And That Happened

Dodgers 8, Mets 0: Somewhere on Long Island there’s a guy who went to last night’s game for the express purpose of booing Manny and holding up a sign with a syringe on it or something. And, yes, Manny was booed and was even ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes! Dude from Long Island was probably loving it! Too bad, then, that Manny also knocked in three runs and then, after his ejection, watched the Dodgers complete a pretty damn dominant performance from the clubhouse while eating candy and drinking soda or whatever it is Manny does.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 1: Phun Pfact: Map makers will sometimes slip in phantom streets or towns or something so that they can tell if a competing map maker is really just copying their work. I suspect that the people who put together box scores do the same thing. Evidence: the “pitcher” named Marc Rzepczynski. He doesn’t really exist. He’s a copyright protection device. He was created by the NBC Sports people so that they can tell if Yahoo! is ripping off the scores. At least I’m pretty sure that’s the case.

Tigers 8, Royals 5: Verlander wasn’t particularly sharp, but he strikes out 11 because the Royals aren’t particularly sharp either. According to the game story, Verlander’s 141 strikeouts are the most by a Detroit pitcher before the All-Star Game in 37 years. Of course that was Mickey Lolich, and Mickey Lolich used to pitch approximately 598 innings a year back in the early 70s, so Verlander’s feat is far more impressive.

Pirates 6, Astros 3: I can’t think of a single thing to say about this game, so I’ll say this: my son, Carlo, recently discovered the book Where the Wild Things Are. He loves it. I loved it when I was a kid, and I love reading it to him. I think our love of it is based on the fact that, deep down, we both have anger issues. Nothing crazy — neither of us are violent or bombastic — but both he and I are easily frustrated and often stomp around a bit in something not unlike the book’s wild rumpus when things don’t go just the way we planned. The book, you see, is really about anger, and how it’s natural and follows a predictable but necessary arc before resolving itself and how ultimately it’s OK. But the thing is, the beauty of the book has a lot to do with the fact that it’s only ten sentences long and can be read in a couple of minutes, even if you linger on the pictures a bit. It follows that anger arc and resolves itself pretty quickly, resulting in an almost therapeutic effect. Which makes me wonder how in the hell they’re going to make a movie out of it. And why they felt the need to in the first place. I hope my son never gets wind of the movie, because I don’t want the wonderful few minutes we spend with the book each night to be sullied in any way.

Sorry Pirates and Astros fans. I’ll try to pay more attention tomorrow night.

White Sox 10, Indians 6: I’m struggling to think of a trade that was as disastrous for both teams involved as the Perez-DeRosa trade has been this far for Cleveland and St. Louis. Paul Konerko drove in seven. Why is it, despite the fact that he’s 33 years-old and has been in the league for 12 years, that I still think of him as a Dodgers’ prospect? Same thing happened to me with Robin Ventura for his whole career. No matter how old he got, I pictured him playing for Oklahoma State in the 1987 College World Series. Maybe the White Sox uniforms have some sort of time warping effect or something.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 0: Both Brewers’ bench coach Willie Randolph and hitting coach Dale Sveum were ejected. I said at the beginning of the year that it may be awkward for both of these former managers to be in subordinate roles this year. I’d like to think, then, that their ejections were really auditions for any managerial openings that pop up the rest of the year.

Braves 2, Cubs 1: Javier Vazquez continues to get no run support, but he didn’t need much last night, as he gave a single run in seven innings. His ERA is down to 2.95, but because his record is only 6-7, he doesn’t make the All-Star Game. Total ripoff.

Red Sox 5, A’s 2: Round numbers galore: Beckett’s 10th win, Bay’s 20th home run, Giambi’s 0 for 4. I guess what I’m saying is that nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Reds 4, Phillies 3: Way to bounce back after getting slaughtered. A couple of homers for Brandon Phillips and a single off of Brad Lidge carried the day.

Yankees 10, Twins 2: Production from all over the Yankees’ order in this one, as Cano, Gardner and Cervelli combine to go 7-14 with 6 RBI.

Rockies 5, Nationals 4: Defensive breakdowns killed the Nats, with the last being a potentially inning-ending comebacker that Joe Beimel threw to the wrong guy down at second.

Rangers 8, Angels 5: And we’re tied again, as Andruw Jones — on an unexpected hot streak — blasts a three-run homer in the course of a big fifth inning. In addition to the game, the Angels lose Vlad to a knee injury that, while maybe not terribly serious, has to be enough to keep him from ever playing the field again, right? I mean, he has to be a DH at this point, doesn’t he?

Orioles 12, Mariners 4: Luke Scott was a one-man wrecking crew (3-4, HR, 3B, 7 RBI). From the game story: “Ichiro Suzuki has turned down MLB’s request to participate in the Home Run Derby.” Wait, what? The guy hits six homers a year. The only reason they’d want him in there is as a cynical rating ploy for the Japanese market, which I’m assuming gets the All-Star broadcast. Good for him for not wanting to be used like that.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 3: Four in a row for Arizona, all coming after Mark Reynolds yelled at everyone on his team. Coincidence? Well, yes, it most like is a coincidence, actually.

Giants 3, Marlins 0: It’s probably against the rules for Tim Lincecum to have dressed up in Barry Zito’s uniform and pitch last night, but he apparently did it anyway (8.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

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Craig Calcaterra
13 years ago

Ditmars—I can’t remember where I read it, but yes, mapmakers really do that. Or at least they used to.  The factoid has stuck with me for years because I too thought it was really cool.  I just hope I never find myself on one of those phantom streets or trying to get a tank a gas in one of those phantom towns.

As for Wild Things: all above points taken. I can see the movie being cool. I just don’t see it being at all possible to accomplish what the book does given the very narrow (and wonderful) goal it accomplishes, and as a person who has a hard time keeping an open mind when it comes to things he loves very much, I’m sort of skeptical.

Sara K
13 years ago

The Brewers’ pitchers combined for 9 Ks, 7 of them to the Cardinals’ pitchers.  Gah.

13 years ago

I work for a company that provides data to pharmaceutical companies.  It’s a somewhat competitive market, and it’s quite common for the different data providers to include some completely false records for the sake of determining if any of the other data providers are stealing their data.  So I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to find out that mapmakers do the same thing.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
13 years ago

I’m willing to bet that Ichiro is a lot like Wade Boggs, who could hit HRs at will in BP but preferred to hit for a high average. Bill James wistfully wrote about this in the late 80s when Boggs returned to his six-or-seven-per rate in ‘88 after busting out 24 in ‘87

Jack Marshall
13 years ago

My, you’re cynical this morning, CC.I think Ichiro turned them down because he likes the myth that he is such a great hitter he can hit homers if he wants to. The intriguing aspect is that, at least according to the last Ty Cobb biography, some players in Ichiro’s general category have really been like that: the book says that late in his career Cobb told everyone he was going for homers that day just to prove hitting them was no great accomplishment, hit a couple, and then pronounced distaste for that kind of brute game and never swung for the fences again. I would have loved to see Wade Boggs, who had the rep of being a batting practice slugger, in a home run contest.

Craig Calcaterra
13 years ago

I never bought that Ty Cobb story.  Cobb was a lot of things, but among those things were (a) that he was very, very smart; and (b) he was very, very greedy.

As for being smart: there is no way he didn’t know and appreciate the inherent value of a home run vs. a triple, double or single.  Whether or not he had a big home run day once upon a time (and I think Neyer or someone debunked the particulars of Cobb’s story a few years ago), if he could hit home runs at will, he would have, because it would have simply been smarter baseball in the 1920s, which is when that story took place.

As for greedy: he, more than anyone, knew the kind of money Babe Ruth was making, and if Cobb had been reborn as a home run hitter after years of being a batting champion, it would have made him a lot more money than he already had. 

Each of these things lead me to conclude that Cobb, while possible capable of a bit more power than he showed in his career, was no home run hitter, and he knew it.

Craig Calcaterra
13 years ago

Hey, I kind of liked how that turned out, so I’m gonna make a post out of it.

Jack Marshall
13 years ago

Honored to inspire. I heard the biographer interviewed on that point on NPR, and he was adamant that he had it fully documented—-frankly, it all sounded like Babe’s called homerun, a bit. Cobb did hit the homers, but probably claimed after he fact that he had been trying to.  I guess my point was that I would have liked to see him in a home run hitting contest too…and I bet he would have turned it down, just like Ichiro.

13 years ago

RE: Wild Things

I love the book and have heard the rumors about the movie having a difficult shoot but if Spike Jonze were a ballplayer, he’d be on a hitting streak that just passed 40 games or entering the 8th inning with a perfect game intact.

His music videos represent the finest work in the genre ( Jonze).

Being John Malkovich is a mind-bending classic and Adaptation is nearly as good.

Of course, by mentioning the streak/perfect game I just violated the rule that you don’t talk about these things while they are in progress. Here’s hoping the reverse jinx works out for Jonze.

13 years ago

Craig, it wasn’t just the “same old” Giambi last night, he was particularly feeble. That 0-4 you cited included 3 K’s and a GDP. The GDP was induced when Beckett allowed Giambi to actually place bat on ball. Previously Beckett had fanned him with very little effort, and by throwing above 92 could avoid Giambi contact altogether. He slowed a slider to the high 80’s and Giambi obligingly ground into the DP.

On a positive note, Giambi was dropped to fifth in the lineup from cleanup as “new guy” Scott Hairston was inserted at 3rd, pushing Holliday to cleanup and Giambi to 5th.

I will now reconstitue yesterday’s comment to the effect of how many teams have a # 5 hitter with the following line:


He’s not even walking anymore. His plate discipline has vanished along with his ability to hit anything above 90 into fair ground.

I wonder if the the Bay Area had anyone like either Posnanski or Rany, or both, how long this situation would last. As it is, it’s like a family secret around here, the embarrasing aunt who wets her pants in public that nobody will talk about.

In the SF press it’s all Giants, Panda, and Lincecum. From the Chron I understand that, but from the Merc and the blogs I don’t. I guess it’s just too sad.

13 years ago

This is a side note to everything else I guess… but thought someone should know…

Looks like when the Sox traded for Tony Pena, San Deigo Swindled them and sent over the Royals Short Stop (Per Yahoo)

Mark Runsvold
13 years ago

Man, Craig, I’m such an Ichiro apologist. But you should really know that he hits lots of homers in batting practice. Maybe only the Mariners broadcasters talk about that, but they talk about it a lot. And it leaves me with the impression that everybody is talking about it all the time.

13 years ago

I don’t know how well Jonze is going to do capturing the feel of the original story, but it certainly seems like it will be quite pretty to look at regardless.

13 years ago

In the Royals game, Bloomquist, Freel and Pena were all in the lineup from the 6th inning on.

There’s no point to that, really, except you didn’t need to apologize to Royals fans for calling us brain dead, or whatever it was.

13 years ago

I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but I am inclined to give Eggers and Jonze the benefit of the doubt here.

13 years ago

Craig, I hope this isn’t a stupid question because I try to be reasonably intelligent when commenting on your site, but is that really true about the map makers putting in phantom streets?  I don’t know why, but that just sounds really cool.

I’m wrestling over whether or not to take my little man to the movie, because I don’t want to spoil the book either.  I’m leaning towards seeing it by myself first and then I’ll decide to take him or not.

13 years ago

mapmakers do put in streets.

there is an urban legend out there that someone was attempting to get away from a car chasing them, and relied on a map that indicated a through road that did not exist, and then (invariably, as all urban legends go) she was killed by a man wearing nothing but a hook, a hockey mask, and a sewer gator around his neck. 

The roads, in reality, are small dead-end streets of minimal length.