Saturday, August 30, 2008

Get your weekend kick started!

Wake up your weekend, get ready for what ever it is that makes your blood pump this Saturday morning with this jumpy little tune and another snippy little piece from Nike

Politics, commercialism and everything else aside, they sure know how to put a sporting related montage together. The catchy song is "All These Things That I've Done" by the Killers.

Jon Lester gets in on the act around the 51/52 second mark.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Irish baseball league update

Big weekend ahead in the Irish baseball league
With the playoffs looming the top four positions are nearly set
(The top four make 'the show')

Tomorrow the Hurricanes and Blacksox meet at the O'Malley baseball field in Corcaigh park at 11am in a big top of the table clash. Meanwhile, in Shanganah in Shankill, the Mariners entertain the Spartans in another big clash.

The 2008 Irish Baseball League Standings
A League
Black Sox

If you read one baseball story today...

Make it this one, Jayson Stark, coming up with the goods, as usual.

Several interesting topics, delivered in his usual laid back and yet still informative style

Lou Piniella

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

100 wins ... the Cubs? Yes, it's true. Lou Piniella and the Cubs are closing in on the century mark.

Enjoy, and, you are welcome!

I got this in my fortune cookie last night

Confuscious say...

''Beginning tonight, the Red Sox will play 20 of their final 29 games at Fenway.''

Boston's home record? 43-18. Third best in the majors.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Irish Little League Team

The Irish Little League Team did the country proud at the recent Little League European Championship in Kutno, Poland.

A squad of fourteen eleven and twelve year olds from seven counties were selected to represent the Irish League. Fourteen countries representing the elite of European Little League Baseball assembled in Kutno to compete in a tournament with the winner qualifying for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Despite receiving very short notice of our participation and having little or no time to train together, the team equiped themselves extremely well. We played hard and competed throughout the week coming close in two games, twice only losing by one run. It was an incredible experience for the players, the coaches and the supporters. It was great to know that we can compete at this level. The team got better and better throughout the week and gained enormously from playing and training every day. We learned a lot from our encounters with the other teams.

We have a lot of work to do before we make it to Williamsport but, with the way we are expanding and the improvement in quality of play in Ireland this may not take too long. This progress is due to the huge effort put in by the coaches and other helpers around the country who give up their time in order to give these kids a chance to play. A special thank you is due to Coach Elaine Clancy from Kerry and Coach Jason Murphy from Cork who worked tirelessly throughout the Tournament.

The tournament has provided us with a huge impetus to move onwards and upwards. We will be expanding our league programme next year and with new teams in Galway, Mayo and Limerick. Information about winter training clinics, coach and umpire training, and how to find a team will be available on this website. If you would like to support or get involved in Youth Baseball in Ireland in any way please contact me at

Will Beglane - Head Coach

You can get the result on the little league baseball website:


Good morning New York

Jon Papelbon asks..

Good morning New York, How's YOUR summer going?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


There are a variety of routes you can take getting to and from the home of Irish baseball, the O'Malley fields in Corcaigh Park, Newlands Cross.

The more you take them, the more you appreciate them.

It can start on a quiet, sunny Saturday morning. Walking from the southside of the river Liffey to the shiny new Luas that departs from famous old Connolly station with it's rustic facade and constant construction work all around. Walking up the quays on the way to the Luas it's quiet, there isn't much going on around the financial centre of Dublin at 9am on a Saturday. The closer you get to the Customs House, Busaras and Connolly Station the busier it gets. The zombified late night revellers returning home. The homeless guys hanging out on the steps of the majestic Custom House. The few, angry looking white collar staffers on their way in on a weekend, and not happy about it at all, at all.

Dublin's Custom House

Lugging a sports bag that far leaves you with a welt on your shoulder. Adjust it a few times, consider grabbing a Subway, or maybe a coffee if you are still dragging after staying up to 3 am to watch MLB on TV. Getting on the LUAS heading out to the Red Cow Inn stop you pass right through the heart of Dublin City, right around Houston Station and out into the 'burbs.

If a team-mate is good enough to offer you a ride, you end up on any number of routes. For me the most prevalent is up the beautiful Royal Canal. There were many a sunny Saturday morning where TK and myself would stumble out of the apartment out to Gordy, who was sitting patiently listening to the great Damien Dempsey waiting for us two chug monkeys to get our stuff together. We would drive up through Baggot Street and the early morning traffic, up through Harold's Cross and finally Crumlin, before getting to Newlands Cross and the gas station where we would stop to stock up on water, powerade, donuts, packaged Mexican salads, bad sandwiches, popcorn, chocolate, pringles crisps, hot dogs and, if you are feeling lucky, lottery tickets for that nights coming draw.

The Hurricanes at Corcaigh Park

Then there's the stroll to the field, where you adrenaline starts to pick up. Parking is in an adjoining estate, and you walk up to the entrance past the single file row of baseballers cars. Then there's the beautiful green fields of Corcaigh Park as you make your final walk up to the O'Malley Fields and your destiny on the day. A bad day at the plate? A tremendous days work off the mound? Two doubles and a few stolen bases or a 'five and dive' where 'their bats just found the ball'. Who knows, but it's all ahead of you at this point.

Irish baseball supremo/legend Mike Kindle being interviewed by 'Emerald Diamond' director John Fitzgerald with the beautiful O'Malley Fields behind him

The trip home can take a few shapes or sizes.

The canal can be an entertaining experience on the way home. With Vegas Valkys at the wheel recently a couple of us watched in amazement as a Dublin criminal ran from the Gardaí just feet from our car which was stopped in traffic. We watched in amazement as the skinny criminal ran and leaped full stretch into the Canal. The two perplexed Gardaí watched, literally scratching their heads, before calling backup which arrived in seconds. We had to move on at that stage, but our previously silent journey became a cacophony of debate and conjecture.

Then there's the days where it all does not go to plan. Baseball in Ireland is a funny little show. The veteran players, it means too much to us. We have become organic parts of our clubs and our friends on the teams are people we just don't want to let down. So, on a wet, damp, grey Dublin day where things don't go right, it can be a long trip home from the O'Malley Fields. You can get dropped at the Luas and sit silently amongst the sweaty GAA fans on their way to a big inter county game, or failing that amongst the obese Saturday shoppers. Fat people in America? Holy mackerel, Ireland can't talk. Take the Luas any Saturday and check out the percentage of obese people. It's eye opening. The Luas drops you in town and then you can either put the head down and dash home, or you can opt to wander around, maybe pick up something to eat or call in to a shop on the way home.

With the latter, you spend a half hour on the Dart stewing internally, your mind going over the game and what you could have done better, differently even. Then the Luas pulls up in town and you go from relative peace and quiet to being sucked into the Saturday heaving throng. Bustled by over laden shoppers and groups of burly Eastern European men, stepping over beggars, your ears assaulted by teams of noisy, high pitched teens wearing the kind of clothes strippers would be embarrassed to go out in.

Lower Abbey Street, on a Saturday, is probably reasonably close to Hell.

O'Connell Street, by comparison, is relatively peaceful, if only because of it's wide open spaces. The crowds are different too. Colourful tourists and grey drug addicts mix freely, the Gardaí watching amused from their perch against the walls of the GPO. You adjust your heavy sports bag on your shoulder and narrowly avoid knocking out a woman pushing a pram, she doesn't notice though because she's too strung out to care, and her boyfriend/husband, who is walking beside her like a hobbit with a bad hip, is too busy talking on his stolen phone about their next fix to notice. Then you turn a certain way and you are looking straight at the GPO and you wonder what Padraig Pearse would have thought about his City, that so many died for in 1916, being over run by scum bags, addicts, pushers and thieves.

Fun and games on O'Connell Street

Then there's the bus trip home from that side of the City, one of many buses that enter the City from the Houston Station side and trundle slowly down busy Dame Street. The bus first encounters traffic like opposition around Christchurch, the oldest and one of the most graceful parts of Dublin City. Dame Street is crowded too. The bus makes a couple of stops along it so depending what you are doing next, you could get off and just melt into the colourful throng in Temple Bar, or alight around the regal Trinity College and make your way up to Grafton Street.

The front gates at Trinity College Dublin - one of the greatest meeting places in the world!

You can start the rehab after a bad game with the help of Dublin City. Get off the bus at Dame Street, the cheerful 'Thanks mate' from the friendly bus driver something you don't get in every city around the world. Head down to Temple Bar, stop at Di Fontaine's for a good Pizza slice, maybe slip into Eamon Doran’s for a cold pint of whatever it is that does it for you. Heineken please.

Pick your bag up, head back into the crowds, your spirit refreshed a little, you can do it again next week and this time you will do it better. It takes a while to realise it, but making your way out to and back from the O'Malley fields, you really get to know your city a little bit better. It's all part of the journey, as they say.

It's a confusing city, sometimes superb, sometimes turgid, however it is an integral part of the Saturday Baseball Ireland experience. Like the games itself, sometimes it is awful, sometimes it is beautiful. It's always an experience.


Monday, August 25, 2008

What's the point in playing these games?

Anyone catch the Yankees at Orioles last night?

The Yankees took a big lead but the feisty Orioles came back hard and had several chances late but just couldn't convert. It didn't help that future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera was brought in during the eighth to quell a rally. It also did not help that the home plate umpire, Ed Rapuano, gave two absolutely disgusting calls to Rivera that basically took the bat out of the hands of two big Orioles sluggers.

For the last out of the eighth, with a runner on first, Jay Payton backed off from an inside fastball that was clearly about six inches off the plate. Strike three called, emphatically. The Orioles commentary team were completely perplexed. The replay of the 'strike' call only made things worse, the pitch simply was not even close. A learning disabled monkey with bad eye sight could have made a better call on that pitch, so why does a 'professional' like Ed Rapuano make such a completely horrible call?

Worse was to come.

Bottom of the ninth, tying run on second, slugger Nick Markakis at the plate. Mariano Rivera coils and fires. Way outside. No, wait, Strike three, looking.

Once again the umpire takes the bat out of the Orioles hands and basically gifts the Yankees a win. The second call was worse than the first. We are talking easily 6-7 inches off the plate. Nowhere close. The three replays after the event showed inches of daylight between the plate and the ball.

Several questions on this, why on earth does MLB accept this level of pathetic umpiring from their employees? Why did the Orioles pretty much accept their fate? The two batters were naturally argumentative but I don't understand how the coach didn't get tossed at least once there.

The bottom line is, what exactly is the point in playing the game of baseball when the very people meant to lay down the law, the umpires, are flagrantly ignoring the rules of the game?

What's the point?

Did Ed Rapuano have a stack of cash on the Yankees last night? His two big calls were just that bad that you have to ask that question, and that's sad.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quick question...

Very quick question for those of you who miss Manuel

You think he makes this catch?

That's right, I didn't think so!

Manny is a chump. Did you see him sprint out a ground ball and then steal a base this week for the Dodgers? He's a greedy chump. Good riddance.


Knocking back the World view on Canadians five years

Have you ever listened to the Toronto Blue Jays commentary team?

Oh boy.

Particularly brain dead. I would go as far as saying they are almost as bad as the White Sox commentary team, not quite, but almost.

During tonight's Sox v Jays head to head they came out with some absolute moronic crackers. My favourite? Definitely the following

''(Player x) has great tenaciousness''

Tenaciousness? Really?

How on earth do these knuckle heads get these jobs?


Friday, August 22, 2008

Teams that are not going to win the 2008 World Series: Start spreading the news, it's team number 14

Here's the 411. Over the next couple of months I am going to crudely single out all but four teams and label them audaciously as having zero chance of winning the 2008 World Series. What will this arrogance get me? Nothing bar a torrent of abuse in the event I get it wrong and one of the chosen gang of Chug Monkeys turns out to be the World Series champs. Let's start insulting people!

Oh boy oh boy, I have been waiting for this entry. So much so that I am going to break out the Gorilla. Yes, it's just that good.

This pack of under achieving wasters are not only not going to win the 2008 World Series, they are also not even going to make the playoffs, criminal for a team with such a high payroll. What's the problem so, is there any one thing that defines this Titanic like failure? The beauty of it all is this team is a total car crash right now, from top to bottom, at almost all levels of the organisation. The once proud dynasty has nothing of any reasonable trade value in its farm system. The prospects it has available for MLB use are failing miserably. If they aren't on the DL they are on a shuttle back and forth between the majors and the minors.

They are almost ten games behind their division leaders and showing now signs of life at all. Their superstar recently tried to steal third base in a big game with the count 3-0 on the batter, meaning the man at the plate didn't swing and the catcher threw the 'superstar' out by a country mile.

They are getting absolutely whipped at least once or twice a week, often by club record scores. Their overpaid, over-aged and over hyped batters are completely and utterly impotent in the clutch in '08. They rank 22nd in on-base-plus-slugging with runners in scoring position. Pathetic. Beautifully pathetic. Their poster boy super star leads the backwards charge batting a timid .200 with runners in scoring position and two outs. He can slam the ball to the moon against Kansas or Cleveland, but in the crunch he runs and hides.

Out of 38 remaining games they only have 16 at home, and they have a couple of ferocious road trips that will be taxing both mentally and physically, particularly when then average age of their lineup is about 47. In September they have a ten game road trip that will see them travel over 2,500 miles.

These guys are all but dead and buried.

Ding dong, the witch is dead. After last night's shallacking there can be no doubt in anyones mind, The New York Yankees will not be winning the 2008 World Series. You can take that to the bank.

Previous entries to 'Teams that are not going to win the 2008 WS;
  1. The San Francisco Giants
  2. The San Diego Padres
  3. The Kansas Royals
  4. The Cincinatti Reds
  5. The New York Mets
  6. The Washington Nationals
  7. The Seattle Mariners
  8. The Cleveland Indians
  9. The Atlanta Braves
  10. The Pittsburgh Pirates
  11. The Colorado Rockies
  12. The Oakland A's
  13. The Baltimore Orioles
  14. The New York Yankees

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Top ten games in Baseball Ireland History (number 6)

Game Number 6
Ireland v Slocum Baseball Club (RI)
Fenway Park, Boston

Rhode Island Tour August 2001

Game files
Game: Ireland v Slocum
Tournament: Exhibition game
Game type: Friendly game
Venue: Fenway Park, Boston

In 2001 the Irish National Baseball team travelled to New England to play a series of exhibition games in order to prepare us for the 2002 European Championships in Sweden. The trip was also organised so Ireland could play a series of games against our great friends Slocum Baseball Club of Rhode Island. It was through them and the unbelievable hard work of Ed Cooney in particular that Ireland and Slocum were allowed play a exhibition game at Fenway park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

Here's an excerpt from my book on Irish Baseball on that famous day
You can also view pictures from that day here

Day four, Tuesday August 7th and we were already heading into beautiful Boston to play an exhibition game against Slocum at the greatest ballpark in the world, the hallowed baseball shrine otherwise known as Fenway Park. We had to get up extremely early in order to make it to Fenway for 9am. The bus journey seemed pretty slow, and typically the traffic was incredibly bad when we made it into the Fens area. Being an enormous Red Sox fan it was some thrill to see the light stands as we got closer, knowing that I was going to soon be playing actually in that very stadium.

I’ve had some amazing memories at Fenway in my time. First of all, it was the venue of my folks first date. I can almost see my Dad handing my Mum a beer and a hot dog as they headed for their bleacher seats (I’m almost willing to bet €100 they were bleacher seats!!) saying 'don't I show you a good time?!’ Ill never forget the first time I walked out into the Fenway arena, back in the summer of 1994. The Sox were playing Milwaukee and Roger Clemens was on the mound. I had seen the Red Sox on television before, my Dad and I had snuck home early from a family party in ’86 to watch British television showing what we hoped would be the Sox clinching a historic World Series. That didn’t turn out so well. I had as yet not made it into Fenway itself though. I was instantly addicted as Clemens mowed the Brewers down one by one.

Another fond memory is sitting in the sun drenched bleachers with my brother Gareth watching a mid week lunchtime game, everyone giddy as they were all off work or school to watch the Sox. Then there's the home opener of 1999, sitting in the bleachers about five meters from where Troy O'Leary's game winning three run blast landed. The place went absolutely nuts.

Anyway, you get the picture. The Sox send me into both raptures and conniptions.
When we got off the bus I immediately ran into my Aunt Essie. It was so cool to see her smiling face there, as if she was almost greeting me off the bus. There were allot of people milling around, relatives and friends of both the Slocum and Irish entourages.

After a brief hello I had to go inside, past the security and down the tunnel and out onto the field. I felt a little like a trespasser as I looked around trying to find out how to actually get on the field itself. A security guy laughed at me and told me just to hop over the wall. It was a magical moment for me as I got onto the sun drenched grass and headed for the third base line dugout. A couple of the team walked past, totally in awe, everyone desperately trying to take it all in.

We were such tourists, the first thing Gordon Ireland and I did was head for the majestic 'Green Monster' and started snapping pictures like crazy. We took one great one of the two of us under the foul line running up the Monster in the left hand corner. The whole team gravitated towards the Monster and soon we had a really nice team shot taken right under it.

Gordon Ireland and myself under the Green Monster

Time was of the essence, we had to been told we had to be out of their at 1pm, so we hurriedly started to prepare. Myself, Bill Beglane and Mike Kindle jogged over to the Bullpen, practically tripping over ourselves with excitement. I had almost totally forgotten about my broken rib at this stage, the adrenaline was literally flowing through me. The bullpen warm-up was allot of fun, we were in the home pen too, and it hit me like a lightning bolt, I thought to myself 'Roger Clemens warmed up here. Pedro warmed up here..'. It was pretty sobering and I felt like I was almost insulting the bullpen with my comparatively amateur fastballs and ugly off speed pitches. Mike took off but Bill and I hung out for a few more minutes. The bullpen phone rang and Bill answered, and a ridiculous conversation followed with one of the Slocum kids on the other end having no clue what Bill was saying and likewise Bill being in the dark as to what the other guy wanted. Pretty funny stuff though to watch.

Time was going too fast. As I headed back to the dugout I noticed a small band of my relatives and my brother Gareth in the stands, and jumped the fence to go up and chat to them. It was an incredibly calming moment to suddenly be sitting amongst generations of Eklof’s and friends. I promised to come back to them after the game and took off to get ready to play. The dozen or so family and friends that were there to watch me was a figure totally dwarfed by the entourage that came to watch Chris Foy, There must have been forty people either friends or family of his. It was like 50 cent or Usher had just entered a nightclub with a fifty-man posse in tow.

I was told I was starting and going one inning (the game, which really was taking a very distant second place to the day, the event itself, was to take on the format of an All Star game). We batted first and didn't do much against the hard throwing Slocum starter, and then we took the field. Just like that I was standing on the mound at Fenway Park. Giddy as hell. I had absolutely no balance and felt like I was throwing my warm-up pitches with a paper arm.

I assume I am not the only guy in the world who has ‘sporting impotence’ dreams, dreams where you can’t hit a basket, or can’t sink the putt, or where you can’t run fast enough. That’s how it felt standing on the mound. My warm-up pitches were absolute muck.

Nervousness is a strange emotion. Right up to the moment I stood on the mound I really didn’t feel too bad. I was quite confident and felt like I could throw hard strikes. The moment I toed the rubber though it all went out the window though and I totally panicked. I looked up to the stands and couldn't find my relatives or friends, which didn't help. I thought that if I saw my brother laughing at me I'd calm down.

I kept thinking of the great games, the great Pitchers. I had been in the stands literally dozens of times watching my heroes play. I had seen some great, powerful, masterful performances on this very mound that I was standing on, and it was all getting in my head. I had sat about 80 feet dead ahead and watched Pedro Martinez blaze fastballs by major league hitters. Now I was staring at the dirt trying not to balk.

The game started, the Slocum guys came out swinging and my inning on the mound at Fenway Park was a bit of a battle. I gave up one run on a couple of walks and a hit, and Sean Mitchell bailed me out a little by throwing out a runner trying to steal third, but all in all I was happy enough. It was a beautiful day and we were only one run down in Fenway Park.

Bill Beglane pitched the second and Sean Corrigan pitched the third, and we were still in the game after 4 innings, only down 3-0. Unfortunately it then blew up in our faces as a couple of our pitchers were devoured. Our bats never really got going either. Probably our hardest hit ball was Gordon Ireland's amazing line drive on the first pitch he saw to deep centre field. Unfortunately for us the centre fielder made a quite spectacular diving grab to rob Gordy of a sure double.

I was delighted to get back into the game replacing Kevin Corrigan at third base at the start of the fifth. Having already been on the mound it was now time to share the same side of the infield as Nomar Garciaparra, the same infield position as John Valentin, Tim Naehring and Wade Boggs. I was standing on the same field as Yaz, Teddy Williams and countless other baseball legends. I had two at bats during my stint at third, grounding out to third in my first (I was delighted to put the ball in play!) and then drawing a walk off an extremely hard throwing pitcher in the last inning. During that at bat we scored our only run on a passed ball, so Ill be claiming the RBI for that one! It was an enormous thrill to jog down the first base line and stand on the bag. Ken Murphy was up after me, and he fouled a few pitches off so I got to hang around out there for a few minutes, adjusting my gloves, pretending I belonged there.

The exhibition game ended on a really nice note with tournament organiser Ed Cooney grounding out to our Coach Rick Steen at first, and it was time to breathe again.

Some pictures from Baseball Ireland's day at Fenway

Links to the other games in the Irish all time top ten

6. Ireland v Slocum Baseball Club - Fenway park 2001
7. Ireland v Finland European Championships 2004
8. Ireland v Slocum Baseball Club RI - Rhode Island tour 2001
9. Ireland v Lithuania - Stockholm 2002
10. Ireland v Serbia-Montenegro - Germany 2004

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hey, it's the Craig Hansen update!

As Jason Bay bashed his second home run out of the park last night, I couldn't help wondering about one of the young men the Red Sox gave up for him, Craig Hansen. Whilst Bay is growing on me, I always hoped Hansen would develop into something special with the Sox.

So, how is he doing in Pittsburgh?

Not bad at all, is the answer to that. In his last four outings he has only given up one run, and has been getting a heap of ground ball outs, which looks like a good thing in his case.

You can keep an eye on him by clicking here, in case you are interested in the former Sox players development. Here's hoping the pitcher-friendly NL helps him to the next level.

It's Craig Hansen, and a monkey!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Quick Q&A session: how hard is it to get on the Irish baseball team?

Got a comment on a post last week that read a-little-something like this (actually, this is a direct quote)

dude im a huge baseball fan and I have a question:
1) Is it hard to make the Irish National Baseball team?? I have Irish descent and im curious.

Well, first off, I am saddened to hear that being part Irish is bringing you down!

As to the question at hand, short answer, 'Yes, however it's quite rewarding!'

Long answer? Glad you asked!

If you are just curious, and fancy trying your hand at playing for Ireland, then yes, it would be hard to make the team. If you are passionate about it, are willing to offer up body and soul and throw yourself 100% into it, then it could not only be fun, rewarding and enjoyable, but could also be a major, positive life experience. If you are into that sort of thing.

Hope that helps!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Kick the Spanish basketball team out of the Olympics, now!

Catch the picture of the Spanish men's Olympic basketball team making 'slanty eyes' in an official team portrait?

There is plenty of debate going on about this insanely ridiculous picture, but really it is all noise. It should not matter that the Chinese have (so far) taken this in their stride and ignored it. It shouldn't matter that nobody in Spain, nobody on the Spanish basketball team thought 'this might be appropriate'. The only thing that should matter right now is the Olympic councils reaction.

In this day and age, where racism is supposedly not tolerated, this kind of disgusting, crass act should be punished immediately, there is no doubt in my mind the Spanish basketball team should be thrown out of the games immediately.

Let me put this in perspective.

Imagine Le Bron James had dunked on Yao Ming and then made a 'slanty eye' celebration afterwards? The web servers at ESPN would quite literally have crashed with the amount of traffic that would have come from that hypothetical incident. The uproar in the States, and worldwide, would have seen Le Bron sent home in disgrace. No doubt about.

Witness here however, how the entire Spanish men's team has made a ridiculously racist advertisement and, so far, has gotten away with it entirely.

How is this so?

The Olympic council can come out with a strong message against racism and throw Spain out of the tournament, leaving no doubt where they stand. Instead, they will do nothing, and a few racist scum-bags out there will have a chuckle at the Spanish teams asinine moment of 'high comedy'.

I hope the USA beats Spain by fifty points when they play them, they are a complete disgrace and deserve nothing but bad luck the rest of the way.

Luckily, Sports Karma has a way of catching this kind of stuff out in the long run.


Teams that are not going to win the 2008 World Series: Four for the price of one, bargain Friday!

Here's the 411. Over the next couple of months I am going to crudely single out all but four teams and label them audaciously as having zero chance of winning the 2008 World Series. What will this arrogance get me? Nothing bar a torrent of abuse in the event I get it wrong and one of the chosen gang of Chug Monkeys turns out to be the World Series champs. Let's start insulting people!

Clearing out the closet today. Four teams with no hope of winning them world series.

Team one
Eleven games under .500. Shipping out stars like they are going out of fashion. Lost their two big sluggers and their best setup man. An aimless 22-38 on the road. Second in MLB with 656 runs conceded. 656 runs! What in blazes?! Ugly -83 run differential. 0.1 chance of winning the WS. Ladies and Gents, the pathetic Pittsburgh Pirates. The less said about that bunch the better. Just awful.

Team two
Check these ugly statistics out
  • .439 winning percentage
  • 20-40 on the road
  • -76 run differential
  • 3-7 in their last 10
  • 0.1 percent chance of winning the WS
Isn't it just crazy that team played for all the marbles in '07? That's right. The 2008 Colorado Rockies will not be winning the World Series.

Team three
This sorry bunch are a perfect 10 games under .500. They are a pathetic 2-8 in their last 10. Statistics aside, if I was a fan of this bunch, I would be furious at their allegedly genius GM, who has made a name for himself by giving away his best players as soon as the team are in danger of contending. Just think about the pitching Oakland have given away in the last 5-6 years. And for what? Will Oakland ever contend? Certainly not in 2008 anyway. Write this bunch of cheap-skates off.

On the face of it, team four is not totally out of it. However, you know they are, really. They are perfectly mediocre. Not too far off .500, 5-5 their last 10, they have scored a few, they have conceded a few and they might even play spoiler in the run in. You know though, when all is said and done, they will be a good 15-20 games out in the AL East and really, what hope is there in Baltimore for the future? The Baltimore Orioles will not, it is safe to say, win the World Series in 2008. Sorry Pat.

By the by, totally unrelated, well, somewhat related, MLB related anyway, another Friday another super awesome column from Jayson Stark. If you love baseball you will love this.

Previous entries to 'Teams that are not going to win the 2008 WS;
  1. The San Francisco Giants
  2. The San Diego Padres
  3. The Kansas Royals
  4. The Cincinatti Reds
  5. The New York Mets
  6. The Washington Nationals
  7. The Seattle Mariners
  8. The Cleveland Indians
  9. The Atlanta Braves
  10. The Pittsburgh Pirates
  11. The Colorado Rockies
  12. The Oakland A's
  13. The Baltimore Orioles


Thursday, August 14, 2008

It just looks odd

I thought I would be over it at this stage. However, it still looks odd. If you are a Red Sox fan, if you suffered through those up and down early nineties teams (not to mention what came before), if Nomar signalled the start of something better for you and if Manny confirmed that new look, well, this just looks odd, doesn't it?

3rdM Ramirez homered to right center

9thN Garciaparra homered to left.

The Red Sox West (otherwise known as the LA Dodgers) continued to push towards the playoffs last night with a big win over the Phillies. I am just going to throw this out there, how does everybody feel about the possibility of another Boston v LA final, to go with the Celtics v Lakers NBA finals?

Nomar looks excited about it...


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wild night at Fenway - the scoring

Kind of surreal, no?

1stD Ortiz homered to right, J Drew and D Pedroia scored.03
1stJ Lowrie doubled to deep left, M Lowell and J Bay scored.05
1stJ Drew singled to right, J Lowrie scored, K Cash to third on throw.06
1stD Pedroia reached on infield single to third, K Cash scored, J Drew to second.07
1stD Ortiz homered to center, J Drew and D Pedroia scored.010
2ndC Davis singled to right, M Bradley and M Byrd scored.210
3rdM Lowell walked, J Drew scored, D Pedroia to third, K Youkilis to second.211
3rdJ Bay reached on infield single to third, D Pedroia scored, K Youkilis to third, M Lowell to second.212
5thJ Hamilton singled to right, I Kinsler scored.312
5thM Byrd doubled to deep center, J Hamilton scored, M Bradley to third.412
5thF Catalanotto doubled to left center, M Bradley and M Byrd scored.612
5thC Davis singled to left, F Catalanotto scored.712
5thI Kinsler homered to left, G Laird and C Davis scored.1012
5thK Youkilis homered to center, D Ortiz scored.1014
6thM Byrd singled to center, J Hamilton scored, M Bradley to second.1114
6thF Catalanotto doubled to deep right, M Bradley scored, M Byrd to third.1214
6thG Laird hit sacrifice fly to right, M Byrd scored, F Catalanotto to third.1314
6thC Davis safe at first on error by first baseman K Youkilis, F Catalanotto scored.1414
6thI Kinsler hit sacrifice fly to center, C Davis scored.1514
7thM Byrd singled to right, J Hamilton scored.1614
7thK Youkilis grounded into fielder's choice to pitcher, D Pedroia scored on throwing error by pitcher J Wright, D Ortiz to second.1615
8thD Pedroia doubled to deep left, J Ellsbury scored.1616
8thK Youkilis homered to left, D Pedroia and D Ortiz scored.1619
9thB Boggs doubled to deep left center, M Byrd scored.1719

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Catching up on all things baseball

So, for the next two months, every time a team loses a player to injury, are we going to have to suffer 'what about Barry Bonds' stories? Pass me the Advil already. That egotistical, narcissistic cheat gives me a serious headache.

Nice short piece on the continued friendship of Pedro and Papi here in the NY Times by Jack Curry

About Last night...
  • Break up White Sox perfect game? Check!
  • Break up White Sox no-hitter bid? Check!
  • Win a big game with our ace on the mound? Check!
  • My fear allayed? Check!
  • And possibly most enjoyable of all - Make the White Sox announcers, easily the most annoying in baseball, eat their words? Check, check!
I loved one headline I read about the whole Adam Dunn to the D-Backs thing, it said 'The D-Backs covered a big hole in their lineup with this addition'. What, really? The D-Backs were missing a slow, ponderous runner, with poor defence and who will strike out close to 200 times at the plate, all for a couple of home runs while he bats close to .220? Really?

Looks like the Mets are all set for their traditional late season slide! Always an enjoyable event! Should be interesting to see the in-fighting, firings and back stabbings the coming weeks. Those guys are just super.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Big night in Chicago

Just throwing this out there, if you don't like it, spin it right on back at me. You know me, I absolutely hate the panic-mongering that goes on amongst many a Red Sox fan in the sprawling network/fan base that is Red Sox Nation. Drives me nuts. However, having said that, is tonight a make or break night for the Red Stockings?

I'll clarify. What I mean is, if the Sox lose tonight, will it signal the beginning of the end of the '08 season?

Why, you ask, am I willing to suggest such a sweeping generalisation? Simple. If the Sox can't pull out a win against Chicago with their ace on the mound, they could not only be 5.5 games behind Tampa for the AL East, they could also be trailing in the Wild Card standings for the first time.

There is also the fact that if they lose, with their ace on the hill, it will be a crushing moral blow to a team that needs all the breaks it can get right now, with an injury list worse than the first units ashore at Omaha beach in 1945.

Beckett - needs to show the way tonight for Boston

Maybe tonight isn't 'make or break' for the Boston Red Sox, it is definitely 'put up or shut up' however. Put it this way, a win tonight, a dominant, assured performance from Beckett and Boston can move forward with heart. A loss and, well, let's just not think about that option right now.

Cross that bridge if we come to it. Patriots are starting up again soon, right?


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Irish baseball league update: Hurricanes 7 Blacksox 5

Dublin Hurricanes 7 Blacksox 5

Hurricanes veteran Tom Kelley

The Dublin Hurricanes battled the Blacksox to a extra innings 7-5 win today in Shanganah Park, Shankill, improving their record further to 7-3 in a game that was a superb advertisement for Irish baseball. Both teams played in impressive fashion with the veteran Hurricanes ball-club finding a way to win in the clutch.

Andrew Davies shows of the grip for his knuckle curve

The Hurricanes struck first scoring three runs in the first inning but the Blacksox came back in the bottom of the inning to score two of their own. That would set the tone for the day, with the Blacksox taking a lead, the Hurricanes striking back to take their own lead before the Blacksox forced an extra inning by tying the game 5-5 late.

Hurricanes first baseman Chris Foy takes a well earned rest after the game

The Hurricanes held their nerve and scored two huge runs in the extra inning to take the lead 7-5. The Blacksox managed to get runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the inning however the 'Canes knuckled down and shut the door to finish the game and come out 7-5 winners. This pushes the 'Canes record to 7-3 as we turn into the home stretch of the 2008 Irish baseball season.

For the 'Canes on the day there were several stand out performances. The Hurricanes infield played excellent defence, Andy Davies at third make several big outs look easy while Steve Divito and Andy Martin played flawless, veteran infield baseball. First baseman Chris Foy kept the ship running steadily scooping everything up effortlessly. Chris also scored a couple of runs.

Offensively the two big hits came off the bats of Dioni Guerra and Andrew Davies. Dioni drove in two big runs in the first while Andrew knocked in the two winning runs in the eight. Kevin Richards got that inning off to a flying start with a big walk.

Tommy Hernandez played a solid game, particularly when you consider he played the first half of the game in sneakers, on wet turf!
.Tommy shows off his sneakers

Big win in a tight, exciting game. The Hurricanes have set themselves up nicely for the home stretch by winning on the Blacksox home turf.

TK reads out the 'B' team lineup after the 'A' league game. Sideways.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Just rambling on about the Red Sox

Looking at the next couple of weeks ahead, this could be the make or break section of the 2008 season for the Boston Red Sox, in terms of the AL East anyway. Worrying about the playoffs can come later, right now Boston has to worry about getting there at all, locked in a fierce AL East battle with the upstart Rays and the 'Dad's Army' Yankees.

A few weeks ago in a post about not panicking, I suggested that the Sox were about to hit a relatively smooth stretch in the schedule. The stretch is just underway, starting with a little frolic in Kansas.
  • Mon, Aug 4 @ Kansas City
  • Tue, Aug 5 @ Kansas City
  • Wed, Aug 6 @ Kansas City
  • Fri, Aug 8 @ White Sox
  • Sat, Aug 9 @ White Sox
  • Sun, Aug 10 @ White Sox
  • Mon, Aug 11 @ White Sox
  • Tue, Aug 12 Texas
  • Wed, Aug 13 Texas
  • Thu, Aug 14 Texas
  • Fri, Aug 15 Toronto
  • Sat, Aug 16 Toronto
  • Sun, Aug 17 Toronto
  • Mon, Aug 18 @ Baltimore
  • Tue, Aug 19 @ Baltimore
  • Wed, Aug 20 @ Baltimore
  • Fri, Aug 22 @ Toronto
  • Sat, Aug 23 @ Toronto
  • Sun, Aug 24 @ Toronto
Doesn't that look like a seven and six game winning streak in the space of two weeks waiting to happen?

Manny is gone, and Jason Bay is in the house, it's no longer the Boston Red Sox featuring Manny Ramirez, it is the 25 men of the Boston Red Sox on the same page. All you need to know about the clubouse is that nobody, not one player, has said anything close to 'I miss Manny.' Imagine that. The clubouse, to a man, appears totally happy with life without Manny.

It is showing on the field. The Sox are playing well, scoring runs in bunches, running the bases well and pitching great. If they manage to maintain this level of baseball over the next couple of weeks they could go some way to making the race for the AL East even tighter still.

On the mound tonight for Boston? Jon Lester and his superb 10-3, 3.15 record. Have a look at what the rivals are wheeling out tonight. The Yankees Ian Kinsler is dragging a over-seven era to the mound, and only against the hottest team in the AL right now, the Angels.

Time to stick the knife in the back of Dads Army, put those Yankees to bed and catch up on those feisty Rays.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Teams that are not going to win the 2008 World Series: 9. The Atlanta Braves

Here's the 411. Over the next couple of months I am going to crudely single out all but four teams and label them audaciously as having zero chance of winning the 2008 World Series. What will this arrogance get me? Nothing bar a torrent of abuse in the event I get it wrong and one of the chosen gang of Chug Monkeys turns out to be the World Series champs. Let's start insulting people!

This team is in a free-fall. According to ESPN they have a 0.2 percent chance of winning the 2008 World Series. I would actually chisel that down a little bit. They have given away their top slugger, and their next best guy may or may not make it through the season, a combination of age and injuries crippling what looked initially like it might be a good year for him personally. This team has lost seven out of their last ten and is starting to look beaten during batting practice. Not long before all the rookies come up and they start openly talking about 'next year'. They pretty much fold on the road, their pathetic record of 19-37 third worst in the entire majors. Hey at least ESPN thinks they have a 1.1 percent chance of making the 2008 playoffs. At least they have that going for them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is safe to say, the Atlanta Braves will not be winning the 2008 World Series.

It has gotten so bad that a local area paper's headline after a rare win led with; 'Hampton wins, remained uninjured.' Things have hit rock bottom when you are rejoicing that a reclamation project didn't injure himself in a start!

Maybe next year Atlanta. Not likely, but, maybe.

Previous entries to 'Teams that are not going to win the 2008 WS;
  1. The San Francisco Giants
  2. The San Diego Padres
  3. The Kansas Royals
  4. The Cincinatti Reds
  5. The New York Mets
  6. The Washington Nationals
  7. The Seattle Mariners
  8. The Cleveland Indians
  9. The Atlanta Braves


Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports


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