Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-5-2

5/2/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Friday, May 2, 2008

Top of the 1st
GIVING YOU SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
Billy-Ball works hard to give you stuff to talk about around the water cooler during the work week, but sometimes I get concerned that you have nothing to share around the bar on the weekends.

Here are 25 factoids that might get you a free drink:
1. The Rays have been wearing T-shirts the last week with the cryptic catchphrase 9=8. Manager Joe Maddon has tried to keep the specific meaning somewhat secret but word is that at it has to do with nine players going hard for nine innings leading to the Rays being one of the eight teams in the playoffs.
2. In April, the Padres hit an NL-low .230 and averaged 3.3 runs. Last April they hit .248 and averaged 4.4 runs.
3. The Rays have won three consecutive series for just the second time in the last three seasons.
4. The defending NL East champion Phillies (16-13) are alone atop the division standings for the first time this season. It took them until the final weekend to reach first place last year.
5. Last night’s Angels starter Nick Adenhart, gave up five runs, three hits and five walks over two-plus innings in his major league debut. The 21-year-old right-hander has replaced Phil Hughes of the Yankees as the youngest player in the majors
6. The Jays’ Scott Rolen extended his hitting streak to six games since coming off the disabled list.
7. Yankees DH Hideki Matsui extended his hitting streak to a team-high 11 games.
8. The Indians’ Victor Martinez has hit in 13 straight games, going 19-for-53 (.358).
9. The Orioles’ Brian Roberts has an 11-game hitting streak. Michael Young and Dustin Pedroia each hit in 14 straight for the longest in the AL this season.
10. Seventeen Padres losses in April equals the most in club history.
11. The Tigers hadn’t had a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium since 1966
12. The Dodgers have won six games in a row, their longest winning streak since taking seven straight to close the 2006 season.
13. Kerry Wood has blown three saves in seven chances.
14. J.J. Putz blew his second save in four tries.
15. Tonight the Mariners and Yankees play the first of two three-game series during the Stadium’s farewell season for The House That Ruth Built. Seattle returns on May 23 for another three-game tilt series. Mel Stottlemyre returns as pitching coach for the visitors
16. Jayson Stark points outs that six teams in the last three years made the playoffs even though they headed into May more than three games under .500 — the 2007 Rockies and Yankees, the 2006 Twins and Padres and the 2005 Yankees and Astros. Only four teams had done that in the previous 22 full seasons combined.
17. The Pirates’ Zach Duke has now gone nearly a year without a win on the road, his last victory away from home coming against Cincinnati on May 27, 2007
18. The Nationals and Pirates will start a left-hander in each of the first three games of the four-game series. The last time there were three consecutive lefty matchups was 1995 in an Aug. 5-7 series between Atlanta and Montreal.
19. Tampa Bay is four games over .500 (16-12) for only the third time in its 11-year history. The team never has been five games over. Tampa Bay was previously four games over .500 in 1998 (10-6) and 1999 (11-7).
20. Derek Jeter tied Joe DiMaggio for fourth place on New York’s career runs list at 1,390.
21. The Nationals have won a season-high four straight, including a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves.
22. Ron Washington has an 86-105 record managing Texas.
23. Ryan Howard is now up to .184 with six homers and 14 RBIs.
24. Ichiro’s 70 outfield assists since 2001 rank only behind Vladimir Guerrero (74) and Carlos Beltran (73)
25. The Athletics had 20 hits last night–perfect timing for A’s fans holding tickets for Sunday’s game against Texas. The deal was that each ticket-holder in the Plaza Level got a dollar off the price of the ticket for every hit Oakland got in this game.

Top of the 2nd
REMEMBERING BUZZIE BAVASI
Buzzie Bavasi, who built Dodgers teams that won four World Series titles in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, died yesterday at his home in La Jolla, outside San Diego. He was 93.

With Buzzie Bavasi as GM, the Dodgers won the World Series in 1955, ’59, ’63 and ’65.
His death was announced by the Seattle Mariners, whose general manager is Bill Bavasi, a son of the former Dodgers GM.

“We operated by the Golden Rule,” Bavasi reportedly once said. “He who has the gold rules.”

After an MVP season in 1962 when he stole a then-league-record 104 bases, Maury Wills came to Bavasi seeking a special contract incentive.

“Maury asked if there was any way he could get $5,000 more and suggested if he made the All-Star team, I would give him a $5,000 bonus,” Bavasi told MLB.com last year. “I thought about it for a second and said, ‘That’s a good idea, Maury. But if you don’t make the All-Star team, I’ll take $5,000 back.’ Maury signed for $80,000.”

“Buzzie was one of the game’s greatest front office executives during a period that spanned parts of six different decades,” baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. “He loved the game, and he loved talking about it.”

Emil Joseph Bavasi — nicknamed Buzzie by his family for the way he buzzed around as a kid — helped put together Dodgers teams that included future Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

After the Dodgers, Bavasi became the first president of the Padres in 1969 for owner C. Arnholt Smith. He stayed with the team until 1977.

Gene Autry hired Bavasi in 1978, and the Angels won two division titles while he was there. But in 1979, he wasn’t able to re-sign Nolan Ryan because Autry had turned down agent Dick Moss’ request for the club to take out a life insurance policy on Ryan that would have cost the team $135,000. Ryan ended up signing with Houston as a free agent. Bavasi’s comment was: “We’ll just have to find a couple of 8-7 pitchers to replace him.”

Years later, after the ageless Ryan had thrown his sixth no-hitter in 1990, Bavasi sent him a message that read: “Nolan, some time ago I made it public that I made a mistake. You don’t have to rub it in.”

Former Angels GM Mike Port said Bavasi had a remarkable baseball mind.
“Eight National League pennants, four World Series titles, two American League Championship Series titles, more than two dozen of his former players who managed at the major-league level — that just scratches the surface of Buzzie’s accomplishments in the game,” Port said.

Top of the 3rd
SEXSON MILESTONES
Last night Richie Sexson hit his 300th career homer and he was 100th as a Mariner. The homer was Sexson’s sixth of the season. The first baseman reached the Mariners milestone in 463 games, quickest in team history. Alex Rodriguez hit 100 homers in his first 470 games with Seattle.

Top of the 4th
TROY FEELING LOW…TOO LOW
Colorado Rockies star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki tore a tendon in his left quadriceps and could be out until the All-Star break, if not longer. Tulowitzki, the runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year last season, was injured while charging a grounder in the 1st inning at San Francisco on Tuesday night. He underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday, which found a complete tear of the tendon near his hip, team athletic trainer Keith Dugger said.

“Best case scenario is six weeks. The realistic one is a few months,” agent Paul Cohen told The Associated Press on Thursday. “We’re hoping it’s a couple months, but we won’t know until they do further medical tests.”

The injury is rare in baseball but is not uncommon in soccer players.

Then there is the sad case of Phil Hughes.

The Yankees right-hander’s injury is worse than first thought. Hughes has a stress fracture in a rib on his right side, just under his pitching arm, and he will miss at least four weeks and probably more. Hughes, a 21-year-old prospect, was first diagnosed with a strained right oblique and had been placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday night. But the broken bone was discovered by X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging examinations Thursday.

I’m at a complete loss as far as the cause,” Hughes told the New York Times, but Billy-Ball suspects the fracture is from the stress of pitching so badly for the tumbling Yanks.

Top of the 5th
CANCEL SUSAN SARANDON NIGHT IN TEXAS
Dale Petroskey, who resigned last month as president of baseball’s Hall of Fame, was hired Wednesday by the Texas Rangers to oversee their marketing. Petroskey will be executive vice president of marketing and community development on the staff of Rangers president Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who has been with the team almost three months.

Before nine years as president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Petroskey served as an executive with the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., from 1988-99, and in the White House as assistant press secretary to President Ronald Reagan from 1985-87.

Petroskey resigned from the baseball hall in March after its board’s executive committee found he “failed to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility.” The committee never detailed Petroskey’s actions, but a hall spokesman said that the committee felt the actions weren’t criminal and didn’t benefit Petroskey personally.

“I knew the first day that I took that job that I served at the pleasure of the board,” Petroskey said Wednesday. “I knew that anytime they wanted to make a change, they were going to make a change, and after nine years they decided to make the change.”

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
How about the site that merchandises Stan Musial?

Visit http://www.stan-the-man.com/ to learn about him and get collectibles.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Rays (Edwin Jackson) at Red Sox (Clay Buchholz), 7:05
Royals (Luke Hochevar) at Indians (C.C. Sabathia), 7:05
Mariners (Erik Bedard) at Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang), 7:05
White Sox (Mark Buehrle) at Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum), 7:07
Tigers (Armando Galarraga) at Twins (Livan Hernandez), 8:10
Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie) at Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05
Rangers (Vicente Padilla) at A’s (Joe Blanton), 10:05

NL
Giants (Patrick Misch) at Phillies (Kyle Kendrick), 7:05
Padres (Justin Germano) at Marlins (Mark Hendrickson), 7:10
Reds (Edinson Volquez) at Braves (Tim Hudson), 7:30
Pirates (Phil Dumatrait) at Nationals (John Lannan), 7:35
Brewers (Carlos Villanueva) at Astros (Roy Oswalt), 8:05
Cubs (Rich Hill) at Cardinals (Adam Wainwright), 8:15
Dodgers (Brad Penny) at Rockies (Jeff Francis), 9:05
Mets (John Maine) at Diamondbacks (Micah Owings), 9:40

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
It was a strange series just completed at Fenway Park between the Sox and the visiting Blue Jays – The Boston and Toronto combined for seven total runs in the series. The Sox were one of three teams that hit .300 or better with runners in scoring position in the season’s first full month, while the Jays were last in the majors at .211 (56 for 265).

Top of the 9th
THANKS FOR THE GREAT WEEK
Book orders from you keep coming in. Great reviews keep piling up. The only thing that disappoints is to find out that I seem to be the only person that Roger Cl*m*ns did not hit on. Well, there’s always tomorrow.

Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll see you next week.

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 available now from 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 or from your favorite bookstore worldwide.

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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.