Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Countdown Begins

One week from today is Opening Day.

Some of Matthew Leach's "Notes" from today are...odd. Talking about Mulder's improved changeup: "It's as though the changeup fairy left him a present under his pillow one night this past February." Ooookay. In the Mike Lincoln update: "He said that on a routine basis, he doesn't feel any pain in his surgically reconstructed elbow, but that certain actions cause him discomfort." Yes, certain actions like pitching.

Wednesday is Waiver Day. We'll see by the weekend if Scott Boras has sufficiently scared the other 29 clubs away from Rick. I don't think he has.

And if you haven't run across it yet, here's the interview with Buzz Bissinger and La Russa on NPR this morning. The chapter on Kile is also excerpted.

For the next week it's Al Reyes v. Jarvis from the right and Pulsipher v. Flores from the left (ew, Crossfire reference, sorry). My vote is for Reyes and either of the southpaws. But I don't think Flores is nearly as amusing. Also, I kinda wish Luna was going to Memphis. Maybe there's another trade?

And That's The End of That Chapter

Well, then. Myers back to Boston. I guess this solves part of the problem. Huh.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Fer Sure

"I've got it! Let's test a portly players' rep who has been pretty outspoken against steroids, the other lefty, a beanpole, a headcase-turned-trivia question, and some other guys who aren't even gonna be on the team. It'll totally work."

Another thing apparently totally working: the rotation. Like, OK. That's some highfalutin writin' there, Jeff (and Mulder has sworn up, down, and sideways he wasn't hurt in 2004-that was 2003; awesome research, dude).

I really wish that The Daily Show's piece on Bonds was on their site. But since we can't have everything we want (like an outfield, including backups, that isn't so very elderly), enjoy Lewis Black's rant on the subject.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Southern Comfort

Myers? Pulsipher? Who knows? Myers has previously sucked (2003, last year in the NL=5.70 ERA). He's fairly decent against left-handed batters, but I'm spoiled now and I'd really love to have another guy that could face more than one batter coming out of the pen. And Myers cannot be allowed to pitch to righties. So ugly. I guess the brain trust likes his grounders/flies ratio and the fact that his lowest ERA came pitching for the Rockies must say something. Don't know why, but I think he will send me running and screaming from the room when he comes in - I just get a weird Fassero vibe that I don't get with Pulsipher.

Everyone is getting on the Comeback Bandwagon. And I admit I get suckered into this kind of thing too easily; I fail to follow La Russa's rule of never falling in love too early or too late in March. But ya gotta pay attention when someone doesn't allow a run in spring, even if no one knows how he's getting people out. Thing is, though, he signed a minor league deal and can be sent to Memphis, whereas Myers can go back on the market if he doesn't want to go to AAA. I fear batters will figure Pulsipher out sooner rather than later. So maybe the Redbirds is a good place to see if he can keep it up (or, rather, down).

Story-wise, I'm going with Bill. Besides, Mike has them crazy eyes.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Three Nights In August

Finally got my copy from Amazon. So far: amazing. Not so much the "inside baseball" part, but the writing. It's something we all aspire to. I can't praise it enough without kicking bellyitcher up from PG to PG-13.

So now that you've been warned - this book is really fucking good. Once I've had a little more time to digest, I'll post a more salient review. But off the cuff, I hate hate hate being reminded of the 2003 bullpen and rotation and Kerry Robinson (who has a prominent place in the series discussed). These things are best forgotten. A bad dream dismissed in the light of morning. Also, La Russa cannot stand to lose. If his team went 161-1, he'd contemplate slitting his wrists over the one loss.

Whether you are a fan of La Russa or a banner flyer or somewhere in between, you must read this book.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

You kind of like us, you really really kind of like us!

Fox and Yahoo think the Cardinals rock (well, sorta). I remember the last time people said that. No thanks.

Poor Barry. He's tired. The media made his kids cry. Damn you Pedro Gomez! How could you drive Beloved Barry to a really high bridge, take him out of the car and persuade him to jump? And they way you made him allegedly evade taxes is just awful. Bonds is so naive, so open and trusting - and you took advantage of his innocence to further your own ambition. Shame on you, Pedro Gomez and San Francisco Chronicle beat writer and Federal Prosecutors, and and and....

By the way, Barry's cranium is actually starting to swallow his ears.

There's fantasty advice for 2005 up at McSweeny's. Betcha didn't know Barton is a vampire (that Haren is "oft-stoned" is no revelation). There's also a clip from Steroids! The Musical.

And at the rate they're going, the Cubs will be lucky to have a pitcher with both arms still attached by June. It's going to look like The Black Knight scene in Holy Grail.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Knee-jerk Spring Training reaction of the day

Hey, Marquis! You SUCK!

Lackadaisical? Get your head in the game, suck-o. Gotta love that 8.56 ERA, five strikeouts to nine walks, and seven homeruns (last year: 2.18, 9/3, and I couldn't find HR allowed). Other Jason--I've got my eye on you, too. You two are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked. Replace 'em with these guys.

Ah. I feel much better now.

And can we go a week without having someone step in it, please? Jesus.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Taxing Evasions

Who ya gonna believe? Me, or your lyin' eyes?

I wanted to believe McGwire. Even though it was fairly obvious he was juiced, a tiny little part hoped he'd deny it.

All in all, it was just sad. Sad for the parents in the second panel. Sad that Mac gave a non-admission admission. Sad that it will probably take another day like this for the Union and League to get their act together. Sad that the dark, slimy underbelly of my favorite sport (and team) is as gross and depressing as I feared.

With all the stupid things MLB has done, you'd think we'd just give up. But I can't -- I have Battered Fan Syndrome. They can screw up over and over and I'll still come back. Baseball doesn't want to hurt me, and one day, with my love, I know it will change.

In other news, TSSWMNBN needs to shut up (the ability to live without a heart, apparently, is worth somewhere between $4 and $8 million) and Reggie's getting his appendix removed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Fun with Government

Peanuts and crackerjacks? Check.

Adult beverage of your choice? Check.

TiVo set to C-SPAN? Check.

One drink every time Canseco says, "As I said in my book..." or Fehr says, "Players' privacy."
Two drinks every time Selig says that testing is working or a Congressperson gets huffy.
Finish your drink if you see one of the marbles Bud chews on or someone takes the fifth.
Inject heroin directly into your eye if everyone is honest.

I will be genuinely shocked if anything new comes out of this hearing. Let the representatives play Helen Lovejoy, the players under suspicion deny everything, and Schilling get face time. Kevin Towers can say he's sorry, MLB and the Union can say they're working together. Same old stuff.

But it's still gonna be some good TV.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Yeah, I know the outcome. But I'm going to watch the game from this morning. It's baseball. On TV.

Interview with Chipper. Bleh. Fast forward.... Lou!

Suppan does look fat. Kruk is kinda funny. Grudz is growing a beard, too? Oh, dear. C'mon Cedeno, it's not that early-quit yawning.

Angel Hernandez? Crap. Eckstein is tiny.

68 mph? That's slooow. And there's hr #1. Oh, goodie. Let's talk more about steroids. LaRussa's obviously thrilled with this interview. Hey Mabry, stand a little straighter. Another GIDP.

Suppan was just off today. What has he done in previous springs, I wonder? Stupid Furcal. What a nice helpful 2nd base umpire to take Giles' armor. Why wear a Reds cap, guy in stands? And there's the last homerun. At least I know they don't score again. Eckstein is so bouncy.

Can we please please stop showing Ankiel's 2000 meltdown? Gibson thinks he can still pitch. Gibson's brain is wired a little differently than Rick's. But he got a hit. Nice double by Eckstein. And men left in scoring position. I hate that.

Awesome-Wainwright. God, he is very tall. Interview with Rick! He doesn't want to talk about it.

Hmm. The I Live For This fan commercial. Hmm. Well, if you want to read more about it go to the Cardinals Clubhouse-she posts there.

Everything seems to be hit right at someone today. It's not always caught, but it doesn't hurt the Braves.

Wainwright out, Kevin Jarvis in. Oh, lord, a Seattle castoff? Methinks he's a long shot. I also think Leo Mazzone just spit on himself. How did Evan Rust's ass get dirty?

Good God. Why is there a giant crab in the stands?

Parcells? Hey, ESPN, there's a game being played. SHOW IT. I AM NOT WATCHING A PREVIEW OF THE NFL SEASON. FOR CHRISSAKE, I WANT TO SEE BASEBALL. Oh, the hell with this. MUTE.

Kelly Carmen? Uh, his jersey says Cali; let the giant red letters be your guide. Oh, Nunez. You may wear #3, but you aren't TSSWMNBN.

Harold Reynolds, I swear to god, if you call Calero "Kiki" one more time.... What is that, Diaz, two passed balls?


And bases loaded, no outs, and the Cards don't score. Phht.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Oh, Ricky, You Were So Fine

I made the same switch Ankiel's making, for the same reason. Granted, I was a 12 year-old girl playing softball, but one day I showed up at the game and couldn't pitch. At all. Everything was ten feet in front of the plate or to the backstop. Up until then I had started almost every game for a couple of seasons. And, poof, gone. It never came back. I realized I had been thinking about quitting pitching and how much more fun playing would be without worrying about feeling responsible for keeping the team in the game. So, to me, Ankiel's decision makes sense. Once the idea of quitting was there, he was never going to be able to pitch effectively again.

But as a fan, this sucks. I don't see any way he makes it through waivers. So, unless Rick somehow makes the team as the seventh outfielder, he's gone. Some team will be able to keep him on their roster for the season. Sure, I'd like for him to do well, even if it's not with the Cardinals. But after all the time and effort dumped into him, I'm a little pissed. Dollars to doughnuts, management is, too.

And it didn't take long to erase all evidence of Rick as a pitcher.

Million dollar arm, ten cent head

Uh. Wow.

Rick Ankiel's moving to the outfield.

Well, he's certainly a lot younger than the guys out there now. My dad will be happy.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Strange Things Are Afoot at the Circle K

Whoopsies. Ankiel threw more than he was supposed to and got himself in trouble with Duncan. Putting on my tin foil hat, there's something really fishy about this. I knew the rotation was pushed back, why didn't he? And just who was at this session that didn't know the plan? Not liking that his mechanics are screwy. Really not liking that he's not throwing to bases.

Ankiel's gotta be with the club or be put on waivers. I'm starting to wonder if the team will find a reason to put Rick on the DL to start the season. Or, is this story perhaps the beginning of a subtle campaign by coaches to prepare the fans for a trade? Or to characterize him as not only a headcase, but uncooperative (so he has a better chance of making it through waivers)? What with Ankiel's situation, Walker's back, Mabry's elbow, Mr. Turtle's (and everyone elses') "barring major injuries" caveat, and the Cardinals being so so lucky in that regard in 2004, I'm concerned we've tempted fate.

End of conspiracy theory.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Buy! Buy! Buy!

In my basic understanding of the Moneyball concept, the premise is to find guys with skills undervalued by other clubs (like OBP) so you don't have to pay them as much as a guy with higher profile stats and you can expoit other teams' weaknesses. Well, the number folks down at Busch must have struck upon a formula that quantifies hustle.

Lil Mac may be on his way back. Now, this was written by the same guys who bet $100 that TSSWMNBN was going to re-sign with the Cardinals, so I wouldn't read too much into it. But, if true, why are the Birds trying to corner the market on short, scrappy, white guys? How many of the same person can one team have? I eat it up as much as the next person, but just like raw cookie dough, there can be too much of a good thing. In the end, you feel a little nauseous and curse the double that got through.

It sure would be nice to have something other than guts coming off the bench.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


We here at bellyitcher will go to the ends of the earth to get information for you, the three readers of this site.

You may remember a few weeks ago the baseball blogosphere was abuzz with those Korean cartoons. "Doesn't ANYONE speak Korean?!?!" was written over and over. Sadly, for the most part the answer was "No." Well, with the recent Rick Ankiel news, I thought I'd call upon my overseas sources:

But what does it all mean? Well:

Frier (sic) is, of course, Prior. Some things do get lost in translation. It still doesn't explain the alien throwing up, though.

I shrunk these on Friday. You can save the translation; the sweatshop will never know.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Play Ball!

mlb.com has ever so kindly decided to show a smattering of Spring Training games for free.

First up, Mets and Nationals, starting right about now. Since my sister is in DC, I will root for the Nats (and wish they had been named the Grays), although I thank the Mets for getting Beltran out of the Central.

Tomorrow, Cards and Mets. I will wear something red over my "The Mets Are Pond Scum" shirt. But should Spring Training games really be night games? This strikes me as against the natural order of the universe.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Just Because You're Paranoid...

In order to determine if I need more insurance, I took the number of perfect and non-perfect outings for Izzy, the other league save leader, Armando Benitez, along with Braden Looper and Eric Gagne (just for perspective) and divided those by number of total appearances. Then I did the same for games in which each pitcher recorded a save, blown save, win, or loss. I'm sure someone's done this before, but not being a math geek, I can't follow those explanations (see THB Closer article, which I saw while I was writing this, and probably says the exact same thing, but I don't get it).

I know, I know, Jason's hip was all screwed up. He's not Lidge or Gagne. You can't expect a ton of perfect innings. But I'd like to not worry about damaging furniture.

Here's the total appearance breakdown:

PitcherGRunnersNo Runners
Izzy7446 (62.2%)28 (37.8%)
Benitez6435 (54.7%)29 (45.3%)
Looper7147 (66.2%)24 (33.8%)
Gagne7042 (60%)28 (40%)

And those specific situations mentioned above:

PitcherGRunnersNo Runners
Izzy5633 (59%)23 (41%)
Benitez5429 (53.7%)25 (46.3%)
Looper4027 (67.5%)13 (67.5%)
Gagne5633 (59%)23 (41%)

Now, Gagne had only two blown saves, while Isringhausen had seven-and the Cards won two of those games. But in the second scenario, Izzy gave up 40 hits and 19 walks, Gagne 45 hits and 16 walks (both gave up four homeruns).

I guess that general unease as the ninth inning approaches may be a hangover from 2003. So, when he gives up that double to lead off the ninth, I'll just tell myself that Izzy just wants to maximize our entertainment dollar. But when he walks someone, or two someones, well, then "Dammit" may not be enough.
I liked this little jab Walker took at a well-known media-whore:
"One guy was labeled a warrior in the playoffs. I don't have to say his name. Everybody can figure it out," Walker said, making reference to Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling.

"There were a lot of warriors on this team. We just didn't publicize it."

News? Ha.

Nothing but puff pieces. I suppose that's fine since we are nearing the fluffy bunny season.

There's heartwarming, kind of sad, interesting with a side of random, the same story as every other national writer, get your hopes up (and crush them), get your hopes up some more, pretty cool, and, oh! wow! actual news.

The Izzy thing...well, there's a feeling I get when he comes into games: Impending Doom. No, no, that's too strong. I don't know what to call it, but the words "Dammit Izzy" are liberally used. So I'm going to try to figure out if this is real or imagined....

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