Your morning roundup for July 8, the day Carl Monday struck fear into the hearts of the Steroid Cartels. Photo via tipster Kal.
What we watched: The old canard says that a triple is the most exciting play in baseball, but I think that comes from people who are bored by the game and just want to see someone running for an extended period of time, for once. The real most exciting play in baseball is the walkoff grand slam, when down three runs. In last night's Indians/Blue Jays game, Cleveland was down 4-1 with one out in the ninth. At that point, there's any number of outcomes for the at-bat, but of all of them, only two end the game: a double play, or a home run. Guess which one comeback player of the year Travis Hafner provided.
What we're watching: The ascension of Trout. Mike Trout, can't miss outfield prospect for the Angels, skips AAA altogether and joins the big leagues today. And if the grind of the dog days is getting you down, take heart: the future of baseball tends to emerge in the long summers, when teams fall out of contention and bring up the next big thing. You could put together a murderer's row of Trout, Dustin Ackley, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Justin Smoak, Brandon Belt, and all the other young sluggers making their MLB debuts this year. They're all "cant-miss," yet some of them undoubtedly will. But the ones that don't, the ones that go on to Cooperstown, or just a long productive major league career, or just one memorable hit in a crucial playoff game and then disappear off the face of the earth forever; you can say you knew them way back when.
"He was staying stuff like, ‘Please check on my son.' And people were telling him, ‘We'll check on your son, sir.'":
"We had a very tragic accident tonight, and one of our fans lost his life reaching over the wall trying to catch a ball," Texas Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said. "As an organization and as team members and as a staff, we are very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family." The Brownwood (Tx.) News identified the victim as firefighter Shannon Shone. [Star-Telegram]
The Cubs decided to raise their record to 36-53 in style: The Washington Nationals scored 7 in the third inning and tacked on an insurance 8th in the fourth. Then, this happened:
• A Soriano singled to left, A Ramirez scored, G Soto to third, M Byrd to second. Nationals 8, Cubs 1.
• D Barney doubled to deep center, G Soto and M Byrd scored, A Soriano to third. Nationals 8, Cubs 3.
• B DeWitt homered to right (359 feet), A Soriano and D Barney scored. Nationals 8, Cubs 6.
• C Pena homered to right (389 feet), A Ramirez scored. Nationals 8, Cubs 8.
• A Ramirez singled to right, S Castro scored. Cubs 9, Nationals 8.
Final Score: Cubs 10, Nationals 9. [Chicago Tribune]
Big Trouble In Little Kaiserslautern: According to Bild newspaper, 23-year-old goalie Tobias Sippel and midfielders Thanos Petsos, 20, and Ivo Ilicevic, 24 – all members of Kaiserslautern's first team – went partying Sunday in the city's historic district. They then drove a BMW to a nearby brothel, but allegedly hit a parked car as they arrived. After a resident notified the police, the players were apprehended by officers in the red-light establishment, the newspaper reported. [The Local] (H/T Tomuban)
Freestyle Dog Parkour Interlude:
It's that time; when presidential candidates pretend to be sports fans: "Now Romney acts like a regular in Bill Simmons's mailbag. He donned a Sox shirt during a July 4 parade in New Hampshire. He declared at his June campaign kickoff, "As the Red Sox like to remind the New York Yankees, there are no dynasties in America"-a weird statement, because this Sox squad probably qualifies as a dynasty and the son of George Romney definitely does. Is Romney a Red Sox "fan" as we understand it? He often brags that his family has season tickets at Fenway. But that doesn't prove Romney is a fan; that proves Romney is rich. No, to see how closely Romney follows his favorite team, we go to St. Petersburg, Fla., on June 15. While the Republican frontrunner watched Josh Beckett throw a one-hitter, he marveled that the Rays were playing home games indoors. "I thought I was going to be in sweltering heat," Romney said, "but instead it's cool." Tropicana Field has been hosting major-league games since 1998. The comment marked a watershed of sorts. Mitt Romney was an even phonier Red Sox fan than John Kerry." [The Daily Beast]
Leniency for some violent immigrant criminals, the death penalty for others: "ESPN analyst and former NHL forward Matthew Barnaby was ordered Wednesday to complete 500 hours of community service to have charges dropped stemming from an argument he had with his estranged wife in May.
As part of her ruling, Buffalo State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Haendiges also issued a one-year order of protection against Barnaby. He is barred from taking what was described as any "offensive" action against his wife, and was also ordered to avoid contact with his wife's boyfriend, the DA's office said." [ESPN.com]
We are all Dave McKenna CXLIX: Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting every day until Snyder's dumbass libel lawsuit gets adopted by Casey Anthony.
The hottest ticket in America is in Dayton, somewhow: "And so it goes with the Dragons, who this Saturday night will fill the house for the 815th consecutive time, breaking the all-time sports record of the Portland Trail Blazers, circa 1977-95. The Dragons were born in 2000. Every seat has been sold since.
‘I think it's a love affair between a city and its team,' Art Matin said over the phone, he the CEO of Mandalay Baseball Properties, owner of the Dragons and five other minor league teams. ‘And it goes both ways.'" [USA Today]
RIP George Kimball: "He was wild and profane and an absolute old maid about the rules of golf. He loved Ireland like a native, even though his given name — George Edward Kimball III, for the love of god! — made him sound like the last, lost Plantagenet. He drank beer, smoked unfiltered Luckies, and was a strict vegetarian. At a newspaper full of cranks and eccentrics, which is what once made the Phoenix great (ask around, kidz), he was the undisputed king of them all. On the day he quit, I was the only person in the office. He dragooned me to the Park Plaza at nine in the morning, bribed the guy to open the bar, and we stayed there until 3, when he walked down the hall, bought a ticket to Palm Beach, and went directly to the airport without telling me he was gone." [Pierce]
Do yourself a favor and buy Kimball's book: At The Fights: American Writers on Boxing, in which you'll find Mencken and Hamill and James Baldwin and Murray Kempton and John Lardner and Ralph Wiley all hanging out in the same room. (There's also a story in which Mike Lupica meets Don King, and the two of them wiggle their egos at each other.)
Awful Announcing's Joe Morgan replacement tournament continues: Today, Pierre McGuire takes on Reggie Miller and Erik Kuselias takes on the one and only Chris Berman for the right to Mt. Rushmore. Go vote. [McGuire-Miller, Kuselias-Berman]
Today in great ledes regarding banana attacks: "There is a banana at large in Strongsville. Police say that someone dressed up as a banana and attacked the Wireless Center's mascot, a gorilla, last week. ‘I noticed a kid in the bushes. Then he just emerged, dressed up as a banana, and sprinted as fast as he could at our gorilla,' said Brandon Parham, the manager. ‘The kid just speared our gorilla.' Parham and another employee witnessed the attack. ‘The kid was in mid-air, flying. He just looked like a Spartan from that movie '300,' except he was a banana,' added Parham." [Fox 8 Cleveland, H/T KingCuyahoga]