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Magpie, 4:05 PM yesterday: "It's Bad Mojo to mock the Devil Rays just when the Jays are about to play a three game set with them. That sort of talk always comes back and bites you in the ass."

Myself, 6:45 PM yesterday: "...join in on the Nomo-bashing, or let the Jays do it for you."

Nomo, last night: Two runs over seven innings.

Okay. I get it.

Rather than talk about last night's game result or outcome or anything related to the final score, which caused me much pain, I will instead direct my venom towards these four people:

Dewon Brazelton (and the Devil Rays' front office)
Okay, Mike D covered this in his always-excellent Advance Scout, but come on...Dewy bails out on the team for two weeks. He doesn't report to Durham, as he is required to do. Then he treads around in the Restricted List Zone for two weeks, until he finally calls up the GM and tells him he's ready to go to Triple-A.

Now, he's back up with the team? I nearly fell off my chair when I saw his name on the screen. If I was the GM, I wouldn't want this guy back on my team. If I was playing defense, I wouldn't want to try hard when this guy was on the mound, after his vanishing act. Surely, there's someone in Durham who could have come up instead of Brazelton. If there are extenuating circumstances, then I retract some of this, but looking at a basic level, it makes no sense.

C.B. Bucknor
Wow, some bad calls. That was a strike. So was that pitch. And that one. Bucknor was acting like an idiot all night, from this Game Reporter's position. When John Gibbons came out to argue the horrible, horrible calls, Bucknor was overly animated and clearly trying to show up the manager, I thought. Then, Aaron Hill tried to call time out, and Bucknor didn't give it to him. Finally, there was a pathetic attempt to make up for the bad calls by calling a Hideo Nomo inside strike to a LH hitter a ball.

Maybe I'm making too much over this, but really pissed me off how this umpire handled himself. Not that getting tossed out of a game is a good thing for Gibby -- Ernie Whitt should have sent Gregg Zaun and not Reed Johnson up to pinch hit for Ken Huckaby and I think Gibbons would not have made that mistake. (Zaun wasn't hurt, or Huckaby would have hit for himself. If Zaun was aching, replacing your only other catcher without wanting to bring in the other one means you are playing to lose. Gibbons would not do that, evidenced by his pinch-hitting choices in one game that left the team without a credible shortstop for the bottom of the ninth which never came. Even if we allow Whitt the benefit of the doubt and assume Menechino was ready to squat behind the plate...Gabe Gross should have pinch-hit instead of Reed Johnson. There was no good reason to bring Johnson in there. But I digress.)

Tom Candiotti
He is quickly becoming my least favourite analyst. That is all.

Eric Hinske
I gotta say, I liked Hinske. He legged out a triple on my birthday in 2002. He had a nice rookie year, and I gave him a pass in 2003. Last year, I remained optimistic that he would at least put up better numbers. However, he's not going to do that anytime soon. I feel stupid and foolish for believing he improved things at the beginning of the year. I was sucked in by The Dude's New Batting Stance (no offense, NFH) and ignored past history and the 2005 sample size.

At this point, I honestly don't care if the Jays get anything back for him. He's hitting worse than Scott Hatteberg, Phil Nevin, Kevin Millar and Darin Erstad this year. As well as every other first baseman in the American League and National League. This was also true last year.

When Corey Koskie returns, he and Aaron Hill must share third base and DH duties. Hillenbrand gets the bulk of time at first. If one of them is injured, call up Kevin Barker or John-Ford Griffin or John Hattig to play first or move Koskie over the diamond and use them as a DH. I don't care that Hinske was the 2002 Rookie of the Year anymore, I really don't. It's not just the offense, but we're talking about first base here. Everyone but me can play first base.

And the slamming the bat down after every at bat is getting tiresome. People who want Vernon Wells to be more emotional, this is what you get.

And now, in an effort to make this train wreck of a Game Report more light-hearted, I'll highlight the good parts of yesterday's awful, awful game:

Alex Rios had a nice night, showing some opposite-field power (which he needs) which would have been a double had Gomes not been in perfect position. Another single is always good. Rios also must have heard me saying he was a casual player, as he almost pulled a Larry Walker and nailed Toby Hall at first base, missing by a step. I haven't seen a 9-2 putout since Orlando Merced, of all people, did it in 1997. (Oh great, now I've got 1997 memories. Ed Sprague, Carlos Garcia, Benito Santiago, Alex Gonzalez, Otis Nixon, Jacob Brumfield, Robert "Not As Good As John Olerud" Person...) Also, Rios obviously knew which pitches to hit. In his AB in the fourth, he swung at all three fastballs (the only pitch Nomo could throw for strikes at the time) and laid off the three non-fastballs.

Frank Catalanotto always seemed to make contact on the ball when fellow LH hitters Hinske and Russ Adams missed Nomo's split-finger. Cat fouled off a few here and there and made solid contact where you wouldn't expect him to, based on the other results in the game.

Give Pistol Pete Walker credit: I thought he was done after five. He got through six, didn't pitch well enough to win, but it's not his fault that the Blue Jays couldn't get more than two off Hideo Nomo. He didn't strike out anyone, which I can't stand, but this is the positive section, so I'll refrain from commenting further.

Time for the final part of this Game Report, and I'll open this up to the Bauxites. The contest is...a top ten list. I was going to think of a category that would mock the Devil Rays, but that's not a good idea, is it, Mags?

So the topic is open-ended. It must be about something in the baseball world today, it cannot mock the Devil Rays or the next opponent, Boston, (lest we witness a smackdown by Cla Meredith) and it must be appropriate, smart and funny. The winner gets a prize of my choosing, subject to poll approval.

There are some clever readers out there; we all saw the headline contest entries. Now get started!

Devil Rays 4, Blue Jays 3: Please, No More Nomo | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pistol - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#120871) #
Ernie Whitt should have sent Gregg Zaun and not Reed Johnson up to pinch hit for Ken Huckaby and I think Gibbons would not have made that mistake

I could be wrong, but I think Gibbons is still calling the shots after he's ejected. He's just not visible to anyone on the field.

Grimlock - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#120872) #
Incidentally, CB Bucknor is the same guy who ejected Sheffield for slamming his helmet after Bucknor missed a safe call at first base on Sunday night. That was a VERY quick ejection too. Maybe if he stopped missing calls, people would stop yelling at him.
Thomas - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#120874) #
I actually have to disagree about Brazelton. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in this situation. There's an awfully lot of potential things that could have happened where I'd find his leave of absence excusable. As inept as the D-Rays front office is, I highly doubt they'd call up Brazelton so quickly if he left for two weeks without notice just because he was mad about going to the minors. Doing that makes absolutely no sense; even less sense than signing Roberto Alomar made.

I don't want to speculate blindly, but I would suspect this is a lot closer to a Barrett Robbins situation than it is to a Gary Templeton or Kenny Anderson-type scenario.
NDG - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#120875) #
I was sucked in by The Dude's New Batting Stance (no offense, NFH) and ignored past history and the 2005 sample size.

Funny enough many people were, check out this thread from April 13.

A couple of very bright comments from that thread:

If teams think that Hinske has turned the corner, now might not be a bad time to deal him. Being Jays fans, it's natural to think the Eric's now all better due to his changed stance. However, it is also possible that this new stance just means he's able to hammer the pitches pitchers were getting him out with before. Pitchers will adjust (it seems to take about a month to properly scout something new), what remains to be seen is whether Hinske will also adjust. and,

I'm not sure why so many believe Hinske is all of a sudden a top tier first baseman (OPS+ the last three years 124, 96, 74). There is very little to support this notion.

I knew eventually I'd get something right.

Magpie - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#120877) #
I may be to blame for the Bad Mojo. I've been writing up Tampa Bay for the Lobby of Numbers, and haven't found much to say. Besides.... um, ridicule? I have refrained from actually posting it until this series is over. But I have mocked them, in my heart.

No CB Bucknor tonight! No sir! Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Phil Cuzzi!

Mick Doherty - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#120878) #
I was going to do a "Top 10 Starting Pitchers Who Won't Start the All-Star Game for the American League," but when I went to the ERA-title-eligible list, three of the bottom six are, uh ... Devil Rays. And today's rules say no Devil Ray-bashing.

So ... nevermind.

Ducey - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#120888) #
I don't have time to fill it out today but how about "Top Ten most overpaid players". I got to figure Giambi, Sosa, Beltre, are on the list based on performance so far this year. Perhaps even some Jays - SS Loogy or Hinske could find their way on the list.

Your safe with this category - no D Rays likely to appear on that list. Salary info is at ESPN among other places
BCMike - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#120889) #

Thought this was pretty funny, from the Globe:

"I didn't say a word," Blue Jays' catcher Ken Huckaby said. "I only play once a week. I'm not going to say anything. I'm not going to be tossed in the middle of a game. And Gibby was taking care of it from the dugout."

Mike B - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#120901) #
"No CB Bucknor tonight! No sir! Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Phil Cuzzi!"

Perfect, just in time for a Roy Halladay start!

Honestly, if MLB must continue to employ both Bucknor and Cuzzi, couldn't they make sure those two are not in the same umpire crew?
Brett - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#120908) #
Honestly, if MLB must continue to employ both Bucknor and Cuzzi, couldn't they make sure those two are not in the same umpire crew?

Then they could wreak havoc in multiple games. Better to keep them together, so they can only mess up one series at a time.

Craig B - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#120914) #
You kidding? MLB love CB Bucknor so much that they gave him an All-Star spot. Seriously.

I've said numerous times that the umpires have been much more professional over the last two years, and I stand by that. But as long as MLB continue to indulge clowns like Joe West (another All-Star selection) and CB Bucknor, they won't get the umpires up to the standard the players deserve.

The All-Star umps is a broad selection of the worst umpires in the game... Eric Cooper might be one of the worst umpires in the game for missing calls, Tim Welke's probably the worst panderer to pitchers in all of baseball - he loves the ankle strike, the foot-outside strike, and what have you. The one consolation is that Joe West is getting the crew he deserves.
Named For Hank - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#120915) #
Buster Olney on the Fan about thirty seconds ago responded to a question from Chuck Swirsky about Vernon Wells' perceived lack of hustle and work ethic by saying that he, Olney, does not expect Vernon to be a Blue Jay at this time next year.

I may have heard that wrong, as I was changing a remarkably poopy diaper, but I'm pretty sure that's what he said.
VBF - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#120917) #
Did he give any reason why he would think so? Work ethic related?
Named For Hank - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#120919) #
That was the implication -- that he'd be gone because he's not seen as giving his all.
Flex - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#120920) #
Thank you. I rest my case.
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#120924) #
That's weak evidence, Flex. Buster Olney's opinion, on what Jay management is likely to do, means little. If you think Wells has been dogging it, rather than being temporarily unfocused for personal reasons, having watched the games, that's fair enough. I might disagree, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Buster Olney does not, as far as I know, have a pipeline to the thought processes of Jay management. Maybe this time he's got a hit, or maybe it's just an unproductive out.:)
Thomas - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#120925) #
My friend once inadvertently called C.B. Bucknor "Weezy Blunder" when he misheard the pregame introductions. We liked the name so much we adopted it for him. It seems quite appropriate given Bucknor's umpiring skill itself, so I'm now sharing it with all of you.

Next time you start to frown because you realise C.B. is on the field, just rememeber, he's actually Weezy Blunder, and you'll turn that frown upside down in no time.
Flex - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#120930) #
Mike, I can't disagree. It is flimsy basis on which to build my satisfied harrumph. However, I have been watching a lot of games, for years, and do feel Wells consistently underperforms, relative to his ability. It's not just something that's become apparent in the last week.

And I admit it's largely an emotional thing. Hinske, for all his unproductive flailing, annoys me less than Wells does, because at least I have the sense that Hinske cares. With Wells, there seems to be a disconnect. It's nothing I can prove with stats or science. He just never seems to give his all, or give much of a damn.

As a dedicated fan, I have the right to make my assessments and come to my conclusions based on what I see on the field on a daily basis.
Magpie - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#120933) #
Just a couple of thoughts from around the majors. Did anyone think, when Greg Maddux signed with the Cubs, that he'd win more games for them than Prior and Wood combined? He is so cool, and in July he should get career strikeout number 3000.

I said in my Preview you had to take the Braves in the NL East because... well, because they're the Braves. But this is getting ridiculous. No Chipper? No Hudson? No Hampton? No Thomson? No problem. Three starting pitchers go down, the closer implodes, the two veteran corner outfielders were a disaster, Furcal is having an awful year... it just doesn't matter. They're 2.5 back of the Nationals, and they'd win the Wild Card if the season ended today.

How in hell do they do it?

Craig B - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#120944) #
Incidentally, if there's any particular reason why Hudson hasn't gotten a longterm deal, the performances of Wells and Hinske since they were signed to their deals may have something to do with it...
Lefty - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#120945) #
Yeah Craig, I've been thinking the same thing.

I wonder why all the Vernon complainers were silent until this past week. I said this yesterday to VBF on the live chat. For about four years Blue Jay fans have been raving about Vernon's "D". Perhaps even over-rating him. I'll cut him a little more slack. If he's dogging it after the All Star break I might chime in, but for now he still holds my respect as a player and a person

I don't think people relize what playing 190 game season year after year must be like when real life intervenes. If Vernon was a stock broker he would have booked a month off for the birth of his child.
Lefty - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 07:02 PM EDT (#120946) #
89 AB's, .329 avg., 3 Hrs. 19 rbi's 15 BB and 20 K's

Carlos Pena's numbers at AAA Toledo.

Any interest? What would it take.

Tigers are falling head over heals for Shelton.
Flex - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#120947) #
Where've you been, Lefty? I've been complaining about Wells for months.
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 28 2005 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#120952) #
Magpie, I have a clue to the Braves' success. I was checking defensive stats, and Rafael Furcal's this year are out of this world. When you put Estrada, Giles, Furcal and Andruw Jones up the middle, that helps a lot. It's a simple formula, but it works.
Craig B - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 12:38 AM EDT (#120977) #
Well, I'm not complaining about Wells. I think Vernon's solid, tries hard, and produces (even if his stats this year are going to be ruined almost all year by a bad April, he's hit well since April ended). But he hasn't developed the way you would have liked, although there is still time!
Devil Rays 4, Blue Jays 3: Please, No More Nomo | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.