It’s hard to determine what’s more exciting; Manny Ramirez at the plate, or in the outfield. Fans at Citi Field actually cheered him on Wednesday, but not for his leadoff homer in the ninth. Manny got a standing O when he misplayed Daniel Murphy’s one-out liner into a double in the first — now is not the time to moonwalk, Manny — blah blah blah, Mets win 5-4.
Despite a rather leaky outing by Oliver Perez, who is finally back after a two-month vacation on the DL, and an equally unsettling-yet-effective closing stint from K-Rod, the Mets ended a four-game losing streak and sent Alyssa Milano into a deep, 24-hour depression. But what caught my eye was the absolutely sick play turned in by Murphy, seen in all its YouTube goodness below, on Mark Loretta’s grounder to first. The ball hits the bag, pops into the air, and Murphy fields it with his bare hand and in one motion, flips it behind his back to reliever Bobby Parnell covering. Wizard Cat approves.
And here comes Joe Torre out to argue. You know it’s a great play when you get a 68-year-old man to run all the way to the first-base line from the visitor’s dugout to find out just what the hell happened. Get this man a Hoveround Mobility Scooter.
And speaking of one sparkling glove, did anyone catch Ken Griffey Jr.’s tribute to Michael Jackson on Tuesday? A bit bizarre, but much better than a rambling speech at the Staples Center, Griffey donned one white glove for his first at-bat against the Orioles. Then he returned to his usual two-black-glove ensemble for the rest of the game. He also used “Billie Jean” as his walk-up music. We won’t discuss the sequined jock. Thanks to the madcap merrymakers at UniwatchBlog.
It’s never the crime, it’s always the coverup. Just ask LeBron James, whose panicky reaction to getting dunked on by a college player — which we mentioned Wednesday — is quickly growing to mythic proportions. By now you’ve heard that Xavier sophomore Jordan Crawford dunked over James during a pickup game at LeBron’s Skill Academy in Akron on Monday, a move that was filmed by various videographers. But James immediately had a Nike rep confiscate the tapes, which is causing far more of a sensation than ever would have happened if he had just laughed it off. Just take a look here, here, here and here, for starters.
Attention passengers: Our flight will be delayed on account of turtles. In the meantime, please enjoy these links.
- These things tend to happen in threes … Andruw Jones feasted on delicious Angels pitching Wednesday, blasting three homers in his first three at-bats during the Rangers’ 8-1 victory in Anaheim. That meant he got to spend the rest of the game (two more at-bats) trying to become the first player in six years to hit four homers in a game. He popped up and struck out.
- In non-dunking NBA news, the Mavericks have reached a trade agreement with the Raptors to acquire Shawn Marion, according to league sources, in a deal that also involved the Grizzlies and the Magic. From YAHOO SPORTS: The Mavericks and Raptors recruited the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies to help facilitate the deal. The Raptors will get Hedo Turkoglu in a sign-and-trade deal with the Magic rather than signing him outright. They also will receive forwards Devean George and Antoine Wright from the Mavericks. Marion will receive a five-year, $40 million contract from the Mavericks. Jerry Stackhouse will go to the Grizzlies, who will waive him. Only $2 million of Stackhouse’s $7 million contract for next season is guaranteed. The Grizzlies will receive cash, likely $3 million, to participate in the trade. Toronto, which gets to keep its midlevel salary-cap exception, sends a trade exception to Orlando. The Mavericks also will receive forward Kris Humphries from the Raptors. Got all that?
- Meanwhile, the Celtics felt the need for Sheed, bringing in Rasheed Wallace on Wednesday to patrol the low post and cast up occasional longe-range bombs to thrill the children. Terms were not released. The four-time All-Star figures to back up Kevin Garnett and power forward, among other things.
And now, Official Major League Baseball rules as explained by Miss South Carolina. Today: The infield fly rule.
rule 2.00 (definition of terms)
“I personally believe an INFIELD FLY, uh, is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt, such as) which can be caught by most U.S. Americans with ordinary effort, when first and second, or, uh, first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. Like, such as, the pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who doesn’t have maps. Any infielder everywhere, such as the Iraq, should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries when it seems apparent that a batted ball will be caught in the infield with less than two out. Anyone in our nation who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for, uh, the purpose of this rule, such as. Runners may advance at their own risk, so we will be able to build up our future, for our [unintelligible].
- John McCain has been using Twitter to give his opinions on the MLB All-Star voting, specifically to hype the Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds. Says Conan O’Brien: “Apparently, no one has had the heart to tell McCain that he’s been Twittering with his garage door opener.”
- If you love it, set it free … San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom now seems resigned to the notion that the 49ers will be moving to Santa Clara; a sharp turnaround from his recent, previous stance (that of clinging to the team’s ankles, begging them to stay). Saying that he wants to “avoid being used as leverage” in the team’s effort to negotiate a new stadium in the South Bay, Newsom can now turn his efforts to more important issues: growing apricots.
- Michael Phelps — remember him? — won both the 200 butterfly and the 200 free on Wednesday at the U.S. national championships in Indianapolis, but both were short of his best times in the events. Still, the victories qualified him for a trip to Rome for the world championships later this month. Aaron Peirsol set a world record in the 100-meter backstroke in 51.94 seconds, reclaiming the world mark he’s held for all but one week since the 2004 Olympics.
- Jason Varitek is raffling off his Fourth of July-themed catching gear. Tickets are $2, and of course Captain America is going to spend big dough to try and corner the market. But if you think you have a chance, the raffle ends Aug. 10.
- It’s hard to believe that Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world without cardboard tubes. Now the Cardboard Tube Fighting League, once thought to be primarily a west coast phenomenon, is reaching across the country; a Cardboard Tube Fighting League Tournament will be held on Sunday in Brooklyn. Participants are encouraged to create cardboard costumes and armor, but no outside tubes allowed. You can take our lives, but you’ll never take our CARDBOARD!
- How do you pick up a win without throwing a pitch? Alan Embree did it on Tuesday for the Rockies, who beat the Nationals 5-4. Embree came in with two outs in the eighth and promptly picked off Austin Kearns at first, ending the inning, and his evening.
- With his 2-for-4 performance against San Jose on Wednesday, Jamie McOwen’s hitting streak has reached 45 games — Minor League Baseball’s longest streak since Waco’s Roman Mejias hit in 55 straight games in 1954. McOwen has a hit in every game since May 10 for High Desert, Seattle’s Class A California League affiliate.