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Things Read in Other Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 03.27.10

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Almost there. Almost there. We're almost there. Eight days from now is the greatest time of the year for people like us. Monday afternoon, those of us in Atlanta will be looking for any way to get out of work by noon, so that we can fight the throngs of endless traffic as cars come from all directions to Turner Field. The rest of us will be perched impatiently at our computers, seeking internet radio broadcasting, and/or settling into the first official regular season open-thread, of the season, all while our Tivo's and DVRs are diligently prepared to record the first pitch all the way to the first decision of the year.

Personally, I will likely be among those of us fortunate to attend the beauty of Opening Day, since I don't exactly work a real job at the moment, and a 4pm start time shouldn't be any problem for me to make. I have lofty aspirations of travel, seeing both Braves baseball as well as new parks and territories, Major and Minor league. I plan on eating foods I haven't dreamed of being available at ballparks, and consuming enough beer to make a frat boy go "what a wuss." I aspire to take photographs of all that I find amusing, and pretty girls in baseball regalia.

And no matter what the outcome of this year when the Braves enjoy massive success in 2010, we will all fondly remember the Return of Chipper, Tommy Hanson's 20 strikeout performance, Jair Jurrjens's first complete game shutout, Jason Heyward one-upping Ichiro's rookie year, and Bobby Cox being hoisted on the shoulders of his players as they walk him around three victory laps around Turner Field after vanquishing the Yankees in the World Series . . . as the Greatest. Season. EVER.

Welcome back to Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.


Jose Reyes to resume all baseball activity -
Good for Reyes, the Mets, and bad news for everyone else. A rare instance of a player's return actually occurring close to schedule, as Jose Reyes's thyroid levels are all back to normal, and he's been given the green light to making his comeback. His status, in regards to Opening Day, is still not fully certain just yet.

The difference between what are baseball activities and what aren't - Metstradamus
A refresher, for Jose Reyes, and all his fans, about what he's now been given the green light to do, and what he's not supposed to do.

The Myth of Carlos Beltran's bad contract - Amazin Avenue
If there is one thing in this excellent piece to zero in on, please make it the graph; and pay attention to the last two columns - to sum it up, it shows the value of each listed player's current contract, and based on their statistical output, what they were actually worth. Pertinent to the category, Beltran's contract is nowhere near as bad as people claim it is, but Albert Pujols was pretty much robbed by the Cardinals, Mike Hampton was such an albatross he's given an N/A, and Todd Helton was paid pretty much exactly what he was worth in his deal with the Rockies.

Blackberries allowed in Venezuelan prisons - New York Times
Ugueth Urbina for some reason is allowed to have a BlackBerry while serving his 14-year sentence for attempted murder, and lately, has been contacting fellow Venezuelan and Mets closer, Francisco Rodriguez. What for? Uggy's son, Juan is actually a Mets LOOGY prospect currently, and he's hoping K-Rod can keep an eye out on his son for him. I rag on K-Rod sure, but admirably, he is doing such for Juan, as well as other Spanish-speaking prospects.

Mets pursuing Mike Lowell? - Amazin Avenue
Interestingly enough, Lowell would be Glausing it for the Mets, meaning instead of playing 3B, shifting over to 1B, and creating the most hideous monster over at 1B ever, with Daniel Murphy, Mike Jacobs, and Mike Lowell.

Gary Matthews, Jr. possibly being shopped to the Reds - MetsBlog
This isn't much of a shocker, considering that Sarge, Jr. will officially have zero place to play once Carlos Beltran returns to the squad. He balked about being an overpayed bench guy out in Anaheim, so it's pretty clear-cut how he'll be, being a third-stringer. Rumors swirl that the Reds would send back either Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang, and possibly Brandon Phillips, so let the speculation begin that Jose Castillo would be involved in this transaction somewhere as the inevitable deal-breaker.

Dwight Gooden arrested for DWI - Deadspin
Good news is that it's not an active player/staff member, and didn't even happen in the state of Florida, but New Jersey. The former Met/Yank/Indian/Ray/Astro was invited down to Port St. Lucie to be an advisor, but declined because his wife is pregnant. Clearly, he found better use of his home life time.

Dragon Slayer requests, receives release - MetsBlog
Not pleased with a demotion to the minors, Josh Fogg requests, and receives his unconditional release from the Mets in order to be able to pursue possibly sexier work elsewhere.

Feliciano aspires to be an 8th inning guy -
Pedro Feliciano no longer wants to be a LOOGY for the Mets, and voices his desire to be the setup guy. But in order to do that, he has to prove that he can pitch to righties.

Reason #322 why Heath Bell is cool - MetsBlog
When asked if Bell is glad that the Mets are struggling since his departure, he says yes a little bit, but mostly no. As a former Mets talent, he does harbor a little sting with them, but as a true competitor, he wants to beat them when they're at their best.

You know you have a problem when it's a headline -
Funny how Jeff Francoeur taking two walks in a game is worthy of being front-page news on

Okay, he's not that bad - Atlanta-Journal Constitution
(hat tip: Amazin' Avenue's comprehensive list of Jeff Francoeur stories)
As much as I rag on the guy, here's a story of why most of us gave him such a long leash in the first place - baseball skills aside, the guy's legitimately a good-hearted human being. Knowing how big fans of golf the Francoeur men are, Jeffy secretly plotted a getaway for his dad and six other Francoeurs to Scotland, to do nothing but play golf on the many high-quality golf courses in the country.

Uh oh, I feel a jab coming on, dare I yeah why not - maybe if he weren't so busy plotting a golfing trip all throughout 2009 and kept his head in the game, he wouldn't have stunk to the point where he had to be traded in the first place. Take that, Jeff Francoeur the baseball player.



Ryan Howard resorting to plate-crowding to combat breaking balls -
Perhaps he picked it up from Chase Utley, but big Howard is standing closer to the plate now in an attempt to garner superior plate-coverage and counteract the likely diet of breaking pitches he is going to be fed all of 2010. Now if only he could hit lefties, then he'd be scary improved.

In defense of Jamie Moyer - The Good Phight
taco pal over at TGP wrote this excellent piece defending a player from legions of "the uneducated" - Knee-Jerk Internet Commenters. Who have apparently decided to take their wrath out on Jamie Moyer, who is still fighting for the 5th Starter role, but that hasn't stopped the legions from utilizing the internet to spread their malice for the crafty, wily, old veteran who, to me, is a respected adversary who often times tends to make fools of the Braves with his 69mph heater. Often times here, when I have to issue warnings to the overzealous legions, I suggest that they stop and actually think about what they're going to say before they say it, because as many of you have already demonstrated, not everyone is as articulate as this piece, but that's not always a bad thing, either.

Moyer silences the critics by owning the Yankees -
It's hard to ignore this type of game, Spring Training or not, it's not like these players aren't trying to play, regardless. Moyer, in 6.2IP, holds the Yankee lineup to a single hit, and six strike outs, and no runs allowed. Makes you think that he's the last guy concerned about the imaginary battle between he and Kyle Kendrick for the 5th starter.

Victorino to bat 7th -
Personally, I think this move is going to pay dividends for the Phils. In 2008, Victorino bat 6th all through the playoffs, and every time I tuned in to watch the Phillies lose, Victorino was all over the place. With Placido Polanco pretty much set as the #2 hitter, that means, it's going to be a Murderer's Row of Rollins, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, and then Victorino.

The Strange Journey of Danys Baez - Phillies Nation
I may rag on the guy, but this interesting piece justifies why the Phillies took a risk on Baez - the ridiculous groundball percentage he put up with the O's in 09, and just in 09. Personally, I would have preferred the heat that Chan Ho Park was capable of bringing out of the bullpen, but I also like Chan Ho Park.

This kind of sounds like a familiar story... -
(hat tip: The Good Phight)
Player A is adjusting to a new team, new role, and doesn't speak much English publicly. Player B has been around for a while and often serves as Player A's translator, and helps him a lot on the field, and off the field. Both played together in Cuba for 10 years. So I wonder now that the candid "We are Cubans" article is out of the way, which one between Jose Contreras and Danys Baez is going to get unceremoniously dumped, leading the other one into a conveniently timed slump which has Phillies fans wondering if it's because of the dismissal of their friend?

Brian Schneider bringing a "wealth" of knowledge of the NL East to the Phillies -
Stories like this always amuse me. The fact that Brian Schneider, and his McCann-beating defense has played his entire 10 year career in the NL East (Expos/Nationals, Mets, Phillies), and here's some writer out to make him sound like he's got this wealth of knowledge as if throughout the past ten years, the Braves, Marlins, Mets, Phillies and Expos/Nationals have remained exactly the same, and he's got the insider scoop on three of them. He's certainly got experience in the NL East, but it doesn't change the fact that's he's still an overall crummy player, who has hit .197 with a .280OBP against the Braves throughout his career.

New to the 2010 catalogue - dirt, grass, and debris -
Among the new crap that Citizens Bank Park is offering, fans can now buy a slice of turf from the playing field that the Phillies won their championship on in 2008, that also appeared in the World Series.

"This is an exclusive and no other Major League Baseball team has offered a collectible like this."

That's because in prior instances of people maybe wanting to salvage some turf, they usually stormed the field, overwhelmed security, and took what they wanted to. I used to have a chunk of turf from RFK, back when the Washington Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys in their final game ever there, and the fans stormed the field afterward. And one day my mom found a cup with some dead grass and dried dirt in it, and threw it out.

Pat Burrell's last chance - Tampa Bay Online
(hat tip: The Good Phight)
You think there's a Philly fan out there that thought that Pat Burrell would have a better season than Raul Ibanez? I've seen many instances of players who just win championships, quickly jumping ship to the next team that he thinks likely to win soon, and unless your name is Robert Horry, it really ain't happening. Currently, Pat the Bat is not really batting, hitting only .188 out of the DH role for the Rays, whom have pretty much begin to make Burrell feel like his old home, by yep, booing the player for the home team.

This is kind of an uncomfortable read - The Globe and Mail
(hat tip: The Good Phight)
The city of Toronto is handling the break-up with Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays, kind of a lot like, a jilted ex. I remember after a split from a long-time girlfriend, I went through a period of time where I would jot down the most incoherent, unsure of how I'm leaning, types of writings, just to convince myself that it was all therapeutic in the end.

While we're on the topic of prostitution... - FOX News
(hat tip: The Good Phight)
On the recent news that Duente Heath was arrested for prostitution, the infamous "Will Trade Sex for WS Tix" lady out in Philadelphia was found not guilty of actual prostitution, but was guilty of attempted prostitution. So, with that in mind, Heath can't possibly be found guilty of any prostitution, despite the fact that there was an attempt, right?


Josh Johnson hit by stomach virus, may miss Opening Day - Miami Herald
A perfect example of something small hitting at a bad time. Any time during Spring Training but now, and missing any regular season time isn't really an issue, but now, any nag, tweak, sprain, or bug like this one, and some playing time that actually counts, is on the line now.

Nolasco doesn't know meaning of walks -
I wish this headline were more literal, because it would be funny to see a pitcher surrendering walks repeatedly and not understand why Fredi Gonzalez is so pissed at him, but it's more or less to brag on the fact that Ricky Nolasco has surrendered zero walks in his 12.0IP of ST work, while still striking out 19. Impressive to say the least, even if it is ST.

Gaby Sanchez will need offense to survive at first - Marlins Maniac
A well-written piece about the stigma attached to the offensive expectations of a player, based on their defensive position, and logical, simple-to-comprehend justification of why it's done that way. And how 1B Gaby Sanchez may not be required to put up Pujols/Howard/Fielder numbers, but enough to justify him being at first every day.

Top prospect sent down to Double-A -
This 6'5 230 lb., 20-year old monster top-prospect was sent down to minor-league camp this year, despite putting up a .333 batting average, and posting an impressive 1.240OPS in Spring Training. If this weren't so obvious being that I don't link to any Braves news, would you have suspected Jason Heyward instead of Mike Stanton?

Andrew Miller sent down to Triple-A - Palm Beach Post
With this, it all but solidfies an all-righty rotation for the Fish, starting with Josh Johnson, followed by Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, and former Padre, Clay Hensley.

Brett Carroll strains left oblique - MLBlogs
An outfielder by trade, with Carroll hurting himself, that makes him, Maybin, and Ross all hitting some sort of ST speed bumps. With this in mind, here's a shot in the dark - imagine if they can get their hands on Elijah Dukes to bolster their outfield? Pray for the Nationals, if this is the case, 18 chances to get retribution would be something worth watching.

Speaking of the Devil -
Cody Ross has been dealing with more than just the strained groin, as you can add sore thumb, as well as a tweaked calf to the list of aches and pains that are encumbering the bats-right/throws-left center fielder. He has only had a grand total of 22 ABs this spring, and is likely going to have to take some minor-league squad games, just to get some more ABs to play catchup.

L-Nun seeking to mimic K-Rod more in 2010 -
I guess I never paid any attention to him the three saves he collected against the Braves last year, but apparently, much like K-Rod, Leo Nunez is a bit of an overzealous celebrator, post-game, and for the time being, he's tentatively slated to be the Marlins' Opening Day closer, despite all the surprise statistical breakdown in the article, that questions his cojones as the 9th inning guy.

But he won't get the chance if he keeps tipping his pitches - MLBlogs
The Cards teed off on Nunez the other day, and fortuantely for the Fish, Randy St. Claire found out that he was tipping his pitches. The way he was holding his glove apparently revealed a method of giving hitters a slightly better idea of what had to be coming.

This has to be a joke - Deadspin (Click at your own risk)
It's from Deadspin. Keep that in mind when your curiosity gets the best of you.



Jesus smitten down to the minors -
Unless you live under a rock, the Nationals confirmed on Saturday that Stephen Strasburg will indeed start the season in the Minor Leagues. He was assigned to the Nationals' AA affiliate in Harrisburg, the Senators. I could make a bigjoe joke here, but I'll instead wait and see if he texts me any vulgarities instead. Jesus wasn't too thrilled with the demotion, but I give kudos to GM Mike Rizzo for the decision to let him mature a bit in the minors before releasing him to the majors.

And then takes it out on Minor Leaguers -
Pitching in his first game in minor league camp, Jesus needs only 79 pitches to strike out nine batters in 4.1 IP, with his fastball clocked as high as 98mph. If any of you guys are in the Virginia/Maryland/Pennsylvania area, you can probably get a few early opportunities at seeing him play before the inevitable call up.

Let me get this straight -
There are times in which I'm completely capable of ignoring the numbers, but still able to make the superior choice. If Ryan Zimmerman went 0/45 in Spring Training while Pete Orr (who was sent to the minors, btw) went 30/30, I'm still going to be starting Ryan Zimmerman at 3B come Opening Day. But some how, the Nationals saw fit to release Elijah Dukes, citing only performance issues (.150-something ST BA), and are giving the nod to Opening Day right fielder to . . . wait for it . . . Willie Harris.

Jim Duquette suggests Dukes was just a bad seed - Federal Baseball
Citing anonymous Nationals teammates, Jim Duquette suggests that sure, Dukes may not have really done anything wrong in his tenure in Washington, but his mere presence seemed to be enough to warrant the boot. Mentioned was the fact that he always had an unhappy demeanor, and they didn't potentially want the chip on his shoulder to possibly rub off onto even younger players. And that anonymous teammates felt that a 'cloud had been lifted' upon his dismissal.

Well, this is a new way to get ITBSOHL - Washington Post
Guys like Oliver Perez went to some multi-million dollar professional athletes club out in Arizona. I already forget, but some guy on the Marlins went on a special diet created by John Salley. Matt Diaz and Martin Prado are among the few Braves who did P90X. But Livan Hernandez had a radically different way to get ITBSOHL this off-season - playing racquetball with 60-year olds. Hey, if it works, it works, and Livan is still around, so good for him, but it's still amusing to read of his casual journey into the world of racquetball, and how he was getting owned by 60-year old veterans who know their bounces and how to hit the bottom corners of the court for maximum frustration.

Mike MacDougal returns to the Nationals - Federal Baseball
MacDoogs, just a day after being released by the Florida Marlins, is picked right back up by the team that he left just a few weeks ago. Did this happen to Byung-Hyun Kim a few years ago, where he went to like Florida-to-Colorado-to-Arizona then back to Florida?

Jason Marquis's rough spring - Federal Baseball
Mr. Innings-Eater/Mr. Playoffs is having a really, really rough spring. FB takes a look at reasons why there should be some room for concern, and some room for leeway. Kind of like those of whom are panicking about Nate McLouth's less than stellar ST statistics so far.

Chien-Ming Wang dealing with soreness - MLBlogs
Uh-oh, looks like the NL Comeback Player of the Year is working a little too hard. Shoulder injuries are seeming to be a giant obstacles for several trying to come back from them, such as Derrick Turnbow, Jesus Flores, and now Wang.

And Cristian Guzman, too - MLBlogs
is dealing with shoulder problems, and has logged only eight games at shortstop this ST, and for some reason, there's still question to whether or not Ian Desmond should be starting ahead of him. Oh wait, he had one good game, and it now looks like high-salary is going to > best chance to win

I will equalize anyone who challenges my obsession with classic rock. Turner Field never gets any quality groups to perform there except for a bunch of obscure Christian rock bands. I am jealous.

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