Some interesting tidbits caught my eye this morning as I perused newspapers and web sites:
This one was from Buster Olney's ESPN column:
The Reds already have been in contact with Joe Girardi, writes John Fay, about their managerial opening. But the team probably has the sense already that some managers will shy away from this job because of Reds' offense-generating home ballpark. "Pretty tough to develop pitching there," one GM said Tuesday. "If you can't develop pitching, you can't win."
We in Philadelphia know all about this problem. The only time the Phillies have been able to attract a free agent pitcher is when they gave away ridiculous millions to Adam Eaton. All the other "vaunted" starters who have come here since the Bank opened arrived via trade and departed as soon as possible.
As for Girardi, if the rumor cited above is true, that will mark the second time a team going absolutely nowhere has approached him about their managerial vacancy. Other rumors suggest Girardi is one of two leading candidates -- Don Mattingly is the other -- in line to succeed Joe Torre in New York if, indeed, a succession is imminent. I can understand how Girardi turned down the Orioles' offer of a few weeks ago; bad team, worse owner. Cincinnati appears to "only" be a bad team. New York? They still are owned by George Steinbrenner & Sons, last time I looked. As for the bad team part, they are on their way with an aging pitching staff that continues to falter and the possibility that A-Rod will opt out at the end of the year. Maybe Girardi is holding out for an offer from the Phillies. Nah. They have their own problems with current ownership, which isn't necessarily bad, just inept.
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Old friend Randy Wolf is scheduled to have an MRI on his ailing shoulder. Wolf, 9-6 in his first season with the Dodgers, suspects the problem stems from pitching more innings this season than he has in a few years. Let's hope all that he needs is to just shut down for a while to regain his strength. Wolf is one of the good guys in baseball.
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Ryan Howard has begun to sprinkle in the occasional single and double with all those home runs and strike outs that mark his play over the last month or so. If he continues in that direction he is going to stage a pretty dramatic comeback in the second half of the season. Look for Howard to end the year batting near or above .300 with forty plus home runs and over 100 rbi's. Also look for him to whiff at least 150 - 180 times.
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Word in the Inquirer is that Brett Meyers is going to test his arm with a "good bullpen workout" in Colorado this weekend. Does anyone really have a clue regarding the extent of Brett Meyer's injury? That fifteen day trip to the DL has moved beyond a month now and still there is no word on when or if he is coming back. All that the Phillies say is that he hopes to come back after the All Star break. Could Meyers be out for the entire year? Yes, indeed.
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Apparently umpire Lance Barksdale, who cost the Phillies a win Tuesday night in Houston when he clearly blew a call, apologized to Charlie Manuel during yesterday's game. As infuriating and painful as his mistake was, I remain opposed to any use of instant replay in baseball including decisions about balls in play as opposed to on-field judgment calls. I like the human fallibility factor in baseball umpiring and hope it resists the movement toward video rulings in major league sports. And if baseball were to cave in to the trend, we might be deprived of great lines from or about arbiters such as the following:
They expect an umpire to be perfect on openning day and to improve as the season goes on. (Nestor Chylak, AL umpire 1954-78); or
I occasionally get birthday cards from fans. But it's often the same message: they hope it's my last. ( Al Forman)
One day in a tough game I was passing Lonnie Warneke and he said, "Preach, I may have my superiors on the bases, but when it comes to balls and strikes, I'm second to no man." And I commenced thinking careful and when I was done I told him, "Horseshit, Lon." (Preacher Roe)
Why, they shot the wrong McKinley! (Dizzy Dean, on umpire William McKinley)
Once when the Yankee's Lou Pinella was batting he questioned a Palermo strike call. Pinella demanded, "Where was that pitch at?" Palermo told him that a man wearing Yankee pinstripes in front of 30,000 people should not end a sentence with a preposition. So Pinella, no dummy, said, "OK, where was that pitch at, asshole?" (George Will)