Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ryan Howard Breaks Toe While On Deck

Who killed Ryan Howard's 2012 season? If you had Ryan Howard in the on deck circle with a lead pipe, you win Philadelphia Sports Clue. Howard broke his toe Friday night after dropping the lead pipe he warms up with on his foot. Sounds like something out of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics except self-inflicted.

Howard is hitting .219/.295/.423 with 14 home runs this year earning him the Vernon Wells nod of approval. The 2012 season didn't get started until July 6 because of the torn Achilles he suffered falling out of the batter's box to end his 2011 campaign. If the Phillies were wise, they'd bubble wrap the dugout next year as Howard's injuries are happening closer and closer to the clubhouse.

Then there's that wonderful five year, $125 million albatross of a contract extension Howard signed. Howard makes $20MM this year and next before going to $25MM in 2014 through 2016 with a $10MM buyout for 2017. That will be the quickest buyout in MLB history. It's probably already been made. Want a fun fact? Howard made $232,558.14 every time he got on base in 2012.

Now please enjoy my favorite quotes from this article...
"It was a learning process," Howard said.

What was the No. 1 lesson?

"Don't get hurt."


Howard finished with career lows in batting average (.219), on-base percentage (.295) and slugging percentage (.423).

"I know I'm a better hitter than that," Howard said.

"His best years are ahead of him," Charlie Manuel said.
By "his best years are ahead of him," Charlie Manual means when Howard retires to a tropical island where he isn't required to do anything athletic.

Baseball-Reference claims Ryan Howard's nickname is Big Piece. More like Broken Pieces, amirite? I'll show myself out.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Terry Francona Ready to Bring Bubble Gum Wads back to Dugouts.

Once a manager, always a manager I suppose. News broke earlier today that Terry Francona was among two acknowledged candidates for the open managerial position in Cleveland. I can only assume that they are waiting to publicly announce my candidacy once they have realized that my ability to chew and maintain substantial amounts of bubble gum far surpasses that of Tito.

That's right Terry, I said I can chew more gum than you. What of it?

Captain Morgan Poses With Mike Trout

Sure, Mike Trout has only been the legal drinking age since August 7 but he's got the Captain Morgan pose down already. During some locker room shenanigans, this picture was taken with Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and the rookie phenom hanging out with the famous rum captain.

In the tweet featuring the picture, Trout didn't give a reason for the visit from the booze icon. I just assume Captain Morgan and the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World had a bet to see who could get their picture taken with Mike Trout first.

Alcoholism would help explain a lot of the Tony Reagins general manager experiment in Anaheim.

Adam Greenberg Gets his Second Chance on Tuesday

Seven years ago, Adam Greenberg made his major league debut, and this happened. At bat one, pitch one, thud. Greenberg left the field with an On Base Percentage of 1.000, and since then it has not had the chance to go down. He went back to the minors the next season and followed that up with stints in the Dodgers, Royals and Angels organizations. After 2008 though, he was out of baseball.

Homer Bailey Joins 2004 Draft No-Hitter Club

The magical season for the Reds continued Friday night as Homer Bailey tossed a no-hitter against the Pirates. The Reds have already clinched the Central and are tied with the Nationals for the best record in the National League. Bailey zipped through the Pirates line-up striking out 10 on 115 pitches. Clint Barmes reached first base on an error in the bottom of the third inning and Andrew McCutchen walked in the seventh inning to account for the only baserunning Pirates. McCutchen made the most of his opportunity by stealing second base before being thrown out at third.

The Pirates were confused by white, leather ball being flung at them by Bailey as they have been for most of the second half on the season. After 100 games, the Pirates were 58-42 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. Then, as usual, somebody alerted the team that they were indeed the Pittsburgh Pirates and they promptly went 18-39. Their next loss with give the Pirates 483 consecutive losing seasons. When reached for comment about the collapse, manager Clint Hurdle made a fart noise with his mouth.

Back to Bailey, he is the fourth first round draft pick from 2004 to throw a no-hitter and the third this season. That's pretty remarkable. If it didn't sound like a lot of work, I would try to see if that is a record. Let's just assume it is. Justin Verlander, the second overall pick, was the first to get on the board. Verlander no-hit the Brewers on June 12, 2007 and picked up his second against the Blue Jays on May 7, 2011. Philip Humber, third overall, and his career 4.87 ERA over 316.1 major league innings threw the unlikely perfect game against the Mariners on April 21, 2012. Jered Weaver, the 12th pick, was next this season throwing his no-hitter against the Twins on May 2. Bailey was the seventh pick in 2004 and, after his performance on September 28, gets to learn the secret handshake.

While I realize I'm being selfish and they're still in the playoff hunt, I would really appreciate it if the Rays would slap some duct tape on Jeff Neimann's leg and get him another start before the season ends. Neimann was the fourth overall pick in 2004.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dan Haren Is Not a Fan of Leaks

Earlier this week Alden Gonzalez kicked up a bit of a dust storm when he answered a fan question in his blog here about the Angels and their preference to sign Zack Greinke rather than retain both Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. I'm guessing no one explained to Mr. Gonzalez how exactly the internet works because Haren has heard about it and is, well, not raving mad, but probably has an agitation level that is just a smidgen to high when he should be concentrating on a playoff push. It's bad enough that poor vagabond Danny has had to endure not only numerous appearance changes (like his failed Wolverine look) as well as his first appearance on the disabled list, but he is also in the midst of having his worst season statistically.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dallas Braden Yells At The Police Now

You may remember Dallas Braden from such 2010 classics as yelling "get off my mound" at Alex Rodriguez, this awesome t-shirt commemorating the event and somehow throwing a perfect game against the Rays. He pitched 18.0 innings in 2011 before losing the year to shoulder surgery. In March 2012, Braden had a little more surgery for a partial rotator cuff tear. Now that his left arm is held on with staples, duct tape and unicorn glue, we don't hear that much about Braden.

That was until he showed up for an anti-violence meeting in Stockton, California armed with a baseball bat and ready to yell at some local police. Apparently, there are better places to live in California than Stockton which is on a record setting murder rate pace. Braden claims his grandmother was recently robbed and he was nearly carjacked. Don't fear police-less citizens of *squints* post-apocalyptic Stockton, Braden and his bat Smashy are here for you (until he moves as soon as possible)...
"Arm yourself or get out. It's the Wild West. The Boys In Blue, they're outgunned," Braden told CBS Sacramento.


"My anger is for the fear of the community. We can't do anything," Braden said. "I walked in there with a bat. It starts there."
Ugh, this is going to be the worst superhero movie since Green Lantern. Braden got into a shouting match (hopefully in the same bloodcurdling tone when A-Rod jogged across his mound) with the police chief about the escalation in violent crimes, his walk rate and home run to fly ball ratio. Sorry, allegedly yelled about his BB/9 and HR/FB%.

While no winner of the shouting match was declared, it's safe to assume Braden injured his vocal chords and was placed on the community 15-day disabled list.

Rays Rookies Get HAZED.

Ah, Rookie hazing. That age old tradition that bonds both veterans and youngsters alike. It is also that time of year where the seasoned vets remind the kiddies who, in fact, is in charge. Whether it's the Smurfs incident that the Washington Nationals rookies lived through last year, or Mike Trout getting dressed up as Lady Gaga, every year a new high (low) is hit.

I'm going to go ahead and say that the Tampa Bay Rays are this years winners. Of course, when you have a manager who orchestrates things like this, you should already be a step ahead of the competition. For this year's hazing, the Rays veterans (is it weird to call 26 year olds veterans?) decided to not just parade around their young pups, but they were going to have them announce their rookie-ness to the entire world (Or at least to anyone who happened to be in Fenway Park).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chipper Jones Makes Walk Off Home Runs Sexy

Freddie Freeman cemented himself a place in Atlanta Braves lore last night when he ensured that last years epic collapse would not happen again this year. A little fitting that it was he who grounded into the season ending double play last year, I'm a sucker for sentimentality. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, this is not about Freddie Freeman coming through in the clutch, this is not even about coming through in the clutch.

This is about how Chipper Jones, just by being in the vicinity of awesome, can make that much more great.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rays Invade Boston Disguised In Wigs

The Tampa Bay Rays are three games out of Oakland's Wild Card spot with nine games to go and the Angels sitting only two games behind the A's. While technically the Rays still have a chance, the shots are long. Let's call it a 10.5% chance because Cool Standings is awesome. The Rays go to Boston for a three game set where the Red Sox have a 0.0% chance to make the playoffs and are playing just to spite other teams.

Joe Maddon, the unorthodox and crafty manager, decided to sneak his team into enemy territory incognito. Donned in wigs from "bathtub meth addict" to "Wendy's red pigtails" to my favorite "Santa out of context," the Rays hair'd up and were encouraged to be as creative as possible. Any real wigs (from players or employees I assume, the wording is vague) will be donated to the Moffitt Cancer Center.

It's a good cause, sure, but I'm sure this is some kind of mastermind team-building/lulling-the-Sox-into-a-false-sense-of-security plan from that evil genius Joe Maddon. That's why he is the best in the game. Maddon thinks outside of the box and, occasionally, makes forts out of the boxes. He seems fun.

Let's take a look at a few of the looks from the Tampa Bay Rays/Skip Milos via Tampa Bay Times...

Elliot Johnson did his best Joe Dirt or "I need an extra $2 to buy this case of Pabst Blue Ribbon." Red Sox pitchers will be caught off guard because he looks more likely to make a bong out of the bat than hit .243/.305/.351. That bit would have worked better if Johnson was actually good at baseball.

This one is either Sean Rodriguez or the guy who sells drugs out of every kitchen in the French Quarter.

Finally, Matt Joyce chose the Wendy's red pigtails causing me to nickname him Matt "Always Fresh" Joyce because Matt "Where's the Beef" Joyce doesn't sound family friendly.

Oh Pirates

As if it was bad that I completely missed "Speak Like a Pirate Day," The Pittsburgh Pirates are trending the wrong way towards yet another losing season. What's worse, on Aug. 6th they were 16 games over .500 and had been playing great baseball all year. Clint Hurdle was a shoo-in for Manager of the Year and Andrew McCutcheon was playing like a legit MVP candidate. Rookie call ups playing up to potential, check, A.J. Burnett doing his best Carl Pavano impersonation, check, still carry nasty Yuengling Lager, *barf* check.

Then for some reason, someone somewhere reminded these boys that they still were, in fact, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and like a drunk cheerleader on prom night, they fell flat on their back.

How historic is this collapse? Well, Jayson Stark did the heavy lifting at ESPN trying to find another team in the modern era to be 16 games over after 108 games only to finish the season under .500. What'd he find?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Josh Hamilton's Vision Problems Caused By Energy Drinks

Did you know Red Bull can make you go blind?!?

10 seconds. It took me 10 seconds to go from zero to hyperbole. Nice.

Okay, energy drinks might not make you go blind but their main ingredient, caffeine, is responsible for the vision problems Josh Hamilton has been suffering from since last Tuesday. Too much caffeine and energy drinks can cause ocular keratitis which something, something, dry cornea, something, something, burred vision.

Hamilton missed five straight games but returns to the line-up and center field Monday night. Somebody might want to hand Hamilton a cup of water once in a while. With well documented addiction problems, you have to wonder how many Red Bulls Hamilton was consuming every day to give him blurry vision. My guess is Sam's Club pallet. He might cut back to two cases a day after the diagnosis...
Hamilton, 31, said he plans to back off the caffeine, which included chocolate after games and an energy drink before games -- not to mention what he was consuming all day long.

"I was loading up on caffeine, and I'm out there in the bright lights," Hamilton said. "I can't control my eyes. They are stuck."
I feel like with this information we were robbed of a "Jose Canseco off-the-head-home-run" type of situation with Hamilton.

But a healthy Hamilton is good news for Angels fans. The Rangers play the Wild Card holding on to by 2.5 games A's seven times in the last 10 games. Hamilton's 42 home runs is also tied with Miguel Cabrera for the AL lead. Hamilton in home runs and Joe Mauer in batting average are the two candidates with the best chance of blocking Cabrera from the Triple Crown. If Cabrera wins the Triple Crown, it could very well sway the old school BBWAA members to rob Mike Trout of his rightful MVP. Of course, that is a long post for another day.

Kids, the point of this story is that too many Red Bulls and fudge bars will mess you up good. No more Red Bull and fudge parties. Get someone to buy you beer like normal high schoolers.

Legal notice: Off Base Percentage doesn't condone underage drinking but, if we did, we don't have any money for you to sue us anyway.

Jeffrey Loria Is An Angry, Angry Man

After throwing cash around in the offseason like a redneck during a good round of scratch-offs, it cost Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria around $100 million to field the 2012 squad. Or four years of Vernon Wells if you're into sad math comparisons. For all of that money, Loria was rewarded with a 66-86 record so far for last place in the NL East. No amount of showers can get rid of that dirty feeling caused by being behind the Mets in the standings. The brand new stadium plus losing record is only good for the 18th best average attendance but that is up 10 spots from 2011. He might have expected a bigger attendance spike for the first season in the new digs.

So, Loria was probably a little grumpy in the first place. Then his current manager and a former manager spoke out against Loria and people were there to write it down. Apparently, Loria's personal newspaper reader mentioned the quotes and, ooooh, the old man is pissed.

Let's start with current Braves manager, Fredi Gonzalez. Gonzalez managed the Marlins from 2007-2010 and is the winningest manager in franchise history. Gonzalez was unceremoniously dumped on June 23, 2010. But how does he feel now?
“There’s not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough. Not Connie Mack, not anyone.”
Scribble down +1 for Connie Mack reference. Alright, Jeffrey. Care to respond?
Loria said that if Gonzalez made those comments, “I’m a little surprised because it’s classless — and you can quote me — especially because he was with us for five years and he was a colossal failure. Not nice. Not nice.”
Yeah, I'm going to have to side with Gonzalez on this one. I have a hard time declaring a 276-279 record over four-ish years a "colossal failure" especially considering the shallow pockets Loria allowed the team to operate under. Colossal failure. What kind of expectations does that guy have? It must literally rain cash on his estate.

Of course, current manager/escaped crazy person Ozzie Guillen was not be outdone. Not while he's still on the Marlins payroll. Guillen stuck with Gonzalez's theme but was much more eloquent in his delivery...
"If Jeffrey doesn't think I'm doing the job I should do ... it's not the first time he's fired a manager," Guillen said. "Look yourself in the mirror and ask why so many (expletive) managers come through here."
Loria did not issue a retort to Ozzie but it was reported by the Palm Beach Post that he did not appreciate being "called out." Loria will most likely react by doing what he does best and canning Ozzie after the season.

And now a quick tip if you interview for the Marlins manager opening.
When asked, "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
Do not answer, "Hopefully under new ownership."
Rumor has it Jack McKeon answered "dead." A rumor I made up. Just now.

President Obama, Homer

In between State dinners, policy signings and the occasional mud slinging that comes with campaigning for President, President Obama spoke at a Minor League stadium that plays home to a Washington Nationals affiliate. 

The President is just as well known as a White Sox fan as he is well known for being an incredibly polarizing political figure. But this is not a politics blog, so I'll keep the politicking to myself.

 "I want to congratulate the Washington Nationals for bringing playoff baseball to D.C.," Obama said. "You guys are looking good. I am looking forward to a White Sox Nationals World Series." (Linky link-a-thon)

Can't fault Mr. Obama for wanting to see his beloved White Sox in the World Series, well, actually I can considering the still employ one A.J. Pierzynski, but that's another bowl of Hatey Charms Captain Hate Count Hateo......Spahateios that I will probably at some point get into at an undisclosed time and place.

Ever since President Taft threw out a ceremonial first pitch on April 14th 1910, each President has followed suit. With our last President being a former big league club owner, and now Obama wearing his Pale Hose love on his sleeve, baseball is more woven into the national fabric than ever before. And Bud Selig couldn't be happier, as I'm sure he is eyeing up the tax breaks he could stumble upon after he retires. If he retires. He better retire.

I for one enjoy having a homer baseball fan as a President, it makes him more personable in my completely non partisan opinion. Of course, that is what a President is supposed to do. Damnit, I've been had again. What a cruel, cruel trick. I guess I'll just drown my sorrows by watching Honey Boo Boo while drinking a bottle of Vodka and playing "Name that Smell."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Texas Rangers Fan Put To Death

It's a little known fact (I made up) that the "Everything is bigger in Texas" motto is actually an abridged version of the original classic "Everything is bigger in Texas...and then we kill it." With the year winding down and a surplus of barbiturates, paralytics and potassium solution on their hands, Texas got themselves a case of itchy plunger thumb.

Which brings us to the sad tale of Robert Wayne Harris. Harris admitted to killing five people at an Irving car wash in 2000 weeks after being fired and killing a woman prior to those slayings. Harris was put to death Thursday night but not before he expressed his devotion to the Texas Rangers...
Harris expressed love to his brother and three friends who were watching through a window.
"I'm going home. I'm going home," Harris said. "Don't worry about me. I'll be alright. God bless, and the Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers."
Apparently, the Dallas Cowboys have been thanked several times before men have been put down proving Texas might have the most dedicated sports fans/killers. By all accounts, Harris sounded like an intensely terrible human being so I hope this at least gave the victims' families a sense of closure.

I've picked up a theme here and have uncovered the secret to the Rangers current run of success and World Series appearances. Between Harris and George W. Bush's previous ownership and hanging-around-the-park, the Rangers are surrounded by some evil spirits. The Rangers must have sold their soul to the devil for 2010's baseball dominance. I'm a scientist.

H/T: Hardball Talk

Saturday, September 22, 2012

C.J. Wilson and His Next Endeavor

C.J. Wilson could easily be considered the most interesting man in the world if it weren't for the fact that he's straight edge. The man does it all; Racing, Break Dancing, Rain Manning, etc. and so forth. A not so quiet rumor is that he is trying to break into Hollywood as a screen writer. In fact, let's just pause for a second so you can watch and catch up on C.J.'s extensive list of talents:

All done? Good. I noticed that there was one thing missing from his list, ACTING! But fear not Straight Edge Racer fans, A completely reliable and half fictional source has confirmed for me that Hipster C.J. could be making his silver screen debut this winter.

According to my source who will remain nameless, Hollywood hates his scripts. But think that with his baseball celebrity and dreamy looks he'd be a perfect for another winter chock full of movies being remade with contemporary stars since no one in Hollywood seems to be capable of writing anything new worth seeing.

There are rumors surrounding the premise of the movie, but my source Dave (whoops!) has confirmed that there are two main themes floating around that are the most legit, and that there is a poster photo that has leaked.

1.) Obviously Hollywood is playing on the "Ceej."

2.) The two main themes that are being filtered through the interwebs is that it is either similar to the original except this time it takes place on the metrolink train coming from San Clemente and is filled with several hundred tons of C-4 timed to detonate as it reaches the Big A. C.J. uses this day to connect with the little people by taking the fateful train. Somehow,  through a myriad of impossible stunts, kung fu maneuvers and dipshit passengers, C.J. pulls off the impossible to save the day and then goes on to throw a perfect game.

The second premise being tossed around is that this will be a pornographic adaptation in which C.J. uses his striking good looks and witty personality to lure young strike force girls into his den of love located beneath the center field rocks.

3.) Steven Segal is rumored to be pissed about this.

4.) C.J. is reportedly doing the movie for dirt cheap since he got paid a boat load of money this year for only actually working roughly three months this year.

The movie is slated for a late December, early January release. At which time my five year old son is going to submit a dinosaur drawing as a movie review which will then be uploaded to this site.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jeff Kent: Survivor

Meet Jeff Kent, former Major League Baseball player. Oh, you know who Jeff Kent is huh? Well did you know that he is on Survivor? I didn't.

Why is Jeff Kent on Survivor? He says it's because of his "competitive nature." I think it's because someone called him fat and he came back with; "I'll show you." *stomps around like a Texan* "I'm gonna be on Survivor." *spits tobacco, misses spittoon* 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

While the popular trivia question "what do MTD and Vince DiMaggio share?" is asked in bars across the country, the answer is not "we both hit .000 in 1946 for the Giants." Technically it is accurate but we share the same birthday, September 6th.

It's been a long standing tradition, say two-ish years, for me to announce my birthday in blog format so all of you can lavish attention on me. Why yes, I am an only child, why do you ask? But, I'm sure Mitch Moreland is doing the same thing today on some Rangers fan forum. Don't judge us.

But today isn't just about me and empty boxes of Carvel ice cream cake, it's about celebrating me and my baseball brethren. I hit .023 in my single season of little league before they asked me not to sign up for the following year. However, there are some real baseball players born on 9/6...

-Who can forget when Jumbo Latham hit 6 triples in 1877 for the Grays? Shoulda seen that fourth one. Ran like a gazelle.

-Oyster Burns hit .307/.388/.430 in his final season in 1895. He tragically died of oyster burns the following summer. Or in 1928 of a random ailment. I'm not a historian.

-The only Hall of Famer born on my birthday was spitballer Red Faber, inducted by the Veteran's Committee in 1964 after retiring in 1933.

-Bill Murray played one season in 1917.

-Bill Murray played one season in 1917.

-Delphia Louis Bissonette is a name.

Okay, fine, let's move to players born after TV was invented.

-Derrek Lee scored some black ink in 2005 leading the NL in hits, doubles, batting average, slugging, OPS, OPS+ and finished third in MVP voting. Who the hell is this Albert Pujols fellow?

-Mark Teahen collected four home runs playing for the White Sox and Blue Jays in 2011. If you listen closely, you can hear him sifting through your garbage can.

-Jerry Blevins. He's apparently been pitching for the A's for six years in the Angels division but I wouldn't know him if he hit me with an autographed wiffle ball.

-The aforementioned Mitch Moreland. Oh, to be 27 again and in the peak of, hmmm, I'm sure I was good at something back then.

So, if you haven't sent me cash or autographed Mike Trout goodies yet, I'd appreciate it if you "liked" Halo Hangout on Facebook. Fansided gives me three grapes every time we get a new liker.