And here I thought this week was going to be nice and slow, since it was the All-Star break - I figured it would've been the same old story with Braves on the ASG roster; Huddy might throw an inning (he didn't), Infante wouldn't see any PT (he didn't), Prado would might get an inning or two, and maybe an AB (he started), and Brian McCann would have another uneventuful ASG. But instead, Brian McCann delivers the biggest highlight of the entire ASG with a bases clearing double in the 7th, and I'm up on my feet screaming "HEAAAAAAP" at the top of my lungs while my dogs are whining at the sudden noise. The NL goes on to win for the first time in forever, and I'm texting all my A-word friends who are all fairweather AL fans to give them come-uppance, glowing, and more prideful and glowing for our own young man for bringing the NL some glory. There's yet another reason why I call him Baby Jesus.
Just when I thought it would be a warm honeymoon of Heap's heroism until Braves baseball picked up again, Frank Wren had to go and drop a bombshell on us as well as the rest of Braves Country, by trading Yunel Escobar (and Jo-Jo Reyes) for Alex Gonzalez (and Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky). Initially, I opt to reserve judgment on the transaction, as I was (and still am) a fan of Yunel Escobar the player, as well as all the flair and antics that went with it, but I've learned a lot this season to move forward quickly. If Gonzalez helps the Braves win better than Escobar did, then all will be forgotten even quicker; I'll admit that I wasn't that big of a fan of Kotchman for LaRoche, last year, at first, but when Adam came back, guns blazing, and launching homers, I realized that I was more hung up on the years of control Kotchman had attached to him than anything else, and I look around here, and think that similarly is being expressed in regards to Esco/Sea Bass.
But what's done is done, and the quickly-moving-on royhobbs has already buried his ESCOBAR #19 shirt with his three SMOLTZ #29, two GLAVINE #47 (to be unearthed August 6th) and free FRANCOEUR #7 shirts in his closet, and is ready to resume his place on the couch or in the stands of Turner Field, cheering for the Atlanta Braves, regardless of who is taking the field for us, as long as they continue to play for us.
Welcome back to another week of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.
Carlos Beltran's return spoiled by Giants - MLB
In his first game of the 2010 season, Carlos Beltran returns only to have to face Tim Lincecum out of the gate. He went 1-for-4 (a single) in his return, but the Giants ended up spoiling the return with a 2-0 victory. And the outfield? Bay to start every day in LF, Beltran resumes his spot in CF, with the well-heated Angel Pagan in RF, effectively putting Jeff Francoeur on the bench.
Not only has he proven himself unworthy of a starting job, but he also profiles poorly as a reserve. He can't play center field, so he has no versatility on defense. And he's not fast, so he has no value as a pinch-runner. You'd like your pinch hitters to either be able to hit one out, or be a tough out. But Francoeur doesn't hit for power, and his OBP is consistently among the lowest in the league. So what does he do well?
Click the link to find out more love.
Jose Castillo tentatively expected to return next weekend - MLB
So in Mets-time, Jose Castillo is expected to return in the start of September.
Mets potentially interested in Brett Myers now, too - MetsBlog
(Inappropriate joke about spousal abuse and how it would relate great to New Yorkers)
Fernando Tatis to have potentially career-ending shoulder surgery - MLB
Mr. Grand Slam, no spring chicken at the age of 35, is going to have shoulder surgery, that is going to effectively end his 2010 season. Unfortunately, at his age, there's a very good chance that his MLB career is over. At least he'll always be known as the guy to slam twice in an inning.
Why Ted Lilly makse sense - MetsBlog
iti Field "deserves" All-Star Game - NY Daily News
Based on what? Why not just say "I want to have the 2013 ASG at iti Field." Then it's more plausible than saying that iti has done something magnificent and notable to make a unanimous choice to have the pointless exhibition game that still counts at.
If anyone can try to coat Oliver Perez's suckiness, it's Scott Boras - MetsBlog
Most people are fairly confident that Carlos Beltran will get back to some semblance of being an outstanding player again, but not so much for Oliver Perez; super-agent Scott Boras does his best attempt to sugar coat and excuse his bloated-contracted client from some criticism.
Slogans are for Suckers - Metstradamus
Just because a slogan is in place doesn't make the nuances of baseball never happen. "Prevention and Recovery" is more or less an utter failure for the Mets organization who witnessed Jose Reyes fail to prevent an oblique injury, and then not really let him recover, by having him stay in games but only batting righty, nullifying his switch-hitting ability, and also ignoring the fact that fielding has many ways for him to hurt his left oblique, which he did, against us.
Matt Capps vultures winning decision in 2010 All-Star game in five pitches - MLB
Charlie Manuel baffles me. He brings in the left-handed Hong-Chih Kuo to face the right-handed Evan Longoria, and then brings in the right-handed Matt Capps to face the left-handed Jose Ortiz (disclaimer: Bobby V is an idiot). Now I'm about as happy with the end result as the rest of us NL supporters are, but I was pretty nervous at that match-up.
He wants to remain a National, so that probably means he's gone next year - MLB
No, seriously, with guys like Tyler Clippard, and eventually Drew Storen's shift into the closer role, Matt Capps is proabably pretty much done after this year. The Nationals would be wise to not offer arbitration to him, or he might go Rafael Soriano on them.
National Leaguers more relieved than they say they are to win ASG - WaPo
I can kind of see it; I can't say the last time I saw three guys all wearing three different jerseys doing the celebratory "jumping hip check" in the outfield, following the NL's win, but I have to admit it was a pleasant site, even if one was a Cub and one was an Astro.
Despite being appealing trade chips, GM prefers to keep OPS guy and Willingham - WaPo
Typically though, when remarks like this are made, they always have the disclaimer that "ALL options will be explored," so if I had to put money on it, I'm guessing at least OPS guy gets moved.
Torii Hunter would love to have OPS guy as teammate - MLBlogs
Without any indication of how to make it happen, Anaheim Angel, Torii Hunter has expressed his genuine interest to have OPS guy traded to the Angels to fill the void left by Kendry Morales.
Four minor-leaguers on Nationals affiliate suspended for PEDs - MLB
Two are Nationals prospects, and two are minor-league free agents. All are suspended for 50 games.
Bryce Harper receives 2010 Golden Spikes award - MLB
With the lines on his head, he certainly doesn't look any 17-year old. He actually kind of looks like the d-bag from the Dawn of the Dead remake. And despite the alleged reports of his ego, poor-sportsmanship, overall d-baggery, he's still given the award of Golden Spikes, that, if you're not aware is a combination of excellence in baseball talent, as well as "exemplary sportsmanship." He is also not currently interested in any contract talks.
But, Strasburg jerseys are the most popular selling jerseys in MLB - WaPo
There are certain jerseys that are just "acceptable" to see, no matter where you go, because the players were just that popular. Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Brian Urlacher, come to mind immediately. But I think it's going to be a little surreal if I were to go somewhere that was outside of DC/VA/MD area, and see people wearing a Nationals jersey. I mean, I see curly W hats from time to time, even in Atlanta, but usually those guys are named William or some other W-name, but I just can't quite grasp people around the rest of the nation wearing a Nationals jersey.
Domonic Brown leaves Futures Game with tweaked hamstring - MLB
Probably just growing pains, but it's worth menioning that Phillies top-prospect Domonic Brown hurt his hamstring and had to be promptly removed from the Futures Game after beating out an infield single.
Braves recent trade forces Phillies to make a move - Philly.com
Apparently, this columnist thinks that us moving Escobar for Sea Bass is a profound statement that we're in it to win it, and that the Phillies should make some sort of cockamany knee-jerk reactionary move to counter it. Actually, I wouldn't mind if they did that one bit.
Who needs to make a move, we have J.A. Happ - Philly.com
But this blogger doesn't think any moves, for a pitcher, are necessary, since J.A. Happ is supposedly progressing in the minors right now. No disrespect to Happ, but he's not the kind of impact move that a guy like Roy Oswalt could supposedly make to a team looking to go over the top.
Updates on Chase Utley and Placido Polanco - MLB
Polanco can be back with the Phillies as soon as this weekend, and Chase Utley is optimistic that he will be back well before his eight-week time-table. Not advocating injury, but I'm not going to really shed a tear if Utley rushes his recovery, returns, and either re-injures himself, or is simply hampered by a nagging pain.
Should we disrespect Moyer again? - Beerleaguer
Since the Phillies are pining for some starting pitching, and based on the trends of now, it's almost safe to say that the Phillies are going to have a new addition to the rotation, be it J.A. Happ or a move is made to acquire a Roy Oswalt, or a Kevin Millwood. But upon doing such, would they consider moving Moyer into the bullpen, like they did when they Clemens'd Pedro Martinez a year prior? The key difference is that Moyer has been, really, really effective for the Phils this year. . .
Chad Durbin activated, Figueroa DFA'd - Philly.com
With the return of Durbin, the Phillies bullpen is intact as it was meant to be on paper at the start of the season, for the first time all year.
It's really going to happen - the Shane Victorino Fashion Show - Phillies-Nation
For the low, low cost of starting at $250, you can witness a Shane Victorino Foundation fashion show.
"Celebrity Boxing" stretches further than their legs can, apparently - Deadspin
The woman who tried to essentially sell herself for Phillies WS tickets last October is going to get into the ring with one of Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses. I'm sure the bout will be absolutely scintillating.
Hanley Ramirez finishes second to Jose Ortiz in HR Derby - MLB
Going into the event, I was willing to put my money on Miguel Cabrera, but I can't say I was the least bit surprised when the guy with the least amount of homers going into the event did as well as he did. As much as I'm hoping that the derby mythically "messed up his swing," I couldn't help but notice the dramatic change in HanRam's batting stance in the derby than in-game.
But he still can't hit lefties - MLB
Despite being the reigning NL batting champion, Hanley's finding some difficulty in 2010 in hitting the southpaws. He is almost approximately 100 points worse against lefties this year, compared to last year (.217 vs. .316 last year). Too bad we don't have any lefty starters.
Edwin Rodriguez considering
hitting the panic button shaking up lineup - Miami Herald
Despite barely being at the helm for three weeks, E-Rod is looking to get some more offense out of his lineup. Apparently he's already got eight or nine different lineups proposed. Nevermind, it's all hogwash.
Expect Marlins to make some moves - Miami Herald
No matter how it's worded, it's very safe to assume that any sort of player transactions have monetary reasons behind them. Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, and Jorge Cantu are names often being thrown around to be moved, but surprisingly Nate Robertson, who essentially cost a league-minumum deal, is being thrown out there as well.
And last but not least, the biggest story of the week:
George Steinbrenner, 80, passes - Sports Illustrated
Personally, I am a fan of The Boss. Some called it cheating, some called it exploitation, but I always thought it was a very aggressive passionate dedication. So he spent egregious amounts of money to put together the best rosters he could buy? I think most fans would wish the teams they rooted for would open up the bankrolls just a little bit at some points in their lives.