Kevin Youkilis has a Problem

I'll say it again. Kevin Youkilis has a problem.

It is not his batting average, which is a very respectable .328. It is not the team he plays for, as the Red Sox are leading the AL East by 8.5 games. It is not his fielding, he is very adept at first and third, and it is not alienation of his fans, as a boo-like "YOOOOOOOOOOOUK" resonates through fenway park with each at bat and each out at first.

No friends, professionally, Youkilis is fine. It is a more personal issue that has caught my attention, and that is the beastly conglomeration of chin hairs that make up his goatee.

Please draw your attention to the photos below. On the left is what Youk looks like without facial hair, and on the right is what he looks like with his chin-chila:

Now I will relent, that in the world of terrible facial hair, there are things far worse. ESPN Page 2 did a great little piece about the craziest baseball hair which you can read here.

But I think that Youkilis' problem is that he draws attention to the one part of his body he should not. He's got bad teeth, a goofy smile and a significantly large chin. There are plenty of other large chinned people in this world such as Bill Cowher, Jay Leno and Quentin Tarantino. But you'll notice they all try to take attention away from their chins. Cowher with his moustache and his over active saliva glands, Leno with his wavy hair and his old-fashioned cars, Tarantino with his funny suits and Sofia Coppola.

I bet ol' Kevin could get some serious yard off that chin if he were hit there with a pitch and it looks like he is out there with a small rodent on his face. See the smiliarities?

I realize that there are far more important things in life and in baseball than what one athlete chooses to do with his facial hair. Maybe he's got some kind of lucky thing going. I don't know. But, I fear that this is Youk's slippery slope and before long he could end up like this.

Orioles Update - Live From Fenway

In an effort to slowly accumulate visits to as many major league ballparks as possible, I was particularly excited to be attending an afternoon game at Fenway Park on Saturday. The weather was crisp but nice, the stands were packed and it felt like Camden Yards used to feel. Optimism was in the air. It's a really cute little stadium, the Green Monster is huge and it fits nicely in with the rest of the city.

Unlike my experience at Yankee Stadium, the fans were nice and enjoyed having some opposition in the stands and I would like to thank Steve Traschel for keeping it interesting for the first five innings.

More to the point though, the O's arrived in Beantown having swept the Devil Rays, and won their first game against the first place Sox. Burress pitched really well and the defense was stellar Friday night. Cut to Saturday afternoon, where Trax gave us the chance, the bullpen gave up the game and the Sox embarassed us. Every time I saw their first baseman Kevin Youkilis scoop up a low bouncer, I wondered by Aubrey Huff missed two, and why he twice chose to step off first base and do a back handed tag, which worked only once.

I also wondered why we nearly outhit the Sox but couldn't score and why our pitchers cannot throw strikes. When Leicsester loaeded the bases on three walks, I knew it was over.

I cannot even begin to talk about Sunday's game. Just know it was the saddest effort I have ever witnessed in baseball. And of course it was followed up by last night's game against the Blue Jays when the O's could not hold on and win a close one, with Danys Baez, the chokemaster, giving up a crucial walk and home run to Troy Glaus. His performance in the last two days has been an embarassment to the craft of major league pitching.

It just seems like our starters suck when the bullpen is clicking. Finally our pitching rebounds and we can't hit a thing. Our offense shapes up and the bullpen starts giving away runs like that's why they're getting millions of dollars.

Having lost the last two games to Boston and the first to the Jays, the Orioles have won four and lost three of their last seven. They are three games below .500, .5 games behind New York and 9 games behind the first place Red Sox.


Orioles Update - 2 Wins in a Row

The Orioles do not at all resemble a team that can contend with the Red Sox or even the rejuvenated Yankees, but at least they are winning against the teams they're supposed to beat. And thanks to back to back victories and the Blue Jays' 8-game losing streak, the O's are back in third place.

On Tuesday Jeremy Guthrie had a great outing against the Rays, though everyone and their mother is steaming mad that he was taken out after 67 pitches. They are saying things like this:

"How could Sam take him out after 67 pitches when the bullpen is overworked?"

I'm pretty sure if he's stayed in and screwed up, everyone would have said something like this:

"Guthrie is still making the transition from reliever to starter. Sammy should have thanked his lucky stars for 6 innings and brought in the bullpen we paid so dearly for. Ease Guthrie in!"

Similarly, Erik Bedard pitched 7 shut out innings last night but left after 97 pitches. In his comments to the press later he said he was done. Now everyone is whining that he's not tough enough to be an ace. In an ideal world, Bedard, or any starter should feel that if he isn't 100% in the game, his bullpen will be. That's why we spent all that money. If he's stayed in and left a fastball floating belt-high in the middle of the plate for Carl Crawford, everyone would have bitched at Perlozzo for keeping him in.

Save the whining for when we lose.


Orioles Update

Today's game sucked. It reeked. It was the second loss in a row. But against one of the best teams in baseball the Birds managed to split the series. The Indians are HOT HOT HOT, and it's great that we took two from them. But we had the momentum, and we lost the last two. Not only that, but Steve Traschel, yet again, gave a strong performance only to watch it get tossed into the garbage by the bullpen.

Walking in runs? Grand slams? This is not what 40+ million was supposed to get this team. There is lots of anti-Perlozzo sentiment in the blog world right now, particularly with today's decision to pull Trax after only 88 pitches.

In other good news, Adam Loewen will be out until September so he will be real fresh when the O's don't make the post-season. I'm sure he, Benson and Wright are having a great time on the DL.

To fill his slot in the rotaion, the O's have called up Jon Leicester, who last pitched in 2005. He had a torn ACL and missed all of last season in the minors.

The next 12 games for the O's feature the Devil Rays, the Red Sox, the Blue Jays and the Nationals. I say the O's are lucky if they go 6 and 6.


Well Said, CamdenChat

There's nothing better than getting prepared to write a super depressing post about your team and finding out that someone did it for you.

As usual Camden Chat provides superior insight into the state of the Baltimore Orioles.

Check it out.


Tooting My Own Horn

To quote myself yesterday:

"While the organization is not pointing fingers, their newly hired trainer Marty Miller could be seeing a pink slip in his mailbox shortly. Even if it's not his fault, the Yanks need a scapegoat."

Today the man is gone.

It's sad because he is a lifelong fan of the Yankees, and because he might have a tough time getting a job again. It's also sad because now maybe the Yankees will be healthy, and win.

Read more about it here.

Also, Carl Pavano is meeting with a surgeon. Prediction: Out for the season.

Orioles Learn Some Important Lessons

Lesson One: Moving players around in your lineup doesn't work if they all suck.

Yesterday Perlozzo moved Mora from second to fifth, Nick Markakis from third to seventh and Miguel Tejada from fourth to third. Ramon Hernandez hit cleanup and Payton batted second.

Lesson Two: You can't rely on Kevin Millar in a clutch situation.

In the third inning the O's were up 2-1 with the bases loaded and Kevin Millar bounced into a double play. After that only one Oriole reached second base.

Lesson Three: Pitching wins games, but not on its own.

Steve Trachsel pitched seven innings for the O's. The last time this season that this happened was April 12, also thanks to Trax.

Lesson Four: Miguel Tejada is no longer a clean up hitter.

Yes, Miggy can hit for average. But singles are not going to clean up the bases. They're just going to load them so that some loser can strike out next.

The O's have to do something. Perlozzo is talking about a roster move, and I say do it. Otherwise, there are going to be more and more empty seats at the yard.

The good news is that there is no way the Orioles can lose today because they have a day off. WOOT WOOT.


Orioles Update

Look how scary that tiger is. No wonder the O's got swept.

That's right folks. The Orioles are heading back to Camden Yards having won one time on their road trip. We'll have to suffer through four more games against the Indians before we face Tampa Bay, a team we might actually be able to beat.

Steve Traschel pitched seven innings, gave up three runs on eight hits. Nice work.

The powerful O's offense mustered 2 runs on 7 hits.

Gary "can put his bat where his mouth is" Sheffield hit another homerun. We look like morons.

Also, Gibbons is hitting .185, both he and Huff came in for single at bats and did nothing and Markakis is having a sophomore slump.

Indians' Protest Falls on Deaf Ears

The Orioles won something!

Not a game, but at this point it hardly matters.

MLB denied the Cleveland Indians' protest of a game last week, in which a run was added to the Orioles' score three innings after it happened.

How it happened (thanks to CBS Sportsline):

The Orioles had taken a 2-1 lead in the third on Miguel Tejada's RBI single. With one out and Nick Markakis on third base and Tejada at first, Ramon Hernandez hit a sinking liner to center field.

Cleveland's Grady Sizemore made a diving catch, popped up and threw to first in time to get Tejada for an inning-ending double play. Markakis, however, tagged up and scored well before Tejada was out at first.

Baltimore's run should have counted, but it was disallowed by plate umpire Marvin Hudson and the inning ended with the Orioles up 2-1, not 3-1.

The O's ended up winning the game 7 - 4, accounting for the only win on their current roadtrip.

If they win right now against the Tigers does it count as two in a row?

Orioles Fans, Take Note

SportsTalk AM 1570 is reporting that Joe Foss, Orioles' VP, and the #2 man to Peter Angelos has resigned.

No details beyond that, but could be good news.

Dan Explains Why the Yankees are Cursed

I would like to take this opportunity to quote my best friend, and devoted Yankee fan, Dan.

"The Yankees are cursed, it's now clear. What did they do, exactly, to earn this? Besides ruining major league baseball, because that is sort of old. So what new thing did they do, what recent act simply crossed the line? Have they gone one greedy grab too far?

My guess: breaking ground on a new stadium. Think on it: the Red Sox curse themselves by selling Ruth for nothing, just money, Ruth "builds" Yankees stadium, and now the Yankees are tearing down Ruth's home. Lesson?: don't fuck with the bambino. DO NOT FUCK WITH THE BAMBINO."

Dan is right. It is inexplicable, even Mike Mussina is shocked. FIVE, yes FIVE Yankees starting pitchers have gone down and it's only May 2. While the organization is not pointing fingers, their newly hired trainer Marty Miller could be seeing a pink slip in his mailbox shortly. Even if it's not his fault, the Yanks need a scapegoat.

It's worth noting that despite all these setbacks, they are in a fourth place tie with Tampa Bay and only half a game behind Baltimore for third. The Sox have a 5.5 game lead over New York, and are 3.5 games ahead of Toronto. I am anxious to see what big moves the Yankees make this summer to secure solid pitching. I saw a really impressive little league pitcher in Prospect Park two days ago. I bet he could fill in if they injure the rest of their minor league pitchers.

Orioles Update

They lost. Again.

Here's why:

1 for 16 with runners in scoring position.

10 men stranded.


The Orioles are 1 and 4 on this road trip and that win is being protested. Can't Cleveland just throw us a bone here?

Quoth Brian Roberts: "It seems that we find a way to lose every night."

On a personal note, I would like to thank the following Orioles for going hitless last night because we really only need the top half of the lineup to hit. The rest of you are just there to look pretty. Except Gibbons.

Ramon "he'll be fine" Hernandez
Jay "waste of money" Gibbons
Kevin "pissed at being benched" Millar
Corey "one good night a month" Patterson

To top it all off, the Orioles now must rely on Steve Traschel for stability and a much needed win. The Mets, and particularly former Oriole John Maine, must be laughing their asses off right now.

Along with the rest of baseball. I say fire the staff, end every contract, move up all the minor leaguers and let 'em at it. At least they'll have fun.


Corey Lidle's Death Was Not My Fault

Last season, in a fit of innapropriate rage, based on years of Yankee hatred stemming from one unmentionable twelve year old who spoiled my adolescent hopes and dreams, I said something about the Bronx Bombers that I should not have.

I said that I would not even care if the Yankees went down in flames in a plane crash on their way to Detroit.

I was naturally thrilled to witness their demise, and to picture them at home, in their mansions, watching the World Series being won by a Cardinals team they could have likely beat.

Weeks passed with little thought to this statement and then the news broke that a plane had crashed into an apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Details followed and it was discovered that Corey Lidle, Yankees' starting pitcher, had been piloting the plane and was killed in the crash.

I was made to feel extremely guilty, despite having had my heart broken a decade earlier by he-who-must-not-be-named-yankees-fan, but today, I am exonerated. Today it was announced by the National Transportation Safety Board that it was “inadequate planning, judgment, and airmanship” by the two men in the plane that caused the crash.

I have long claimed my innocence in this matter, something, I should mention, that Jeffrey Maier cannot do. But I'm over it. Really.

One of these teams is not like the others...

Sure, sure, it's only May, far too early to be talking about the Superbowl. But I needed something to remind me that good things do happen to Baltimore sports teams.

In an otherwise depressing Baltimore Sun sports section today, the glimmer of hope is a report that the Ravens are the clear favorites to win the AFC North Division for the second season in a row.

Here are the deets:

1. Cincinnati has good offense but terrible defense, which they did nothing to fix in the draft.

2. Pittsburgh has no Cowher and no Joey Porter. Big Ben has no appendix. That's unrelated, I just like to make him feel incomplete as a human, just like he is as a quarterback. Oh, snap.

3. Cleveland has upgraded. True. But I don't know if Brady Quinn is quite ready for Ray Lewis.

All in all, it looks to be a promising season at M&T Bank Stadium.

Orioles Update

I think the Orioles' method this season is to have some event distract the media every couple of games so that no one realizes that they keep losing. First it was 'sockgate' and now a full on, bench clearing fight!

But first the important 'why the Orioles blow' breakdown. Daniel Cabrera walked six batters as the Orioles continue to slide closer and closer to their familiar fourth place. The Orioles had nine hits, with every starter contributing except Brian Roberts but of course Gibbons, Huff, Hernandez and Mora all left runners in scoring position.

Luckily for these losers, Daniel Cabrera hit Gary Sheffield with a pitch, and Miguel Tejada got all pissy when Jeremy Bonderman came in close on a pitch to him. Now, I wasn't there, and maybe Cabrera has some personal vendetta against Gary Sheffield (perhaps it's his mustache?) but he walked six batters, so I am going to go ahead and assume that he just couldn't find the strike zone.

Sheffield in classic 'roid rage said they had to protect their team. Because really Miguel Tejada is going to rush the mound and start clobbering Bonderman with his bat. Get a clue Sheffield.

Anyway, Sheff shouldn't be complaining. He should be psyched that the Yankees traded him to a winning team since they are playing so badly right now. Speaking of which, the Orioles are playing so badly right now. I mean they are playing like they don't care. Like they've got other jobs somewhere that are more important than being the representatives of the City of Baltimore in Major League Baseball. All that talk two weeks ago about clubhouse atmosphere blah blah blah. It's really easy to be a supportive and cohesive team when you're winning. The real test of a team is if you can pull each other out when you're losing.

So far, the Orioles have made it clear that when the going gets tough, the Orioles abandon ship.