Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Celebrate Independence: MLB Extra Innings Weekend Wrap-up

A couple of appropriate points from watching the tube this Independence Day weekend:

Remember Jeremy Reed? Center fielder for the Seattle Mariners? Was supposed to come to Boston as a young Johnny Damon until the Sox swung the deal for Coco. Well, we can celebrate the front office not making this deal, as Reed is hitting .217 and just broke his thumb and is likely out for the forseeable future, if not the rest of the season.

How about Jurassic Carl Everett? That mighty bat that was supposed to bring the Sox up to the next level in the late nineties was replaced in the minds of the masses by his temper, outbursts, and general prickly attitude that punched his ticket out of town. Traveling Carl ended up in Seattle this season, and he set off some fireworks by having heated words with manager Mike Hargrove the other day. The argument was apparently over playing time. Of course, a corner outfielder with bad knees (aka designated hitter) needs to perform a little better than King Carl before such an explosion is warranted. .232 batting average; .302 on-base percentage; and a .373 slugging percentage (.680 is the anemic OPS) really do not garner much sympathy when playing time is in question.

What is going on with Ryan Wagner in Cincinnati? In 2003, he was my fantasy league steal after the Reds drafted him and rushed him up to the big leagues where his big slider and explosive fastball labeled him as a closer of the future. Instead, he has been inconsistent, hurt his arm, and now cannot make the Reds bullpen, which desperately needs late inning help. Amazing how the kid appears to have lost it.

Fireworks? Nothing beat that walk-off home run by Ryan Zimmerman for the Nats. That was his second Big Papi of the season.

My nephew Andrew the Yankees fan was up from the cape for the weekend and he was getting his fair share of abuse this weekend from Hal IV, the most Yankee-hating four year old on the planet (although, as I taught him, we hate the uniform, never the players). Speaking of the Yankees, Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small, those prize pick-ups last season are not exactly pushing the Bronx Bombers into the playoffs. Here is what George King says about Chacon (since Small has already been shipped out) in the NY Post (http://www.nypost.com/sports/yankees/yanks_display_direworks_yankees_george_king.htm) A year ago, he was a welcomed life raft in a turbulent sea. Today Shawn Chacon is a cement shoe attached to a body that is slowly sinking into the muck of a dirty river.

The Astros have won four straight, including Clemens winning his first and Andy Pettitte (he of the 7-9 record) finally looking good, but is this too little, too late or a just a temporary hitch up the standings?

No Red Sox analysis? Nope, I am still steaming from them being wiped-out by Scott Kazmir AGAIN and then the bullpen implosion (OK, it was just Timlin) that gave the game to the Devil Rays. Time to step it up and take the next two from the D-Rays.

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