And That Happened

In the wake of Michael Jackson’s passing, all of the players in yesterday’s games wore one glove in his memory. . .

Yankees 11, Braves 7: Buster Olney went all Jerod Morris on A-Rod yesterday (query: does the fact that Rodriguez tested positive for steroids six years ago, and a year before the institution of punitive testing give one license to play the “one never knows” card all these years later? Geoff Baker — can I get a consult here?). Less problematic than the steroids speculation garbage was the quoting of scouts and wringing of hands to the effect that Rodriguez has suddenly become a poor decrepit old man who will likely not survive the length of his contract let alone produce during its duration. Jesus. The guy rushed back from hip surgery, played too much, and still isn’t 100% right. Is that really the best time to declare someone’s career dead? Especially someone who raked like hell just last season? I bet Buster liquidated his 401K in March too. Anyway, reports of Rodriguez’s death are greatly exaggerated (3-5 HR, 4 RBI).

Tigers 6, Cubs 5: Geovany Soto pinch hit and struck out. When he was not playing, he regaled Carlos Zambrano with tales about this one amazing killer bong he saw in Iowa City that one time. He ought to straighten up that hophead attitude of his and fly right, though. Look at Magglio Ordonez. That fine young man has shed those hippie locks (and the stoner lifestyle that necessarily accompanies long hair) and not surprisingly he’s back on track (1-4, HR, 2 RBI). If only every player could emulate those clean cut and clean living stars of yesteryear!

Pirates 3, Indians 2: Cliff Lee has to be looking around that locker room and feeling like Michael did while looking around the Jacksons’ dressing room circa 1979. He’s better than these guys, they’re doing nothing to help him, and they bring nothing to the party. In fact, I’m going to call Ben Francisco “Tito” for the remainder of the season.

Reds 7, Blue Jays 5: It felt so good to watch Joey Votto break out the whuppin’ stick (4-5, 2B, HR 3 RBI). By the way, as I did on Monday, I watched a good 45 minutes of this game on a treadmill at the gym. Unlike Monday, however, I didn’t change the channel. Why? Because George Grande and Chris Welsh, while certainly no luminaries, understand that there’s a ballgame going on in front of them and actually talk about what’s happening in it from time to time. Something else learned from this game: Scott Rolen comes to the plate to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll.” I guess it’s a play on “Rolen,” but at bottom, isn’t that song about a guitar chick lusting after a teenage boy?

Mets 3, Cardinals 2: Good pitching matchup, as Santana beats Carpenter and the Mets take three of four from the Cards. The crowd was the largest in Citi Field’s young history. According to the article “New York had offered 50 percent discounts on some tickets.” With eight dollar beers and all of the rest you’d think that any team with empty seats would cut prices like Crazy Eddie, promote the crap out of it and be confident that they’re making it all up in grub, suds and merch.

Marlins 11, Orioles 3: There are some Baltimore Orioles truthers out there who insist that I have decided to not say anything nice about their team. I’ll make you a deal, guys: they do something worthy of praise, I’ll praise it. In the meantime I will throw you a bone and note that Nick Markakis went 4 for 4 and drove in Z-game. Unfortunately it was 11-2 in the ninth inning at the time. As for the Marlins, Hanley Ramirez went 3 for 5 and knocked in five runs in what turned out to be a laugher.

White Sox 6, Dodgers 5: Chad Billingsley let a 4-0 lead slip away and actually stood to be the loser when he left the game after six. He got bailed out, but the Sox pulled it out in 13. Weisman makes an excellent observation regarding Torre’s bullpen use in extra innings: “Torre chose to save Jonathan Broxton for a save situation rather than ensure he’d get an inning out of him. It’s an old philosophical bug: the idea that your best pitcher is more useful when you can afford to give up a run, rather than when you can’t afford to.”

Mariners 9, Padres 3: I’m not sure what surprised me more yesterday: the news that Michael Jackson died or the news that Mike Sweeney was still alive. Good game for him though (4-4, 2B, 2 RBI), as well as Ichiro and Beltre, who combined to go 7-10 with four runs scored. The Mariners now set off on a death march against the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox, all on the road. We’ll certainly know what this team is made of in about nine or ten days, won’t we?

Rays 10, Phillies 4: It’s sort of not fair that the Rays can lose a guy like Evan Longoria and then have his replacement — Willy Aybar — hit a homer and drive in three runs. More evidence that the universe is unfair: the Marlins Rays beat the Phillies in this series, are playing much better baseball overall, and have a lineup that could bash them across the country and back, yet Philadelphia remains in first place and the Rays are in fourth, six games back.

Nationals 9, Red Sox 3: Smoltz got pounded (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER), but he struck out 5 and walked only one. Eh, dude’s allowed to warm up a bit. I’m sure someone will analyze his start more closely than I have, but whatever that shows, my gut tells me that he’s going to be alright pretty soon and will pitch extremely well until the very moment his shoulder or elbow explodes again.

Astros 5, Royals 4: Lance Berkman launched two dingers and drove in four. The game wouldn’t have been as close, though, if it weren’t for a bunch of Astros errors leading to three Royals’ runs.

Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 8: Chris Davis had four hits, including a two-run homer in the 12th to win it. He wouldn’t have had a chance to hit that one if Miquel Montero had held on to a two-strike foul tip the pitch before.

Twins 6, Brewers 4: I live in a city that has a massive (and probably justified) inferiority complex, and one of the funniest things about it is that Columbus can’t ever seem to decide which other city it should feel inferior to. Chicago? That’s just silly, but you hear it sometimes. Charlotte? Austin? Nashville? Those all make sense for various reasons, but none are perfect. Anyway, as I was staring at the box score of this game and failing to find anything really interesting to say about it, I wondered: does Milwaukee compare itself to Minneapolis? To Chicago? Or is it a city that is comfortable in its own skin, never giving a thought to other places (except when making fun of the elitists in Madison)? The thought gripped me for a while so I decided to Google it a few different ways and came up with this:

Is Milwaukee, with its rich industrial legacy, however small it is compared to its heyday, headed toward a manufacturing heavy Detroit, a financial services hub that Minneapolis is, or something altogether different? Bill Bonifas, an executive vice president with The Polacheck Co. Inc., says the answer to that question illustrates two points: Why Milwaukee is different than Detroit and Minneapolis and where the city’s headed.

“You can’t say Milwaukee is going in the direction Detroit is because to begin with Detroit has a more spatial dynamic whereas the money is located in Milwaukee.

“Though I think our momentum matches that of Minneapolis, I don’t think we’ll end up like that city either because that’s such a regional center for finance that Milwaukee is, and will have to be, a combination of the two.”

Detroit never occurred to me, though I have to admit, there are some basic similarities. An industrial past, Great Lakes access, a snobby little overeducated town a short drive to the west. It works if you squint a little.

I know there’s no purpose to this, but does anyone have any ideas here? Lar? And if you don’t know a thing about Milwaukee, does your town engage in this neurotic behavior, or is it just a Columbus thing? Does every Springfield have its Shelbyville?

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13 years ago

There’s something interesting about the fact that Columbus has an inferiority complex about some mysteriously unknown city.  It’s almost as if by propagating this ind of inferiority, Columbus actually pumps itself up by thinking it may actually be on the same level as a Chicago, Austin, or Charlotte.

Trust me when I say that when the rest of the country thinks about Chicago, Austin, or Charlotte, no one thinks, “Gee, nice town.  But I’m partial to Columbus.”

13 years ago

Having been born and bred in NYC, having gone to college in NYC, and now working as an employee of NYC, in fact, having spent practically all of my 22 years on the earth in NYC, I think I can say that New York City doesn’t have much of an inferiority complex, but we sure do have one ridiculous superiorty complex. I don’t know if the natives feel this superiorty most, or if it’s the folks that move here that really keep up this sense of “this is the greatest place in the world and no where else is any good at all.” It’s a remarkable city, of course, but I wish we weren’t so darn smug.

Chris Warren
13 years ago

I grew up in LA, but moved to the Chicago area about 13 years ago, and was STUNNED by the inferiority complex Chicago has to the coastal media centers.  Any time anyone hits the news, the locals light up with “the Chicago connection.”  It’s frankly pretty creepy for such a big city with so much to offer.

Craig Calcaterra
13 years ago

JW—no question it’s more fair game to speculate about someone with A-Rod’s history, but at what point do you have to have some evidence to hang the speculation on? Yeah, all of the news about A-Rod came up recently, but it’s news about PED activity from a long damn time ago and a very different testing/punishment environment.

Rob: you nailed it. Columbus spends all kinds of time wondering about itself and how people view it, and I think the whole point, conscious or otherwise, is to question whether anyone thinks of Columbus at all.  And I’m not sure anyone does.

Which, by the way is a good thing in my mind.  I get really mad at Columbus’ major league ambitions. What’s wrong with being a sleepy town with a high convenience and quality of life factor?  What’s wrong with some cozy anonymity?

13 years ago

JW-I’m also born, raised (does Queens count?—or is that inferiority talking) and educated in NYC and having been forced to move away because you can’t raise kids in Manhattan unless you have the salary of a left handed relief pitcher, I can tell you that in every way, NYC is better than anywhere else you might live. I hope to work on my slider and be back some day.

On another note, Craig, couldn’t agree more about A-Rod.  Based on Olney’s analysis, Matsui must also fall into the “you never know” category, because he sure sucks it up now.

13 years ago

The dynamic here in Milwaukee is a little different than a pure inferiority complex.  Our competition is most definitely with Chicago, but you’ll never find anyone here saying we’re inferior.  We may be jealous of the attention they get, but we are not inferior.

You see, Chicago is the “Midwest” when something is going on around here.  Snowstorm in the Midwest?  Talk about Chicago; even though we got twice the snow here.  Nobody talks about Milwaukee (or Wisconsin in general, really); it’s always about Chicago.

However, Chicago is such a nice place that, on any given weekend, Memorial Day through Labor day, Chicagoans love their city so much that they flood our roads, rivers, lakes, and streams with their arrogance.  They love their ballpark so much that they can’t help but to fill ours with their obnoxious, drunk “fans”.

We hate Chicago because we can’t drive anywhere south or east without going through their godforsaken city paying ungodly fees to enter and leave their lovely state and sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic at 9pm on a Tuesday night.

I’m sorry.  What were we talking about?

13 years ago

That’s a blast from the past.  I haven’t read the ‘Bong in Iowa’ story in ten years, at least. Excellent!

13 years ago

Man, I get called out in the post, now I have no choice but to respond…

It’s a good question and, being a fairly recent transplant, it’s one I wonder about sometimes. I’m not sure I know the full answer yet.

One thing I know for sure, though, is that no one here compares the city to Detroit. There might be some reasons that it *could* work – both big(ger) midwest towns whose main industry abandoned them in the 1970s – but I don’t think it holds up overall. Milwaukee has done a lot in the last ten years or so to move past the industrial ghost-town, and it’s doing a pretty good job. Detroit still has a lot of issues to deal with. Plus, no one wants to think that they’re town is in as bad of shape as Detroit. That’s depressing.

Do we compare ourselves to Minneapolis? I think certain people do, but it’s not with an inferiority complex. Instead, it’s more of a “we can be like them with a little more work”-type of thing. I know that the city leaders are trying to come up with ways to partner with Minneapolis (and Madison)… business partnerships, high-speed rail, etc. And it makes sense. With Chicago so close (particularly to Milwaukee), there’s no way that either city could compete with it but, together, they might be able to create something that can.

Which brings us to Chicago… There’s definitely an inferiority complex-type of thing going on here, but I would say that it’s less of a “we want to be like them”-thing and more of a “we’re sick of them looking down on us”-thing. During the summer months – and esp. during Cubs games – there are plenty of wealthy suburban Chicagoans driving around town, staying in their lake condos, and making the occassional condescending remark about the town. It grates on people’s nerves, so we’re not big fans of theirs. But no one is naive enough to compare our city of 600k people with the 3 million person city (10 million metro) to our south on any kind of even footing.

Personally, I think we’re most like Cleveland, though just a few year’s behind them, and friends of mine who live here but are from Cleveland agree. It’s a little too far away for most people in town to make the comparison, though. I’ve also heard comparisons to Baltimore, but that’s more from the people I know doing community development.

Not sure that answers your question, Craig, but I had to say something. Mostly, I think Milwaukeeans are happy with the city and with the progress it’s making. Getting some more big businesses here would be nice, but that stuff doesn’t happen overnight. And figuring out how to make the city attractive to those companies when Chicago is so close can be a challenge.

13 years ago

The only thing Cleveland is good at is feeling inferior, and in that we take a back seat to nobody.

Milwaukee might have a bit of a complex about Detroit, Columbus about Chicago, Chicago about the east coast…but Cleveland actually announced it’s inferiority in a motto.  “New York may be the Big Apple, But Cleveland’s A Plum.”

13 years ago

Oh, and El Bonte makes some good points as well… FIBs tend to make us a little ranty…

Travis M. Nelson
13 years ago

Dear Buster,,+what+is+a+slump?

You’re welcome,


Jack Marshall
13 years ago

Terry Francona seemed to be under the impression Smoltz’s debut was a spring training game, or something. The capper: the last Sox out in the 9th was made by Ramon Ramirez, the relief pitcher. Yeah, it was 9-3 and there were two outs with the bases empty. But the Red Sox scored 11 runs before making an out once this season, and the another Sox team (in the 50’s) once scored 8 runs after two were out to win in the 9th. Kottaras and Dusty Browne were available on the bench, and it wasn’t exactly Rivera on the mound (Taylor Clipperd?) I can’t recall ever seeing this before, even in real blow-outs. Frankly, it ticked me off.

Jack Marshall
13 years ago

Answered my own question: I’m an idiot. Dusty Brown was sent down before the game to make room for Smoltz, and I was getting a beer when Kottaras came in for Varitek, who has a bad neck. So Tito didn’t wave the white flag after all. Apologies for thinking badly of you all night, Terry.

13 years ago

I personally found, in the year I lived there, that Chicagoans’ inferiority complex, such as it is, was more directed towards the West Coast than the East. I think Chicago was always fairly comfortable in its skin as the “Second City,” knowing that it wasn’t quite New York, but had enough of its own merits that it didn’t really matter. But when LA eclipsed Chicago in population and fame, that started to drive Chicagoans a little batty. I’m from New York (and have since moved back), and when I lived in Chicago I never received any flack or got the impression people were testy about it.

You want a city with a MAJOR inferiority complex? Philly. It’s less than two hours from NYC, and manages to get overshadowed by Boston, even though Boston is smaller. Everyone always talks about the NYC-Boston rivalry, even though Philly is actually closer to NYC. People in Philly have a serious, serious complex about New York – witness Phillies fans chanting “Mets suck” after they WON THE WORLD SERIES. I like Philly, but those people need to calm down.

New York’s arrogance can be annoying, at times, but it’s more or less justified. Being an outer-borough guy, though, I do get piqued at Manhattan’s arrogance, because there’s a whole lot more to New York than Manhattan. I’d guess everyone has their bogeymen.

13 years ago

Smoltz was an improvement over Dice-K.

13 years ago

Vin- Philly does not have an inferiority complex.  We just hate everybody.

Are you saying that the phillies’ fans chanted “Mets suck” immediately after winning the world series?  because that’s just ridiculous.  or are you saying that the phillies’ fans chanted “mets suck” during a mets game when they were quieting down the mets fans who were starting a “let’s go mets” chant? 

If you want inferiority, look no farther than Mets fans.  A team in their own town casts a godzilla-like shadow over them.  and despite outsepnding everyone in their division by tens of millions every year, three other NL East teams have won world series since the Mets last won a championship. 

And a serious question, in what way does Boston overshadow Philly?  I’m really curious, because I don’t get it.  if you’re talking about the success of the boston sports teams relative to Philly’s, than I guess there would be some envy.  but I don’t see an inferiority complex about Boston.  Boston, as a city, is not even a thought to Philadelphians.

13 years ago

George –

I heard/read some story like that – it actually might’ve been “F*** the Mets” and not “Mets suck.” I forget where I read/heard it. I wasn’t there, though, so maybe I’m wrong. Philly still strikes me as a place with an inferiority complex, though.

My observation about Boston was based more on the fact that Boston receives more national attention than Philadelphia does, even though it’s smaller. Personally, I do not think Boston overshadows Philly – if anything, I like Philly more – but it just seems that people outside the Northeast have a more well-formed idea of Boston than they do of Philly.

Mets fans do not have an inferiority complex, aside from a few jerks, maybe. Most of us wouldn’t even want to be Yankee fans.

13 years ago

Oh, and the way I heard it, yeah, it was immediately after they won the World Series. But look, I’ll be honest, I’m trading in rumor here.

Jason B
13 years ago

Denis Leary used to do a rant about people from NYC wearing that fact like a badge of honor, because you had to be tough to survive. But it’s not the same “mugging, subway crash, killing spree, hooker-on-every-corner” type cesspool that it was once made out to be.  Now it’s more about the pace of life (FAST!) than about the imminent but unknowable danger that you may face stepping out of your 550 square foot studio apartment every day.

I live in Nashville, which as a city finds itself in a pretty good spot, insofar as most of the major cities around here that we could potentially be compared to and/or feel inferior to (Atlanta and Memphis) have their own issues. Very few people who have ever lived in both Memphis and Nashville prefer the former.  And the economy in Atlanta (and throughout most of Georgia) is in the cracks of hell right now. 

At the same time, we know that we’ll never be a major megacity, and don’t really have any desire to be, and don’t have anything to be smug about.  Our citywide self-esteem checks in at a pretty reasonable level, I guess is what I’m getting at.  We’re pretty content to be a midlevel player with something of a niche in the music industry and a pretty good quality of life.

Wish the Sounds had played Albequerque here, dammit.  I coulda gone and booed Manny lustily.

(Manny Parra that is.)

13 years ago

Vin- Outside of my 20+ years in Philly, I lived in Miami and DC for about 7 years total.  From my time there and its small sample size, Boston does appear to be cooler or hipper to outsiders.  I have no problem with Boston, I enjoyed a brief stay there.  I’m just saying that Boston is just too far away for Philly to consider it a rival city.

As for Mets fans.  The ones that come to CBP are the annoying ones.  I’m sure there are ten laid back people for every one crazy that feels the need to annoy a nation.  I just mostly get to interact with the crazies.

13 years ago

I’m talking from a viewpoint of living in Philly over 30 years ago, but the people there were nice, there was no detectable inferiority complex because they were insular.  They had always lived there, wouldn’t dream of anywhere else, spent summers at Wilwood because as I said before there is no New Jersey.
Philly fans take no s*** when they see poor performance.  As a matter of fact, they don’t even spend their money to show up. In 76 I lived in West Chester PA which back then was considered farmland except for downtown where you could still bet on a cock fight if you wanted to.  My Dad called and said he had a business friend that had 4 tickets to the Eagles game, did I want them? Having nothing better to do, went with 3 other guys and were escorted to Len Tose’s box on the 50 yard line. This was probably before even Dick Vermeil’s time, and back when the Phillies would swoon every August if they made it that far.
It was a fabulous place during that BiCentennial time with Rizzo as mayor, last big-city boss I saw til I moved to Chicago years later.

13 years ago

If players have great years, they probably used steroids.

If players have off years, they probably used steroids.

If players get hurt, they probably used steroids.

If players stay healthy, they probably used steroids.

That seems fair.

Jeff V.
13 years ago

Yea I have nothing good to say about my O’s after that three game series myself.  On the bright side I have taken to saying “Jeff Stone” whenever I am refering to Felix Pie, it makes me chuckle.

13 years ago

I wasn’t able to watch Smoltz, but followed it on Gameday a while.  It seemed like he left a lot of pitches up in the zone, esp. in the 1st inning when he gave up 4 runs and a hundred hits.  Some were 4-seamers, and maybe they were supposed to be high, but there were pitches Gameday identified as sliders, too, which I assume were hangers given the location.

13 years ago

Craig!  Before getting swept and looking stupid in front of 25 people in Miami, the O’s took 2 of 3 from your Braves, 2 of 3 from the Mets, and swept the Phillies in Philly.  Not much love from you during that period – go look it up.

13 years ago

I cant speak much for Milwaukee, but here in Boston, as you may have heard, there is a slight Inferiority complex/obsession with New York.

13 years ago

My hometown of Columbia, MD really has little to compare itself to directly, since it’s a planned community. Many of the youth grow up wishing they lived in a more normal town/city.

My college town College Park, MD, usually comes out looking badly compared to other college towns.

Now I live in New York. You know how that goes, comparison-wise. I do often get into spirited debates about the merits of Brooklyn vs. uptown Manhattan.

Jason @ IIATMS
13 years ago

Wouldn’t Tito Francona be offended?  Why not further the Jackson reference by calling Ben Francisco simply “Ben”?

Craig Calcaterra
13 years ago

You’re right, Jason.  Ben may be a good nickname; the two of us need look no more for a new one.

13 years ago

Well, the people of Milwaukee do have a lemon tree…and also marry their cousins.

13 years ago

Craig, give it a couple more views.  Grande is terrible and he brings Welsh down with him.  Grande never stops talking, fake laughs at himself, and reads ads as if his life depends on it.
A typical at bat always begins like this:
“Coming to the plate, Brandon…….Phillips – you know his story.”
He almost always says the players first name then pauses, then last name followed by “you know his story.”  he does this with visiting teams as well.  And sometimes, no, we don’t know his story.  he is also good for a lot of calls of “blooper to right…OFF the WALL.”  Since when does a blooper go off the wall?
And the fake laughs, always at something he has said himself, ughh.
Sorry for the rant, Grande has driven Reds fans nuts for 15 years.
Welsh needs to grow his sweet mustache back out and do the games with Thom Brennamen.

13 years ago

First, one minor point: “the MARLINS beat the Phillies in this series, are playing much better baseball overall, and have a lineup that could bash them across the country and back, yet Philadelphia remains in first place and the Rays are in fourth, six games back.” Hey, I say one Florida team is the same as another, but I suppose there might be a handful of fans out there that actually feel there’s s a difference. maybe.

I was struck with the same Morris thought when reading Olney’s piece (though like you I was astounded at the lack of thought that went into the lengthy discussion about A-Rod’s demise). But the one thing I have to say in defense of those who want to play the “one never knows” is that perhaps, maybe, possibly the fact that he so blatantly lied about his PED use before being caught means he is slightly more fair game for speculation. Though I don’t think Olney’s reporting passes Baker’s rigid test. Except of course Olney is a seasoned reporter so we should give him the benefit of the doubt, right? Right? Bah.

13 years ago

Since there’s absolutely no sense of superiority here in New Jersey-
a)We’re either suburban New York City or Philadelphia
b)There’s some third tier gambling mecca “down the shore” that gets less competitive by the day
c) We wouldn’t even have a commercial tv station (WWOR my9) were it not for FCC rules.
I’ll stick with Milwaukee. Small Chicago with interesting nooks and crannies, not a bad jaunt to get a ticket for when the Packers would play in old County Stadium, great circus parade, some attempt at downtown revitilization. It kind of reminded me of Baltimore (which always lived in DC’s shadow)Milwaukee to Detroit takes toooooo much squinting, Detroit gave up about 1955 and rather than even try. There again, I’m still mad about Tiger Stadium.
Then again, I’m still mad about Rivera in the 01 Series.

Andy L
13 years ago

Milwaukee does have an inferiority complex, but definitely to Chicago and not Detroit or Minneapolis.  Milwaukee is bigger than Minneapolis (much bigger) and Detroit seems so far away – getting around Lake Michigan is a bitch.  But we gotta go down to Chi-Town sometimes, if only to take a flight out of O’Hare.  And it will always remind us…

Kevin S.
13 years ago

Buster Olney followed up on A-Rod today with this: “Fifth: It’s a statement of fact that throughout baseball, skepticism about player performance among players in their mid-30s is growing, and it will continue to have a direct impact on how teams assess what contracts to offer players.”

If he can defend his insinuations about A-Rod with that statement, then Jered Morris is absolutely in the free and clear.