Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-5-11

5/11/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Friday, May 11, 2007

Top of the 1st
FLATTERING BOB RYAN
As you know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I would like to imitate the Boston Globe’s premiere columnist Bob Ryan who today “Emptying Out The Desk Drawer Of The Sports Mind and I will Emptying Out The Desk Drawer Of The Baseball Mind:
* In case you didn’t notice, the Red Sox are running away with the AL East not just because they are playing close to .700 baseball, but also because nobody else in the division is playing .500 baseball.
* The Milwaukee Brewers are in the same situation in the NL Central, playing OVER .700 ball and only the Cubs are at .500.
* Derek Jeter is leading the AL in batting at .368.
* In the NL batting race Derrek Lee is sandwiched between two Rockies – Todd Helton who is leading the league and Matt Holiday who will someday lead the league. Can you imagine if the Sox had pulled the trigger and gotten Helton? I wonder if the Yanks will make a bid.
* Five years ago on this date, Roger Clemens was 5-2 for the Yankees.
* Tony LaRussa is in a rough position talking to his team about drinking and driving after his DUI this spring.
* I wonder how fast Joel Zumaya will be able to throw after he recovers from a torn tendon in his “screw-you” finger.
* If Barry B*nds were a cyclist he would have won the Tour de France 11 times by now.
* Tommy John is borderline when it comes to the Hall of Fame, but his eponymous surgery certainly should make it.
* Ten years ago on this date, Roger Clemens was 6-0 for the Blue Jays.
* It’s disgraceful the condition in which MLB left the Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos) – just another stain for Bud Selig
* I’m still worried about Jonathan Papelbon’s shoulder.
* Ken Griffey Jr. is tied for ninth place on the all-time home run list with Rafael P*lmeiro. Can you imagine the numbers Junior would have put up if he had stayed healthy? If he had stayed in Seattle?
* So now we know that Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi lied when he said Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan had a sore back rather than a bad elbow. Shouldn’t Bud Selig say something about this?
* If Barry B*nds were a track star he would have run the mile in 3:38.
* Rockies manager Clint Hurdle wants video replays for questionable calls. Boo to you. The instant replay is another one of the things I really don’t like about the National Concussion League.
* While no knuckleball pitcher has ever won the Cy Young Award, Tim Wakefield may be a candidate this year.
* Speaking about pitching, how could the Cubs be just a .500 club with both Jason Marquis and Rich Hill being practically lights out? And when you add Ted Lilly to the mix, you have three starters all with ERAs under 3.00.
* Fifteen years ago on this date, Roger Clemens was 4-3 for the Red Sox.
* Honestly, there are no dirty words or thoughts in “Louie, Louie” by The Kingsmen, why don’t they play that at the ballpark?
* Speaking about that, I think it would be smart if some team would have guest DJs providing the music.
* I wonder if Manny Ramirez knew when Cinco De Mayo was this year.
* The Atlanta Braves could still make use of perpetually injured pitcher Mike Hampton, by using him for spare parts.
* The race in the NL East will be terrific this season, but my money is still on the Mets.
* Randy Johnson has 280 career wins and I wouldn’t bet the ranch that he reaches 300.
* If Barry B*nds were a football player he would have scored 73 TDs a season for the Oakland Raiders.
* Twenty years ago on this date, Roger Clemens was 2-3 for the Red Sox.
* It must be awful to be the guy who has to clean the dugout floor after a game.
* I would love to see a pitcher, stick a fastball in Manny Ramirez’s ribs so hard that the ball is embedded there every bit as long as Manny spends admiring one of his homers.
* The last year Sandy Koufax pitched, he suffered from a debilitating traumatic osteoarthritis in his elbow that forced him to take phenylbutazone pills as often as three times a day. That was a med used to treat broken down horses and was taken off the market after it killed a few people. That last season Koufax was 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA and 27 complete games in 41 starts. Josh Beckett has 3 complete games in 143 career starts.
* Will somebody e-mail Bob Ryan and ask him why he doesn’t show Billy-Ball a little love the next time he empties out his desk drawer?

Top of the 2nd
ROYAL WHUPPIN
The Oakland a’S set season highs in hits (18), runs (17), and home runs (6) in burying the Kansas City Royals, 17-3. The Royals’ Luke Hudson (0-1), activated off the disabled list before the game, lasted just two-plus innings throwing only 23 strikes in 50 pitches giving up five runs on two hits and four walks. He’d been out because of a sore right shoulder and perhaps should consider returning to the DL.

Jack Cust hit a pair of home runs that were an estimated 417 and 414 feet. I have a feeling that this may be the time Cust finally reaches his potential.

Dan Johnson went 4-for-4 with two walks, driving in four runs and scoring four and was a triple shy of the cycle. His hitting was impressive but his post-game was brilliant, “It would literally take me a calendar day to get a triple,” Johnson said. “All three outfielders would have to collide.”

Top of the 3rd
WHAT ARE KILLEBREW BEVERAGES?
This is taken from http://www.killebrewbev.com

Killebrew Beverages is the Minnesota company that has developed and produced some of the best non-alcoholic drinks on the market today. From their rich Rootbeer to their robust vanilla Honey Cream to their sparkling Honey Lemon, Killebrew Beverages prides itself on providing natural, preservative-free drinks.

The story of Killebrew Beverages…
Killebrew Rootbeer, the soda “with the Hall of Fame taste”, began in 1993, but that’s closer to the middle of the story. The ‘roots’ of Killebrew Beverages reaches even further back: to 1984. During a celebration in honor of Harmon Killebrew, a commemorative soda can was presented to this Minnesota Twins legend. Harmon’s son, Ken, sat next to his father and heard him joke, “We ought to put a brew in this and sell it!”

Just a joke, right? Not so. Today, Ken Killebrew is molding that ‘joke’ into a fast-growing reality.

After realizing that this idea could really work, Ken, using an old family recipe for rootbeer, started to produce this Killebrew beverage in 1993. Today, the company has three diverse flavors available in the United States, each with a homegrown simplicity of their own. Based in Burnsville, MN, the company also takes advantage of other resources available only in Minnesota: ingredients (honey, water, etc), bottling, and packaging. Everything about Killebrew Rootbeer is true. Not only is it the soda ‘with the Hall of Fame taste’, it’s sure to become one of America’s favorite pass-times!

Top of the 4th
A-ROD’S IN THE HOUSE
Geoff Baker, in today’s Seattle Times, describes the batting cage that Alex Rodriguez built in his Miami home, “Players who have seen the cage marvel at the big-screen televisions positioned alongside it. At the high-fidelity speakers belting out tunes while a helper throws pitches. The professional-sized cage isn’t at a major-league ballpark or a community recreation center, but tucked inside a rear wing of A-Rod’s house.”

He adds: “Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez, a Miami resident who has known A-Rod since his early days in Seattle’s organization, was also given a tour of the cage by Rodriguez.

“It’s like a major-league cage, about 70 feet long,” Ibanez said. “It’s also wide. It’s really, really nice.””

Billy-Ball awaits his invitation.

Top of the 5th
RING AROUND RUDY
America’s mayor, Rudy Giuliani, denies that his affection for the Yankees had been returned by the team in the form of discount diamond World Series rings and free tickets.

“I paid precisely what anyone else would pay,” Mr. Giuliani said in response to a report in The Village Voice that explored how he came to possess four commemorative rings identical to those given to players and coaches on its most recent championship teams.

The article focused on whether the $16,000 that Mr. Giuliani paid for the diamond-encrusted rings from championship years 1996 through 2000 represented their real value as jewelry or as sports memorabilia.

The article quoted several people who raised the possibility that Mr. Giuliani may have gotten one of the rings as early as 1997, when he was still mayor, but had not paid for it until years later. In such an instance, under city rules, an official would be required to report the ring as a gift, something Mr. Giuliani did not do. The article in The Voice quoted a jeweler who recalled making Mr. Giuliani’s custom-inscribed 1996 ring at the same time he had made the player’s rings, which were awarded in 1997. Ms. McGillion said Mr. Giuliani had purchased that ring in 2004, but that the team did not have records showing when Mr. Giuliani had actually received it. She said he had purchased the other rings, commemorating the 1998, 1999 and 2000 championships, in 2003.

Top of the 6th
HOW GOOD/HOW BAD?
In today’s “How good/How bad?” we ask about the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. Tim Wakefield pitched seven shutout innings and the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 8-0 for their seventh win in eight games. It was the ninth straight loss for Toronto.
Toronto starter Roy Halladay gave up eight runs, seven earned, on 11 hits in five innings, after giving up nine runs last Saturday to the Rangers. The Blue Jays’ losing streak is their longest since a nine-game skid between April 24 and May 3, 2002. Toronto lost a team-record 12 straight games between May 31 and August 10 in the strike-shortened 1981 season.

“A lot of guys in here are pressing right now, including myself,” said Halladay. “These things kind of take on a life of their own. You’ve just got to focus on your job.”

“We’re just playing good baseball, man. We’re pitching, we’re hitting, we’re playing defense. We’re clicking right now.” — Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Shout it out for all to hear,
The Mets were fools when they traded Kazmir.

Don’t be dumb
Tonight watch Tim Lincecum
This writer wants see,
CC and see what he has done

I’ll take my leavy
With Jake Peavy

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Braves Pirates 7:05 p.m. Davies (0-1) Duke (1-3)
Orioles Red Sox 7:05 p.m. Burres (0-1) Tavarez (1-3)
Cubs Phillies 7:05 p.m. Hill (4-1) Hamels (4-1)
Marlins Nationals 7:05 p.m. Olsen (3-2) Hill (2-3)
Devil Rays Blue Jays 7:07 p.m. Kazmir (2-1) Burnett (2-3)
Brewers Mets 7:10 p.m. Suppan (5-2) Sosa (1-0)
Angels Rangers 8:05 p.m. Lackey (4-3) Padilla (1-4)
D-Backs Astros 8:05 p.m. Webb (2-2) Sampson (3-2)
Tigers Twins 8:10 p.m. Maroth (2-0) Santana (4-2)
Royals White Sox 8:11 p.m. Perez (2-3) Garland (1-2)
Giants Rockies 9:05 p.m. Lincecum (0-0) Fogg (1-3)
Indians Athletics 10:05 p.m. Sabathia (5-0) Blanton (3-1)
Yankees Mariners 10:05 p.m. Rasner (1-1) Washburn (2-3)
Cardinals Padres 10:05 p.m. Wells (1-6) Peavy (4-1)
Reds Dodgers 10:40 p.m. Arroyo (2-2) Wolf (3-3)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
The Braves beat the Padres 5-3 but failed to hit a home run for the eighth consecutive game. That’s Atlanta’s longest drought since May 1983, when the team had a 13-game streak under manager Joe Torre, at least according to our friends at Elias.

Top of the 9th
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
Billy-Ball is so proud to have so many mom readers and I hope you all have a great day on Sunday. Special love to my mom-in-law, Midge, and the most love and appreciation to the best mom, Mrs. Ball, her ownself.

As always I thank you for all of your e-mails, I will try catch up with those of you who I owe responses to, and your support, both financial and through encouragement. As always, I urge you to pass Billy-Ball on to another baseball fan and please get your friends and family to sign up and join our World.

Have a great weekend everyone and Go Blast!

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.