Saturday, September 30, 2006

Deathwatch, Penultimate day (11)

For 7 innings the Cards were frustrated by failure, having left 8 runners on with no results. More exacerbating, although Milwaukee had only 5 hits, they had plated 2 runs, courtesy of Jeff Cirillo's pinch-hit 2-run single in the top of the seventh. So when Rafael Belliard lined out to right with the bases loaded in the eighth, one didn't feel good about the team's chances.

Enter Scott Spiezio.

He of the ugliest lower lip hair growth in the major leagues slapped a triple to right, scoring all 3 Cardinal runs in their 3-2 victory today at Busch III.

Ol' Tony looks relieved in that picture, doesn't he? Either that or he remembered where he left his teeth.

Unfortunately, after Atlanta tied the game in the 8th, their shoddy defense allowed 3 runs in the 9th, and they weren't able to recover, losing 5-4 to Houston.

(And while we're at it, since I'm not authorized to comment at Deadspin - all this hand-wringing is entirely appropriate. When a team you follow (and care a little too much about, yes, there I said it) is in danger of becoming a punch line for failure, and you KNOW they're capable of doing so, you hope against hope they don't. I don't want my favorite team included in the 'biggest late season chokes' discussion with the 1964 Phillies, 1969 Cubs, 1978 Red Sox, and 1995 Angels. Additionally, winning the Central Division isn't a foregone conclusion. Hou's starting pitching is better than StL's, and Cardinal hitting has been just squirrely enough to make losing this division a very very real possibility. The last 2 games have dialed down the panic, but it isn't over.)

This brings us to our alternate topic for the post: How does LaRussa organize his starters for the post-season?

Now that tomorrow's game is a must win to get in, it looks like LaRussa will start Carpenter. Let's assume he wins, and the Cards clinch. Their NLDS schedule should be Oct 3, Oct 5, Oct 7-9. Here's the rest for their starters:

Carpenter (pitches 1 Oct): 3 Oct (1 day), 5 Oct (3 days), 7 Oct (available). Suppan (pitched 30 Sep): 3 Oct (2 days), 5 Oct (available). Weaver (pitched 29 Sep): 3 Oct (3 days), 5 Oct (available). Marquis (pitched 28 Sep): 3 Oct (4 days - available). Reyes (pitched 27 Sep): 3 Oct (available).

So who starts Game 1? If I'm LaRussa, there's NO WAY Marquis pitches any more this season. In fact, I'd leave him off the active post-season roster entirely. His head is all screwed up. 0-4, 8.46 ERA in September? When your team really needed you? YOU SUCK. Only way I'd consider activating him is if we need his left handed bat as a pinch hitter. Reyes: Too young. Rick Ankiel started game 2 of the 2000 NLDS, and something in him short circuited, leading to 7 wild pitches and effectively ending his pitching career.

So, if I'm doing it, it goes like this:

Game 1: Weaver. (makes sense. 4-1 on the road as a Cardinal, 1-3 at home; 4.38 road ERA, 7.70 at home). He's a veteran who can pitch on 3 days rest.
Game 2: Carpenter. Best pitcher on the club. If Weaver falters, we'll need him to stay in the series regardless of which team we're playing. Besides...
Game 3: Suppan. Soup has been a much better pitcher at home this year (7-2 , 3.18 at home; 5-5, 5.36 on road). It makes sense to save him for the home opener. No decisions against the NL West contenders; pitched much better against LA than SD.
Game 4: Reyes (up 2-1); Weaver (down 1-2). I think we opt for the veteran if we're behind in the series. I think Reyes, who pitched very well in his last start (a game StL won and had to have) would be a good choice here if he can pitch the series clincher. Pressure, yes, but not 'if you lose, we're done' pressure. I think LaRussa should protect him this post-season; he's one of our starters for the future, and we don't need another Ankiel (see above).
Game 5: Carpenter. If you get beat, you want it to be with your best on the mound.

Of course, if they lose tomorrow and Houston wins, all this goes out the window. Then I think you're forced to start Reyes against the Giants.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Deathwatch, Day 10

Gotta hand it to the idiots at ESPN. There are games with playoff implications all over the place (Royals/Tigers, White Sox/Twins, Blue Jays/Yankees, Astros/Braves, Reds/Pirates - these are just the 4pm start games), so it makes perfect sense to leave the Phillies/Marlins game on while the Phillies cling to a 13 RUN LEAD. What was the point of this - to see if Ryan Howard would get a hit (he didn't and was lifted for a pinch runner in the 7th)? To see if Shane Victorino would get 6 hits? WTF? I guess Bill Pidto needed the work on his short-burst delivery.

(Now we interrupt Eric Karros because he has nothing intelligent to say to get an update from the Studio - BILL?

Thanks fellas - Roger Clemens is still taking bows in Atlanta after leaving the game in the 6th inning. Word has it the press box is LINING UP to blow him after the game. Back to you.

Shit, I'm missing that. Here in Miami,
Philadelphia is still blowing Florida out of the building. There's more compelling baseball out there, but screw you, we're not showing it. Rick, continue telling us about the toe jam removal assistant's job.)

To today's game:

Starts off just like 5 of the last 7 games - the opponent scores a run in the first inning. And in just as exacerbating a way - Weaver has Jenkins 0-2, can't put him away, and ends up giving up the single to left that plates Graffanino. God dammit. Can't make a quality pitch when it's needed, the hallmark of a mediocre team.

Jeff did settle down, helped by DP balls in the second and fourth, to pitch pretty well. Considering he'd been
shellacked at Neo-Busch since he was signed, it was nice to see him pitch almost competently. For once.

Preston Wilson put the boys in Red up to stay with a 2-run dinger in the second. And for once, the Cards found a way to hit a left hander. I need to do a search for the Cardinals' record against lefties for the last 30 years. I swear they are the meal ticket for every junk throwing, overweight, designated for assignment left hander in the business. I sometimes wonder if I could throw 3 scoreless innings against this team. Set it up like Brewster's Millions. What the hell?

Anyway, this game quickly turns into a rout, just like last night's di
d for the other team, capped off by AP hitting another 3-R bomb, to center this time. Cards 10, Brewers 5.

AND.....Houston was shut down by Atlanta, 4-1. So here's the scoreboard:

- Cincinnati won, they're still 3 back with 3 to play. One more Red loss, or a Cardinal win tomorrow, and they're out.
- Houston falls 2 back in the loss column with 2 to play. One more loss, coupled with a Cardinal win, and they're out.

Padres lose 3-1. Dodgers win 4-3 (on a passed ball. Nice job, Gigantes). Nothing's solved, no playoff slots filled, just another day in the wacky NL.

WHERE would this team be without this man in the middle of the lineup? (Don't answer that).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Deathwatch, Day 9

Overheard at Neo-Busch on 28 September:

"Okay, well, uh...candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where LaRussa and Duncan are registered and maybe a place setting or maybe a sliverware pattern. They deserve at least as much since they keep sending you out here with your garbage control and no movement shit. You call that pitching? I call it groping in the dark for your dick, jackass. Now I'm in this goddammed picture with you for all eternity. Fuck you. Oh, here's Tony. Just go into the locker room and suck on that bottle, listen to the waterfall, the soothing music, and contemplate your season next year in Tampa. Disappear, scumbag!"

"Hitting off this clown is sooo easy, it should be illegal. And THESE guys have been the cream of the division all year? wow."

"Ya know, I've had just about enough of this bullshit."

Brewers 9, Cards 4. Houston 3, Pittsburgh 0. Lead is .5 games. OK, joke's over, I'm ready to wake up now... Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Deathwatch, Day 8

First, we must correct an errata from yesterday's post: Anthony Reyes was scheduled to pitch tonight, not Jason Marquis. And based on the way he pitched, thank God.

While at the store this afternoon, Mrs. Rant asked if I wanted to buy beer. Having watched the last 2 Cardinals games sober, the answer was a reosunding HELL YES. If they're going to go down in flames, I want to be comfortable during the ride. So the first few innings played out like this:

- Return from store. Padres already winning 1-0, top of 1st. Crack that beer, baby!

- Chris Young (who the Mrs and I watched at PETCO earlier this year; he took a no-hitter into the eighth) goes through the lineup the first time allowing only a walk to Belliard (he was promptly erased as Molina hit into a DP for the 1,000,000,000th time this season). Gonna be a loooong off-season.

- Already emotionally distraught, I pass out until the bottom of the 5th. Insert "You're a flipping lightweight, DAD" joke here. I need to go on a program and get some of my dignity back.

- Need another beer. What's that? Cardinals 1, Padres 1? OK, maybe I'll pay attention.

Give the kid Reyes credit - after a shaky first, and almost beaning Piazza in the third, he pitched very well. Especially considering (a) the Cardinals had 3 hits until the 8th, and (b) C. Young is one of the toughest road pitchers in the NL this season.

The 7th inning is where it started to get interesting.

After we called LaRussa on his lazy-ass managing style yesterday, Cardinal management re-grouped and decided to replace the Animatronic LaRussa with the real one. This one watched Reyes miss with the first 6 pitches of the 7th inning and removed him in favor of Randy Flores. Where was this urgency yesterday in the 7th inning? (I don't care if the real LaRussa was encased in carbonite for the past week. I'm still pissed about yesterday's game.)

The Cards successfully negotiated the 7th. In the 8th, Mike Cameron hit against Braden Looper, leading to the following heart attack timeline:

- Heart in stomach: Cameron BLISTERS the ball down third base way.
- Relief: Rolen speared the line drive.
- Euphoria: They're gonna double Kahlil Greene off second.
- Disgust: Rolen threw the ball into RF.

Looked like the 'Hate Cardinals Voodoo Doll' my ex-wife keeps was working its magic again, especially after Tyler Johnson bounced a pitch to the plate and Molina, deciding to keep his liquid-cooled hockey helmet on, couldn't find it. 2-1 Padres. Cardinals do catch a break when Gonzalez is thrown out at home trying to score on the same play.

Bottom of 8: This time Bochy has a senior moment. Linebrink has nothing, but is left in to walk 2 and get 2 outs before Meredith (who has pitched every day since August 1, it seems) is brought in to pitch to AP.
Cue the music. 3 RUN BOMB. 4-2 Cards. Free Big Macs for EVERYBODY!!!

Adam Wainwright succumbs to his idolization of Izzy long enough to allow a 2-out double to one of the 11 Padre catchers (bringing the tying run to the plate), but he retires Dave Roberts on a ground out.

CARDS WIN!!! CARDS WIN!!! (Fuck you Cubs fans - Harry Caray worked for us first.)

So the magic number moves off 5 (finally). Pirates blow a 6-1 lead, lose to Astros 7-6 in 15. 1.5 up, 4 to play. More to follow, dear reader, more to follow.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Deathwatch, Day 7

The Redbirds had lost 6 straight but, with the reigning NL Cy Young award winner going to the hill, one had to like their chances. Surely Chris Carpenter could (a) end the streak, (b) save the team from themselves, (c) provide some comfort to an increasingly uneasy fan base.

No, not so much.

Despite a gutsy 7 inning, 122 pitch effort, Carp hung around just long enough to give up 2 2-run doubles and watch the Padres erase a 5-2 deficit enroute to a 7-5 victory.

But this isn't Carp's fault. I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Tony the Idiot.

ITEM: Carp is pitching his heart out. He struggled to get out of the sixth, loading the bases with one out, before getting Padre shortstop Geoff Blum to hit into a force at home and 2B Jesse Barfield to fly out to right.

Seventh inning, more trouble. With two out and the bases loaded (again), Catcher Josh Bard doubles to right, driving in two and cutting the lead to 5-4. Chris is obviously gassed. The Idiot has waited too long to get Adam Wainwright up in the bullpen, so Carpenter has to stay out there to pitch to CF Cameron. His command is gone, the ball is all over the place. For someone who prides himself on match-ups, in a business where you have to think several hitters ahead to be ready, how is it possible the guy with 28 years managerial experience can't make a simple call to the bullpen and get someone up earlier? Carp got
hung out to dry.

The Idiot did the same thing in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS, leaving an obviously gassed Carp in the game to give up a 3-R HR to Lance "The Berk" Berkman which gave Houston a 4-2 lead. AP bailed him out that night. No one bailed him out tonight.

ITEM: All, and I mean ALL, the pitches to Cameron were supposed to be off the outside corner. First pitch: over the heart of the plate. Second pitch: over the outside half of the plate (Carp is missing his spots by 2-3 feet. Did we mention this is the most pitches he's thrown in a game this year?). Third pitch: where he wanted it. Cameron takes a weak swing and hits the ball down the right field line. But AP can't get to it, and it rolls into the corner for the killer 2-run double.

Now, are ALL the Cardinals bench coaches retarded? You throw 3 pitches off the outside corner. WHERE did they expect Cameron to hit the ball based on that pitching strategy? WHY in GOD'S NAME is Pujols playing in the hole between first and second? WHY in GOD'S NAME is Encarnacion playing in RC field? They must have expected him to pull the ball - a rookie might, perhaps, if he had his head up his ass, but not an experienced major league hitter.

STL had to have this game. HAD TO. The Idiot should have managed it like that - everyone's available, be aggressive, get this win. He didn't.

Tomorrow we turn our lonely eyes to Jason Marquis, whose issues we've chronicled previously, against SD's #2 starter, Chris Young. Yep. Staring 8 straight right in the face. We won't have to worry about playing SF the day after the season ends; Houston will probably have already clinched by then.

(It's OK, Jimmy - you won't remember this tomorrow.)

NFL Survivor, Week 4

OK, I like to gamble. A lot. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at it. The ABC's of gambling have no effect on me. In fact, I'm the guy invited over to play poker because SOMEONE's got to donate $40 to the winner. That's my Texas Hold 'Em role - stay in every hand, eat some pizza, drink a few beers, leave $40 dollars lighter. I'm not the only one out there. I can hear you breathing.

Of course, this sad fact hasn't driven the gambling gene from my body. Yet. So I have to find more creative ways to indulge, ones where I might actually have a shot. Blackjack is one. Knockout NFL pools are another. Miraculously, after three weeks, I'm still alive. It helps when you don't have to cover the spread, just pick a winner. I can DO this. Call it my gift.

A brief history of my picks so far this year:

Week 1 - NE. I've developed a strong dislike for Boston-area teams (see: SB XXXVI, 2004 WS), but I decided to throw Mrs. Rant's favorite team a bone. I was glad I was out of the house until NE tied the game at 17.

Week 2 - Ravens. I'm starting to think my HS team could compete with the Raiiiiiiders for at least a half. Gimme game on a weekend of gimme games.
Week 3 - Sehawks. Two thoughts here: NY had pulled off an emotional win at the Linc; all week we heard about this being a revenge game for the Giants. 35-0 Hawks at the half. Eli should be tested for colorblind-ness (which shade of blue is this? No, I'm sorry, you're wearing WHITE today). MAN I'm tired of being right.

So on to week 4. Here are the teams (and games) I recommend you choose a winner from:

1. ATLANTA (at home against Arizona). Cue the emotion theme from last week. Falcons get embarrassed on national (cable) TV in the Big Whine. Kurt Warner could put that loaf of bread in your bag, but not before he drops it 8 times. This game has possibilities.

2. DALLAS (at Tennessee). The Kerry Collins Experience is probably 2 weeks away from closing its doors forever. If you can't beat an atrocious Miami team, start selling insurance. LenDale White has shown more fight against all his teammates in practice than at any time on the field. Only trip hazard here is not only is it a road game, it's a road game involving Drew Bledsoe.

3. JACKSONVILLE (at Deadskins). Jag Hags KILLED the defending champs 2 weeks ago, but got handled in Indy. So some emotion there. The Potomac Warriors are a much better team with Clinton Porti
s scooting all over the field, but Pitt had a good running game - and we all know how that turned out when they played Jax.

4. PHILADELPHIA (at home against Lambeau Leapers). Team feels good after pushing around one of the Jay-Vee teams in the NFC West last week. The Iggles defense is much better than Detroit's, so Brett Favre's Ghost should have lots more trouble throwing the ball this week than he did last week. Oh, and the Lambeau Leapers have no running game.

Picking any of these 4 teams should get you through to the next week. Or you could pick the Lambs to beat Bert Lahr's favorite team - if, like, you want to live dangerously.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Deathwatch, Day 6

GHHHH. Since we're about to watch the greatest collapse since the 1995 Angels, I've decided to comment on each Cardinal game until they sink right out of the playoffs.

Tonight the Cardinals continued their quest to lose the NL Central in fine fashion, losing 6-5 to the mighty Padre juggernaut. Jeff Suppan, the only reliable Cardinal starter not named Carpenter, didn't get out of the fourth, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits. I'm glad to see he's throwing up in his mouth after the 5 run second inning. At least he's embarassed. Everyone else on the staff seems to be going through the motions.

Of course, losing to David Wells (229 career wins) is not so bad.....wait..... oh, the Padres bullpen beat them. OK. It would have been a rookie named Matt Thompson, but Jim Edmonds staggered off the pine to hit a 3-R HR in the 4th to tie the game.

Carp goes tomorrow against ex-Cardinal hero Woody Williams.

More good news: If the 'Stros and Cards tie, the one game playoff will be at Ten Run. Fantastic. Can Brad Lidge pitch all 9 innings? That's about the only shot we got.

But wait, this is silly. No one's ended the regular season on a 12 game losing streak. Houston isn't going to win out either. Right? Hello?

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Two quick items on the weekend's baseball events:

Not bad for a no-hit shortstop, eh?

1. TREVOR TIME. Congratulations to Trevor Hoffman, now sole owner of the career saves record. Trevor set the ML record against the Pirates today, closing them out 2-1 to keep the Padres 1.5 games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West. On the 'venerated Padres' scale, only Tony Gwynn and Randy Jones might, MIGHT be more beloved than Trevor. We here at the Stance tip our cap.

2. I SMELL FEET. Or the rapidly decomposing carcass that is the Cardinals. Yes, the boys in red are reeling having been swept right of Houston. Making the departure even more painful, the first 3 losses occurred in the ninth inning when STL either had the lead or was tied. Now back to neo-Busch, to play the hottest team in the league - those same Padres - who they might get in the first round if LA catches Ryan Howard.

I sense a collapse of biblical proportions playing out this week. Think Houston can't catch them for the NL Central? Think again. If they were a horse we'd have shot them by now.

Footsteps? Nah, I don't hear footsteps. Why?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

When To Answer The Phone

Mrs. Angry Rant has a good friend who is a flake. By flake, I mean they'll make plans to meet (at, say 2pm, or 1400 for those of you in the military) and she'll come up with a variety of excuses for not showing up...until 7 hours later.

Yesterday I watched the Mrs. play phone tag with the flake, and when she finally got through the flake was engaged in the horizontal boogie with her boyfriend. Now, why in GOD's NAME would you pick up the phone while bumping uglies? I'm quite sure Mrs. Rant was not too pleased her friend was divining Monica Seles in her ear.

So in the interest of public safety, here are a few guidlines for When To Answer The Phone:


1. Dude, I'm in the 10th Row: You have scored tickets to the most important game of the year. This is a mountain of "In Your Face, Flanders!" points waiting to be redeemed. Besides, what's funnier than hearing your buddy/wife/child/boss/concubine whine with envy that you're there and they aren't? You only have so many chances to work that magic. Don't waste it.

2. Cordless, Poolside: Your sister has always wanted to go to Hawaii, but, because she blows all her money on taxi cab fare and day after pills, she never has enough money to buy the ticket. You, however, convince your boss that you must attend the 3-day symposium on teambuilding at the Hale Koa in Waikiki. Of course, the flight leaves tomorrow, so you don't have a chance to share your good fortune with those you love. Until they call to say hello. Let the love fest begin.


1. During SEX. The only time I want my best friend to answer the phone while he's engorged is if Jenna Jameson's head is pistoning up and down on a part of his anatomy. Face it: if your pleasuring your mate, and you're doing such a good job at it she takes the telemarketer call, you might want to watch that video she's been asking you to rent. Because she's probably already picked out another pony from the herd, and if she hasn't ridden him yet, she's got the saddle out.

2. Driving with children. There are only two halves to the brain. Driving typically takes one half. Trying to concentrate on the road while your 'bundle of joy' is screaming in your ear requires your undivided attention. Trying to concentrate on a phone call you can't hear because your child is wailing for his 'binky', while hurtling down the highway at 80 MPH, may be a good way to meet some new people unexpectedly (including Ponch and John) but only annoys us on the phone. This is why they invented voice mail. Use it, retard.

3. After heavily drinking. Although more of a 'when to not make a phone call' item, know this: I don't want to talk to you if you're going to speak at 1000 decibels and describe the piss you just took. It can wait. For the love of God, it can wait.

4. In the bathroom. Seriously, folks. Although I have a grudging respect for those who can unzip, aim, shake, tuck, and zip, with one hand, unless you're the President of the United States about to authorize the nuclear annihilation of some dingbat country, NOTHING is so urgent that you have to carry on a conversation while in the loo. In fact, when faced with that decision, I'm pretty sure the somberness of the decision will cause your testicles to return to your body cavity rendering you incapable of peeing. Or walking, for that matter.

Listing to a phone conversation while 'dropping off the kids at the pool' is not uncommon at my place of work. Along with finding dead Starbucks coffee cups in the stall. I didn't know that caffiene can constrict the colon and assist in pushing the poop out, but apparently it does in the 45+ age group.

5. On a date. Do I really need to explain this one?

Let's be safe out there, people.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Do More Research

An open letter to Matt Vasgersian, my favorite Padres announcer:

Dear Matt,

Do a little research. OR re-awaken those brain cells you used as a kid, the ones that may remember the NL as a 12-team league. OR just keep your mouth shut when a 'usless information' fact is displayed on the screen.

TO WIT: Yesterday marked the 13th time this season that San Diego has beaten the Dodgers. That's a franchise record. During tonight's game some enterprising, overworked, starving intern created a graphic to celebrate this fact. Turns out, the Padres had beaten the Dodgers 12 times in a season 4 times (1976, 1983, 1986, 1989). Note that I have instant recall of this graphic which I've only seen once. Why? Because I'm a stastical dork, that's why. Just shoot me.

Anyway, Professor Vasgersian mentioned that the reason the Padres had won more games from the Dodgers this season than in past seasons was due to the unbalanced schedule. Ah, actually, no.

You see, from 1969-1992 the NL comprised 12 teams, playing in 2 6-team divisions. Under that format, teams played the other 5 teams in their division 18 times, and the 6 teams in the other division 12 times.

That means in 1976, 1983, 1986, and 1989 the Padres went 12-6 against the Dodgers.

This year (as they've lost tonight, on a Nomar 2-R HR. What a crazy game), the Padres went 13-5 against LA. Hey, check that out - it's 18 games!

Do a little research, Matt, before you open your big mouth.

The Intelligent Baseball Fans of San Diego.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Golden Ticket

There appears to be solid evidence that Reggie Bush and his family were the recipients of gifts while he was matriculating at USC. He could be stripped of his Heisman Trophy and USC could be forced to renounce their 2004 National Championship.

For all you holier-than-thou-types out there who think that the last sentence would be a just result, fuck you.

There are few people in the world who despise Southern Cal football more than I do. Just ask my brother-in-law. Go Bruins. But, the chance that Bush could be punished for this is hypocrisy at it's most blatant.

Ever been to Helix High? It's not the nicest place to attend school. Its student body does not come from the same means as those attending The Bishop's School or Francis Parker, two affluent schools in the San Diego area. Now imagine your family is barely scraping by. Imagine your family has debt. Imagine you happen to get the Willy Wonka Chocolate Bar with the Golden Ticket in it. That's probably what Reggie's athletic talent seemed like to his family.

Ain't no way Reggie can afford to go to USC as a regular schmoe like the rest of us. His athletic prowess opened this door; a door to opportunity most of us can only dream about.

It also gave a portal for those who I'm sure will be sentenced to the Eighth Circle of Hell when they die - the SPORTS AGENT. Out of the muddy puddle of excrement (Thank you KSK) come people with no souls, promising the world, spinning fantastic tales of untold riches to be had, if ONLY YOU SIGN here.

You know what his parents said? PROVE IT. Show us you're REALLY interested. Not the most altruistic thing they could have done, but can you blame them? A chance to hedge the bet that Reggie would make it to the NFL draft without a serious injury derailing his train.

Tell me you wouldn't have done the same thing. You wouldn't? You're a fucking liar.


(1) You CAN'T convince me that USC's football coaching staff didn't know this was going on. Somebody knew. Somebody familiar with the NCAA's rules on eligibility. Yet they appear to have made no effort to counsel Reggie Bush on the potential consequences of his, and his immediate family's, actions. For this, they should get a gigantic dick in the ass.

(2) This is 2006. Someone needs to explain to me HOW forcing USC to renounce their 2004 Nat'l Championship will set this right. It changes nothing - you can't go back in time and re-play all those games. You can't brainwash every American who gives a damn about college football into thinking USC didn't pulverize Oklahoma to win the Nat'l Championship. And why punish the kids who did follow the rules? Why tarnish what they worked hard to do? The Dar's right - it doesn't matter.

(3) The NCAA is, by far, the biggest waste of space in the non-US Government working world. Do they actually believe punishing USC for this offense will deter other people from doing it? They better change suppliers of their peyote, the current lot's lost its potency.

If you REALLY want to set this right, if you REALLY want to discourage this behavior by programs and agents, here's what you do:

First: Penalize the school by restricting the number of scholarships they can award for 4 years. Division I programs must have 76.5 players under scholarship, and can carry a max of 85. Cut that number to 40 and 50. That's 10 scholarships per year. That's at least 5 years of suck for the offending program.

Second: Ban the agents who provide the payments. Rescind their licenses. FOR EVER. If its an overzealous booster that causes the violation, send him to JAIL for BRIBERY. Or extortion. Or for looking at the cop the wrong way. Whatever.

Third: PAY these athletes to perform. Division I football is a minor league for the NFL/CFL/WFL anyway. However, that's a subject for a future rant.

The NCAA won't do any of that, of course. They'll strip USC of its championship and Bush of his Heismann, and then sit around scratching their heads when this problem pops up at the next program.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Can I get some soothing music? I've had a hard day

Jason Marquis got lit up Wednesday. In other news, the sun came up and people in hell need ice water.

I was firmly in the Marquis camp for most of this year (and the past 2, for that matter) - great stuff, good bat. He won even more points by taking a beating at the hands of the ChiSox and Braves, to protect the bullpen. My god, a team player? In this era?

Of course, that's before he reminded me why those same Braves gave up on him 3 years ago. What a head case. Keep the ball down, you're 15-7. Throw it all over the strike zone, you're 27-29. This isn't rocket science. And yet Jason manages to ignore that sage advice.


Now, when his team has one stud pitcher and one who's effectiveness is directly proportional to the size of the umpire's strike zone, and desperately needs another consistent arm for the post-season, this mental midget has laid a 2-8, 6.39 egg since 28 July. Way to make an impression in your walk year. Don't think your next team's gonna shell out $5.15 million for this level of suck-itude. Well, maybe Toronto - they did overpay for Burnett, after all.

I keep waiting for Duncan to go postal Tavaraz-style or for Molina to beat him to death on the mound with his mask. It's gonna happen, you'll see. Duncan finally vented some frustration with pinhead publicly recently, so there's still hope.

He's just saving himself for the playoffs. Yeah, that's it. The 2009 playoffs. For the Yankees.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Inside the mind of Phil Garner:

Game 5 2005 NLCS:

Before: "Hey, Lidge has given up one run in 2 YEARS against the Cardinals. So what if it was yesterday? Pujols can't hurt us here."

After: "Wow it's quiet in here. Hey, my little voice WAS saying don't pitch to him! Who knew?"

July 8 2006:

Before: "So Pujols led the world in HR the first half. So he was hitting HR's faster than Bonds. He was on the DL for 2 weeks. No problem."

AP HR's in 12th. Cards 7, Stros 6.

After: "Damn. Didn't see that coming."

Sep 12, 2006:

Before: "Brad's over that Oct thang. He'll bear down after hitting Spiezio. I got a feeling..."

AP 2-out, 2-R double. Cards 6, Stros 5.

After: "FUCK! Dammit Hickey, no more spicy food for lunch! That was my heartburn!"


Driving Astros Fans crazy since 1981. Hold your head high, Phil, hold your head high. Redbird Nation salutes your lack of short (and long) term memory.

Monday, September 11, 2006

So who's in charge of the asylum?

Jason Isringhausen is a tough guy.

Anyone who will endure a lubricant shot so his left hip has a full range of motion qualifies as a tough guy in my book.

But as tough as Isringhausen is, something stinks in the Cardinal medical camp.

Let's look over the details:

1. SCOTT ROLEN - 2005

May 12 2005: Scott Rolen is injured in a collision at first with Dodger Hee Sop-Choi.
May 14: Rolen undergoes surgery to repair a tear in his left shoulder labrum, performed by the Cardinals medical staff.
June 18-July 23: Rolen returns from the DL and plays, but hits poorly (.207, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .264 SLG, .289 OBP, .553 OPS) compared to his career numbers (through 2004: .285, .515 SLG, .375 OBP, .890 OPS).
July 23: Rolen back on DL
August 29: Rolen has a second surgery, performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati, where his shoulder is termed 'a reconstruction zone.'

2. MARK MULDER - 2006

I attend ol' Arm Slot's start at PETCO on 28 May, the one where he turned a 6-2 lead into a 8-6 deficit (and eventual 10-8 loss). It was clear, even waaaaaayyyyyy up in the nosebleed behind home plate, that something was wrong. He was serving up grapefruit. Bellhorn and Bard go back to back? On successive pitches? The two balls travel about 1000 feet combined? These two aren't Ruth and Gehrig, folks - they aren't even Murphy and Horner. Mulder's starts from there to the DL: 6/3 L @ Cubs (6.2 IP, 5 ER, 2 HR); 6/9 ND @ MIL (3.0, 6, 1); 6/15 W @ PIT (5.0, 4, 2); 6/20 L @ ChiSox (2.1, 9, 2).

The solution? Put ol' Arm Slot on the DL, to 'rest' his shoulder, because it's weak and he can't find his arm slot.

So, 2 months later, here's how he did: 8/23 L @ NYM (3.0, 9, 1); 8/29 L vs FLA (1.2, 5, 0). Now we decide he needs surgery.

Was it really necessary to embarass Mark before deciding he needed surgery to repair his rotator cuff? With 86 MPH tops on his fastball, and he shellacking he was taking, wouldn't a more aggressive treatment plan have been in order?


10 blown saves and 'I have no idea where the ball is going' admission following the 9/10 loss at DC. Then the arthritic hip problems re-surface. Why, if he was not physically fit, was he run out there again and again?

Question and comment:

Question: Who's in charge of Cardinals medical Care?

Hi, Everybody!

Major Nelson, what's going on in this house?!!?

Boy I wish I was a real warlock. Elizabeth Montgomery is even hotter when you're wrecked...

Comment: Izzy, Mulder, Rolen - all tough guys trying to grit it out and help the team. They deserved better care, and better decision making, from their employers.