April 2010

A Buccaneer-full

About the only one who had a worse Sunday than Daniel McCutchen was yours truly.
I covered the Pirates’ game against the D-backs in Chase Field and, while working simultaneously on a couple of pre-game items, pretty much butchered a short on Delwyn Young making his first Major League appearance at third base.
Among these original sins (before they were corrected), I placed Aki Iwamura on the Bucs roster a year prematurely (essentially dealing for him from Tampa Bay a year before the real GM, Neal Huntington, did) and cast Andy LaRoche as a first baseman.
I had more egg on my face than a guy having a really hard time in an egg-catching contest.
All the Bucs fans who blasted and lampooned my reportorial skills on the Pirates were right-on.
Mea culpa, and apologies Pirates Nation.
The worst part about the warranted criticism of my Bucs boners?
Contrary to the perception, I know and dearly love the Bucs. My baseball DNA includes having been the biggest Pirate fan on the planet during the years I was growing up in Pittsburgh. I felt like I slighted my own baseball heritage.
Daniel McCutchen will get over it. Maybe I will, too.

For Red Sox & Yanks, faster is better

The length of Red Sox – Yankees games has generated a lot of controversial talk lately. Players on those teams generally attribute the slow pace to their styles of disciplined play. Working deep counts to their advantage is a big part of their success formulas.
But does it pay for them to also play deep into the night? The answer might surprise you.
In games lasting longer than 3 hours and 20 minutes (an arbitrarily-chosen benchmark), the Yankees last season were 31-25.
Under the same conditions, the Red Sox were 27-17.
Meaning, both the Yankees (72-34) and Red Sox (68-50) were actually more successful in quicker games.
Thought you might like to know. I know Joe West does.

On a Clear day, you could laugh forever

I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Bob Clear, the longtime Angels coach and uncle of the closer for the franchise’s first AL West title team in 1979, Mark Clear.
Bob Clear, claimed by heart problems at 82, was a jovial baseball throwback whom everyone affectionately called Bobaloo. Not sure where the nickname originated; perhaps it derived from the nightclub of a sitcom icon of Clear’s generation — Ricky Ricardo, of “I Love Lucy” fame, and Club Babalu.
At any rate, Clear enjoyed being the butt of a joke manager Gene Mauch would frequently pull on unsuspecting baseball writers who prided themselves on their knowledge of the game.
“Is that right?” Mauch would begin. “Well, then, can you name the four Alous who have appeared in the big leagues?”
The three Alou brothers who were contemporaries — and one time appeared together in the Giants’ outfield — were well-known: Felipe, Matty and Jesus.
But no one could name the fourth. After a suitably long pause, Mauch would point down the bench and say dryly:
“Bobaloo … “
Never failed to get a laugh, as corny as it now seems.
RIP, Bobaloo …