Thursday, May 22, 2008

Umpire Respects Baseball Heritage, Makes Bad Call

In observation of one of baseball's greatest traditions, umpire Bob Davidson made a really bad call on Wednesday.

In a post-game interview, Davidson remembered the call, "Yeah...John tried calling it a homerun, which was a correct call and everything, but I just couldn't let it pass. I have traditions to uphold."

When asked why he decided to reverse the call, he quickly pointed out that this is a human game. "If we start getting everything correct all the time, fans will begin to think that this thing is rigged. Who wants to see a bunch of robots making the right call all the time?"

But why reverse the call after it was already made from the second base umpire? "John's been getting a little uppity lately," he tersely remarked, "and somebody really needed to put him in his place."

He's heard about all the instant-replay hubbub that has recently been bandied about, and he will have none of it. "Oh that's just great. I'll bet you want to have manager challenges, salary caps, and even divisions too, eh? Well the NFL tried that stuff, and look how far it got them."

Regardless, Davidson is really honored to continue the long-standing practice of making really bad calls. "I would've been even happier if it had changed the outcome of the game," a smile crept up on his face and the reflection of the players' and fans' rage twinkled in his eye, "but I'm glad I could be a part of this tradition."

"It's the way it's always been, you know?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dodgers and Angels Plan on Signing All Free Agent Outfielders This Year, At Any Cost

The Angels and Dodgers have already identified their most significant need and will head into the 2008 baseball winter meetings with a distinct purpose - to find and sign as many outfielders as they possibly can.

"Andruw Jones is a nice start," said Ned Colletti. "But with only Pierre, Ethier, Kemp, Jones, and Delwyn Young as outfielders, we run a significant possibility of a shortage." He emphasized that if one of them were to get hurt or need to take a breather, there was a distinct chance that "someone might have to play every single day, and that's obviously unacceptable."

Angels' new GM Tony Reagins agrees. "This is the way Bill (Stoneman) did things, and the way Arty (Angels owner' Arte Moreno) likes them, and who can blame them? Outfielders are required to cover more of the ground than any other single position of the team. I don't know what you'd do without at least seven of them." The Angels have showed the commitment to their policy by signing centerfielders Gary Matthews. Jr. and Torii Hunter in the last two free agency periods and carrying 6 outfielders on their roster.

"Everyone over 35 raise your hand."

"It's not just outfielders. It's veteran outfielders, as the positional tools and ability reach their peak at around 37 or 38. Can't wait for those final two years of contracts for Matthews and Hunter," Reagins continued. "They sould be amazing talent, Vlad should start to reach his prime, and maybe (Reggie) Willits will be old enough to platoon in once in awhile. Just look at Garret Anderson and I think you'll see what we're talking about."

Meanwhile, back in Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers can go with a new look outfield practically every day. "It's great," said manager Joe Torre. "They never know what in the heck I'm going to throw out there. You should see the looks of surprise on the fans' faces when Andre Ethier stays on the bench. Imagine what that does to the other team."

Luckily for both of the LA area franchises there could be a variety of toolsy, aging outfielders available in the upcoming offseason, and they should foretell a flurry of interest. Reports have indicated that the Angels have already offered Brian Giles, Juan Encarnacion, and Bobby Abreu 7 year contracts worth around 144 million dollars to start the bidding. The Dodgers plan on being aggressive as well, but perhaps more shrewd - they hope at least 1 of those years on the Giles contract will be a club option.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Royals Show Solidarity for Struggling Teammate Tony Pena Jr. by Going Hitless

In a show of support for struggling Kansas City Royals shortstop Tony Pena Jr., the team held a surprise hitless bash on Monday, May 19th, with every player getting zero hits on the day.

"It felt really good," Tony Pena said via telephone interview from his hotel room. "Guys say they know what you're going through, what it's like to never have to be on base and spend all that extra time sitting on the dugout bench. It's just nice to not be alone there. To be fair, it's not like we were all Kevin Youkilis or Albert Pujols two days ago."

Pena's batting line currently sits at .169/.194/.218, by far the worst among major league regulars. Combining a lack of contact ability, plate discipline, and the power of a little leaguer is not easy. And teammates are going to have a hard time relating unless they try it themselves.

"I couldn't be prouder of our boys," manager Trey Hillman said in the postgame interview. "Everyone got to spend some time with Tony on the bench between innings and show that they too were capable of piles of meaningless outs. We have a saying around here - the chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. And boy, did that chain look weak today."

Every batter posted a perfect .000/.000/.000 line except for lone wolf sluggers Billy Butler and Esteban German, who each insisted on padding their stats by drawing a walk. "We'll have a heart to heart with those guys tomorrow," Hillman said. "They have to realize that this can't always be about them. Tonight was about Tony, and there's nothing about drawing a walk that Tony can relate to. It's just a selfish, results-based plate approach that will alienate their teammates and cause friction down the road that will prevent us from playing as a team."

The Royals lost the game 7-0.