Urban Sprawl: Advantage, baseball
It's a big sports weekend, but MLB is the place to be
Monster weekend on tap for sports fans, right? World Cup soccer. U.S. Open golf. NBA Finals. Stanley Cup. Ben Roeslithberger medical updates. So many choices, so little time in front of the TV.
With the exception of Big Ben news -- AP has learned that Roethlisberger's first meal back home was a 24-ounce Porterhouse, sucked through a Crazy Straw after 90 seconds in a blender! -- it's all quite compelling stuff. No more compelling than big-league baseball, though, and here's why:
MLB vs. World Cup: Nobody ever got shot for allowing an own-run (never mind that there's no such thing); with one regrettable exception, baseball fans never get stuck with a tie; and unlike the so-called "beautiful" game's hooligans, even the most vociferous Yankees fans don't have to check in with their local police precinct before heading out for the yard. Advantage, MLB.
MLB vs. U.S. Open golf: With 35,000 or so fans screaming, baseball players are asked to hit, with a round bat, a round ball coming at them at speeds in excess of 90 mph, and often the ball is sinking, sliding, curving or knuckling. Golfers are asked to hit a stationary ball with the flat face of a driver head that's as big as a truck driver's head, and the fans are asked to be dead silent as they do it. Nobody's saying golf isn't hard, but it can't be that hard. Let's see how "focused" Tiger Woods is with a Mariano Rivera cutter boring in on his knuckles in the bottom of the ninth. Advantage, MLB.
MLB vs. NBA Finals: Mark Cuban's hair. Gomez Addams called and wants his look back, big boy. Nothing Manny Ramirez comes up with is even close to as bad as what Cuban features. Advantage, MLB.
MLB vs. Stanley Cup: One, you can actually see the baseball on TV; not so the puck. Two, you can find the baseball game on TV; not so the bulk of hockey's playoffs. Three, beards are for lumberjacks, circus freaks and the occasional opportunistic outfielder. And four, Carolina vs. Edmonton? Sounds like a Class A baseball matchup. Advantage, MLB.
Paging Jim Carrey's fake son: Or maybe it should be Adam Sandler. Carrey's son in "Liar, Liar" wished his pops would never be able to fib again. Sandler, in "Click," has a remote control that can do just about anything. Either power would have come in handy the other night in White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's office after rookie reliever Sean Tracey reportedly went against the skipper's orders to drill Hank Blalock.
Tracey threw inside a couple times before getting Blalock to ground out, and Ozzie, as Ozzie is wont to do, went insane.
First he fired a water bottle in the dugout in an obvious display of disgust. Then he yanked Tracey from the game. Then, back in the dugout, he gave Tracey an unreal tongue-lashing, the intensity of which hasn't been seen since someone on "Hell's Kitchen" served that psycho Gordon Ramsey undercooked mahi-mahi.
But after the game, Ozzie denied that he'd wanted Tracey to plunk Blalock, instead offering some lame excuse about being upset because he'd wanted a different reliever to face Blalock but hadn't gotten him up in the bullpen in time.
Had Sandler been there with his remote, he'd have hit the "Pinocchio" button and watched Ozzie's nose drill a hole through the door of his office.
The truth came out Thursday when Tracey was sent to the Minors.
Brotherly love: By all accounts, Angels rookie Jered Weaver and his brother Jeff are tight. The bond could be tested in a big way very soon.
The Halos are about to get 2006 American League Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon back, and that means a starter has to go. That starter might very well be Jeff, because his rookie little brother is pitching circles around him right now.
And tight or not, you have to wonder if Jered isn't enjoying this on some level, looking at it as some sort of karmic payback for all those wet-banana willies and atomic wedgies during their Little League days.
Dribblers ...: No matter how you feel about Interleague Play, there's at least one reason to fully embrace Round 2 of this year's AL vs. NL schedule: The Red Sox can't possibly be playing the Yankees again. ... Here's one thing you will not see this weekend when the A's host the Dodgers: Milton Bradley and Jeff Kent hugging it out. ... Don't fall for it, Rangers fans. You've been down this road before, and it always ends with a pitching staff sapped by September. ... With Eric Gagne, the NL West is the Dodgers' to lose. Without him, it's a tossup. ... Whichever borderline contender gets Alfonso Soriano gets a free pass into the playoffs, especially if it's an AL club in need of a dangerous DH. ... Jason Grimsley, who, according his agent, plans to retire, has been suspended for 50 games. Isn't that a little like throwing a dead man in jail? ... And finally, rest in peace, Eric Gregg. Your strike zone was a little loose, but you were always fun to watch.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.