Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-5-9

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Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Welcome to Billy-Ball-World, Viola La Francesca, born yesterday evening. Congratulations, Vito, I’m sure you will be as a great a dad as you are a coach.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Top of the 1st
Okay, I admit my “guilty pleasure” is watching Bruce Willis movies. Yes, I’m aware his acting talent ranges from how snarky his smirk is to, uh, how smirky his snark is, but I like him, his toupees, and his movies.

I’ve been thinking about one lately, Armageddon” the 1998, two hour music-movie vehicle for Steven Tyler and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.” The actual “plot” of the movie is based on the premise that NASA discovers that an asteroid the size of Texas is on a collision course with Earth and the only way to knock it off course is to drill into its surface and detonate a nuclear weapon by using a drilling team to fly into space and embed the bomb and explode it and save the world.

With just 18 days before the collision, NASA enlists Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), an expert deep core driller, to put together a team and save the world. Ben Affleck, a driller, who plays Liv Tyler’s love interest (Tyler plays Willis’ daughter) in the film reportedly, asked director Michael Bay, “Wouldn’t it be easier for NASA to train astronauts how to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?” Bay told Affleck to shut up.

Not worrying about being a spoiler for a movie nine years old, I can tell you that Bruce Willis, after a lot of histrionics, sacrifices himself by personally detonating the bomb and blows up with the asteroid, just in the nick of time and save the planet.

We need Bruce Willis, now.

This isn’t a political polemic, this is the reality that Barry B*nds is now just 10 homers short of tying Hank Aaron’s home run record. This isn’t Armageddon, it’s really more like the “Futurama” parody of it entitled, “A Big Piece of Garbage.” Like garbage that has been sitting in the sun during a sanitation strike and the stench is getting worse.

Each day as the asteroid-headed batter gets closer and closer to the record, the news is getting uglier. You might recall George Mitchell was appointed by Bud Selig, commissioner and ostrich of Major League Baseball, to conduct an independent investigation of steroids in baseball. Mitchell’s investigators have asked the Baltimore Orioles to provide the medical records to Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Grimsley, David Segui and Fernando Tatis, so that the players can authorize their release to Mitchell. Don’t hold your breath for that to happen.

According to the New York Times, Mitchell’s staff has interviewed at least nine members of the Orioles’ front office and training staff, and has searched at least six of their personal computers for evidence relating to performance-enhancing drugs. Mitchell released a statement saying, “While it is our practice not to comment on the investigation, any suggestion that the investigation is focused on any single team is incorrect.” What is it focused on? Google searches?

It’s a good thing we are not counting on George Mitchell to save the world because nobody would be paying their cable bill for next month. Now I would bet, if you asked the Red Sox Curt Schilling as to who he would like to see playing himself in a movie, Bruce Willis’ name would come up in his 45-minute answer. Schilling was asked about B*nds on WEEI, a sports/idiots radio station in Boston, “He [B*nds] admitted he used steroids. There’s no gray area,” Schilling said on WEEI. “He admitted cheating on his wife, cheating on taxes and cheating on the game.

The Senator is not alone in this perspective, according to an ABC News/ESPN poll, three out of four baseball fans believe B*nds knowingly used steroids, despite his reported claims to a federal grand jury that he thought the “clear” and the “cream” were flaxseed oil. And 52 percent of them say they are rooting against him breaking Aaron’s record of 755 home runs, while just 37 percent say they are pulling for him.

Interestingly the poll also indicates that 28 percent of whites say they want B*nds to break Aaron’s record, three out of four black fans are rooting for him to do it. Not trying to be disrespectful (irreverent, yes), if that is the case then forget Bruce Willis, let’s get Denzel or Jamie Foxx and if O.J. can take a break from finding Nicole and Ron Goldman’s killer, maybe he can help too.

I understand that not all of you agree with my point of view, that why we live in America and not Guantanamo. Even the Red Sox disagree with each other. Big Papi Ortiz told the Boston Herald, that not only are the accusations against B*nds not proven, but he’s not even convinced that it makes a difference, “I don’t look at it like that. I look at it hitting-wise, because I don’t know what steroids can do to you as a baseball player. You’ve still got to swing the bat, man,” Ortiz said. “If I ever use steroids, and then I know what the difference can be and I’m using them, I’ll tell you, ‘Yeah, whatever,’ but I don’t know what the feelings are when you use the steroids. But I can tell you how it feels to pull yourself together to swing the bat.”

Mr. Ortiz, you are Big Papi and I’m the Little Man, so let’s agree to disagree, but I do support you 100% on Bud Selig for his perplexing actions towards B*nds, “He’s just making things worse,” Ortiz told the Herald. “He’s the commissioner, there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t be saying that. What are people going to think about the game? They’ll be like, ‘This game is a joke.’ He should come, even if he doesn’t want to.”

He is right. I resented the Bowie Kuhn snub of Aaron’s 715th and if you feel that way, it would be hypocritical to not resent Selig’s dragging of his feet on this issue, no matter how you feel about B*nds.

As for Henry Aaron himself, the issue is way more complex. When asked if he would be there for the momentous event, Aaron responded: “Uh-uh, no, no, I’m not going to be around. I’ll probably fly to West Palm Beach to play golf.”

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Aaron added: “I don’t want to be around that sort of thing anymore. I just want to be at peace with myself. I don’t want to answer questions. Why should I? It’s really not a big concern of mine. I don’t know why I should have to do anything. I might send him a telegram, and that would be the extent of it. … I’m 72 years old and I’m not hopping on a plane and flying all the way to San Francisco for anybody.”

This is Aaron’s choice and he should be left alone with it, he went through enough hatred on his quest and handled it with dignity, he’s entitled to do whatever he wants now. He’s already been a hero. But a hero is once again needed, just to make this season be known for more than “the year B*nds broke the record.”

This probably is not baseball’s Armageddon, but we need a new champion, somebody who will find a way to make this an incredibly special season, in a good way. You know everybody doesn’t love the former Mr. Demi Moore, but he has been a hero in a lot of movies. That’s why I just have a hunch that baseball’s Bruce Willis will turn out to be Alex Rodriguez.

Then I can assure there will be plenty of fans saying that the Armageddon has arrived.

Top of the 2nd
The Motor City is revving things up again. After beating the Mariners last night, 9-7, the Tigers have won eight straight, tying San Francisco’s run of consecutive victories from April 18-26, and equaling the best streak the defending AL champions had in 2006. Detroit’s previous eight-game winning streak was May 20-27, 2006

Jeremy Bonderman had his usual 1st inning woes, Seattle jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead when Ichiro doubled on the first pitch he saw and three batters later Richie Sexson hit a three-run homer. Opponents are batting .421 in the 1sy inning against Bonderman, .229 in every other inning and have scored 14 of 23 runs against him in the opening inning this year. Over his career, opponents are hitting better than .320 in his first 15 pitches and below .300 the rest of the way.

Top of the 3rd
If you ever want to know how 0-6 with an error can be a good game, just ask the Pirates’ Jack Wilson. Those were his numbers but they don’t reflect his sacrifice fly in the 9th that tied their game against the Cubs and they don’t show his sac fly with the bases loaded in the 15th that gave the Pirates a 4-3 victory over Chicago. The Cubs are now 1-4 extra-inning games under Lou Pinella. The Pirates longest game of the season was on April 19 when the beat Houston in 16 innings.

The Cubs played their longest game since Aug. 15, 2006, a win at Houston that lasted 18 innings.

Top of the 4th
After last night’s game in the Sky Dome, Josh Beckett found himself 7-0 and the Blue Jays found themselves 0-7 and in last place in the AL East. The Red Sox beat the Jays by seven, 9-2 behind three-run homers by Mike Lowell and Dustin Pedroia eand solo shots by Jason Varitek and Kevin Youkilis. Beckett worked seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, walked one, struck out five and lowered his ERA to 2.51. Beckett is the first Red Sox pitcher to win his first seven starts of a season since Roger Moret won eight in a row in 1973. Babe Ruth (1917), Dave Ferriss (1945) and Moret share the Red Sox record with wins in each of their first eight games.

The win represented Terry Francona’s 300th as Boston manager. He’s the 10th manager in team history to reach that mark.

Top of the 5th
Well sports, the race has begun in earnest. While the Nats got off to a slow start, in their quest to best the ’62 Mets be winning too frequently, they have now established the pattern of losing that we all have anticipated. Last night the Brewers won their fifth straight topping DC Dis-United, 6-4. The Brewers are 8-1 on their current homestand and have the best record in baseball at 23-10.

But enough about winners, this is about Washington. The Nats have the worst record in baseball at 9-24, and now will be without struggling reliever Chad Cordero (four blown saves). Cordero left the team and was placed on the bereavement list to go to California to be with his grandmother, who is dying of brain cancer

At the 33 game mark in 1962, the Mets were 12-21. In order to beat the Mets it would be wise for the Nats to be build a good lead because those ’62 Stengels were 8-23 that June.

Top of the 6th
You should.

Top of the 7th
Dice-K and Ohka match-up but have no fear
The SkyDome has no saki, you can still get your beer here

6-0 would be insane
But that’s the goal for John Maine

0-6 would be so sad
Is Houston’s Williams really that bad?

Maddux faces Smoltz, two buddies, two friends
Will one break, while the other just bends?

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Nationals Brewers 1:05 p.m. Bergmann (0-3) Vargas (3-0)
Rockies Cardinals 1:10 p.m. Hirsh (2-2) Wainwright (2-2)
Mets Giants 3:35 p.m. Maine (5-0) Morris (4-1)
Phillies D-Backs 6:40 p.m. Moyer (3-2) Johnson (0-2)
Dodgers Marlins 7:05 p.m. Tomko (0-3) Willis (5-1)
Mariners Tigers 7:05 p.m. Baek (0-0) Robertson (3-1)
Devil Rays Orioles 7:05 p.m. Shields (3-0) Bedard (3-2)
Rangers Yankees 7:05 p.m. Tejeda (3-2) Mussina (1-1)
Red Sox Blue Jays 7:07 p.m. Matsuzaka (3-2) Ohka (2-3)
Astros Reds 7:10 p.m. Williams (0-5) Belisle (3-1)
Padres Braves 7:35 p.m. Maddux (2-2) Smoltz (4-1)
Pirates Cubs 8:05 p.m. Gorzelanny (4-1) Marquis (4-1)
White Sox Twins 8:10 p.m. Danks (0-4) Ortiz (3-2)
Athletics Royals 8:10 p.m. Haren (3-2) Meche (3-1)
Indians Angels 10:05 p.m. Byrd (2-1) Weaver (1-3)

Top of the 8th
Last night, A-Rod hit his 15th home run of the season in the Yankees’ 8-2, win over Texas. It was New York’s 31st game of the season. According to our dear friends at Elias, only one player in Yankees’ franchise history reached the 15-homer mark in fewer team games: Mickey Mantle in 1956 hit his 15th home run in team game No. 29. For the record, Babe Ruth’s fewest games to 15 homers as a Yankee was 32 games in 1926.

Top of the 9th
Not only are the 2006 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals struggling on the field but their fans are struggling on their backs. According to a lawsuit filed by fan Jason Harris, he alleges that he went to a tattoo parlor last October 28, the day after the Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-2 to win the series. Harris requested a tattoo saying, “St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Champions, 2006.”

The problem is that the tattoo artist at The House of Ink misspelled “World” as “Worlb” and etched the year 2000, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges negligence and carelessness and seeks at least $25,000 in damages.”This is embarrassing,” says Harris’ lawyer. “He has a tattoo across his back that’s spelled wrong. This is not a laughing matter.”

Your honor, Billy-Ball does not know anything about the law, but I do have to disagree with counsel; this is indeed a laughing matter.

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.