Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-3-1

3/1/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on a curveball

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Top of the 1st
QUOTES FROM SPRING TRAINING
“Coming in here is like being in Disney World every day,” said ex-Mariner Ben Davis in Yankee camp. “The other thing that’s shocking, they’re all great people.”

“To me, it’s all about having fun,” the Twins’ Johan Santana said. “This is a game. I learned to play this game by having fun and smiling and laughing. That’s what I’m going to do.”

“If I got 100 runs, 100 RBIs and 100 walks, that would be a perfect season.” Mariners’ Richie Sexson.

“Manny’s always in shape,” David Ortiz said regarding Man-Child Ramirez. “He always was. He keeps it real.”

“I’m going to continue to leave my heart on the field, and hopefully that’s enough,” says the Marlins Dontrelle Willis. “I’m not going to try to be Superman. I’m going to continue to sign autographs and play hard, and hopefully that’s enough.”

“It is fun to be out here,” new Astros’ coach Jeff Bagwell said. “It’s something you’ve got to go through. I think with me, just the fact that I physically cannot do it makes it not a big deal. It’s not that I can’t hit a fastball anymore, or can’t see a curveball; I just physically can’t play. It’s been a lot easier for me.”

“At times I was (immature),” the Mets’ Lasting Milledge said of last season. “But overall, being barely 21, playing in New York, I thought I handled myself pretty well. Not a lot of people can do that. I adjusted a lot. It’s all growing up, it’s all playing the game. Last year was a great experience. Everything that happened negative was reinforced to be a positive.”

“People ask me all the time if I can work on my patience, but you can’t really work for patience,” the Braves’ Jeff Francoeur said. “Walks don’t matter to me. I’m never going to be a 100-walk guy. I’m trying to have as much fun as I can. I’m an offensive guy, and when I get up there I’m trying to drive the ball. At the same time, I’m not stupid. There are some situations where I’m going to be able to take some walks.”

Orioles’ closer Chris ray on his toughest hitter to face, “I don’t like facing Vladimir Guerrero. I just don’t like it. He can hit any ball, even if it is not a strike, and he’ll hit it hard somewhere. I really don’t like that about him.”

“People forget about me, I don’t get mad,” the Diamondbacks Livan Hernandez said, shrugging. “I’ve been doing my job for nine and a half years. Now I feel good again. My knee is 100 percent.

“This is going to be a good year.”

Billy-Ball agrees. This going to be a good year.

Top of the 2nd
NEW HALL OF FAME MEMBERS
Well at least the Canadians got it right.

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame announced today three new inductees:
Former Cincinnati and Detroit manager Sparky Anderson, and Montreal-born Sherry Robertson, an infielder who played ten years in the major leagues mainly with the Washington Senators Detroit, and Vancouver native John Haar, who managed Team Canada to its first and only World Championship in 1991, was the field manager for the National Baseball Institute, and has been coaching in all ranks of British Columbia baseball for more than 30 years.

Anderson began his professional career in 1953, and after being named MVP of the 1958 Governor’s Cup winning Montreal Royals (International League – IL) in his second season there, he earned his only major league stint with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1959. However, after batting only .218 with 34 RBI in 152 games, Anderson was assigned to the Toronto Maple Leafs (IL), where he played the following four seasons. He was voted the IL’s Smartest Player by managers in five of the six seasons he played in Montreal and Toronto.

I asked him who the smartest player he ever managed and he said, “Without a doubt Joe Morgan was so smart about the game of baseball and I was always disappointed he didn’t manage.”

I asked him about the Veterans Committee’s decision not to choose anyone for Cooperstown and he said, “I looked at these guys and there were a number of great ballplayers and I wondered, `How good do you got to be to get in here?'”

Anderson who had picked the Cardinals to walk away with it last year AND picked the Tigers in the AL, believes that the Tigers will go all the way this season, “Pitching is the answer.”

Sherry’s uncle was Senators owner Clark Griffith. Sherry’s brother, Calvin, who died in 1999, became the owner of the Senators in 1955 after their uncle Clark Griffith died. It was Calvin who moved the Senators to Minneapolis. Joe Cronin married Robertson’s oldest sister, Mildred, and major leaguer Joe Haynes married Thelma, another of Sherry’s sisters.

The threesome will become the 76th, 77th and 78th inductees at the 23rd Induction Ceremony in the Ball Hall’s history at the annual Induction Ceremony in St. Marys, Ontario slated for 11:00am EST, June 23, 2007

Top of the 3rd
GQ’S TEN MOST HATED ATHLETES
According to their peers:
10. Lleyton Hewitt – tennis
9. A. J. Pierzynski – White Sox – Pierzynski anecdote from spring training in 2004. Pierzynski, crouched behind the plate, took a pitch to the groin. Rushing to his aid, trainer Stan Conte asked him how he felt. “Like this!” Pierzynski grunted, then savagely kneed Conte in the balls.
8. Phil Mickelson – golf
7. Bonzi Wells – basketball
6. Michael Iaconelli – fishing
5. Kobe Bryant – basketball
4. Curt Schilling – Red Sox -On days he doesn’t pitch, Schilling is notorious for striking TV-ready poses on the dugout stairs. (His manager in Philadelphia, Jim Fregosi, dubbed him Red Light Curt.) “He’s somebody who’s always positioning himself in terms of what’s best for Curt Schilling,” says ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, who described Schilling as “the consummate table for one.” (Speaking of which, Schilling also has a reputation for sneaking into the clubhouse late in games to get a head start on the buffet.)
3. Kurt Busch – auto racing
2. Barry B*nds – SF Giants – In 1989, beat writers dubbed B*nds, then a budding star in Pittsburgh, his team’s “MDP”–most despised player.
1. Terrell Owens – football

Top of the 4th
MORE MATZOH-BALL
Miracle Mets’ outfielder Art Shamsky is one of the managers in the new Israel Baseball League and has been prepping, “I learned a few phrases: ‘Atah eevair’ means ‘You are blind.’ ‘Teaftoch et eincha’ means ‘Open your eyes,'”

The teams will play a 45-game schedule and most of the players will come from the United States and Latin America. Tryouts will be held next month in the Dominican Republic and in Israel in April.

Games will only last seven innings, and ties will be broken by a home run derby. The designated hitter rule will be used but in a limited capacity.

Oy vey!

Top of the 5th
HE’S NO ANGEL?
The Albany Times-Union reports that authorities raided two Signature Pharmacies in Orlando and confiscated a whole parcel of testosterone and other performance-enhancing drugs that were purported to have been fraudulently prescribed over the Internet to a number of current and former major league players. The only one publicly named by the paper, however, was new Angels center fielder Gary Matthews Jr.

SI.com reported that law-enforcement documents showed Matthews allegedly was shipped Genotropin in August 2004. The drug is a brand of synthetic human growth hormone typically used by children suffering from growth failure. The shipment was sent to an address in Mansfield, Texas. The Web site reported the residence is of a former minor-league teammate of Matthews’, who said he is friends with the outfielder

Last season with the Texas Rangers Matthews hit .313, with 19 homers and 79 RBI and then signed a five-year, $55 million contract from the Angels. He had been a career .249 hitter as a part-time outfielder with five teams.

This may be all a silly mix-up, but if it isn’t I could use a nickname for Mathews, please e-mail me, bill@billy-ball.com.

Top of the 6th
NOW, THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT
In the new afterword to “Game of Shadows,” by SF Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, they report that Barry B*nds cleat size has grown from 10