Sports Outside the Beltway

Philadelphia newspaper apologizes for incorrect World Series advertisement

Did the Philadelphia Inquirer just jinx the Phillies? From ESPN-

A Philadelphia newspaper has apologized to readers for mistakenly running an ad congratulating the Philadelphia Phillies on winning back-to-back World Series titles.

The New York Yankees held a commanding 3-1 lead in the championship as of Monday, the day the ad was printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The three-quarter-page Macy’s ad is on the back of the front section and features a T-shirt with the Phillies logo, the commissioner’s trophy and the phrase “Back To Back World Series Champions.”

The Inquirer said it deeply regrets the error. It is instances like this, the Mark Whicker controversy of a few months ago, that make me believe newspapers that newspapers will print almost anything. You can’t tell me not person screened the advertisement before hand and then didn’t ask themselves- “Isn’t this premature?” It shows a horrifying lack of standards at best and at worst that a publication will run anything for a dollar. Is it any wonder newspapers are dying right this minute?


Over managed- Los Angeles Angels beat NY Yankees 4-3 in 11 innings

The blame for last night’s loss falls squarely on Manager Joe Girardi. From AP-

When Derek Jeter led off Game 3 with a homer into the bullpen, this AL Championship Series seemed uncomplicated. Power hitting and steady pitching appeared to be driving New York to the World Series.

About 261 minutes, 14 pitchers, six homers and several big blunders later, a winning hit by a backup catcher left only one thing certain in this cuckoo series: The Los Angeles Angels won’t be trampled by the mighty Yankees.

Jeff Mathis drove home Howie Kendrick with a two-out double in the 11th inning, and the Angels survived a second straight ALCS thriller, beating New York 5-4 Monday to trim the Yankees’ series lead to 2-1.

“There was a lot of great baseball on that field this afternoon,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “There were a lot of twists and turns, and both teams played a terrific game. We just got it done at the end.”

Kendrick, himself a part-time infielder, homered and tripled before singling with two outs in the 11th off rookie Alfredo Aceves. Mathis followed with his drive up against the left-field wall, and Kendrick slid home well ahead of a desperate throw, setting off an on-field celebration of the backups’ bonanza.

Mathis, a .211 hitter in the regular season, came up with his third late-inning, extra-base hit of this outlandish series, just two days after the clubs’ 310-minute, 13-inning icy epic in Game 2.

Besides taking reliever David Robertson out of the game when he was pitching well, Girardi went through seven relievers in four innings. He also made the comical decision to replace outfielder Johnny Damon with DH Jerry Hairston after already taking out starting Designated Hitter Hideki Matsuki. With Damon’s removal, the Yankee pitchers were then required to hit.

I’m sure Yankee fans are howling about all of this right now. They should remember their team is still up 2 games to 1 and are still favored to win this series. If the Yankees win the World Series, the dumb moves of Joe Girardi in last night’s game will be forgiven if not forgotten also.


Pitcher Shawn Chacon arrested on gambling debt related charges

He spent all of 2009 pitching for a Oakland A’s farm team. From the Greeley Tribune-

Greeley police arrested former major league pitcher Shawn Chacon on Monday night on a felony warrant for suspected unpaid gambling debt in Las Vegas.

Police received an anonymous tip at 7:57 p.m. Monday that Chacon was at Highland Park Lanes, 1900 59th Ave. in Greeley, and that tip led to his arrest soon after, according to police reports.

Chacon was taken to the Weld County Jail, and bail was set at $165,125.

The arrest comes after Chacon was wanted in connection with three bad checks written to Caesars Palace in March, each for $50,000, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Chacon was a standout athlete at Greeley Central High School before being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the third round of the 1996 draft. He made the Major League All-Star team in 2003 before being traded to the New York Yankees in 2005. After his stint with the Yankees, Chacon went on to pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros.

The story of Shawn Chacon is a sad one. He was once a promising pitcher, now his career and personal life appear to be in ruins.


Derek Jeter becomes all time hit leading shortstop

He passed Luis Aparicio with a double today.

Yankees captain Derek Jeter has passed Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio for most hits by a shortstop.

Jeter hit an RBI double in the third inning of Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. His 2,674th hit as a shortstop came two innings after he had singled against Seattle rookie starter Doug Fister leading off the game.

He had seven hits in his first 14 at-bats of the four-game series with the Mariners.

Jeter also has 13 hits as a designated hitter in his career.

His 2,687 hits as of the third inning Sunday were second in Yankees history, 34 behind Lou Gehrig.

Barring some scandal, Jeter will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame one day.


Aaron Boone back playing minor league baseball 5 months after having heart surgery

He hopes to be back playing in the major leagues before the 2009 season is completed. From AP-

Aaron Boone is back playing baseball, appearing in a minor league game in Texas less than five months after open-heart surgery.

Boone batted second Monday night for the Corpus Christi Hooks, a Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. He swung at the first pitch and popped up to the first baseman in foul territory. Boone played third base against Midland and was hitless in two at-bats before leaving the game.

“It felt good to get out there and play in a real game,” Boone told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “I felt good physically. I always have nerves whether it’s a spring training game or my first game in Corpus.

“I was excited tonight. I think it went really well. I had a couple of balls come my way and got to face pitching for the first time in a long, long time. A little overwhelming, but a necessary step on the way back.”

The 36-year-old Boone had an operation in late March because of a congenital defect in his aortic valve.

Boone is perhaps best remembered for his game 7 winning homerun in the 2003 ALCS. He was a favorite player of mine during the 2001 Star Tournament season. I platooned him with Eric Chavez at both the Fort Lauderdale and Fall Orlando tournaments where I each finished 2nd.

It sounds as if Boone was born with a bicuspid heart valve and had AVR(Aortic Valve replacement) surgery. Something I have more than a passing familiarity with. I had AVR performed on me one year ago this week. Boone is stronger than me, I don’t know if I would be swinging a baseball bat so soon. I wish him well in his recovery and comeback.


Tampa Bay Rays acquire Reliever Russ Springer

There must be a ‘I need another ancient relief pitcher’ virus going around the offices of MLB teams at this moment. From the St. Petersburg Times-

The Rays had interest in adding veteran Russ Springer to their bullpen anyway. After going through two extra-inning games in four days, they believed it was even more important to make a move.

The 40-year-old right-hander was claimed on waivers from Oakland, with the Rays assuming the nearly $1 million remaining on his $3.3 million contract.


Springer was 0-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 48 games with Oakland but had a 1.61 ERA over 25 games since early June.

The addition of Springer required Tampa to make another personnel move.

The Rays’ decision to designate IF Joe Dillon for assignment to make room for Springer wasn’t cut-and-dried. Ultimately, the Rays decided to go with eight relievers and three bench players in large part because they had played two extra-inning games this week.

Though Dillon rarely got off the bench, Maddon said he didn’t like having to cut him loose. In addition to being a fan of Dillon’s approach to the game, Maddon will have to be especially creative with the way he uses his bench.

That’s an understatement. Only three bench players severely limits a manager’s options. One of those backups has to be a catcher, the most likely player to get injured in any given game. Managers are a cautious lot, and will be cautious in using their only backup catcher. That limits a team’s strategy moves with only three bench players even more.

Springer, like the recently traded David Weathers, has been all over the major leagues for fifteen plus years. He is a decent reliever, but for the reasons I already stated, I don’t understand why Tampa needed this guy.


Return engagement- Milwaukee Brewers acquire reliever David Weathers

He is one of the last original Florida Marlins to still be playing in the Major Leagues. From AP-

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired Cincinnati right-hander David Weathers for a player to be named later.

Weathers is 3-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 43 games. He pitched one inning and got the win in Friday’s 10-5 comeback win over the San Francisco Giants.

The 39-year-old reliever starts his second stint with Milwaukee. He previously pitched for the Brewers from 1998-2001.

Weathers, who first came up with Toronto in 1991, is still putting up decent numbers. Anyone want to take a guess how much longer he can keep on pitching in the majors?


Texas Rangers release pitcher Orlando Hernandez

Is El Duque’s MLB over with? From AP-

El Duque’s comeback attempt with the Texas Rangers has ended.

Texas released Orlando Hernandez from his minor league contract Friday, making the right-hander a free agent just more than a month after he signed.

Hernandez was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in eight relief appearances for Triple-A Oklahoma City since being activated three weeks ago. He had 12 strikeouts and four walks in 11 innings.

General Manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers had no plans to add Hernandez to their major league roster by Monday, when the pitcher would have been able to opt out of the contract.

“The reports that we got were about what you would expect, stuff-wise. … The velocity was not an issue or anything like that, just rust,” Daniels said. “With more time and innings, he may very well be ready, but he had the out in his contract and he was going to take it.”

Hernandez last pitched in the majors for the New York Mets in 2007 before toe surgery. Hernandez’s numbers with the Mets in 2007, suggest he should still be able to pitch in the majors. The toe injury could have adversely affected his ability to pitch. Hernandez’s age may also factor into how strong his arm is.

The Cuban pitcher’s age has been questioned at times, and is listed as high as 43 by some accounts. The Rangers said he was 39 when they signed him last month, though Daniels sounded less certain about that Friday.

“Ask the Census bureau,” he said.

No need to. The smoking Gun has a copy of El Duque’s Cuban divorce decree. It clearly says he was born in 1965.


Colorado Reliever Alan Embree’s right leg broken by line drive

The injury has to be considered career threatening. From AP-

Colorado Rockies left-hander Alan Embree is out for the season after a line drive fractured his right tibia on Friday night.

Embree will have surgery Saturday.

“There will be some type of compression screw put in there,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Atlanta’s Martin Prado hit a 3-2 fastball from Embree back up the middle in the seventh inning Friday night. The ball ricocheted off Embree’s right shin to third baseman Ian Stewart.

“It sounded awful,” Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta said. “I couldn’t even track the ball it was hit so hard. It sounded really bad.”


Embree, who signed as a free agent with the Rockies this past offseason, was 2-2 with a 5.84 ERA in 36 appearances.

Embree is 37-43 lifetime in a career that started in 1992. Other than 4 games he started in 92 for the Cleveland Indians, he’s been exclusively a left handed relief specialist for 10 MLB teams. I have always liked Embree, he was a key part of a winning Star tournament team of mine, but his career looked to be in decline before this injury. If he reestablishes himself as a quality pitcher in 2010, I’ll be greatly surprised.


Ivan Rodriguez sets all time record for games played as a catcher

He broke the record held by Carlton Fisk. From AP-

Ivan Rodriguez was praised by fans and teammates Wednesday night for becoming the all-time leader in games caught.


Rodriguez, who began his career at age 19 in 1991 and played 12 seasons in Texas, caught his 2,227th game to break Carlton Fisk’s record.

“I’m tickled for Pudge,” Cooper said. “It’s great he was able to break the record. But it’s unfortunate that it didn’t happen on a good night for us.”

Rodriguez received numerous ovations from the Rangers crowd, but also had his first two-error game since Aug. 26, 2004, and sixth in his career. Both of his miscues led to runs.

Pudge’s rifle arm has been prone to miscues. He totaled double digit amounts of errors in three seasons.

Catcher is the most demanding position position on the baseball field. It puts a lot of wear on a player’s feet, back, etc. That’s why 2,000 games at the position is a huge amount, and why many catchers(Anyone remember iron man Randy Hundley) begin breaking down at half or more the amount of games Pudge played.


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