Today is Friday the Thirteenth – - but it appears as if there might have been a time warp last evening in the Philadelphia area. The Dodgers led a game 9-2 in the 8th inning and proceeded to burp it up to lose 10-9 in the bottom of the 9th. But that is just small stuff. Some folks say that the world is going to end in December 2012 because the Mayan calendar ends then. Well, for those folks, here is a tidbit:
According to Floyd G. Lounsbury – - noted scholar of the Mayan civilization – - the Mayan calendar began on 13 August 3114 BC.
For astrology buffs, August 13 was the birthday of two major league pitchers with unique nicknames:
Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell
Jim “Mudcat” Grant.
August 13th was not a good day for former Yankees’ stars. Died on this day were:
Sticking with baseball, Jeff Francoeur is not happy with the Mets and has asked to be traded to a team that will play him every day. That is not so odd; most players would rather play every day than sit on the bench half the time and spit seeds for three hours onto the dugout floor. However, I think that Messr. Francoeur would have a better case for him being on the field every day if his batting average were above .239 and if he had not already struck out 65 times this year playing only part-time.
If indeed pitching is 90% of baseball – - I think that fraction is a tad high, but pitching is the most important part of the game – - the Mets have an interesting pair of situations ongoing at the same time.
Mets’ closer, Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod), was arrested – and then suspended by the team for 2 games – after an altercation at the ballpark where K-Rod allegedly punched out his father-in law. Baseball has been around for about 125 years and I would wager that this is the first time that has happened anywhere.
Mets’ ace starter, Johan Santana, faces a civil lawsuit by a woman in Florida who alleges that Santana raped her last October even though the authorities did not prosecute Santana. According to the woman’s lawyer, the civil suit, which seeks damages “in excess of $15,000”, was filed partly because “his client thought Santana was not taking her accusation seriously.”
Two years ago, my wife and I went on a safari to Southern Africa. Two of our safari companions were from Los Angeles and both were avid Dodgers’ fans. They were rapturous about the Dodgers’ recent acquisition of Manny Ramirez and were certain that he would take the Dodgers to the World Series at a minimum. My response to them at the time was that Manny Ramirez’ skills were on the cusp of serious decline and that the way he finagled his exit from Boston should be a bad omen for Dodgers’ fans. They would hear nothing of that.
Today, the Dodgers are cash strapped due to the divorce proceedings involving the McCourts where attorney fees have been projected to reach a total of $20M. Manny Ramirez has started less than half of the Dodgers’ games this year and has appeared in only 53% of the games. [He has been on the DL three times in 2010.] The Dodgers owe him deferred money from his contract in 2009 plus part of his salary for 2010 and then deferred payments ranging from $3M to $8M through 2013. Ramirez was never a stellar defensive outfielder but his lethargic approach to fielding seems to have increased a bit this year. I have to believe that the Dodgers would love to trade him just to have some other team pick up the responsibility for the approximately $20M he is to get in deferred payments over the next three years.
The question is: Who would want Manny Ramirez today given his baggage, his waning skills and his unreliable availability? Probably the best bet would be for Dodgers’ GM, Ned Colletti, to get on the phone with the Mets …
Phil Mushnick writes a column in the NY Post and often takes folks to task for sinful behaviors such as greed, lust and pride. Sometimes he goes a bit overboard for my tastes but with this reporting Phil Mushnick is directly on point. Recently he reported that the NY Yankees – still playing to empty seats in their new stadium because of their price structure – have started calling folks in NY to offer them a deal. Remember that Yankee Stadium will host some college football this year including a game between Notre Dame and Army in November and then the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl on December 30. In case you forgot, the Pinstripe Bowl will match the third place team in the Big East against the seventh best team from the Big 12. Be still my beating heart…
According to Phil Mushnick, here is the deal the Yankees are offering:
In order to get two seats at the Notre Dame/Army game in November, you must also buy 2 tickets for the Pinstripe Bowl Game in December PLUS you have to buy 2 of the $300 seats to one of the remaining Yankees’ games this year – - but not games against the Red Sox or the Rays.
Such a deal… As Mushnick said after laying this deal out,
Finally, here is a comment from Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle regarding a baseball happening from earlier this season:
“The Pirates fired their pierogi – a man who dresses like a piece of Polish fried meat-filled dough and races other ‘foods; at the ballpark – because he criticized the team’s general manager and manager on his Facebook page. The Pirates should have just sent him down to the minors for more seasoning. I’ve heard baseball teams criticize ballpark food, but never the other way around.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…