Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Indians Add Vinny To Ever-Growing List Of Vinny(ies)

The Cleveland Indians may be going through a tough stretch-they were swept by the Yankees and have lost five consecutive games-but that's not going to stop the second place team in the AL Central from making history.

Cleveland claimed former Mets' utility infielder Vinny Rottino off waivers, and with relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano already on the roster, the Tribe lead the majors in total Vinnies/Vinnys.

Let's see how Indians' fans are handling the news:

"It's almost too much Vinnie for one man to handle," said longtime Indians season ticket holder Mort Lyons. "I feel like if I don't sit down and have a cool drink of water, read a little bit from The Book of Vinnie, I may Vinnie all over the place."

"Talk to me when they get a Vito," said Vito Migliaccio.

"I told you I did not want to be interviewed," said Jenn Sanderson.

The staff at Offbase looks out for its readers; we know where our Vinnie is buttered. Here's a breakdown of active Vinnies/Vinnys:

1. Rottino. Had a .182/.308/.394 slash line with New York before being designated for assignment. The Racine, Wisconsin native's full name is Vincent Antonio Rottino, but if he had been born in Yonkers, New York, he would've been No. 93 on the depth chart amongst Vincent Antonio Rottinos.

2. Pestano. In 2011 led all Vinnies in strike outs with 84.

3. Vin Mazzaro, Kansas City RHP. May 16, 2011: appeared in same game as Pestano (tying the single-game record for Vins/Vinnies appearances) and allowed 14 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings pitched.

4. Vicente Padilla, Boston RHP. 'Vicente' is Nicaraguan for 'Vinnie'.

Active until recently:

Vinnie Chulk, Milwaukee RHP. After not pitching in the majors in 2010 or 2011, appeared in seven games for the Brewers in April and May (10.00 ERA) before a demotion to the minors May 21. Recently appeared in the hit play Too Many Vinnies.

Matt Kemp Is A Jerkface

I hate throwing around harsh language. I'm both a gentleman and a scholar (according to my mom) so only on the rare occasion would I stoop to calling someone that word. But Matt Kemp is , earmuffs kids, a jerkface. I said it. But why? Kemp, the NL Home Run Derby captain, will not pick Bryce Harper to participate in the event he was born to win...
"It's not because he's a rookie. It's just that there are other guys out there that are capable,'' Kemp told the newspaper. "I'm not saying he wouldn't do a good job in the Home Run Derby. He's going to have plenty of time to participate in many Home Run Derbies. Just not this year. Nothing against him. I love watching him play.''
I mean, really, who wants to see Harper in the Home Run Derby anyway? Oh, everybody who's heard of baseball? Okay, put your hands down.

Sure, Harper only has seven homers in 224 plate appearances (as a 19-year-old). And his 13.3 home run to fly ball ratio is behind Will Venable and Michael Saunders. But having Harper in the HRD is good for the sport and fans even if he doesn't make the All Star Game, which I believe he should. The hype, the ratings, the money... I'll be surprised if Bud Selig doesn't intervene and Harper magically winds up in the HRD.

Somebody close to Kemp should tell him to do the right thing and pick Harper. Does anyone have Rihanna's number? Those last two sentences are actually, completely unrelated.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yasel Puig Moves To Mexico

[Head shot for Yasel Puig used by ESPN]

Cuban defector and supposed baseball player, Yasel Puig, has established residency in Mexico. That sounds like one zany rafting adventure. Puig has his papers filed with MLB and the process in believed to be complete for his free agency quest. After fellow Cubans, Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, signed multi-year $30+ million deals, Puig is looking to get paid by July 2nd before the new CBA crushes his American dream of owning a backyard full of jungle cats (it's the Mike Tyson way).

The 21-year-old Puig is somewhere between the development of MLB ready Cespedes and Single-A appropriate Soler. I don't know what that means for his contract hopes but, damn, Cubans have cool sounding names.

I say Yoenis Cespedes three or four times a day in normal conversations. While I have no clue how Yasel Puig is pronounced, I'm going with how the gypos said "dog" in Snatch. Yasel Pige.

I don't necessarily care where Puig signs or how his name is actually pronounced, I just want more Cuban defectors in MLB.

Can Kevin Youkilis Survive Deep Dish Pizza?

By now, you've heard all about former Red Sock third bagger, Greek god of walks, bald guy, Kevin Youkilis, having a falling out with Boston and getting shipped to the lighter colored socks franchise for some stuff. While there were rumors about Youk's health and relationship with new Boston manager, Bobby Valentine (possibly a crazy person), the Boston faithful gave him a proper curtain call.

There are plenty of sports media sites than analyzed the trade and wondered if the Sawx got enough in return or graded the outcome. Well, I'm not that kind of blog. We care about the important things. Will Youkilis enjoy playing in a deep dish pizza city?

The man has that certain physique that says "I'll stab you for that last slice" and playing against the Yankees frequently must have led to several post game pizza parties. After years of New York style pizza, can Youk adjust to a pie that looks more like a cake?

More importantly, did White Sox GM Kenny Williams even consider if Youkilis' body would reject deep dish pizza before making the trade? I can't be sure as the White Sox organization has blocked several of my email accounts after I wanted to know what kind of hot dogs Adam Dunn was eating last year.

But we will find out soon enough. Maybe Youkilis prefers deep dish pizza and has a monster second half of the season. Maybe too much dough kills him. This is obviously a better question for projection type people like the Fangraphs staff. Who have also blocked most of my email accounts.

My guess is the increase in carbs will likely make a slow runner into a jogger. It's a slippery slope from there that often results in a daytime talk show host having a wall removed from your house to rescue you. Deep dish pizza can ruin lives.

I'm rooting for Youk. And he might need it. His mental state is still a little fragile after his first game after the trade...
"I know where I'm at," Youkilis said. "I'll go to the hotel room, wake up, put clothes on, and not worry about packing clothes and all that other stuff."
Sounds like the man on the verge of a pizza binge if you ask me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

David Ortiz Calls Boston A Sh*thole

Sam Malone isn't going to be happy about this. Neither is Tawmmy. David Ortiz is having a monster season at the plate. If the 18 home runs and .313/.397/.614 line don't do it for you, his .417 wOBA is ninth in baseball (Mike Trout's .410 is 11th). At 35-33, the Red Sox are six games out of the East and three games out of the Wild Card.

But Boston fans will have something other than being in fourth place to be outraged over after Big Papi dropped the "s" word all over WEEI. For once, he wasn't talking about s'mores. Ortiz said playing in Boston is becoming the shithole it used to be. I can't wait to see PR people try to spin this fantastic rant...
“I don’t know, man, I’m just tired of dealing with the drama here. This is baseball, man. It seems like everything that goes on around here is like one of those congress decisions that will affect the whole nation. It ain’t like that, man, this is baseball. We’re supposed to have fun, to have our performance out there at the highest level. every day is something new, some drama, some more shit. I’m tired of that, man. I’m here to play baseball, man.”


"It's starting to become the [expletive]hole it used to be," Ortiz said. "Playing here used to be so much fun."
Yeah, this is a kid's game. The media needs to stop getting so worked up over baseball. *cough* DAVID ORTIZ HATES BOSTON *cough* KATE UPTON NAKED *cough* pageviews *cough*

Okay, so maybe he's venting about the media and this will all be taken out of context. He should have just blamed Buster Olney for calling the clubhouse environment "toxic" or shoved Bobby Valentine into traffic. Ortiz knows the Boston Red Sox hype is over-the-top, why incite a riot?

Not that it matters to me, I love a good shitstorm. And Ortiz has stirred one up for us. Manny Ramirez must be so proud.

Troy Tulowitzki Wrecked His Groin

In a story not involving Jager bombs and regret, Troy Tulowitzki wrecked his groin. It's surgery bad. Sure, you took one for the team last weekend and had to take a trip to the free clinic but it didn't require surgery.

Tulo has come down with a case of Hockey Goalie/Baseball Pitcher Syndrome which sounds cooler than Athlete’s Pubalgia. Or my layman's definition of it, crazy scar tissue messing up a nerve near your junk. That sentence is an example of why I didn't get into med school.

The Rockies short stop and franchise player (co-franchise with Carlos Gonzalez) will make his fourth career trip to the disabled list and miss roughly eight weeks. But, boy, Tulowitzki has a ton of DTDs on his player card for someone in the second year of a $157.75 million contract. Tulo is a high pick in a lot of franchise-style mock draft and fantasy drafts. For good reason, he's a good defensive short stop (even if UZR is meh on him this year) and a monster at the plate. But if health is a skill, he lacks it.

The good news, if there is any, is that Tulowitzki at least has the bothersome injury diagnosed and can get it fixed. He's not in good spirits, though...
"My spirits aren't good," Tulowitzki said Tuesday.

It was already a lost season for the 25-42 Rockies that are 16 games out of the West and 11.5 out of a Wild Card. For attendance sake, they better hope CarGo doesn't break his collar bone falling down stairs carrying deer meat.

And with the weekend approaching, please, dear readers, take care of your groins.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why My Girlfriend Is Jealous Of Mike Trout

I recently wrote a post at Halo Hangout asking if the Mike Trout love has gone too far. My quick, and obvious, answer was "no." In fact, Trout probably ins't getting enough love. My girlfriend, on the other hand, disagrees.

According to her, a Yankees fan I might add, I write and talk about Trout too much. She's starting to get jealous. Of course, she has nothing to worry about as there are some pretty harsh words in the restraining orders his lawyers have sent me.

Okay, she might have a point. I did petition FanSided to change to Or, I'm willing to write nonprofit about him just to get the word out. You can kind of see her point now, right?

Well, whatever. Trout is doing some amazing things this season. After a brief and disappointing stint with the Angels in 2011, Trout is putting up MVP numbers despite missing the first month of the season crushing Triple-A pitchers. I've already dusted off the spot on his mantle where I think his AL Rookie of the Year trophy should go. I have a spot picked out for his MVP trophy too but the cops respond to alarms promptly in some areas of Orange County.

He's leading the American League in stolen bases with 19. Now qualified for the batting title, Trout is second in AVG (.337) behind Paul Konerko (.357), third in OBP (.397) trailing Konerko (.431) and Joe Mauer (.415) and third in fWAR (3.4) just tenths of points behind Josh Hamilton (3.6) and Adam Jones (3.5).

He currently leads baseball in prom invitations sent by me at six, sorry Chase. Mike Trout is on his way to multiple All Star Games, MVPs and might even drag the Angels and Albert Pujols to a few World Series titles. How can you not love a guy who might be the next Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays? Mike Trout is almost an urban legend at this point in his career.

Yeah, maybe I write or talk too much about Trout. She has a point. And boobs. I'll try to tame my enthusiasm for the kid.

(Just kidding, Mike)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Good Month For Rex Brothers (Singular)

June has been a good one for Rex Brothers.

I was hoping for a very different Rex Brothers. Sadly, the Colorado reliever is just one player. When the 2009 MLB Rule 4 draft buzz about Rex Brothers was occurring, my first thought was there were Rex Brothers like the Upton brothers but twins. One lefty and one righty, naturally, but otherwise identical. Ideally, one of them would have been evil but that was more of a pipe dream.

It was set up perfectly, too. The Red Sox could have drafted Rick Rex (non-evil, lefty) with the 28th pick and the Yankees could have drafted Raul Brothers (evil, righty) with the next pick, 29th overall. The saga would continue on for years like Superman vs. Lex Luther or Batman vs. the Joker or horses vs. zebras or Me vs. sanity.

It was too good to be true. Rex Brothers is simply one left handed reliever selected by the Rockies in 2009 with the 34th overall pick in the sandwich round. Brothers pitched 40.2 innings in 2011 and 23.1 so far in 2012 with a career 13.22 K/9.

He's been better this June with 14 strikeouts against three walks in eight innings. Brothers has given up two hits and one run that came on a home run. Just 24-years-old, Brothers might have a closer role in his future. But he's only one man.

Other baseball brothers that are just one: Francis Brothers (CHW minors, 1946), John Brothers (CIN minors, 1990-1994) and Michael Brothers (2002, parts unknown).

Other brothers that should be just one: Wayans brothers (Damon), Baldwin brothers (Alec), Wright brothers (Orville) and the Ringling brothers (Otto).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks that doesn't occur daily.

Today's honorary bat boy is Tom Nieto.

[Nieto autographed 1983 Fleer. Estimated value: 17 popcorn kernels]

Yankees 5, Nationals 3 (14). MTD already covered Bryce Harper's big day at the plate, but how about the New York bullpen? After Corey Wade surrendered Ian Desmond's tying, solo home run in the eighth, the Yankees sent five relievers to the mound and they combined for 6 1/3 innings of three-hit ball. Freddy Garcia, who last pitched in an inter-squad game in Spring Training, 2004, got the win with two scoreless innings, and Mark Teixeira's two-run double was the difference in the 14th as the Yankees won their eighth straight.

Brewers 6, Twins 2. Chris Parmelee: DNP.

Athletics 6, Padres 4. Oakland won its fifth consecutive game despite the fact that it continues to A). open the clubhouse door when Coco Crisp knocks, and B). bat him lead off.

Crisp did draw a walk, his 13th of the season, which leads all Cocos. The A's got Jonny Gomes' pinch-hit, two-run home run (snapping Gomes' 0-for-34 as a pinch-hitter) in the seventh to help hold off the Pads, who were eliminated from the 2013 playoff race with the loss.

Gomes: "We're starting to get a little character in here. It's a nice situation." 

The 2012 Oakland Athletics: with character since Tuesday.

Mariners 7, Giants 4. This isn't about how much Tim Lincecum still stinks (5 IP, 5 ER), it's more about THIS pitching quartet for Seattle-Kevin Millwood, Hisashi Iwakuma, Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen-and some facts you might not know:

1. Millwood: 53-years old; pitched for the 1972 Baltimore Orioles.
2. Iwakuma: Once ate an ash tray to win a bar bet.
3. Furbush: Impersonated Offbase editor MTD in the made-for-TV movie Hey, Get Back Here With My Front Lawn!
4. Wilhelmsen: During a drunken evening in May, 2006, married a parking meter.

Tigers 4, Rockies 1. Wilin Rosario Watch: 1-for-3.

Reds 4, Mets 1. Good news for Cincinnati as Scott Rolen (.174/.238/.304) began a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville Saturday night.

Other games, but down here....

Pirates 9, Indians 2
Redsox 4, Cubs 3
Bluejays 6, Phillies 5 (10)
Cardinals 10, Royals 7
Rangers 8, Astros 3
Orioles 5, Braves 0
Whitesox 5, Dodgers 4
Angels 2, Diamondbacks 1
Marlins 4, Devilrays 3 (15)

Bryce Harper Wore A Platinum Sombrero

Baseball phenom Bryce Harper had a bad game on Saturday. And that's being generous. Before I get to his awful night at the plate and some historical stats, let's keep in mind Bryce is just 19-years-old and not just playing Major League Baseball but playing it well. Most of us have had days that could have gone better when we were 19. When I was in college, I gave hobo in Little Five Points $5 to battle rap against a dog. Bad example, that was awesome.

Bryce wasn't so fortunate against the Yankees. Harper went 0-7 with 5 strikeouts and 0 that's a clown question bros. Disappointing all the way around. The Platinum Sombrero (5 strikeouts in a game) isn't that common in baseball. Harper's shiny Mexican hat is the 126th since Lefty Williams in 1918.

There was only one Platinum Sombrero in 2011 when Chris Davis accomplished the feat. Harper marks the third in 2012 following Cody Ross and the aforementioned, swing happy Davis. Davis must have been nodding in approval Saturday when Harper managed to only see 24 pitches in his 7 plate appearances and swung and missed 11 times. Eerily similar to my Little League career.

Harper is just a kid, though. So how bad was his night historically? Three players 21-years-old or younger have earned a Platinum Sombrero. The most recent, and next youngest at 20, was Jason Heyward in 2010. Roberto Meija did it as a 21-year-old in 1993 for the Rockies. But I think that's when Colorado was running a promotion where you got to play for them if you collected the most Count Chocula box tops. Sammy Sosa also did it as a 21-year-old in 1990 when he was a skinny kid playing for the White Sox.

Harper is going to have better days. Many, much better days. But I think this one single game, in its smallest of samples sizes, answers the most important question in baseball right now. And the answer is Mike Trout.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

What's Next For Manny Ramirez?

The Manny Ramirez comeback attempt with the Oakland A's came to an abrupt end. While it was a much more cordial separation than Vlad Guerrero's split with the Blue Jays, the result was the same, a release to free agency. Manny hit .302/.348/.349 in 69 (hee-hee) plate appearances at Triple-A and felt he was ready for that promotion but the A's simply didn't have room for him considering their potent offense has a .295 wOBA which is good for fourth worst in baseball. Ramirez was uncharacteristically sane about everything...
"The A's treated me amazingly during all this time, but sadly didn't have space for me and this is something I can't control," Ramirez told's Enrique Rojas by phone. "I'm going home to continue my training hoping to get the chance to play again. I'll be waiting for that call and if God believes (playing) is the best for me, then it'll happen. If not, I'll understand."
While some younger fans will remember Manny for his silly antics or failed drug tests, he was one of baseball's great hitters. From 1995 to 2006 (his age 23-34 years), Ramirez hit 451 home runs and averaged a .318/.415/.606 line. But before Manny aimlessly wonders into the sunset and maybe/might not/should/could take along time into the Hall of Fame, he thinks he has some gas left in the tank. Here are a few of the options I believe he has to wind down his career...

1. The Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are hitting .225/.279/.359 as a team and their .277 wOBA is the worst in baseball. Despite UZR not caring for his defense, Andrew McCutchen is a fine defensive center fielder so he could make up some ground if the Pirates decide to just sit Manny down in the grass of right field like the worst kid on his Little League team. The Pirates are above .500 and 4 games out of the Central but 23rd in attendance. Manny could help create a little buzz around the Bucs and might even swat a few bombs.

2. Lead Singer, Bob Marley cover band
I don't know if Manny can sing but you'd pay the $6 cover to find out, right? He's got the dreadlocks and nonchalant attitude to pull it off. Plus he's already tested positive for most of the drugs under the sun, why not add a little marijuana to the list?

3. Farewell Tour with the Cleveland Indians
Bring it full circle. He started in Cleveland and I think he should finish up there. The Indians are just half a game out of first but have the worst attendance in baseball. I'm envisioning a marketing extravaganza. Bobblehards, t-shirts, dreadlock hats, pregnancy tests, post game performances by his Bob Marley cover band, autograph signings, PED testing kits and road trip packages like those Grateful Dead hippies have. This idea practically prints money.

4. Bagboy at the 4020 Woodland Ave Duluth, MN Piggly Wiggly
While this is my favorite idea, he'd get fired after a week because either all of the items would get past him or he'd cut off the can goods before they got to the cashier.

5. Assistant to the Traveling Secretary for the New York Yankees
Manny seems similarly competent to George Costanza. This was the only scenario I could think of where the Yankees could try to stick it to the Red Sox by hiring Manny. But the cotton uniforms eventually backfire.

6. MLB Comedy Duo With Vlad Guerrero
While the potential Hall of Fame players wait for a phone call from an MLB team, you can watch them butcher "Who's on first" in half broken English-half Spanish. It's a $12 cover and a two drink minimum. No refunds.

7. Bathroom Attendant, Green Monster, Fenway
He's already familiar with the work environment. Why not make a little extra coin by handing out paper towels and mints to outfielders in need of a mid-inning restroom visit?

That's all I have but I'm sure I'm missing some. Like a routine fly ball to left field.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dusty Baker and Derek Lowe Exchange Not So Nice Words

Dusty Baker and Derek Lowe won't be grabbing a beer together anytime soon, even if Lowe apparently enjoys the occasional brew or seven. See, what we have on our hands here is a little war of the words. The Wednesday game between the Reds and Indians stirred up some bad blood after Mat Latos buzzed (not hit) Lowe on Baker's behest. Lowe, pitching for the Indians by the way (who knew?), did not take the inside pitch lightly. Prepare yourself for some serious blockquoting starting with Lowe's tirade after the game from
"Dusty will deny it," Lowe said. "I have zero respect for the guy -- not that it matters. I imagine he'd say the same about me."

"You can go ask him. He'll deny it like he has no idea," Lowe said of Baker. "To say it didn't come from Dusty ... Mat Latos was with the San Diego Padres the last four years, he has no idea what's going on. Again, you can ask him and he'll say he doesn't know [anything] about it, like he always does.

"This goes back to my last year with the Dodgers. ... You can go ask [Baker] right now, and he'll say he has no idea what you're talking about. But just watch the game. Mat Latos has nothing to do with anything that has gone on. How would he know? Why in the [world] would you throw a 96 mph fastball, first pitch, inside to a pitcher? Ask him."
And we're off to a hot start. Lowe doesn't specify what happened with Dusty back during his Dodger days. I'm guessing it had something to do with cheeseburgers but have been unable to confirm. Baker wasn't available for comments after Lowe's comments.

Oh but Baker certainly saw them. Earlier today, Dusty struck back with great vengeance and furious anger. Here are a few of the highlights but the whole lambasting can be found at
“He had some words for me. I really didn’t want to make a public thing or a public spectacle. He’s the one who brought it up. He had some choice words for me. I really don’t care if he respects me. It doesn’t matter."

“I’m not denying nothing. I didn’t order anyone to hit him. I told (Mat Latos) to buzz him and make him uncomfortable. That’s what happened. Nobody hit him. Then he hit our guy."

“Man, I don’t care,” Baker said. A lot of people don’t respect me. He don’t respect himself. The word was whatever he did and said probably there was a good chance he was drinking at the ballpark and he don’t remember what he said or what he did. OK."

“When he said I shook my finger at him to say I didn’t have nothing to do with it. It wasn’t to say I didn’t have anything to do with it. It was to say: Don’t mess with me or my team. That’s what that means. He better learn sign language. OK."
Delightful. Dusty kinda-sorta admits there was some issue between the two of them from the past (cheeseburger-gate) but doesn't go into any details either. Then Baker just lets it rip. The "doesn't respect himself" and "drinking at the ballpark" were especially eyebrow-raising. His grammar was a little suspect but I can let that slide during some good trash talk.

I've never been the biggest Dusty fan (Clint Evans of Diamond Hoggers is fond of my line "Dusty Baker is why we can't have nice things") but I might be coming around. I've never seen this side of Dusty before. That was almost a professional wrestling promo he cut. I hope this isn't over. I want to see Dusty grab the mic out of a reporter's hand, shove the reporter down and then go off while pointing into a camera. Oh yeah...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vlad Guerrero Is Grumpy, Released From Blue Jays

Vladimir Guerrero has been hobbling around baseball like an old man for the past few years and recently yelled at the Blue Jays to call him up to the Majors or get off his lawn. And his Blue Jay career ended before it ever really began. The Jays signed Vlad, the Pride of Canada, to a Minor League deal that gave him an opt out clause if he wasn't promoted to the Bigs by Monday. After Vladdy slugged 4 homers and .450/.450/1.100 in 20 High-A plate appearances, he was promoted to Triple-A where his .214/.233/.286 didn't inspire enough confidence to promote him.

The 37-year-old Vlad demanded that he not be treated like a child by acting like a child. Dustin Parkes at Getting Blanked translated Hector Gomez's tweets (I'm no beuno with the el-Spanish)...
Promises made to me were not fulfilled. I am not a child. One day I heard one thing and the next day another. I left the team, right now I am at home in Anaheim. I was not treated as a professional. I am not a boy. I proved that I’m ready, I have nothing more to prove in the minors with the numbers that I put. Last night after the game I sent my letter of resignation to the organization. I am not a boy. I demand respect. Let me make it clear I did not take this decision lightly, and had warned it would if I was not satisfied.
Don't get me wrong, I love Vladdy. He was my favorite player before Mike Trout ran away with my heart. But the years of damage to his knees from playing on the concrete carpet in Montreal makes it painful to even watch Vlad attempt to walk. And I'm not talking about taking a base on balls, I'm talking about the physical motion of moving from point A to point B. I love delusion as much as the next guy but I think it's time for Guerrero to hang them up.

Vlad disagrees and the Blue Jays granted his release. Guerrero doesn't want the fork stuck in him just yet. This release doesn't spell retirement, you know, unless nobody pays him to play baseball...

Okay, I didn't realize Vlad's agent's name is Bean Stringfellow. I can't believe General Managers aren't fumbling their checkbooks to fill out the paperwork to sign Vlad. Also, I apparently envision free agent negotiations as a Benny Hill sketch.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Adam Dunn Doesn't Care About Batting Average

Adam Dunn is the poster child (poster man?) for the Three True Outcomes. The Three True Outcomes are a hit, walk and a home run since it takes defense out of the equation. Three True Outcomes is also the name of my Norwegian-metal garage band. My point is, though, Dunn doesn't mind if his .226 batting average qualifies for the bottom 25 in all of baseball. Dunn is actually rebounding nicely from his nightmare 2011 that saw him hit 11 home runs and an appalling .159/.292/.277 slash line. Jeff Mathis nods in approval.

Dunn has already mashed 20 homers and a .226/.369/.557 line this season which is much more in line with his career .243/.374/.505 numbers. ZiPS even has him projected to hit his regular 40 homers again. Batting average just isn't something high on his list of priorities...
"Honestly, I really don't look at batting average," Dunn said. "I know my job is to drive in runs and get on base and things of that nature. I don't care how I get on. I mean, whatever: Walk, hit, I don't care. But it's down at the bottom."
Dunn adds a negative value on defense so his work with the stick is why he gets paid. His atrocious 2011 had White Sox fans and many family members worried. While I'm amazed a team still lets Dunn own a glove, -1.3 UZR in 177.0 innings at 1B, -0.7 UZR in 2.0 innings in LF, suspect defense at DH, he is getting pay checks to hit for power and take pitches, which he leads the AL in with 4.49 pitches seen per plate appearance...
"Every year I was kind of up there in that," said Dunn of the pitches-viewed category. "It goes back to having my approach that is good and bad. Obviously, you want to get the starter out of there as quick as possible, so the more pitches you can see early in a game, the better."
And it's working for him. Dunn has lapped his 2011 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) but that was kinda easy considering he was worth -2.9 wins last year. Dunn is sitting at 1.5 fWAR this season.

Suck on that, batting average.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sasquatch Jim Riggleman and Sparkles

At Offbase, we've had plenty of fun with Jim Riggleman in the past.
Once, I even yelled out my patented 'Stinkelman!' at a Nationals-Braves game.

Anyway, I sit down for an evening of Double-A baseball in Hoover, AL Saturday and who is managing the visiting Pensacola Blue Wahoos? Mr. Riggleman, of course.

"Jim! Can I get a picture? more?" was probably the strangest thing said at Regions Field Saturday. But when Jim Riggleman is 10 feet away coaching third base for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET THE STORY.

Sasquatch Riggleman
Born: June 9, 2012
190 pounds, seven ounces
Looks like: not sure yet

This is just our first, blurry sighting of Jim Riggleman this season, but if you spot him at some point, take a photograph and send it to either or

[Please indicate the location of your Riggleman sighting, and anything you may have shouted at him].

This isn't very ceremonial

It must've been a very special day in Hoover because every member of the Hoover Little League got to throw out a ceremonial pitch.

Nine youngsters (including Perry Pirates' second baseman Jack Ryers!) got to chuck a ball at some poor catcher before the game. Here’s a pitch-by-pitch breakdown:

Nathan Dies - inside corner, called strike
Conner Bailey - balked; low and outside
Luke Keaton - balked; ball outside
Alex Covert - high outside
Mitch Easterly - ball low and away
Jack Ryers - balked twice; strike, inside corner
Austin Bolton - eefis pitch low and outside
Austin Lilliard - high inside
37-year old Mack Daddy - low and outs.....wait, someone’s dad snuck on the field?

Yes! Mack Daddy was ALL of that and a salami sandwich, and after a couple arm-warm ups (probably one of the top-2,000 best arm-warm ups I've ever seen live) Mack was finally ready. Only problem: M-Dog threw it way too hard, bounced the pitch and it struck the unprotected catcher in the shin.

Play ball!


Sparkles told me she's "here every night", which explains the pajamas.

I wasn't sure if Sparkles was a clown, a pig-nose clown woman, or a mouse-clown baker of some kind. I settled for pig-nose clown woman, but before I could get her to verify, she had been taken in the wheelbarrow and carted off, out of view of the public.

Tony Gwynn Wants To Buy Padres, Not Pay Taxes

Tony Gwynn was the ideal franchise player. He spent his entire career with the San Diego Padres, slash lined .338/.388/.459 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. Plus he had those chubby cheeks that your grandma was just dying to squeeze. While Gwynn never finished higher than third in MVP voting (1984), he was the last guy to seriously flirt with .400 when he hit .394 in 1994. Anthony is currently the head coach of San Diego State (where I teach creative napping in the fall) but he appears to have some other irons in the fire.

Gwynn is rumored to be partnered with movie producer Thomas Tull in an effort to buy his former Padres club. The team is definitely up for grabs and Forbes believes it will sell for more than their $458 million estimated value. And Gwynn's group might be able to make that happen, unless Bud Selig needs a letter of recommendation from the IRS.

Gwynn might owe the government $400,000 from missed taxes in 2003, 2007 and 2009. Which I believe were his relapse years from his In 'N Out addiction. It's hard to fill out paperwork with Animal Style all over your fingers.

I don't know what Tony Gwynn's baseball windfall is but I doubt he raked in enough money to go halfsies on a $500 million franchise. Thomas Tull, on the other hand, might be burning money for sport. I don't know what executive producers do for movies but I assume they make a ton of cash and get to pick out the deli meat for the sandwich table. And Tull has picked out smoked turkey for some pretty high grossing flicks. Let's pretend he was super hammered when someone asked him to make Jonah Hex.

The Dark Knight, The Hangover, Inception, The Town and The Hangover II had to pocket Tull a little coin. And he might be able to buy San Diego from California after he cashes his check from The Dark Knight Rises.

Tull might even have enough money to cover Gwynn's taxes for the "good will ownership guy" and buy the San Diego Chicken back from KFC. Sadly, he might already be extra crispy and part of a Famous Bowl.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Does Zack Greinke Have For Breakfast At Home?

Brewers ace Zack Greinke has some pretty interesting home/road splits since joining Milwaukee in 2011. He's literally unbeatable at his home Miller Park running his record to 15-0 after Wednesday's beatdown of the Cubs. Greinke pitched seven shutout innings allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out 12. He is a monster at home. You think pitcher wins are a silly stat? Fine, so do I. Let's look at the nerdy numbers.

In 2011, Greinke had 3.13 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 2.26 xFIP, 11.27 K/9 and a 5.41 K/BB ratio at home. On the road, he had a 4.70 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 2.95 xFIP, 9.63 K/9 and a 3.57 K/BB ratio. This season has been no different. Well, maybe a little more extreme. At home, he's posting a 1.08 ERA, 1.42 FIP, 2.03 xFIP, 11.23 K/9 and a 6.50 K/BB ratio. The road gets a 5.93 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 2.81 xFIP, 8.60 K/9, 2.90 K/BB ratio version of Greinke.

It's gotta be the home park, right? Nah. It's breakfast at home...
"You're comfortable at home. You wake up in your bed," he said. "You don't have to go anywhere to get your breakfast and coffee. Sometimes, in the hotels they have bad coffee or something, so you have to go do other stuff. Then you get to come to the field in your car (at home).

"Our clubhouse is nice. In some of those clubhouses you don't have space to get ready. Here, you have a routine that's easy to do. There's lots of space. That helps a lot in making you comfortable."
Which begs the most important question in all of baseball right now. What kind of breakfast does Zack Greinke eat at home? After some exhaustive research and almost catching diabetes from my computer screen, I've come up with the possibilities. I mean, it is Wisconsin after all.

1. Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict

Sliced doughnuts topped with brownie mix, melted Cadbury Creme Eggs and frosting, garnished with red sprinkles and served with fried pound cake chunks.

(submitted by Edgemere)

There is a 50-50 chance that Greinke wouldn't be able to pitch through the sugar induced coma. I'm not ruling it out though.

2. The Corndog-Egg

(submitted by KANNOLYA)

That thing has to be delicious. The egg protein offsets the fried cornbread making it a healthy breakfast treat. I'm a scientist in my free time. I bet Greinke has a carton of those before a home start. Or bushel or however they sell them.

3. The French Canadian

A poutine sandwich with french toast buns topped with maple syrup.

(Submitted by Jordan Elgie)

If I know my geography, Milwaukee is basically a province of Canada. So this mashup of breakfast and a Canadian classic might be whipped up in the Greinke household before he goes out and mows down hitters.

4. The Plowboy

Ham, scrambled eggs and onions over a bed of homefries topped with sausage gravy, bacon, cheddar and Jack cheese!

(submitted by Chris Mack via Ramona Cafe)

Zack-Attack? More like heart attack. Amirite? I can show myself out.

5. The Bacon Mug

A giant mug made out of bacon filled with cheddar cheese.

(submitted by K8)

Need something to get that awful taste of coffee out of your mouth? I submit the Bacon Mug which was almost certainly invented in Milwaukee.

Greinke will be a free agent after this season. If any of these breakfast solutions are the reason he pitches better at home, I suggest potential suitors check his cholesterol. He's a ticking time bomb.

[All images and descriptions and health concerns are provided by This Is Why You're Fat]

Orioles Drafted Billy Ripken's Nephew

If there's one thing the Off Base staff absolutely won't stand for, it's blatant MLB Rule 4 Draft nepotism. If there's another thing we won't stand for, it's the Australian National Anthem. Hipsters have ruined the didgeridoo for us. Well, the 2012 draft was full of more former players' relative getting selected. The Orioles got in on the action by using their 20th round pick (612) on Ryan Ripken. Ripken, of course, is the nephew of former Oriole, Billy Ripken.

Billy Ripken played some second base for the Orioles from 1987 to 1992 and again in 1996 but is probably the most famous for this. So Baltimore did him a favor and drafted his 6-foot-6 first baseman of a nephew late in the 2012 Draft. The younger Ripken did hit .377, was named an All Star by the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and is committed to South Carolina. Manager Buck Showalter denied any claims of nepotism...
“First of all, this kid’s got a chance to be a good player,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said from Boston before Wednesday night’s game against the Red Sox. “His last name being Ripken is after the fact. He is an interesting prospect. Obviously, he’s had the right things taught and said to him, and I’m sure he has a grip on reality on how professional baseball works, growing up in it.”
Ryan, excited as he must be, will face a tough-ish decision as he graduates from Gilman High. Since he was drafted after the 10th round, the Orioles can't give Ripken more than $100,000. Orioles VP Dan Duquette expects Ripken to go to South Carolina which would make him draft eligible again in three years. Ryan comes from a well-off family so the money isn't a concern. I assume Billy didn't lose all of his baseball earnings on dog races or a crippling ravioli addiction.

So the Orioles selection of Ripken reeks of pure nepotistical showmanship. We haven't been this disappointed with Baltimore since they ended The Wire after five seasons.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.
Today's honorary bat boy is Bill North.

[North's 1974 Topps card. Estimated value: nine pen caps]

Yankees 5, Tigers 1. Phil Hughes did his best Phil Hughes In Derwood's Dreams impersonation, going the distance and allowing a measly solo home run to Prince Fielder and the man subletting the apartment under Prince Fielder's jersey. Also, Derek Jeter, who should've retired last May, took the first pitch he saw from reigning MVP Justin Verlander and hit his sixth home run, and the Yanks never trailed in taking two of the three from Detroit.

Mets 6, Cardinals 1. If anyone has seen the St. Louis offense (one run in three games against New York), please return it to Busch Stadium immediately and tell it it has loved ones that are worried about it. The address is 700 Clark Avenue, St. Louis, MO.

It was a tough three-game set for the Kepshires, who were no-hit by Johan Santana Friday, then refused to let die that magic feeling, getting shut out by R.A. Dickey Saturday and nearly being shut out again Sunday before Adron Chambers had an RBI single in the top of the eighth. All day Monday, St. Louis fans were still calling it That Single By Adron Chambers In The 8th Inning.

Astros 5, Reds 3. Fernando Martinez Watch: 0-for-4, 3 K.

Whitesox 4, Mariners 2. Chris Sale has been one of the best pitchers in the AL in 2012, and Sunday was no different. The left-hander pitched a complete game, five-hitter and struck out eight, a start after fanning 15 and allowing one earned run in a win over the Devilrays. Let's ask a clearly-disappointed Mariners fan what they think of Sale's performance:

Pirates 6, Brewers 5: Cesar Izturis: DNP

Marlins 5, Phillies 1. After Carlos Zambrano's 7 2/3 IP, 1 ER pitching performance and solo home run at the plate, the rooster that lives in Zambrano's ear declined comment.

Other scores, but down here....

Braves 3, Nationals 2
Bluejays 5, Redsox 1
Royals 2, Athletics 0
Devilrays 8, Orioles 4
Giants 2, Cubs 0
Rockies 3, Dodgers 2
Twins 6, Indians 3
Rangers 7, Angels 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 0

Sunday, June 3, 2012

MTD Went To The Bronx

This is a bit overdue since it occurred about two weeks ago. Listen, I've been busy. My belly button appears to be collecting an alarming amount of lint as I've been getting older and I'm starting to get concerned. The scientific research has been very time consuming and fairly inconclusive. But that's a post for another time once my graphs are finished. So let's discuss my trip to Yankee Stadium.

I don't make it to many MLB games since I live in New Orleans and try to avoid sunlight like the inside of a depressing Irish bar. I'm working on some uncharted levels of paleness. Yet, somehow, I stumbled my way into a new girlfriend who is a Yankees fan. Which is at least three rungs above "I hate baseball" on my ladder of compatibility chart. Not ideal but I can work with it. Plus she was a manager at the Times Square Hard Rock and wanted to go to a game, visit friends, etc. I'm in. I haven't been to New York since I was eight and lived on Long Island for a year.

So we're off to New York, like the hip, jet setting couple we are in my mind. As it turns out, I don't like airports and subways and knowing who Mos Def is only made me hip a decade ago (debatable). After living in Atlanta and New Orleans for the past 20 years, I also forgot that the north isn't always 90 degrees in May. I might have underpacked for cold and rainy weather. But the girlfriend comes through with amazing tickets for the May 21 game between the Yankees and Royals. I enjoyed a few adult beverages before the game and then, much to her delight and resident Yankees fan Derwood, she stuck me in the Yankees poncho featured above.

That was some bad mojo, though, as the joke was on her. Putting me in Yankees gear clearly jinxed the team. The Royals blanked the Yankees 6-0 on home runs from Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur plus six shutout, eight strikeout innings from Felipe Paulino. The seats were fantastic and I was allowed the privilege to order an once of Crown Royal for $13 from a server/usher. We were about 20 rows up on the first base line as you can see in this pic from the pitch before the Moustakas home run.

I didn't walk the entire stadium but it was an important baseball experience. If for no other reason, I needed to see first hand how the crowd could turn back and forth on A-Rod in an instant. I hope all of his cash can fix his inevitable nervous breakdown.

Side Note: As a comedy nerd, I had to check out a show at the Comedy Cellar. That Wednesday, we went to an 8:00 show featuring Colin Quinn, Tom Papa and Robert Kelly. In an unexpected surprise, Aziz Ansari (Parks and Rec) showed up to work on 15 minutes on material. But I never got the opportunity to ask his about the awesomeness of Ken Tremendous.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu took a brief, 33-month vacation to figure out the meaning of Stan Paulsen's life (results: inconclusive).

Today's honorary bat boy is Wayne Twitchell.

Yankees 9, Tigers 4. Sometimes it's fun to go against a guy making his major league debut. Facing Casey Crosby, the Yankees loaded the bases in the second on three walks, then Derek Jeter (pronounced 'Dehrik Jeeedih' by all women in upstate New Jersey) drew another walk to tie the game at 1-1. Curtis Granderson, who MTD famously, and full of hot dogs, labeled "a platoon player" in a July 4, 2010 post:

I really like Curtis Granderson the person. He writes a blog and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Curtis Granderson the player is nothing more than a platoon player. He can't hit lefties a lick.

ripped is 17th home run, a grand slam off the left-handed Crosby, and the Yankees pulled ahead for good.

Pirates 8, Brewers 2. With Friday's win, which spoiled Randy Ready Bobblehead Night in Milwaukee, the 26-25 Buccos are two games better than after 51 games in 2011, that magical season that saw them share first place as late as July 25, and not a second later. But enough of all of this Pittsburgh Pirates love. Let's make fun of Randy Wolf!

6 IP, 6 ER, 4 BB

Indians 7, Twins 1. Any time Carl Pavano fails at whatever he's doing in life: ordering from a $1 menu at a drive thru, trying to pluck nose hairs, pitching against the Indians, it's always an enjoyable experience for the Offbase staff. The Twins' right-hander allowed 6 ER in 3 2/3 innings, lost again (he's 2-5), and his ERA Tim Leary'd to 6.00.

Whitesox 7, Mariners 4. Chone Figgins Watch: DNP

Padres 7, Diamondbacks 1. Bevacquas win! Bevacquas win! Bevacquas win! Bevacquas win! Bevacquas win!

Royals 2, Athletics 0.

- Announced attendance at Kauffman Stadium: 29,527
- Estimated attendance if game was played in Oakland and announced by anyone: 14
- Estimated actual attendance at Kauffman Stadium: 11,400

Other scores, but down here....

Braves-Nationals, PPD (Otis Nixon)
Angels 4, Rangers 2
Giants 4, Cubs 3
Redsox 7, Bluejays 2
Phillies 6, Marlins 4
Reds 4, Astros 1
Mets 8, Cardinals 0
Devilrays 5, Orioles 0

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Alex Miklos Diaries, Part 1

Friday night was a rare evening in baseball. I'd be willing to bet my Kevin Maas rookie card that these three events had never happened on the same night:

1. No-hitter by a Major League pitcher
2. No-hitter by a college pitcher in an NCAA Tournament game
3. Two college teams play 21 innings in an NCAA Tournament game

But baseball fans received that rare trio when Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history, Florida's Jonathan Crawford no-hit Bethune-Cookman in the Gainesville (FL) regional and Kent State defeated Kentucky, 7-6 in 21 innings at the Gary (IN) regional.

Santana makes history

No Met had ever thrown a no-hitter before Friday: not Pete Schourek or George Stone, not even Jae Weong Seo. Meanwhile, Johan Santana, the 2004 and 2006 Cy Young winner, didn't pitch at all in 2011 and was making a strong case for comeback player of the year (where he could finally be mentioned in the same sentence as Aaron Hill). Friday's game against the Cardinals helped: Santana threw a ton of pitches (134) and was fortunate enough to face Tyler Greene three times, but made New York Mets history.

That's the 17th-best kind of history a man can make.

Crawford stymies the Cook

No, a person nicknamed "The Cook" by his stoned friends wasn't preparing a late-night pasta dish and someone named Crawford swung in, Tarzan-style, and made off with all of the gnocchi.

"Dude, where's all the food?"

"Uh, I think that Crawford guy stole all of it."
"...........................Is, like, Waffle House walking distance?"

Instead, it was the top-ranked Gators' sophomore right-hander, who made the Bethune-Cookman Nine look foolish on day one of the NCAA Tournament. Crawford allowed just a third-inning walk in facing the minimum in a 98-pitch gem. It's the seventh no-hitter in Division 1 postseason history and the first Florida no-no since John Burke beat Furman, also in the NCAA's, May 23, 1991.

You know what else happened that day? The Braves' Danny Heep had a pinch-hit single against San Diego's Adam Peterson.

Kent State in 21

A crazy opener for this regional as Kentucky tied the game at 5-5 on Luke Maile's single in the bottom of the ninth, and after eight scoreless innings, each team scored a run in the 18th. Kent State finally took the lead for good when freshman Alex Miklos ripped a go-ahead triple in the top of the 21st, tying the modern, single-game record for go-ahead triples by a Miklos. It was the second-longest game in Division 1 postseason history (Texas beat Boston College, 3-2 in 25 innings in a 2009 game played in Austin.)

Here are a couple of hilarious/sad numbers depending on if you're related to any of these players or not:

* Kentucky infielder J.T. Riddle went 0-for-9
* Kent State hitters struck out a combined 26 times, led by Nick Hamilton and Derek Toadvine, who fanned four times each

What a night, and I'm predicting a repeat for Saturday:

1. Seattle's Hector Noesi no-hits the Whitesox
2. Creighton's Erik Mattingly no-hits San Diego
3. Austin Peay beats Indiana State in 21 innings in the Eugene (OR) regional

I'd bet my Kevin Maas second-year card on it.