Mike Piazza is sticking around the National League at least for another year. Piazza signed with the Padres today, likely because he gets the opportunity to catch phenom Jake Peavy, but maybe that's just me. All the details are here.
Yet another example that the World Baseball Classic is just an exercise in "let's make money at the players' expense, call it 'nationalism,' and pray that nobody gets hurt": pitch limits and mercy rules.
As January progresses, the baseball stories are getting smaller and smaller (Wade Miller signs with Cubs, Barry Bonds is grumpy, even Robinson Cano has difficulty pronouncing his own name, etc.), so here's my All Too Early Super Bowl Prediction: Pittsburgh 27, Seattle 21. I reserve the right to change this pick at least four times in the next two weeks.
While the Patriots are currently trying to defend their Super Bowl title, The Commish takes issue with a stat being thrown around like feed at a petting zoo, namely New England's playoff winning streak. For the entire rant, check out the latest Foul Territory about When Stats Go Bad.
Too often we rant (and by "we," I mean "me") about all the things wrong with companies. Amazon.com didn't send my Enya CD in time for Christmas, Best Buy salespeople frighten me, Abercrombie employees make me feel smarter but uglier, etc. Well, once in a while things go your way and I thought it was time to give props to those deserving of such accolades.
Last week, I purchased a VCR/DVD player/DVD recorder from Dbuys.com, a company I previously hadn't heard of until comparing prices on the convenient MySimon.com website. Dbuys.com's price for the unit was $90 cheaper than Best Buy, so I decided to give them a chance. I ordered the unit Thursday afternoon (tax free!) and chose the free shipping option which was supposed to take 7-10 business days. No problem - it's a piece of electronics, not a new heart. Saturday afternoon, a mere 48 hours later, my doorbell rings and my new DVD player is waiting at my doorstep. What does this have to do with baseball? Nothing, but sometimes the good guys need to be recognized.
How do you know when a future event will likely turn into a non-event? When you are relieved for those NOT participating. As a Braves fan, I was breathing a sigh of relief when John Smoltz announced that he will unlikely be participating in the World Baseball Classic. I was not disappointed, but rather happy. With no history behind the event and every players' pockets filled thanks to MLB, why would any MLB player risk a big contract to do the same thing for no money? Pride of country? It's not the Olympics, and MLB is open to all races and nationalities, so many of the best already compete against each other in one league.
It's like getting an opportunity to play one on one with Jordan. You are playing your hardest and go up 6-4, only to realize MJ is sipping a Lime Rickey in one hand and he's not really playing his hardest. Suddenly, it means nothing to "beat" him 21-12. It would have been better to get spanked 21-2 and say, "Jordan was all over me, but I faked him left and managed a half hook to the right that fell through for my only bucket. It was sweet."
Bruce Sutter was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame this year, receiving 76.9 percent of the votes (75 percent are needed for admittance). ESPN's story can be found here, and take notice at the 17 measly votes Dwight "Doctor K" Gooden received, making him ineligible for any future voting. Gooden was one of the most dominant pitchers in the league when he was straight. Unfortunately, Gooden lost his way too early in his life. Kids, don't do drugs!
It's the farthest thing from a blockbuster, but Corey Patterson's tumultuous run with the Chicago Cubs is over. Baltimore is the taker, and it only cost the O's Nate Spears and Carlos Perez. Who? Exactly.
In a quest to climb the ladder toward mediocrity, the Pittsburgh Pirates have made deals and opened the coffers to bring Sean Casey, Joe Randa (again), and Jeromy Burnitz to Steel Town. Throw in young star Jason Bay and pitchers Zach Duke, Oliver Perez, and Kip Wells, and the Pirates have a legitimate shot at .500 this year.