Happy birthday, Yogi

1. Happy Birthday, Yogi

I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary. – Yogi Berra

One of my complaints about baseball, or maybe it is life in general, is that living legends are celebrated only after they become dead legends. I’ve always been convinced that People magazine should have a spin-off entitled Dead People as quite frequently their best selling covers are the ones that have the recently deceased.

Billy-Ball.com makes a concerted effort to celebrate the living, if for no other reason than their stats are better. B-B is read by many in the media and my hope that reminding everybody that today is the 85th birthday of Lawrence Peter Berra will encourage all to talk and write about one of baseball’s most engaging personalities. But more importantly all of you can spread the gospel according to Yogi and make today a celebration of his unique perspective on the world.

Yogi was telling the truth when he said, “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”

Nevertheless, here are eight Yogi-isms from #8 to get you started:

  1. All pitchers are liars or crybabies.
  2. Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.
  3. Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
  4. If people don’t want to come out to the ball park, nobody’s gonna stop ’em.
  5. Ninety percent of this game is half mental.
  6. He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.
  7. If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  8. In baseball, you don’t know nothing.

In 2008, the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter honored Yogi Berra at their annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Dinner. This video was prepared to honor him. Watching it is like deja-vu, all over again.

Happy birthday Yogi and many more, just remember in your words, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

2. Cueto Near Perfect

Johnny Cueto pitched a one-hitter for his first major league complete game and the Reds won their fourth straight beating the Pirates, 9-0. Cueto allowed only a Ronny Cedeno single in the 3rd that bounced off the glove of shortstop Paul Janish. Cedeno was the only baserunner also reaching on an HBP in the 6th.

Cueto (2-1) threw the Reds first complete game one-hitter since John Smiley beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 in the second game of a doubleheader on Sept. 22, 1996. Charlie Morton (1-6) took the loss giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Chris Heisey picked up his first three major league hits, two singles and a two-run homer.

3. Who was that man?

It's always a roll of the dice with Dice-K

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed three hits and no walks while striking out nine as the Boston Red Sox topped Toronto, 6-1. Bearing no resemblance to the pitcher we have seen throughout most of his major league career, Matsuzaka (2-1) permitted just three runners to reach base, the second-lowest total in his 76 career games as he manage to remain in the game longer than he ever has while allowing three runners or less.

Dana Eveland (3-2), the losing pitcher, gave a typical Dice-K performance as he allowed six runs in four-plus innings giving up five hits and four walks and hit a batter. Four Toronto pitchers issued eight bases on balls one night after the Red Sox drew seven walks.

The latest dilemma faced by Terry Francona is what to do with Jason Varitek, actually Victor Martinez (.250, 3, 17) The team pitches better and V-Mart hits better when he is not catching. Tek, also hits better when he rests a lot and doesn’t catch every day. Last night he hit his sixth homer and went 2-for-3 to raise his average to .342, with 10 RBI. Adding these two guys to the DH mix would be a solution if it were not already crowded with Mike Lowell (.275, 1, 9) and David Ortiz (.185, 4, 11). All four are in the final year of their contracts.

4. Lee Awakens Mariners

A win counts even if it is against the Orioles. Cliff Lee picked up his first win as Seattle defeated Baltimore, 5-1. Lee (1-1) allowed eight hits, struck out two and walked none in 7.1 innings to move to 4-0 in five starts against the Orioles.

Brandon League earned his first save for the Mariners. Ryan Langerhans homered for his first of the season. The Mariners have 13 homers on the season.

David Hernandez (0-5) gave up five runs, five hits and four walks in 5.2 taking the loss. He has lost 11 straight decisions, the longest active streak in the majors and two short of the Orioles record held by Mike Boddicker (1987-88). Baltimore has scored only six runs while Hernandez was in the game this season and has scored only two runs over the last 28 innings overall.

5. The Boys of Slumber

A Larry Stone slumber party?

In honor of the Ken Griffey mess, the outstanding baseball writer Larry Stone of the Seattle Times has put together his all-sleep team.

6. Baseball today and tonight


Yankees (Javier Vazquez and Phil Hughes) at Tigers (Rick Porcello and Jeremy Bonderman), DH, 1:05 and 7:05

White Sox (John Danks) at Twins (Carl Pavano), 1:10

Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield), 1:35

Mariners (Ryan Rowland-Smith) at Orioles (Brad Bergesen), 7:05

Rays (David Price) at Angels (Jered Weaver), 7:05

A’s (Gio Gonzalez) at Rangers (Derek Holland), 8:05

Indians (Fausto Carmona) at Royals (Kyle Davies), 8:10


Reds (Homer Bailey) at Pirates (Zach Duke), 12:35

Braves (Derek Lowe) at Brewers (Yovani Gallardo), 1:10

Nationals (Craig Stammen) at Mets (Mike Pelfrey), 1:10

Marlins (Chris Volstad) at Cubs (Carlos Silva), 2:20

Phillies (Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer) at Rockies (Aaron Cook and Jason Hammel), DH, 3:40 and 8:40

Astros (Wandy Rodriguez) at Cardinals (Kyle Lohse), 8:15

Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda) at Diamondbacks (Edwin Jackson), 9:40

Padres (Clayton Richard) at Giants (Matt Cain), 10:15

7. Citi Field Becomes Animal House

Citi Field

Pinch-hitter Chris Carter just called up from the minors, delivered a tiebreaking 8th inning double in his first at-bat for the Mets and New York ended up with six runs and an 8-6 win over the Washington Nationals. Raul Valdes (1-0) worked the 8th for his first major league win and Francisco Rodriguez got his fifth save with an easy 9th. The vulturous Tyler Clippard (6-1) took the loss.

Nicknamed “The Animal” by Jerry Manuel for his intensity, Carter was acquired from Boston last season as a player to be named in the trade that sent reliever Billy Wagner to the Red Sox. Carter was hitting .336 with six homers and 22 RBI at Triple-A Buffalo.

Hisanori Takahashi threw two shutout innings and Mets fans await him replacing Oliver Perez in the rotation. Takahashi has given up 17 hits and 10 walks in 22.2 innings while striking out 28. Perez has given up 27 hits and 25 walks in 30 innings.

Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer for the Nationals, who had won three straight.

8. No Walk in the Park

San Francisco pitchers issued 12 walks, seven by Barry Zito (5-1) and the Padres extended their first place lead by topping the Giants, 3-2. Zito did his Dice-K imitation throwing 108 pitches, in just five innings, and allowed three runs and six hits.

The Padres left 15 runners on base and the two teams combined to leave 26 on base and issue 17 walks.

Ryan Webb (1-1) went 1.1 innings to earn the win for the Padres and Heath Bell, the fourth Padres reliever, pitched the 9th for his ninth save in 11 chances.

David Eckstein had two hits and three walks for San Diego who extended their NL West lead over the second-place Giants to 1.5 games.

9. Your Suggested Reading

Excellent article by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News on why Bud Selig should seize the Texas Rangers.

Evan Grant

Daric Barton hit a two-out RBI single in the top of the 13th after homering in the 11th, as the A’s beat the Texas Rangers, 7-6.