The Bullpen: A-Rod's neverending soap opera
Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning off of Ryan Dempster of the Boston Red Sox during an Aug. 18 game. Dempster hit him with a pitch earlier. Jared Wickerham/GETTY IMAGES
YEAR 2 VOLUME XXVIII, AUGUST 20, 2013
THE ESSAY – THE DAILY SOAP OPERA THAT IS A-ROD
Every day there’s something new that makes you shake your head in the murky world of Alex Rodriguez. You may not like what the Yankee star stands for, but one thing that is clear is that A-Rod is still a solid baseball player with pride in his own ability, even if he is delusional about other things.
On Sunday night in a nationally televised game, Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster, in the second inning, threw his first pitch behind A-Rod’s knees, then after missing inside with his next two pitches, the Canadian right-hander drilled him in the left side, glancing off his elbow armour into his ribs. Across North America there were fellow major-league players giving fist pumps of joyful support.
But to A-Rod’s credit, in the sixth inning, he fought back the way all such incidents should be taken care of, on the field and with actions rather than words. A-Rod slammed a long homer to dead-centre field off Dempster keying a four-run inning and a comeback 9-7 victory for CC Sabathia and the Yankees. Rodriguez had tied the game with a groundball in the third and added two more hits.
Unfortunately for A-Rod, he can’t just stay on the field and do his sports thing 24 hours a day. And it’s that time out of uniform, the daily soap opera with the Yankees and major-league baseball that is ruining his legacy, wrecking his Hall of Fame aspirations, making him seem a fraud and a cheat.
The latest from ESPN’s great investigative team on Outside the Lines, in a story by T.J. Quinn and Pedro Gomez, indicates that A-Rod’s legal team has begun the process of filing a grievance against the Yankees’ organization stating that the club mishandled his medical situation beginning with the 2012 playoffs, that they played him knowing that his hip was severely injured, that president Randy Levine told operating surgeons he was not overly concerned if A-Rod would ever play post-surgery and that when he was ready to come back this year, that the Yankees held him back citing a quad injury.
It was that very disputed MRI of his supposed quad injury that prompted Rodriguez to seek a second opinion without the permission of the Yankees. That is clearly against the terms of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement. The second consulting doctor, who had never examined Rodriguez himself, gleefully made the rounds of New York radio stations with his views that A-Rod was fine.
All of these allegations, this legal maneuvering on behalf of Rodriguez is being done by a newly engaged lawyer named Joe Tapocina. One imagines that the revised strategy is that the best defence is an offence. Attack the Yankees and baseball as they attack you. As A-Rod continues to have his name written into the Yankees daily lineup, it seems like manager Joe Girardi is his only contact with the front office. GM Brian Cashman addressed the New York media before Sunday’s game.
“I’m not comfortable talking to Alex about this because we feel we are in a litigious environment,” Cashman said during an impromptu half-hour chat. “Hello and goodbye, that’s about it. I’m not comfortable talking to him anymore. I don’t want to be distorted.”
The latest leak in the case uncovered by ESPN’s OTL is that allegedly, the Rodriguez legal team paid $25,000 in February to a lawyer representing Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch and that his representatives sent a later money transfer of close to $50,000 to Bosch’s lawyers that was returned.
Then there is the “60 Minutes” investigation on CBS that came to the conclusion that A-Rod had leaked information to investigators that implicated other MLB players, including Ryan Braun of the Brewers and his own teammate, catcher Francisco Cervelli. Rodriguez spoke to reporters on the weekend denying the 60 Minutes story and that he had spoken to Cervelli and said it wasn’t true.
All of this aggressiveness exhibited by A-Rod’s people is most definitely in response to MLB’s decision to suspend the third baseman for 211 games — the entire 2014 season, plus 49 games. That unprecedented suspension, that would have started with 49 games remaining in the 2013 season, is the longest ever in the history of the MLB/MLBPA drug-testing agreement, that began in 2004.
Rodriguez has never actually failed a post-2004 urine test for PEDs, although he admitted that between 2001 and 2003 while with the Rangers, he experimented with PEDs. That admission was made by A-Rod to explain a years-ago Sports Illustrated report that he had failed a couple of tests in 2003 that were done, at the time with confidentiality, with no penalties, merely to determine whether there was enough of a problem to institute mandatory testing with penalties. Clearly there was.
At one point not too long ago, third base was one of the shallow positions in the American League, with Alex Rodriguez, Adrtian Beltre, Kevin Youkilis and Evan Longoria as the major stars. That is no longer the case. You can look at a great crop of young stars that now includes Miguel Cabrera, Longoria, Manny Machado, Brett Lawrie, Josh Donaldson, Kyle Seager and Will Middlebrooks, as well as Beltre. The position is in good hands whatever happens to A-Rod.
Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield moves on with his career after 11 years in Toronto. He still wants to be a manager.
RICHARD GRIFFIN: I’ve noticed in the first two days here (last Tuesday and Wednesday) you spend a lot of time conversating with the people in the seats behind third base. They still remember you.
BRIAN BUTTERFIELD: Yeah. There’s some good things said and some naysayers out there that have some discouraging words, but it’s all part of the passion of this town. It’s a lot like Boston. Very passionate people and they’re going to let you know about it, good bad or indifferent. That’s what I love about Toronto and that’s what I love about Boston.
RG: And the people that don’t understand why you made the decision to go to Boston, you can forgive them.
BB: Oh yeah, oh yeah. It’s just great to be in an environment like that even if some people don’t have their information correct, but that’s OK. That’s OK, they paid good money to get in to see a ballgame so they can say whatever they want, but it was a difficult decision, initially because I loved Toronto so much. But we were at a point where we were still uncertain who the manager was going to be and in this game you can’t wait too long because you might find yourself riding a bus in Lethbridge, Alta. You try to capitalize on somerthing that’s there at the big-league level and the good thing about it was Boston was available right away and I couldn’t ask for a better situation to be in.
RG: Did it make it easier in terms of letting yourself down from the Toronto experience that you’re in the American League and you get to come back three times — this is the third time this year.
BB: That is a great thing coming back here. It’s a great thing staying in the American League East. I love all the cities. I love going into Baltimore. There’s a lot of passion in that town. New York, we’re going to be going there pretty soon. I like staying in the division and I love coming back to Toronto.
RG: I know that wasn’t the primary reason but how is it living in Boston, in New England and that’s close to your home (in Bangor, Maine).
BB: That’s good. I think the thing that really tickles you is when you see the response of the people in your family and all the people around me, my friends, everyone grows up a Red Sox fan in that region, so everybody was extremely happy that I was going to be a member of Red Sox Nation. It actually tickled me more to see the response from my friends and my family more than to know that I was going to be a member of the Boston Red Sox.
RG: Has Pat’s Pizza (in Bangor) named a sandwich after you yet?
BB: Not yet, not yet, we’ll wait to see. Got to be there a couple of years before we get any sandwiches.
RG: I’ve always said that you cannot cover the Boston Red Sox without being a New Englander. There have been guys come in from out of town and elsewhere in the country and they’re not accepted as much as the townies and the guy that grew up in New England. As a coach, do they cut you more slack — because the fact is you’re still getting guys thrown out on the bases.
BB: I think they have. I think they have. They’re still going to let you know about it, but you’re right. One of the things, being a coach I know the traditions of the Boston Red Sox. I know the history. I grew up watching the Red Sox on TV. I grew up watching Dick Radatz closing games for the Red Sox when I was very little and I always dreamed about playing for the Red Sox. I feel like now, at the stage of my career, I’m doing second best and I’m coaching for them.
RG: In those years that you’re talking about, the Red Sox would steal 13 bases all year and were station-to-station, because they relied on the long ball. Now, you bring a passion for first-to-third, second-to-home, maybe getting thrown out, but only in certain situations where the risk is worth it, which a lot of fans don’t understand. How does that translate to this roster? They seem to handle it pretty well.
BB: They do. That’s a great question, because part of what you do during the season is something that you have to indoctrinate the players with and they have to be on board. Luckily we have a lot of players from other clubs that have been in aggressive base-running environments, so they’re used to it. But I think that the people around Boston are understanding what we’re about. We kind of put it out there that we’re not going to go 162 games where we’re always swinging the bats well. So you have to have another vehicle to score runs and that’s pushing the envelope with your legs. When you do that and end up scoring a lot of runs during the course of the year you’re going to have more opportunities and plus, you’re going to get more guys thrown out. The one thing that I’ve tried to tell them is when they put the camera in front of me, I’ve told them that I’m going to keep doing it, so get used to it.
RG: You look at all the good players and the good free agents the Red Sox have brought in and signed this year, then you look closely and it’s still Pedroia, Papi and Ellsbury at the core. That’s a pretty good nucleus to build around and they still seem to be the impact guys on this team.
BB: They are and it’s a great clubhouse. Buck Showalter told me a long time ago that the best clubhouse is one that polices itself and we have a bunch of veterans that are in charge of the effort and the concentration and the detail of the club. It makes our jobs as coaches a lot easier.
RG: Speaking of Buck Showalter, you’ve been with organizations that have built and become winners maybe the year after you’ve left — the Yankees, Arizona — and Toronto was expected to be in that. Are you excited about the way this season is going and the possibility of being there and jumping on top of a pile at the end of the year.
BB: Yes, very. But, it’s funny and I was telling my wife this on the phone the other day. It’s something that you want and it’s been a long time since I’ve been in the playoffs. It was with the Arizona Diamondbacks a long time ago (in 2000), but I’m yearning to get back there and I want that opportunity for these guys and for this organization, but sometimes it’s tough, while it’s happening, it’s tougher to enjoy the process, because it’s a grind. Every day is a grind and you’re competing and you’re winning close games and you’re losing some tough ones. So until that final gun goes off I don’t know that I’m going to be able to sit down and enjoy much of it.
RG: I talked to Tim Wallach when the Dodgers were in and he talked about being passed over as a manager and he feared that it was a young man’s game now. You’ve never felt that way. You’ve felt that if that opportunity to manage comes along, you’re prepared as much as anyone else. Are you still feeling that way?
BB: I do. Somebody asked me this less than 24 hours ago and I’m not at a point where I really feel like I have to manage in this league, because I really love what I’m doing. But if anybody thinks enough of me to want me to skipper their club, I’m certainly gonna look at the organization and look at what they’ve got in store for their organization, for their future and then I would consider it strongly.
RG: I know that you are passionate and caring about your athletes . . . and that doesn’t just involve baseball. You’ve seen what happened with the Patriots and Aaron Hernandez and Bill Belichick, who you admire tremendously. Does that hurt you to see athletes get themselves in situations like that?
BB: Oh yeah, yeah. The guys quit joking around about it around the clubhouse because I just walk out of the room. That affected me greatly and you feel like, when you’re a big fan, I think if you’re a true fan you really feel the negative outcome of things with your own players. I feel it for those guys in New England just like I would for anyone in the Red Sox family or the Blue Jay family that got into trouble. You just hate seeing things like that happen, but you’ve got to move on.
RG: The Blue Jays situation this year, disappointing on the field, but do you have any encouraging words for the fans in terms of ’14. Because you can turn situations around in a hurry.
BB: You sure can. It’s a talented group and I love the manager. I think he’s a great baseball manager and an even better man. Anything can happen in this league. They’ve had to withstand an awful lot. The one thing the fans do have to understand is they’ve been through an awful lot physically. It’s tough enough to win in this league, but if you don’t have all your guns a ’blazing, if you have guys on the disabled list and you have guys going down, it makes it doubly tough and they’ve probably been through as much as anybody.
BLUE JAYS CORNER
THE WEEK THAT WAS (0-1 vs. A’s; 2-1 vs. Red Sox; 1-2 vs. Rays)
The week that was finished up a seven-game homestand at 3-4, with an extra-inning loss to the A’s on Monday afternoon and a 2-1 series win vs. the Red Sox. The Jays travelled to Tampa Bay where they have not won a series since April 2007. Again they lost two of three for a 3-4 calendar week.
The Jays’ rotation woes took on a strange and unusual twist. Josh Johnson was originally supposed to pitch Monday, but it turned out that J.A. Happ needed to leave the team to join his family after the death of his grandfather. So Happ pitched Monday against the A’s. The Jays then decided that to take advantage of the three days of the “bereavement leave” that they would pitch Todd Redmond on Tuesday and give Johnson an extra day, pushing him back to Wednesday.
Unfortunately for the Jays, the best laid plans ended on Monday afternoon when Johnson, throwing in the outfield before the game, felt unusual tightness in his right forearm. He shut himself down and had an MRI which showed no structural damage, but he was placed on the DL and Esmil Rogers, who had been removed from the rotation days earlier for his consistent inability to pitch deep into games. Johnson flew to Tampa with the team and stayed in Florida for further treatment.
In Tampa Bay, Happ was reinstated to the active roster for a Saturday start. Infielder Mune Kawasaki was then placed on the “paternity list” for the birth of a child back in Toronto. Outfielder Anthony Gose joined the team and reliever Mickey Storey was send back to AAA-Buffalo.
Highlights of the A’s final game of the series:
The Jays had a chance to split the series with the A’s on a Monday afternoon. Happ allowed a leadoff homer in the game to Chris Young after a 10-pitch battle. But that was all he allowed in a solid seven innings, his second start back after his disablement.
Bu the Jays could not do much against A’s starter Dan Straily, finally tying the game 1-1 in the bottom of the eigthth on a fielder’s choice RBI by Jose Bautista. However, closer Casey Jamssen gave up four runs in the top of the ninth for the 5-1 A’s win.
Highlights of the Red Sox series:
The Jays on Tuesday suffered their second straight final-at-bat loss, this to the Red Sox in 11 innings by a score of 4-2. Redmond tossed 5.1 shutout innings and left with the 1-0 lead, but Sergio Santos allowed two in the seventh, with the Jays tying it, again, in the bottom of the eighth, this time on a solo homer by J.P. Arencibia. Aaron Loup was the loser, surrendering a two-run, two out single to Shane Victorino in extra innings.
Continuing the trend of final at-bat decisions, the Jays scored in the 10th inning for a 4-3 win when Brett Lawrie lined a ball off Stephen Drew’s glove with the infield in and Rajai Davis at third base and Edwin Encarnacion at second. Brett Cecil had blown a two-run save opportunity in the ninth on an opposite field flyball homer by Mike Napoli.
Wednesday’s game marked the return of Kawasaki to the Jays and the major-league debut of left-fielder Kevin Pillar, as Colby Rasmus went to the DL (left oblique) and Emilio Bonifacio was traded to the Royals for a player to be named later or cash.
On Thursday, the Jays took the series against the Red Sox, with a 2-1 victory. Mark Buehrle worked seven innings, allowing just one run for his ninth win of the year. The Jays scored twice in the bottom of the seventh against Jake Peavy and Craig Breslow on a Brett Lawrie single and a Mark deRosa sacrifice fly. Casey Janssen came on for a 1-2-3 ninth.
Highlights of the Rays series at the Trop:
On Friday, R.A. Dickey attempted to continue his mastery of the enclosed mausoleum known as Tropicana Field, but not so much. Dickey nursed a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but the Rays scored once in the sixth and twice more in the seventh to chase Dickey.
The Jays tied it at 4-4 in the eighth when Yunel Escobar went for the out at the plate, with Lawrie beating the throw. In the bottom of the ninth against Loup, catcher Jose Lobaton tripled home Escobar. It was the Jays third straight loss that came in an opponent’s final at-bat.
On Saturday, Happ had an emotional pitching return to the same stadium where, on May 7, he had been injured, drilled in the left side of the head by a line drive from the bat of Desmond Jennings, crumpling to the ground and injuring his right knee. Happ allowed a pair of runs in 5.1 inning and was the winner, moving his record to 3-2. It was his second solid start in a row.
The Jays took a lead in the first on a solo homer by Bautista and never surrendered the advantage, benefitting from a pair of home runs by Adam Lind, who now has 20 homers at the Trop, second only to Alex Rodriguez with 22.
On Sunday in the series finale vs. the Rays, St. Petersburg native Todd Redmond matched the Rays’ young star Chris Archer for six innings and into the seventh, allowing one run and handing the game over to Brett Cecil with a tie. Encarnacion had tied it in the seventh with his 31st homer. But the Jays failed to score again and, in a fourth straight final at-bat loss, Lobaton’s 10th inning homer vs. Brad Lincoln was the difference in a 2-1 Jays’ loss.
The Jays bullpen, starting on Aug. 7, over the past 11 games, is 1-6 with one save. Jays’ starters are 3-1 in the last 11 games. The Jays have been playing just well enough to lose.
The Jays continued to thrill the largely partisan Canadian crowd at Safeco on Tuesday, with a 7-2 victory over the M’s giving them the first two games of the series. Jose Reyes led off with a home run on the first pitch against Felix Hernandez. It was the 18th homer of his career leading off a game.
Nobody in the building believed that would be enough support for a struggling Josh Johnson, who had allowed four first-inning runs in his previous two starts and was looking for his second win of the year. But, with catcher Josh Thole beind the plate for the first time, Johnson weaved his way through five shutout innings, relieved after 86 pitches to ensure a feel-good finish.
The Jays broke it open with three in the fourth keyed by an Emilio Bonifacio double and a Reyes singled, followed by two more in the fifth, snapped a win streak for King Felix. At 5-4 for the trip, the Jays had a chance with a day game on Wednesday to have a winning coast trip.
It was a tough day for the Jays, disappointing their fans losing 9-7 as they had built up a 7-2 lead after three innings for J.A. Happ in his comeback start. But he threw too many pitches in too few innings and the bullpen was not ready to take over in time to stem the M’s tide in the fifth inning.
The six-run fifth began with an error by Brett Lawrie at third base. After Kyle Seager singled, Aaron Loup began to warm up in the bullpen, but before he could get ready, Happ had allowed a double to Kendrys Morales and had walked Mike Morse. He left with the bases-loaded and a 7-4 lead.
Michael Saunders beat out a double play ball, then Justin Smoak tied the game with a two-run double. The light-hitting catcher Humberto Quintero slammed a two-run homer off Loup to provide the difference in the game ending the road trip at 5-5.
Highlights of the A’s first three games:
The Jays are making a habit of playing clunkers in the opening games of series, losing 14-6 in the first game back from the trip following the off-day. Starter Esmil Rogers lasted just three innings and allowed seven runs keyed by homers to Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes.
Reddick added two more homers in support of RH Jarrod Parker who went six for the win. Jays’ LH reliever Juan Perez left the game with an elbow injury. As for Rogers, it seems likely he has hit a wall of innings pitched and they may give him one more start, but he may be done for this year.
In the second game, the Jays bounced back with a 5-4 win, as closer Casey Janssen, handed a two-rin lead in the ninth, allowed a leadoff homer to Reddick, followed by singles to Alberto Callaspo and Coco Crisp. Janssen nipped the lead runner at third base on a bunt and Janssen settled down for save No. 21. Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer in support of starter Mark Buehrle (8-7).
Buehrle needs 49.2 innings in his final eight scheduled starts to reach 200 innings for the 13th consecutive season. He has made 421 starts in a row without a trip to the disabled list.
The Jays went to R.A. Dickey on Sunday to try and take the lead in the unusual four-game series that concluded on Monday afternoon with Happ on the hill. Dickey looked good until his bugaboo, the longball came to the fore in the sixth inning. Josh Donaldson tied the game with a single, then Brandon Moss homered to centre for the 3-1 lead. The Jays tied it up in the bottom of the sixth, but LH Darren Oliver coughed up three runs, all with two outs in the eighth inning to take the loss.
The Jays, as they have all year, did not go gently, scoring a run and loading the bases in the ninth against closer Grant Balfour, before Jose Reyes ended the game with a grounder to second base.
THE LIST – AL LEADERS IN AUGUST BASEHITS THROUGH AUG. 18
1. Brett Lawrie, TOR, 27
2. Alexei Ramirez, CWS, 26
3. Eric Hosmer, KC, 25
4. Adrian Beltre, TEX, 24
5. Adam Jones, BLT, 24
6. Billy Butler, KC, 24
7. Adam Dunn, CWS, 23
8. Victor Martinez, DET, 23
9. Miguel Cabrera, DET, 23
10. Brian Dozier, MIN, 23
MIGUEL TEJADA SUSPENDED FOR AMPHETAMINE USE
Royals utility infielder and former AL MVP Miguel Tejada has been suspended for 105 games for two failed drug tests this year for Adderall, an amphetamine. The tests have attached penalties of 25 and 80 games and are not the same as testing positive for PEDs. Tejada explained to ESPN.com.
“I admitted I made a mistake, but I want people to understand one thing: I wasn’t using a drug to take advantage on the field, or be stronger or hit more home runs,” Tejada told Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com. “I’ve been using it (Adderall) for the past five years and had medical permission from MLB. But my last permit expired on April 15 and they didn’t gave me another. I knew that I was in risk of breaking the rules, but at the same time, I could not stop using the medicine because I suffer from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It’s not a vice, it is a disease.”
Tejada in 2013 hit .288, with three homers and 20 RBIs. Earlier in his career, Tejada had admitted purchasing HGH but said he threw it away and did not use it and in 2009 was found guilty of misleading Congress about the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
TRAVIS D’ARNAUD MAKES DEBUT WITH METS
Rookie catcher Travis D’Arnaud, acquired by the Mets from the Blue Jays in the deal for R.A. Dickey, made his major-league debut on the weekend, catching a pair of losses to the Padres. D’Arnaud is 0-for-4 with four walks and a pair of passed balls. D’Arnaud was ranked as the top catching prospect in baseball. He made his appearance when John Buck was granted a paternity leave.
BLUE JAYS DOWN ON THE FARM
The Jays’ minor-league system is a combined 11 games above .500, despite the A-Lansing Lugnuts being 15 games below the break-even mark. One of the positions that GM Alex Anthopoulos has said is a priority for 2014 is second base. Following are the top three players at every level in terms of game appearances at second base. The pickings are slim.
Jim Negrych 62, Mike McCoy 32, Eugenio Velez 13.
AA-NEW HAMPSHIRE (62-63)
John Tolisano 52, Ryan Schimpf 38, Amadeo Zazueta 17.
Jon Berti 105, Oliver Dominguez 7, Shane Opitz 5.
Christian Lopes 100, Kellen Sweeney 15, Jorge Floes 10.
David Harris 25, Andy Fermin 16, Jorge Vega-Rosado 10.
Timothy Locastro 28, Alexis Maldonado 24, Angel Rojas 10.
Rk-GULF COAST JAYS (22-28)
Will Dupont 17, Rolando Segovia 17, Kolby Kraemer 8.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE JAYS (36-28)
Deiferson Barreto 56, Ronniel Demorizi 7, Jean Almanzar 6.
THIS DATE IN BASEBALL HISTORY:
Aug. 19:1965 — Reds RHP Jim Maloney tossed his second no-hitter of the season 1-0 in 10 innings vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Leo Cardenas homered in inning 10 as Maloney walked 10 and fanned 12 . . . 1951 — Indians owner Bill Veeck unveils his secret weapon, the 3-8 pinch-hitter Eddie Gaedel who pinch-hits against the Tigers and draws a walk on four pitches. Two days later he is barred for life.
Aug. 20: 1964 — After the Yankees had lost a fourth straight game, utility infielder Phil Linz pulls out a harmonica on the team bus at Comisky Park and starts playing. Manager Yogi Berra tells him to stop and comes back and slaps it out of his hands. Berra is criticized in the media but the Yankees go 30-13 down the stretch to advance to the WS vs. the Cards.
Aug. 21: 1982 — RHP Rollie Fingers of the Brewers becomes the first player in MLB history to reach 300 saves nailing down a win over the Mariners . . . 1926 — White Sox RHP Ted Lyons no-hits the Red Sox 6-0 at Fenway Park in one hour and 45 minutes.
Aug. 22: 1965 — Hall of Famer Juan Marichal of the Giants felt Dodgers’ C John Roseboro’s return throw to Sandy Koufax was too close to his head and finally turns and clubs him in the head with his bat, drawing a mere eight-game suspension and $1,750 fine.
Aug. 23: 1998 — OF Barry Bonds of the Giants becomes the first MLB player with 400 career homers and 400 stolen bases. He homered against Kirt Ojala of the Marlins for HR No. 400 to go with 438 steals. That winter after watching McGwire-Sosa he realized it was all about the home runs and the rest of his career he posted 351 homers and 69 steals . . . 1989 — At Olympic Stadium, the Expos and Dodgers play a 22-inning game with the only run coming on a leadoff HR by Rick Dempsey in the top of inning 22. LHP Joe Hesketh informed manager Buck Rodger he could not pitch so RHP Dennis Martinez who also pitched the next game, went the final two innings and took the loss.
Aug. 24: 1989 — MLB and commissioner Bart Giammati bans Pete Rose for life for gambling producing a five-page document signed by Rose even though there is no actual admission of guilt . . . 1975 — Dodgers 2B Davey Lopes had his streak of 38 consecutive stolen bases broken, thrown out by Expos’ C Gary Carter in the 12th inning. The Expos won 5-2 in 14 innings.
Aug. 25: 1952 — Tigers’ RHP Virgil Trucks tosses a 1-0 no-hitter vs. the Yankees, his second no-no of the season. 1922 — The Cubs beat the Phillies 26-23, squandering a 25-6 lead in the fourth inning, leaving the bases-loaded with Phillies in the ninth.
MLB POWER RANKINGS (as of Aug. 18)
TEAM (Last Week-Start of Spring)
1. Atlanta Braves 1-2
2. Los Angeles Dodgers 5-5
3. Boston Red Sox 2-16
4. Detroit Tigers 3-7
5. Texas Rangers 6-6
6. Tampa Bay Rays 9-10
7. Pittsburgh Pirates 4-28
8. St. Louis Cardinals 8-13
9. Oakland A’s 7-8
10. Cincinnati Reds 12-9
11. Baltimore Orioles 10-11
12. Cleveland Indians 11-20
13. Kansas City Royals 13-18
14. New York Yankees 14-14
15. Arizona Diamondbacks 15-17
16. Washington Nationals 16-4
17. Seattle Mariners 19-21
18. Toronto Blue Jays 18-3
19. New York Mets 20-27
20. Colorado Rockies 21-25
21. San Diego Padres 22-23
22. Los Angeles Angels 17-12
23. Minnesota Twins 23-26
24. San Francisco Giants 25-1
25. Philadelphia Phillies 26-15
26. Milwaukee Brewers 24-22
27. Chicago Cubs 27-24
28. Chicago White Sox 29-19
29. Miami Marlins 28-29
30. Houston Astros 30-30
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Not much of a week for “on the road” stories. However there was a moment as a result of Toronto’s coincidental confluence of live entertainment — an eclectic Wednesday night trifecta, featuring Black Sabbath (ACC,) John Mayer (Molson Amphitheatre) and the Jays vs. the Red Sox (RC), where as I fought my way through the still revelling crowds, I was reminded of a certain West Coast trip when I was with the Expos, back in the days before The Star.
On that certain night, July 25, 1991, I lost any affection I might have had for Axl Rose, Slash and Guns N Roses, although Slash won me back over a few years ago when he did his classic guitar rendition of the national anthems on Opening Day at the Rogers Centre. But I digress.
As was a personal tradition with the Expos, twice a season, between the series vs. the Padres and the next set of games vs. the Dodgers, I would rent a convertible and drive up the coast highway, south to north, stopping in Laguna Beach for dinner and then continuing on to Los Angeles.
On this July trip I was joined by outfielder Larry Walker, pitcher Mark Gardner and a few of our closest Buds. The drive to Laguna was beautiful and uneventful. As the sun went down and we finished dinner at Las Brisas overlooking the beach, in a decidedly mellow mood, we decided to go and sit on a rock in the ocean. The pounding of the waves was calming, however a giant wall of water broke over the rock and it seemed I was the only one drenched. As we climbed the stairs back up to the car, Walker and Gardner noticed for the first time that I looked like a drowned rat. Much laughter ensued.
Undaunted I took the wheel and we headed up Highway 1, turning inland at Newport Beach. Approaching the 405, Walker demanded a pitstop to relieve himself before pressing on to the Hyatt Regency in downtown L.A. I pulled off the highway and drove about a kilometre north looking for a 7-11 or something conveniently similar to buy some snacks and water. We were making good time.
We were in the 7-11 for no more than 10 minutes. When we came back out to the parking lot, the road was wall-to-wall cars, blocked, not moving, not caring, windows down, music blaring, partying hearty. Our timing sucked, as we had exited the highway in Costa Mesa close to the Pacific Amphitheatre, a Guns N Roses Concert was just letting out. An hour later we were at the highway exit and back on the road again. At 2 a.m. we were checking in to the hotel in L.A. D-ohh. I hate Axl Rose.