Great Moments in Frivolity, Part II
Yesterday we looked at March's monkeyshines and April's assininity. Today we wrap up with May, June, and July. What? July's not over yet? No worries. I'm sure no one will do anything stupid or noteworthy for the rest of the month.
Multiple news outlets profile the Royals' dynamic duo of Zach Greinke and Brian Bannister. They make for a great story. One guy is a much better story, however. I mean, when you consider all of the adversity he has overcome and the affliction with which he has struggled, man, you just get misty. I'm talking, of course, about Brian Bannister and his ability to hold a job without possessing a Major League fastball.
Sticking with the Royals, on May 2nd, reliever John Bale, frustrated at yet another poor performance, breaks his hand after punching a door. At the time he has a 7.63 ERA, which means that he was probably doing his team a favor by putting himself on the DL. Inspired, the Giants put pictures of one of the guys Barry Zito's ex-girlfriends hooked up with on every door in the clubhouse, hoping for a similar miracle.
Paul DePodesta, the Padres Special Assistant for Baseball Operations, starts his own blog. Team President Sandy Alderson is generally supportive, but hopes that DePodesta is strongly considered for the Mariners' vacant GM position so that he can get the use of his basement back.
Hall of Famer-elect Rich Gossage rants about how it takes three pitchers today to do the job that he and his bullpen brethren did back in the dark ages of the 1970s and 80s. Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, and Sandy Koufax roll their eyes. Cy Young, Pud Galvin, and Tim Keefe inquire from beyond about what, exactly, a "bullpen" is.
Giants' GM Brian Sabean announces that he thinks his team can yet contend in 2008, lauding his players for overcoming all of the "challenges" and "question marks" they faced coming out of spring training. Sabean fails to mention, however, that all of the challenges and question marks were the result of his own failure to draft and develop a position player during virtually his entire tenure as General Manager.
Jon Lester throws a no-hitter against the Royals. Unfortunately, this is the only Red Sox game in weeks not featured on ESPN, so no one outside of Kansas City or New England gets to see it.
It is revealed that Roger Clemens routinely dispenses pitching advice to Joba Chamberlain via text message. While some express concern, cooler heads prevail when it's pointed out that Chamberlain is 22 years-old, and as such is much too old to hold Clemens' interest for long.
Officials from the State of Maryland hold a ceremony renaming a portion of I-395 outside of Camden Yards "Cal Ripken Way." Best thing about it: it's a very durable road, and thus resurfacing will not be necessary until 2024.
There's a lot of talk about Chase Utley for MVP. It rages throughout most of the month, but eventually subsides when someone points out that he's not even the best-hitting second baseman in the NL East whose last name starts with the letter "U".
Joba Chamberlain makes his much anticipated debut as a starting pitcher. He only lasts three innings. The short outing has nothing to do with his lack of effectiveness, however. Rather, there are so many reporters assembled for the game that the Yankees' media relations people thought it would be a good idea to make Chamberlain available for interviews beginning in the bottom of the fourth.
To hype the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball creates the "Statues on Parade" promotion, in which replicas of Lady Liberty are painted with the logos of all 30 Major League teams and placed in strategic locations around New York City. Many clever wags make jokes at what might happen to a statue painted with a Red Sox logo sitting on a street corner in the Bronx. No one seems to worry, however, about plastering the racist image of Chief Wahoo over one of our nation's greatest symbols of liberty.
Ozzie Guillen goes on an expletive-laced tirade following a bad White Sox loss, going so far as to call out Sox GM Kenny Williams, who fires back at Ozzie the following day. A few days later, Mariners manager John McLaren goes on a tirade of his own, and he is immediately defended and supported by Mariners' management as "having a right to be upset." Weeks later, McLaren is fired and Ozzie has the White Sox in first place. The lesson here: chemistry is overrated.
The Rangers and Indians play a midweek, four-game series in which 78 runs were scored, all of the games exceeded three hours in length – in fact three of the four pushed four hours – and sloppy play prevailed. Box scores documenting these crimes against baseball humanity are sent to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for further investigation, and a Truth and Reconciliation Committee is formed. Experts believe that the mental wounds inflicted by this atrocity of a series can one day heal, but it will take time.
Geddy Lee, the lead singer and bassist for Canadian progressive rock band Rush, makes one of the largest ever single donations of memorabilia to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. After he leaves, the entire staff of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum runs to the nearest computer to try and figure out just who the hell Geddy Lee is.
In a USA Today story, experts are quoted as saying that, in order to limit arm and shoulder injuries, an 11- or 12-year-old pitcher should be limited to 85 pitches in one outing, players 10 or younger should be limited to 75 pitches, and 22 year-old New York Yankees' pitchers from Nebraska should be limited to 65.
In the latest of what seems to be a never-ending string of embarrassing stories about Roger Clemens, the New York tabloids report that, in addition to steroids, Clemens used Viagra as a performance enhancer. While many have alleged that "roid rage" was the cause of the tension between Clemens and Mike Piazza during the 2000 World Series, these new revelations shed a whole new light on things.
The Sporting News, the one-time Baseball Bible that has since fallen into near-obscurity, relaunches. Middle-aged men all over America are overjoyed that they will soon again be receiving week-old box scores in the mail every Tuesday afternoon.
David Ortiz becomes a U.S. citizen. Due to a series of complex treaties, however, it is still the case that any children he and his wife have during the baseball season will be subjects of Red Sox Nation.
The Mets fire Willie Randolph one day into a west coast road trip. Many commentators take issue with the late-night timing of the termination. Underreported is the fact that the Mets refuse to give their former manager a plane ticket back home. Randolph is last seen near the ride board at the UCLA student union.
The Yankees announce plans to put a Hard Rock Café in New Yankee Stadium. In explaining the reasons behind the move, Hank Steinbrenner says "we wanted the quality of the food we serve to the fans at New Yankee Stadium to reflect the quality of play they can expect to see on the field. It made perfect sense, therefore, to go with the overpriced and overrated fare of the Hard Rock Café!"
Good News: Cito Gaston is rehired as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Bad news: Paul Molitor, Roberto Alomar, and John Olerud are nowhere to be seen.
Bad news: Major shoulder surgery likely puts an end to Curt Schilling's baseball career. Worse news: major shoulder surgery likely marks the beginning of Curt Schilling's television career.
A story out of San Diego reveals that the Padres are looking to dump Greg Maddux. This story appears mere days after the Padres sign Brett Tomko. While Padres management continues to try and identify the reasons for the team's considerable struggles, experts note that doing things like keeping guys like Brett Tomko and dumping guys like Greg Maddux may be part of the problem.
It is announced that a Bon Jovi concert will be held in Central Park in connection with the All-Star Game. In related news, it is announced that the first 10,000 fans in Yankee Stadium on the night of the game will receive Swatch Watches, Cabbage Patch Kids, and jelly shoes.
C.C. Sabathia is traded to the Brewers. Extra beer, bratwurst, and large pants are immediately dispatched via convoy to Milwaukee.
In a reaction to the Sabathia trade, the Cubs pick up Rich Harden, and the Cardinals rush Mark Mulder back into the rotation. The Astros, Pirates, and Reds stand by slackjawed, unaware that teams can actually be buyers at the trade deadline.
Alex Rodriguez's marriage falls apart amid allegations of infidelity with Madonna and drunken dalliances with strippers. A-Rod is understandably confused by the fallout in the tabloids. For years he has been criticized for not being Mickey Mantle, and the moment he finally does something the Mick would do, he's attacked for it.
The wrecking balls come to Tiger Stadium. I wish I had a joke for this one, but I just don't.
Enjoy the All-Star Break. I think we all need it.
Craig Calcaterra is an attorney from Columbus, Ohio. When he's not defending the innocent and preserving democracy, he writes the baseball blog ShysterBall.