Nicorette can help, but not as much as a lipper

So last night in Cleveland, I decided it was time for a new endeavor. Let me first add that my reason for being there was because the VP of Sales for my entire company was treating my sales team to a game. The recap of the game and photos are to come later, but the evening made for an incredibly social, non-alcohol, false complimenting, and small talk turn of events. Most importantly, although I grabbed my fresh tin of Skoal Straight from my truck as I headed for the gates of Jacobs Field, I knew that there was a small possibility of actually getting to enjoy one of these Hogs at the ballgame on this evening. As the evening crept on, clearly my chances were far and few between, with VP and Regional Director being able to almost smell my attempts at eating the forbidden fruit that comes in the shape of a round, maroon-colored tin. Instead it sat in my cargo shorts lower pocket, laughing at me. So then a co-worker of mine whom is a good buddy, and former chain smoker begins to tell me that he doesn’t even want a smoke anymore. He’s a gum chewer now.

A gum chewer? You mean like you have quit for Jones for cigarettes by chewing Wrigley’s? How the fuck’d you do that? Why did you do that? He pulls out a little carton of some brown/tan colored gum. I knew right away what it was, the secret weapon. It was time to fight fire with fire. There would be no dipping on this day.

“Yeah dude, what you have to do is just put one of these in and chew it up, then kind of dip it in the front of your lip. Give it 20 minutes, you’ll have a hell of a buzz. It’s equal to like 9 cigarettes they say,” admonished the co-worker.

“You mind if I have one of those?”, clearly I was hurting for something to kill the craving. So I tried Nicorette. I put it in, chewed, gave it a good thorough chance to soak, as a wine connoseur would do with some new creation of Merlot or Pinot Grigio.

“Man I’d probably be putting in like 5 of these motherfuckers if I bought Nicorette,”

“Oh I know, trust me, I do.” said the kind co-worker.

About a minute into the chewing I admitted although I liked it, it just wasn’t as good as having a dip. Some minutes passed, the game went into a nice little rain delay, and we said our tearful goodbyes to our associates. This is when that whole “20 minute thing” kicked in with the gum. My throat began to burn, my eyes were watering, every one of my 6 senses that I haven’t already damaged was really feeling impaired. Hell this gum was making me feel as if I ripped open a pack of cowboy killers and swallowed the tobacco right out of the paper filter.

“I see what you mean about this gum,” and I threw it into the trashcan as I was leaving the stadium. I had been introduced to the distant cousin of my little round friends (and when I’m drunk the distant cousin of heaters).

As soon as the authority figures of the company were out of view, I reached into my pocket for the Skoal. I was sorry that I had betrayed my friend like that. Very sorry. To make the tin feel better, I began to pack it on the mile long walk back to the parking garage. “We’ll be together soon, don’t worry.”

Dipping doesn’t provide near the discomfort that Nicorette does, and while I hypothesize that Nicorette can help, and it won’t kill you eventually like hogs and blah blah blah all that shit, it still might not be the best fit for everyone. Afterall, we’re all just different chemistry experiments!
On this night I chose to take one for the betterment of my career. I bit the bullet, or in this case piece of nicci-fit gum, and drank no alcohol. Worked out well since I got pulled over on I71 and was given a nice little sobriety-pen test.

It's "EOM" Hoggers…..

Due to the fact that it is the end of the month in the business world, this blog is suffering. It’s also compounded by the fact that Editor George just isn’t doing his part. You’re damn right I’ll throw my partner in crime under the bus.

So in lieu of the fact that my livelihood depends on me selling someone on a product, I apologize for the fact I haven’t been able to dedicate loads of time to the blog right now, today, and it’s been spotty. You can expect a good old fashioned “post-fest” soon, and I’ll be leading the charge.

Throwing it around

It’s hump-day which is never a bad thing. I’m headed to Jacobs Field tonight (for business purposes) which is a good thing. We jump around the net and blogworld to provide some baseball links of interest for you, which is of course the best thing:

  • Johnny Damon could have worked out better for the Yankees. Not every acorn shit by the Yanks can turn to gold. (Just Call me Juice)
  • The all-breakout MLB team. (The Feed)
  • The Reds better keep Adam Dunn, we agree. (Keep Adam Dunn)
  • This blog was carved from our own hearts. I have to say though, we didn’t create it, I promise. The case against Wayne Krivsky…. (Keep Adam Dunn)
  • I always wondered what happened to Mel Hall; and his jerry curl. That hair-do was the singlemost reason I would never trade his Topps card to anyone, ever. (Deadspin)
  • Things are going well for the Indians. (The Diatribe)
  • The White Sox are raising the white flag. Oh what a shame. Hey Ozzie Guillen; blow me, shithead. (We are the Postmen)

Dunn and Hamilton homer; Bailey gets rocked

Homer Bailey got his tits lit last night in Philadelphia for the first time in his big league career. This morning I got a nice little call from editor George telling me reasons why the second coming of Cy Young should be cut from my fantasy baseball team. Of course I argued the reasons against it, every young pitcher needs a start like this (or do they) to let them know that it’s the big leagues and that things will not ever come easy at this level. This is the best thing that could have possibly happened to Homer Bailey at this stage of his career (right?).

Not all was lost on this night, afterall Adam Dunn got his 21st homerun of the season and added the ever important sacrifice fly that everyone in Cincinnati seems so worried about him compiling. Josh Hamilton added homerun number 12 of his career as well. Griffey knocked in a run to add to his career totals.

It all started in the first inning when Ryan Howard connected with a Bailey fastball, it was a taylor-made majestic blast, a typical Howard homerun. From there the rout was on for the Phils, who are not as bad as they appeared at season’s beginning. They ended up knocking Bailey around for 6 runs in the ballgame and he was out of the game before he completed 2 innings pitched. The silver lining is that the Reds got him out of the game quickly; not allowing his confidence to be destroyed as you figured the Reds franchise would so inapropriately do.

The ballclub, and I do mean the Reds, is seemingly 112 games out of first place. This season is officially gone, as if it wasn’t a long time ago right? As Dunn quietly appears to be piecing together one of his finest seasons, as well as Griffey, they are dangled in trade talks because of the terrible performance of this ballclub. Hamilton has also been a bright spot with his power and hard nosed play. I hope this team doesn’t have the yearly firesale and decide to once again ‘rebuild’. Wayne Krivsky: if you’re reading this or ever stumble across it before you make the huge decision to trade the Griffeys and Dunns of the world, I hope you think twice about it. Our team needs tweaked, not ripped apart.

Comeback Kids walk off in first place

Last night the Indians might have once again shown that in 2007, indeed the magic is back at Jacobs Field.
Kelly Shoppach, who won it on a pinch-hit homer with two out in the ninth inning, said the seeds for Tuesday’s Indians victory were sown early in the game.
“I thought when we scored three off [Dan] Haren, and got him out of the game, we
had a chance,” said Shoppach.

The Indians got down 5-3 in the top of the 9th on a two run homerun by the A’s outfielder Shannon Stewart, but they still had one at bat left as a team. One bullett left in the gun to fire.

The Indians tied the game at 5-5 with a 2-run double from Travis Hafner, scoring Ben Francisco to tie the game. This was the second night in a row that the resurgent Hafner got the big hit, as he homered in the first game of the series. Kelly Shoppach then came to the plate a few hitters later and launched the game winning 3 run homerun.

The Indians, who have won six of their past nine games, moved into a first-place tie with Detroit in the American League Central. The Tigers have lost two straight against the Texas Rangers.

The come from behind win was the 49th 9th-inning come from behind win in the history of Jacobs Field. Grady Sizemore also hit his 13th homerun of the season, collecting 2 more hits and 3 more runs for his career tallies.

Tonight, I will be attending the game at Jacobs Field. Rafael Carmona takes the hill against Lenny DiNardo. Full coverage to follow. It’s nice to see the Indians be playing ball in first as the fireflies come out in full swing and baseball marches on towards July.

Homer Bailey takes his rocket arm to Philly

That was taken last december at Jim’s Steaks on south street in Philly. I think it makes for a hell of a picture. Many tourists and Philly residents alike will argue over whether Genos or Pats is indeed the King of Philly Cheesesteaks. I have to say, I absolutely loved Jim’s. And don’t give me any of that Cheeze-wiz shit. I just wanted some provolone, with some tomato and lettuce on there. I like the options made available to you at Jim’s.

Philly is a neat little city, and tonight the Cincinnati Reds and their 21 year old right hander Homer Bailey take center stage in Philly. We’ve chronicled Homer’s first, second, and third career starts right here on this very blog. The guy has given tremendous uplift to Cincinnati fans who were expecting a contending ballclub. The entire team seems to just play harder when he’s on the mound, and as a Reds fan you just must hope that he stays healthy for his entire big league career (don’t be like Prior, don’t be like Prior), and remains a Red when he is up for a new contract someday down the road.

Can Homer improve to 3-0? Can he strikeout the grumpy slugger of the Phillies? Stay tuned.

Throwing it around

Got a case of the mondays? Join the club. Why is it that every morning I wake up (during the week), I feel like shit? Does everyone experience this? I doubt it, but it’s worth asking. Here are some baseball-related links that will distract your mind from reality momentarily, Hoggers:

  • John Smoltz and Chipper Jones, in a good ole’ fashioned pissing match. (Deadspin)
  • Baseball birthdays; and then some. Please note that Elijah Dukes is in there. (One More Dying Quail)
  • Josh Beckett wins again. (Fenway Blogger)
  • Paging Mr. Hafner, Mr. Hafner to the principal’s office, your lunch is here to eat you. (The Diatribe)
  • Talking about (San Francisco) Giant issues. (The Sports Flow)
  • Don’t trust your daughter with their high school coach. Note: this is not a baseball link, but we love this site and it’s a sick as fuck story. (The Big Lead)
  • The best day in the life and times of Denny Hocking. (Coffeyville Whirlwind)
  • The Indian’s ugly ending to interleague play. Jake Westbrooke pitches well, but the Tribe gets up-ended by the Nationals, again. (The Tribe Source)

Griffey passes McGwire in Seattle

Ken Griffey Jr. showed flashes of the old Griffey, the classic Griffey once again yesterday. Although the Reds dropped the game 3-2, Griffey gave the fans who treated him with adoration and affection all weekend a glimpse of the player they once had and loved.

Griffey belted homeruns #582 and #583, and added another hit, accounting for all of Cincinnati’s offense in the 3-2 loss. He also had an outfield assist from right field, throwing out Ben Broussard at first base.

Bronson Arroyo picked up the loss to move to just 2-9 on the season, and J.J. Putz picked up his 21st save of the season. Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 19 games by going 2 for 3.

Box Score

RIP Rod Beck

One of the throwbacks of the game passed away yesterday. I remember him in his classic days with the “GIANTS” across his chest, the stirrups, the moustache and later the fu-man-chu. Rod Beck sounds like a guy the editors of this blog would have appreciated very much.

Although some would say he was less than flashy, the guy recorded seasons of 48 saves and 51 saves, and was a three time all-star. I’ll also remember Beck when he was seemingly getting guys out with grit and guile and nothing but puss for a fastball. He looked like he was sailing bubbles in there to homeplate with the cubs in 1998 and was a huge part of their memorable playoff wildcard run.

As details come the death of Beck might be discussed more, but I am sure it will turn out to be the circumstance of natural causes. So for the man they called ‘Shooter’, this beer is for you.

Read more: Rod Beck is dead at 38 (Deadspin)

When Rod Beck ruled the world. (Deadspin)

I can now die a happy man; Shooter McGavin in a baseball movie!

My life is complete. I don’t need anything else. The word is out and the word is that our good friend Christopher McDonald (aka Shooter McGavin) of Happy Gilmore fame, is going to play Joe Dimaggio in an upcoming made for television series The Bronx is Burning.

No worries, Steinbrenner and Billy Martin will be there too for you Yankee faithfuls. However, the fucking lead of this show is clearly Mr. Mcdonald.

My current roomate, from Chicago (irrelevant unless you wanna know where to party with Shooter), told us a story about our friend McGavin one time. It went something like this:

“Yeah man, and we were at this private party at the PGA tournament and all the
sudden you’re not gonna believe who fucking was there…..Shooter…… Shooter
McGavin was there! He really was cool as fuck, just as you’d imagine (and we
would). We ended up getting piss drunk with the guy and by the end of the little
event we had him telling us stories about his glory days and you guessed it, he
gave us a ‘Shooter’.”

When asked what exaclt a ‘Shooter’ was, this was the garnered response:

“Well, you know, he’d like slam a double shot of whatever we wanted him to, and
then he’d whip his hands up like they were 6-shooters and holler out ‘Shooota’.”

Yeah, he’s a dead ringer for Joe Dimaggio. No doubt about it. No matter how painful this ESPN mini-series is (bring back Playmakers, fuckers), I’m now going to have to watch every moment of it because of Shooter being in the mix. There is no reason that he has any business playing Dimaggio, he’s not that ill-tempered. It should still be very entertaining, as Shooter always is.

Read more: The perfect man to play the Yankee Clipper (Deadspin)

That'll cure what ails ya' (not)

The Detroit Tigers have traded lefthander Mike Maroth to the St. Louis Cardinals today. The deal becomes the second trade of mention in a weeks time, as days ago the Chicago Cubs traded Micheal Barrett to the San Diego Padres.

This deal doesn’t figure to help out the Cardinals in a huge way, but it shows they still believe they can make a run at the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Maroth is still good enough to beat the pants off the Cincinnati Reds, who can never hit lefthanders. Maroth sports a respectable 5-2 record with a 5.06 ERA in 13 starts for the strong Detroit squad this season.

You might know Maroth from his super 2003 season, in which he lost 21 games and won 9. When he came back in 2004 and won 11 against only losing 13, many people called it remarkable.

Overall the guy has just so-so stuff, and he’s not going to be any type of major facelift for the Cardinals squad, we wouldn’t think. Unless Albert Pujols catches fire, and they get two starting pitchers in the rotation to catch fire, they’re going to have a hard time running down Milwaukee. That said, the move might have been made to get a veteran arm in the rotation to replace recently injured starting pitcher Braden Looper, who just landed on the disabled list.

Miguel Tejada's consecutive games streak in jeopardy?

Miguel Tejada has played in 1,152 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active streak in baseball. That streak might come to an end on this evening or some evening soon; one would think a fractured (but non-displaced left wrist) would do that to you.

If the streak wasn’t important, and Tejada cared more about his well being than the streak, it would have already ended. However, it would seem that Tejada is maybe trying to put together the second most impressive streak in baseball history other than the one Cal Ripken amassed–another Baltimore player that played on the left side of the diamond his entire career. Ripken played in 2,632 straight games, making Tejada a over a half season short of consecutive games played to even be halfway to Ripken’s mark.

From the Oriole Post:

Well, last night Miguel Tejada got drilled in the wrist thanks to a Doug
Brocail pitch and was take to the hospital for a check-up. He was perhaps
hurting today, but decided to play.

Since, Miguel Tejada’s has the longest consecutive games streak in baseball
right now, he felt he needed to protect it (although in the past he’s not made a
big deal out of it). It’s a big deal to him.

It’s still alive as Miggy felt well enough to play. Except he only got one
at bat, and the team slugger bunted!After he attempted to bunt (?) and got on,
he was removed for a pinch-runner not more than a second he got on to keep his
streak alive.

Here are words of wisdom from Mr. Trembley: “We all know the importance of
what’s going on in baseball, and Miggy and the streak,” said interim manager
Dave Trembley. “I asked him last night before I left, and he asked me, ‘Don’t
you do anything until you talk to me.’ He’s earned that, and I told him, ‘You’ve
already seen the lineup. I’ve already posted it for tomorrow.’

Well, Mr. Trembley, thanks for completely bastardizing the game.To be quite
honest, Miguel should HAVE PLAYED ALL NINE INNINGS, not just an at bat.

You have to admire Tejada on one hand, but then again, is he really even doing what is best for the team at this point? He’s making $13 million + this season, all those Ben Franklins for a .306 average, a pedestrian 7 homeruns and 41 RBI. At least he is playing every day. Still, Miguel Tejada is not the Miguel Tejada that the Orioles bargained for when they bought his superhuman talent. At age 31, if he plays another 10 seasons and plays every single game until that point, Tejada will add some 1,700+ more games to his streak. That would have him edging out Ripken by some 200 games. Can he do it? We doubt it, but admire him for even thinking he can.

Read More: “The Streak”–Miguel Tejada, Dave Trembley, and respectability. (Oriole Post)
The absurdity of consecutive games played streaks. (The Prince of New York)

Junior returns to Seattle

Tonight, for the first time since I was nearly just still a boy, Ken Griffey Jr. returns to play baseball on a Seattle field. From 1989 to 1999, the guy they called “The Kid” was the most dominating player in baseball. He was the Micheal Jordan of baseball. There was nothing he couldn’t do.

I don’t care what kid you were, if you were growing up in the 90’s, no matter what Major League City you were closest to, you had a small crush on Jr., a soft spot and weakness in your heart for that left-handed looping swing. I know I did, and no matter how many hundreds of times we went out in the front yard to play baseball, I was Ken Griffey Jr., yeah that’s right. My friend Justin from next door was David Justice, his little brother Adam was Edgar Martinez or Jay Buhner, but I was always Kenny Griff. I wasn’t left handed, I was african american. I didn’t even play center field back then. It didn’t matter, that’s who I was when we played homerun derby, 3 on 3 baseball with ghost runners, pickle, basically anything that had to do with a baseball.

I lived, ate, slept Ken Griffey Jr. I can’t even begin to talk about how many cards I had of his, as I still find them buried in my sock drawers to this day. I’d stay up all night (aka midnight to a kid) and sneak the television on to just see Baseball Tonight and see what Griffey did in the late game against the A’s or Rangers on the west coast that evening. So many times, he came through and delivered for me with what I wanted to hear, another homerun. To just imagine having the 90’s Griffey on a fantasy baseball squad, wow. What a weapon he would have been.

So many summer nights made great by the kid in Seattle. There was baseball and the ageless Griffey, cookouts, little league games, and the ageless Griffey. Fourth of July’s, video games, long days at grandma’s house arranging my baseball cards of the ageless Griffey.

We had a sort of tradition, a hang out, a “fort” if you will that we’d venture to on our bikes. This fort was alongside a set of railroad tracks by our home. We would venture to these tracks and take pennies with us to lay down on the tracks so when the train came it would flatten the pennies, allowing us to fight over who’s was the coolest looking. We had a tradition, we’d walk down “X” number of railroad ‘ties’ and lay down our pennies so we’d know finally which flattened pennies were who’s. This was a very serious matter, I mind you. You can guess which # I chose, none other than the #24. Every single day, every single time. To this day, if you venture to the railroad tracks just at the beginning of Bean Oller, venture to the right side and count 24 down, you’ll see the many insignias of my youth. It’s a powerful thing to look at as a memory.

The 49 homer seasons, with a 56 homer season mixed in. The chase of history before steroids and other performance enhancers played a big factor. The Mariners bad bullpen that always cost Junior his shot at a ring. Heathcliff Slocumb. Jose Mesa. The way Junior seemed to glisten in the teal surroundings of the Kingdome.

All those memories will be brought back tonight as he plays in the house that Griffey built. Somehow, if you look close enough, you might just be taken back to another era tonight.

Throwing it around

Fridays are awesome. It’s practically the weekend, and weekends aren’t for work. They’re for putting in entrys on the blog when you should be working cause it’s not quite the weekend, but….you get the picture I think. Here’s some real feel good stories around the town for today: