To Catch a Pitcher: ATL Prospect Caught In Sting

WFTV-TV in Orlando has real time video this week of Atlanta Braves pitching prospect Deunte Heath getting busted on Thursday evening by Kissimmee (FL) police in a Craigslist prostitution sting.

Deunte Heath busted for prostitution

Heath, a 2006 Atlanta draft pick from the Univ. of Tennessee, was in Braves major league camp competing for a roster spot. He’s since been suspended indefinitely by the MLB team and sent packing to his home in Atlanta.

Deunte Heath busted for prostitution

(Found: Worse starting 9 than the Pirates)

The ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION has more details on Heath’s bust and charges.

Heath was one of nine people arrested Wednesday and Thursday. He was charged with “assignation to commit prostitution” and entering a dwelling to commit prostitution.

Miller said Heath responded after seeing one of the advertisements the department’s tactical unit had posted on the two sites.

“Mr. Health called our decoy and set up a date for $75 for a sex act,” Miller said.

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The ‘Rally Head’ Is Everything You Could Ask For

Quirky sports traditions: everyone’s got ‘em. In hockey, of course, teams grow playoff beards, not to be shorn until their playoff run ends. In basketball, meanwhile, the players fast 24 hours a day while the coaches gorge themselves. Actually, that may not be true.

Rally Head Peter Moylan
(God, it’s like Marty Culp and James Lipton had dirty sex with each other and this was their manbaby.)

But Peter Moylan, a reliever for the Atlanta Braves, has introduced the “Rally Head,” and it’s beautiful. As you can probably see - unless you roll so fly that you have someone to read websites aloud for you - it’s accomplished by shaving only the top of your head, so as to imitate male pattern baldness. Hey, man, it works.

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Chipper Jones Has Mexican Deer Stand Standoff

If you’re like me, you’re constantly wondering “What’s the largest number of Mexican immigrants Chipper Jones has had in his truck at one time?” The answer, of course, is 15, which the Atlanta Braves infielder revealed during an interview on 790 The Zone in Atlanta recently.

Chipper Jones

Jones owns a ranch in South Texas, about 15 miles from the Mexican border. And what made the chat really interesting was his story about climbing a ladder into one of his deer stands, opening the door and finding five Mexicans inside. So what did Jones do? He took them home for lunch, of course.

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Speed Read: MLB Ump Fist Bumps Marlin Catcher

This mustache belongs to the most hated man in Atlanta, MLB umpire Bill Hohn:

Bill Hohn

(”No, you listen to me, I’m telling a ‘you might be a redneck if…’ joke and there’s nothing you can do about it.”)

Hohn has been a bit suspect (to say the least) with his calls in games involving the Braves this year. As BLEACHER REPORT details, Hohn seems to operate with an entirely different strike zone when Atlanta is pitching, which resulted in a huge scene earlier in the year in Boston, in which Bobby Cox, Chipper Jones, and pitcher Eric O’Flaherty were ejected from the game on the same play for arguing balls and strikes.

On Wednesday night, the Braves and Hohn butted heads again over his strike zone, resulting in yet another ejection for Cox — one that he was baited into when Hohn told Cox he had to eject someone and then pulled out his lineup card to “decide” who to toss. Cox volunteered himself, and then threw up his arms in disbelief when Hohn did it. Moments later, Brian McCann was tossed for asking Hohn to admit he missed a call during his last at bat.

Even so, as egregious as Hohn’s mistakes may have been, it’s easy to dismiss Atlanta’s protests as just your average sour grapes. But then something happened on Wednesday night. When Marlins catcher John Baker caught the final strike in Florida’s 6-3 win over the Braves, he turned around and extended his fist toward Hohn, to which Hohn obliged with a response. Yeah, you heard it right, an umpire actually fist-bumped a player. Here’s the evidence, in animated GIF form. A screenshot of the bumping moment:

Bill Hohn fist bump John Baker

No word on whether or not Hohn “blew it up.”

Hohn likely didn’t realize how that would look, as Baker was probably just telling Hohn he did a good job (as players will sometimes do after games), but on a night when Hohn ejected the opposing manager for arguing about the strike zone, that was a pretty poor decision. One that probably should earn Hohn a game or two off.

The Braves were steaming when word got to them about the bump. Chipper says he’s never seen such a thing in his entire career, and all but accused Hohn and fellow ump Jerry Meals of having it out for his team. This a day after LaTroy Hawkins raised eyebrows for claiming the umps wanted the Cubs to beat his Houston team.

Still fuming, the Braves shook it off last night and beat the Marlins 6-3 on a 10th inning homer by McCann.

Bill Hohn

Your 2009  trade deadline is just hours away, ladies and gentlemen. J.P. Ricciardi continues to hold firm on a steep price for Roy Halladay, and we’ll see this afternoon just how serious he is about making a deal. Many teams have been in the hunt, but all seem to be unwilling to give up the one key prospect the Jays covet. And since Ricciardi can hold on to Halladay and do this all over again next year, he doesn’t feel that dealing him is a necessity.

Late last night, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi wrote that the Rangers might be the last team that will take a crack at Halladay, but seem reluctant to part with pitcher Derek Holland, who dominated the Mariners last night.

If Halladay doesn’t go anywhere, we might be headed for a dud of a deadline headlined by such blockbusters as Orlando Cabrera going to the Twins and/or Nick Johnson going to the Marlins.

Orlando Cabrera

(If Nick Punto was your shortstop, this guy would seem like a great option)

The Red Sox are going to to everything they can, though, to shake things up and land either Victor Martinez or Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez would be a huge coup for the Sox, as he’s signed through 2010 at about $2.5 million, and his option for 2011 is a very reasonable $5.5 million. I’m not sure, in fact, why the Padres would want to trade him unless they were getting a ton in return (something like Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, and of Boston’s other top two or three prospects, and even that might not seem like enough). Not surprisingly, Jon Heyman has been told the Sox prefer Gonzalez over Martinez. Martinez has a team option for next year at $7 million, is four years older than Gonzalez, and doesn’t OPS anywhere near .929.

Either way, the Sox would have a huge jam with Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis competing for time at third base, while the new player would vie for time at first with Adam LaRoche.

Adrian Gonzalez

(Just like Big Papi, but a little less ‘roidy)

• A historic baseball stadium in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is under water right now due to massive flooding. The COLLEGE BASEBALL BLOG has pictures of the mess.

• CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that one indication that our economy might be heading the right direction is that golf manufacturer Callaway’s stock price is on the rise on forecasts that club sales may be picking up.

• Alright, I’m pretty sure this is the final nail in coffin for the “grill” phenomenon:

Ryan Lochte grill

 • Tiger Woods has never missed consecutive cuts in his PGA career, so his 96th-place standing after day 1 of the Buick Open doesn’t bode very well.

• Eight year olds, dude: Dustin Pedroia’s brother sentenced to only one year in prison (and eight on probation) for sexual contact with a minor.

DeWayne Wise’s big week continues, as he singled in the winning run in the ninth inning of a 3-2 victory over the Yankees last night.

• Screw that whole east coast bias, the Pac-10 thinks it’s huuuuuuge in China. Good thing, since that’s where all the Harris Poll voters seem to live.

• Oh, Sarge (h/t AWFUL ANNOUNCING)

• I’m sure you’ve wanted to punch someone in the face during a game of Monopoly, but somebody finally went through with it. The victim’s crime? An apparent unwillingness to sell Park Place and Boardwalk.

• The Cubs beat the Astros 12-3 yesteray afternoon, and by early evening both starting pitchers from the game were no longer with their teams. Kevin Hart was among those traded by the Cubs to the Pirates for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. Meanwhile, Houston put Russ Ortiz out of his misery.

• The guys at KISSING SUZY KOLBER think they’ve figured out who got in the way of the Reggie Bush-Kim Kardashian relationship. Shockingly, it’s a model, and her name is Carmen Ortega:

Carmen Ortega

Is today’s trade deadline going to deliver?

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It’s Just A Flesh Wound! Jeff Bennett Is A Bad-Ass

If you’re a pitcher trying to make a name for yourself in the majors, in my book there’s only one thing smarter than punching a wall really, really hard. That’s when, discovering that you broke your hand during your temper display, you decide to hide the injury from the trainer by pushing the protruding bone back in, and then going back out to pitch. Oh, yeah.

Jeff Bennett

Unfortunately, Jeff Bennett isn’t pitching with the Atlanta Braves at the moment, and that’s a shame. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list after his injury was finally discovered by the Braves, and will have surgery to insert a pin in the break in his fifth metacarpal below the base of the pinky finger of his non-pitching hand. But if I’m ever in a brawl with five New Zealanders, give me Bennett as backup every time. He broke a bone in his hand, pushed the freakin’ thing back in and went back out to pitch the seventh. That’s so “Braveheart.” Read more…

The Braves Really Are A Backwards Organization

You may remember that before Game 2 of the 1992 World Series in Atlanta, Toronto Blue Jays fans were shocked to see the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard holding the Canadian flag upside down. Was it a succinct snub at the Canucks by their Southern hosts? Well, it turns out that such topsy-turvy behavior is just normal for the Braves.

Braves upside down flag N

A reader over at UNI WATCH BLOG was taking in the sights & sounds of Atlanta’s Turner Field, when he noticed a big mistake in the Braves’ biggest display of their baseball bravado. For the team’s banner marking their triumph as 1995 World Series Champions, the “N” is backwards.

Larger photo after the jump.

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Sir Elton John Has His Eyes On A Pair Of Twins

If we told you Sir Elton John was a baseball fan, how would you respond? Is it really that surprising? After all, there’s nothing in The Gay Manifesto: How All Gay People Act All The Time (this book, by the way, doesn’t exist - for many, many reasons) that says gay people can’t like sports or anything. Still, that’s the sort of thing to which about all you can say is, “Well… I guess I never knew that.”

Elton John Duck Suit
(Evidently, when it comes to hockey, he’s a big Anaheim fan.)

Sure enough, Elton’s a fan of the game, to the point where according to the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, he recently got a hold of the Twins’ Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to exchange autographed pictures with the pair. Why Morneau, it wasn’t exactly clear, but John had some high words of praise for Mauer (H/T: MOUTHPIECE SPORTS):  Read more…

Cuervo Girls Spiked From AVP Tour Appearances

• AVP fans will no longer be able to drink in the sights of the Cuervo Girls.

Cuervo Girls

(”Wait - we’re out of a job?!?!”)

• Brewers fans will finally get to see some great baseball at Miller Park - they’ll be showing “The Sandlot” in the stadium parking lot.

Michael Irvin sued for stealing reality show idea. Aren’t all reality shows stolen from something else anyway?

Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his macho fashion sense by sporting a pink cap on his head, a flower in his hair & pearls around his neck.

• Let the Lakers & Magic have their NBA Finals. Tony Parker will be just fine with a bikini-clad Eva Longoria in the French Riviera.

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Speed Read: Braves Get Their Man (& Ditch One)

Credit the Atlanta Braves for knowing how to manage a news cycle. They flipped three prospects to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Nate McLouth to answer the need for outfield help (which they failed to answer correctly the first time by not signing Adam Dunn in the offseason), and called up Tommy Hanson (pitching phenom) and sent down Jordan Schafer (outfielder phenom) and look at all the exciting news!

Nate McLouth

(Nate McLouth: interstate man of mystery no longer)

And, oh by the way, they cut local hero Tom Glavine so they wouldn’t have to pay him up to $3.5 million to throw weaker than Jamie Moyer in a headwind when they don’t really need a farewell tour but more of a starting pitcher. But look! Nate McLouth! All-Star!

Braves GM Frank Wren swears it’s not about the money - which always means it’s about the money. McLouth is actually fairly inexpensive through 2011 with a club option for 2012 if he’s worth $10 million, but the team is replacing three minor league salaries with a major league one (roughly speaking).

Glavine will look for another job and has a decent chance of finding one if the price is right for a desperate franchise. However, no franchise has shown enough desperation to hook up with Sammy Sosa since Baltimore began its bizarre fascination with Chicago Cubs outfielders in 2005 and Texas took Sammy out around the block in 2007.

Sammy Sosa getting hit in head

Therefore, he’s announcing his retirement officially this week… sometime. As always, Sammy has to get an extra swing or two in before finally connecting, so his actual retirement will be later this week. Possibly.

Some will celebrate their last chance to moralize about him before his Hall of Fame eligibility kicks in. Others will tell Sammy to put a cork in it because they’re sick of him. The best recommendation? Smash a boom box with a baseball bat. It’s like an aural piñata!

Finally, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team squirted the bed in a simply filthy manner last night in San José, Costa Rica. The U.S. squad gave up two goals in the first 15 minutes of a World Cup qualifier to Costa Rica at the notoriously difficult Saprissa Stadium (banned: alcohol, batteries, and coins) on their way to a 3-1 thumping that wasn’t remotely that close.

Costa Rican Superman

(A Costa Rican Superman? Well, that explains a lot)

The bastard out there at ESPN that thought it would help ratings if they jammed Jon & Kate Plus 8 in front of U.S. keeper Tim Howard instead delivered a showing that led the Galavision announcers to chastise the Costa Ricans for not stomping on the throats of the Americans even more and to compare one goal in particular to stealing candy from a baby.

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Plus Tim Howard

(Actual photo of attempted defensive wall)

Because of two silly yellow cards received by two U.S. players, the American team will be short two people when they play against Honduras at Soldier Field in Chicago Saturday, in what promises to feel like an away game with maybe 25% of the 60,000 fans cheering for Uncle Sam’s boys. If the U.S. doesn’t earn three points with a win, there’s a very real chance they could miss next year’s World Cup in South Africa.

If U.S. coach Bob Bradley is still looking for a left back that has never played there before in a crucial situation, why not call on Tom Glavine? He’s available; he’s a winner; he’s looking for a job. At worst, he can help heave batteries back into the crowd at a gentle 83 mph.

And now a hail of sapphire bullet points of pure love for the Queen of the Blues on her passing

  • One old baseball man who tabled his moment in the sun: Randy Johnson. His first attempt at 300 wins in D.C. last night got washed out by Mother Nature (whom Randy went to elementary school with) and will be played today at 4 pm ET with Mr. Unit on the mound.
  • Carlos Zambrano continues to show disrespect to inanimate objects by blowing off the team jet to Atlanta (and not for the first time). Needless to say, this story doesn’t have legs if the Cubs aren’t splashing around .500 still.
  • Also filed under “not living up to expectations and therefore open to criticism”, please note the Serena Williams entry created when she lost in the quarterfinals. She showed up to the French Open out of shape mentally and physically, choosing to wear outfits that accentuated the latter and threw snit fits that proved the former. The only person this “athlete/actress” is cheating is herself.

Serena Williams at the 2009 French Open

Jose Lima Wife

How did the Braves’ efforts yesterday affect the NL East race?

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Tom Glavine Gets Tomahawk-Chopped By Braves

It’s officially the end of an era in Atlanta. The JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION reports that the Braves have unceremoniously dumped Tom Glavine from their ranks. With Greg Maddux long gone and John Smoltz rehabbing in the Red Sox organization, this makes the first time in over 20 years that none of the “Three Aces” has been a member of the Braves organization.

Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux Braves Photo
(We’ll always have sepia.)

Glavine was also in the process of rehabbing a shoulder injury when word came down this afternoon; that injury limited the lefty to 13 starts last season, and he had yet to make his major league debut in 2009. It’s an ignominious end to an illustrious career, but according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSPORTS.COM, it all came down to velocity:

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