Mothers, don’t let your sons grow up to be scent-sations!
Gustavo Chacin was a left-handed sensation for the Blue Jays by the middle of the 2006 season. He had a 20-12 career record, a splendid ERA and unlimited potential.
Then — a couple of Toronto radio guys thought it would be neat to market some cologne bearing Gustavo’s name. So Gustavo Chacin Cologne Night was held inside the SkyDome on June 27, 2006, with fans given bottles of “Shaseen,” as the stuff was branded.
Chacin – or Shaseen – has won a total of five games since and the 28-year-old was again released the other day, by the pitching-poor Nationals …
Dan Johnson, meet Dick Nen: Johnson had a great cameo turn for the ’08 champ Rays, with that pinch-hit homer on his first TB at-bat that unraveled Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning on Sept 9 in Fenway Park.
Forty-five years earlier, on Sept. 18, 1963, in his first at-bat for the Dodger, Nen launched a pinch ninth-inning game-tying homer at St. Louis, when the Cardinals were two outs away from inching within two outs of NL-leading Los Angeles.
Nen, 24 at the time, wound up a checkered career with 21 homers. Johnson, 29, has gone to Japan to keep company with Dusty Rhodes. …
Can’t believe Steve Blass is marking his 50th year with the Pirates, which the club will celebrate on April 13. I’ve got a lot of golden memories of Blass, and a sad one: He was so devastated by the death of Roberto Clemente, he lost control of himself and of his pitches.
That never was the official diagnosis of Blass’ mysterious inability to throw strikes, but consider the timeline: Through 1972, Clemente’s last season, Blass had averaged two walks per nine innings; then he walked 91 in 93 2/3 innings and was out of the game at 32. …
The Angels didn’t go all-in for Mark Teixeira, instead anointing Kendry Morales as their new first baseman. So how’s that looking? As a wash.
In Spring Training, Tex hit .433, with five homers and 15 RBIs. But Morales was right there with .400-3-17. At this early stage of the regular season, Teixeira is batting .214, and Morales .364. …
We all know it’s been a bearish free-agent market. If you talked to Chuck (as the Charles Schwab ads urge you to) he’d tell you to stay away.
The most sobering aspect isn’t even the number of truly high-profile free agents who remain unsigned a week before Spring Training camps pitch their tents.
It is the number of players who have signed for significant pay cuts, a rarity during better times.
The Top Ten hits (and, really, this is just the tip of the iceberg):
- Jason Giambi: $15.75 million ($21 million with Yankees to $5.25 million with A’s).
- Mike Hampton: $13 M ($15 M with Braves to $2 M with Astros).
- Andy Pettitte: $10.5 M ($16 M to $5.5 M with Yankees).
- Carl Pavano: $9.5 M ($11 M with Yankees to $1.5 M with Indians).
- Pat Burrell: $7 M ($14 M with Phillies to $7 M with Rays).
- Omar Vizquel: $4.9 M ($5.3 M with Giants to Minor deal with Rangers).
- Jason Varitek: $4 M ($9 M to $5 M with Red Sox).
- Angel Berroa: $3.95 M ($4.75 M with Dodgers to Minor deal with Yankees, valued at $800,000 if on big-league roster.
- Juan Uribe: $3.5 M ($4.5 M with White Sox to Minor deal with Giants, valued at $1 M if on big-league roster).
- Brad Penny: $3.5 M ($8.5 M with Dodgers to $5 M with Red Sox).
Given this climate, incidentally, you have to wonder about the mental states of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett for getting those fat deals from the Yankees. It takes a mighty strong personality to shrug off feelings of guilt often spawned by such discrepancy.
Only one of those three appears to have it. We’ll see how they hold up to the scrutiny. …
COMMISSIONER Bud Selig, former president Bill Clinton, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and media magnate Ted Turner highlighted the guest list for Thursday night’s gala celebration of Hank Aaron’s 75th birthday. You wonder who will show up for Barry Bonds’ 75th birthday party in 2039. Aaron’s fete was held in a downtown Atlanta hotel; Bonds will probably be able to hold his in a tool shed. …
MATT BUSH: Well, Peoria will be a safer place this spring without the Padres’ troubled former No. 1 draft pick. Borrowing from the official police report of the recent incident that led to the club designating him from assignment, it didn’t take long for him to go from shouting that he is “Matt (bleeping) Bush” to becoming Matt (bleeped) Bush. …