Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-9-11

9/11/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Top of the 1st
NOT JUST ANOTHER DAY
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck
Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11 is not “just another day.”

It never can be again. I remember so clearly the events of that day seven years ago as they unfolded. I remember how the morning started with the curiosity factor caused by the initial reports of a small plane hitting the World Trade Tower. I remember how quickly that report went from morning fascination to nationwide mourning. And yes, even for me, the last thing on our collective mind that day was baseball.

That wasn’t the case for the Chicago White Sox. Broadcaster Chris Singleton was the team’s center fielder in 2001 and they were scheduled to play a series at Yankee Stadium. They got into New York around 2 in the morning and Singleton went to get something to eat (you can do that in the city that never sleeps). After a while he headed to his hotel room to catch some sleep.

“I remember it so clear, like it was yesterday,” Singleton told Scott Merkin of MLB.com. “I get a call from Kip Wells early that morning. I was ready to break his neck, thinking, ‘Why is this rookie calling me so early in the morning?’

“He’s telling me to turn on the TV. When I turn it on, to my surprise and amazement, there was everything that was going on.”

Sox general manager Ken Williams also was on the trip to New York and immediately made plans to get the White Sox out of Dodge. Traveling secretary Ed Cassin arranged for two buses to take all the players and their families from New York to Cleveland. After spending much of the day on the phone with the Port Authority, MLB Security and the New York Police and Fire Departments, Cassin had to receive special permission for the buses to come on to Manhattan.

“When I was initially going downstairs in the elevator, the looks on the people’s faces, they were like zombies,” Singleton added. “There was no life and expression. They were so overcome with what had happened.”

September 11 is not “just another day.”
“I remember how I agonized about when to come back,” Commissioner Bud Selig said five years later. “And that was tough, because you really didn’t know and you wanted to do the right thing.”

But he did the right thing. Play resumed on Sept. 18, 2001 and Mike Piazza hit a home run to lead the Mets over the Braves in the city’s first game after the attacks. Tom Glavine was with the Braves that night and remembers that for perhaps the only time in his long career, he really didn’t mind losing.

“It was one of those instances where you think there’s kind of a higher authority watching over,” Glavine said. “You knew walking away what it meant to the people in the stadium and to the people in the city, and for one night, you could kind of overlook the fact that you lost the game.”

Seven years later, September 11 is still not “just another day.”

Many teams do things to commemorate the event. For example, the Minnesota Twins Wives’ Organization has collected more than 500 pounds of new and used baseball equipment to donate to US troops in Iraq. The Orioles are donating 50 percent of ticket sales for tonight’s game to the Welcome Back Veterans foundation and will welcome injured members of the armed forces from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the game and will honor one of them with a ceremonial first pitch. The Red Sox announced that they are teaming with the American Red Cross, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston community leaders to announce the Sixth Annual September 11th Day of Remembrance Blood Drive at Fenway Park. That’s just a sampling of different teams efforts. Clubs will have custom lineup cards and bases with the 9/11 commemorative logo. There will be pre-game ceremonies involving veterans, current members of the armed forces, and local police, fire and rescue officials. All clubs will wear stars and stripes caps.

Long before last night’s Mets/National game, early in the afternoon, Mets third baseman David Wright took the field last night at Shea Stadium, visited a firehouse right across the street from Ground Zero; it’s an annual tradition for the Mets to send a player to a New York City firehouse and for the third straight year Wright represented the team. He played catch with 10-year-old Dylan Grady. His father, Chris worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and died that day.

September 11 is not “just another day.”

Today in each ballpark fans will will hear over the P.A. system:

“Seven years ago, our nation was shocked to see the scenes of disaster at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania. However, our resolve as a nation enabled us to band together and unify ourselves in the cause to defend our way of life and to honor the victims of the terribly tragic events. At this time, we ask that you please join us as we say ‘We Shall Not Forget’ and honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks during a Moment of Remembrance.”

September 11 is not “just another day” but on this September 11, in a testament to the country and to the game, we will have baseball.

Top of the 2nd
BREATHING ROOM
THE RAYS
I got home from Fenway this morning just after 12:30 after watching five hours plus of magnificent baseball. The Rays prevailed in the 14th when Carlos Pena broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run blast over the Green Monstah. The shot came off of Mike Timlin who made the 1,050th relief appearance of his career to tie Kent Tekulve for the major league record by a right-handed reliever. Chances are excellent that this will be the last time Sox fans will ever have to suffer through Timlin when the game is on the line. The Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 14th off Rays closer Troy Percival, who left the game apparently injured and definitely ineffective. Jason Hammel came in and Kevin Youkilis hit what first appeared to be a chance to be an ultimate walkoff, but it ended as only a sacrifice fly and Hammel picked up his first save. The Sox left 16 runners on base, including two on in each of the ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th innings, and were just 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position. The Rays were worse but better Pena’s homer was Tampa’s only hit in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Rays were only 2 for 36 with runners in scoring position in the three-game series, but both two were game winners as they improved to a major-league-best 48-22 in games decided by one or two runs. The Rays, who went into the 9th of Tuesday night’s game in danger of falling out of first now have a 2 1/2-game lead, three games in the loss column, between themselves and the second-place Sox. It’s called breathing room.

SALVAGING A SERIES
CC Sabathia allowed just three runs in 7 innings for his 13th straight quality start since joining the Brewers but he got a no-decision as the Brewers ended their three-game losing streak by defeating the Cincinnati Reds 4-3, avoiding a three-game sweep. The Brewers trailed 3-1 through six, but a run in the 7th and two in the 8th highlighted by Mike Cameron’s clutch single to drive home the go-ahead run gave the struggling Brewers the victory. Sabathia remains at 9-0 struck out eight and allowed eight hits in seven innings. He also drove an unearned run with a groundout in the third and added a double in the fifth. Sabathia won’t pitch against the Phillies, but will go in the opener against the Cubs on Tuesday.Guillermo Mota (5-5) tossed a perfect eighth to get the win and Salomon Torres struck out the side in the 9th for his 27th save in 34 opportunities.
Milwaukee scored a meager 28 runs in their 10-game homestand with Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Corey Hart hitting a combined .208 (22-of-106) with no homers and six RBIs in the homestand. The Brewers now start a 10-game, 11-day trip with four games against the Phillies, followed by three games against the Cubs. The Reds’ three-game winning streak was snapped as they lost for just the fourth time in their last 12 games. The Brewers improved their record in one-run games to 28-14, best in MLB and stretched their wild card lead over the Phillies to 4 games. It’s called breathing room.

MANNY BEING AWESOME
Manny Ramirez hit his seventh and eighth shots in his last 13 games both 2-run shots as the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres, 7-2. Manny has 34 homers this season, 14 since being acquired by the Dodgers and has 40 RBIs in 38 Dodgers games. Another former Red Sox Derek Lowe (13-11), allowed one run and three hits in 5 1/3 innings before leaving with a sore knee. It was his third straight victory as the Dodgers won for the 10th time in 11 games and extended their lead in the NL West to a season-high 3 1/2 games over Arizona. It’s called breathing room.

THE METS SWEEP
As good as the pitching was in Boston last night, that’s how bad it was in New York the last two nights. After beating the National two nights ago, 10-8, last night they won 13-10 despite blowing a 7-1 lead. Joe Smith (5-3) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win while Luis Ayala got three outs for his seventh save in eight chances.The NL East-leading Mets swept the two-game series against Washington and moved 3 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia. It’s called breathing room.

GASPING FOR AIR
Ricky Nolasco struck out eight in 7 2/3 innings and Luis Gonzalez homered to help the Florida Marlins damage Philadelphia’s playoff push in a 7-3 win over the Phillies. Nolasco (14-7) hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last nine starts and is 4-1 over that span. The Marlins have won five straight Nolasco starts. Ryan Howard hit his major league-leading 42nd homer. The Phillies didn’t have a hit after the 5th inning losing for just the fourth time in their last 14 games.

HOUSTON’S SURGE
Miguel Tejada grand slam broke open a close game and helped the Houston Astros top the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-4. Brian Moehler (11-6) went six innings and allowed two runs on five hits. Jose Valverde pitched the 9th for his league-leading 42nd save in 48 tries. He stretched his franchise record for consecutive saves to 15. Houston has won five straight and 13 of 14 and remains four games behind Milwaukee in the wild-card chase. The Astros are now 12 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2005 season, when they finished 16 games over .500.

Top of the 3rd
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ANGELS!
The Los Angeles Angels became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot this season by defeating the New York Yankees, 4-2. The Angels won their fourth AL West title in five years earlier than any other team had clinched the division (the A’s clinched Sept. 15, 1971). Francisco Rodriguez earned his 56th save to secure the tie in the division and when second place Texas lost to Seattle 8-7 about an hour later, the Angels were AL West champs .The Angels, with the best record in baseball, will now spend their final 17 games getting K-Rod the saves record, getting healthy, and setting up their rotation for the playoffs.

Top of the 4th
STAYING ALIVE

THE WHITE SOX
With regulars Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin and Joe Crede sidelined by injuries and facing ace Roy Halladay hoping to extend the Blue Jays’ 10-game winning streak, the White Sox beat the Blue Jays 6-5 to stay one game ahead of Minnesota in the AL Central. Halladay allowed five earned runs in six innings, ending a streak of nine straight starts in which he allowed three earned runs or fewer, while Mark Buehrle won for the fifth time in his last six decisions, allowing only one earned run in 7 1/3 innings. A.J. Pierzynski had three RBIs against Halladay. It was the most runs the White Sox have scored in a win without hitting a homer since May 21, 2007.

THE TWINS
Kevin Slowey pitched the Twins to a 7-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals 7-1 last night. Minnesota had three hits and two RBIs from Jason Kubel, three singles by Alexi Casilla and a strong start by Slowey (12-9).Slowey went seven innings and allowed one earned run for the Twins and allowed one walk and has now allowed 19 walks in 24 starts this season. The Twins, who are one game behind Chicago in the division, picked up consecutive wins for the first time in nearly three weeks and with their 80th win surpassed last year’s victory total. The Twins have won nine of their last 12 home games. The Royals fell to 3-11 this season against Minnesota and have lost 13 of their last 15 road games. The Royals have lost 16 of their last 22 games.

THE CUBS
Ted Lilly threw eight sharp innings and took out St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina in a collision at home in the Cubs’ 4-3 victory. Ryan Ludwick hit his 33rd homer of the season, a two-run job off Cubs closer Kerry Wood in the 9th. Wood finished for his 28th save in 34 chances to give the Cubs their second win in their last nine games.
Chicago held its 4 1/2-game lead in the NL Central over Milwaukee and won for the 15th time in its last 19 road games.

Top of the 5th
THE GREEN LIGHT LETTER
Just weeks after Pearl Harbor, baseball’s commissioner Kenesaw M. Landis asked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt what to do, “If you believe we ought to close down for the duration of the war, we are ready to do so immediately. If you feel we ought to continue, we would be delighted to do so. We await your order.”

Within two days, President Roosevelt responded with his famous “Green Light Letter”:

“The White House
Washington

January 15, 1942

My dear Judge:

Thank you for yours of January fourteenth. As you will, of course, realize the final decision about the baseball season must rest with you and the Baseball club owners – so what I am going to say is solely a personal and not an official point of view.

I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before.

And that means that they ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before.

Baseball provides a recreation which does not last over two hours or two hours and a half, and which can be got for very little cost. And, incidentally, I hope that night games can be extended because it gives an opportunity to the day shift to see a game occasionally.

As to the players themselves, I know you agree with me that the individual players who are active military or naval age should go, without question, into the services. Even if the actual quality to the teams is lowered by the greater use of older players, this will not dampen the popularity of the sport. Of course, if an individual has some particular aptitude in a trade or profession, he ought to serve the Government. That, however, is a matter which I know you can handle with complete justice.

Here is another way of looking at it – if 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, these players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20,000,000 of the fellow citizens – and that in my judgment is thoroughly worthwhile.
With every best wish,

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Hon. Kenesaw M. Landis
333 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois”

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
World War II was a trying time for the United States and equally so for baseball. More than 4,500 professional players swapped flannels for military uniforms to serve their nation and future Hall of Famers like Bob Feller, Hank Greenberg, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams lost vital playing time in the prime of their careers. This site is decicated to them:
http://www.baseballinwartime.com/

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins, 1:10 pm
(R) Brandon Duckworth (2-1) vs. (L) Francisco Liriano (5-3)
Cleveland Indians at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(L) Zach Jackson (0-2) vs. (R) Brian Bass (3-4)
Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox, 8:11 pm
(R) Shaun Marcum (8-6) vs. (R) Gavin Floyd (15-6)
Seattle Mariners at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Brandon Morrow (2-2) vs. (R) Jered Weaver (10-10)
Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Dustin Nippert (2-4) vs. (L) Dallas Braden (5-3)

NL
Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(R) Ben Sheets (13-7) vs. (L) Jamie Moyer (13-7)
Colorado Rockies at Atlanta Braves, 7:10 pm
(R) Ubaldo Jimenez (10-12) vs. (R) Jair Jurrjens (12-9)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(L) Zach Duke (5-13) vs. (R) Roy Oswalt (14-9)
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 pm
(R) Rich Harden (4-1) vs. (R) Todd Wellemeyer (12-6)
San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(R) Matt Cain (8-11) vs. (R) Josh Geer (1-0)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Toronto is considering pitching Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett and Jesse Litsch on short rest this weekend against Boston.

Top of the 9th
CONTENDERS REMAINING SCHEDULE
American League
DATE Boston White Sox Twins Tampa Bay
9/11 TOR KC
9/12 TOR DET @BAL @NYY
9/13 TOR DET @BAL @NYY
9/14 TOR DET @BAL @NYY
9/15 @TB @NYY @CLE BOS
9/16 @TB @NYY @CLE BOS
9/17 @TB @NYY @CLE BOS
9/18 @NYY @TB @MIN
9/19 @TOR @KC @TB MIN
9/20 @TOR @KC @TB MIN
9/21 @TOR @KC @TB MIN
9/22 CLE @BAL
9/23 CLE @MIN CWS @BAL (DH)
9/24 CLE @MIN CWS @BAL
9/25 CLE @MIN CWS @DET
9/26 NYY CLE KC @DET
9/27 NYY CLE KC @DET
9/28 NYY CLE KC @DET

National League
Arizona Cubs Dodgers Brewers Mets Phillies
Astros

9/11 @STL @PHI MIL PIT
9/12 CIN @HOU @COL @PHI ATL MIL CHC
9/13 CIN @HOU @COL @PHI ATL MIL CHC
9/14 CIN @HOU @COL @PHI ATL MIL CHC
9/15 SF @PIT @WAS
9/16 SF MIL @PIT @CHC @WAS @ATL @FLA
9/17 SF MIL @PIT @CHC @WAS @ATL @FLA
9/18 SF MIL @PIT @CHC @WAS @ATL @FLA
9/19 @COL STL SF @CIN @ATL @FLA @PIT
9/20 @COL STL SF @CIN @ATL @FLA @PIT
9/21 @COL STL SF @CIN @ATL @FLA @PIT
9/22 @STL @NYM CHC ATL
9/23 @STL @NYM SD PIT CHC ATL CIN
9/24 @STL @NYM SD PIT CHC ATL CIN
9/25 @STL @NYM SD PIT CHC CIN
9/26 COL @MIL @SF CHC FLA WAS ATL
9/27 COL @MIL @SF CHC FLA WAS ATL
9/28 COL @MIL @SF CHC FLA WAS ATL

Bottom of the 9th
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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.

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