Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Countdown To Opening Day: #47

[Joe and I are going to be running a tandem countdown format. He will focus his efforts on a notable baseball player from throughout the Major Leagues to wear that particular number, while I'm going to countdown via one or more not so notable Yankees, similar to the #14 post we did leading into Spring Training. There might not be one of each every single day, but we will try to ensure that there is at least one or the other.]

Shance Spencer, referred to as Roy Hobbs when Jeff Francoeur was still only 14, burst onto the scene during the Yankees illustrious 1998 season. In his first 67 at-bats in the Majors, Spencer famously lofted 10 home runs, three of them with the bags packed and drove in 27. Despite quickly coming back to earth, Spencer stuck around as a role player long enough to appear in four World Series.

In 2004 while he was supposed to be on a rehab assignment, he was arrested in Florida for driving 97MPH... while drunk. That same year, he and then teammate Karim Garcia were charged with assaulting a pizza delivery guy, but the charges were dropped. After all MLB teams passed on him, he played in Japan for two years, starting in 2005. He's currently a hitting coach for a Single A team in the Padres organization.

Bob Lemon was brought in to replace Billy Martin in 1978. He presided over the 14 game comeback to catch the Red Sox, the famous (or infamous, depending on where you are looking from) Bucky Dent game and the ensuing World Series Championship, wearing both #47 and #21 that season.

Ron "Suitcase" Villone has never spent more than two years in the same major league uniform. He threw 80 2/3 innings for the Yanks in 2006 to a 5.04ERA, then declined a salary arbitration offer from the Yankees that December. He made $2.5M in '06, but turned down the offer which would have almost certainly earned him raise. Ron went unsigned and came back to the Yanks on a minor league deal, costing him roughly $2M. He didn't make the team out of Spring Training in '07 but was called up in May and threw 42 1/3 innings to a better than league average ERA. I know this may cause a stampede, but he's currently a free agent. Notice his highly intimidating pitching sneer shown below.

Colter Bean, inspiration for the blog Free Colter Bean, holds the record for appearances for the Columbus Clippers with 212. A dubious distinction indeed, Bean will remembered not for his 7 major league innings and seven earned runs to match, but for his AAAA status and the fact his talent never carried over into the majors.

Last but not least... Sir Sidney Ponson. Rubber-armed and lard-gutted, Ponson was brought on for two separate stints with the Yanks in 2006 and 2008. In '06 he shat the bed to the tune of a 10.47ERA over 16 1/3 innings before being DFA'd.

Last year, after being released by Texas for his disorderly conduct despite sporting a 3.88ERA, he was snatched up by Brian Cashman on June 18th to help patch up the Yankees reeling rotation. He made his debut against the Mets on June 27th (the second half of the double header when Carlos Delgado suddenly stopped sucking) and went 6 innings without surrendering a run. It was pretty much all downhill from there. He ended up eating 80 innings for the Yankees (must... resist... fat... joke) but finished the season with a 5.85ERA in Pinstripes.

He is currently preparing to represent the Netherlands in the WBC by drinking his face off and assaulting respected public servants.

You Knew What You Were Doing

Alex, no one buys the notion that you put some street level Dominican steroids that you can't even remeber the name of (Boli, Bali, Bally's?) in your $252 million body. You know you just opened the door for Selena Roberts to find out which mystery cousin you are talking about, right? If that was a clever ploy to temporarily get her off your ass, nice work.

You keep falling back on being "naive", "young" and "stupid. No, you were "insecure", "greedy" and "calculated".

I know your PR Firm thought it would play better if you attributed the mistake to youthful indiscretion and naivete, but you were 25 years old, the best athlete in your sport, with a contract for hundreds of millions of dollars and Scott Boras as your agent.

It's more likely that you and Boras created a special laboratory to manufacture your own steroids, custom fit to your body chemistry, as opposed to getting some black market schwill from the DR.

I don't even care anymore, at least you admitted it. Make donations to charity, hit 40HRs, drive in 125 runs, win a World Series and we'll all move on with our lives. But just realize that I and almost every other objective observer know you are still lying about the important details.

A-Rod Press Conference Screen Grab Recap [Live-Blog]

1:25PM: Apparently there will be a doorbuster-style media entrance to the press conference because as of now, this is the best MLB.com could do.

1:39PM: Still just the studio B-team. They just said A-Rod was "projected" to answer questions from the media. They are running on empty in terms of material.

1:44PM: OMG, He's 14 mins late! Press conferences are never late! John Heyman said he's not going on until 1:48 because he arrived fashionably late to the facility. The man does know how to be the center of attention. They guys in studio are killing him for it.

1:49PM: It's A-Rod!!!!

1:51PM: According to Jason Zillo, just like the Peter Gammons interview, there will be no follow up questions

1:54PM: He will be donating to the Taylor Hooton Foundation, started for a football player who killed himself while he was on steroids. Excellent choice.

1:56PM: He's getting more specifc into his drug usage, but reading from a piece of paper. Who is his cousin?

1:59PM: "To my teammates..." (a ridiculously long "dramatic" pause with about 4 sips of water and 28 facial expressions) (lip quivers) "Thank you." How about "I'm sorry", asshole? That was fucking terrible.

2:02PM: He won't name his cousin. I don't know how many cousins he has, but that shouldn't be that difficult to find out...

2:05PM: God apparently has put him in this position. And he is here to help the kids.

2:07PM: It was "amatuer hour" and he "probably didn't even do it right". I think he was actually talking about the time he and his cousin made a plastic bong out of a Pepsi bottle and didn't inhale, though.

2:09PM: A-Rod says those 25 guys are a family and that this crisis will bring them together. He also said he owes them an apology... and then thanks them again. "I'm Sorry". It's not that hard.

2:14PM: Kat O'Brien of Newsday has a lisp and asked the question about the "loosey-goosey" atmosphere. Priceless.

2:16PM: Joel Sherman asked him why he would inject himself 36 times with something if he didn't know how it helped him or if he was doing it right. Not surprisingly, A-Rod's answer was less than complete.

2:18PM: He benched 310 in high school but only benches 240 now?

2:25PM: And that's that.

Jeremy Giambi Wasn't Available?

Billy Ripken in the house, fuck-faces.

A-Rod's presser is at 1:30, but coverage is already airing live on MLB.com.

Grandpa Selig Doesn't Like Your Tone, Smart Alec

Wallace Matthews of Newsday had the esteemed pleasure of conducting a lenghty telephone interview with the Bud Selig in which he once again assumes that baseball fans are a bunch of morons:

I don't want to hear the commissioner turned a blind eye to this or he didn't care about it. That annoys the you-know-what out of me. You bet I'm sensitive to the criticism. The reason I'm so frustrated is, if you look at our whole body of work, I think we've come farther than anyone ever dreamed possible.
Hey Bud, just because the sport has been successful over you tenure doesn't mean that you aren't responsible for tacitly allowing steroid use. So just because you've came "further than anyone ever dreamed possible", which is highly debatable, it means you shouldn't be questioned on some rather obvious mistakes you made?

Remember back in 1998, when the whole fucking sport was revitalized BECAUSE of steroid use? Take a look around at the economy, I don't hear financial CEOs saying "Look at where we took the economy, the Dow was at 14,000! That's why I'm so frustrated, cause everyone just wants to talk about this sub-prime mess!!"

A lot of people say we should have done this or that, and I understand that. They ask me, 'How could you not know?' and I guess in the retrospect of history, that's not an unfair question. But we learned and we've done something about it. When I look back at where we were in '98 and where we are today, I'm proud of the progress we've made.
You know what a significant part of that progess stemmed from? PEOPLE HITTING HOME RUNS WHILE THEY WERE ON STEROIDS.

Starting in 1995, I tried to institute a steroid policy. Needless to say, it was
met with strong resistance. We were fought by the union every step of the way.
Yup, that's the whole story. Bud Selig tirelessly campaigned for a steroid testing poilcy, but the Union wouldn't budge. You are the head of the League, Allan Huber Selig. It takes two sides to reach and agreement, and you weren't willing to meet to Union's demands to make the testing a reality. Take some responsibilty for what occured under your watch and the fact that the two sides couldn't come together. And aside from trying to insitiute a testing policy, what did you do about it? That was 1995, and up until 2003, the answer is "not a whole lot".

Selig said he consulted with a few coaches and executives in the late '90's including John Schuerholz, Doug Melvin and Brian Cashman:

They all told me none of them ever saw it in the clubhouses and that their players never spoke about it. "[Padres CEO] Sandy Alderson, as good a baseball man as you'll find, was convinced it was the bat. Others were convinced it was the ball. So a lot of people didn't know.
Wow... that's shocking. You mean Brain Cashman didn't come out and say, "Listen, Bud, there are at least 10 guys in my clubhouse on the juice. Clemens... holy shit! The guy pumps himself full of Winstrol twice an hour. Sometimes he just walks around with an IV drip."

Secondly, Brain Cashman probably never did see it in the Clubhouse and no one ever told him about it. That's not how it went down. Players knew what they were doing was wrong and a took the steroids at their own homes or in private places with their personal trainers.

It would be as if I went to West Baltimore and said "I heard there is a huge herion and crack epidemic going on around here, but when I was walking around the streets in my fucking tweed blazer and Brooks Brother's slacks, I wasn't so much as offered a hit! For goodness sake, I didn't even see one person shooting up or smoking rock!"

Great job Bud, give yourself another raise this year, you greedy, evil imbecile. Then die in your sleep.

Kevin Youkilis: Titan Of The Food Industry

Uh, how come no one told us about this? Is it because Red Sox Nation issued a gag order?

A simple Google search of our blog's anti-namesake turned up the fact that Kevin Youkilis endorses B&M Baked Beans. And you thought Jonathan Papelbon's "Auto 125" commercial was embarrassing... I'm not a branding expert, but would probably advise against a sloppy brown food product being sold under the letters "B" & "M"

Dude, you couldn't hold out for Bush's?

Oh, I forgot, they already have a spokesman (he knows the secret recipe)...

That's right Youk. In the prestigious upper echelon of baked bean spokeslifeforms, it's you and a dog named Duke! Youk and Duke. Well done. It's only a matter of time until the economy catches up to B&M, Bush's buys them out, and you two doing ads together. I can see it now...

That's not all, though...

Longball Cellars also offers Jorge Cabernet and Abreu's Finest among other terrible wine/baseball name puns including Jose's CaberReyes, Tom's Cabernet Glavingnon, Brain Schneider's Schardonnay, and Tim Wakefield's CaberKnuckle.

Youk's Hot Sauce was developed by his brother Scott, a chef at Maverick's Restaurant in San Francisco, thusly: "Some chilies were on their way out, so we roasted them, added vinegar and called it a hot sauce". He added "Yeaaaaaah brraaaah, it's gnarly."

You can get a bottle of that so-called hot sauce for the incredibly low price of $10 +S&H, or $25 +S&H complete with an autograph from the man himself. Or actually you can't, because they are sold out. Is this guy fackin' maaahketahble, ah what?

And last but not least, Yooouuuuk has an energy drink called "SlumpBuster", a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to the first girl you sleep with after not getting any for a while.
In sports, at work or in your social life, everyone has been in a slump. You've tried everything, and then... along comes a SlumpBuster... and all is right with the world. SlumpBuster Energy Drink.
Classy as the day is long, that Kevin Youkilis. Go out and get yourself a SlumpBuster... and after you're done, smash the can on your forehead and throw it out your car window, asshole.

K-Rod To Be Even More Obnoxious in 2009

From Shysterball, David Lennon of Newsday and 1050 ESPN Radio fame tells us that Francisco Rodriguez has been experimenting with some new ocular technology:
I wish I had a camera-phone because words don't really do this justice, but I've never seen a player wear blood-red contact lenses like the ones that Francisco Rodriguez sported for today's bullpen session.

Instead of wearing tinted sunglasses like most players, K-Rod had lenses in that are a deep scarlet, giving his eyes the reddish hue of a vampire. A number of local TV stations taped today's interview, so you might want to check out SNY, NY1 or FOX-5 tonight to see what I'm talking about.

"It helps with the glare," K-Rod said.
Frankie, not a good idea, man. Just a fair warning, I will mock you endlessly via screen grab if you go through with this. Opposing fans already hate you for your ridiculous histrionics and the Mets aren't that popular to begin with because of Jose Reyes and his similar displays.

They are going to look creepy when you are pitching, additionally offensive when you are celebrating like a jackass and downright hilarious when you are watching your team lose. Don't believe me? Just ask Kyle Vanden Bosch...