13 April 2005

David Arias, Some Kay Bits...

Surfing around at home the other day, I found a nice, fun, old link that any Red Sox fan would get a kick out of clicking on. Twins release Ortiz | SS Jose Morban selected in Rule 5 draft.

Some highlights:

The speculation over what the Twins would do with first baseman/designated hitter David Ortiz came to an end Monday when the team released him to make room on the roster for shortstop Jose Morban, who was selected from Texas with the 22nd overall pick in the Rule V draft.

FYI, Jose Morban's career MLB numbers:

2003: 61 G, 71 AB, 14 R, 8 SB, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .141/ .187/ .225/ .412/ 11 OPS+

"I really would have liked to deal David," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "But I couldn't find a taker."

Then, there's this old Red Sox site link:

At a low risk gamble -- the deal reportedly has a base salary of roughly $1.25 million -- the Red Sox are more than willing to find out if Ortiz's luck is about to change.

"I'm not going to tell you what kind of numbers I can put up," said Ortiz. "But I think that if I stay healthy, I can put up some numbers that can help Boston go to the playoffs and win a World Series. That's my goal right now. I'm looking forward to playing 160 games in the big leagues. I haven't done that yet."

Kind of puts a hop in your step, huh?

You want another reason to hate Michael Kay? Like you friggin' need one? Check out Andrew Marchand's article from the NY Post about Kay and his producer, Aaron Spielberg. Apparently, on April Fool's Day, Spielberg played the brilliant prank of getting ESPN 1050 contributor Larry Hardesty to tell Kay there was a "breaking news item" regarding a trade between the Orioles and the Mets- Sammy Sosa goes to New York for Mike Piazza and Mike Cameron.

Immediately, Kay jumped into criticism mode, apparently calling this a bad deal for the Mets (even though they would have filled their RF hole with a power hitter and rid themselves of Cameron and Piazza's salary, likely going with better defense behind the plate, meanwhile leaving Baltimore with nowhere to put Piazza), laughing at Omar Minaya, and taking numerous calls on the subject. He was in full-fathead mode, barreling forward without verification or supporting evidence of the trade, not even pausing for a second to realize the trade didn't really make all the much sense either.

Hardesty let him in on the prank an hour later:

Kay was not amused.

Afterward, sources said, yelling ensued during the breaks. Then, over last weekend, a still-peeved Kay told radio station GM Tim McCarthy and program director Mike Thompson that he might quit unless Spielberg were re-assigned.

Now, the rational among us, were they in McCarthy's place, would be taking this as a benevolent act of God, a gift bestowed us from above in the form of a threat to quit from Michael Kay. But, of course, having hired him in the first place, McCarthy acquiesced. Kay won.

Starting next week, Spielberg will work on Stephen A. Smith's new 12 p.m.-2 p.m. show and Max Kellerman's 7 p.m.-8 p.m. program.

Both Kay and Thompson said, "It is an internal matter.'' Thompson said that Spielberg would not be made available for an interview.

The best part about this? His crosstown rivals- and the word "hated" is all too appropriate between the two- Mike and the Mad Dog were NOT fooled by the prank, and when they heard how quick and blindly Kay jumped all over it, Mike Francesa apparently laughed and said, "it's like high school media club over there," (paraphrasing) to which I'm sure Mad Dog blubbered and spittled.

The best part is that he'd been had so horribly on April Fool's Day. I mean, no one gets burned on the 1st anymore, just look at the calendar. He is so fucking stupid it boggles my mind.

One thing I heard about ESPN's coverage of the ring ceremony was, of course, the big to-do caused by no-World-Series-ring-havers Harold Reynolds and John Kruk. What were the two upset about?

That Derek Lowe and Dave Roberts, members now of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, respectively, wore their Red Sox jerseys for the ceremony.

"The jersey was made for that ceremony,'' Lowe said yesterday before the Dodgers played their home opener against the San Francisco Giants. ``It was just part of it."

To put it bluntly, Harold Reynolds and John Kruk have reached levels of irrelevance not yet witnessed by the likes of man- and joking aside, the fact that they took the opportunity of the Opening Day ring ceremony to copiously deride that choice was completely inappropriate and totally, well... disrespectful. Kruk and Reynolds talk a lot about "respect for the game," which is bullshit code for "petty little set of unwritten rules we grown men abide by like it's dogma." Meanwhile, John Kruk never met a steak sandwich he'd turn down, nor a camera he wouldn't find to scratch himself and spit brown tobacco juice in front of while playing. At least he could play. Harold Reynolds had a lot of speed and... well, that's it.

I don't need to defend the choice to the likes of these people because
a) it should be obvious to any thinking person, and
b) the managers, front offices, and teammates of both players were completely accepting of the choice, as they were more than willing to attest to after the mini-flap erupted.

You want to talk about disrespect though? How about taking an achievement neither of them were able to count as their own, and disrespecting it by passing judgement on the way they celebrated it. They wore ceremonial jerseys for the celebration. Grow up!

ESPN really needs to take a long, hard look at it's current former-player-analyst roster. It's a fucking joke. Rick Sutcliffe is terrible. Steve Phillips was laughed out of his GM job in New York and currently resides in the "dubious giver of scoops" department of the baseball crew there. Rob Dibble can string no more than five words together at once, Jeff Brantley says the same thing over and over again, but it rarely makes sense. Tony Gwynn is hard to dislike, but he's just a "nice fella praising all the players on the field"- which would be fine if he weren't stretching facts in order to do it. Joe Morgan is the legendary bull-ego without a clue (odd, considering how monumentally great he was as a player) about modern baseball or, well, logic.

And then there's Kruk and Reynolds. I'm not one to usually say this- because especially on a Red Sox blog it comes across as self absorbed and paranoid-- but Harold Reynolds is, for reasons known only to him and his God and (maybe) Mrs. Reynolds, completely obsessed with the New York Yankees, and completely invested in boosting them and their team every opportunity he gets. It's baffling, often without making a wit of sense, and commonly at the expense of the Red Sox. It may be hard to believe, but I don't say that lightly and throw it around without years of anecdotal evidence to draw on- ask Mike- I've been a Baseball Tonight junkie for years on end.

John Kruk is as much a broadcaster as Ray Charles could have been a surgeon. Sorry- sometimes, people aren't able to do some things. John Kruk sits at the BT desk and makes fun of Harold, makes fun of players, offers no insight or real critical thought, looks fat, and lives to disagree with whatever writer they have on the set- be it Gammons, Stark, Kurkjian- whatever. He's a fucking stain, and a clear ploy to get the Best Damn Sports Show type audience, because well, that's where he came from, and that's really all you need to know about his sensibilities anyway.

If you like these two guys- well, if you take them seriously let's say- you don't "get" baseball, and you're operating a few neurons short of function. They're both part of this "old-school" pandemic in baseball that includes things like Don The Gerbil Zimmer saying he couldn't respect the Red Sox in their World Series victory because of Johnny Damon's hair and beard, and the way some of them wore their jersey's all loose and ghetto like. This, according to the Gerbil, "disrespects the game." So, in turn, he feels let off the obligation of having to respect these people with an exponentially greater amount of talent, baseball knowledge and success as players... because of their appearance. So who's disrespectful? You know what I found disrespectful? His being one of the worst managers in the history of baseball, and doing it for a number of years in Boston, one of which was arguably the biggest regular season collapse in baseball history, to the Yankees, in 1978. Fat fucking toad.

Sorry. I hate all this no-thought "old-school" horseshit. Apparently, after Reynolds and Kruk gave their stately dissertations on Lowe and Roberts' jersey wearing, Tim Kurkjian said,

"You guys are old school? They wore the uniform jerseys for TEN MINUTES. Who would be offended by that? You must have been raised in a one room schoolhouse."

I'm sure Kruk returned with a bunch of "umms," some "uhh"s, a gaggle of stammers and starts, his eyes bugged a bit, and then he said something like "it's just not right, that's not how the game is PLAYED."


Saw Before Night Falls the other night, the Julian Schnabel film about Cuban poet Reynaldo Arenas. I thought it was amazing. I'm not always 100% pro-biographical film: they're often whitewashing (The Hurricane), but this was about someone who was unknown enough for it to be a really great, informative, affecting coming-of-age-and-etc story. A homosexual, Arenas faced a lot of persecution in Castro Cuba, which was in tandem with the political persecution he faced.

Besides the interesting story, the tremendous performance from Javier Bardem, and the beautiful photography, there was the very interesting (and eye-opening) look at some of the less romantic sides of the Cuban Revolution. Sure, there was a heroic edge to what Fidel Castro and Che Guevara did and who they were- but Fidel tortured homosexuals, censored art, and kept political prisoners- and Che Guevara often oversaw executing them.

That's the sort of dimension and complexity that, to me, makes a movie good.

I also watched Bad Lieutenant, with Harvey Keitel, and I really loved that as well, but what totally got me was the ongoing commentary on the fictional Dodgers/ Mets NLCS that punctuates the film by none other than the Foamy-Mouthed one himself, Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo. Good times.

Finally, a shout out to my two favorite Sox blogs-
Empyreal Environs for sending a "long-suffering NYer" without access to the ring ceremony a copy of the event on DVD for free. Thanks, Joanna!

And Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory for offering- hands down- the best and most personal coverage of the home opener I've read yet. Jere did good, and I'm with him on the Terry Cashman song too, BDD can choke on it.

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