All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bubba Crosby and Lance Berkman

Fresno St., the team that beat up Rice severely, ended up winning the College World Series. Which prompted this article, about a Rice-Fresno St. game years ago.

One particular series against Rice — must have been 1996, maybe ‘97 — stands out among my experiences.

It was a contentious series, with at least one bench-clearing incident. Rice was good. Its best player, slugger Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros, dominated college baseball that year. Rice’s other star was Bubba Crosby, who most recently played for the Seattle Mariners.

They are the main characters of this story. The other is Sugar Bear, a boisterous, beer-guzzling and beer-bellied man who may be the best Fresno State fan who ever lived. A heckler to the fullest, Sugar Bear drew a large group of college-aged cronies with his gritty charm and chant-leading talent.

In the second or third game of the series — after Fresno State ace Jeff Weaver won Game 1 — Crosby hit a home run, then stomped emphatically on home plate as he scored. Sugar Bear took exception, and he voiced it. In response, Crosby turned toward the lively section of fans and grabbed his cup. Sugar Bear found no humor in the gesture, and again, to the fullest of his vocal capacity, he let Crosby know about it.

Later in the game, Berkman blasted a monster home run that, seemingly still on the rise, sailed past the light post three-quarters of the way from the top. The crowd buzzing, Sugar Bear stood up and led a standing ovation.

LOL. Sounds like our Bubba was just a bit rambunctious in his youth.

Speaking of Bubba Crosby and Lance Berkman...someone has this interesting item on eBay. I've never seen this card. It's apparently very rare, with only ten in existence. It has Bubba on side, Berkman on the other:

Both sides are autographed, and both wrote "Rice" under their signatures. The date is 2004, which probably means the card is actually from 2003. Bubba is still in a Dodgers uniform. (He was traded to the Yankees in 2003, in a deadline deal. Quite literally - the deal was done minutes before the deadline.)

posted by BubbaFan, 12:55 PM | link | 0 comments |

Yanks win Subway Series

Well, there's another game today, so I guess they could split. But technically, the first game on Friday was part of the previous Subway Series. The Yanks have therefore taken two out of three of this Subway Series. (It also means the Mets swept the first Subway Series. Yikes.)

Andy started in left field. He only got two at-bats, though. (A fly out and a GIDP.) They pulled him in the bottom of the 7th.

Andy in the dugout, watching Luis Castillo pinch-hit for him.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:58 AM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Andy Phillips in the starting lineup

The game was delayed due to rain. (Or fear of rain. I don't think it actually rained, but they had the tarp on the field.) It's started now, and Andy Phillips is in the starting lineup. In left field!

posted by BubbaFan, 4:24 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, June 27, 2008

Andy gets to play

The good news is Andy Phillips got a chance to play, both pinch-hitting and at first base. The bad news is that it was because the game was a blowout, and both teams put the scrubs in.

Andy pinch-hit in the top of the ninth.

He swung at the first pitch and flew out to right field.

He then took over first base. Didn't get much to do there.

He's wearing #29. He's still wearing his socks high, though you can't see it in the picture.

Strange to see Andy in a Mets uniform.

Pretty dismal game for Yankees fans. Carlos Delgado, perhaps afraid of being replaced by Andy, was en fuego. He went 3 for 5, including two homers, one of which was a grand slam. He had nine RBIs, setting a Mets record.

Yankees pitching is pretty horrible. As I feared at the beginning of the season. It's so bad Ohlendorf was sent down and Igawa called up after today's game. And Sidney Ponson is starting tonight, vs. Pedro Martinez. That doesn't sound promising, even if Pedro is well past his prime.

Andy is not in the starting lineup. After Delgado hit so well in the first game, I can see why they want to leave him in for the nightcap.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:05 PM | link | 0 comments |

Playing Hooky

I am usually at work at this time of day, but I'm playing hooky today, for several reasons. There's a crosstown doubleheader today for the Yanks. (The day game will be Andy's first game as a Met.) It's supposed to be sweltering, and my office tends to be uncomfortable on days like this. (They're trying to save money by cutting energy use.) And I have some vacation days to burn (and it doesn't look like I'll need them to go see Bubba play this summer, alas).

The NY Times has a little interview with Andy Phillips. He didn't know his first game as a Met would be against the Yankees, since he was watching the Reds' schedule, not the Yankees'. His mom is slowly recovering from that car accident. And his unborn child is a girl.

Also in that article, Jeter speaks out in defense of Shawn Chacon, and says he'll be a character witness if needed.

UPDATE: Kim Jones on YES reported that Mets manager Jerry Manuel wants to put Andy Phillips in tonight. He think players play better against their former teams, because they have something to prove.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:20 AM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Andy the Met

Andy Phillips is already on the Mets' roster. And in a Mets uni, thanks to the magic of Photoshop. (I wonder if MLB's digital artists get bored, Photoshopping yet another player into yet another uniform, day after day after day?)

He doesn't have a number yet, but he's list as a first baseman.

Boy, it's weird to see him in the Mets uniform...

And in other roster news, the Reds sent Paul Janish down to make room for Jerry Hairston, activated off the DL.

Uh, boy. I don't have a problem with Janish being sent down to get regular playing time. But the Reds are the walking wounded. Griffey, Hopper, Encarnacion, Keppinger, Hairston...they're all injured or were activated before they were quite healed. Plus, none of their infielders is really any good at SS. Given their chances of making the post-season this year are pretty dim, why not give Janish a look-see? You can't expect a rookie to play well off the bench. And lord knows they could use his glove. Keppinger and Hairston are terrible shortstops, but the Reds brain trust don't seem to realize it.

UPDATE: Whoa, some big news about former Yankee Shawn Chacon. He's been released, for throwing his GM on the floor and choking him. Yikes. There were rumors about his "attitude problem" when he was with the Yankees, and it appears there was something to them.

Dang. I liked Chacon, but I had no idea he was like this. His major league career is likely over, and should be. There's no excuse for that kind of behavior.

And Kevin Thompson has been released by the Pirates. He had season-ending hand surgery Tuesday, and the Bucs needed the roster spot.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:09 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mets claim Andy Phillips

Well, it looks like Andy may be coming back to NY...but not to the Bronx.

Mets claim ex-Yankee Phillips

The Mets are getting help at first base.

The team has claimed Andy Phillips, the former Yankee who was designated for assignment Sunday by the Cincinnati Reds, major-league sources say.

Phillips, a right-handed hitter, will give the Mets an alternative to the left-handed Carlos Delgado, who has struggled defensively and is batting only .230 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs.

Phillips will also serve as a right-handed hitter off the bench.

The Mets also could use Phillips at second, where he has appeared in two games this season and four in his career. The team's regular second baseman, Luis Castillo, has been dealing with physical issues all season.

Probably not coincidentally, Wayne Krivsky, who was the Reds' GM when Andy signed with the Reds, is now with the Mets.

UPDATE: AP reports that Andy will join the Mets on Friday, for the crosstown doubleheader against the Yankees.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:47 PM | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nibbled to death by Bucs

The Yankees played in Pittsburgh tonight, and it wasn't pretty. If anyone thought the Reds and the Bucs would be cream puffs, they've gotten a rude awakening.

Justin Christian was called up, because both Matsui and Damon are too hurt to play in the outfield. They probably picked him because he's right-handed, versatile, and at 28, is old enough that he's not really a prospect any more. They can park him on the bench without worrying that they'll stunt his development. He had a nice night, going 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs.

Former Yankee Doug Mientkiewicz also had a pretty good night. He was 2 for 3 with a sac fly. And he played right field. He's still not very comfortable in the outfield, but he did well enough tonight. (He also plays 3B for the Bucs.)

Pete Abe reports that Aaron Small was in the clubhouse tonight.

Hall of Fame nice guy and 2005 hero Aaron Small was in the clubhouse before the game. He was in Pittsburgh running a baseball clinic for inner-city kids. Small lives in Tennessee and said with a wide smile that he is enjoying retirement and being with his family. Good for him.

Nice to hear what Small is up to, and that he's happy and enjoying his retirement. I hope Bubba is, too. (Sigh.)

I've been reading Hal McCoy's baseball blog. I didn't realize he had one. Here is a nice tribute to Yankee Stadium. And here is a little more detail about Andy Phillips' being designated for assignment.

A roster move had to be made Sunday morning to make room for the activation of shortstop Jeff Keppinger.

There was a delay, backing up our pre-game meeting with manager Dusty Baker and backing up Marty Brennaman’s pre-game taped interview.

Finally, the announcement was made. Andy Phillips was designated for assignment.

“He was in Sunday chapel,” said general manager Walt Jocketty. “I didn’t want to go into the middle of chapel and pull him out to tell him he was designated.”

It was suggested that maybe Phillips was in chapel praying that Jocketty wouldn’t tap him on the shoulder, but when Keppinger walked into the clubhouse Sunday morning one could see the stricken and forlorn look on Phillips’ face.

Said Baker, “That would have been sacrilegious to pull him out of chapel. We don’t want that.”

Poor Andy.

We should know tomorrow if he cleared waivers.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:04 PM | link | 2 comments |

Random Stuff

The Hartford Courant is one of my favorite papers for Yankees coverage. Dom Amore (formerly their beat reporter, now a general baseball reporter in a cost-cutting move) has an interesting article today about Cashman and possible roster moves. Amore seems to think the Yankees should grab Andy Phillips:

Jason Giambi's solid hitting makes first base less of a problem, though the Yankees could use a defensive specialist there (the Reds designated Andy Phillips for assignment Sunday).

And the Yankees' release of Morgan Ensberg has had some knock-on effects. He was picked up by the Cleveland Indians, and assigned to their Triple-A club, the Buffalo Bisons. That meant infielder Aaron Herr, who had been one of the Bisons' most productive players, didn't get any playing time. So they traded him to the Reds. He started for the Louisville Bats last night. Herr was with the Bats all last year, and won an award for being the best utility guy in the league. He may be insurance, in case Andy Phillips doesn't clear waivers (or elects free agency).

And how's this for a goofy baseball promotion? The Grand Prairie (Texas) AirHogs, an independent team, gave away a funeral at a ballgame. Yes, a funeral. I would guess that wasn't something that brought a lot of kids to the ballpark.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:17 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, June 23, 2008

More on Andy

From Reds beat writer Hal McCoy:

General manager Walt Jocketty was genuinely disturbed that he had to designate for assignment infielder/outfielder Andy Phillips, who is out of options and can be claimed by any other team.

Jocketty hopes that doesn't happen. "Don't write anything nice about him so no team will claim him," he said.

Then he said a bundle of nice things. "He did a good job for us and has a good future," said Jocketty. "He knows his role and is a versatile guy. And he's been with a winner (New York Yankees) so he knows what it takes."

Quote of the day

"That would be sacrilegious. We wouldn't to do that."

— manager Dusty Baker, waiting until after Baseball Chapel services in the clubhouse Sunday to tell Andy Phillips he has been designated for assignment instead of pulling him out in the middle of the meeting.

Shades of Bubba getting DFA'd by the Yankees after getting out of Bible study.

Hal McCoy is a really interesting story himself. It's apparently well-known in Cincinnati, but I just heard about it recently. He's legally blind. He lost most of his vision to due optic nerve strokes a few years ago. One day when he couldn't even see his bag on the luggage carousel, he decided to retire. He went to the Reds clubhouse one last time, to say goodbye to the players. One-time Yankee (and long-time Red) Aaron Boone talked him out of quitting.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:46 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where's Andy Phillips when you need him?

The Reds have a lot of talent, and their future is very bright. I wouldn't be surprised if they won the World Series next year. But their roster this year is seriously dysfunctional. They have three catchers, one of whom (Javy Valentin) hardly ever catches. They have only one backup infielder, which seems risky even without SS Jeff Keppinger's knee being suspect. They have five outfielders, but don't have a real center fielder, and two (Griffey and Hopper) aren't 100% healthy.

They've been able to work around their odd roster by having some very versatile bench players. Jerry Hairston, Jolbert Cabrera, and Ryan Freel all play infield as well as outfield positions...but they are all injured. Hairston is being rushed back, as Keppinger was, but in the mean time, the Reds are short on infielders.

They DFA'd Andy Phillips today to activate Keppinger. Then third basemen Edwin Encarnacion injured his back making a leaping catch. Keppinger moved to 3B, and Janish took over SS. That meant there were no more infielders left on the bench. When Dusty wanted to pinch-hit for Janish later in the game, he used Valentin, the third catcher. Valentin can play some 1B as well as catch, but hasn't played any other position in the big leagues. However, without a utility infielder like Andy on the roster, Valentin was forced to play 3B. Luckily nothing was hit his way. But still....I bet Dusty was really wishing Andy was still around.

How utterly aggravating. Andy would have gotten into today's game for sure...if he were still on the roster. I've been a little sad this weekend, because I thought last year it would be Bubba who was going to return to Yankee Stadium in a Reds uniform. But maybe it's just as well. I'd probably be driven right out of my gourd if this happened to Bubba.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:43 PM | link | 2 comments |

Andy Phillips DFA'd

I was afraid of this. The Reds DFA'd Andy Phillips to make room for Jeff Keppinger.

The Reds activated Jeff Keppinger from the disabled list and designated Andy Phillips for assignment. The club hopes Philiips passes through waivers so he can be assigned to Louisville.

"He did a good job for us," Walt Jocketty said. "He knows his role. He's played for a winner."

I must say, I'm kinda bummed about this, even though I was expecting it. One freakin' at-bat in Yankee Stadium, is that too much to ask?

posted by BubbaFan, 12:07 PM | link | 2 comments |

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lost In Brooklyn

The Times has a cute story about Reds rookies Daryl Thompson, Jay Bruce, and Paul Janish getting lost on the subway.

Actually, Thompson had bigger trouble earlier, hours before the game. He and two other rookies, Jay Bruce and Paul Janish, left their Midtown hotel and decided to take the subway to Yankee Stadium. But they got on the wrong train and ended up in Brooklyn instead of the Bronx.

“I had a big old bag and I was going to ride the bus,” Thompson said, “but they said I could ride with them. They said, ‘We’re rookies, let’s take the subway and get there ahead of the bus.’ ”

After about 30 minutes, they realized they were going the wrong way.

“Janish was in charge at first,” Thompson said. “Bruce ended up asking a lady, and she told him which way we needed to go. He got us back on the right track.”

But the train was crowded, and Thompson had to stand for most of the way. That made him tired. “The last 5 or 10 minutes, I was able to sit down,” Thompson said.

They arrived at the stadium shortly before 11 a.m. for a game that began at 1:08 p.m. “The guys in the clubhouse gave me stuff for trying to follow those guys because they didn’t know what they were doing,” Thompson said. “Bad impression.”

I can relate. I got lost on the subway my first time in NY. I was there for a job interview, and they gave me instructions on how to take the subway to their office.

Like the Reds rookies, I got on going the wrong way. I was supposed to take the 7 train from Grand Central to Queens, and instead ended up in Times Square. I finally figured out I had to get onto the platform on the other side of the tracks to get the right train, but ended up half an hour late to my interview. Probably anywhere else in the country, that would mean I had no chance of getting the job. Not so in NYC. They're so used to traffic and other delays there that half an hour late is considered on-time. The guy interviewing me didn't even notice I was late. He offered me the job on the spot.

Of course, I was a country hick, from a town where there was only one traffic light, and no public transportation. You'd think a guy like Janish, from a big city like Houston, would be a little more savvy. Especially now, when all the subways have those electronic maps that light up to show you where the train is, and where it's going.

Janish did have a nice day at the office today. He got his first hit in over a week, and made a spectacular defensive play.

But his days as starting shortstop are probably numbered. John Fay reports that Jeff Keppinger is rejoining the team. Don't know what the roster move will be.

Once again, Andy Phillips did not get into the game at all. I hope he gets to play tomorrow, even if it's only as a pinch-hitter. Come on, Dusty. Give the fans a chance to see him.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:57 PM | link | 0 comments |

Andy Phillips lives to fight another day

The Reds put Jolbert Cabrera on the DL to make room for rookie pitcher Daryl Thompson. No one was called up to be backup shortstop. Instead, Andy Phillips will be the emergency shortshop.

Oh, boy. I don't think he's played SS since he was in college. But it's not like the Reds have anything left down on the farm.

Mark Feinsand had news about Andy:

I had a chance to chat with Andy Phillips before the game, one of my all-time favorite guys. Andy has dealt with so many bad things in recent years – his wife’s illness, his mother’s car accident – that I was thrilled to hear that he and his wife, Bethany, are expecting their first child in September. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Congratulations, Andy and Bethany.

posted by BubbaFan, 12:52 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, June 20, 2008

Reds snap Yankee winning streak

Ken Griffey, Jr. and Andy Phillips at the dugout rail

The Reds prevailed tonight, behind their young ace, Edinson Volquez. Voltron is the best pitcher in the league now, at least as judged by ERA and strikeouts, and he looked it.

Jolbert Cabrera, starting at SS in place of the injured Alex Gonzalez, Jeff Keppinger, and Jerry Hairston, Jr., was having a terrific night. He was 4 for 4, with some nice defensive plays. Perhaps his best moment was a play at the plate where he slid home, moving his foot over and around the tag. Molina was spitting mad, but the call was correct.

But it didn't end well. He dislocated his finger sliding into second, and it was apparently pretty bad. The dislocation was so bad the skin was broken, and he was taken to the hospital and put under anesthesia to fix it.

Paul Janish, in to pinch-run for the injured Jolbert Cabrera

This means that once again, the Reds need a shortstop. Keppinger is not ready. They may try to rush him, but they are worried that his legs won't hold up to the demands of playing shortstop. (He DHed tonight for Louisville.) Janish will probably start, but they'll need a backup. There really isn't anyone at AAA.

And pitcher Daryl Thompson will be called up to start tomorrow. That means another roster move has to be made. I hope they don't cut Andy. He didn't even get a chance to play tonight.

They said he was having a lot of fun today, back in Yankee Stadium and catching up with old friends.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:40 PM | link | 2 comments |

Reds at Yankees tonight

The Yankees host the Reds tonight for the first time in forever. (Since 1976, according to Michael Kay. That means Bubba was a newborn baby the last time the Reds were in the Bronx.)

I was tempted to go to this game. A friend of mine kept forwarding me Craigslist ads offering cheap tickets. But I have a ton of stuff to do this weekend, and it's supposed to rain tonight, so I resisted temptation.

Hopefully Andy Phillips will get into the game so Yankees fans can see him play, even if it's just pinch-hitting.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:58 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ten years ago today...

...Bubba Crosby became a pro baseball player, when he signed with the Dodgers. He was a first round draft pick (number 23 overall), and got a million bucks for signing on the dotted line. He was seen as a five-tool player, and many were surprised he fell as low as he did. Baseball America picked him as the 12th best prospect in the nation, the 6th best college prospect, and the #1 college outfielder.

Ten years later, he's apparently out of baseball. I suppose it shouldn't be a total shock. With the all-out way he plays, you had to figure injuries might be an issue. Still...I bet he never imagined it would end like this.

At least he made it to the big leagues. Many of his peers did not.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:23 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rice eliminated

I got home in time to catch the last inning of the Rice-LSU game. Kinda wish I hadn't bothered. It looked like the Owls would live to fight another day. They were up 5-2 in the 9th. But the Tigers came from behind to win it with a walkoff double.

I think LSU beat Rice the year Bubba was in the CWS, too. :-P

All in all, this has been a pretty sucky week so far.

And the Mets fired Willie Randolph. In California, in the middle of the night, when most fans were sleeping. Pretty tacky, IMO.

I wonder if Girardi and/or Cashman will be next...

posted by BubbaFan, 5:38 PM | link | 11 comments |

Owls Mauled By Bulldogs

Things didn't go well for the Rice Owls on Sunday. I only looked in occasionally, but I got an inkling that it wasn't going to be Rice's day when I saw it was 11-0 in the 4th inning. In the end, it was Fresno St. 17, Rice 5.

And I meant to post this link earlier, but forgot. Lance Berkman talks about the first time Rice went to the CWS.

In 1995, several Owls gathered at a friend's apartment to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show, eager to learn where the Owls would land in their first regional appearance. After the Owls were placed in the NCAA South Regional at Baton Rouge, La., an impromptu celebration erupted between the television and the coffee table.

"There were probably 10 or 12 of us watching that selection show that they have on ESPN, and we dog-piled in a guy's living room — we were so excited to just be going to a regional," Astros first baseman and former Rice All-American Lance Berkman said. "Now they're just like, 'All right, (it's) another regional.' "

Bubba was probably one of those in the pile; he and Berkman were teammates at Rice that year.

They showed highlights from Berkman's CWS appearance during the game Sunday. I think I spotted Bubba briefly, wearing #9. I'll have to go back and look more closely. (I have it DVRed.)

Rice plays again this afternoon, against LSU. It's on ESPN2. I'm not quite sure how the CWS works, but I think if they lose again, they go home.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:13 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Report: Bubba Crosby has retired

From Pete Abe (hat tip to Jim):

Former Yankee Chuck Knoblauch was on the field for batting practice seeing some of his old teammates. Bubba Crosby, who has retired, was here yesterday. They both live in the Houston area.

I'm disappointed, but not terribly surprised. I've posted before about how the odds for a pro baseball player coming back from shoulder surgery aren't good. And it's clear the game has changed. A lot of players with longer track records than Bubba are struggling to find jobs in the current market.

It's a difficult life, and I don't blame Bubba if he's had enough. But...I'm not entirely giving up, either. A lot of players retire, then decide to give it another try. Maybe he'll change his mind.

Even if his playing days are really done, he might still have a career in baseball, as a scout, coach, etc.

Whatever he does, I wish him the very best. He gave such a spark to the Yankees, and watching him play gave me a lot of joy over the years. Thank you, Bubba. Best of luck in the future. You'll always be my favorite player.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:55 PM | link | 6 comments |

The College World Series

The 2008 College World Series is underway. Rice plays Fresno this afternoon. It's supposed to be on ESPN.

The Houston Chronicle posted a few photos from Rice College World Series past. None of Bubba, alas. There was one of his teammate, Lance Berkman:

Berkman is having an amazing year. He's half a year older than Bubba, and having the best season of his career (so far). Still has pretty good speed, too, as the Yankees found out.

There was also a photo of the 2003 championship team:

Paul Janish is probably somewhere in the pile, though I haven't been able to pick him out.

Soft Baby J said that was the most fun he ever had in baseball. It's likely to remain that way, at least for the rest of this year. The Reds are not a very good team, and Janish is not doing well. Since this season is probably lost for the Reds, I'd like to see them give Janish a chance. See if he can adjust. He's probably the best defensive SS they have, and the Reds badly need better defense. They are second to last in defensive efficiency in the NL, with only the Pirates below them. They were bad last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Despite all the promises to fix the defense, it's worse than ever.

Their corner outfielders have the mobility of your average brick. Jay Bruce in CF would probably be better off playing one of the corners. Votto has been killing the Reds at 1B. And the left side of the infield has been awful. Keppinger should not be a starting SS, A-Gon is oft-injured and overrated on D, and Encarnacion is probably meant to play a position other than 3B. If Janish can figure out big league pitching, he could be a big help.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:48 AM | link | 4 comments |

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chowdah and Chili

The mysteries of the MLB schedule are beyond me. Why is it that the Yankees play the Pirates year after year, but never play the Reds? Until this year, anyway. A lot of NL Central teams are playing AL East teams this season. This weekend, the Boston Red Sox came to Cincinnati to play the Reds.

I wasn't expecting the game to be on TV in NY. Both the Mets and the Yankees played today, but Fox showed Red Sox at Reds anyway.

It wasn't a very good game for the Reds. They came from behind to tie it up in the bottom of the 9th and take it to extras...only to lose when the Sox hit back-to-back homers in the top of the 10th.

If that had to happen, it was nice that it was Youkilis who hit the go-ahead home run. He was born and raised in Cincinnati. Many of the fans there were rooting for him, even though they were Reds fans.

It was nice to see Andy Phillips again. He pinch-hit in the top of the 8th.

He's still wearing his socks high.

Looks like he's growing some kind of weird facial hair. Boo! (That's one thing I like about the Yankees. They don't allow weird facial hair. Giambi's porn-stache is bad enough.)

Alas, Andy went down swinging on five pitches.

He's kind of struggling. ("On the interstate," Michael Kay would say.) He's gotten so little playing time. When he does play, it's usually just one at-bat, pinch-hitting for the pitcher. He doesn't get to play defense much.

I hadn't realized it would be like this in the NL. Or maybe it's just Dusty. While Torre tended to use his bench players as LIDRs, Dusty just uses them as pinch-hitters.

Next weekend, the Reds come to the Bronx. Hopefully Andy will still be with the team then. It would be nice for the fans to get a chance to say goodbye. But Keppinger may be back by then, and a roster move will have to be made.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:35 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Player of the Week

Andy Phillips was chosen Player of the Week by his hometown paper, the Demopolis Times:

The Demopolis native got off to a slow start after his May 28 call up, playing in a reserve capacity for the Reds upon his return to The Show.

However, a weekend series against the Florida Marlins proved an ample venue for the former New York Yankee’s coming out party. Phillips came up with a single and an RBI against The Fish Friday evening before getting an opportunity to shine in a tight spot Saturday. With the bases loaded, two out, and the Reds down by three in the bottom of the sixth inning, Phillips, who got the start in place of injured third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, stroked a three-RBI double down the left field line to tie the game. While the Reds bullpen faltered down the stretch, the moment was still big for a player who is looking to ensure his most recent visit to the big leagues is more than the proverbial cup of coffee. While the circumstances surrounding his tenure with a young Reds organization are drastically different from the built-to-win-it-all Yankees teams of his past, Phillips, a consummate professional, appears to have accepted his role and sparse opportunities with due grace. That alone is enough to merit Player of the Week distinction.

Yes, there's no doubt a bit of hometown boosterism involved. But still, congratulations, Andy.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:30 AM | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kitchen Capers

Yanks are on the west coast. I probably won't be staying up to see the whole game tonight. Reds lost miserably. Andy Phillips didn't even get into the game. And if you're wondering, Jolbert Cabrera was called up to take Hairston's roster spot. I'd forgotten he plays SS. Janish is apparently the starting SS now, though, at least until Keppinger gets back. Janish, whom some fans are calling "Soft Baby J," was 0 for 3 with a walk tonight.

And now, I'm heading way off-topic. You have been warned.

So, the management of my apartment complex decided to renovate my kitchen. They've been re-doing all the apartments from a country look to a more contemporary one. They did my bathroom last year. This year, they did the kitchen.

The good news is, it looks great. Very classy. Granite counters, sleek blond wood cabinets, a new built-in microwave (I'll have to Freecycle my old one), a really, really deep stainless steel sink. The tech/modern look suits my taste a lot more than the country look did. Hey, I'm engineer. I like clean lines. My kitchen table, which I've had for awhile, is blond wood with a stainless steel top. It looks like it was made for my new kitchen...but it's just coincidence.

So, I really like the way it looks.'s distinctly less functional than the old kitchen.

We moved around a lot when I was a kid, and my mom would often dismiss a prospective house or apartment by saying, "The kitchen must have been designed by a man." Suddenly, I understand what she meant. (Ack. I'm turning into my mother!)

There was never a lot of storage space in this kitchen. Only one wall has counters/cabinets, and that wall also has the sink, stove, and dishwasher, so there were only two lower cabinets. When they re-did the kitchen, they replaced one of the lower cabinets - the one by the stove - with a set of drawers. I have nothing against drawers, but now where am I going to keep the pots and pans? There's only one lower cabinet now, and it's way over in the corner, as far away as you can get from the stove and sink. And instead of one door that swings open from the edge, it has twin doors that open in the middle. There's a center brace, which makes it really hard to get anything in and out of the cabinet. In fact, my larger pots and pans don't even fit through the smaller openings.

Arrgghhh. Clearly, the person who designed this has never, ever cooked. I'm not sure where I'm going to put the pots and pans. Perhaps under the sink. I had been keeping cleaning products under the sink. Less icky if the sink leaks. I'm really not thrilled at the idea of keeping pots and pans under there, but I don't have much choice.

I mean, what were they thinking?

Then there's the sink itself. It has one of those fancy faucets, tall with a high arch and a bell-shaped end. I need to hook up a Python to my kitchen faucet, to do water changes on my aquariums. (Don't worry, it's designed so fish poop can't get into the faucet.)

At first I thought I'd need some kind of special attachment, but looking closely at the faucet, I realized I could remove the aerator and hook up the Python that way.

It proved to be a lot easier said than done. The aerator was screwed on so tight I couldn't budge it. And it was recessed into that bell-shaped faucet, so it was hard to get a good grip, with fingers or tools. I'm not sure how they got it on so tight; my fingers barely fit into the recess, and my hands aren't very large.

I tried wrapping rubber bands around it (to improve my grip), I tried various wrenches and pliers, I tried jar openers, I tried running hot water for awhile in hopes of loosening it. No dice.

So I stopped by the hardware store after work. I specifically went to the small neighborhood hardware store, rather than the big box place, because they are usually more helpful and knowledgeable. I told them what the situation was, and asked what tool to get.

They were stumped. Good gravy. Is it really that odd a problem? Finally they suggested needle-nosed pliers, but I'd already tried that, and it didn't work. There wasn't enough space to open them enough to get a good grip.

So I was on my own. I looked over the pliers, vise grips, and adjustable wrenches. I almost bought a vice grip, but wasn't sure even the pointy-nosed models would fit. In the end, I chose a long reach flat-nosed plier. It's designed for use in confined spaces, and has a really long nose. The flat head looked like it would grip a large item like an aerator better than the other tools I looked at.

It was $20, and the hardware guys seemed reluctant to sell it to me. I guess because they were afraid it wouldn't work. And they figured since I was girl, I'd never use it again. (They kept saying, "It's $20. And it's a specialty tool." Like I didn't know that.) But I bought it, and ran to the kitchen to try it out the moment I got in the door.

At first I thought it wasn't going to work. But then I found the right angle, and felt the aerator move. I put the pliers down and tried to unscrew it with my fingers. It wouldn't budge. So I used the pliers again. Again I felt it move, and tried to unscrew it with my fingers. Again it wouldn't budge. After the third time with the pliers, I was able to unscrew it with my fingers. Holy crap, that thing was on tight. Why is it that guys think "hand-tighten" means "screw it on so tight you'll need a pneumatic impact wrench to get it off"?

The Python worked great once the aerator was off, and I was careful not to tighten it too much when I put it back on. The tanks are clean, the fish are happy.

Now, back to figuring out what to do with the pots and pans...


posted by BubbaFan, 10:24 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, June 09, 2008

Shortstop Shortage

Before tonight's Reds-Marlins game, it was announced that Jeff Keppinger (fractured knee) and Norris Hopper (elbow inflammation) would be beginning rehab starts in Sarasota. (The game was rained out, so they didn't actually play.) Keppinger is expected to be ready by this weekend, leading fans to speculate what the roster move would be. Andy Phillips DFA'd? Corey Patterson optioned back to Louisville? My guess was Paul Janish sent back down.

Turns out, they're probably safe. In the first inning, Jerry Hairston, Jr. broke his thumb sliding in head first while stealing. (Ironically, Ken Griffey, Jr. would hit his long-awaited 600th home run shortly afterwards, meaning Hairston didn't need to steal those bases.)

Really a bummer for Hairston, who was playing really well and seemed well on his way to reviving his career.

It's also somewhat alarming for the Reds, who have been going through shortstops like Kleenex. Alex Gonzalez has been on the DL since spring training with a knee fracture. Jeff Keppinger fractured his knee as well, when he fouled a ball off of it. And now Hairston has a broken thumb. Paul Janish is now the starting SS. And they have no backup for him. There's really no one in Louisville, either. John Fay thinks they might call up Valaika from AA.

Andy Phillips hasn't been getting much playing time. He pinch-hit in the 8th tonight, grounding out to SS. Paul Janish was 0 for 4 after he came in for Hairston, though he hit a ball by Cantu that was ruled an error and ended up on 2B. Janish also had an error, though some thought the fault was with first baseman Joey Votto rather than with Janish. (Votto is not known for having a good glove, and he's been struggling on defense lately.)

The Yankees had a day game today. It was 100F, and felt like 105F. It was tied...until Mo gave up a homer in the 9th. The Yankees had a chance to come back, but with bases loaded, Melky grounded out, ending the game.

Poor Melky had kind of a rough day. He nearly got ejected from the game earlier for throwing his helmet when he was called out at 1B.

So Moose pitched eight innings, held the Royals to two runs...and didn't get the win.

Nope, the Yankees really are not a very good team right now.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:26 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Andy comes through in the clutch

Andy Phillips came to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs. I wondered if they would pinch-hit for him, but they didn't. Turned out to be a good decision, since he laced the ball down the left field line into the corner, for a bases-clearing double.

That tied the game - a thrilling comeback. Alas, the Reds couldn't hold the lead. They lost it, then gained it again...then lost the game in the bottom of the ninth, when closer Francisco Cordero gave up a walkoff homer to Cody Ross.

It was a pretty crushing defeat. Especially to the Marlins, who aren't a very good team.

The Yankees had a similarly close game, with a happier outcome. They won with a walkoff single in extra innings. Yet...I think that they, like the Reds, are not a very good team. In close games, it's pretty much luck that determines the winner. Good teams win blowouts; luck doesn't enter into it. A good team would pound the Royals, not have the game go to extras.

Andy's clutch hitting didn't win him a start today. He's back on the bench, with Encarnacion back in the lineup and playing 3B.

posted by BubbaFan, 12:25 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Andy Phillips starts tonight

Poor Andy's barely seen the light of day in Cincinnati. Honestly, it's worse than it was for Bubba with the Yankees. Which is pretty bad, since the Reds are a NL team.

He did get a single last night, raising his average to a respectable .286. (It's only his second hit of the season, so it's a very small sample size indeed.)

Tonight, he's starting at 3B and batting sixth. The usual third baseman, Edwin Elpidio Encarnacion, was hit by a pitch last night (which is why Andy got in the game last night - though the game was a blowout, so he might have been put in anyway). Encarnacion has been struggling a bit, so who knows. If Andy does well, he could get more playing time.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:15 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bronson Kiheimahanaomauiakeo Sardinha

While poking around the Internets the other day, I was bemused to find that former Yankee outfielder Bronson Sardinha was playing for the Akron Aeros. The Akron Aeros? What the heck happened?

The Aeros are the Cleveland Indians' Double-A team. Yup, Sardinha has been sent down to AA. The Akron Beacon-Journal has the story:

Seeking a new path to majors

A first-round pick in '01 draft, Sardinha joins Aeros' outfield

He was looking for a change of scenery, a different baseball organization to see what he could do.

What outfielder Bronson Sardinha has gotten instead is released, unemployed and now, sent back to Double-A.

When Sardinha figured a little change would do him some good, he didn't mean playing for three organizations at two minor-league levels in a matter of two months.

Yet, that is how the former New York Yankees' first-round pick (34th overall in the 2001 draft) ended up in Akron on Friday, as his newest team opened a weekend series against the Bowie Baysox.

"It's not been a good year." said the Aeros' new right fielder, who made his major-league debut in Yankees pinstripes last year, batting .333 (3-for-9) in 10 games. "Nothing has gone the way I planned."

It all began with the decision to leave the safety net of the Yankees, for whom Sardinha initially began as a strong-armed shortstop before being moved to the outfield.

"One of their main priorities was to get me signed in the offseason," said Sardinha, 25. "But they had to take me off the 40-man roster for Andy Pettitte. But they said they still wanted me, and offered me a pretty good contract. But at the last minute, I decided to go for a change."

His first stop at the Seattle Mariners' Triple-A Tacoma team didn't last long, even though he batted .323 (10-for-31) in seven games. He conceded that what got him released was his own fault, even if he's not willing to share the details.

"It was something off the field," Sardinha said. "A silly mistake on my part."

After an unwelcomed three-week vacation in Fresno, Calif., (where the Rainiers had been playing when he was suddenly released), the Indians signed Sardinha and sent him to Triple-A Buffalo.

That stint was also short, 10 games, in which he batted .300 (9-for-30) with two home runs and five RBI before being demoted to the Double-A Aeros this week.

"I was getting some playing time (in Buffalo), but they had so many outfielders, especially with (Shin-Soo) Choo there on rehab," Sardinha said. "When they called me in, I'd had a real good game the day before and actually thought maybe they were going to call me up (to Cleveland). I wasn't expecting coming down here."

Sardinha's first thought was that he should just ask for his release. But having just played that waiting game, he reconsidered.

"I like the Indians' organization," said Sardinha, who is batting .143 (2-for-14) with three RBI in three games for the Aeros. "They seem like real good people who care about their players. They advised me not to ask for my release, and told me I'm in a good situation. I just need to relax, get my at-bats and you never know what can happen."

Interesting that the Yankees apparently really wanted to re-sign him. (I'd heard that from other sources as well.) Can't really blame him for wanting a change. The Yankees are well-stocked with outfielders, and Sardinha wouldn't have had much of a chance of cracking the big league roster. But given how it turned have to wonder if he regrets turning down the Yanks.

Also interesting is the part where he admits the Mariners released him because of a mistake he made "off the field." I kind of figured it had to be something like that. He'd been playing really well for the Rainiers. And I noted earlier that he had been put on the suspended list before being released. I'm not really sure what all those different lists are, but I think you only end up on the suspended list if you've been a bad boy. Not sure what he did. DWI? Barroom brawl? Drug use? Attacking a teammate with a baseball bat?

Even though he brought it on himself, you have to feel sorry for him. What a punch in the gut it must have been, to think he was being called up to the big club, only to find out he's being sent down to Double-A instead.

To add salt to the wound...his family was coming up from Hawai`i that day, to see him play against his brother, Dane Sardinha. The demotion to Akron pretty much ruined the family reunion.

This year has been pretty lousy for him; as he said, nothing turned out like he planned. But hey, he's playing. I bet Bubba would love to be in his shoes right now.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:35 PM | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bad day all around

Joba's debut as a starting pitcher was pretty rough. He wasn't terrible, but he wasn't great, either. And his old bugaboo - efficiency - haunted him again. He pitched only 2.1 innings before pitch count forced Girardi to make the call to the bullpen. He gave up only two runs, one earned, but walked four.

And the pen without Joba is pretty horrendous. Though Giese wasn't half-bad. In the end, the Yankees lost a team that usually doesn't score a lot.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati only one run. It's just bizarre, how Harang is the ace of the team...but they never score very many runs for him. Tonight was typical. Harang pitched six innings and gave up only three runs...but the Reds hitters scored only two. Another loss for Harang. He's now among the league leaders in losses.

Andy Phillips did not get into the game at all. Jeez, I thought with an NL team, he'd get to play more. When he has played, it's been mostly one at-bat as a pinch-hitter for the pitcher. Must be hard to keep his edge with that little playing time.

He might be getting a little more playing time now. Ryan Freel left the game with a strained hamstring. He's headed to the DL. Griffey is suffering "general soreness"; he's been limited to pinch-hitting. (Starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo pinch-ran for him tonight when he got on base via a walk.) So the Reds are desperately seeking outfielders. Lefty Corey Patterson, just sent down, will probably be called up. So with right-handed infielder/outfielder Freel being replaced by a lefty outfielder, Andy, as a right-handed infielder, might get more playing time.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:51 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, June 02, 2008

Andy's first hit as a Red

Andy Phillips got his first hit as a Red tonight. It was off Chad Durbin. Once again, Andy pinch-hit for the pitcher. Previously, he had worked a walk and reached on a error, but was hitless since he was called up. Until tonight. With two outs, on a 1-0 count, he singled on a fly ball to center. Hairston grounded into a forceout, alas, and the Reds eventually lost by a single run.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:34 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Power Outage

No, I'm not talking about the Yankees' offense. I mean a literal power outage. Some of you may have noticed that has been offline since yesterday afternoon. It's because of a transformer fire and explosion that cut power to the data center that hosts the site. The data is safe (and I have backups, anyway). There are backup generators for the servers, but the fire department won't allow them to be turned on yet, for safety reasons.

Not sure when the site will be back, but it should be soon. They thought it might be this afternoon, but so far, no dice. There are more than seven thousand people affected by this power outage, so I'm sure they're doing their best to get it fixed.

Andy Phillips made a brief appearance as a pinch-hitter for the Reds today. He reached on an error and eventually came around to score. (He's been pretty productive for a guy with a .000 batting average.)

Jay Bruce hit another homer; he's been positively inhuman at the plate. And word is that Homer Bailey will be called up to start on Thursday. Things are really looking up for the Reds, now that they've cut some dead wood from the roster.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:35 PM | link | 2 comments |