Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-7-13

7/13/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Friday, July 13, 2007

Top of the 1st
TO BE WRONG AGAIN
How many times in a season can Billy-Ball be wrong? Let’s see five columns a week times about…. The point is I get to be wrong a lot. But, on this first full schedule of games following the All-Star break, I want to take this opportunity to really be dumb by reviewing my preseason picks and now make bad mid-season selections.

How they’ll finish- getting them wrong again

AL East
Preseason picks: Yankees – yeah, well I wasn’t the only one
Midseason picks: Red Sox – call me Mr. Obvious

AL Central
Preseason picks: Cleveland – Not a bad pick. Picking the White Sox for second, that was a bad pick
Midseason picks: Cleveland – Not a bad pick. Picking the Twins to miss the post-season, that’s a bad pick

AL West
Preseason picks: Texas – oh my, could I have been more wrong? I tried to separate myself from the pack and I did…I separated myself from anyone with intelligence.
Midseason picks: Seattle – I am addicted to stupidity, they can’t possibly top the Angels – stop this now!

AL Wild Card
Preseason picks: Angels
Midseason picks: If I pick the Angels now I will acknowledge that they won’t win the West. So I’m picking the Tigers, because I should really be picking them to win the AL Central.

NL East
Preseason picks: Mets – Now, that’s what I’m talking about.
Midseason picks: Mets – Lastings Milledge makes everybody forget Julio Franco.

NL Central
Preseason picks: Brewers – I also said that A-Rod would have a huge season, so I’m not a total moron
Midseason picks: Brewers – I predicted a three-way tie between Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis with the teams ultimately finishing in that order. I’m immovable.

NL West
Preseason picks: Dodgers – I talked about the great combination of youth and age. Substitute “so-so” for “great.”
Midseason picks: Padres – Great pitching in a pitcher’s ballpark.

NL Wildcard
Preseason picks: Phillies edge the Diamondbacks
Midseason picks: That still feels good to me – Phillies edge the Diamondbacks

AL Division Series
Preseason picks: Yankees over Texas; Angels over Cleveland
Midseason picks: Indians over Seattle; Red Sox over Angels
The Indians’ offense will be the difference. Beckett is the difference for the Sox.

AL Championship Series
Preseason pick: Yankees over Angels
Midseason pick: Red Sox over Indians
Have I mentioned that this is Beckett’s year?

NL Division Series
Preseason picks: Mets over Dodgers; Phillies over Brewers
Midseason picks: Mets over Brewers; Padres over Phillies
The Padres finally will advance.

NL Championship Series
Preseason picks: Mets over Phillies
Midseason pick: Mets over Padres
Jose Reyes runs wild

World Series
Preseason picks: Yankees over Mets
Midseason: Mets over Red Sox
Pedro tops Beckett in relief of Schilling

On the other hand, the Tigers could win it all.

Top of the 2nd
CUBAN TO DEFECT TO MAJORS?
The Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has submitted his application to purchase the Chicago Cubs, according to the Chicago Tribune and Dallas Morning News. The Tribune, using an investment banker as its source, reported in its Thursday edition that the sale, which includes Wrigley Field and Tribune’s share of Comcast SportsNet, could be more than $1 billion.

The Tribune’s list of other candidates to purchase the Cubs are John Canning, who heads a private-equity firm based in Chicago; Don Levin, owner of the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League; a partnership of Chicago attorney Thomas Mandler and businessman Jim Anixter; and the Ricketts family of Omaha and Chicago.

This would be simply so much fun for Billy-Ball, I’m gaining weight just thinking about it.

Top of the 3rd
MARINERS FIND ANOTHER WAY TO WIN
You get the feeling that it truly might be an interesting season for the M’s as the Mariners defeated Detroit 3-2 last night, ending the Tigers’ five-game winning streak. Adrian Beltre hit a two-run single that produced three runs.

“I’m still confused,” Beltre said speaking for all of us. “It was kind of weird, but we’ll take that.”

Here’s what happened – Jose Vidro singled for his third hit, Andrew Miller (4-3) then walked Jose Guillen and Richie Sexson to load the bases with two outs. Beltre then singled sharply to drive in Vidro and Guillen, who scored when catcher Mike Rabelo dropped right fielder Ordonez’s throw.

Rabelo, playing because Pudge Rodriguez was ejected in the previous inning, then threw to second in an attempt to catch Beltre trying to advance. Second base umpire Bruce Froemming signaled safe twice as shortstop Carlos Guillen missed tags before and after Beltre slid thru the bag. He tried to go back to second and Guillen missed again.

Or did he?

“He might have tagged me,” Beltre said, smiling.

“I feel like (I did), twice,” Guillen said.

Froemming ruled that the chasing Guillen missed two more tag attempts as Beltre hopped and then raced away to third base. During Beltre’s successful dash, Sexson made it all the way around to score the go-ahead run.

Detroit manager Jim Leyland ran out to join Guillen in arguing with Froemming. After that got nowhere, Leyland returned to the dugout and then ordered Miller to appeal the play back to second base. Froemming called Beltre out for never touching the bag, though television replays showed Beltre did touch the side and top of the base with his left hand during his initial headfirst slide.

Beltre and Mariners manager John McLaren then argued with Froemming to no avail.

“They were trying to sweep tag him, and they don’t get him,” Froemming said. “And now they come out to argue that they got him? But they don’t know if they got him or not.

“Three of their guys saw that he never touched second base. They went to the mound to appeal and that’s when I called him out.”

Froemming, the longest tenured umpire at 37 years, did not explain why he gave a safe signal twice as Beltre slid past second base, to infer the runner had reached base successfully. If a runner has not touched a base, the umpire usually gives no signal to let the play continue.

“You don’t see that play every day,” McLaren said. “It was a funny play.”
AL Central Division
Team W L PCT GB Home Road DIV InterLg L10 Streak
Tigers 52 35 .598 – 25-19 27-16 17-15 14-4 6-4 L1
Indians 52 36 .591 0.5 31-12 21-24 18-9 9-9 6-4 L1
Twins 46 43 .517 7 23-20 23-23 14-17 11-7 4-6 W1
White Sox 40 47 .460 12 19-25 21-22 15-15 4-14 6-4 W3
Royals 38 50 .432 14.5 20-28 18-22 10-18 10-8 6-4 W2
AL Western Division
Team W L PCT GB Home Road DIV InterLg L10 Streak
Angels 53 35 .602 – 29-13 24-22 16-9 14-4 4-6 L1
Mariners 50 36 .581 2 28-15 22-21 15-11 9-9 7-3 W4
Athletics 44 45 .494 9.5 23-23 21-22 9-12 10-8 4-6 L4
Rangers 38 50 .432 15 22-22 16-28 8-16 11-7 6-4 W1

Top of the 4th
OTHER PARKS SHOULD BE GREEN WITH ENVY
San Francisco’s AT&T Park is not only the most beautiful park in the country but became the first to install 590 Sharp solar panels. PG&E will reconnect the 120 kilowatts of power generated from the solar panels into San Francisco’s power grid. One hundred and twenty kilowatts of solar energy is enough to power the Giants’ new state-of-the-art Diamond Vision scoreboard for the baseball season. The scoreboard uses 78% less energy than the ballpark’s original scoreboard.

Additionally, PG&E and the Giants will launch a five-year public awareness campaign to educate and encourage Giants fans to use energy responsibly. This includes taking public transportation to the ballpark. AT&T Park is served by more modes of public transit than any major league park. Trains, rapid transit, streetcars, busses and ferries serve the ballpark. The Giants also provide on-site valet bicycle parking. Each season, 40-50% of fans take transit, walk or ride their bike to AT&T Park.

Beyond this the Giants have implemented a ballpark-wide recycling and composting program dedicated to dramatically reducing waste going into the city’s landfills. Major components of the program include a dramatic shift to the use of recyclable cups and bottles, transition to compostable food wrappers and containers and the incorporation of hundreds of new recycling centers throughout the ballpark.

NL Western Division
Team W L PCT GB Home Road DIV InterLg L10 Streak
Padres 49 38 .563 – 25-20 24-18 19-13 6-9 5-5 L1
Dodgers 49 40 .551 1 26-20 23-20 18-14 5-10 4-6 W1
Diamondbacks 47 43 .522 3.5 25-19 22-24 17-21 8-7 2-8 L5
Rockies 44 44 .500 5.5 26-19 18-25 17-18 10-8 6-4 L1
Giants 38 48 .442 10.5 21-21 17-27 17-22 5-10 5-5 L1

Top of the 5th
UGLINESS IN THE HANCOCK CASE
The attorney for the tow truck driver sued in the wrongful death case of Josh Hancock said yesterday that his client intends to move forward with a countersuit against the estate of the late Cardinals pitcher.

Robert Pedroli, the attorney for tow truck driver Jacob Hargrove, said the Hancock family has not responded to his requests to drop the suit that claims Hargrove and others were liable for Hancock’s death. Pedroli had given the Hancocks 21 days to dismiss the suit.

Hargrove had pulled his flatbed truck behind a stalled car on westbound Highway 40 on April 29 when Hancock slammed into the back of the truck. Hancock, police said, was speeding, talking on a cell phone and had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit had the time of the crash.

Hargrove had activated his lights upon pulling his truck behind the stranded motorist. Hargrove, who Pedroli said suffered a concussion and post-traumatic stress syndrome in the crash, continues to work as a tow truck driver.

Pedroli said his office plans to file the countersuit for punitive damages against the ballplayer’s estate early next week after making a few last-minute adjustments. “I believe it’s a case that should never have been filed in the first place,” Pedroli said, when asked if the Hancock family had been given enough time to drop the suit. “Fifteen minutes would have been long enough.”

NL Central Division
Team W L PCT GB Home Road DIV InterLg L10 Streak
Brewers 49 39 .557 – 30-13 19-26 23-15 8-7 3-7 L2
Cubs 44 43 .506 4.5 20-21 24-22 17-18 8-4 6-4 L1
Cardinals 40 45 .471 7.5 21-22 19-23 21-15 6-9 6-4 W1
Pirates 40 48 .455 9 22-24 18-24 22-21 5-10 7-3 W1
Astros 39 50 .438 10.5 24-22 15-28 15-24 9-9 6-4 W1
Reds 36 53 .404 13.5 20-26 16-27 17-22 7-11 6-4 L1

Top of the 6th
KINER’S KORNER
Ralph Kiner, the last surviving original Mets announcer, will be honored Saturday night at Shea Stadium in a game against the Reds. He was reminiscing during a conference call with members of the news media about an interview with Choo Choo Coleman, an original Mets catcher.

“How did you get your name?” Kiner asked, expecting to learn that Coleman loved toy trains or that his father worked on the railroad.

Instead, Coleman said, “I don’t know.”

“What’s your wife like?” Kiner also asked.

“She likes me, bub,” Coleman said.

Kiner who is 84 has said some unusual things while sitting in the broadcast booth:
“All of his saves have come in relief appearances,” and “Solo home runs usually come with no one on base.” “Two thirds of the Earth is covered by water. The other third is covered by Garry Maddox.”

In his brief 10-year career, shortened by a back ailment, Ralph Kiner hit 369 home runs, winning or sharing the National League home run title in each of his first seven seasons in Pittsburgh. He topped 50 twice, with 51 in 1947 and 54 in ’49. His ratio of 7.1 home runs per 100 at-bats trails only Babe Ruth and Mark McGw*re among retired players. Kiner averaged better than 100 RBI a season as he led the National League in slugging percentage three times. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975.

NL Eastern Division
Team W L PCT GB Home Road DIV InterLg L10 Streak
Mets 49 39 .557 – 24-19 25-20 18-15 8-7 4-6 W1
Braves 47 42 .528 2.5 22-21 25-21 23-19 4-11 6-4 W1
Phillies 44 44 .500 5 22-21 22-23 16-18 8-7 3-7 W1
Marlins 42 47 .472 7.5 17-25 25-22 18-20 9-9 5-5 L1
Nationals 36 52 .409 13 19-27 17-25 14-17 9-9 4-6 W2

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Please note that Greg Maddux is starting back-to-back games for the Padres. Maddux was on the mound for Sunday’s game against the Braves prior to the All-Star break, and is scheduled to start tonight when San Diego plays Arizona.

Nice matchups in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Seattle, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and at Shea.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Astros Cubs 2:20 p.m. Jennings (1-4) Zambrano (10-7)
White Sox Orioles 7:05 p.m. Buehrle (6-4) Bedard (7-4)
Royals Indians 7:05 p.m. Perez (4-8) Westbrook (1-4)
Cardinals Phillies 7:05 p.m. Wells (3-11) Kendrick (3-0)
Blue Jays Red Sox 7:05 p.m. Marcum (4-3) Tavarez (5-7)
Nationals Marlins 7:05 p.m. Bergmann (1-5) Willis (7-7)
Reds Mets 7:10 p.m. Harang (9-2) Maine (10-4)
Yankees Devil Rays 7:10 p.m. Clemens (2-3) Kazmir (5-6)
Pirates Braves 7:35 p.m. Snell (7-5) Hudson (8-5)
Rockies Brewers 8:05 p.m. Francis (8-5) Sheets (10-4)
Athletics Twins 8:10 p.m. Blanton (8-5) Santana (10-6)
Padres D-Backs 9:40 p.m. Maddux (7-6) Davis (5-10)
Tigers Mariners 10:05 p.m. Bonderman (9-1) Washburn (8-6)
Rangers Angels 10:05 p.m. Millwood (6-7) Weaver (6-5)
Dodgers Giants 10:15 p.m. Billingsley (5-0) Cain (3-9)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
The Devil Rays still must play the Red Sox (15 times), Yankees (14), Angels (6), Tigers (4), Athletics (4), Mariners (4) and Indians (3).

AL Eastern Division
Team W L PCT GB Home Road DIV InterLg L10 Streak
Red Sox 54 34 .614 – 29-14 25-20 20-9 12-6 5-5 W1
Yankees 43 43 .500 10 26-18 17-25 9-17 10-8 6-4 W2
Blue Jays 43 45 .489 11 26-19 17-26 16-15 10-8 4-6 L1
Orioles 38 50 .432 16 19-22 19-28 14-11 6-12 4-6 L2
Devil Rays 34 54 .386 20 19-25 15-29 8-15 7-11 1-9 L3

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND
Thank you all for your feedback this week. I love hearing from you.

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Have fun, stay cool, take two and go to right.

See you Monday.

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.