanted to try to get done before that.”
”I just want to be fair, whatever market value is,” he said. ”Of course, to be here, I probably have to take less money. I’ve done it before already. For me, it’s not about the money. It’s about winning and going out and having fun and, hopefully, finishing my career here.
I’ve played through injuries, family issues with my dad or whatever, and I’ve been through stuff that something like this won’t bother me. I’ve already made enough money to take care of my family.”
Top of the 6th
I’M NO SUPERMAN
Dodger second baseman Jeff Kent was the final player to arrive at Dodgertown for spring training, and did not deny that this would possibly be his last season of baseball.
Kent, who turns 39 next month, said he is in the best health of his career but said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he might be attending his last spring training.
Last season, Kent played in just 115 games, because of an oblique muscle injury, but still hit .292 with 14 home runs and 68 RBI.
Top of the 7th
THE BRAWN OF SHAWN
Shawn Green compared videotape of his swing during his prime with the Los Angeles Dodgers, when he hit 91 homers from 2001-2, to that from the past few seasons, and said he had noticed a mechanical flaw that hindered his power. “I’m anxious to show everyone that I could play the way I did in Los Angeles,” said Green, who hit 15 home runs for Arizona and the Mets last season. “When my approach is right, my swing is right, and the power will come.”
My definition of a mechanical flaw is if my replacement knee isn’t working right.
Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
In 1997, Houston Astro star Craig Biggio had 619 official at bats and grounded into ZERO double plays.
Top of the 9th
WRIGLEY TO GET ADVERTISING
Jay Blunk, new marketing director of the Cubs, made the decision to sell advertising, specifically, for Under Armour apparel, on the gates in left-center and right field that break up the outfield ivy at Wrigley Field: “Yes, it’s a Norman Rockwell painting everyday. But that Norman Rockwell painting takes millions of dollars each year to maintain and keep at the standards we like to keep.”
Blunk previously was the marketing director of Louvre and was responsible for putting the ad for Crest toothpaste on the frame of the Mona Lisa.
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.