Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-4-9

4/9/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Top of the 1st
WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
It couldn’t really happen when Joe Torre was at the helm, because of their relationship, but Joe Girardi needs to start talking to his captain about a new shortstop. Derek Jeter, who has a knack for making the big play, the flashy play, and the heads-up play at shortstop, for the longest time has been unable to make the same number of ordinary plays as most of the other shortstops, because he simply doesn’t have the range. Now he’s sitting because of sore quads.

Bad quads could keep you sidelined for three or four days or three or four weeks. If it’s closer to the latter, the Yanks need a solution at short. In yesterday’s loss to the Royals, Wilson Betemit was Jeter’s fill-in. Betemit is listed as 6’3″ and 230 pounds. He may be over six feet tall, but his scale hasn’t stopped anywhere near 230 in ages. He is like watching Big Papi at shortstop. He is not the answer for a position that requires that much movement.

The Yanks need someone else. Gee, I wonder where they could find a slick fielding, experienced shortstop. One that could field and add some spark to the infield. Golly, I wonder where that shortstop is.

Could he be playing third base?

The Yankees are a troubled ball club, with a bunch of guys who are slightly too old and slightly too young. But they could improve themselves significantly with Alex Rodriguez at shortstop and putting Betemit, Morgan Ensberg or a better replacement at third (Pablo Ozuna?).

Ego and the Torre/Jeter relationship prevented this in the past. Now all Girardi has to address is the ego. While this can just be a temporary solution, but what happens if the team thrives, where do you put Jeter? Certainly not on the bench?

Certainly not.

The reality is that like Carlos Guillen on this year’s Tigers and like the great Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks, Jeter’s future is at first base and he would be outstanding there, not unlike Kevin Youkilis. The Yanks are in the final year of Jason Giambi’s contract and this season Giambi and Johnny Damon, another player old before his time, can be amongst the various Yankee DHs.

We shall see what happens but all I can say is, “Mr. Girardi, opportunity is knocking and you should give real thought to answering the door.”

Top of the 2nd
ONE FAN’S PERSPECTIVE
From one of the first five Billy-Ball subscribers, Dick Plank reflecting on yesterday in Boston:

“Today is an official holiday in Red Sox Nation. School will be skipped, sick days will be called in, church bells will ring, the sky will be blue, the grass will be green, birds will sing, daffodils will come up, tears will be shed, old ladies will smile, young girls will swoon, college boys will drink too much beer, World Series rings will be handed out to the champs, the Olde Towne Team will wear their white home uniforms, no one will think about the Patriots. It is opening day at Fenway Park.”

The Sox shut out the dreadful Tigers, 5-0.

Top of the 3rd
LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR NEXT START, DOUG
Doug Davis, the Arizona left-hander allowed two runs in six innings, and the Diamondbacks went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-5 for their fifth consecutive victory.

Davis (1-1), a .070 career hitter, even singled twice, one them bringing in a run for his seventh RBI. He also picked off a runner at first.

Davis shut out the Dodgers through five innings before Jeff Kent doubled in two runs in the 6th. He struck out the next two batters, then got Gary Bennett to ground out to get out of the jam. He left to a standing ovation, tipping his hat to the crowd, then coming out of the dugout for a curtain call as the ovation continued.

Everybody knew that tomorrow Davis will undergo thyroid cancer surgery.

Davis had insisted on making his two scheduled starts before the operation tomorrow to remove his thyroid gland. He is optimistic about his recovery, saying he expects to be sidelined only four to six weeks. His mother fully recovered from the same surgery.
“It’s 97 percent recovery,” Davis said. “I’m a big numbers guy in baseball and that’s a big number in my life, too.”

Top of the 4th
ODD START
Every team has now played a home game.
Every team with the exception of the Tigers has won at least two games.
Every team with the exception of the Orioles and the Brewers has lost at least two games.
The Tigers are already 5 games out of first.
The Marlins are in first and the Mets are in last.
The Royals are tied for first.

Top of the 5th
THE BOOK IS IN AND ON ITS WAY OUT
Book orders are being fulfilled this week for: Walk Offs, Last Licks, and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not-so-grand) Finales
By Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball, his ownself), Jim Kaplan
Published by ACTA Sports

A terrific collection of untold tales and familiar stories with a new twist!
– Ira Berkow, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter

A homerun trot around the bases of baseball history.
– Glenn Guzzo, award-winning author of Strat-O-Matic Fanatics and The
New Ballgame

Walkoffs, Last Licks, and Final Outs is the definitive collection of baseball’s grand-and not-so grand-final acts. It celebrates the moments that became instant classics and many “lasts and onlys” you’ve never heard of.

Features of the book include:

* The greatest postseason finishes of all-time
* A comprehensive breakdown of every perfect game in MLB history
* The last moments of the most distinguished old stadiums
* Heroic (and not-so-heroic) endings to Hall of Fame careers
* Eulogies and career statistics for ballplayers who passed before their time
* Boxscores and linescores for the greatest games ever played
* A slew of career statistics, ballpark data, and photographs

UNTIL MAY 15
To order your Billy-Ball autographed copy directly from Billy-Ball, his ownself:
$14.95 + $2.50 shipping and handling
$17.45 TOTAL
Massachusetts’ residents add $1 for state tax

AFTER MAY 15
To order your Billy-Ball autographed copy directly from Billy-Ball, his ownself:
$14.95 + $3.00 shipping and handling
$17.95 TOTAL
Massachusetts’ residents add $1 for state tax

Top of the 6th
PUDGE
The International League, in conjunction with the Syracuse Chiefs and Rochester Red Wings, announced that Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk will be in Cooperstown, NY on Sunday, May 18 as the League and two of its most tenured teams celebrate the circuit’s quasquicentennial anniversary season.

Fisk enjoyed a legendary 24-year Major League career with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox, and he is now one of only eight players to h ave his number retired by more than one team. The Red Sox have also re-named their left field foul pole the “Fisk Pole” in honor of his iconic game-winning home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Before achieving legendary status in the big leagues, Fisk played his final Minor League season in 1971 with the International League’s Louisville Colonels. During that season “Pudge” hit .263 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI for the Colonels in 94 games, ultimately earning a promotion to Boston for 14 games near the end of the season. Fisk is one of 99 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to have spent time in the International League.

Fisk is expected to meet with members of the media prior to the Cooperstown Classic and then deliver a ceremonial first pitch to begin the day’s events. He will also make a special appearance on both the Syracuse and Rochester radio broadcasts during the game. He will spend the evening at the private reception inside the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The reception on Sunday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. will give fans the opportunity to share hallowed ground with the Hall of Famer amidst the gallery of plaques. Members of the Syracuse and Rochester teams that play in the afternoon will also be in attendance and available to fans.

Game tickets and a limited number of reception tickets are available by contacting the Syracuse Chiefs (315-474-7833; wwwSyracuseChiefs.com) or Rochester Red Wings (585-454-1001; wwwRedWingsBaseball.com).

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Cleveland Indians at LA Angels of Anaheim, 3:35 pm
(R) Paul Byrd (0-1) vs. (R) Dustin Moseley (0-1)
Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 pm
(R) Jeremy Bonderman (0-1) vs. (L) Jon Lester (1-1)
Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
(L) Greg Smith (0-0) vs. (R) Dustin McGowan (0-0)
Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 pm
(L) Jarrod Washburn (0-1) vs. (R) Andy Sonnanstine (1-0)
Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers, 8:05 pm
(R) Steve Trachsel (1-0) vs. (L) Kason Gabbard (1-0)
New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(R) Ian Kennedy (0-1) vs. (R) Zack Greinke (1-0)
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox, 8:11 pm
(R) Scott Baker (1-0) vs. (L) John Danks (0-0)
NL
Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks, 3:40 pm
(R) Hiroki Kuroda (1-0) vs. (R) Micah Owings (1-0)
Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(R) Ryan Dempster (1-0) vs. (L) Zach Duke (0-0)
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Kyle Kendrick (1-0) vs. (R) Mike Pelfrey (0-0)
Florida Marlins at Washington Nationals, 7:10 pm
(L) Scott Olsen (0-0) vs. (R) Jason Bergmann (0-0)
Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:05 pm
(R) Josh Fogg (0-1) vs. (R) Dave Bush (0-1)
St. Louis Cardinals at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(R) Braden Looper (1-0) vs. (R) Chris Sampson (0-0)
Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies, 8:35 pm
(L) Chuck James (0-0) vs. (L) Mark Redman (0-1)
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(R) Justin Germano (0-0) vs. (L) Jonathan Sanchez (0-1)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Since the passing of Phil Rizzuto, the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame is Bobby Doerr.

Doerr, who is 90, was second baseman for 14 years, his entire career, with the Red Sox. Doerr retired in 1951, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1988, and is one of five players to have his number retired by the Red Sox. He has lived in Oregon for 72 years.

Top of the 9th
A LAST FOR COOPERSTOWN?
The Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce has announced plans to have a Hall of Fame Game parade on Monday, June 16. The parade will begin at noon, immediately preceding the 2008 National Baseball Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres. Chamber officials have indicated that this year’s parade may be the last in the historic series as Major League Baseball officials announced it would no longer be participating in the annual game.

Bottom of the 9th
BUY THE BOOK
Bill Chuck is the creator of Billy-Ball.com and, with Jim Kaplan, is the author of the book, “Walk-Offs, Last Licks, and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not so Grand) Finales,” with a Foreword by Jon Miller published by ACTA Sports.

Autographed first editions are available by contacting, Bill@billy-ball.com or order directly from Acta Sports, http://www.actasports.com/detail.html?&id=3427

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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.