Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-5-22

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Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Top of the 1st
In case you missed it, just to review last Friday morning’s adventure on Chicago sports radio station WSCR-AM- The Score. Host Mike North had weekly regular White Sox starting catcher A.J. Pierzynski as his guest. I presume that what makes Pierzynski such a good guest is that he is a proponent of the axiom that catcher’s wear the “tools of ignorance” because invariably A.J. has shown ignorance in his comments. He did not disappoint this past Friday by expressing how disappointed he was to be left out of the lineup as the White Sox started backup catcher Toby Hall in his place against the crosstown “rival” Chicago Cubs.

Let us please take a moment to reflect how you would feel if a member of your staff went on the radio and expressed their annoyance that they were not included in a meeting or a sales call. Or, perhaps your child was disappointed with the fact that s/he had to be in bed at a certain hour. Not a smart move, A.J.

Now there is a role that sports idiot-talk radio host play if they smell blood and Mike North did indeed become the provocateur. North stated there was no excuse for Pierzynski to be sitting.

Now let’s switch to the other side of the microphone. Listeners come in all shapes, ages, and sex. Some are smart enough to just listen, some are not so smart and they call, and then some are White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

I don’t think there are words to describe Ozzie, I think we can only ascribe to him the phrase attached to the crimson version of Sox, if Manny is Manny, then Ozzie is Ozzie. Guillen was on his way to work at Wrigley Field listening to WSCR (strike one), he then phoned the show from his car (strike two) and launched into North in a profanity-laced outburst (you’re out!). North responded with anger and Guillen hung up.

”Oh, shut the [expletive] up. … There’s no reason you guys try making lineups and [expletive] on the air,” Guillen said to North.

“Ozzie called up and after he swore the first time, I asked him nicely to take it easy. He swore again and that’s when it blew up,” North told the AP.

North yelled, ”While you’re talking on the air, you respect me!” Guillen hung up.

Given the chance to apologize, Ozzie being Ozzie declined, “No. I already did it. It’s too late,” Guillen told reporters who were there. “No, I don’t regret it.”

“I should have been talking to my kids in the car. Every time we play the series, I like to listen what the fans say about the series and what’s going on,” Guillen said. “It’s a funny thing because at 9 in the morning I always sleep. I was mad at the way they were saying stuff.”

Later at the ballpark, Ozzie and Pierzynski hugged near the first-base line and at least for now the lover’s quarrel was over.

How did general manager Kenny Williams reac? Well, he told the Sun-Times, ”If you say the names Ozzie Guillen, A.J. Pierzynski and Mike North, The Score is lucky that the station didn’t blow up with all the electricity in that group. The only thing that would have made it more entertaining is if Lou Piniella would have gotten involved somehow.”

“Am I OK with it? No, I don’t like the use of the language. But in talking with Ozzie, he was surprised when I informed him he used a few choice words that are really not acceptable for the radio,” Williams told reporters on the scene.

So Kenny was “surprised” but it was only after his bullpen blew leads to the Cubs did Williams use the word “embarrassing.” Following the action on Sunday, Williams told the AP, “Everything is irritating me, I hope something changes. I hope we go out there and play to our capabilities to a much more consistent level. This is embarrassing.”

Thank goodness for the inimitable Jay Mariotti who points out today that “Ozzie Guillen, has become a national spectacle again because of his foul mouth and uncontrollable temper.” He adds that the “rabble-rousing” A.J. Pierzynski created this problem through his on-air comments which “prompted a civic debate about Guillen’s equilibrium and club rumblings about Pierzynski’s me-first attitude, specifically from no-hit king Mark Buehrle, who said his battery mate disrespected backup Toby Hall and spends too much time stirring controversy.”

Mariotti then adds the absence of the despicable Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf to the mix, “I’ve been showing people the utterly bizarre photo he sent me last week in an official Sox envelope, straight from 35th Street. Jerry signed the photo, addressing me as his ”favorite pissant.” He’s shaking the hand of Mike North, the talk host who was sparring with Guillen when the four-letter words were hurled. North is asking me to ”Leave Dad Alone,” pointing an arrow to Reinsdorf as ”Dad.” Another Sun-Times writer said he received the same picture.”

When told that Buehrle thought Pierzynski was wrong in making his Friday comments
about wanting to start the first game in the Cubs-Sox series, the catcher told North,
“Mark’s Mark. He likes to say things sometimes that he probably shouldn’t say, and we’ll
discuss it (Monday) in the clubhouse and move on.”

So did A.J. being A.J., Ozzie being Ozzie, Mark’s Mark, Jay being Jay, Kenny being Kenny, and Jerry being Jerry affect the Pale Hose? Well, Monday, Darin Erstad had 3 hits and 3 RBI, and Paul Konerko went 3-for-5 with 3 runs scored and the Chicago defeated the A’s, 8-5. Pierzynski went 1-3 with two runs scored and two RBI.

At least now you know why Chicago is called “The Windy City.”

Top of the 2nd
The Seattle Mariners flew to Cleveland yesterday to make up the game that was stopped on April 6 home opener after a storm dumped more than 2 feet of snow on Jacobs Field and caused their entire four-game series to be postponed. The Mariners wished they simply could have stayed home, and played like it losing 5-2.

At least the Indians tried to make it a fun experience billing it as Opening Day 3 complete with snowmaking machines that produced flurries, they had ice sculptures on display, and the club gave away snow tractors and trips to ski weekends at a nearby resort.

Cleveland improved to 17-4 at home, with two of those wins coming in Milwaukee when the club had to move a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels under Miller Park’s retractable roof in April.

Seattle has to make two more trips back to Cleveland, and the clubs will play a doubleheader on Sept. 26 when the Indians make their only trip to Seattle.

Top of the 3rd
I am truly confused, this past weekend of interleague play was “Natural Rival Weekend” yet the Red Sox are playing the Yankees and the Mets are about to open a series with Braves tonight. So which part of “Natural Rival Weekend” do I understand? I guess that would be “Weekend.” Because come September, it’s these natural rivals who will still be battling.

“Based on what we’ve seen up until this point in time, I have no reason not to believe that,” Tommy Glavine said in this morning’s NY Times. “With all the dueling that goes on between the two organizations, sure, this is an important series. In the grand scheme of things, games within your division are much more important, and that’s probably the case here, too.”

Top of the 4th
Noah Lowry pitched 7 scoreless innings, and Ryan Klesko doubled and homered as the Giants shut out the Astros, 4-0.

Top of the 5th
If there is any one element that has helped the Phillies turn things around this month it has been the emergence of Brett Myers as the team’s closer. Myers has recorded six saves in seven opportunities and compiled a 0.90 earned run average in 17 relief appearances. It will be interesting to see how Myers arm responds as the season progresses.

Top of the 6th
The Cubs Ryan Dempster announced that he is leaving the closer’s role to become a starting pitcher so that the Cubs could use Angel Guzman as the closer. Then the team met again and decided that Guzman wasn’t ready quite yet so Dempster is back closing. Dempster has done pretty well in save situations sporting a 1.64 ERA in 10 chances. It’s just when he is not in save situations that he stinks out the joint with a 7.71 ERA in his eight non-save situations. Remind me again, is starting a save or a not-save situation?

Even setup guy Bob Howry is somewhat bewildered, ”I can’t say I’ve ever seen that happen before,” Howry said in today’s Chicago Sun Times. ”Would you rather have another experienced guy in your rotation, or would you rather have an experienced guy at the end of your bullpen? The million-dollar question.”

The Cubs’ record (20-22) through the same number of games this year as compared to last year when they lost 96 games shows an improvement of three games. I’m not a mathematician by right now I think that means $100 million per win.

At least Lou Piniella is showing that he works hard for the money. He has used 34 different lineups so far this season.

Top of the 7th

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Angels Tigers 7:05 p.m. Lackey (6-3) Maroth (3-0)
Red Sox Yankees 7:05 p.m. Tavarez (2-4) Mussina (2-2)
Phillies Marlins 7:05 p.m. Hamels (6-1) Olsen (3-3)
Blue Jays Orioles 7:05 p.m. Burnett (4-3) Cabrera (3-4)
Mariners Devil Rays 7:10 p.m. Washburn (3-4) Kazmir (2-2)
Nationals Reds 7:10 p.m. Chico (3-4) Saarloos (0-3)
Mets Braves 7:35 p.m. Sosa (3-0) Davies (1-2)
Twins Rangers 8:05 p.m. Santana (4-4) Loe (1-3)
Indians Royals 8:10 p.m. Carmona (5-1) Perez (2-4)
Pirates Cardinals 8:10 p.m. Duke (1-4) Wainwright (3-3)
Athletics White Sox 8:11 p.m. Lewis (0-0) Danks (2-4)
Rockies D-Backs 9:40 p.m. Fogg (1-4) Hernandez (3-2)
Cubs Padres 10:05 p.m. Hill (4-3) Peavy (5-1)
Brewers Dodgers 10:10 p.m. Sheets (4-2) Wolf (5-3)
Astros Giants 10:15 p.m. Oswalt (6-2) Lincecum (1-0)

Top of the 8th
According to our friends at the Sports Xchange, Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia picked up his 1,000th career strikeout yesterday. Sabathia reached 1,000 strikeouts in his 195th game. It’s the fastest an Indians pitcher has reached 1,000 strikeouts since Sam McDowell reached 1,000 strikeouts in his 169th game in 1967.

Top of the 9th
The 38-year-old former Yankees centerfielder Bernie Williams was at the Theater at Madison Square Garden yesterday, where he gave the commencement address at Iona College’s graduation.

“I’m trying to stay in shape, working hard and we’ll see what happens in the future,” Williams told local television station WNBC yesterday. “I don’t think you’ve seen the last of me yet.”

Happy birthday Fred Popp!

Bottom of the 9th
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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports,,, 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.