I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings to my fellow HSLíers, (even you Denny, after you referred to me as Lucifer no less than 16 times in your recent publication), just as we move into the dog days of summer and the heart of the baseball season. Itís hard to believe the Fourth of July is just around the corner, moving us near the unofficial halfway point of the baseball season.
I was hoping by now that all the steroids would have been drained from the veins of Barry Bonds, freeing him up to end his pouting and put an end to this charade of mysterious injuries that no one seems to be able to diagnose or comment on. No such luck, but hey, no worries. Given this yearís production of the other alleged steroid users, I am probably not missing much. I just wish the Freaking white people would quit picking on poor Barry and his family. They just donít understand how hard he has it. You people did this to him.
After an interesting start to the year where it looked liked the Irates, Redbirds, and Skipjax were going to separate themselves from the pack and run off into a three team shootout, the baseball gods stepped in and once again compressed the pack, giving us the makings of a season long dogfight among any number of teams. Slopayís well documented tirade and desperate plea for all others to get the hell out of his way and give him his well deserved drink from the Cup was too much for the higher powers to stomach, and his team immediately went into a tailspin. My own team decided to take their annual weeklong vacation just as I was starting to count how many teams had no chance to catch me. As it turns out, now Iím counting how many points until I hit the cellar.
I will get into some additional commentary on your teams momentarily, but I must share a few comments from my recent junket to the Baseball Hall of Fame with Skipper and our respective male spawn.
For anyone who is a true baseball fan, and all of you definitely qualify, this trip should be very high on your list of ďTop 10 things to do before I dieĒ (probably ranked just below seeing Jessica Simpson shed her Daisy Dukes and just above attending a Renaissance Festival and jousting tournament in Council Bluffs). Cooperstown itself is a small town of only 2,300 people located a good four hour drive from New Yorkís beautiful LaGuardia airport. Thank goodness for portable DVD players, Game Boys, Slim Jimís, Chewy Spree, Super ropes, funnel cakes, sunflower seeds, and 40 oz. Cokes. And that was just to keep Dave at bay. The drive is scenic, especially if you bypass the State Capitol in Albany (inside joke), and there is a folksy charm about the town, in spite of the attitudes of Guido and Aldo in the local pizzeria (what KINDA drink you want with that stromboli?)
We spent a good six hours in the museum viewing the various exhibits, and we could have easily spent two full days in there. One of my favorites was the no-hitter display, where details of each and every no-hitter in recent history are displayed. I also enjoyed the new Ichiro exhibit complete with the Ich-o-meter used to keep track of his hits on the way to breaking George Sislerís single season record. (I may create my own Itchie-o-meter to keep track of consecutive losing blackjack hands).
There is also an area that list the Top 20 all time leaders in each and every major statistical category, including hits, doubles, triples, homers, RBIís, runs, walks, stolen bases, etc. What struck me was the presence and prominence of Rafael Palmeiro on so many of these lists. When he completes his career, he will likely rank in the top 10 all time on four different categories (RBI, HR, 2B, and Games played) and Top 20 all time on three others (Hits, Walks, and Runs). While we all knew he was a steady performer and excellent stick over the years, his lofty place among the truly elite players of the game has kind of snuck up on me.
Anyway, get there before you croak; it really is ďall that.Ē
Maybe itís just me losing my eyesight, but Bret Boone once again looks like a 15-year-old kid instead of Popeye, and this year heís hitting like a 15-year-old kid, too. I just canít for the life of me figure out why his production would drop off so dramatically.
Do we dare say the s-word in reference to Todd Helton? While I personally refuse to believe he is a performance enhancer, there is also a dramatic drop off in his numbers for the first time ever. Iíll chalk it up to the fact that he probably has seen very few strikes this year, with that Punch and Judy Double A lineup that surrounds him.
I wonder what Bill Olsen would think of C.C. Sabathiaís hat.
Did Mike Anderson over-manage a bit in Omaha?
Jose Lima is not a major league pitcher. Then again, I think we knew that 3 years ago.
Did anyone see the line score in the Yankees big come from behind victory over the Devil Rays? Travis Harper of the D-Rays got ďFlanagan-edĒ by Lou Piniella. He pitched 2/3 of an inning in the 8th, giving up 9 earned runs and raising his ERA to 9.23 for the year, in 40 innings of work. Sweet Lou hung him out to dry and let him soak in his own urine as he continually pissed down his leg. My suspicion is that we will see a transaction involving Mr. Harperís demotion in the near future.
Randy Johnson seems to be having some minor difficulties with his fastball.
If I understand the Possum correctly, at some point this letter will revert to the mean for average number of words.
Does Chad Cordero get a save EVERY night?
The only swing I have seen that is harder than Vladdyís is Chuckís whack at the golf ball with his 7 wood. And Vlad looks better in nurseís shoes.
Okay, we all know it is Jim Edís year. Everyone, please post a note to the Message Board telling him how great his team is, and perhaps we can jinx him to regress back to the pack (reversion to the mean? median? mode?). All the great ones get their championships eventually, and this year is JBís time to stand in the spotlight. With Phil Mickelson having won his majors and Roy Williams grabbing his first NCAA title, JB is trying to shed that tag of ďgreatest not to win the big oneĒ that hangs around his neck like Eminemís bling- bling. You kin write it down, fellas, and you kin look I up; this is the year we get black and gold t-shirts from the Champ.
To close, I thought it appropriate to include a little ditty on each of your teams, in thirty words or less, along with your Itchie-assigned position of finish:
Finally, while Scottís wedding may have been the biggest sneak since the Japs snuck bombed us at Pearl Harbor, he couldnít escape the Paparazzi on his honeymoon. I have attached a copy of a photo that was taken of Fatty SK and his new bride as they celebrated poolside. Iím sure youíll enjoy this proof that money really can get you anything you want. Congratulations to the newlyweds.