All Things Bubba

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

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yankees lower ticket prices for the postseason

I don't have a link for this yet, but it was announced on CNBC this morning. Despite the fears that the Yankees would jack up postseason ticket prices, they've apparently done the opposite. At least some tickets will actually be cheaper for the playoffs than during the regular season. A reflection of the economy, no doubt.

CNBC is downright giddy these days. They're sure we've avoided the "Greater Depression" scenario, that the rebound in stocks portends a broader economic rebound, that this Christmas will be much better for retailers than last.

I'm not so sure. The fundamental problems have not been fixed; they've just been swept under the rug. I still think it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. This will likely become evident before spring training, if not before Christmas.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:11 AM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boston's new relief pitcher

Would you believe...Nick Green?

The Red Sox put Nick Green on the mound tonight. Yes, that's Nick Green, the backup infielder, who used to be a Yankee. Green had been playing shortstop, but lost the job when the Sox traded for Alex Gonzalez.

I'm not sure why they put Green in. It was 9-2 in the beginning of the 8th - not the kind of blowout that usually results in an infielder taking the mound. And Green actually pitched pretty well. The Sox scored two runs in the bottom of the 8th, but Green was sent out again to pitch the ninth. He ended up pitching two innings, giving up no hits, no runs, three walks and no strikeouts. That's a lot better than Paul Janish did. (Janish, BTW, is the starting SS in Cincinnati now that Gonzalez is a Red Sock, and he's doing pretty well. Flashing the leather, and starting to hit. He was 2 for 4 with two doubles, a walk, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored tonight.)

The Sox scored another run in the bottom of the 9th, and ended up losing 9-5. Using Green as a pitcher didn't hurt them - quite the opposite. Still, it seems rather odd, to use a position player on the mound when the game is not out of reach.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:17 PM | link | 2 comments |

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hall of Famer Hal

Hal McCoy had this to say about Paul Janish:

NOW EVERYBODY is up in the air over Paul Janish batting second. Who else? And who cares at this point where anybody bats when the Reds can’t find first place with mount Palomar? What the Reds need to find out is if Janish can play every day and produce. He is a magician with the glove but a sorcerer with the bat. If he can hit .265 and maintain his magical glove he can play every day.

So maybe batting second and getting a lot of at-bats will give Janish an opportunity to show what he can (or can’t) do with the bat.

Janish actually didn't do that badly last night: 1 for 4. He's probably a bit rusty, having played so little. I'd like to see him show a little more patience at the plate. He did flash some leather, impressing Reds fans who hadn't seen him in action before.

He's starting at SS again tonight, though he's been moved down to eighth in the batting order.

Could this really be an audition for a starting role next year? Possibly. Zack Cozart is supposedly the SS of the future for the Reds, but he's not expected to be promoted to the big leagues until September 2010. That means the Reds need someone to play SS next season. They had an option on Alex Gonzalez, but he and his option have been traded to the Red Sox.

The Reds will have a hard time signing a SS who's any good for just one year. And they are reportedly in money-saving mode. (Sports has been hard-hit by the recession. The Rangers have laid off a lot of their front office staff, and have been forced to borrow from the MLB emergency fund. The Indians say they're on track to lose $16 million this year, and the Reds are reputedly in the same boat.) So maybe they'll be willing to give Janish a shot, if he can show them anything at all at the plate.

Hal McCoy, one of my favorite baseball writers, is also being impacted by the recession. And by changes in the newspaper business. His paper, the Dayton Daily News, announced his retirement and tried to make it sound like his choice, but according to his blog, it was a cost-cutting move by the paper. It costs them a quarter of a million dollars a year to sent Hal around the country following the Reds, and they simply can't afford it any more.

Papers are really hurting. A lot of baseball beat writers are losing their jobs, or being moved to other departments.

Baseball writers can see the handwriting on the wall. No doubt something will replace newspapers, but Clay Shirky argues that it's impossible to guess what it will be...and things could be very chaotic in the meantime.

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posted by BubbaFan, 6:48 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, August 14, 2009

A break for Janish?

Holy geez. Right after I post about Janish not getting any playing time...the Reds traded their starting SS, Alex Gonzalez, to the Red Sox. I guess Nick Green has not been very good with the glove. A-Gon is remembered fondly for his slick fielding the year he was in Boston. (I think they may be disappointed now. Shortstops don't age well. And he's had serious knee injuries that seem to have crippled his range.)

Regardless, that leaves Paul Janish the only real shortstop left on the Reds' roster. A lot of fans want to see Brandon Phillips moved from 2B to SS, but I really don't see the Reds doing that, at least not now. Drew Sutton has played mostly 2B and 3B in the minors. Adam Rosales started out as a SS, but they moved him to 3B in recent years. Barker and Votto are strictly first basemen.

I suppose it's possible Dusty will start Adam Rosales (after Rolen gets back) or the switch-hitting Sutton at SS, but I think he's reluctant to play people out of position. Janish may finally get his chance.

So far, so good. Janish is starting at SS and batting in the two-hole tonight.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Best wishes, Soft-J

According to Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Paul Janish is getting married.

JANISH TO WED: Chatting with Paul Janish today in the clubhouse about winter ball (he might play in Mexico), and Janish revealed that he will be married Nov. 21 to Maria Fadool.

"She's a lucky girl," Janish quipped.

Janish, 26, is an outstanding defensive shortstop who does not play much. He has made 22 starts this year, most recently Aug. 3. He is hitting .216 with no homers and three RBI, in 88 at-bats.

Of winter ball, Janish said: "I'll try to get some playing time, so I can come into camp sharp."

Maria played soccer at Rice. So their kids should be good athletes. ;-)

It's more than a little baffling, how little playing time Janish gets. He's so buried on the bench that it's become a running joke. At Reds blog Red Reporter, Janish's name is crossed out on the 40-man roster listed on the sidebar...because he's seen so rarely he might as well not be on the team. Why is Janish the invisible man, when guys like Adam Rosales - who lost out to Janish in spring training - get to play?

Dusty Baker gets a lot of abuse from Reds fans. Goofy lineups, bad bullpen use, clubhouse discipline - all the usual things. But the only thing that really bothers me is his use of the bench. You cannot leave someone on the bench for weeks, then expect him to play well when you need him. Especially young players who are still making the adjustment to the big leagues.

The Reds are not making the post-season. They're just going through the motions at this point. What do they have to lose by giving young players like Janish a look? Give him a chance, see if he can figure it out.

It's given me a new appreciation for Joe Torre. Even though the Yankees are an AL team, with less need for player substitutions, Torre made a real effort to give everyone on the roster some playing time. At least compared to Dusty Baker.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:48 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, dear Bubba

The other day, "Yanksfan" signed the guestbook, saying:

Just got done watching the 7/1/04 13 inning game between the Yanks and Red Sox. What a game to have been a part of! Hope you can make it back to the majors cuz you have the talent!

I happened to be watching that Yankees Classic game, too. (I suspect a lot of fans were; it was a day off for the Yankees, so there was no live game to watch.) Bubba did okay in that game, though it was Flaherty with the walkoff hit. Bubba was so excited, bouncing up and down at the dugout rail. It was nice to see him again, if only on a re-broadcast.

Was that really five years ago? It seems like yesterday.

Happy birthday, Bubba. Many happy returns.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:01 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, August 09, 2009

I can resist everything except temptation...

Deadspin posted a bunch of photos of Josh Hamilton carrying on with the waitresses in a bar in Arizona. The bartender was apparently a casual fan of baseball; when Hamilton said he was a ball player, the bartender recognized him as the home run derby slugger. However, he wasn't aware of Hamilton's history, and offered him a drink. Hamilton accepted, and well, it all went downhill from there. Hamilton ended by asking the bartender where he could score some blow, then left for a strip club. Hamilton admits the incident happened, and says he doesn't remember much of what happened that night. He says he told his support system the next morning, and took and passed a drug test two days later. Still, it's kind of embarrassing, after he wrote that book and all.

Perhaps the weirdest thing is that Hamilton's babysitter, Johnny Narron, said he would be shocked if the photos were real. This was before Hamilton publicly admitted that they were, of course. If Hamilton told his support system, surely Narron knew? Was he lying to protect Josh, or what?

Jonah Keri of SI revisited the Hamilton-Volquez trade last week. Both Hamilton and Volquez have been disappointing this season. Hamilton has struggled with injury and has not hit well. Volquez is out for at least a year after having Tommy John surgery. All in all, though, I think the Reds came out ahead. Tommy John surgery is pretty routine these days; Volquez will be back. Hamilton, I fear, is a much bigger risk. Plus, the Reds got Danny Ray Herrera as well, and he's been very productive out of the pen for them this year.

Anyways, this incident reminded of this interesting article:

Temptation Harder to Resist Than You Think, Study Suggests

It's about a series of studies that tested how well people resist temptation, and had some fascinating results. People who are confident that they can resist temptation are the ones who are worst at it. This is because they put themselves into situations where they will be tempted, while those who are less confident know better.

The new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, builds on past research showing that when not in the "heat of the moment," individuals have a hard time understanding the depths of their cravings.

"If you aren't feeling a cigarette craving or hunger or sexual arousal at this moment, I believe you have a real difficult time appreciating the transformative force of those experiences," Nordgren said.

Interesting that Deadspin titled their article, "The Devil Is Still In Josh Hamilton." In a sense, that's really what it's like: it's almost like another personality emerges under temptation - one so different that the ordinary self can't even understand it.

The study has implications for all corners of our personal lives, Nordgren figures. For instance, can a recovering alcoholic attend booze-saturated parties and stay sober? Can a dieter frequent his favorite dessert buffets and refrain from binging? Can a committed husband have drinks with a past fling without fear of infidelity?

"The answer is probably 'no,'" Nordgren said. "People have less self-restraint than they think, a false belief that often leads people to expose themselves to more temptation than they can handle."

In addition, he added, the study results suggest people often can’t predict how they will react in a given situation.

"It's not just about eating and addiction, but the 'cold self' has a really hard time understanding what you're capable of in a moment of despair, in a moment of rage," Nordgren said.

I guess this might explain why addicts who have been sober for years, even decades, sometimes fall off the wagon and end up dying of overdoses. It's when you think you have it licked that you're most vulnerable.

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

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Deals still being done

It's after the waiver deadline, but deals can still be made. The Twins traded for Carl Pavano. They gave the Indians the ever-popular "player to be named later" in return.

And Oakland released Jason Giambi. The A's said they wanted to give more playing time to young players. Giambi is expected to try and find employment elsewhere, rather than retire. Even though he's 38, he's not ready to hang them up yet.

posted by BubbaFan, 12:00 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Roster shuffle

Cody Ransom was DFA'd today, to make room for pitcher Anthony Claggett. I guess the Yanks had no faith in Mitre. Claggett is expected to get just a cup of coffee, then be swapped for Ramiro Pena.

Former Yankee Jose Veras has been DFA'd by the Indians.

And Brett Tomko, released last week by the Yanks, has signed with Oakland.

The upcoming Red Sox series looms very large over the Yankees. First place in the AL East is at stake. And the Yanks have not beat the Sox once this year.

The Bronx Bombers are on a roll right now, but I can't help thinking they're going to have to make a move to get another starting pitcher. Not only is Mitre not cutting it, Joba will soon reach his innings limit, and either be shelved or moved to the pen. Maybe Hughes will take his place as a starter (though I'm not sure stretching him out during the season is a good idea). But that still leaves the team needing a fifth starter. Kei Igawa? The newly signed Russ Ortiz?

I still think the Yanks might trade for someone like Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is way overpaid, but he's the kind of player who will clear waivers, and thus be tradeable at this point in the season. Big stars and bargain players won't clear waivers. Bronson Arroyo likely will.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:51 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Mike Vento

Mike Vento, last seen dressed up as a cheerleader on rookie hazing day four years ago, is still around. He came up through the Yankees system, but got just a cup of coffee with the Yanks and then was released. He's been playing mostly in the minors, mostly for the Nationals.

I went to some Syracuse Chiefs (the new Nats AAA affiliate) last week, and saw Mike Vento. He didn't play, alas; he was on the DL. But he did come out of the dugout to celebrate a walkoff victory with his teammates.

I must say...back in 2005, I never dreamed that Mike Vento would still be in baseball after Bubba Crosby, Kevin Thompson, and Kevin Reese had hung up their spikes.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:20 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, August 03, 2009

Spanish Janish

The Cincinnati Enquirer has an article about how Latin players adjust to baseball life. Pretty interesting stuff. It mentions that Paul Janish can speak Spanish.

Shortstop Paul Janish, like Bruce a Caucasian who grew up in Texas, has more background with Latinos than the average player. Janish grew up in Houston, where the Hispanic population is more than 2.1 million, about the same as the population for the entire Cincinnati metro area (2,155,137 as of 2008).

"I took Spanish in high school, and my mom is fluent in Spanish," Janish said. "I try to talk to them (Latin teammates) as much as I can because it helps me out, too. I'm better at understanding it than I am speaking it."

Janish sometimes falls behind when trying to speak with Latino teammates in Spanish.

"I can usually pick up what they're saying, unless they're speaking amongst themselves and going real fast and there's a lot of slang," Janish said. "That's tough. But I think I get as much out of it as maybe they do. It goes both ways."

Janish is getting a rare start at SS tonight. And the game is airing nationally (on ESPN).


posted by BubbaFan, 7:26 PM | link | 0 comments |