Saturday, April 17, 2004

posted by James - 12:45 AM

Well... they didn't have to wait until the final two pitches for that comeback I called for, but I ain't complaining or nothing.

Most record-breaking homeruns and homeruns hit during a record-breaking career are meaningless. They happen in blow outs, meaningless games against even more meaningless pitchers (Steve Trachsel, anybody?). Sammy Sosa defied that trend with a game-tying homerun, which also tied him for the all-time lead for homeruns as a Chicago Cub with "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks.

I'm still in nostalgic awe over Junior's moon shot, but he who homers last, often laughs his way to the front of the post-game buffet line... or something like that.

And somebody please shut Chip Caray up... the ridiculously touted Reds bullpen has lost Scott Williamson, Scott Sullivan, Chris Reitsma, and Gabe White since the start of last season. They're depending on a converted-back closer (and he hasn't been an elite closer since his first full season as a closer in 2000 when he won 10 and saved 30... it's also the last time he's held hitters to under a .250 batting average. He gave up 30 home runs last year in only 169 innings!), a 2003 first-round draft pick and a Tampa Bay Devil Rays reject.

This is not a great Reds bullpen and doesn't deserve comparison to the pens they've had the last few years. It doesn't diminish the Cubs accomplishment in scoring 7 runs in four innings, but it doesn't deserve the hype treatment common from Caray commentary.

This guy is just as bad as I remember him from his days in Seattle. He's an embarrassment to his grandfather. Heck, he's an embarrassment to his dad.

And C.B. Bucknor... why does he continue to haunt me? I long for the days when A.L. and N.L. umps were separate, so I could move on from one set of smug, incompetent arbiters to another (Sorry, Guy. You know where I stand on this).

Anybody who wants to see my previous objection to Bucknor can check out Seattle P-I columnist Art Thiel's book, "Out of Left Field", pg. 255.

"In mid-September 2002 his discontent boiled over in an outburst at Safeco that went to the top of Piniella's legacy of managerial eruptions, not to mention the top of the nation's TV sportscasts that night. On the play that provoked him, replays showed that Ben Davis beat out a hit at first base, but umpire C.B. Bucknor had no technological assistance, calling the Mariners hitter out and sending the game against Texas into extra innings tied at 2. Piniella burst from the dugout to confront Bucknor, who ejected him within seconds, then made the mistake of smirking. Piniella was in the umpire's face deep as nostril hair.

Fuming, Piniella slammed his cap to the dirt, then stomped and kicked it. When first-base coach Johnny Moses tried to pull him away, he ordered Moses, "Get my fuckin' hat!" Moses obliged, and Piniella pitched it to the dirt and kicked it again. From twelve years earlier in Cincinnati, he reached back for an epic gesture: He unhitched first base from its moorings, chucking the bag into right field. He followed it out, then threw the bag again, adding to his major league record of bases thrown, career."
That's how it's done Dusty. Maybe he went back to his office and uprooted something. Every manager should keep this (and now Friday's) story in mind when Bucknor is on the field. He needs to be treated like a little baby, cause that's what he is when it comes to being an umpire.

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