Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-4-30

4/30/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

Billy-Ball – From the diamond to your desktop…

Subscribe to Billy-Ball – it’s free – www.billy-ball.com

The only spin here is on my screwball

Monday, April 30, 2007

Top of the 1st
THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME
“Well this could be the last time
This could be the last time
Maybe the last time
I don’t know. Oh no. Oh no.”
Mick Jagger/Keith Richards – Rolling Stones, 1965

As much as baseball tracks its “firsts”, it is very much a game of “lasts.” In fact, it is the only major sport that officially has “last licks” built-in to its game. While so many people are looking at the American League East and seeing the Red Sox in first place, as we complete April, this might be a good time to take a look at some lasts.

The last time the Red Sox won the World Championship was in 2004.

The last time the Yankees played in the World Series was in 2003 when they lost to the Marlins in a five-game Subway Series.

The last time the Yankees won the World Series was in 2000 when they defeated the Mets in six games.

The last time the Yankees did not finish first was in 1997 when the Orioles won the AL East crown. Joe Torre’s team was the Wild Card and lost in the Divisional Series when they were defeated by the Cleveland Indians, three games to two.

The last time the Yankees were managed by someone other than Joe Torre was in 1995, when they were managed by Buck Showalter.

The last time Joe Torre was fired in mid-season was in 1995 when he was let go by the St. Louis Cardinals after 47 games and a 20-27 record.

The last time the Yankees did not play in the post-season was in 1994, when there was no post-season due to the owners’ lockout.

The last time the Yankees did not play in the post-season when there was a post-season was in 1993, when they finished in second place, seven games behind the Toronto Blue Jays, who defeated the White Sox in the League Championship Series and then defeated the Phillies in the World Series.

The last time the Yankees finished lower than second place was in 1992 when they finished tied for fourth with Cleveland in the AL East behind Toronto, Milwaukee, and Cleveland.

The last time the Yankees finished below .500 was in 1992 when they finished 76-86.

The last time the Yankees had an April this bad was in 1991, when they went 6-11.

The last time the Yankees finished behind the Red Sox was in 1991 when the Yanks had a record of 71-91 finishing in fifth place 20 games behind the Brewers and 13 games behind the Red Sox who finished tied for second with a record of 84-78.

The last time the Red Sox finished in first place was in 1990 when they had a record of 88-74 and then lost 4-0 to the Oakland A’s in the League Championship Series.

The last time the Yankees finished in last place was in 1990 when they had a record of 67-95 and finished 21 games behind the Red Sox.

The last time Joe Torre completed a full-season under .500 was in 1984 when he managed the Atlanta Braves to a record of 80-82, good for third place.

The last time the Yankees changed managers in mid-season was in 1990 when Bucky Dent was fired after 49 games with a record of 18 wins and 31 defeats. He was replaced by Stump Merrill whose record was 49-64.

The last time Joe Torre completed a full-season with a winning percentage under .400 was in 1979 when he managed the New York Mets to a record of 63-99 with a percentage of .389 and a sixth place finish.

The last time the Yankees finished the season with a winning percentage under .400 was in 1913 when they were 57-94 (winning percentage of .377).

Will this season supplant those others in baseball history? After watching this season unfold thus far it would be fair to say, this could be the last time, maybe the last time, I don’t know. Oh no. Oh no. it is amazing how much the Rolling Stones knew about baseball.

Top of the 2nd
JOSH HANCOCK
Born: April 11, 1978
Died: April 29, 2007 (age 29)

For the second time in five years there has been a death in the Cardinals family. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was killed early yesterday morning in an auto accident on Highway 40 (Interstate 64), just west of Compton Avenue.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Hancock’s Ford Explorer slammed into the rear of a tow truck that was parked in the far left westbound lane shortly after 12:30 a.m. The tow truck driver, who was seated in the vehicle at the time, was unhurt.

He told police that his emergency lights were on, and that he honked his horn when he saw the Explorer approaching in his rear view mirror. St. Louis police chief Joe Mokwa said the truck driver saw Hancock’s SUV swerve just before it hit the tow truck. Mokwa said it appeared Hancock was driving at or just above the speed limit, and there were no alcohol containers in his vehicle.

The Cardinals canceled Sunday night’s game against the Cubs, and will reschedule it for a date later this season.

They will resume the season Monday in Milwaukee — wearing commemorative No. 32 patches. The team also planned a memorial for the bullpen, which already features a tribute to Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile, who died in June 2002.

Hancock joined the Cardinals before the 2006 season. He also pitched for Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati. He had a career record of 9-7 and 4.20 ERA in 102 games. In his last appearance, Saturday night, Hancock pitched three innings of relief in the Cards 8-1 loss to the Cubs. He gave up one run on two hits. The last batter he faced, Ryan Theriot, grounded out to third.

Our sympathies to his family, friends, and teammates.

Top of the 3rd
ALL BY MYSELF
For all you Eric Carmen freaks out there, we send this shout out to Troy Tulowitzki
“All by myself
Dont wanna be
All by myself anymore”

Tulowitzki in the 7th inning yesterday in Colorado completed an unassisted triple play against the Atlanta Braves. The runners were moving as Chipper Jones hit a liner to Troy who stepped on second to double up Kelly Johnson and then tagged Edgar Renteria, coming from first, for the third out. Just to make certain, Tulowitzki then re-stepped on the bag and threw to first. It was the 13th unassisted triple play in major league history and first since shortstop Rafael Furcal did it against the Cardinals for Atlanta on Sept. 10, 2003.

The Rockies avoided a three-game sweep when Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning for a 9-7 victory.

Congratulations Troy, but just remember, if you do this too frequently, you can go blind.

Top of the 4th
REMEMBER THE MAINE
The New York Mets got only three hits, but one was Carlos Beltran’s 6th inning homer, and that was enough to back John Maine’s latest impressive outing for a 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals. Maine (4-0) threw seven innings and struck out a career-high eight and allowed three hits in lowering his ERA to 1.35. He hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in any of his five starts this season, all Mets wins. Nationals starter Jason Bergmann (0-2), allowed two hits over seven innings and lowered his ERA to 2.79.

Top of the 5th
GROOVIN’
This song always goes out to my buddy Peter, but also to the Dodgers and the Padres who were enjoying their Sunday afternoon so much in sunny southern California that they played 17 innings of baseball. Wilson Valdez scored an unearned go-ahead run on Brady Clark’s double with two outs in the 17th as the Los Angeles beat San Diego, 5-4. Valdez reached on a one-out bunt when third string catcher Pete Laforest, playing first, reached for a high throw from catcher Rob Bowen and had it hit off the top of his glove.

The bullpens combined to allow only one run, unearned, in 22 2/3 innings pitched. The last time relievers totaled that many innings pitched in a big-league game without allowing an earned run was on Aug. 15, 1980, when the Astros won a 3-1 decision over the Padres in 20 innings (also at San Diego) with the bullpens combining for 27 2/3 innings and no earned runs.

The game took 4:55.

According to our friends at Elias, in their history, the Padres have played six home games of at least 17 innings and they’ve lost all of them. No other team in major league history has lost as many as five straight home games of that length, although both the Cubs (dating back to 1982) and Dodgers (since 1973) have lost each of their last four such games.

Top of the 6th
GOING FROM REALLY BAD TO WORSE
Saturday night Jeff Weaver faced the Kansas City Royals and his outing lasted only slightly longer than the Yankees Jeff Karstens did against the Red Sox did Saturday afternoon. Karstens faced two batters at the Stadium because the first one hit a line drive that cracked his fibula.

That would have been a good day for the horrendous Jeff Weaver.

In one-third of an inning, Weaver, the elder, threw 29 pitches resulting in six earned runs for the Royals. The Mariners ended up losing 8-3 with every Kansas City batter getting at least one hit, which is a cold day in hell event. Weaver, who signed a one-year, $8.3 million contract in the offseason, is now 0-4, with an 18.26 earned-run average this season. He has allowed 31 hits and 23 earned runs in 11-1/3 innings.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Short schedule today to end April.
Hudson, Halladay and Peavy all are hoping to go 4-0, while John Patterson is really hoping not to go 0-5.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Orioles Tigers 7:05 p.m. Cabrera (1-2) Bonderman (0-0)
Cubs Pirates 7:05 p.m. Hill (3-1) Duke (1-2)
Phillies Braves 7:05 p.m. Lieber (1-0) Hudson (3-0)
Cardinals Brewers 7:05 p.m. Looper (3-1) Suppan (3-2)
Rangers Blue Jays 7:07 p.m. Padilla (0-3) Halladay (3-0)
Marlins Mets 7:10 p.m. Olsen (2-1) Hernandez (2-1)
Angels Royals 8:10 p.m. Lackey (3-2) Perez (2-2)
Nationals Padres 10:05 p.m. Patterson (0-4) Peavy (3-0)
D-Backs Dodgers 10:10 p.m. Webb (1-1) Wolf (3-2)
Rockies Giants 10:15 p.m. Fogg (1-1) Lowry (2-2)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Even though the Indians defeated the Orioles yesterday, 6-1, the O’s were flawless in the field and have not made an error in 15 of their last 19 games.

Top of the 9th
“TOP 10 LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT DEREK JETER”
As read by the Yankees shortstop on the “Late Show with David Letterman” April 26, 2007

10.) In 2002, I set a major league record of 97 consecutive games without scratching myself.

9.) I can put five baseballs in my mouth.

8.) Remember I missed a game last year with a “pulled hamstring”? I actually had Streisand tickets.

7.) When Johnny Damon cut his hair, I put it in my scrapbook.

6.) I’d trade my four World Series rings for a spot on Late Show’s “Impressionist Week II”

5.) When Red Sox fans shout, “Yankees suck,” it really hurts my feelings.

4.) The thing I love most about being a baseball player is seeing a child’s eyes light up big when I give him an autograph. … Oh, and the crazy paycheck.

3.) Between you and me, I don’t get all the [butt]-slapping either.

2.) So I’m not bothered by fans, I check into hotels under the name “Dave Letterman.”

1.) Rosie quit “The View” so we could spend more time together.

Coming tomorrow – a whole new month!

Bottom of the 9th
VISIT-BILLY-BALL-WORLD
* Share your thoughts with the rest of Billy-Ball-World at the Forum – www.billy-ball-forum.com
* There’s always something new going on in the Billy-Ball-Bullpen, where blown saves are just a pitch away – http://billy-ball.com/bullpen.asp
* Catch up with Billy-Ball: http://billy-ball.seo-blog.org
* Add Billy-Ball to your Yahoo: http://add.my.yahoo.com/rss?url=http://www.seo-blog.org/5998_billy-ball/feeds/rss20
* Trivia questions are often from the creative minds of T. Scott Brandon
t_scott_brandon@msn.com and D. Bruce Brown bbrown8870@aol.com and you are always encouraged to get their e-mailings.

Have a great day!

Support Billy-Ball via PayPal (on the home page) or Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/paypage/PBANN9XCMMFSH. The donations are anonymous to protect those of you who are too embarrassed to be seen giving to such a seedy enterprise.

Your Amazon purchases support Billy-Ball – www.billy-ball.com

Do you want to snail mail?
Billy-Ball
258 Harvard Street, #145
Brookline, MA 02446

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.