Tick, tick, tick, tick, t-tick, tick, tick, t-t-tick, tick, tick, tick tick...

Tick, tick, tick, tick, t-tick, tick, tick, t-t-tick, tick, tick, tick tick...


The deadline approaches.  I’m not going to wait it out.  Everyone will be in a mad dash to get wasted by the time all this shakes out.  The only deal that looks 100% right now is the Tigers picking up Jarrod Washburn.  It’s a nice move for Detroit.  One of the ESPN cats wrote about how it usually isn’t the biggest name that makes an impact in the Series.  Washburn fits that bill.  Victor Martinez now officially headed to Boston.  The Red Sox deal La Roche for Casey Kotchman…as they continue to stockpile 1B.  Not entirely sure what the Sox are doing, but they add a nice bat.

Biggest rumor has Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez going to LA.  L.A. making a serious move at some bullpen help.  Trading for Adrian Gonzalez doesn’t really do it for me.  I actually like James Loney.  Gonzalez I think can be pitched too.  He’s cooled it seems since a hot start, and he’s hitting .252.  I applaud the aggression, though.  A lot of other contenders out there not doing anything yet, so we’ll  have to keep one ear tuned to Tim Kirkjian for the remainder of the evening.

Tiger shot 63.  I guess he’s ok.  My prediction is that Tiger gets just outgunned this week, wins next week at Firestone, and then doesn’t win the PGA.  That’s been the pattern of the year, and I’m sticking to it.  The real golf achievement of the day, however goes to blog visitor Rand, who did something special this morning.  I think I invented the term “2-chip/2-putt double.”  It’s funny, it’s catchy.  It has it all.  Well, Rand up the ante today with the “3-chip/3-putt quad”.  As an added degree of difficulty he putted off the green…then 3 chipped, before smooth 2-jacking for quadrangle.  Impressive.  All took place at Jeffersonville…oh how I will ban thee. 

Tonights the night.  Cliff Lee in San Fran.  Sucks that it’s a late coast game on a Friday, but Cliff gets a nice pitcher’s park to make his debut in.  I think he gets off to a good start, and the Phils offense due for a little surge.  Pedro is also scheduled to throw in Allentown, but it looks like some nasty storms are lining up for the East Coast, so I’m not sure if they’ll get it in.  If he throws we have some eyes on the scene to get an idea of how it goes.  I have it on pretty good authority that no one was really blown away with his bullpen on Tuesday, but they are anxious to see him take the hill. 

That’s it….Go to a bar or something…get out of here..  Any major deals from here on out…maybe I’ll quick blurb.  We’ll recap it all for Monday, and maybe I’ll even pick the playoffs just for fun…and because I can.  Busiest week ever.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented.  Later.

Anecdote XI.

You Have to Master the Nuances.

You Have to Master the Nuances.

While we wait anxiously for a possible trade deadline flurry, and to see exactly what low number the Tiger is going to shoot today, I’d thought I’d go for an old anecdote.  Anecdote 11.  Subtitle:  Epic Driving Test Fail. 

I think most people agree that the driving test is one of the easiest tests you take in your life.  There’s an incredible amount of pressure, but in actuality you just drive around the block.  Sometimes you have to parallel park between two cones that are about a mile apart.  They want you to pass the test.  It’s all a scam.  If they really wanted to test driving skills they’d throw in a highway merge during rush hour or something, but then the DMV would have to change their name to Blood on the Highway.

Most people I think would also argue that the permit portion of the test is more difficult.   You have to memorize the rules. When is it legal to tailgate, why you can park in front of hydrants on Sundays, and when no U-Turn means U-Turn.  All that stuff.  Well, I passed this section with flying colors.  Natural born (written) test taker.  Unfortunately, I’m probably also a natural born buckler.  Once I got in the car…look out.  Now, I wasn’t a maniac or anything…but I had a weak spot for attention to detail. 

Test One:  I show up nervous as hell.  It’s one of these cloudy, light rainy, humid days…no big deal, but a problem for me because I’m driving a ’92 Accord.  Aka, the car with the most complex and inefficient defogging system ever produced.  So, in the minutes while I was waiting in line the old Honda got a nice layer of fog on the windshield.  I get behind the wheel.  The slap nut giving me the test tells me to turn off the radio,turn signals, blah, blah, blah.  Now, I have the defroster on, but it’s a slow burn with this thing.  I’d say 2/3 of the windshield is clear.  The guy tells me to pull out.  I can definitely see, so I go ahead.  We go about 200 feet, and the guy says, pull into this spot….you fail, yadda, yadda, yadda…”no knowledge of vehicle controls.” 

I go from scared to pissed off pretty quickly so I start telling the guy how the defroster is on, and he counters that it wasn’t on high.  I said I could see.  It’s not like we hit the building.  He wasn’t having it.  So, we go inside, and I have to explain to my mom what happened, and she starts giving the guy a hard time, telling him there’s no way I was going to say I wasn’t going to pull out when he told me to.  Mom always has your back.  A great point, but again..Fail.

Test Two:  Defroster unnecessary on day two.  I’m on cruise control.  After an unnecessarily good parallel park (one backup)…showoff, I am thinking that the rest will be a breeze.  The guy tells me to bang a left, and I do, but then the tell tale moment where he tells me to throw her in the nearest parking space.  Apparently, there was a stop sign back there somewhere.  The thing was nowhere near the intersection, and we’re in a GD parking lot, but there it was.  Again, it’s always the little things that get you.  Stop Signs.  Come on.  This time I think my Mom was more disappointed with the prospect that she was going to have to continue to drive me around.  To summarize, Test Two…Fail.

I think there’s a reason why the term 3rd time’s a charm exists.  It must be proven true time and again, and I  followed through on my 3rd test.  Fool me twice, shame on you, fool me three times…I’m going to a different testing location.  I did add some drama to the third try by not being able to find my registration for about 20 minutes, but after that it was a breeze.  Straight gravy train to license-town.  I’ve never looked back since.   The moral of the story is, watch out for stop signs.  I hear they’re red.

Dodgers Counter.

The Dodgers bullpen now features Ace & Gary.

The Dodgers bullpen now features Ace & Gary.

The Dodgers traded for George Sherrill on Thursday giving them a pretty solid right/left combo at the back end of the bullpen.  Pairing Sherrill with Broxton starts that old, “make it a seven inning game” notion.  I’m not going to sit here, and say that the Dodgers don’t have a nice pitching staff.  They do, but they also have Randy Wolf.  Who doesn’t want a piece of that character in October?  There’s not a guy on the staff that I think the Phillies couldn’t beat, and even though you could say the same thing about the Phillies…Hamels owns L.A, and the Phils have the superior offense. 

Rodrigo Lopez gracefully bowed out of the rotation by getting his teeth kicked in for 4 innings against the Giants.  Hey, thanks for the memories Rodrig0.  When is this Lee guy going to throw?  Pistol Pete Martinez will start in Lehigh Valley on Friday night, it’d be nice if Cliff Lee got the call as well.  A double taste.  A virtual explosion of flavor for Phillies fans.  The thought of moving Happ to the bullpen when Pedro arrives makes me shudder.  How about a 6 man rotation?  And by that I mean the five guys pitch, and then every sixth day you skip Jamie Moyer.   No?  If Moyer was a team player he’d volunteer to go to the bullpen…and hand out sunflower seeds. 

Couple weird things happened to me today.  First of all, I realized that Target is a pretty special store.  I don’t want to like Target that much, but I set out today to do some errands, expecting to have to stop at a lot of places, but no.  Target had everything.  I know what you are thinking, Grossy, Target’s been around for like two decades, where have you been?  The answer is I don’t know.  I really don’t.  I think their signage and red shirt wearing minions put me off. 

The day was capped on the drive home, however, when I hear a movie promo that says, “From the writer of Saw 4, 5 and 6, comes…”  Really?  First of all how many Saws are there?  Secondly, they’re basically just saying, “From the guy who wrote the sh-tty Saws”.  Right?  No one has seen Saw 6 have they?  It got me thinking, maybe I can just start sending out writing with cover letters that say, “Hey check out this new novel, it’s by the author of The Greatest Gatsby.”   Or, “This screenplay is sick, the guy who did Goodfellas 3 co-wrote it.”  Maybe it could work.  I mean, Saw 6?

Fire Hank Haney.

Tiger's Looking Pedestrian at the Buick.

Tiger's Looking Pedestrian at the Buick.

Tiger’s coming back to life as I write this post, but seriously…par is basically 68 out there today.  Steve “lunch pail” Lowery shot 63.  It’s a pushover.  Tiger could birdie out, and end up winning the tournament going away, but I’m just wondering how much longer before the Hank Haney whispers start to gain steam.  If he doesn’t sort it out today, or in the next two weeks that basically amounts to a lost season for Tiger, who judges everything on the Majors.  For a guy who says his swing is constantly evolving, maybe it’s time again for a new set of eyes.  Haney was working with Charles Barkley.  That could break any man.  I didn’t see the exact results of that celebrity event in Tahoe, but I’m pretty sure Chuck was battling with another Chuck…Liddell, for DFL.  So the verdict on the Haney Project…Epic Fail. 

I don’t want to see Tiger win everything, but it’s strange watching him stuggle a bit.  It doesn’t seem right.  And, I know that technically with 3 wins on the year you can hardly say he’s struggling, but he’s spraying it around today at the Buick Open.  This thing is a track meet.  You don’t lay low for a few days, shoot 68 on Saturday, and lap the field.  These guys are going deep, four days straight.  Tiger shoots 70 today, or whatever it ends up being…that’s a real hole. 

I was out doing a couple errands, and I think the Ortiz story kind of passed me by in these last couple hours.  There’s not much to say really.  Unless you have a problem with the Red Sox fans that looked down their noses at Clemens, Andy, A-Rod…then I don’t think this should produce much of a reaction.  The line is so blurred now between the guys that have been proven, and the guys who haven’t, I don’t even know which is which.  Everyone keeps their World Series rings, ok?  The other team was on it, the pitchers were on it, it was probably as close to fair as it ever was…just a different kind of fair.

Why Can’t NFL Teams get their First Rounders Into Camp?

Maclin's Missing Valuable Time.

Maclin's Missing Valuable Time.

 It makes you long for the NBA’s regimented rookie salary scale doesn’t it?  Year after year these rookies hold out, and honestly I don’t know why the deals can’t be done sooner.  The draft was months ago.  I’m ninety percent sure that this is the agent’s fault.  No one wants to sign before the next guy, lest they lose a couple hundred grand here or there.  I don’t remember any rookie pulling off some obscene financial coup by holding out.  Maybe they just don’t want to start camp.  It has to be awful. 

The Eagles are still waiting for their first round pick, Jeremy Maclin, to arrive at Lehigh.  Only five first rounders have signed with their teams, a number that seems awfully low.  I would say it’s imperative that the Eagles get Maclin into camp as soon as possible if they want any contribution out of him in year one.  No one is going to argue that any skill player needs as much time to develop and learn the system as possible.  Maclin may have the physical tools, but he’ll find himself behind inferior athletes on the depth chart if he doesn’t get a deal done soon. 

Football is so fleeting, such a risky prospect that these guys try to squeeze every penny out of that first deal I guess.  I know that is the agent’s prerogative, and maybe it’s hard to blame them.  It’s a short life span, but if their career is cut short they’re going to be selling cars down the road anyway…so why not just set yourself up to have the best possible start to what hopefully is a long career? 

Other than Maclin the Eagles have perfect attendance at camp, including yesterday’s arrival of somewhat disgruntled cornerback, Sheldon Brown.  The Eagles start full contact practice on Friday.  WOOOOO!  Let’s hit someone, baby.

A comment so long it became a Post.

Grossy, care to ramble on for a few hundred more words?  Great.

Grossy, care to ramble on for a few hundred more words? Great.

So, I wrote this all in a comment, but it seemed a little ridiculous when it hit 5oo words:

All right.  What’d I miss.  Frickin Cliff Lee.  The guy’s a lightninng rod. 

Oh man, 1981…what a dagger.  The Phillies of ’81 widely regarded as the best team in the league.  With or without Ron Guidry…of course it was the strike year, and they came out post strike with a playoff berth already clinched, and never got going again.  They lose a divisional series to Montreal.  Not many people realize the Phillies technically make the playoffs in ’81.  Anyway, a year later they bring in John Denny, he wins the ’83 cy young, but the entire offense takes off the world series and they lose to the Orioles.  Dynaasty Over. 

Interesting differing ways of analyzing the trade.  I think the real story is, Cleveland just has a different way of analyzing talent than Toronto.  Cleveland prefers the guy’s who have the highest ceiling.  This is why Knapp is the centerpiece for them as opposed to Drabek.  They think Knapp is the best pitcher in the Phillies system.  He may be, but he’s also 19 or whatever…so who knows.  He could be Kerry Wood.  He could be Dwight Gooden.  He could be Paul Wilson. 

Giving Cleveland way to much credit for developing these people I think.  Two Cy Young award winners?  Big Deal.  The Phillies have developed 2 recent MVP’s.  So their development guys know nothing?  Should Cleveland fans be worried that Ben Francisco is going to turn into a beast in Philly.  I know that is stretching it, but you get my point.  We’re always in a rush to assign credit to good players.  It’s the Leo Mazzone phenomenon.  Sometimes the player is just good, other times they aren’t or get hurt.  Again, this undervalues coaches, but I’m just making a point. 

All these writers are throwing their hats in the ring.  They’re setting up a possible follow up column in a year or whatver.  “Remember when I warned you all about Knapp.  Well look, he’s 10-3 with a 2.32 in Cleveland, and he’s still only 21.”   They look like a genius.  Of course, if Lee kills here, and Knapp’s elbow turns into pudding there will be no mention of it, and no one will call the guy on the criticism, because they’ll be so pumped about Lee. 

I don’t know what the long term impact will be.  No one does, but I agree with the assessment that Lee will be very good in the National League, and I think it was a good deal.  I also heard yesterday that part of the reason for not bringing in Halladay was that they were concerned about future payroll.  Lee is cheaper than Halladay.  Plus if they keep these near-MLB ready guys like Drabek and Taylor that is another way to keep costs down, because they can be wildly underpaid for their first few years.  After Ibanez is done, or if they have to bring in another closer, or if they lock up Howard for even longer…they will have more money to do it.  They aren’t quite at the point where there is no ceiling on the payroll. 

All really interesting stuff to think about.  Look at the Phillies.  Pushing the Eagles to the back burner.

Busiest. Day. Ever.

Blog > Beaver

Blog > Beaver

History making day at Three Putt Territory.  I suppose we owe it all to Cliff Lee.  Either that or my extra sharp provolone wit.  Hard to say, but imagine the explosion if the Phillies had traded for Roy Halladay.  It certainly was a strange day to be a Phillies fan.  After being conditioned for decades, beaten down to the notion that the Phillies would always be sellers, the club took the reins today.  It may not have been the most popular move, but they didn’t get bullied, and made a decisive play.  We’ll see how it works out.  I’m pretty hopeful, but I did hear from one anonymous occasional baseball fan today, “Cliff Lee?  He’s terrible.”  So, not everyone is sold.   

I’m not calling it the Cliff Lee era until he arrives, so Wednesday’s loss to the D-Backs does not tarnish the deal at all in my opinion.  The meek offfensive effort against a marginal starter at best doesn’t warm the soul, but there will always be these days when the swings and misses catch up to this squad.  Honestly, I don’t think a fan out there cares about this result.  They just want to see Cliff Lee make that first start for the Phillies. 

Elsewhere we are waiting for the other dominos to fall into place.  It seems likely that Toronto may keep Halladay now, and while it’s hard to criticize keeping Halladay, it’s hard to believe his value would have ever been higher.  It just seems that the Blue Jays were asking for too much.  Not a lot of other big names out there…I mean, we’ve been talking about George Sherrill.  I’m sure there will be a little flurry at the deadline…who goes where?

World of Golf News…We are happy to hear that John Daly has a reality show coming back to the Golf Channel.  John’s Daly Planet was a classic bit of programming, and I’ll be looking forward to catching an episode or two this time around as well.  Daly said this series will focus on his renewed commitment to his game.  Sounds a little boring, but JD has a flair for the dramatic.  A win and an after-party this week in Michigan would make a nice episode. 

And, just to give an idea of the status of non-PGA golf in the United States…the Women’s British Open and the U.S. Senior Open are this week.  Did anyone know this?  These have to be sinking ships.

Phils Acquire Cliff Lee

If Halladay was the Head Cheerleader, Lee was the sneaky hot brunette.

If Halladay was the Head Cheerleader, Lee was the sneaky hot brunette.

Fox Sports is reporting that the Phillies have traded for Cleveland ace, Cliff Lee.  I’d be more comfortable if Jayson Stark broke the news, but he’s clearly asleep on the job.  All my calls to the dugout and clubhouse in Allentown have gone unanswered, so we’re going with Ken Rosenthal.  The Phillies give up Jason Donald, Lou Marson (nothing & nothing) along with Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp.  Knapp by far has the most upside of any of these prospects in my opinion.  (What Mel Kiper Jr. Would Say)

What they Gave Up: 

Lou Marson is a young catcher, and he could theoretically be a nice piece on a major league club down the road, but we’re not talking about Joe Mauer here.  We could very well be talking about Carlos Ruiz, so as tough as it is to give up catchers, no real harm here.  The Phils are so deep offensively they can get away with a solid defensive guy behind the old dish. 

Jason Donald is old for a prospect.  He’ll be 25 in a month, and the Phillies have no place to put him.  If you assume you are going to have J-Roll for a few more years, what are you going to do, groom Donald until he’s 28?  This is a no-brainer. 

Carlos Carassco was the hottest pitcher in the Phillies system for a while, but he’s struggled at AAA some.  Granted he’s not on a great team up there, but some of their pitchers like Drew Carpenter have had great success despite the less than dynamic offense.  I’ve heard a lot of raves about Carassco’s stuff, but he’s never blown me away.  I don’t see him being a top of the rotation guy.  Maybe a poor man’s Carlos Silva. 

Jason Knapp is a very young power pitcher with a high ceiling.  He’s been erratic in Low-A ball this year, but he holds opponents to a .200 batting average and has 111 K’s in 85 innings.  That’s some serious sh*t.  Knapp projects to be the real deal, but he’s 20.  Anything can happen. 

What the Phillies Get:  Cliff Lee is a polished, experienced guy that should do extremely well in the National League.  He’ll get plenty of run support, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he’s the Phillies best pitcher from here until the end of the season.  He seems less of a proven commodity than Halladay, though, and not quite as dynamic.  The Phils also get right hand hitting Ben Francisco.  Couldn’t pick him out of a two-man lineup. 

What it Means:  The Phillies edge closer to being prohibitive favorites in the National League.  A playoff rotation of Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Happ seems formidable against possible NL foes.  They should cruise to the NL East crown, and will have time to get their bullpen sorted out in September. 

What it Doesn’t Mean:  The Phillies aren’t striking fear in the hearts of the Yankees with this deal.  They’re being aggressive-safe.  They’ve gone out and gotten a frontline starter, but they haven’t given up the farm.  I like the deal, but once you taste Halladay, it’s hard to go back to ground chuck if you know what I mean.  The deal also doesn’t address the aforementioned bullpen, which remains basically in tatters. 

Overall:  I like the deal looking at it as a separate entity from Halladay.  I think the Phils gave up guys they could afford to give up, and made their team better.  I will be anxious to see how Lee fairs under this spotlight and the pressure of the postseason.  Despite Halladay’s lack of postseason experience I have no doubt he’d step up.  With Lee, I’m not one hundred percent sold. 

An added bonus: I can start referring to him as Clifford Lee, much like how Peter Gammons inexplicably called Cliff Floyd, Clifford Floyd for the first several years of his career.

Cliff Read My Letter?

Jayson Stark is A Dork.  We Should Listen to Him.

Jayson Stark is A Dork. We Should Listen to Him.

Jayson Stark, former Phillies beat writer, current ESPN baseball maven is reporting that the Phillies seem a lot closer to making a deal for Cliff Lee than they do for Roy Halladay.  The Phillies and Blue Jays can’t come to terms, and Stark believes the Phillies may have shifted their attention towards Lee. 

Carlos Carrasco, who is rumored to be a part of the would be Lee deal, was scratched from his start this afternoon.  No explanation was given.  What this can mean is that the Phillies don’t want him going out there, and blowing up his arm while they’re in the final stages of negotiations with the Indians.  There are also Cleveland scouts in Allentown, presumably there to watch Carrasco who did not pitch, or perhaps watch Michael Taylor. 

The bottom line is, still no one has any idea what is going on, but it doesn’t sound too promising on the Halladay front.  I like Cliff Lee, but he would certainly feel like a consolation prize.  The Phillies will be able to keep their top prospects by trading for Lee as opposed to Halladay, but Halladay makes them so much better this season. 

Lou Marson and Jason Donald have also been pulled from today’s line-up.  Something is definitely going down.  If the Phillies get Cliff Lee for Carrasco, Donald and Marson…that’s just robbing Cleveland blind, I’m sorry.  One or more of these players could also be potentially involved in a deal with Baltimore for reliever George Sherill. 

There’s drama.  There’s high drama.  And then there’s the trade deadline.  As Philadelphia broadcasting legend Mark Zumoff once said, “Buckle up Steve, We’re Coming in for a Landing.”

Hanging Around.

Eyeblack?  Check.  Mullet?  Check.  Molest-ache?  Double Check.

Eyeblack? Check. Mullet? Check. Molest-ache? Double Check.

I can’t express the amount of joy I feel when I hear that Jeff George is sending a workout tape around to NFL front offices.  On the day that Brett Favre decided he is going to stay retired we really needed this kind of news.  George has been working out at the University of Illinois, where coach Ron Zook declared him to be better than ever.  Well, how good is that?  Better than awful?  If I had a flag football team, if I had to have someone throw passes in mesh shorts with no pads on to receivers not being defended…I’d pick Jeff George every time.  The guy has a bleeping cannon.  A rubber band with a release that brings tears to your eyes.  The only problem is, it doesn’t quite translate.  It never has, but hey, J.P. Losman’s going to need a backup in Las Vegas. 

In terms of Favre, I’m surprised.  Here I am thinking there’s no bigger egomaniac on the planet, and he decides not to play for the Vikings.  I guess the arm just isn’t coming around.  It’s the only explanation.  Nice job toying with Vikings for a couple months though, Brett. Well played.  Can’t wait to see how you manage to pop back up on the radar next.  Hey, J.P. Losman and Jeff George are going to need a backup in Las Vegas. 

Mark Buehrle, he of the perfect game, went perfect again through five and two-thirds Tuesday night setting the Major League record for most consecutive batters retired at 45.  This is exact opposite of the record that I set in T-Ball when I reached base 45 consecutive times.  Buerhle walked some guy hitting a buck-sixty, then gave up back to back hits blowing the perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout all in a few minutes.  I was starting to believe he had a shot to pull off something crazy.  At some point the pressure has to shift to the hitters while they think, “Is this guy ever going to give up a knock?”   White Sox end up losing the game, but 45 straight, not too shabby. 

The unofficial/official deadline for the Halladay deal has passed…not that that means anything.  The Phillies are out in Arizona kicking around an overmatched D-Backs team, but back here in Philly the fans want Halladay.  It’s getting a little rabid.  The rumor are starting to get crazy.  I’ve now heard Marco Scutaro’s name in the deal, and the Yankees may just pop in at the last moment.  That is the Yankee way, and they could always do something insane like take the Vernon Wells contract as a peace offering.  I don’t know…we’ll wake up Saturday, and it will all be over.  Phils lock up the win, 4-3, despite the Gasoline Can wearing 54 giving up a 2-run bomb.  Kid needs some wiggle room at this point, what can you say.