Home > Uncategorized > Running Off At The Electronic Mouth, No. XI

Running Off At The Electronic Mouth, No. XI

When Joel Zumaya’s right arm became about as useful as silverware to a bear on Monday night, did anyone else have flashbacks to Tony Saunders? That was the first thing that popped into my head. When I saw the squeamish moment, I actually said to myself, “I hope he didn’t Tony Saunders himself.” When you become a verb, you’ve done something memorable. Even if it does cost an amazing amount of pain.

Zumaya is just 25 years old and as Cole Hamels and Chris Reitsma have proven, a broken bone while delivering a pitch doesn’t have to be a career-ender. But even when his rehabilitation is complete, you have to wonder how this will mentally burden Zumaya when he next throws off a mound. There’s nothing about his throwing motion he can change to lessen his chances of a repeat while not also compromising his status as a major leaguer. If he loses his velocity, he’s probably out of a job. Next year, he has to simply get back on the bump and throw. He needs to understand that a second break would be extremely rare. But not impossible. Right, Tony? I wonder if that .00001 percent chance will haunt him forever.

Luke Scott probably needs to stretch a little more. Home run fail.

I adore Gary Thorne’s flawless transition from homer to injury. He hardly pauses between “Home run!” and “Luke Scott has hurt himself rounding the bases.” He doesn’t have time to lower the excitement in his voice and he just sounds really pleased about both developments.

But at least we have a new leader in the Tater Trot Tracker clubhouse.

Things that shouldn’t bother me, but really do: This commercial for the 2010 MLB All-Star Game.

Let’s see here … we’ve got Jeter, Rollins, Howard, Werth. OK, they fit. And who is standing in the batter’s box at the 18-second mark? Reid Brignac!!! What, Fox couldn’t CGI Erick Aybar in there? Was Julio Lugo unavailable? Jeff Keppinger is insulted. Nick Punto is crying somewhere.

Now Brignac will be able to tell his kids that he was once featured in an all-star commercial. FOX should be ashamed.

Everyone wants to speculate if Ubaldo Jimenez can win 30 games. Personally, I hope so. My fantasy team would greatly appreciate it. Some have raised the question with tongue firmly placed inside cheek, but for those who actually think this could happen, do some simple counting. If Jimenez starts every fifth day for the rest of the season, regardless of off days or postponement, and pitches the first game after the break, he’ll have 18 starts remaining this season. That includes this Saturday’s go against San Francisco.

So far, Jimenez has had 16 starts: 14 wins, one loss, one no decision. He would need to be just as good (or just as lucky?) in the second half to even scratch at 30 wins. It’s not going to happen. So stop, please. Just stop.

I went to Saturday’s Yankees-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium. Past Mark Teixeira’s home run in the first, there wasn’t much for Yankees fans to watch. A.J. Burnett continued on his pathetic June. James Loney continued his awkward 10-homer, 110-RBI pace. I spent the entire top of the sixth inning, as Chan Ho Park made an appearance, recalling stories of Park and his baseball sidekick for life in my mind, Fernando Tatis.

One great element to the game was the atmosphere. I never doubted that it would be packed, but I was very impressed with Dodgers fans sticking around until the end and not take their customary leave during the seventh. Getting 56,000 people through a few exits in Los Angeles can mean 30 minutes or more stuck in traffic, but here is a tip for the next time you want to leave a crowded parking lot quickly after a sporting event …

Follow the visiting-team bus and its police escort past that crowd of saps

I know it’s been almost a month, but I never did say anything here about Ken Griffey Jr.’s retirement (Thanks, Jim Joyce). I was writing something about his career when that other storyline developed and forgot what I started.

To sum it up: Griffey hit 630 home runs while never being part of the steroid conversation. He finished in the top-five of the MVP voting five times. He was a tremendous outfielder and an icon of the ’90s. And he’ll always be one of the game’s more prominent what-could-have-been players.

In the last nine full seasons of his career (I am not counting 2010), Griffey played in more than 120 games just four times. His career was ruined by injuries in Cincinnati, especially in 2002-04. Now I am left with two images of Ken Griffey Jr: This guy, tearing my heart out.

And this guy.

Switching over to topics outside of baseball … um, that’s a lot of money. It’s not often that an athlete can lose $750 million in one fell swoop and still be one of the richest pros out there.

Bill Plaschke wrote a column Friday prior to the USA-Ghana match that echoed a lot of what I said after America’s win versus Algeria. The round of 16 isn’t good enough. We should expect to win more. We can’t be satisfied now. We should win this match.

And, of course, we didn’t.

So nothing will change. This was not a monumental achievement or an evolutionary moment for U.S. soccer. The viewership reached unprecedented levels, but soccer supporters are delusional if they truly believe this World Cup did anything to give the United States a long-term attraction to the sport. We’ve had previous World Cup squads advance further in the tournament. That didn’t cause wide numbers of people to change their opinion on soccer. It’s still boring to the masses. We don’t get the nuances and really don’t care to learn.

I know it sounds as if I am attaching my opinion of soccer onto all Americans, but I know how the majority thinks. We’ll only care about the World Cup like we care about the Olympics. We understand its gravity. We’ll support it with great vigor when it comes around. We will pull hard for our country to crush every other nation with no mercy. But after it’s all over, there will be no grand popularity growth for soccer or swimming or women’s gymnastics.

That could change if the U.S. can reach the World Cup final one day. But everything else will be forgotten soon enough.

I will continue to follow the World Cup because, much like the Olympics, I’ll watch a sports event of this magnitude even when I don’t have a rooting interest. But after July 11, wake me (and everyone else) in four years.

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