Barry Bonds enjoys a good Whitetail Buck

If you’re like us, you probably wonder what Barry Bonds has been up to since retirement inactivity set in. Well today we have our answer. Bonds is carrying rifles and killing shit:

“I just got back from Canada with John Mogle and I can’t tell you how pleased I am with my Christensen Arms 300 Ultra Mag. I had taken it out previously on a hunt and couldn’t believe how light it was. But what’s really impressed me the most is…

…for a 300 Ultra Mag there is so little recoil. With this super wide whitetail closing in, the only thing I had to worry about was putting the crosshairs on the front shoulder, and the rifle would do the rest. One blast is all it took and I left Canada with an amazing whitetail that scored 193″.

I just wanted to tell everyone at Christensen Arms thanks for building such a tremendous rifle.
Keep up the great work and God bless,

Barry Bonds California”

But would that 300 ultra-mag feel as light in our hands? No, we bet it wouldn’t.

Now should Bonds wake up in Hell in a few years, the deer will be the ones who down the Deca-Durabolin like its tic-tacs and the deer will be the one who carries a light rifle, and the deer will be posing in a picture with a nice Barry Bonds head with it’s tongue out of its mouth. At least that is what our grandmother told us when we were little and killed ants with fire.

The MLB Network is on the way

MLB Network is on its way beginning this January 1st, and it’s trying to capitalize on some areas that the NFL Network struggled to succeed in. The network has already signed on-air talent such as Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter and will look to snag Bob Costas.

The MLB Network on Wednesday announced the hiring of several well-known broadcasters and analysts, including former Fox Sports host Matt Vasgersian, former New England Sports Network reporter Hazel Mae and former major leaguers Harold Reynolds and Al Leiter. The network expects to have 1,400 hours of live programming in its first year, including at least six hours of highlights and analysis each evening during the baseball season. Eventually, it will show live and archived games, plus special “hot stove” programming during the offseason.

The chance is there for this network to be huge. We’ve got some awesome suggestions, but they’re not getting those out of us for nothing. We’ll wait for them to read Diamond Hoggers and see what they think. Instead of a game of the week like the NFL Network does, why not a game of the night featuring the most captivating matchup on the MLB slate of games each night during the week? Leave the saturday and sunday games alone because of FOX’s saturday baseball and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball; go the whole week or use Friday as your make or break game if you must only use 1 night a week. That creates a problem because some might not stay in on a friday night to watch baseball.

Then again anyone who buys a premium network with 6 hours of highlights simultaneously every night during the regular season might just be convinced to do just that.

(Baseball) Things We're Thankful For

So Thanksgiving couldn’t have less to do with baseball. It’s here to promote the rival sport of football. Football, while a great sport; it leaves us aching for more pine tar and horse hide. But there are still things on this day that we can be thankful for in the way of the world’s greatest sport. And there is more talk everyday of the NFL having a labor work stoppage, so there’s hope that baseball can be the supreme power again.

Thing’s we’re thankful for:

-Jay Bruce
-Cueto, Volquez being young and throwing fucking rockets
-Great American Ballpark’s short porch
-No matter what record they finished, the Reds always getting opening day at home Great American Ballpark
-Fountain Square on opening day and Downtown Cincinnati excitement around that time
-Joey Votto’s experience and consistency for his age
-Committed ownership group like Bob Castellini who realizes the importance of a winning product (we think).
-My Reds authentic jersey and hat that my girlfriend steals from me.
-Being able to say I was there in 1990 when they won the whole dang thing
-Friends who like to go to ballgames as much as I do, and my girlfriend for allowing me to be such an addict for the sport.
-Skyline Chili
-A blog where I’m allowed all the gracious, homer-assed posts like this one that I desire.
-Each and every one of you readers who gives up valuable work time in your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

*Of course, we want to wish everyone and their family a safe and happy holiday season from Diamond Hoggers.

Prepare for MLB 2K9 Starring 'Tim55Lincecum'

The groundwork has been laid for MLB 2k9, as the coverboy cast is the National League Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum.

A couple of months from now we’ll be banging out 9 inning wars in the sequel to the Official Video Game of Diamond Hoggers. Hopefully expert mode is not impossible and medium difficulty isn’t so damn easy. That really ruined last year’s title. We’re sure we’ll be disappointed in some way, because after all if any video game is ever made too perfectly this blog will suffer, and we’ll lose our jobs because we’ll never leave our room playing out our sick role of Brian Cashman.

If it’s not too much to ask the producers though: realistic homerun hitting, a custom face scan of Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto, and unlimited years of control in franchise mode rather than cutting it off at 25 years. That should take care of it.

Stay tuned for more on this title.

Interview with Zack Hample

It was quite a year for Zack Hample, the guy who has caught more baseballs then any other fan in the history of the game. We became interested in learning more about Zack because there are few poeple in the world that love the game of baseball as much as we do. Zack was nice enough to ‘sit down’ with us and answer a few questions. So sit back, relax, and get to know one of the best fans in the game.

Diamond Hoggers: You’ve accumulated 3,820 baseballs in your life. We’ve got about 10. Give us three tips– if we’re headed to a game and want to get a baseball– that would help us increase our chances significantly.
Zack Hample: Show up early for batting practice, bring a glove, and wear a hat of the visiting team in order to suck up to the players and trick them into throwing baseballs to you.
DH: Who is your favorite all time baseball player? If you have to, do favorite Met and favorite non-Met, and why?
ZH: My all-time favorite is Cal Ripken Jr. because of his dedication and durability and respect for the game—and because he was great and played the same position as me…and because he was big for Major League standards and I was big for high school standards. My favorite Met is David Wright, although I have to admit that Jose Reyes (despite his occasional attitude problems) is more fun to watch.
DH: Out of all your baseballs you have, do you have a favorite? Why?
ZH: The last home run ever hit by a Mets player at Shea Stadium. I’m not sure if anything will ever top that. It took an incredible athletic effort to make the catch. That’s what I love most about it. It’s also worth a lot of money, not that I want to sell it, and it’s the only ball I’ve ever caught that was authenticated by MLB.
DH: Do you collect any other type of baseball or sports memoribilia?
ZH: I collect ticket stubs and try to get them signed, as well as other items from MLB games like bats, batting gloves, lineup cards, etc. I used to collect baseball cards and ended up with about 100,000 of them. I once snagged a puck during warm-ups at an NHL game, but I have no intention of snagging another. I can only deal with one sport.
DH: Your book, Watching Baseball Smarter; give us a brief snippet of the moral of the story. To someone who has not heard of it, what is the idea behind the book?
ZH: In one line, I’d sum it up by saying it’s for anyone (beginner or expert) who’d like to learn about baseball, have a few laughs in the process, and end up enjoying it more.

DH: What is the coolest in-game baseball feat you’ve seen since you’ve been going live to baseball games.
ZH: Witnessing Griffey’s 600th and Manny’s 500th career home runs was cool. Attending two different games at which players hit for the cycle was also nice. But the greatest feat that I’ve seen in person was a no-hitter thrown by Dwight Gooden at Yankee Stadium in 1996. Sadly, though, I only snagged one ball, so the day was practically a waste.
DH: The New York Mets have an affiliation with Dunkin Donuts. Are you a fan of DD?
ZH: They do? Hell yeah, I love Dunkin Donuts, but it’s a dangerous place for a hypoglycemic like me.
DH: You started your blog back in 2005. Pretty neat in our opinion. You’ve got your entire journey on there. Will The Baseball Collector continue for as long as you’re snagging baseballs?
ZH: Well hey, thanks. I can’t predict the rest of my life, but I definitely don’t plan on ending the blog anytime soon.
DH: Adam Dunn was always a tough autograph for us to try and get. Any players notorious for being tough/stingy with giving away baseballs?
ZH: Interesting because Dunn is pretty good about tossing balls into the crowd. Greg Maddux is terrible, however I once got lucky and caught one from him that I think he might have throwing to someone else. Randy St. Claire, the longtime pitching coach for the Expos/Nationals, is a true nightmare for baseball collectors.
DH: Give us your three favorite baseball stadiums to watch a game
ZH: Camden Yards and AT&T Park for the snagging/beauty and Fenway Park for the beauty/tradition.
DH: You are an author, blogger, and superfan. You mention your girlfriend. Do you have a full-time job? Are you a student? What fills Zack’s time other than baseball?
ZH: I don’t have a full-time job. I’ve never been able to do the 9 to 5 thing. It’s just not how my brain works. I get by doing baseball stuff during the warmer months and work for my family’s book store during the colder months. I’m not a student, and believe me, I wake up happy every day because of that fact. School just wasn’t for me.
DH: Do you play fantasy baseball? How did you finish last season?
ZH: I’ve never played. What if my opponent had David Wright on his team? Would I have to start rooting against one of my favorite players? I’ve always avoided fantasy baseball for that reason.
DH: You interested us because few people love baseball the way we do. What is it that made you fall in love with the game of baseball?
ZH: It’s such a beautiful sport with so much history and so many nuances.
I took to it as a kid and then my obsessive personality took over and got me here.
DH: Should the baseball Hall of Fame have a section where fans are inducted?
ZH: Yes! If baseball owners and executives can be in the Hall, why not fans?
DH: Hobbies besides baseball?
ZH: Music, writing, reading, drawing, photography, people (if that qualifies as a “hobby”), Scrabble, eating, exercising, video games, etc.
DH: You caught the last baseball ever at Shea Stadium. Gained a lot of notoriety. You’ve left your mark on the world for sure. What do you hope to do in the future as a fan and as a person (goals and such)?
ZH: I’d like to transition into a TV career. Having my own show or being a regular on a particular network would be great. Personally, I’m looking forward to getting married someday and having at least one kid.
DH: Do you play baseball video games? Do you have a favorite?
ZH: I’ve never enjoyed sports video games, and I don’t mean to be all grouchy about it, but for me these games only cheapen the real thing.
DH: If you ever want to come to Cincinnati or Cleveland for a ballgame (we’re in Columbus) let us know. The trip is on us.
ZH: Awesome. I was in Cincy a few years ago. Wish I had this offer back then.
DH: Thanks Zack.

Cliffy Lee's dream season ends with a Cy

Cliff Lee has been named the American League Cy Young award winner for 2008. Lee was without doubt the strongest pitcher in the senior circuit this season and he did it on a team that was not particularly competitive when he wasn’t on the hill; similar to his NL Cy Young counterpart Tim Lincecum.

Lee received 24 of 28 first-place votes. (Roy) Halladay received four first-place votes and 71 points. Two BBWAA members in every AL city voted for the top three pitchers in the league.

Lee started the season fast and never slowed. He was 6-0 after seven starts with a 0.67 ERA. In the past 60 years only two pitchers have had a lower ERA after their first seven starts — Oakland’s Mike Norris at 0.45 in 1980 and the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela at 0.29 in 1981.

Lee won 11 straight decisions from July 11 through Sept. 12. It was the longest winning streak by an Indian since Perry won 15 straight in 1974. On Sept. 1, Lee became the first Indians pitcher since Perry to win 20 games, beating Chicago on a five-hit shutout at Progressive Field.

Cliff Lee proving that he is a lefty horse like this makes watching CC Sabathia get out of town sting just a little bit less. The Indians will depend heavily on Lee if this decade’s version of the feathered warriors are ever going to make good on the promise to win a pennant.

We have to admit, we doubted Lee. We didn’t think he’d hold up all season long. We thought eventually the old Cliff Lee would come back and get pounded–making him an afterthought by the All-Star break. Lee made like a character from Major League and told us to shove it. He was by far the best pitcher in his league this year to any fan without blind eye.

Hogger Nation: Prepare for Zach Hample

The man who snagged the final 2 baseballs ever hit out of Shea Stadium; and the guy who has snagged more baseballs than any other fan on earth was nice enough to give us an interview. This man is Zach Hample who has authored 2 books and writes for his own blog The Baseball Collector.

Before we air the interview, take a quick minute to watch the video above with Leno; or you might remember Zach’s appearance on Sportcenter (we do).

This guy is a great interview, friendly, and he loves the game the way we do at Diamond Hoggers. So put your hands together and get ready for an interview of the world’s greatest baseball snagger.

Cy Lincecum

This guy was our pick all along to win the NL Cy Young award. Impressive performances by CC Sabathia and Johann Santana aside, Lincecum was the only real choice. He did it all on a bad team as well.

Lincecum’s numbers: 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA and led the NL in winning percentage (.783) and strikeouts (265).

Lincecum became only the second Giant to capture the Cy Young, joining 1967 winner Mike McCormick, and the first second-year player to earn the distinction since right-handers Dwight Gooden of the Mets and Bret Saberhagen of Kansas City secured the 1985 awards in their respective leagues.

This guy, at 24 years of age; well he has a pretty limitless future ahead of himself. If the Giants can mount any kind of offensive lineup around him and some complementary pitchers on that staff, they’re going to have a shot at the playoffs. We look forward to seeing how this career progresses through the years. He will get a crack at some big postseason starts down the line.

Oakland is set for a Holliday

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Colorado Rockies are set to send Matt Holliday to the Oakland Athletics. While the players involved are not reported, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Eric Chavez involved.

The A’s are closing in on a deal with the Rockies that would send star outfielder Matt Holliday to Oakland from Colorado, has learned. The players Colorado would receive are not yet known.

This is coming just a day after a near deal that would have sent Holliday to St. Louis fell through.

The Cincinnati Reds were supposively very interested in getting Holliday from the Rockies. Now the Reds will need to turn their attention elsewhere to acquire offense and a corner outfielder. The dream of having Jay Bruce in the same outfield as Matt Holliday will never be more then that. At least the Yankees don’t get Holliday.

Update: Aparently Huston Street is involved in the deal. The Athletics just couldn’t wait to deal that guy.

Throwing it around

It’s a football sunday, and we’re writing about baseball. Gotta pack the stat sheets full this offseason. Gotta work harder than any other baseball blog out there. Gonna be the best. Gotta bring you something more interesting and thought-provoking than the the next. We’ll see what we’ve found out in the wild wild blogosphere:

-A great Barry Bonds video. [YouTube]
-Five move that would create some sizzle this offseason. They mention Derek Lowe making the Reds contenders. I think Lowe goes back to Boston. [SI]
-Hank Steinbrenner has his eyes on bringing Manny Ramirez to the Yankees. [River Avenue Blues]
-Another great story about Josh Hamilton. [Preps Now]
-Yankees rumors on Teixeira, Mussina, and Manny. [MLB Trade Rumors]
-Deadspin dispatched to the Phillies World Series Championship Victory Parade. [Deadspin]

Diamond Hoggers Video: "Spaceman" Bill Lee

Baseball is filled with all kinds of characters. None more far out of left field then “Spaceman” Bill Lee. The nickname says it all. He was/is an absolute space cadet. In fact, I could listen to him spit jibberish all day long.

Lee played his career with the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos. Today he can be found in Vermont, at a spot exactly halfway between Boston and Montreal.

Before this victory picture above for instance, Lee says the key to his success was a bunch of pancakes and that he had a steak and a beer before the game. He then talks about shooting pool just blocks away from the stadium in Montreal and the only english they know is ‘Rack em’. Now that is about as throwback as it gets.

He also didn’t mind Marijuana. In fact he liked it.

-On his pregame habits: “I told [reporters] that I sprinkled marijuana on my organic buckwheat pancakes, and then when I ran my five miles to the ballpark, it made me impervious to the bus fumes. That’s when [Baseball Commissioner] Bowie Kuhn took me off his Christmas list.”

Buckwheat Pancakes are good. How this guy hasn’t ended up murdering anyone yet is your best guess. We felt that he should become part of the anthology of players that Diamond Hoggers has talked about.

Junior Should Go to Seattle or Go From the Game

The Chicago White Sox have predictably decided to let Ken Griffey Jr. walk out of town as a free man. Griffey’s stay in the Windy City won’t ever do much more than draw comparisons of Willie Mays playing for the Mets. It’s guarunteed to be an overused analogy. But maybe this story has some type of happy ending.

Kenny Griff should hope for a return to Seattle or retire. No contending team is going to want Griffey out there for any regular period of time in 2009. Future Hall of Famer yes, but fading fast. It is obvious to anyone who has watched Griffey the past few years; and I know he played well in 2007. However, Griffey hasn’t been the old Griffey since at least 2000. It’s been almost a decade since we saw anything close. The only question left is if Griffey is a good fit for a young, rebuilding team. You know what? He would do enough in a Seattle uniform playing in the yard that was built for him to spark some fan interest in a team that is not going to be very good next season. It would be a smart move by the Seattle franchise and Griffey could be had at a reasonable price on a one year deal with a chance to prove he can still play.

As a baseball fan, we’re not entirely ready to say goodbye to Griffey. You always thought with Griffey that he’d have one final season where you knew it was his final season and that was it. He would ride off into the sunset, maybe homering in his final game. Something Griffey-esque to remember him by. Lets just hope he doesn’t end up like George Jung–left out in the cold on the last day of summer, with no more white horses and no more pretty ladies.

Old Man Wakefield, He Just Keeps Rollin Alonggggggg

Tim Wakefield had thrown a while before he became a Red Sox pitcher. I mean he had a pretty good career carved out with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As good as you can be in Pittsburgh anyways. Now he’s going to throw a 15th season in Beantown, which will be a franchise record.

If you were in the market for a 43 year old pitcher, you need to go ahead and cross him off your free agent wishlist.

Wakefield posted a 3.61 ERA in 20 starts, 18 of which were quality starts. I don’t know. Every time I saw the guy throw he got his shit lit. His knuckleball seemed to be off. That’s the thing with a knuckleballer. They seemingly get a free pass when they come out and absolutely get beat like a snare drum. More than any other pitcher in Major League Baseball.

“Did you see Wakefield tonight? He gave up 11 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings!”

“Well yeah, but his knuckler was off. The wind wasn’t right.”

Oh, okay. Since you said that it makes it all better. I’m pretty sure my son is going to be watching Wakefield making starts in 2025. And I might not even have a son then but I’m certain that whenever I do Wakefield will still be digging his nails into baseballs and finding ways to scrap out zeros on a scoreboard in some major league city in America.

We’re told Wakefield will use the following song as his entrance song before (spot) starts and appearances on the mound next season: