Famous Encounter: Luis Pineda

This week is famous encounters week at Diamond Hoggers. We will post what we’ve got each day in the way of a famous encounter with a figure in major league baseball along with any reader submissions we receive. Today, our famous encounter was with former Tigers and Reds Pitcher, Luis Pineda:

The year was 2002. The editors of this blog were freshman in college and life was simple. We had recently discovered the vast new world of dip, and we had taken an immediate liking to Skoal Mint in particular. I promised George a trip to Cincinnati after we became friends to see the Reds play, and on this spring day we had no baseball game or practice, we climbed into my Ford Exploder and set sail towards Cincinnati.

On this day the Cincinnati Reds were taking on the San Francisco Giants. We wanted to see Adam Dunn and Barry Bonds play, we took off early enough on this saturday afternoon to see batting practice. Jose Rijo was starting for the Reds this day, which was an extra special treat. Rijo ended up dominating that day and getting the win, Bonds doubled, and Dunn homered (as well as Corky Miller) but that was not the story we took away from this day, and it was not our famous encounter.

The famous encounter was with Reds reliever Luis Pineda, he was a 6 foot 1, 160 pound right hander that threw absolute gas. Seriously, this guy could throw as hard as any pitcher I’ve ever seen, and it was probably just arm problems that are the reason for him being out of the league at this point, because man could be bring the heat.

We were down the right field line in old Riverfront Stadium, and the players were walking by one by one, just shooting the shit with the fans and such. George and I decided we wanted to “christen” the field, this is where we insert a giant hog, let it hang out a while, and spit onto the major league turf, to you know, christen it. Just after we did so Luis Pineda came strolling down the line, signing autographs and he himself had a giant dip in. Enormous. To this day I don’t know how he packed an entire tin in his Dominican mouth. He said not one word to anyone, but like I said, he was signing autographs.

When he got down to us, he had a sharpie in hand, ready to sign at will. George and I were starstruck, not because he was a major leaguer, but obviously was a proud hogger, sporting his slobby chubby in his front lip. He was too professional to spit, and I could tell that either he couldn’t speak English or was just being a pro hogger and holding in about an hours worth of spit until he was out of eyesight of the adoring fans.

I quickly said “Hey, Luis! Hey Pineda!” and pointed toward my own dip of Skoal Mint I had in, and George’s fat lip. Pineda grinned at us and reached forward for a baseball card, or a program, possibly a baseball to sign for us. It was all his pleasure, he was ready. On this day, I had nothing in my pockets but a ticket stub, and that tin of Skoal Mint. I decided I had enough signed ticket stubs. I thought it would be a lot cooler to have a signed skoal mint tin on my dresser of memorabilia then another ticket stub. I pulled out that tin of skoal mint very quickly and stuck it in front of his small Dominican hands to sign.

At an instant he eye balled it, and started to get startled. You would have though he was the devil and I was holding a cross in his face. Remember, he wasn’t talking to anyone, and to this day I don’t know if it’s because he couldn’t speak English, or because he had to spit and refused to do so in front of his fans or what, but he started to back away and shake his head no. He left it up to us to figure out exactly why he was not going to sign that tin of skoal mint he was basically endorsing like Joe Camel in front of our very eyes.

George and I began to panic and try and figure out this puzzling situation. “What, you won’t sign tin?” we asked. He shook his head defiantly, and began to walk away, he simply pointed at the tin and shook his head very deliberately “no”. Puzzled, I went down the line a little ways and tried to sneak it in front of him again, to see if he’d do a quick sign of it and just let us walk away. Again, Pineda kind of didn’t say anything, and shook his head no and walked away. He would not sign the tin.

George guessed that maybe he was told by his agent or someone in baseball he couldn’t endorse tobacco products by signing them, no matter how much he liked them. In some strange way, we understood and left him alone after that. Pineda never pitched in the big leagues again after that 2002 season with the Reds, and that I am sorry for. Still, his significance on that fateful April Saturday afternoon will live on in the memories of Diamond Hoggers forever.

Our boys have the night off

Tonight the Yankees, Indians, and Reds all have the night off. I’m telling you, these teams (the editor’s favorites) have more off-days than any other teams in baseball. Why do the Rockies get to play 7 days a week? I know it’s not true, it just seems every monday and thursday, the Reds are off.

Here’s a few games you want to keep your eye on tonight:

St. Louis @ Milwaukee
The Brewers are in first place in the NL central and start former Cardinal Jeff Suppan tonight. This game marks the first game after the death of Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock. If the Cardinals are going to make a magical run in Hancock’s honor, this is a great place to start. Kip Wells (1-4, 4.70 ERA) takes the hill for the Cardinals.

Washington @ San Diego
How many Nationals can Jake Peavy K? He’s got a better than even shot at 15. The Nationals are a very shitty team, so obviously we’re saying to watch this so you can see Peavy continue his rise to most dominating NL pitcher. He’s 3-0, and his ERA is a spotless 1.71 on the season. For the Nationals, John Patterson looks to keep his job.

Chicago @ Pittsburgh
It’s a battle of southpaws as the Cubs Rich Hill squares off against Zach Duke. Rich Hill is absolutely nasty, and he’s making Cubs fans forget about the young arm of Mark Prior being in shambles right now. Hill sports a 3-1 record to go along with a great 1.57 ERA. Hill could be the best left handed power pitcher since Randy Johnson. His breaking ball is that dirty.

Texas @ Toronto
The Rangers seem like no matter what ever happens, they’ll do a few things every season on cue seemingly. They’ll sweat their balls off in the hot summer sun, hit pretty well and have a few guys with huge offensive seasons, spend some money, and be dead balls mediocre. They’re no different this year. Nothing special about the Rangers as tonight they head north of the border to take on the Blue Jays. Roy Halladay is on the hill and will try and get the ‘Jays (12-12) over .500 for the season.

Did you ever feel sorry for the school yard bully?

The Yankees record after losing 2 out of 3 games to the Red Sox in the Bronx now sits at 9 and 14, 6.5 games out of first place in the AL East. The talk is that manager Joe Torre could be fired. Turmoil has struck early in New York this season, and while I hate the Red Sox I find myself sitting here and having a hard time feeling bad for the New York Yankees, my buddy George’s favorite team.

They’re talking about getting rid of Joe Torre. That’s a stupid move and I’ll go ahead and say it now, it’s not gonna happen. The guy is one of the greatest managers of all time. Like the veterans on that ballclub have said many times already, it’s not like he can get out on the field and hit for them, or go out to the mound and pitch for them. It comes down to performance by the players on the field and the bottom line is they are not getting it done. This is no fault of Torre’s. I believe that the report leaked that Torre could lose his job simply to light a fire under the team’s ass, as per usual when that happens in the Bronx. I’m sure Torre has heard the same rumors before, actually I know he has. This distance that seperates the Yankees from playoff baseball is not insurmountable and it’s forseeable that they could go on a run very, very soon. It’s not Torre’s fault that Mussina, Pavano and Wang all spent significant time on the DL early this season causing the Yanks to have to throw two unproven rookies in the rotation and they’ve been depending on Kei Igawa, another unprovent talent at the Major League level.

The Yankees always had my respect as an organization even if I didn’t like them because they signify what class is as a sports franchise or organization. If they decide to fire Joe Torre or let these rumors continue, they’ll lose my respect completely. The fact that Steinbrenner hasn’t came out yet and said that the speculation in reference to Torre’s job was just that; speculation, really has me saying ‘fuck it’ with this team. The guy’s been good enought to take your teams to the top since what, 1996? Now you’re gonna let him go because of a start that has you 5 games under .500 in the season’s first month? I don’t think so. I’m not stupid enough to buy it and this is one thing I don’t see Steinbrenner buying either. It’s another chicken shit ploy by the owner to get this team to play better. Now that A-Rod is coming into his own in pinstripes, you have to find some scapegoat right? Who better than the poor, mellow-minded manager?

The Yankees will finish off April 2007 in last place for the first time in modern history it seems. Still, I find it hard to feel bad for them because of this. This happens to every team every now and then. It’s inconceivable to think that the Yanks are never going to have a month to open the season in which they don’t find themselves atop the AL East standings. If I’m Joe Torre, I strut slowly (as he does to the mound) into the owners office with a big grin on my face and tell him to grow a pair of balls, and either let me know I’m gonna be here to weather the storm, or tell him to make the move right now. Who are you gonna find to replace the legendary Torre? Who are you gonna bring in that is a better fit not only long term, but short term? Joe Girardi? Please. Compared to Torre’s Godfather-like presence over the Yankee clubhouse, Girardi couldn’t manager his way out of a wet-paper sack. How about Don Mattingly? Once again, no experience as a big league manager. Someone who is raw isn’t going to like managing all those veterans so close to them in age. This locker room and clubhouse needs Torre as bad as he needs them if not worse.

The Yankees are going to come out of this fine, just like every year. Sinatra is gonna be played another 85 to 90 times in the Bronx and they’re gonna find a way to catch the Red Sox. If you’re a baseball fan you know they’re not gonna continue this and lay down and die. Other teams better watch out, and if I’m an opposing big league team I want nothing to do with these guys because they’re gonna get their wins–the wins are still coming, it’s just a matter of who will it be against. This team’s got some runs left in all those veterans, plus we all know about the ‘ghosts’ that lurk at Yankee Stadium when it gets late.

I’m just a bit shocked and disgusted that a ‘class’ organization would stoop to such levels to get the result of a few victories, especially in a meaningless weekend series in April.

Throwing it around

It’s monday morning and although they are brutal, we’ll do our best to press on and find some quality material for our readers. Happy throw-around-dome:

  • Deadspin talks about Ryan Howard taking Michael Strahan’s place alongside Jared Fogle in the SUBWAY commercials. Amazing how a TV camera can change a guy’s real personality. Howard’s favorite Subway sub? All of em’.
  • Coffeyville Whirlwind talks about the storied 1987 Minnesota Twins. If you’re keeping score at home, or read CW often, the 1987 season was re-played out there.
  • Hardball Times recaps the first month of baseball in this season.
  • Over at AOL Fanhouse Reds, the question is asked Can Josh Hamilton keep it up? They touch on the NL rookie of the year watch.
  • The Game of Baseball blog reacts to Josh Hancock’s death.
  • The Yankees lost again yesterday, Beltway Blog asks: What will George do?
  • Finally, Deadspin editor Will Leitch makes a final and beautiful post about Josh Hancock. I couldn’t have said it any better, no one could have.

Dunner Deep 6's Pirates

Possibly in memory of his fallen teammate Josh Hancock, or possibly not, Adam Dunn hit a 2-run homer off of Pirates reliever Shawn Chacon to cap off a 9-4 Reds victory that allowed them to win the series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates.

The homerun was Dunn’s 6th of the young season, and his second of the weekend. Also getting in on the fun was Cincinnati 3rd baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who tied the game at 4 with a bases loaded triple. Brandon Phillips added 3 hits on the day and Cincinnati ace Aaron Harang improved to an impressive 4-0 on the season in a less than spectacular start.

The Reds travel to Houston on tuesday night where Bronson Arroyo will open up the series. Hopefully they go on a run and get back in things in the National League Central a bit this week. Maybe Adam Dunn is going to stay hot and have the MVP type season I expected of him all offseason. Also in today’s game, Josh Hamilton’s 6-game hitting streak was snapped with an 0 for 5 performance.

17 innings, on get-away day to boot

Brady Clark’s RBI double in the 17th inning finally broke a 4-4 tie, giving the Dodgers the series. Los Angeles’ bullpen allowed one hit in 10 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Derek Lowe, who allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings. Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez belted homers in the third inning.

The Padres rallied to tie it in the seventh inning on Marcus Giles’ RBI single, but that was all the offense they could muster the rest of the way. The ‘pen held the Dodgers scoreless from the fourth inning until the 17th in relief of starter David Wells, who gave up four runs on nine hits in five innings.

Box & recap

Josh Hancock 1978-2007

Major League baseball is like a fraternity, and when it loses one of those members in any shape or form, the entire league is rattled and a shockwave is felt by those who are involved with it. When the fallen individual is on a current major league team, the shockwave is even more realistic, showing everyone-players and fans alike, that these guys are not the superhumans they appear to be, they’re just humans like everyone else and they must deal with their own mortality as well.

Early sunday morning, Major League Baseball lost a member of it’s fraternity, as St. Louis reliever Josh Hancock was killed in a car accident. How odd, that not only should I have sunday night baseball on ESPN with the Cardinals and Cubs from St. Louis, but I should be writing something happier or recapping today’s action. Instead, tonight’s game was cancelled in the wake of Hancock’s death, and I am writing this tribute as a post to one of the fallen members of the baseball fraternity, a fraternity that in some small way, we here are involved in. Even weirder is the fact that Josh Hancock went 3 innings in yesterday’s Cubs-Cardinals game. Hancock is the second Cardinals pitcher to die during the season in the past 5 years, with Darryl Kile being the other.

I had some small ties to Josh Hancock myself I realized today as I combed through my memories and tried to think of anything, albeit even small that I remembered about the fallen reliever. I remember in 2004 when I was living in Cincinnati and going to the ballpark almost every night to see the Reds play I saw Hancock pitch many times that summer, as well as 2005 when Hancock was also a member of the Cincinnati Reds. He was acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Phillies, in another small twist of irony with Cory Lidle, who died last fall as Hancock was on his way to helping the St. Louis Cardinals to winning their unlikely World Series Championship. I also remember on MVP baseball when I was playing in my season with the Reds, Hancock was the workhorse I used out of the bullpen. The guy was; like his real life counterpart, an innings eater. When I was out of the game with my team I’d put him in and he just hung zero’s.

I would like to personally offer Diamond Hoggers condolences on this evening to the family of Josh Hancock, and just finish this post off with what Peter Gammons said. Hancock was the working man’s pitcher, not flashy but dependable. He was a very solid big league player and he was a good teammate who will be very missed by those around the league who knew him. Rest in Peace Josh, and thanks for the memories.

Read more: Deadspin post on Josh Hancock

Sizemore unconventional homer leads Indians to 6th straight win

Last night the Cleveland Indians held off the Baltimore Orioles for their 6th straight victory and 7th win in 8 games. The win was the first of the season for Jake Westbrook, and Joe Borowski got his AL-leading 9th save by striking out the side in the 9th inning.

The real story of this game, was my MVP prediction/candidate, amazing the crowd in a new way. Grady Sizemore got 2 hits on the night and drove in 3 runs, by hitting a game winning inside the park homerun to put the Indians ahead for good.

Box Score

We have tracked down that footage for you, enjoy the phenom.

A fly on the wall: Yankees clubhouse

The Yankees were swept out of Boston the last time these two teams met, and big George was not happy. We were lucky enough to be a fly on the wall inside the Yankee clubhouse, before the Yankees prepared to take on the Red Sox this weekend at Yankee Stadium. Here’s what Steinbrenner had to offer, top secret insider information of course, then again, everything he says he’d like to qualify as such.

Steinbrenner: Gentleman, you all know why I am here today. This reminds me of a trying time, an unhappy time. A time when I was stuck as a P.O.W. in Hanoi, you’re probably wondering how I made it through….

Mattingly: Boss, you were in Vietnam?

Steinbrenner: Mattingly! Mattingly! Do you want me to shave that moustache with a fucking Bowie knife? Then I suggest you shut your god-damn mouth when I am addressing my front line of officers! Now…. You all know how badly you embarrased me the last time we were in Boston. I don’t have to go back over that. As a P.O.W. I realized that soldiers have to accept the way things are. That is what I expect you all to do before this weekend’s series. We will prevail….

Melky Cabrera: Boss, what was it like over there?

Steinbrenner: Well Cabrera, I’ll tell you what it was like. Lots of rice paddies. We handled ourselves like men would. We loved our enemy like he was our best friend. The Viet-cong were all we had to hang onto for hope, it was life or death, and they decided our faith. Does anyone see what I’m getting at here?

(………..pause, silence…………..)

Steinbrenner: What I’m talking about here boys, is the way I want you to feel about eachother, and the way you feel about the Red Sox as a squad. Anyone see the paralells here?

Proctor: Fuckin’ kill em all bitch!

Steinbrenner: Oh, is that right? Well, let me ask you something Steve. Is that your name? No matter, I don’t learn names of the people who can’t tuck their pussy in enough to pitch with a hangover. You think that I couldn’t have made things happen in Vietnam had I been out the night before? HELL NO! It would have been a privlidge to have had a drink at those times. Anything to dull the pain. We weren’t that fortunate. You mean now are weak. You need those temptations to strive you through the battle. Now, you will talk when I tell you to fucking talk Proctor.

Proctor: (sits silently, eyes well up with tears).

Steinbrenner: Moving forward, Jason, stand up here. You look like you’re sweating, does it make you nervous when I speak to you all Jason?

Jason Giambi: I’m always sweating, boss.

Steinbrenner: Really? That’s interesting. Jason, I want you to make yourself stop that immediately. In times of war, we can’t let the nerves on the inside change the face of what is on the outside. I expect you to be a soldier son, stonefaced, no emotion. And especially no fucking sweating.

Jason Giambi: Um, I can’t help it.

Steinbrenner: Have a talk with those fucking weak sweat glands of yours and tell them to stop it.

Jason Giambi: but boss….

Steinbrenner: DO IT NOW!!

Jason Giambi: (closes eyes) Please, please stop it. Please stop this normal human function.

Steinbrenner: I said stand up!

Giambi: (stands up, eyes still closed)

Steinbrenner: Open your god-damned eyes! What the fuck would you do if there was a trip wire in front of you and you were standing there all starstruck like with your fucking eyes wide shut?!?

Giambi: You’re making me nervous, Sir.
Steinbrenner: Aw, Jason’s nervous fellas. That’s cute. Where did I ever mention that it was ook for a soldier to be nervous? Do you know what General Patton, who is a good personal friend of mine, would have done if one of his soldiers would have indicated he was nervous? And didn’t I just talk about nerves shouldn’t be a factor in times of war?

Giambi: Um, I don’t know?
Steinbrenner: I’ll tell you what Patton would have done. He would have taken his thumb and index finger, grasped your balls within them, and given a slight tug. With that tug he would have dis-membered your shrunken ball sack, and fed them to you while you begged for another pair of them in your mouth.

(Steinbrenner places his hand on Giambi’s chest)
Giambi: What are you doing, Boss?

Steinbrenner: Quiet Giambi! I wanna hear, and feel the heartbeat of one of my men.

(pause…….Steinbrenner inches ear close to Giambi’s chest, full sweat ring going down front of jersey)

Giambi’s nervous heart: beat-beat-beat-beat-lup-dup-lup-dup-lup-dup-luppy-duppy-LUB-DUB!-LUB-DUB!

Steinbrenner: (In whisper) Aw thats nice. Yeah that’s really good…..

Farnsworth: (From back of the room, quietly) What a sick, twisted fuck. Jesus.


Giambi: Can I sit now….

Steinbrenner: That hearts beating fast Jason. Too fast for the good of this troupe. I want you to tell it to stop. We can’t have that in here. It’s too loud, too much noise. They hear that thing doing all those whacky nauticals, and we could get the whole squad ambushed.

Giambi: (Closes eyes, hard) Please heart, just stop beating so hard, just stop beating. I don’t care. Just stop! (heart beats faster, full anxiety attack, sweat pouring profusely off Giambi brow).

Steinbrenner: Sit down Jason, I can see this isn’t working. You’re lucky I don’t relieve you of your duties here. Now, lets show everyone how a real soldier reacts with his life on the line…. Alex, come hither.

Steinbrenner: (clutching A-Rod in his grasp, sternly and assertively) Alex, do you know how much you mean to me son? Do you know what you mean to this squadron?

Alex Rodriguez: Well Boss, I certaindy know how I feel….

Steinbrenner: You’re our god-damn general Alex. Our fucking lifeline. If you or I was catholic, or religious, I’d want to be your Godfather at your baptism. I’d want to pour cold holy water on your dick Alex. Do you know how I feel about you?

A-Rod: I know how you feel now mayn.

Steinbrenner: That’s right. Now, inch closer to me. Stand still. I want to listen to the heart of my general.

(A-Rod inches closer, Steinbrenner places his ear on A-Rod’s chest)

A-Rod’s General heart: …………………………………………………………………….

Steinbrenner: You hear that men? Nothing. Not even a god-damn pulse!

A-Rod: (Smiles like the golden boy general he is)

Steinbrenner: Alex, you’re giving your first lieutenant a massive hard on right now. My cock hasn’t been this hard in many, many years. You see men, a real soldier doesn’t have a fucking heart beat! His heart beats for nothing, no one! He can escape any situation because he’s already dead! He doesn’t have a soul! This man isn’t even living right now.

Torre: (Yawns, rolls eyes, takes shot of scotch)

Steinbrenner: Sit down Alex. Thank you for that. That was moving.

A-Rod: I din’t do nothing mayn. Your wedcome.

Steinbrenner: Derek, that Viet-Cong Matsuzaka just grabbed you in a bear hug and pulled the plug on a grenade out there. You’ve got approximately 3.4 seconds before your whole squad is blown into a firey hell. What do you do?

Jeter: Um, put on my cape, put the viet-cong in a strong head-scissors for fun, fly and go get the pin, put it back into the grenade correctly, make some chicken soup and sliced apples, and then insert the grenade back up the Japs ass?

Steinbrenner: You’re 99.9% correct Derek. Matsuzaka is a viet-cong, not a jap. Otherwise, great job. Go get yourself 4 blowjobs before BP today son. You deserve it. I’ll even…..

Jeter: No thanks boss, I heard Mariah Carey’s singing the national anthem today. She’ll take your spot.

Steinbrenner: (blushing) Alright then. Next question. Cano, why do you think Schilling’s sock had blood on it back in the 2004 series with us?

Cano: Well I’ve heard different things actually. I believe he was truly wounded, but continuing into battle like a real soldier, right?
Just like you want us to do, am I right?

Steinbrenner: No you’re not right actually. The truth is, and I don’t wanna tell you all this but you’ve given me no choice….. before the game, I crept out of my bunker into the deep throws of the ass end of the enemy bunker. I knew Schilling was pitching that night and I wanted to win the war. I took out my knife, and (making slicing motion), CUT his fucking Achilles tendon and then slithered away as he howled, back to my bunker.

Yankees team: (Collective gasp) Oh my god. OH MY GOD!

Steinbrenner: That’s right men. I did it for you and you let me down. You let the Viet Cong win. That was 2004. This is now, we’re still in this war, and we can still prevail starting this weekend. This is the first chapter after the harsh defeat, how will we respond? I look at this weekend like it’s the battle of Saratoga.

Torre: Alright, enough…that was the World War I; George, World War I!!!!! And stop lying to these guys. You weren’t in ‘Nam! You didn’t even fucking want to be a cook for that operation!

Steinbrenner: Enough. You all know what you have to do. Get it done. (Walks out of room with overcoat on. Hands folded).

Throwing it around

It’s a friday morning, and friday mornings are the shit. Friday is like a holiday every week that treats us all well. Without them, we’d have nothing to live for. This particular friday morning happens to be the eve of the NFL Draft, which makes it a double-holiday of sorts. We’re not here to talk football, our bias is to the round ball and bat only. Here’s some things we found worthy to note:

  • Remember Danny Almonte? Of course you do, but maybe not as well as On the Show. They’re hitting their stride over there folks.
  • The DiaTribe reminds us despite their recent hot streak (that we called accurately), the Indians are winning ugly.
  • Wily Mo Pena is a cool dude, trust us. More on that later. Fenway Blogger recaps his grand slam that won it last night for the Red Sox.
  • Baseball Church talks about the bias that is MLB.com, promoting the big-whigs in the Major Leagues for the All-Star Game but not for teams like the Reds and Nats. This would mean no Josh Hamilton.
  • Hey, we can’t let a Josh Hamilton story go by the wayside without mention. Did you know he’s playing with a torn quad? Jesus! It would seem aparent that he’s earned the nickname Roy Hobbs, which would mean his bat has some Wonderboy in it. We’re big fans of The Natural movie. We also wanna let you know, he has a 3 game hitting streak. Beware Dimaggio, beware.
  • Jake Peavy handled Trevor Hoffman blowing his best outing of his career pretty well didn’t he?
  • Editor George will be at this series to drink himself silly hopefully provide some first-hand coverage. Here’s the Red Sox-Yankees matchup for this weekend at the Stadium.

Week in Review

Peavy hears us talking, I swear
You know, I was trying to talk editor George into trading me Jake Peavy in fantasy baseball all season thus far. Wednesday night I was as well, before his start that sealed George’s “No”. My major selling point, and I quote was that “He’s got nasty stuff but he never seems to put it all together and dominate.” Peavy went 7 innings, striking out 16, allowing only 2 hits and at one point struck out 9 Diamondbacks in a row, but had to leave due to a high pitch count. Arizona won the game off future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman with a homerun in the 9th by Steven Drew.

Barry Bonds continues his march towards history
Barry Bonds now has 7 homeruns on the season, and although we don’t like this guy at all, and we’re crossing our fingers for a popped hamstring, it’s becoming aparent that this whole thing is inevitable. He’s going to get to the record, and some folks aren’t handling it well. Now only 14 homeruns behind Henry Aaron, Bonds is looking as strong as ever before. This story is going to continue to get bigger and bigger. Oh yeah, the Giants have won 8 games in a row. I bet you didn’t know that.

The Cleveland Indians are becoming the cream of the crop in the AL
The Cleveland Indians are on fire, and I called it. Before their 12-inning win in Minnesota, I said they’d go on a run. They swept Minnesota, and have won 5 in a row, and 6 out of 7. This run has catapaulted them into first place in the AL Central, and they have a home series this weekend. If they can continue the streak through the weekend, they might not give it back at all. This team is young, firey, and good.

The Yankees Golden Boy makes his debut
Phillip Hughes made his debut last night and editor George was right on in his prediction of Hughes probably struggling. The kid had 5 strikeouts, putting him 4,599 behind Roger Clemens for his career. Who knows, 15 years from now maybe we’ll be writing about Hughes making a run at passing Roger Clemens. We plan on being here, the only question is will Phillip Hughes still be around?

Cole Hamels is a much cooler dude than Jason Werth
Cole Hamels had his career night with 15 K’s against the Reds, and we were there to witness it. We had a little run-in with Jason Werth, of bench-warming Dodger fame. Ladies, we’re warning you, steer clear of Jason Werth, he’s nothing but trouble! We’ve checked our sources and he’s only in it for the ass. He’ll string you along honey. Stay away from him, you hear? We laid off Charlie Manuel for the week, he’s too easy of a target and his team is playing well since he challenged a Phillies radio host to a pugilist duel. Ryan Howard became a new target, by his own choice. He doesn’t like us, or anyone for that matter.

Facing the ugly truth, the Reds just aren't that good

Today the Reds jumped out to a 4-0 lead and as I spent the day with my boss, running one sales appointment after another, I was in a great mood seeing that my boys might take a series on the road, the first tilt of the year with the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Slowly, that lead disintigrated and with it went my good mood. This team found a way once again to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and probably held no shame in doing so. They shit the bed and fucked me over and ruined my day.

At least in years past, you could count on this team to jump out to an improbable run that would see them ruling the NL Central and maybe even the entire National League for a while. Then, slowly, injuries would eat away at the team like a cancer, an unstoppable rebel force and send us fans’ dreams of a playoff chase to a firey death before September ever came. This year, they seem content just to be ordinary in a very ordinary NL Central that simply isn’t very good either.

22 Games gone. That’s 1/8th of the season, if you’re a guy who lives and breaths baseball like myself. There’s been enough baseball for me to see that this team just doesn’t have ‘it’ to get it done. They’re not the cinderella Detroit Tigers of the league this year like I predicted them to be. They’re not even the best team in my home state.

They refuse to do the little things right. They can’t bunt, they can’t hit with runners in scoring position. They can’t hit and run, and their bullpen blows leads that end up being heart wrenching defeats. They lose close games, and don’t play from behind well. With a lead they play scared, like a deer during the first day of hunting season. They sit around and wait for a 3-run homer that never comes. They waste quality start after quality start by guys that would have 3 or 4 wins deservedly on better team. Some nights they make bonehead plays in the field, in fact they do it most nights.

Their best hitter is a guy that has never played Major League Baseball before this year. In fact, he’s never played above low-A ball before this year basically. He remains the storyline that keeps me interested. Is it possible for Hamilton to win Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and be an All-Star? It is probably the best story in the past 20 years in baseball thus far, and it’s been a magical ride even if it doesn’t last a day longer. This ballclub is lucky because he alone will sell tickets this summer and put butts in the seats, trust me. That is if the manager is smart enough to keep him in the lineup every day, which I have my doubts about.

They play with no passion. To live and die with a team that doesn’t care about winning each and every night hurts, you know? Fuck you Reds for doing this to me.

(Cue Bobby Knight Rant) If you don’t go into Pittsburgh this weekend and kick some major ass, and start scoring runs like a big league ballclub, I’m done. No one makes the fuckin’ team next year. I’ll run ya till you can’t even fuckin’ believe it. Now I’m not even fuckin’ kiddin. If you don’t recover Greg Graham. If you’re just gonna let him drive the lane, then I’m fuckin just gonna go right now. I didn’t come all this way to fuckin’ lose to Purdue. You will not fuckin’ do this to me. (/end Bob Knight rant).

Phillip Hughes Big Debut

Diamond Hoggers is really excited to see the youngester’s stuff tonight. As a Yankees fan I’m not too worried about the outcome, but more so what kind of stuff this kid has. If you think about the many new pitchers that have come through the Yankee organization, not many have faired well, even some of the proven veterans. Hughes is only 20 years old and is going to have his Major League debut in the Bronx, not the most freindly place. Although I think Yankee fans will greet him well (or atleast they should), I will be very disappointed if he was “booed” off the mound. The only thing Hughes needs tonight is confidence and support from not only his teammates, but most importantly from the fans as well. I’m sure Jeter has already wined and dined him the previous night, maybe even hooked him up with a few of his leftovers. Jeter has always been great about that and has trulty taken over the Mickey Mantle role. My prediction for Hughes tonight against The Toronto Blue Jays, 5.2 inn., 4ER, 10H, 4BB, 3K. Obviously this is not a strong pitching line, but don’t get me wrong I have high hopes for Hughes and the Yankee Farm System. Diamond Hoggers love home grown guys. Good luck Hughes!

Reds @ Cardinals: Game 2

The Enquirer’s Trent Rosecrans is reporting the same lineup as last night. I’m gonna liveblog the game and try to follow some of the action in the comments section. Feel free to talk about it there Reds fans. I guess if it gets you 10 runs, you keep it up. Hopefully they get Arroyo some runs tonight to work with.

Josh Hamilton CF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Scott Hatteberg 1B
Alex Gonzalez SS
David Ross C
Bronson Arroyo P

7:58 pm-I’m going to get a sandwich. Sue me

8:26 pm- Nice play by Griffey in right. 0-0 after the 1st.

8:32 pm- David Ross is such a shitty hitter, and I saw this coming from a mile away this season. One year wonder indeed. As he strikes out, again, clueless, I ask myself: ‘is he swinging a sword up there or what?’. My God. I honestly believe I could hit as well as him off Major League pitching right now.

8:36 pm- 1-2-3 inning for Bronson Arroyo. This Cardinals team is just not a very good hitting team right now. No way they make another World Series run with this lineup. They’ll need some help. That said, they probably have the resources to add someone big time at any spot they need. I can see them go after a Tejada type or who knows?

8:39 pm- Hey Ryan Howard just hit his 3rd homerun of the season! Let me check…..yup, still a dick.

8:43 pm- Reds go down 1-2-3 as well. Inconsistent offensive ballclub, and they don’t do the little things right that help when the 3-run homer isn’t around to help, i.e. running the bases well, hit and run, bunt for hits, etc.

8:47 pm- Biggest Reds killers: 1. Billy Hall, 2. Chris Duncan…..Duncan singles

8:52 pm- Dunn K’s….annnnnnnnnd I’m getting tired of his act.

8:54 pm- Reds go 1-2-3. This one really has me on the edge of my seat, let me tell ya.

9:00 pm- Jimmy Edmonds RBI single, 1-0 Cards.

9:09 pm- Dave Ross is up with 1 on, 1 out. Fuck.

9:11 pm- Dave Ross K’s. Shocked, really.

9:16 pm- Great catch by Hamilton to take away a hit from guess who, Chris Duncan (ugly face). Man this kid plays a great center field. Gigantosaur is at the plate. 2 down.

9:19 pm- Gigantosaur bounces out to Edwin at third for another 1-2-3 inning by Bronson Arroyo. It would appear the Reds are shitting the bed in another nice outing by Arroyo. This poor guy should have 3 wins by now with the way he’s pitched, he’s stuck on zero and might be even after tonight. Top of the lineup coming up. I smell runs though.

9:21 pm- Josh HAMILTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Biggest homerun I’ve seen him hit yet. Edmonds didn’t even move in center field. This ball was hit a ton off of a good pitchers pitch. Breaks up the shutout. 1-1 ballgame now.

9:25 pm- Dunn flies out deep. Rolen played tennis in high school. What a dickbag. Did you play tennis in high school? Then you’re a dickbag too.

9:32 pm- Edmonds up. If you haven’t done it yet, VOTE infinity times for Josh Hamilton to get into the All-Star game. We’re leading the charge here. What a great story that would make huh? He deserves it. This is unreal.

9:38 pm- I’ve been waiting to say it all night. Eckstein throws funny. That is all.

9:41 pm- I think Alex Gonzalez likes hitting off the Cardinals pitching staff. Wow, another hit.

9:48 pm- Some scrub named Schumacher pinch hits for Looper, ending his night. Looper looked good again, this guy just might have found his niche as a starter. It’s probably heading for a battle of the bullpens, although the Reds might squeeze one more out of Arroyo, he’s really rolling tonight.

9:54 pm- Springer in for St. Louis on the mound. Smurf Freel pinch hits for Bronson, his night is over. Reds will need a run here to make him a winner.

9:57 pm- Freel pops out, and LaRusa is out of the dugout to get Springer. They’re bringing in a lefty to face Josh Hamilton. Could this be the Natural’s night? Man, LaRusa looks asleep at the wheel tonight……ok I couldn’t resist. Sorry.

10:08 pm- Saarloos walks Duncan. Gigantosaur up. This is bad. Very bad. Can this bullpen ever get it done?

10:12 pm- Pujols with a great piece of hitting, doubles on a line drive into the gap in right center, scoring two runs for the Cardinals. 3-1 Cardinals.

10:22 pm- Error by Gonzalez. 4-1 Cards. We need a miracle to win this one.

10:35 pm- Isringhausen in after a pity run for the save. I’m out. Reds fought hard, but just didn’t get it done.