Monday, October 26, 2009

Mark McGwire Is Back In Baseball, Except Not Really

Yes, the rumours are true: Mark McGwire is the new hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals.

And as is custom in sports, a press conference was held today to make everything all official-like.

One problem: Big Mac wasn't at the presser.

This is what I can't understand: you have a guy who's clearly trying to repair his tarnished image and get consideration for the Hall of Fame, hitching his wagon Tony Dungy-Michael Vick style to his friend Tony LaRussa, one of the most respected men in baseball.

So you'd think the least you could do to prevent any early skepticism is fucking show up to the thing!

Cards GM John Mozeliak says they're not trying to shield McGwire from questions about steroids: “By no means is he trying to hide, and by no means are we trying to hide him.”

Perhaps Mozeliak should look up the words "shield" and "by no means" in the dictionary (yes, my dictionary has words AND phrases, eat it).

If it was a scheduling conflict, why not hold the press conference so that he can actually be there?

Not exactly the start the Cards were hoping for with this move, especially considering La Russa has stated he's near the end of his managing career.

McGwire has been working with major league hitters in the offseason and has garnered praise for his approach, so who knows, this crazy idea might work.

For what it's worth, McGwire is a career .263 hitter, with a high of .312 in 1996 but also including two seasons at or below the Mendoza line (.201 in 1991 and a brutal .187 in his last year).

Looking forward to following this story in the offseason to see how much steroid juking McGwire will do, and to see whether or not this is as transparent as it appears.

Monday, October 05, 2009

NFL Sunday Review in 10 Photos

My awareness for breast cancer isn't the only thing that's raised.

Nothing says charity like knee-high socks and hooker boots.

"OK guys, #26 over there, he's about 85 years old, so we'll go after him. And don't get cocky; these refs are better than the Lions.

Move over, Sage Rosenfels...make way for the Cutlercopter!

Take notes, Kim Kardashian.

Or you can try the "Korean Altar Boy".

Ike Taylor demonstrates his new defensive strategy, the Booting The Receiver In The Ass method.

The "Jacksonville Jump" doesn't have the same ring to it. Also, Santa's a Jags fan?

"You've won this round, Belichick, but we'll beat your ass in the AFC championship game!"

"...and we'll be waiting." *making the two finger eye pointing gesture*

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Arrivederci Ricciardi

I was ready to write a whole diatribe on the Cito Gaston mutiny story being a symptom of a terrible organization...but then this happened, and yeah, it's a much bigger deal.

J.P. Ricciardi is no longer with the Blue Jays, and as much as I'd like to rip the man for fucking this franchise eight ways from Sunday, I can't bring myself to do it.

Fans and members of the media have short memories, and I recall the early days of J.P.'s tenure as being ones of unbridled enthusiasm and optimism. We gave J.P. plenty of rope, and instead of lassoing a playoff berth or two, he ended up hanging himself with it.

There's no question Ricciardi's last years with the club were an unmitigated disaster; from the ludicrous signings of B.J. Ryan, Frank Thomas, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells, to the Adam Dunn fiasco, to the poor handling of the Roy Halladay trade deadline situation, and finally the reported team mutiny towards manager Cito Gaston.

But now is not the time to kick a fired man's ass out the door. What needs to happen going forward for this team is a change in culture, similar to what is happening with Brian Burke and the Leafs (never thought I'd use the fucking Leafs as an example for how to improve management).

If it takes completely cleaning house, then I'm all for it. Paul Beeston will pick a successor soon, and that person should promptly start from scratch. There needs to be an attitude of winning, not one of complacency for being in a ball-busting division. No excuses, just play ball, all that sort of thing. It sounds simple, but for this franchise it would mark a significant shift in its outlook.

With the Jays' parent company Rogers losing money, the task will be a difficult one. The days of outspending the Yankees and Red Sox ended 15 years ago. But it has to happen. Fans are disillusioned and are making their voices heard by not showing up to the ballpark in droves. With the Leafs and Raptors improving, the Jays simply cannot afford to wallow in mediocrity any longer.

J.P. Ricciardi let the pressures of working in a seemingly no-win environment get to him, and it got him run out of town. I would be surprised if he ever got another GM gig, and he's got no one to blame but himself. Getting fired just two days before the end of the season puts a fitting bow on one of the worst Blue Jays seasons in recent memory, especially considering how promising it all started.

Something has to change. Undeniable dilemma.