- Rumors of a Cliff Lee trade to the Hiroshima Carp gaining momentum:
Because of his unrepentant love for the expensive and Japanese reared Kobe beef, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is rumored to be discussing a trade which would send Cliff Lee from the Mariners to the Hiroshima Carp for $10 million in cash, plus a metric ton of Kobe beef.
Reaction from baseball people ran the gamut between bewilderment and mouth-watering; but for foodies around the world, the response to the rumor was one of widespread praise for Zduriencik's savvy and taste. One prominent food writer and baseball fan said, "The amount of money the Mariners can make from selling the beef will more than offset the cost of not trading Lee somewhere in North America; because of that, this is a potential windfall for the Mariners----the cash plus the beef? It's a steal."
ESPN's Buster Olney, who has presented many of the various Lee rumors over the past several months, didn't see this coming.
"I didn't see this coming," Olney said.
For his part, baseball commissioner Bud Selig appeared rumpled, bewildered and disoriented...then he was told about the trade and stated the following:
"We'll have to look into this. I'm not sure MLB players can be traded to outside leagues for money and meat."
Selig was non-committal on whether he'd okay the deal. Asked to delineate the difference between the 2006-2009 version of Carl Pavano and a truckload of beef, Selig grew agitated and was hustled into the MLB headquarters without further answers to any questions.
It was a silly. The beef has far more use than the Yankees version of Pavano.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr, who attracted widespread criticism for his trade of Lee in order to acquire Roy Halladay (the best and most accurate assessment to the trade in its immediate aftermath can be found here) tilted his head, opened his mouth and drooled, uttering, "Mmmmmm, beeeefffff; ochhhhhhhh...."; he stayed that way for several moments before saying:
"Don't get me wrong, I love beef; but as an organization we feel that Roy Halladay will have a greater shelf life----heh, heh, heh----than any perishable food item, despite the innings he's accumulated. Can you make Philly cheesesteaks with Kobe beef?"
It was the final question asked by Amaro that exponentially added to the number of people outside his office protesting his questionable decisions. No longer is it baseball fans who are nonplussed by Amaro's team-building "strategy", but food enthusiasts----so offended by the suggestion that Kobe beef be bastardized by using it in cheesesteak----called for his immediate ouster.
The Phillies had no comment.
In stat zombie circles, the trade was met with positivity.
Baseball Prospectus wrote: "Lee was doing the Mariners no good whatsoever. The trade proposals----specifically the one from the Twins----yielded solid return, but no one can say what any prospect is going to become despite his minor league production. The Twins offer was substantial, but nowhere near as substantial as the value and deliciousness of a meal centered around Kobe beef."
Billy Beane refused to comment on the details of another club's dealings but did say, "All I know is that the next barbecue Jack has? I'm first in line!!! And none of that gas grill crap. Charcoal. Charcoal is the fuel of the genius."
Lee was somewhat stunned, but after three address changes in one calendar year, he was unflappable as he issued this statement:
"What can I say? I'm not a free agent. They control where I go for the moment and if they feel trading me for money and meat is the best possible deal they can make for themselves, then that's what they should do. I'll pitch my heart out for the Carp as I've done everywhere I've been and then I'm going to test free agency at the end of the year."
The trade is rumored to be 95% done and while MLB clubs are still calling Zduriencik and gauging the remaining availability of Lee, most have resigned themselves to the fact that they lost out because all they had to offer were prospects who could potentially play baseball and didn't have the potential to be a yummy delicacy and lucrative provision for the gourmand.
Yes, the above is fiction.
Yes, it's better than the fiction you're currently reading on the sites and outlets that supposedly have inside information. Said commenters and analysts fling things blindly at the wall under the protection of speculation and sweet nothings whispered by sources that may or may not have verifiable knowledge of the trade talks.
Some of it is simply made up.
I don't want to hear about Cliff Lee anymore.
When he's traded, tell me. Then I'll comment on it. Until then, the "insiders" can retreat to the location from whence emanates their "expertise"----inside their own warped and inept minds amid the non-existent knowledge that is exhibited on a daily basis with their idiocy.
- You can't rely on anybody these days, you gotta do everything yourself...
Johan Santana had one of those Little League games where the star pitcher is also the power hitter, pitches a complete game and hits a home run.
In the Mets 3-0 win over the Reds, Santana pitched a 3-hit shutout and hit his first big league homer after an epic 12 pitch at bat against Reds starter Matt Maloney.
By all rights, Santana should have 12 wins heading into the All Star break. Because of the games in which he's gotten blasted off the mound and repeatedly allowed grand slams, he's seen as having "lost" something from his Twins days. He doesn't dominate as he did with the Twins and his strikeouts are down, but he's still a great pitcher; but that's been obscured by perceived struggles on the field and the rape allegation from last year that wasn't prosecuted and was only revealed a few weeks ago.
Santana is still a top-tier pitcher and he proved it last night with an excellent performance on the mound and at the plate. With the pending return of Carlos Beltran, Santana finding his game is another good sign for the Mets. He's a second-half pitcher and the brilliance he displayed last night despite stifling heat in New York, indicates he might be ready to spur a big run for a team that was left for dead only two months ago, but isn't.
Not by a longshot.
- What's wrong with the Cardinals?
I was asking myself this question before the ninth inning meltdown against the Rockies, so it's not as if I'm piling on now.
How is it possible for a team with a starting rotation centered around Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter and a fine rookie performance from Jaime Garcia; a lineup with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday; and a solid bullpen expertly manipulated by Tony La Russa to be only 8 games over .500?
The Cardinals have gone 27-29 since starting the season 18-9 and it's difficult to pinpoint why.
Slightly top-heavy with stars and fill-in players, the disparity between the Pujols/Holliday/Wainwright/Carpenter base and the rest of the team hasn't been so pronounced this season that they should be slumping so badly for a such an extended period. They've gotten 16 homers from Colby Rasmus; 11 from Ryan Ludwick; and the expected production from Pujols and Holliday. Brendan Ryan is hitting under .200; and Skip Schumaker has been less-than-mediocre at the plate; Yadier Molina looked like he was blossoming into an all-around star last year, but is hitting .230.
That's no excuse for the Cardinals to be 10th in the National League in runs scored.
The NL Central looked to be a cakewalk for the Cardinals, but the Reds are proving to be better and more resilient than they appeared before the season started (by me anyway, I missed them completely). Stuck in an unforeseen dogfight, the biggest problem they have is that you can't look at a glaring weakness as you can with a team like the Padres and boil everything down to one sentence, "they need a bat"; it's hard to look at the Cardinals and determine exactly what's wrong aside from a lack of timely hitting, pitching and bullpen failures.
La Russa won his war for power with the stat zombies in upper management, but the team sleepwalk is giving them ammunition to question the value of his "genius". I'm a big fan of La Russa, but I can't explain what's wrong with the Cardinals. It's his job and I'm wondering if he knows himself and if he can fix it in time to save the season if they continue down the road they're on.
- Viewer Mail 7.7.2010:
I thought Clff Lee was supposedly going to the Twins.
He's going to Hiroshima for a load of beef, Jane. Beef.
If Cliff Lee is the prettiest gal at the dance, then the Phillies are the big fat dork in the corner thinking about World of Warcraft.
As for Braden... he cracks me up. I went to bat for the guy way back when, and meant it. Now though, I think he'd be better off keeping his mouth shut until he wins another game (it's been a couple months now).
Lee certainly is the prettiest girl, but if the suitors take a step back, they might find someone who's as attractive or has other attributes that make them just as much a worthwhile pursuit as Lee. It'll be interesting to see if anyone walks away from Lee before he's traded and makes a move on Dan Haren, Roy Oswalt or one of the lesser names in lieu of Lee.
With Braden, he's hurt and is a good pitcher but this is too much. I don't think he realizes that his comments are now being laughed at and disregarded; and his immaturity can't be chalked up to being a kid----he's about to turn 27; he needs to grow up already.
When I'm on my game, I...am...ON...my....game.