Thankfully, Vin Scully Is Not Divorced From Reality

Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA.com Twits this priceless quip from Vin Scully about a team that has all but quit:

Vin Scully Tweet About Dodgers

Vin Scully, on #Dodgers: “Admittedly you have to hold the mirror to the mouth to see the breath, but they’re still mathematically alive.”

Sadly, Los Angeles is one of the last holdouts from baseball’s Brave New World of broadcasting - which features team mouthpieces masquerading as baseball announcers.
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Highest Paid Batboy In MLB History Makes Debut

Last Sunday starting Cincinnati Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with strained oblique muscle, made history.

Orlanda Cabrera Highest Paid Batboy In MLB History

(More from Reds batboy Luke Stowe on Cabrera’s performance)

Cabrera, who is making $2.3 million this year, became the highest paid batboy in baseball history by assisting the club’s regular batboy, 16-year-old Luke Stowe.

From Mark Sheldon of MLB.com:

“At first, I was watching him and telling him what to do a little bit,” said the Reds’ regular batboy, 16-year-old Luke Stowe, son of equipment manager Rick Stowe. “He started recognizing stuff that I did after a couple of years. I was getting pretty scared thinking he was going to take my job.”

However, by the fifth inning, Cabrera called it a day and left the dugout.

“He said, ‘Man, this is tough work,’ and left after the fourth inning, but he did a great job,” Stowe said.

For his five-inning stint, Cabrera even eschewed his normal No. 2 for an official Reds batboy uniform top, replete with a “BB” on the back.

So why did Cabrera, who has played in nearly 2,000 MLB over 14 seasons, really cut the duty short? Read more…

Phillips On STL: ‘They’re Little Bitches, All Of ‘Em’

Hal McCoy of the DAYTON DAILY NEWS has Brandon Phillips of the Reds saying this about the St. Louis Cardinals before the first game of Cincy’s three-game set against the Redbirds last night:

Tony LaRussa

I’d play against these guys with one leg. We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they’re little bitches, all of ‘em. I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear - I hate the Cardinals.”

Seeing as he “knows how to f—ing manage,” Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa took the high road and declined to dignify Phillips’ absurd comments with a response.

Oh, wait. Read more…

Morgan: ESPN National Role While On Reds Payroll

Former Hall of Fame Cincinnati Reds second baseman Joe Morgan has long had an informal, ceremonial role with the team, called a “special advisor” by management. Like most former baseball legends, Morgan could occasionally be seen over the years puttering around with Reds players at Spring Training. As it should be.

Joe Morgan

(ESPN: ‘Confident’ Check From Reds Won’t Affect National Game Call)

Today that relationship changed as the Reds formalized Morgan’s employment with the club, naming him a Special Advisor to Baseball Operations at a press conference in Cincinnati.

Despite Morgan’s formal affiliation with a MLB team, ESPN released a statement to me today indicating that his role as a national analyst for the network will not immediately change: “Joe has a long history with the Reds. He tells us he won’t be involved with day-to-day baseball operations so we are confident this arrangement will not impact his role on Sunday Night Baseball.

While there are no Reds Sunday Night Baseball appearances scheduled for the balance of the 2010 season, ESPN declined to specifically address what might happen if the Reds make the playoffs. Morgan works national ESPN Radio throughout the baseball postseason.

My qualm about ESPN electing to allow Morgan to formalize a paid affiliation with the Reds doesn’t involve any possible competitive or broadcast impropriety on Morgan’s part. I get that the Reds want to formalize ties with one of their legendary players and reap the public relations benefits.

But what if Morgan had taken a similar, official gig with the Yankees? Or the Red Sox?

How do you think the Boston (and national) media and Red Sox fans would react to Morgan calling Yankees-Red Sox games on national television or radio while he was getting a check signed by a Steinbrenner? Read more…

SbB@3: More Cheap Seats For Your Cheap Dates

Howdy, folks. It’s been a week since we last brought you the cheapest seats on STUBHUB.COM that we could find, and rest assured that we haven’t rested in our search to bring you live event entertainment. Because why sit at home with your family/pets/silverware when you can actually go to a game, get slaughtered on concession prices, and then sit in traffic for 3 hours on the way home? Exactly, it’s a no-brainer; you go to the game.

SbB's (Blocked) View From The Week's Cheap(est) Seats

First off, let’s honor one of the great traditions in all of sport: homecoming! No, not the high school homecoming, where the oldest you can come back for the game without being kind of creepy and pervy is 19. We’re talking about college homecoming, where all the students are legal, and if you’re going to come home for a game, why not do it in the exciting, picturesque (we’re assuming) Mid-American Conference?

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Bronson Arroyo Loves His Drugs, You Bet He Does

When last we left Bronson Arroyo, he was telling the world on the eve of the trading deadline that he took androstenedione and amphetamines back in 2003, and that he wouldn’t be surprised to see his name pop up on baseball’s “secret” steroids list. The Reds, who were trying to trade him, were then shocked to learn there were no takers. So Arroyo remains on his yacht, strumming his guitar as a member of the Reds. Wait, they have yachts in Cincinnati?

Bronson Arroyo and friend

Anyway, our long-haired hero — who seems more like he should be a character in “John From Cincinnati” than a pitcher for Cincinnati — is amplifying his steroids remarks, even though no one is asking. Seems smart to me!

Read more…

Speed Read: Clarett Stops Early Release Request

Since the NFL — indeed, the world — is not yet ready for Michael Vick and Maurice Clarett trying to catch on with a team at the same time, the latter is going to stay in prison. For now. Clarett, the former Ohio State running back who led the Buckeyes to a national championship in 2003, has withdrawn a request for early release from prison that would have allowed him, he said, to pursue an NFL career.

Maurice Clarett

For someone who hasn’t played a meaningful down of football since his freshman year in college, Clarett has spent an alarming amount of time in the public consciousness. He’s hung out with Los Angeles rap stars, been drafted in the NFL, been involved with drug running and the Israeli mob, and was even the subject of a case ultimately decided by U.S. Court of Appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor. Even though he’s only 25, he’s seemingly been everywhere and lived two lifetimes — sort of an evil Forrest Gump.

Although he’s now locked up, we have not forgotten about Maurice Clarett. One reason is that he’s blogging from lockup — or at least we’re led to believe that he is. Clarett isn’t allowed Internet access in prison, but he phones in his writings to a relative, who then posts them on a blog entitled The Mind of Maurice Clarett; a sort of orange jumpsuit poetry jam in which he dwells on his feelings more than the day-to-day details of life behind bars (which has led some to believe that he’s not even the one writing it). There’s no entry so far on his decision to withdraw his request for a pardon by Gov. Ted Strickland.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien opposed Clarett’s request for pardon, saying his conduct off the playing field did not warrant special consideration.

“My observation was then and is now he had no chance of obtaining clemency under the statute or by action of the governor so it’s probably wise” that he withdrew the request, O’Brien said.

Clarett hasn’t played football since 2005, when he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round — a surprise move after an unimpressive NFL combine performance in which he was dubbed “Slo Mo” by the media.

Maurice Clarett game simulation

He’s serving 7 1/2 years at the Toledo Correctional Institution after being convicted in 2006 of aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon, a chain of events that ended with his arrest while wearing a bulletproof vest with four weapons in his car, less than a mile from one of the robbery victims. He must serve at least 3½ years of that sentence, and although he pulled his request for early release, he still becomes eligible for judicial release in March of 2010.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Clarett was on top of the world, rushing for 1,237 yards (a school record for a freshman) and scoring 18 touchdowns in helping lead Ohio State to a 14-0 record in 2002-03. The season culminated with Clarett scoring the winning touchdown against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. But he was released from Ohio State for a variety of NCAA rules violations, then migrated to Los Angeles, where he hung out with rap stars, and began spiraling more and more out of control. He eventually tested the NFL’s eligibility rules in an attempt to enter the 2004 draft — an initially successful challenge that was overturned by United States Court of Appeals judge Sotomayor.

So Clarett has lost his latest battle to return to the free world, but has never lost his struggle to remain in the public eye. And I suppose that it’s good that we hear from him from time to time. If for nothing else, his presence serves as a cautionary tale.

“I’m a man and I struggle. I’m not speaking of anything specific. I’m just talking in general,” he wrote in his latest blog entry, dated Aug. 3.

“Depression comes and depression goes. Inspiring thoughts come and they flee as fast as they come. Sometimes my spirit is in balance and at others it runs wild. I’m not afraid. I just get a little confused at times. I know which way is up and I know how to identify a weasel from a mile away. I know who I love and I know why I love them. I don’t claim to be omniscient but I do claim to be a survivor of the urban circumstances and experiences. … I’m Youngstown’s own.”

Tiger Woods

We now lighten the mood and bring you back to the 18th hole at the Buick Open, where MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reopens the Tiger Woods Fartgate investigation. If you haven’t seen, and thus heard, the infamous video of Woods allegedly farting while sizing up a shot during the tournament, you’re in luck, because Olbermann has rescued the footage from the abyss.

You can see/hear it here.

More interesting than the alleged emission itself — which now that I hear it sounds more like a Whoopee Cushion — is the fact that the PGA pulled all YouTube evidence of the video off the web moments after it happened. Folks, that’s the really hilarious part. Don’t make me come back here and explain this again.

Olbermann:

“Tiger broke 70 yesterday, perhaps after breaking something else. We can’t say for sure that it was The Tiger that roared … he might have had one of those Leslie Nielsen machines, or maybe John Daly stepped on a duck.”

If there was a second farter on the grassy knoll, kudos to him. Because that was some excellent timing.

Maxim's David Ortiz email account

We mentioned this briefly on Tuesday, but I feel that MAXIM’S take on David Ortiz’s Gmail inbox needs further scrutiny. It appeared Monday on their site and immediately won the Internets, delighting us with sample emails such as:

Erin Adrews: I know an ace PR guy

Crate and Barrel: Fall is right around the corner! …

Alyssa Milano: Offer still stands — Bj, Hj, whatever you …

And the always hilarious:

C.C. Sabathia: FW: Red Lobster All-You-Can-Eat sampi!

And speaking of that fine magazine, let’s dive into this morning’s links, as we ponder why a 12-year-old boy would tell his mother that his subscription to ELECTRONIC GAMING had been somehow switched to MAXIM.

  • The Reading Phillies set an attendance record on Wednesday for Pedro Martinez’s rehab start, in which he pitched decently, earning the win in an 8-4 victory over Trenton. Martinez struck out 10 of the first 17 batters he faced, finishing with 11 strikeouts over six innings. He gave up four runs, three earned. Fun fact: It was his first win at the AA level since 1991.
  • So you’ve taken the summer off to visit every Major League Baseball park? That’s become somewhat of a cliche, don’t you think? The Taviano family of Columbus, Ohio has invented the new hotness: Visiting 52 zoos in 52 weeks. Marla Taviano, her husband and three daughters began their 22,000-mile quest last August, and ended it on Saturday at their hometown Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. That’s a lot of monkeys.

  • Not sure what level of Little League the above video is from, but you can bet that Scott Boras has it playing on an endless loop in his office as you read this. As you can see, Jason Moody hits five home runs, including hitting for the home run cycle (watch the catcher, who is not amused). And in yet another example of this, a West Virginia Little Leaguer also hit for the home run cycle. Eli Canterbury, 12, of Barboursville, went 4-for-4 with four homers — solo, two-run and  three-run homers, and a grand slam in his final at-bat — as Canterbury’s Barboursville District I All-Stars beat East Huntington 19-1. No Major League player has ever hit for the homer cycle; the only time it’s happened in pro ball was by Tyrone Horne of the Double-A Arkansas Travelers in a 13-4 win over the San Antonio Missions on July 27, 1998.
  • The Denver Broncos are one of the several NFL teams who prohibit players or personnel from using Twitter, but you’d never know it by listening to head coach Josh McDaniels. “I don’t really have a Twitter policy,” McDaniels said. “I don’t know what it means; I don’t know what it is. I don’t know MyFace, Spacebook, Facebook stuff. I don’t know what that is either.”
  • Now let’s check in on your Chicago Cubs, who are locked in a death struggle with the Cardinals atop the NL Central. So surely when the Reds trotted out 32-year-old right-hander Justin Lehr on Wednesday — who was making only his second big league start — the Cubs would take advantage. D’oh! Lehr pitched a shutout, 4-0, as the Reds broke an eight-game losing streak.
  • Koren Robinson has had a troubled career; run off the tracks due to dropped passes, drinking and a run-in with the cops. The former Seahawk, Viking and Packer may be playing for the Orlando Tuskers of the UFL this season. Robinson was the ninth pick overall in the 2001 draft, the year that the Falcons chose a young man named Michael Vick with the No. 1 pick.
  • Brandon Roy’s five-year contract extension will likely keep him in Portland for the rest of his career, and since he was born in Seattle, that’s OK. Roy has agreed in principle to the deal, with the fifth year, ending in 2015, as an option. Pending salary cap issues, it could be worth more than $80 million, the second-richest in Portland’s history.
  • Who would have thought four years ago that Eli Manning would be making more money than Peyton Manning? Or Cooper Manning, for that matter? With his new $97.5 million contract, Eli will be making about $15.3 million annually, to Peyton’s $14.17 million.

Should Eli Manning be the highest-paid player in the NFL?

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Bronson Arroyo Has Those Androstenedione Blues

It’s just one day before the trading deadline, and your team, the Cincinnati Reds, are trying to trade you. So if you’re pitcher Bronson Arroyo, you do the logical thing: Tell a major newspaper that you were using both androstenedione and amphetamines in 2003. That should grease the wheels.

Bronson Arroyo

With the news that his then-Red Sox teammates David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are among the 104 players on MLB’s confidential doping list, Arroyo told the BOSTON HERALD that he wouldn’t be shocked to see his name on the list as well. OK then. Read more…

Examiner Believes Mistress “Likely” Killed McNair

• A Tennessee state medical examiner says it’s “likely” that Sahel Kazemi was the one who shot & killed Steve McNair. But the case continues.

Sahel Kazemi Photo Steve McNairs Girlfriend Photo

• Phillies flatten Reds with a 22-1 drubbing - the worst in Cincy’s history.

• When it comes to major leaguers on rehab assignments treating their temporary minor league brethren to a fine meal, Manny’s a miser.

• The Tampa Bay Rays are suing a man for selling shirts with a supposed similar starburst logo.

• Prime suspect Mark Becker has plead not guilty in the shooting death of popular Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas.

Read more…

Speed Read: Phillies Destroy Reds Like It’s 1892

The Cincinnati Reds have been playing baseball for nearly 120 years, but never had they been beaten as badly as they were last night by the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Back on July 26th, 1892, the Phillies blasted the Reds 26-6 at the Baker Bowl. That would stand for nearly 107 years as the franchise’s worst loss, until Dusty Baker’s Reds were bowled over by the Phillies again last night, this time by a 22-1 margin.

Johnny Cueto

The Phils dropped 10 runs in the first inning and just kept piling on. Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto came into the game with a 2.69 ERA, but after allowing nine runs while recording only two outs, that mark soared to 3.45. Even more shocking, Baker actually took him out of the game. By the time the eighth inning rolled around, backup shortstop Paul Janish was serving up a grand slam to Jayson Werth.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels probably said it best: “When you put that many runs up, it makes it uncomfortable for the other team.” Kind of like the back of a Volkswagen.

Reds shortstop gives up grand slam

(”I’m not even supposed to be here today”)

The Cubs beat the Braves, as Aramis Ramirez returned from the DL, but their fans are still probably beating their heads against a wall after watching Jason Marquis throw yet another shutout for the Rockies. Colorado’s 1-0 win over the Nats was just the eighth 1-0 game in the history of Coors Field.

Pablo “Panda” Sandoval hit the game-winning grand slam as the Giants held off the Marlins 5-4 last night, and I’m happy to report that the big guy is currently leading in the voting for the last All-Star slot.

Pablo Sandoval

Apparently, you no longer need to be tagged out to be called out in baseball. Well, we’ve long suspected that, but umpire Marty Foster actually told Derek Jeter that it didn’t matter that he avoided Scott Rolen’s tag at third base — he was out because the throw beat him there. This is the same guy who called a Yankee out at home plate yesterday even though the catcher tagged him with an empty glove. Joe Girardi didn’t like the explanation and got tossed, and crew chief John Hirschbeck actually kinda threw Foster under the bus after the game. Hirschbeck has even said he will sit his crewmates down for a talk about other erroneous calls in the Yanks-Jays game yesterday.

Marty Foster

(Nearly every photo of Foster on the Internet looks something like this.)

Thankfully, there is some good news for future patrons of Yankee Stadium. Those of you who have to pee during the seventh-inning stretch can now do so without the risk of being thrown out of the yard. The Red Sox fan who was ejected for trying to go the bathroom during “God Bless America” also is getting a settlement of more than $10,000 from the City of New York. What I find funny about the whole thing is that when I worked in the press box at the old Stadium, media members often used the long break to take care of business. Heck, Bob Sheppard’s whole spiel before they played Kate Smith’s rendition of the song was taped, and he was usually on the way to the men’s room at the time.

Yankee Stadium urinals

• As if Phil Mickelson needed any more bad news, word comes that his mother has also been diagnosed with breast cancer. We probably shouldn’t expect to see much of Phil on the golf course anytime soon.

• WASTING AWAY IN WRIGLEYVILLE says that Erik Estrada has seen a lot of child pornography. How could they make such an absurd claim? Maybe it’s because when Estrada appeared on the Cubs-Braves telecast last night, he said “I’ve seen a lot of child pornography.” You know it’s a strange interview when a mention of Ron Jeremy’s wang isn’t the highlight. Video is up for now (see it while you can!)

• When a photo like this is out there, there’s just no excuse NOT to run it. Yes, this is the mug shot of “Three’s Company” star Joyce DeWitt, who was booked for DUI on Saturday:

Joyce DeWitt

The sports angle? Uhhhh, remember that one episode where Mr. Furley thinks Jack’s gay and Jack gets hit in the face with a door and there’s some really crazy misunderstanding that could’ve easily been averted? And it was at…the Super Bowl? Remember? I got nothing.

• The World Series of Poker’s main event is under way, and while nearly 6,500 players entered, there were hundreds that were shut out yesterday because the Rio reached its capacity.

Darren Rovell is a little surprised that Lacoste ran a full-page ad on the back of the NEW YORK TIMES sports section…congratulating Andy Roddick.

• I don’t even really know what to say about this, other than there’s a new world’s strongest vagina. If that isn’t solid late-night programming on The Ocho, I don’t know what is.

• Remember how the Nets were supposed to supposed to be moving into a brand-new fancy arena in downtown Brooklyn this year? Yeah, they haven’t even broken ground yet. The NY DAILY NEWS says the earliest an arena could be finished is 2012, and it might take much longer than that — if it happens at all.

• The Royals have taken a bit of a beating lately about the relative quality of their medical/training staff. So I suppose it’s only fitting that they took Ryan Freel’s word that he’s “100% healthy” when they acquired him from the Cubs.

• THE GOOD POINT went out and recruited a bunch of basketball bloggers to recount their favorite memories of the 2008-09 season.

• Now that the Cubs have been sold, is Wrigley Field going to undergo some sort of makeover?

• Everyone’s favorite fake cheerleader, Hayden Panettiere, visited David Letterman last night to talk about swimming with dolphins (that’s more of a sport than poker, right?) and to promote her new movie where she plays (shockingly) a hot cheerleader. Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that Heroes has finally given up and is just fishing for ratings by having her go girl-on-girl in the upcoming season. Here she is before her Letterman appearance:

Hayden Panettiere