Tag:New York Mets
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:06 pm
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Stuff my editors whacked from the column

Being entrenched as Cincinnati's shortstop means something else for Paul Janish: Perhaps his pitching days are finally finished.

"Ideally," he says, chuckling.

In two big-league mop-up appearances, Janish has fashioned a not-so-stellar 49.50 ERA.

Two innings pitched (both in 2009), nine hits, 11 earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts.

Within that are two homers surrendered, a two-run shot to Prince Fielder and a grand slam by Jayson Werth.

He says he's been informed by my friend and curator of "Useless Information", Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, that he owns the record for most runs given up by a position player in the last 50 years.

"So that made it pretty good," Janish says.

He says college recruiters projected him as a pitcher out of Houston's Cypress Creek High School. But at Rice University, the pitching staff was loaded, including Jeff Niemann (first-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2004), Philip Humber (first-round pick by the Mets in 2004), Wade Townsend (first-round pick of the Orioles in 2004, then first-round by Tampa Bay in 2005) and David Aardsma (first-round by the Giants in 2003).

So he remained an infielder at Rice, and helped the Owls win the College World Series in 2003.

Now, as the Reds starting shortstop, and two years after his last appearance on the mound, Janish no longer is being recruited as a pitcher -- by universities, or by Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker.

"No," he says. "And I don't think I'm going to be able to take [the 49.50 career ERA] to arbitration."

Likes: Friday Night Lights back for season five beginning on Friday (for those of us who don't have DirecTV). Can't wait. Mixed emotions, though: I hate that it's the final season for one of the best television shows ever. ... Win Win, the new film featuring Paul Giamatti as a dispirited attorney who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach. Really good. ... The Joe Mauer/Troy Polamalu commercial for Head & Shoulders. Well played, Mauer ... and Palamalu.

Dislikes: Ken Griffey Jr. in the commercials. Junior, I love ya, but that Dick's Sporting Goods ad is just awful. ... Speaking of which, MLB's newest ad campaign, Always Epic, has a clunker of a television ad taking us "inside" Brian Wilson's beard. Creepy.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
"And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
"I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
"I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shores"

-- Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine

Posted on: March 5, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Selig "satisfied" with early labor talks

MESA, Ariz. -- Dressed casually in khaki slacks and a button down shirt on a 73-degree day, Commissioner Bud Selig could have passed for any fan at Saturday's Cubs-Padres game at HoHoKam Park.

Of course, not just any fan has the authority to speak directly, and with the inside knowledge, of the game's first labor negotiating session that was held Wednesday in Florida. The game's Basic Agreement expires following the upcoming season.

"We're starting early, and I think that's good," said Selig, who added that a second negotiating session is scheduled for "out here" -- presumably in Arizona -- next week. "Hopefully we're starting very quietly and very peacefully.

"I'm proud that we've had 16 years of labor peace. It's because we can do our work quietly. ... There used to be a lot of public statements and people banging on each other. Negotiations will be tough and we'll have a difference of opinion, but we'll do it in a constructive manner. It's led to two successful labor negotiations and, hopefully, another one.

"Michael [Weiner, players' union chief] has been good. ... I'm satisfied with where we are."

As baseball begins the process that once upon a time led to the public spitting that the NFL currently is experiencing, Selig said the football saga certainly feels familiar.

"It brings back a lot of memories of the '90s," he said. "Those were tough years, really tough years, for a lot of reasons. If I ever get around to writing my book what I would say is, the seven labor stoppages that led to that, you could almost see it coming. There was so much anger and so much hostility.

"But those days are gone. And the other sports now, in some cases, I guess, are feeling what we felt in the '90s. It's painful, I'll tell you that."

Aside from the fact that there will be another negotiating session next week, Selig touched on several different topics without any sensational revelations. Among them:

-- On some recent comments by big-market owners complaining about shelling out too much money for revenue sharing: "So far I've been able to keep this all together in a very constructive way and I don't have any reason to think that's going to change. Every club views it from its own perspective. I understand that."

Selig declined comment on Red Sox owner John Henry's revelation last week that he had been fined $500,000 for comments regarding revenue sharing a few years ago.

-- On recent rumblings regarding the idea of contraction: "It's not something I've talked about. It's not something we've talked about. It hasn't been on the table."

-- On the Mets' mess: "We're in uncharted waters. I speak to Fred [Wilpon, Mets owner] a great deal and we just have to hope something works out."

-- Mets and Dodgers marquee franchises scuffling: "When you're the commissioner, you have all kinds of things that happen, most of them not in your control, and this year we have a couple of situations and next year we'll have a couple of more. You work your way through these things."

-- In the most entertaining exchange, Selig reiterated that he has an "enormous respect and affection" for the Wilpons, who go back 35 years with his family. Asked whether he could make any similar comments about Dodgers ownership, Frank and Jamie McCourt, Selig said, "I'm not going to discuss the LA situation."

-- On Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd being the only player in baseball taking supplements and using a program designed by Victor Conte, the old BALCO man: "We've talked to him. He knows how we feel. It's not a situation that makes me very happy."

Posted on: February 25, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Mets look to former All-Stars for rotation help

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With ace Johan Santana not expected to be ready to roll until at least June, the Mets are going to have to get awfully creative behind Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese and veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to hang around in a beastly NL East.

Awfully lucky, too.

It could start with the return to form of a couple of former All-Stars.

Right-hander Chris Young and lefty Chris Capuano are here, both are on the comeback trail and both say they physically feel the best they've felt in years.

Whether that translates into full and productive seasons in the rotation remains to be seen.

But, as first-year general manager Sandy Alderson says, "So far, so good. They've both thrown a number of sides, they’ve thrown live batting practice, they've kept on the same rotation as everyone else."

Young, an All-Star in 2007, missed nearly all of last year following setbacks after he underwent shoulder surgery in August, 2009. After starting a game on April 6, Young did not reappear until mid-September.

So far, he's thrilled with where he's at.

"My arm strength is better and my breaking stuff is sharper," Young said. "My life on the ball has been good.

"I'm very, very happy with my progress. It was great to spend the off-season working on pitching instead of rehabbing."

Capuano, an All-Star in 2006, is nearly 18 months past his second Tommy John ligament transfer surgery. Though he made 24 appearances for Milwaukee last year, he started just nine times.

"Last year was the year I came back from injury," Capuano said. "I pitched a full season with no setbacks. This is not a coming-off-of-injury year for me. That was last year."

Capuano underwent his second Tommy John surgery in May, 2008.

"I'm still primarily a fastball, breaking ball, changeup pitcher," said the former Duke University pitcher. "I try to throw all of my pitches to both sides of the plate, in any count, and not be predictable."

He should fit right in with the Mets, given the utterly unpredictable nature of their rotation. Dickey came out of nowhere last year to go 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA in 174 1/3 innings pitched.

Oliver Perez, meanwhile, is still hanging around the clubhouse, entering the final season of a three-year, $36 million deal, and appears to have as much chance of pitching in the Mets' rotation as Mayor Bloomberg.

While Young and Capuano work on returning to form, there are other candidates floating around for the Nos. 4 and 5 spots: Rookie Dillon Gee, the organization's top prospect who impressed last September, D.J. Carrasco and Pat Misch, to name three.

Young and Capuano have earned the most stripes. Young is 48-34 over seven big-league seasons and Capuano is 46-52 over six years.

"Those are performance guys," Alderson says. "They're not going to light up a [radar] gun, but they've done it [successfully pitched in the majors].

"They're All-Star-caliber players, and if they're healthy, we may be the beneficiaries."

Sunblock Day? Definitely, continuing a perfect streak since mid-February. Sun, 80s ... just like you'd draw it up for spring training. Only change is, there's a lot more wind today.

Likes: Joe Torre as an executive vice-president in the Commissioner's Office in charge of on-field matters. Him, Bobby Cox, Lou Piniella ... these are people who should remain involved in the game. ... Being able to catch the final launch of the space shuttle Discovery from some 150 miles south through my hotel room window. Even from far away, you could clearly see the bright orange fire in the sky launching the rocket into space. Positively breathtaking. ... Late-night Seinfeld reruns while winding down after a long day of work. They're still the perfect tonic. Last night's episode was the one where Elaine was dating a guy obsessed with the Eagles' Desperado. Classic. ... Funny, after seeing Seinfeld for the first time in a long time last night, I rounded a corner today at the Mets' complex and there was Keith Hernandez, sitting on some steps while talking on the cell phone. Wonder if the Hernandez episode is the one that will be on tonight? ... The Oscars this Sunday night. Always look forward to them. I've seen seven of the 10 best-picture nominees. Really liked The King's Speech, The Social Network, Winter's Bone, The Kids Are Alright, True Grit and The Fighter. You can have Inception.

Dislikes: Adam Wainwright is a fabulous pitcher and a class act. I hope his surgery goes smoothly. ... The fried chicken smell dominating the elevator and the hallway in my hotel much of yesterday afternoon and evening. It was like Colonel Sanders had the room down the hall. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
"The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
"It's hard to tell the night time from the day
"You're losin' all your highs and lows
"Ain't it funny how the feeling goes away?"

-- The Eagles, Desperado

 

Posted on: November 30, 2010 1:13 am
 

Young talks with Mets, others; nothing imminent

Veteran right-hander Chris Young, a free agent after the Padres declined to pick up his 2011 option, is talking with the New York Mets.

But that doesn't mean he's close to signing with them.

Contrary to reports Monday, Young says he is not on the verge of signing with the Mets and continues to engage in talks with several other clubs as well.

"The Mets are one of the teams with whom I have had dialogue," Young wrote in an e-mail to CBSSports.com on Monday night. "Not close to a deal with anyone at the present time."

While Young declined to list the clubs with whom he is talking in order to avoid more speculation, he said he is talking with the Mets "along with seven or eight other teams, including San Diego."

Young, an All-Star in 2007 with the Padres, has had a run of tough luck in recent seasons regarding his health, but he finished strong in 2010. After missing most of the season following a setback to his surgically repaired right shoulder, Young went 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in four September starts for San Diego as the Padres went down the stretch with San Francisco.

Though Young's velocity was down on his fastball in the beginning, it reached the upper 80s by his final start.

Like San Diego, the Mets play in a pitcher-friendly park -- Citi Field -- that suits a fly ball pitcher like Young. Also like San Diego, the Mets are looking to fill out their rotation. Currently, ace Johan Santana is slotted to miss the beginning of the season following shoulder surgery. Currently, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Neise and R.A. Dickey are projected as the top three in the New York rotation.

The Mets have a new manager in Terry Collins, and a couple of key members of the front office are very familiar with Young: New general manager Sandy Alderson and his assistant, Paul DePodesta, each spent time in San Diego's front office in recent years.

Posted on: November 23, 2010 6:16 pm
 

Love Letters: Fixing the Mets Edition

Meet the Mets, greet the Mets ... and we did both with their new manager Terry Collins. ...

FROM: Greg K.
Re.: Mets complete clubhouse makeover with Collins hire

Scott,

As a Mets fan, thank you - THANK YOU - for injecting a dose of sanity into the fan and media reaction to the Terry Collins hiring. Reading some of the drivel put out there in the last 18 hours I don't want to mention any names, but ... it makes you wonder whether any objectivity or logic, or intelligence, or consideration, or patience is even possible when writing about the Mets anymore. It's refreshing to actually see some intelligent analysis rather than the knee-jerk mentality which has overtaken much of the media -- and the die-hards -- when it comes to the Mets. Keep it up!

It's the Mets. They've come to specialize in knee-jerk, haven't they?

FROM: Jack H.

Another retread. It will take a miracle. Collins needs to get the team to do a 180. Personally, I would have given Wally Backman a one-year contract. I think he would have taken it. I just wouldn't make the contract public because I wouldn't want the team to know it was only for a year. That team needs a kick-ass manager and I don't see that from Collins.

What's your definition of a "kick-ass" manager? In many ways, Collins is or could be that guy. I think you're on the right track in some areas, but I disagree on the one-year deal. Nothing is secret anymore. It would leak. And you cannot have a rookie manager on a one-year deal. That's a neon sign to the clubhouse that he does not have authority.

FROM: Finbar

Scott:

From your own article, I give you the following: "When we last saw Collins in a big-league manager's chair, the late-'90s Angels were blowing up around him in spectacular fashion. The Mo Vaughn free agent signing was a colossal mistake, the clubhouse was rife with dissension, everybody hated everybody and Collins' spirited ways were a daily dose of salt to what was an open and festering clubhouse wound. Something had to give, and it was Collins. He lost the clubhouse, then his job."

Your words, and if true, this cannot be a good candidate for a job in NY. Especially with 10 years of a lack of managing. This team needs a cultural, not logistical, change. Can Collins deliver such a thing? Anyone who ever lost a clubhouse is problematic particularly in NY/NJ. If he lost a team out west, how will he regain a team in New York? Fair question, I think!Share thoughts!

It is a very fair question. And it is a key question. I also wrote that Collins is a smart man and should have been able to figure some things out in his decade away from managing -- where he went wrong with the Angels, what he could have done differently. To me, his success depends directly on this. He's a smart man. If he's learned a few things, he will do just fine in New York. If he proves incapable of learning what he needed to, then Sandy Alderson will be looking for a new manager sooner rather than later.

FROM: Frank D.

Though I would have preferred Wally Backman, I like the hire. Here's why: Collins knows the Mets farm system. You will see more young players this year and he knows them. Collins will be better equipped to understand how to use them. Jerry Manuel didn't have a clue.

Also, Collins will not tolerate any garbage. That means malcontents like Carlos Beltran. If he's here, he won't be tolerated. He'll be unafraid to sit those who jake it. This certainly signals Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez have no place here. It's a matter of time before they're eradicated. Collins is IMO keeping the seat warm for Backman. Wally will manage St. Lucie, then perhaps be moved up to Binghamton or Buffalo.

Terry is a transition guy and is here to clean up Omar Minaya's and Manuel's mess, and leave it [better] for the next guy. He's a good company guy and he's a decent manager (444-434). Since the end of the year, the Mets have rid themselves of incompetents like Minaya and Manuel. They've added a real brain trust in Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta. Collins in in that vein. He's cerebral and professional.

Now the four of them have to turn their efforts towards dumping the garbage. I think they'll surprise some people how much they can do. I'm hoping they'll make trades and have free-agent signings, not to make a splash on the back pages of the dying newspapers, but ones that actually make the team better. My guess is unlike Minaya, they'll have a plan. A real plan. I'm actually very happy with what has occured. I'm looking forward to 2011 and hopefully a team that cares and shows respect for the game and fans.

Well played, Mr. Frank. You're last sentence summarizes things nicely.

FROM: Wesley Kempton
Re.: Anderson's passing sparks many wonderful baseball memories

Mr. Miller,

I am a senior Communications major at the University of Wyoming. Wyoming is a place so far from baseball and the rest of the world that it is somewhat a haven for what baseball used to be. Everyone everywhere can get baseball on TV, but when you are so far from the game, you are left to romanticize as in days of old through radio, great play-by-play, and great writing.

I have a heartfelt appreciation for baseball; for the way it is and the way I imagine it used to be. I appreciate the noble simplicities of baseball and all things associated with it. More than anything, and I think all baseball fans can agree to this: I appreciate people sharing memories of baseball. It is a bond that can nostalgically unite many fans of summer's greatest companion.

It is for that that I thank you for your piece on Sparky Anderson. My Dad lived in Southern Ohio in the '50s, '60s and '70s, and my bedtime stories were about a Big Red Machine. The greatest team ever, he told me. My opinion of that declaration is still in deliberation, but I still love hearing those fairy tales. My father sent me the link to this column. A lifelong Reds fan, and a lifelong Sparky fan, he and I shared a smile through your column, several hundred miles apart.Thank you very much for continuing this bond of baseball.

Your father sounds like a wonderful man, Wesley. Thanks for sharing this story, and best of luck in Wyoming and beyond.

 

Posted on: October 27, 2010 7:19 pm
 

Daniels: I did not ask Mets to wait

SAN FRANCISCO -- Texas general manager Jon Daniels is a Queens native and a hot commodity these days, but says he did not ask the Mets to delay plans to hire a GM until after the World Series so that he would be free to take the job.

"Complete bull," Daniels, 33, told CBSSports.com before Game 1 of the World Series here Wednesday regarding one published report that he was in contact with the Mets and asked them to wait on him. "That really pissed me off."

Daniels, the architect of the Rangers' first-ever World Series team, called the report "completely inaccurate."

"All I'm thinking about is the Rangers and the World Series. I'm in a great spot," he said.

The Mets appear set to hire Sandy Alderson as their GM, likely on Friday.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 6:31 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 6:32 pm
 

Alderson just what juvenile Mets need

The Mets, who specialize in swinging and missing, finally hit one deep.

Long a team that's needed an adult in charge, in hiring longtime baseball man Sandy Alderson as their new general manager, they finally have one. (No formal announcement has been made for the move first reported by SI.com, but it could come from the Mets on Friday.)

A sorry organization that for too long has resembled a kindergarten class with a substitute teacher and no milk and graham crackers finally will come to order. Alderson, 62, is a brilliant man with lots of baseball experience and the discipline that comes with serving four years in the United States Marines Corps.

Already, you can picture him backhanding Jeff Wilpon from across the desk when the meddling son of owner Fred Wilpon bursts in with his next "brilliant" plan. For too long, these plans from the know-nothing, would-be baseball genius has helped sink the Mets, turning them into the game's laughingstock.

The downfall of former GM Omar Minaya, a good baseball man and an even better person, was that he could never just tell Jeff no. Minaya had several other faults as well -- lack of vision, fuzzy focus, just too darned nice at times -- but make no mistake: Having neither the authority nor the gumption to stand up to Jeff Wilpon was at the top of the list.

That will not be a problem for Alderson.

That said, I'm not convinced that he's the long-term ticket to the Mets returning to the World Series. I was front-and-center among his critics when he was running the Padres, mostly because I'm not convinced that his philosophy is the way to win in today's game.

When he was club president, Alderson's Padres veered hard toward on-base percentage and away from any thought toward speed and defense. Historically, that's his modus operandi. But in this post-steroid era, too many clubs are proving you can't play station-to-station baseball and sit around waiting for the three-run homer.

That worked for Alderson's Athletics in 1989 when Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were swinging it -- with some added pharmaceutical help -- and baseball was a different game.

The Padres under Alderson in 2008 started the season with Paul McAnulty in left field, and it was an insult to anybody who understood how Petco Park plays. I've harped on this plenty in the past, probably too much -- McAnulty is a pleasant fellow who probably doesn't deserve to be trashed indefinitely as the Poster Boy for bad decisions.

But those '08 Padres lost 99 games -- injuries to Jake Peavy and Chris Young didn't help -- largely because of faulty front-office decisions. Bottom line in baseball is putting players in position to succeed. Too often, Alderson's Padres didn't.

That said, he took more blame than he should have. His hiring as club president dovetailed with John Moores essentially becoming an absentee owner because of a nasty divorce. As such, the Padres chopped their payroll from somewhere near $70 million down to the $40-million range. Alderson took a lot of bullets for Moores, and for that, I hope Moores wrote Alderson several jumbo-sized checks.

Alderson doesn't always have the smoothest bedside manner -- his cold-hearted botching of the Padres' split with beloved closer Trevor Hoffman alone probably cost the club a large percentage of the season-ticket holders who fled by the thousands after that wretched '08 season.

But sometimes what didn't work in one situation is called for in another. The Mets' home park, CitiField, plays a lot like Petco in that it has a very large outfield. If Alderson is going to stubbornly cling to his own personal baseball philosophy and field big slugs who take walks and get on base a lot without being able to run, then lots of opponents' hits will be dropping and eventually the Mets will have to hire someone else.

We'll see how that plays out soon enough. The important things now for the Mets are that Jeff Wilpon will be kept at arm's length from the baseball side of things, and that the new GM is not a puppet through whom Wilpon can operate.

Finally, the Mets finally have what they've badly needed: An adult in charge, and order about to be restored.

 

Posted on: October 12, 2010 2:51 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 4:54 pm
 

Thoughts on Game 5, Rangers-Rays

There is nothing like a Game 5 (or Game 7) in sports, and nothing like the pitch-by-pitch tension that builds in an elimination baseball game with the October leaves changing and Halloween costumes in the stores.

Tonight's Rangers-Rays game is so big, Tampa Bay not only removed the Tropicana Field tarp and put 5,000 extra tickets on sale, the Rays sold 'em!

Seriously, some thoughts as we count down to first pitch tonight of what should be a priceless matchup (so to speak) between aces David Price and Cliff Lee.

-- Texas can say what it wants about having Lee on the mound, and there is no question he's The Man. But it would be more of a guarantee if Tampa Bay was pitching some slob not named Price. Unless you're wearing a Rangers uniform, you'd much rather be in the Rays' cleats tonight: Price on the mound, bats coming back to life, the momentum of winning the past two games in your back pocket and what will be a thunderous, sold-out crowd behind you.

-- Crazy how things work out, and how perfect is this: Price, the man who sparked a controversy in Tampa by criticizing the Rays' fans via Twitter for not showing up on a potential clinching game in late September, pitching in front of not only a sold-out crowd tonight, but a crowd that voraciously snapped up those extra 5,000 tickets. This is a chance for burned bridges to be rebuilt, a chance for Price, 25 and as good a pitcher as there is in the game, to stand tall now that Tampa fans have put their money where Price's mouth is.

-- Maybe you don't realize this, but here is how rare a Game 5 is: We haven't had one since 2005, when the Los Angeles Angels beat the Yankees 5-2 in Anaheim to advance to the ALCS against the Chicago White Sox. Not only that, there's been very little drama in the Division Series' since '05, period: Entering this fall, a total of 11 of 20 series since then have been 3-0 sweeps.  Last fall, Game 163 between the Tigers and Twins -- not a Game 5, but an elimination game nonetheless, was by far the most exciting game of the entire postseason. It was all downhill after that.

-- The home team has yet to win in this series. Only once before has a team won the first two games of a best-of-five postseason series on the road and then gone on to lose: the 2001 Oakland A's, who played the New York Yankees. Texas will do everything tonight to make sure that changes, and don't be surprised to see manager Ron Washington call on starter C.J. Wilson if, for some reason, Lee is off.

-- This either works in Tampa Bay's favor -- or in Texas', if you figure odds are that this eventually will change: Never before in major league baseball history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, has there been a postseason series in which the road team has won every game in a best-of-five series.

-- In Game 1, Lee threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of 27 hitters, and threw 76 strikes out of 104 total pitches. The Rays ranked third in the AL this season with 802 runs scored, but only 13th with in hits -- only Seattle, in the AL, had fewer. That partly explains why the Rays were no-hit twice this summer. And it explains how steep their challenge is tonight: They cannot expect to get extra runners on base via walks. They must be aggressive in swinging at Lee's strikes -- but it's a fine line between being aggressive, and coming too far out of their game.

-- From Texas' perspective, taking an early lead is a must. That would take the Tampa crowd out of the game, it would allow the Rangers to settle in and it might give Lee all he needs. "I think it depends on how many runs is put on the board when you score first," Rangers manager Ron Washington said Sunday in Texas while looking toward Game 5. "If you put one run on the board, you figure you can catch up with that. You put two runs on the board, you figure you can catch up with that. As long as it doesn't get past a grand slam, I think you're in good shape."

-- More Washington: "This was a five-game series when it started, now it's a five-game series. They proved they can beat us on our field, we proved we can beat them on their field. This is what it's about now. They have the right person they feel that's going to be throwing ... and we certainly feel the same way. So it's a matter of going out there, getting Cliff some runs, and if we get him some runs, he'll take it to the finish line. That's what it's all about."

-- Great stuff from Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler on Game 5: "Everyone understands it's just one game now. It's the same game, there's just more cameras. The bases don't eject out of the ground. Guys aren't throwing 150 miles an hour. There's a little more intensity." Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena agreed that there will be no ejecting bases in Tropicana Field tonight, but, as he said, "I can't deny it, it's going to be pretty exciting. It's not as easy to control your emotions. It's fun. It's fun to be a part of it."

-- Tampa Bay's attitude? "We came here facing our elimination," catcher John Jaso said as the Rays dressed after Game 4 to fly home to St. Pete for Game 5. "And we still are facing our elimination." So far, so good with that.

-- The Rangers, for one more day at least, remain the only team in baseball never to have won a playoff series. Someone asked Lee the other day about pitching for a team with such a "sorry history." "I've heard something about that," Lee deadpanned during a post-Game 4 news conference the other day. "But that really doesn't matter to me that much, to be honest. This is a different team than has ever played here. It's a whole different set of circumstances."

Likes: Game 5, for "all the marbles" (as Texas third baseman Michael Young says). ... Bobby Valentine in line to manage again, either in Florida or Seattle. Great fit in either place, but especially the Mariners with their Japanese ownership and Bobby V's ties to Japan. ... Sandy Alderson interviewing with the Mets as a potential general manager. I disagreed with many things Alderson did as president of the Padres, but he would be a great fit with the Mets, who need an adult to run that sorry franchise. Allard Baird, who interviewed Monday, would be a very fine choice as well. ... The Jim Joyce Twitter controversy that erupted on Tuesday. Suddenly, the umpire showed up with a new Twitter account and several tweets that looked authentic -- until MLB-PR tweeted that it was not the real Jim Joyce. ... Baseball working with Stand Up 2 Cancer. ... I don't plug a whole lot of things like this, but if you have a minute to vote in this Pepsi Refresh Project, Gabby's Ladder is a terrific organization for bereaved children in Michigan and Ohio that could really use a helping hand.

Dislikes: Glee.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"If the businessmen drink my blood
"Like the kids in art school said they would
"Then I guess I'll just begin again"

-- Arcade Fire, Ready to Start

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com