January 31, 2004

How Not To Act When You Are A 911 Emergency Operator.
"9-1-1, what's your emergency?"
"I am the highway shooter."
"Where you at?"
"[Expletive], don't worry about it."
"Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. You just want attention, don't you? If you're the shooter, where are you at?"
"[Expletive], I'm on I-71."
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever."
"[Expletive], I just shot a car."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever." [hangs up on caller]
Finally, Some Red Sox News. David Ortiz avoided arbitration by signing a deal for 2004 ($4,587,500). ... MLB to Union: "Sure, we may be colluding to lower salaries, but don't investigate. That would be bad for the game's image." ... Was William Edward White (1 game, 1879) the first black player in the major leagues?

Paul Thomspon has posted a new update to his Complete 9/11 Timeline. The White House "is refusing to give the [9/11 Commission] notes on presidential briefing papers taken by some of its own members." ... Stealing an election: easier than ever! ... How is he not a liar? ... Was the WMD/Iraq fiasco an intelligence failure? No. ... David Kay & the CIA

January 30, 2004

A Seminal Season. Tom Singer describes Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield and Byung-Hyun Kim as "a quintet of starters unmatched anywhere else in the Majors in depth or in potential. ... [C]onsider what these five right-handers have combined to do across the last two seasons: 142-64. Needless to say, no other five starters come close to that resume. Plug a reasonable facsimile of those numbers atop a team with Boston's lineup and revised bullpen, and it's easy to understand why the Red Sox sit as preseason World Series favorites. That's right -- a team that has not won a World Series since 1918 is the early, early, early choice on the legal sportsbooks of Las Vegas, and will get similar respect from the reams of preview publications that will soon fill your bookstores." Spring -- it is coming ...

Chris Dial asks: "Just how useful is Defensive Efficiency Record?" According to Alan Schwartz, "Hugh Fullerton, a nationally known baseball writer for the Chicago Examiner, wrote a long magazine piece called 'The Science of Baseball,' where he personally measured not just how many balls infielders reached but also the speed, thanks to his 20th-of-a-second stopwatch, with which those grounders were hit. (One exasperated reader replied that baseball was no place for 'a tape-measure, a T-square and an intimate knowledge of algebra and fractions.')" Some things never change! ... January 30 in baseball history. ... Wrigley Field doesn't have landmark status already? ... Finally, from Misery Loves Company: Amen.

January 29, 2004

Springtime for Osama. Frustrated by all the talk of Iraq's non-existent WMDs (and rejecting calls for any outside investigation into its lies), the Bush administration is reversing its earlier bait-and-switch, trotting out a "spring offensive" to capture Osama bin Forgotten. US Army Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty: "[W]e believe we will catch [him] in the next year." Assuming the former CIA freedom fighter is not already on ice, I'd say putting his head on a stick, oh, about one week before the election would be ideal. ... Nearly 2 million people are expected to exhaust their unemployment benefits in the next few months, without access to more government aid. Will Bush boast of having cut the unemployment rolls by 2 million "lucky duckies"? ... Xymphora on Lord Hutton's Inquiry: "We all knew it was going to be a lying cover-up job ... but no one could possibly have foreseen that it would be this bad. Hutton has firmly placed himself as one of the most mendacious cover-up artistes in British history. ... It was so utterly outrageous that the journalists hearing it live couldn't control their laughter. ... The report Hutton gave is such an obvious, total and complete crock of shit that no one will be fooled into believing any of it."
Reorganized Links. I have reorganized the links on the left in (mostly) alphabetical order.
Let's Talk Baseball, Real Baseball. Curt Schilling takes your questions. ... Keith Foulke and the wisdom of his 4-year deal. ... Ed Cossette likes Schilling's thoughts on chemistry.

Cleveland minor league pitcher Kazuhito Tadano is asking for forgiveness for what he called a one-time mistake -- his appearance in a gay porn video three years ago. "All of us have made mistakes in our lives. Hopefully, you learn from them and move on. ... I'm not gay. I'd like to clear that fact up right now." Sounds like he's more worried about being perceived as gay than about making the video in the first place. Akron (AA) outfielder and teammate Grady Sizemore (whose name has some porn potential): "I don't think it changed anybody's opinion of him. After it was said and done, nobody thought anything more of it. He's a great guy and a great pitcher." More coverage from Cleveland.

Gary Sheffield has offered to play 3B for the Boone-less Yankees. Now, that ain't gonna happen, but Aaron Gleeman ponders the infield of Jason Giambi, Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter and Sheffield anyway and rightly assumes: "Somewhere, Kevin Brown is balled up in the fetal position, weeping uncontrollably. ... [T]here is a good possibility that an infield of Giambi-Soriano-Jeter-Sheffield would be the worst defensive infield in the history of baseball." ... My favorite Yankees blogger, Larry Mahnken, is back with several entries on: his team's post-season luck, Boone aka "the suckiest suck that ever sucked" and DIPS stats. ... There is a Mariners blog out there called: "At Least the Red Sox Have 1918"!

A photo of Abraham Lincoln from the early 1840s.

January 28, 2004

9/11 Commission Revelations. Paul Thompson is the author of The Complete 9/11 Timeline, the most extensive collection of mainstream news stories about the terrorist attacks (and a timeline I'm proud to say I've helped research and edit; I also co-wrote this article). After the 9/11 Commission's held public hearings yesterday, Thompson posted this information to a website (I've made slight edits):

"There's been a lot of new 9/11 news in the past few days, but I think the most important stuff is being buried. It all has to do with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar.

"(1) These two were able "to enter the United States in early 2000 despite evidence suggesting they had ties to Al Qaeda. The report said that 'the top officials in the U.S. government' — it did not identify exactly who — were advised in early 2000 about a terrorist summit meeting the two men had attended in Malaysia." NY Times "The top officials" - that's key. There's a major potential scandal here. Up until now the story has always been that US intelligence didn't realize this meeting was important until much later. "Malaysian security forces secretly videotaped the gathering and alerted the CIA. But U.S. intelligence agents say they didn't realize the significance of the meeting until they learned of the Cole connection sometime around August 2001." Cox News

"(2) There in fact was a no-fly list being used by the airlines at the time of 9/11. "On Sept. 11 there were about two dozen people on the FAA's 'no fly' list, designed to protect the nation's skies from terrorists." Knight Ridder "Yet, incredibly, the CIA figures out these two are inside the US, but they are not put on that list, nor is Khallad bin Attash, who was known to be the mastermind of the USS Cole attack in 2000. So let me get this straight. The known mastermind of the most recent bin Laden attack is not worthy to put on the FAA's no-fly list?!?

"(3) It had previously been reported that 9 hijackers had been selected for extra screening before boarding the hijacked planes. But it was said in October 2001 that Almihdhar and Alhazmi were not screened. "Despite their presence on the terrorist watch list, Almihdhar and Alhazmi raised no alarms when they arrived at Dulles before the scheduled 8:10 a.m. departure Sept. 11. They and their three cohorts entered through Gate D26." Cox News "That turns out to be another lie: "All five hijackers aboard American Flight 77 -- which crashed into the Pentagon -- were selectees and their luggage was held before they were confirmed on the aircraft, and no further screening was done." Washington Post They're not even mentioned by name - you just have to know they were on that flight to figure out that these two got extra screening.

"(4) But wait, there's more! "Investigators also found that two other passports, those of hijackers Khalid al Mihdhar and Salem al Hazmi, were 'suspicious' in other ways and could have been linked to al-Qaida, but they did not elaborate." Baltimore Sun The fact these two were able to get on the hijacked planes grows more and more incredible with every new revelation."

January 27, 2004

Welcome Back, Yip Dawg! He has risen. ... Theo Epstein is encouraged by Pedro Martinez's offseason progress. Chris Correnti, the Sox's assistant trainer and rehabilitation coordinator, said Martinez seems ahead of his pace from last year, particularly the condition of his shoulder. ... Dale Sveum, currently the manager of the Altoona Curve (Pirates AA) and someone I enjoyed laughing at when he wore pinstripes, is a strong candidate for the Red Sox third base coach job. ... Boston has a solid bullpen. ... The Baseball Crank looks at AL West Win Shares results. Also check out his favorite 25 books.

Tom Boswell: "The Red Sox are now the overdogs. They're so loaded and rich that they might as well wear pinstripes this season. Last year, Boston had three weak spots. They needed one more stud starting pitcher, a top closer and, finally, a manager who was at least minimally animate". Check, double check and triple check! On the same Washington Post webpage, there is a poll: "With their offseason acquisitions, which team has given themselves the best chance for a World Series title?" After 2,553 responses:
Red Sox      72% 1839 votes  

Yankees 17% 433 votes
Don't know 11% 281 votes
9/11 Commission Wants 60 More Days. The 9/11 Commission reported yesterday that the US fumbled repeated opportunities to stop many of the 19 hijackers. This sharply contradicts the FBI and CIA. On September 21, 2001, the Justice Department said all 19 hijackers entered the US with valid visas. However, the Commission said none of the hijackers filled out his visa application correctly, as many as eight of the hijackers' passports "showed evidence of fraudulent manipulation"; as many as five had "suspicious indicators"; at least six violated US immigration laws; and five were questioned by customs or immigration inspectors, but eventually allowed to enter the country.

The Commission also noted that intelligence blunders allowed two hijackers (Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar) to enter the US in early 2000 despite evidence suggesting they had ties to Al Qaeda and that "top officials in the US government" were advised about a terrorist summit meeting the two men attended in Malaysia. ... The Commission is seeking a two-month extension of its May 27 deadline. Any extension would require the support of Congress and the signature of George Bush and the White House has said it would not grant any extension.

Human Rights Watch: "The Bush administration cannot justify the war in Iraq as a humanitarian intervention, and neither can Tony Blair ... such interventions should be reserved for stopping an imminent or ongoing slaughter. They shouldn't be used to address atrocities that were ignored in the past. Humanitarianism, even understood broadly as a concern for the welfare of people, was at best a subsidiary motive for the invasion of Iraq." [Full Report]

I bought the latest issue of The Atlantic Monthly because I figured James Fallows's devastating (and quite lengthy) article ("Blind Into Baghdad") wouldn't be put online. I was wrong. This article is the very definition of a "must-read." ... The White House backs off its WMD claims. Ashcroft: Even if WMD never existed, the Iraq invasion was justified because of Saddam Hussein's past use of "evil chemistry" and "evil biology" justified the war. Thinking back to high school, I'd throw in "evil trigonometry" too. Powell: "What we demanded of Iraq was that they account for all of this and they prove the negative of our hypothesis." ... Dennis Miller on the slant of his soon-to-be-cancelled talk show: "I like him [Bush]. I'm going to give him a pass. I take care of my friends."

Oh, I had a letter to the editor in today's New York Times.

January 26, 2004

Shift Of Karma? First Schilling and Foulke, then Pettitte and Clemens. And now: "Aaron Boone could miss the entire 2004 season after suffering a major knee injury last week while playing basketball in violation of his contract with the club ... [D]octors believe Boone suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. ... New York has no full-time replacement on hand to play third base." (SI; ESPN)
Die, Trade, Die! Alex Rodriguez was named captain of the Rangers, after a long meeting with Buck Showalter, Tom Hicks and John Hart. Good, I really want Manny Ramirez in Boston this summer. "I definitely think I'm going to be here [Texas] for a long time," Rodriguez told reporters. "I'm probably pretty sure it will work out for the best." Probably pretty sure? Uh, okay. ... Today in Baseball History: 1990: Boston hires Elaine Weddington as assistant GM, making her the highest-ranking black female in the major leagues. ... 1963: The ML Rules Committee votes to expand the strike zone, restoring it to pre-1950 standards: from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the knees. ... 1930: Carl Mays, whose underhand pitch killed Ray Chapman 10 years earlier, ends his ML career with 208 victories and signs with Portland (Pacific Coast League). ... Oogie Update: A judge dismissed charges against Urbina, saying he fired his gun in self-defense when a man on a motorcycle tried to rob him.

Some suggestions on how Howard Dean can act more presidential. ... Hamid Reza Zakeri, an Iranian spy, allegedly tried to warn the CIA of the impending September 11 terrorist attacks. German secret service agents said Zakeri worked in the department of the Iranian secret services responsible for "carrying out terrorist attacks globally." ... How many other countries tried to warn the US? Mainstream news reports here say at least 12: Afghanistan, Argentina, Britain, Cayman Islands, Egypt, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco and Russia. Since that article was written, it's become known that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan also had some knowledge of the attack beforehand. And Iran. So that's 15 countries. And the US still clings to the fiction that the attack came with no warning whatsoever.

January 25, 2004

Pressure And Other Sunday Notes. Tim Kurkjian says no player will be under more pressure in 2004 than Curt Schilling. His response? "Pressure? Sure there is. The Red Sox made this trade to help bring them a World Series title, nothing less. I'm ok with that ... During the negotiations with Theo and Jed ... I pointed to the World Series trophy on my mantle and said 'You're bringing me to Boston to win one of those, more than one, and to beat the Yankees on the way there. ...' So yes, there is a ton of pressure on me to have a great season, but that pressure from you, from the media, is immeasurably smaller than the pressure I put on myself to do those very things. I love it, I welcome it, most players do, it's what you play for."

The Red Sox signed infielder Tony Womack to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. In Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, Womack drilled a game-tying double in the bottom of the 9th inning off Mariano Rivera, just before Luis Gonzalez's heroics. ... Ugueth Urbina was arrested on Friday for allegedly firing gunshots into the air in Caracas; police said Urbina and a friend were intoxicated. ... Mo Vaughn will likely not play major league baseball again, but he avoided declaring himself retired, since he's guaranteed $15 million this season by the Mets. With 31 bone spurs in his left knee, he would need knee replacement surgery to play again. ... A Yankees fan compares Foulke and Rivera. ... Aaron Gleeman imagines Ted Williams's lost years. ... Pete Rose signing books at Foxwoods Casino? Real smart move.

Rich Lederer looks at how often Lefty Grove faced the Yankees and includes a few lists that also show how off-the-charts dominant Pedro Martinez has been.
Adjusted ERA (ERA+)
1    Pedro Martinez           174
2    Lefty Grove              148
3    Walter Johnson           146
4    Hoyt Wilhelm             146
5    Ed Walsh                 145
6    Randy Johnson            143
     Greg Maddux              143
8    Addie Joss               142
9    Roger Clemens            140
10   Mordecai Brown           138
ERA Minus the League Average
                            Diff    Player   League
1    Pedro Martinez         1.87     2.58     4.46
2    Lefty Grove            1.36     3.06     4.42   
3    Randy Johnson          1.25     3.10     4.35   
4    Hoyt Wilhelm           1.24     2.52     3.76   
5    Roger Clemens          1.20     3.19     4.39   
6    Lefty Gomez            1.16     3.34     4.50   
7    Greg Maddux            1.16     2.89     4.05   
8    Kevin Brown            1.12     3.16     4.29   
9    Whitey Ford            1.10     2.74     3.84   
10   Walter Johnson         1.07     2.17     3.24
ERA as ratio of League Average
                            Rate    Player   League
1    Pedro Martinez          173     2.58     4.46   
2    Ed Walsh                152     1.82     2.76   
3    Walter Johnson          149     2.17     3.24   
4    Hoyt Wilhelm            149     2.52     3.76   
5    Lefty Grove             144     3.06     4.42   
6    Addie Joss              144     1.89     2.72   
7    Three Finger Brown      140     2.06     2.89   
8    Randy Johnson           140     3.10     4.35   
9    Greg Maddux             140     2.89     4.05   
10   Whitey Ford             140     2.74     3.84
Exporting Death And Violence. Washington Post: "The Bush administration has produced a list of possible changes for Iraq's political transition, with some US and British officials acknowledging for the first time that the original plan could even be scrapped altogether if the United States is to preempt the growing clamor for elections. ... 'The United States told us that as long as the timetable is respected, they are ready to listen to any suggestion,' a senior UN official said."

Amazing. "... if the United States is to preempt the growing clamor for elections." I thought we were exporting democracy with free and open elections? I guess Bush knew better when he told Bob Woodward: "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the Earth in defense of our great nation." ... Timetable? That would be Bush's relection [sic] campaign. Although the PNACers spent 3-4 years planning this invasion, they apparently didn't take even a couple of hours to think about what they'd do if the Iraqis didn't greet the invaders with rose petals and songs of joy.

Today's Insane Nutjob: US Army General Peter Schoomaker, who says the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have provided a "tremendous focus" and instilled a "warrior ethos" in the military. "There is a huge silver lining in this cloud," Schoomaker says. Meanwhile, veterans are getting screwed and at least six more Americans died this weekend (that's 512 and counting). ... Hello, Syria? You're so next!

January 24, 2004

Spring Is Here. I picked up The Sporting News Fantasy Baseball Owners Manual 2004 on my way to work. And while I have no interest in fantasy baseball, this is the first pre-season magazine I've seen; forget groundhogs or robins or whatever else, this is the first sign of spring.

Here are TSN's projections for the Boston and New York rotations. TSN doesn't really explain how they arrive at these projections, but as more magazines come out, I'll post more projections, so maybe a consensus will emerge:
           GS   W  L  ERA   IP    AVG  WHIP
Martinez   30  18  5  2.35  188  .215  1.03
Schilling  35  21  7  3.11  252  .225  1.05
Lowe       32  16  6  3.74  208  .258  1.31
Wakefield  32  13 10  4.02  199  .249  1.31
Kim        25  12  8  3.55  167  .232  1.14
           GS   W  L  ERA   IP    AVG  WHIP
Mussina    21  15 11  3.97  221  .253  1.23
Brown      29  13  9  2.81  202  .228  1.18
Vazquez    34  18  9  3.33  222  .224  1.10
Contreras  25  10  6  3.68  166  .238  1.23
Leiber     Missed 2002; no projection given
Gratuitous Jeter Bashing: TSN projects him to slip across the board to .299/.366/.413. In the 12-member TSN Mock Draft, Jeter was chosen in the 6th round, #63 overall, and was the 7th shortstop chosen. Pffft.
Chief US Arms Hunter In Iraq: WMDs Never Existed. David Kay, Bush's hand-picked man to find Iraq's vast stockpiles of WMD, has stated clearly that they do not, and at the time of the invasion, did not exist:

Q: What happened to the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons that everyone expected to be there?

A: I don't think they existed. I think there were stockpiles at the end of the first Gulf War and those were -- a combination of U.N. inspectors and unilateral Iraqi action got rid of them. I think the best evidence is that they did not resume large-scale production, and that's what we're really talking about, is large stockpiles, not the small. Large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the period after '95. ... We're really talking about from the mid-90s, when people thought they had resumed production.

Q. What about the nuclear program?

A. ... There had been some restart of activities, but they were rudimentary. It really wasn't dormant because there were a few little things going on, but it had not resumed in anything meaningful.

Q: You came away from the hunt that you have done believing that they did not have any large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the country?

A: That is correct.

Q. Is that from the interviews and documentation?

A. Well the interviews, the documentation, and the physical evidence of looking at, as hard as it was because they were dealing with looted sites, but you just could not find any physical evidence that supported a larger program.

Q: Do you think they destroyed it?

A: No, I don't think they existed. ... I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s.

Atrios hits the nail (or one of them) on the head. ... I don't think Dick Cheney is in denial, I think he is flat-out bullshitting. But what does he care? The media refuses to ask questions even a first-week journalism student would see are automatic -- as the bodies of American soldiers pile up. If only there was some fibbing about oral sex involved ...

January 23, 2004

Greatest Site On The Web? Today, it's right ... here. I recommend "Rock 'N Roll Mix" from 1/21.

January 22, 2004

Deadball Stars Of The National League. I am a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and a member of its Deadball Era Committee. A new book containing biographies of 136 stars (a list of players and writers) from the years 1901-19 has been published (this is an early version of the cover). In addition to the bios, this beautiful book features, for each of the 8 National League teams, the most common batting order for each season, an All-Era team, stats leaders and attendance figures. It also has some of the best baseball photos I've ever seen. (An American League book will follow.) ... I contributed the lineups for the 1918 season and wrote the following bio of Phillies outfielder John Titus:

John Titus was a strong-armed outfielder who recorded more than 20 assists for seven straight seasons, but he was better known for his mustache, quiet demeanor, selectivity at the plate, and the ubiquitous toothpick in his mouth. "Titus had one of the best batting eyes I ever saw," said Phillies teammate Pete Alexander. "He would take his position at the plate with the easiest and most confident air in the world. If the ball was an inch outside of the plate, he would watch it go by and never bat an eye lash. If it was an inch inside, he wouldn’t move. He would just draw in his stomach and let the ball pass. But if you put the ball over the plate, he would whale the cover off. It used to exasperate me merely to watch him. Many a time I’ve said to myself, If I were pitching, Old Man, I’d knock that toothpick out of your mouth and maybe then you’d move over."

John Franklin Titus was born to Theodore and Agnes (Uren) Titus on February 21, 1876, in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia. His father was a native of Easton, Pennsylvania, and his mother was born in England. As a child John lost the tip of his right index finger in an accident. Before his career in professional baseball, he worked in the coal mines and served in the army during the Spanish-American War. At age 22 John joined Company K, 8th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Infantry. The company initially reported to Camp Hastings in Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania, then moved on to Georgia and Virginia. A typhoid outbreak during the summer of 1898 forced the soldiers back to their home state, and by that time most of the fighting was over.

After Company K disbanded, Titus returned home and joined a basketball team in St. Clair whose players all decided to grow mustaches. He ended up keeping his throughout most of his baseball career, at a time when very few players sported facial hair, becoming the last major league player with a mustache until Frenchy Bordagaray came along in 1934. Titus played semipro baseball in nearby Pottsville and signed with Concord, New Hampshire, of the New England League in 1903. His stay in the minors was brief. In early June the 5'9", 165 lb. outfielder was tearing up the league with a .407 batting average when the Phillies purchased his contract for $1,700. He was actually 27 years old at the time, but newspaper accounts listed him as 24.

Titus made his major league debut on June 8, 1903, and saved a baseball used in that game for the rest of his life—even though he went hitless in four at-bats as the Phillies lost to the Pirates, 2-0. But the following afternoon he knocked home a fourth-inning run that snapped the Pittsburgh pitching staff’s string of 56 consecutive scoreless innings. Titus went on to bat .286 in 72 games that season. "They changed his style when he joined the Phillies," wrote a Pottsville sportswriter decades later. "It was the fashion in those days to choke the bat and meet the ball with a short kick instead of the long, rhythmic swing which Jack had when he played in Pottsville. His swing here was comparable to that of Joe DiMaggio, except that Titus batted and threw left-handed."

The lifetime .282 hitter improved his batting average each of the next two seasons, putting together a career year in 1905. Titus finished in the NL's Top Five in slugging percentage (.436), total bases (239), doubles (36), RBI (89), and walks (69). Perhaps his best day as a Phillie occurred on May 25, 1907. Philadelphia trailed Brooklyn, 5-0, in the first game of a doubleheader when Titus blasted a two-run triple in the sixth inning and scored on a passed ball. Two innings later he again tripled home two runs, tying the game, 5-5, and scored the eventual winning run on an error. In the second game Titus doubled, tripled, drove in three runs and scored one himself as Philadelphia won, 7-4, sweeping the twin bill.

Though he remained a solid, dependable player, appearing in at least 143 games each year in his first seven seasons, "Silent John" garnered less attention than his more volatile and outspoken teammates. Kid Gleason once said, "He doesn't even make any noise when he spits," and it's believed that he was never thrown out of a single game in his entire career. New York Giants catcher Roger Bresnahan once tried to rattle Titus by snatching the toothpick out of his mouth and grinding it into the dirt behind home plate. John flushed with anger and spewed a loud string of obscenities. The display was so out of character for the taciturn Phillie that Bresnahan actually apologized.

Eventually NL pitchers detected a pattern with Titus and his ever-present toothpick. He kept the sliver of wood in the corner of his mouth until he got the green light to swing at a pitch; then he’d shift it to the center of his mouth. After one alert pitcher noticed the subtle giveaway, word got around the league. Titus adjusted his mannerisms rather than abandon the toothpick. In another of his peculiarities, John ran with an unusual closed gait, prompting his teammates to make a play on his last name and call him "Tight Ass."

The Phillies led the NL in late-May 1911 when Titus broke his leg sliding into home plate in a game against the Cardinals. By the time he returned to the lineup, the Phils had sunk to third and the once fleet outfielder had lost much of his speed—after stealing more than 20 bases in each of the previous three seasons, he totaled only 18 in the next three years combined. On July 1, 1912, Philadelphia traded Titus to the Boston Braves. He finished the season strong, batting .325 in 96 games for Boston. Late that season rookie Rabbit Maranville, on his first day with the Braves, was feeling intimidated until he spotted the 37-year-old Titus throwing batting practice. "I said to myself, 'What is this, an old man’s league, or is somebody kidding me?'" he wrote later. "After I saw him hit, I changed my mind as he was one of the best hitters in baseball." Titus began 1913 as the Braves starting right fielder but was relegated to the bench, even though he was leading the team with a .297 batting average. The Braves ended up selling him to Kansas City of the American Association after he suffered another broken leg in July.

By the 1914 season Silent John Titus was 38 years old, though the papers now said he was 31. In late April he suffered a fractured skull and remained unconscious for several hours after former teammate Bill Burns beaned him. Titus remained out of the lineup for two months. The following summer he was hitting .263 when Kansas City released him on July 22. He decided to retire. On September 15, 1915, Titus married Ethel Stone, his 17-year-old next-door neighbor in St. Clair. Little is known about his life after baseball. John Titus died at age 66 at his home in St. Clair on January 7, 1943. His wife and his brother, Harry, survived him. Local obituaries don't mention any children. Titus was buried with full military honors at a funeral attended by many local veterans of the Spanish-American War.
Whistleblower Coming In Cold From the FBI. Sibel Edmonds was a translator with the FBI's counterterrorism squad. "In papers filed with the FBI's internal investigative office, the Department of Justice, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and most recently with the 9/11 Commission, [Edmonds] has reported serious ongoing failures in the language division of the FBI Washington Field Office. They include security lapses in hiring and monitoring of translators, investigations that have been compromised by incorrect or misleading translations sent to field agents; and thousands of pages of translations falsely labeled "not pertinent" by Middle Eastern linguists who were either not qualified in the target language or English, or, worse, protecting targets of investigation. Nothing happened. Undaunted, Ms. Edmonds took her concerns to upper management. Soon afterward she was fired. The only cause given was "for the convenience of the government." The FBI has not refuted any of Ms. Edmonds' allegations, yet they have accounted for none of them." ... Edmonds suspects a Turkish spy ring has inflitrated the translation department of the FBI, US State Department and the Pentagon (and there is some connection to 9/11), yet no one seems to care. A Democratic member of the 9/11 Commission brushed Edmonds's concerns aside, saying it seemed "too deep in the weeds for us to consider."

CBS reported on Edmonds last July: "Edmonds says that to her amazement, from the day she started the job, she was told repeatedly by one of her supervisors that there was no urgency - that she should take longer to translate documents so that the department would appear overworked and understaffed. That way, it would receive a larger budget for the next year. ... Edmonds says that the supervisor, in an effort to slow her down, went so far as to erase completed translations from her FBI computer after she'd left work for the day. 'The next day I would come to work, turn on my computer and the work would be gone. The translation would be gone,' she says. 'Then I had to start all over again and retranslate the same document. And I went to my supervisor and he said, 'Consider it a lesson and don't talk about it to anybody else and don't mention it.'"

Joe Conason: "What's Bush Hiding From 9/11 Commission?" ... "CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war ... starkly contradicting the upbeat assessment that President Bush gave in his State of the Union address." ... I thought Howard Dean's Iowa speech more rousing than scary and am flabbergasted at the coverage it's getting, but I did find this funny. Also: Dean, The Remix. ... Is Wesley Clark electable? Of course, but shouldn't this disqualify him?
Sox Eye Cubans. Boston scouts will be on hand in San Salvador when pitcher Maels Rodriguez auditions for representatives of approximately two dozen teams, including the Yankees, Mets, Rangers and Mariners. Scouts will also be in Miami, taking a peek at Orlando Hernandez. I don't have much interest in Hernandez, especially since he is coming off shoulder surgery, but I do wonder how big of a fit the New York papers would throw if Boston signed him. ... MLB has stories on Bronson Arroyo and Bill Mueller. ... Sarah at RallyCuff links to a three-part analysis of the Red Sox at nyyfans.com.

From the Globe: "Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media ... Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics. ... more than half a dozen computers [have been seized] -- including four Judiciary servers, one server from the office of Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, and several desktop hard drives."

January 21, 2004

Complete Denial. Epstein: "completely baseless"; Henry: "no talks whatsoever"; Hicks: "deader than a doornail"; Boras: "wholly unrealistic." Reports from Boston, Chicago, New York and Texas: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. ... 2004 Deals: Nixon's 2004 deal is worth $6.6 million and could be discarded in favor of a three-year deal before spring training. Kim will be paid $4 million this year and $6 million in 2005. Epstein expects Kim to be the #5 starter and Bronson Arroyo "would be our sixth starter. That could mean bullpen work at the beginning, but he would be ready for any time we might need him." ... David Ortiz asked for $5 million and the Red Sox offered $4.25 million; shouldn't be too hard to come to an agreement there.

SOTU: Hey, weren't we going to Mars or something? I guess that's old news; now it's on to the evil of steriods. ... January 28, 2003: "The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax ... materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin ... had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. ... upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents." ... January 20, 2004: "We're seeking all the facts - already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations. Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day." ... What in the hell is a weapons of mass destruction-related program activity? Would running to Staples for more crayons to draw some of these qualify?

January 20, 2004

A-Rod Deal: Stayin' Alive? ESPN reports that Boston and Texas are again talking about a possible deal involving Alex Rodriquez. Officials from both clubs are supposedly meeting this weekend in New York, but everyone involved (management and players' agents) is denying the story. Theo Epstein said this afternoon the rumor was "completely baseless."

The chance to buy an A-Rod Red Sox jersey through mlb.com -- see the screen shot Dirt Dog saved here -- is now being called a hoax, and apparently was not a subtle hint the deal was about to go down. On Sportscenter tonight, Dan Patrick said the jersey page had been up for only "minutes" before the person who put it up took it down. If that's correct, grabbing a screen shot would have been a very lucky break (assuming DD did not engineer the hoax himself). He claims it was up for four days and I did see the evidence at his site over the weekend. Patrick's explanation (coming from MLB, I presume) is wrong, and put out to avoid embarassment, unless by mere "minutes" he means about 5,000 minutes.

In other more-verifiable news, the Red Sox agreed to terms with Trot Nixon (1 year) and Byung-Hyun Kim (2 years), avoiding salary arbitration (the deadline was noon today). Boston also exchanged arbitration figures with David Ortiz. And Tony Womack may sign a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

January 19, 2004

No Extension for 9/11 Commission. George Bush and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert both oppose granting more time to the 9/11 Independent Commission. Kristen Breitweiser: "We've had it. It is such a slap in the face of the families of victims. They are dishonoring the dead with their irresponsible behavior." The Commission's deadline remains May 27. ... Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia duck hunting together? And only three weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to take up Cheney's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the Bush administration's energy task force? Move along, no appearance of conflict to see here. And there certainly were no conflicts while the Court was dealing with the 2000 election results. ... More on Paul O'Neill: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. ... Uggabugga loves diagrams.

January 18, 2004

Joe Sheehan On Pete Rose. Sheehan may root for the Yankees, but he still makes a lot of sense. After reading his recent column on Rose, I agree with him -- Rose should never be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Most of Baseball Prospectus's content requires a subscription (but it's dirt cheap for what you get), but here are some clips from Sheehan's argument:

"Here is the text of major league rule 21(d): BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year. Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

"... As you can see by the wording of the rule, there is no distinction in the rule between the side you favor with a wager. ... Rose insists that his wagering had no impact on his decisions as Reds manager. Without even getting into the issue of his veracity--the man just lied, often and loudly, for 14 years--the problem is that the popularity of professional sports hinges entirely on the integrity of the participants. ...

"[I]t seems clear that Rose still doesn't understand what he did. He admitted to Commissioner Bud Selig that he gambled because he didn't think he would get caught, and that he lied about it because he didn't believe the punishment for his misdeeds fit the crime. ... It was only the small possibility that he actually was innocent that had been the one bullet in Rose's gun. That's gone now. Rose violated 21(d). The punishment for that is permanent ineligibility. There isn't any gray area left. ...

"Baseball should acknowledge Rose's admission, commend him for coming clean and ending his 14 years of deceit, and encourage him to take steps to repair his life. It should take a moment to thank the men who worked to root out Rose's actions and remove him from the game before he had a chance to do severe damage to it. And then it should send Rose on his way. No reinstatement, just a pointer to rule 21(d) and the fervent hope that Rose's position outside baseball will serve as a deterrent to those who would forget, even for a second, that the game is bigger than anyone. ..."
Want Complete Nomar News? Read Chicago's Newspapers. On Saturday, Nomar Garciaparra spoke to reporters while conducting his annual baseball clinic for kids at Stonehill College. Here are some quotes:

Tony Massarotti, Herald: "It's really up to them [contract extension]. I haven't really heard much from the Red Sox since all the other stuff transpired. The ball's in their court. ... If things stay as they are, I won't feel unsettled. I'm under contract with the Boston Red Sox. I'm ready. In years past (my contract status) hasn't been an issue and (my approach) hasn't been about where the future lies; it's about that (one) year. We've got a great team and we can win the World Series." ... Nomar also said he had made peace with Kevin Millar, "but he's just going to have to buy me a lot of dinners."

Gordon Edes, Globe: "My offseason has been great. How could it not be? I got married. It's been wonderful, to be honest with you. ... The team looks great on paper. That's all we've got right now. We'll see how it progresses. I don't think we'll have any problem getting the chemistry back."

Projo: "I know baseball is a business. I'm not thinking about it, one way or another. I've always said there are things in baseball you can control, and things you can't. I'm focusing on what I can control, like getting ready for the upcoming season. ... What is there to be hurt about? I got married, I get to be with 500 kids today, teaching them baseball, there's really nothing to be hurt about."

Interestingly, part of Nomar's comments about the Red Sox on paper were left out of all three of these reports. Only Ian Browne at redsox.com reported the more complete quote: "I feel great. I'm working out and getting myself ready for the season. I'm excited for the season. Have you seen our team right now on paper? It's pretty good. The other good thing about that paper is I'm still on it, too."

"The other good thing about that paper is I'm still on it, too." ... I believe Garciaparra was speaking to the reporters as a group, taking questions from all of them. If so, there is no excuse for Edes and Massarotti (the Projo piece was unsigned) to omit the important fact that Nomar is happy to still be a part of the Red Sox. Unless portraying Garciaparra as an uncommunicative, unhappy loner wanting to flee Boston as soon as he can is part of your agenda. ... Browne was also the only writer to have this quote: "I've always said that there's one place I want to play and this is it. This is the place I've loved. I've never said anything different." (I also found the quote in the Chicago Sun-Times.) So for the most complete Red Sox coverage, check out MLB and newspapers halfway across the country. ... Also: Scott Williamson's one-year deal will be worth $3.175 million.
Yikes! So it's the weekend after 9/11. George Bush is sleeping. Condoleezza Rice is singing hymns, accompanied on the piano by John Ashcroft. And Paul O'Neill is leafing through a pile of intelligence documents on al-Qaeda handed out by George Tenet -- plans for covert assassinations around the globe designed to remove opponents of the US Government. ... Yes, George Bush actually uttered this sentence: "No President has ever done more for human rights than I have." Perhaps he meant "done more to human rights." Here's what he's been doing recently.

January 17, 2004

Mannyball 2004. According to Gene Mato, one of Manny Ramirez's agents, Manny called John Henry on December 6 "and told him he didn't want to be traded. ... The best thing that happened to this team is the trade didn't go down. ... Manny seems to be real excited about this year. He started working out about three days after the Red Sox lost to the Yankees, and he's probably in better shape right now than he was at any time last year. Get ready. Get ready for this year. He is going in angry. ... [I]t's tough for Manny to hear how people say that none of this fazed him. It did faze him. He doesn't deny complaining several times throughout the year ... [but] it had nothing to do with the fans. He loves Boston."

Ramirez, a huge Patriots fan, has decided to not attend the AFC Championship game this weekend because he believes that if he is shown on the scoreboard, "everybody will start booing him." ... I would hope that Ramirez's worries are as unfounded as Tim Wakefield's fears were. Okay, Ramirez doesn't love everything about his job; who does? Some of his discontent has to be because of the media, which because he doesn't speak to them, rip him -- lying about his meeting with Enrique Wilson last season -- or take condescending potshots -- "Manny probably isn't even aware of a possible A-Rod deal."

I'll bet Manny is very aware of the Boston press. And either he is uncomfortable talking in public, feels he has nothing to say or believes anything he says will be taken the wrong way. [Get a SoSH account! It works for Curt!] I don't care what Manny's reasons for keeping quiet are. All I care about is how he performs on the ball field and in that regard, there is nothing for Red Sox fans to complain about. And if Ramirez is in fantastic shape, angry and ready to (re)prove himself to the world, all I can say is I'm glad he's on our side.

Trot Nixon is close to signing a three-year contract that would pay him between $6-7 million annually; Nixon turns 30 in April. ... LHP Nick Bierbrodt inked a one-year deal. ... MLB reports that Boston's pitchers and catchers will be in camp on February 20. Yay!
Box of Soap. "US lied about deaths of journalists in the Palestine Hotel" ... Cheney: Decades of War ... $3/gallon for gas this summer "probable" ... John Dean: "The US Supreme Court and The Imperial Presidency -- How President Bush Is Testing the Limits of His Presidential Powers" ... Next target from the PNAC Playbook: Syria.

January 16, 2004

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction. Grady Little is close to accepting the job as special assistant to Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. According to the Herald, Little will evaluate talent, review scouting reports and assess the club's minor league players. Are there any three aspects of the game for which Gump is less suited? It's kind of ironic, considering his knack for putting players in situations where they were not likely to succeed. No news yet at either the Tribune or Sun-Times. ... Trot Nixon, David Ortiz, Byung-Hyun Kim and Scott Williamson filed for salary arbitration.

Don Malcolm on the Red Sox's off-season (scroll down to January 2): "What we're really seeing here ... is the recognition that there are two constituencies circling over the Red Sox franchise like a pair of vultures. The first, and by far the most numerous, is the general fan base, the damned and damning 'Nation.' However, the second constituency, becoming more distinct in nature, is the one that sees the Jamesian experiment as part of a dawning new age in baseball. The balancing act that Epstein is attempting to negotiate is a series of personnel moves that achieve the results that both constituencies desire but that meet the criteria of a sabermetrically adept organization." ... "The Reputation is Not the Guy" (two parts) ... Ed Cossette asks: "As a Red Sox fan, whom do you most hate? Bill Buckner, Roger Clemens, Bucky Dent, Dan Duquette, Carl Everett, Harry Frazee, Calvin Schiraldi, Dan Shaughnessy, George Steinbrenner or Someone Else." Go vote now!
The Whitewash Continues. The 9/11 Commission is facing questions after news leaked out that two of its own senior officials have been interviewed as part of the investigation. Philip Zelikow is the Commission's executive director; he has also worked on the Bush-Cheney transition team and advised longtime associate and former boss Condoleezza Rice (the two worked together in George H.W. Bush's administration and have written a book together). Jamie Gorelick is one of the 10 members of the Commission and was deputy attorney general in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration. ... Another conflict of interest not mentioned in any mainstream news article to date is Commission Chairman Thomas Kean's business relationship with Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law. ... UPI also reports that Zelikow and Gorelick "are the two officials to whom the White House has granted the greatest access to the most secret and sensitive national security documents." Wow -- what are the odds? Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband was killed at the WTC: "This is beginning to look like a whitewash."

Why isn't the 9/11 investigation and its various public hearings covered non-stop by CNN and MSNBC? Does anyone care? Do a majority of Americans believe that "The Evil Ones hate our freedoms" is all we really need to know? ... It would be nice if a few (or even one) of the Democratic candidates would raise the important issues of the 9/11 investigation. Here are some of them:

"George W. Bush, commander-in-chief, sat in a second-grade classroom for 20 minutes after he was informed that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center, listening to children read a story about a goat. ... [Cheney] sat at his desk in the White House, watching TV, until the Secret Service dragged him out by the armpits. ... Donald Rumsfeld sat at his desk until Flight 77 hit the Pentagon—well over an hour after the military had learned about the multiple hijacking in progress. ... [T]he brand-new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sat in a Senate office for two hours while the 9/11 attacks took place, after leaving explicit instructions that he not be disturbed—which he wasn't. In other words, while the 9/11 attacks were occurring, the entire top of the chain of command of the most powerful military in the world sat at various desks, inert. ... In a sane world, this would be an object of major scandal. ..."

Wesley Clark has made a few pointed comments in recent weeks. Paul Krugman notes that "the real division in the race ... is between those who are willing to question not just the policies but also the honesty and the motives of the people running our country [Clark, Howard Dean], and those who aren't." Are Clark and Dean merely waiting until one of them secures the nomination before asking the tough questions, knowing that the media will be hard-pressed to ignore him? Perhaps, but I don't have my hopes up. Meanwhile, the FBI says another terrorist attack is quite probable. ... For now, it is the relatives and widows of the victims who are making the most noise. If it wasn't for them, the Bush Regime would have successfully shot down any investigation into the terrorist attacks.

Spanish politician Jose Bono referred to Tony Blair as "a complete dickhead" and "an imbecile" on live television. ... And speaking of imbeciles, George Bush was introduced to Scott Reid, the senior strategist to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. Bush remarked: "Well, you got a pretty face. You got a pretty face. You're a good-looking guy. Better looking than my Scott anyway." Bush was referring to his press secretary, Scott McClellan.

January 14, 2004

Theo Fingers Kim For Two-Year Deal. The Red Sox are close to signing Byung Hyun Kim (the "Korean nuclear submarine"!) to a two-year contract worth about $10 million. This is very good news. Kim may be best known for blowing 2 games in the 2001 World Series (thanks in large part to the unadulterated idiocy of Bob Brenley), but he is both young (he turns 25 next week) and talented (8-5 with 16 saves and a 3.18 ERA last year). Gump jerked Kim around last year, but it looks like he'll be the 5th starter in 2004, which is what he wants. Burkett/Fossum to Schilling/Kim is a major upgrade.

The first group of pitchers and catchers (Devil Rays) arrive in Florida on February 14. The Red Sox will report before February 19. ... Musings looks at Pokey. ... The sister of the TCM says he is not a rat. The story also says she posts on a Yankee Chat Site as "N2Rocket." Psst: it's this one. ... ESPN is asking various hot stove questions before the 2004 season? Big K at East Coast Agony is annoyed at Feb. 5's question -- "When will there be an openly gay major-leaguer?" Not that I expect ESPN's response will offer any real enlightment, but it's definitely something worth discussing. We know gay politicans, writers, musicians and actors, but no active male athletes (in any of the 4 major American sports, anyway). I'm not sure if this is a valid comparison, but the first big league player who acknowledges he is gay will travel a road not trod since Jackie Robinson. It will likely be someone who has been out since high school/college and will not be someone already in the majors making the announcement.

Howard Bryant: "Last week, a member of the Associated Press mistakenly sent out a master phone list of the most prominent members of the sports world over the Internet ... Tim Hudson, the star pitcher for the Oakland A's, has already changed his phone number after receiving an estimated 1,000 phone calls. ... [Willie Randolph]: "A guy called me and said, 'Willie? Hi, this is Trot Nixon. I want to play for the Yankees. Can you help me out?'" ... Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is outraged. He writes that after Game 4 of the 2003 World Series, 9-year-old Kacy Clemens said to the media: "Thank you for watching over my dad for the last 40 years ... I mean, 20 years. We'll take it from here." Reusse: "It's one thing for baseball fans to be lied to by Pete Rose, even as he is making an alleged confession of past wrongs. It's deplorable to be lied to by a 9-year-old kid. As a voting member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, I'm no longer certain of being able to support Clemens when he becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame." I think he's joking.
Box of Soap. How did new video footage of the 9/11 attacks, shot from across the East River in Brooklyn and given to the FBI by what the agency calls "a friendly bystander" end up on "a known Al-Qaeda website"? Justin Raimondo says it's a mystery the US government seems uninterested in solving. ... Paul O'Neill: At their first meeting where O'Neill was offered the job of Treasury Secretary, Bush was more interested in why the cheeseburgers he had ordered were slow to appear. ... Another administration official who was at the same meeting with O'Neill confirms that Bush ordered the Pentagon to explore the possibility of a ground invasion of Iraq well before 9/11. According to the book the following people were at the meeting: Bush, Cheney, O'Neill, Tenet, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Shelton [Chairman Joint Chiefs] plus various aides and secretaries. So which administration official is talking? ... Paul Krugman hits another homer. ... MoveOn.org's winning political ad.

January 13, 2004

Seeing The Real You At Last. Hey, Mike Vaccaro, what do you think Red Sox fans have been saying for the last seven years? "Should Have Known Better Than To Trust This Rat"

John Henry signed Larry Lucchino to a seven-year contract extension as the club's president and CEO. ... BlogWatch: Ed Cossette takes a chemistry class. ... Good to see Musings from RSN is back. ... Aaron Gleeman on his Vegas vacation (January 12 entry)

Xymphora: "For months now, conspiracy theorists have speculated that the motivations for the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq weren't pure, and the Bush Administration had used the 9-11 attacks and the 'war on terror' as a bogus excuse for wars they wanted to have for other reasons. Those who lick Bush's boots made fun of these theories. ... The wildest and most unbelievable theories of the conspiracy nuts have proven, again, to be true." ... Indeed, Bush now acknowledges those claims were correct. ... It's been a rough week for the Neo-cons. ... Tony Blair admits he doesn't know whether Saddam Hussein had WMD. Is that why the US is bombing England?

January 12, 2004

Con Man Will Pitch In Texas. Although the TCM said for more than a year he'd retire after the 2003 season, he signed a $5 million, one-year contract with the Houston Astros today. ... Brian Cashman: "I am surprised. There was never any 'I'm 90 percent retired,' or '99 percent retired.' It was always communicated he wanted to go out a Yankee." George Steinbrenner: "He told the world he was retiring, and we had no choice but to believe him." Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker praised "his charisma, character, credibility"; character and credibility?!?

I'll let Pumpsie speak: "Let us review...for posterity's sake. Roger played for the Red Sox and now most Red Sox fans hate him with a passion as the Texas Con Man. Roger played for the Blue Jays and now most Blue Jay fans hate him with a passion a money-grubbing, backdoor deal-making liar. Roger played for the Yankees, and now most Yankee fans will hate him with a passion as a fake and phony. ... Clemens is a pathological liar and a bully. He always lies. He's lied his entire career. He lied when he said he wanted to remain a member of the Red Sox, wouldn't sign with an AL East team and wanted to be closer to his family ... He lied when he signed his Toronto contract, the one with the illegal side agreement "escape clause." He lied shamefacedly when he said that he didn't throw at Mike Piazza or that he thought, the second time around, that the broken bat was a ball ... He lied when he allowed Yankee fans, and all the fans he played before last year to go on believing that that was his last year, phony standing ovation after phony standing ovation."

The Gray Eagle agrees: "You can always rely on Fat Billy from Ohio to make a chump out of anyone who gives him a standing ovation. Sox fans who stood and applauded him for beating their team in a pennant race, because he was "retiring"? Chumps. Yankee fans who stood and applauded him after he was knocked out of the box by their hated rivals in Game 7 of the ALCS? Chumps. ... Applaud this fraud at your own risk. When he makes chumps out of you, you will have no one to blame but yourselves."

Yankee fans vent. ... SoSH poster amh03 says that during the press conference, Clemens "did not speak to the fans of NY." ... Same as it ever was. ... Kevin Millar says that any rift between him and Nomar over Millar's ESPN comments about playing with Alex Rodriguez has been smoothed over. That's one less "story" for the Boston media to focus on in Ft. Myers. ... The clause in Curt Schilling's contract calling for a $2 million raise in salary when the Red Sox win the World Series is illegal, but since MLB originally told Boston the clause was fine, it will remain. ... The Boston Baseball Writers voted Jason Varitek the MVP of the 2003 Red Sox. ... The New Face of Evil, Part II.

I couldn't stand him when he was playing right field for the Yankees, but suddenly Paul O'Neill is looking pretty good. In a new book, he claims the Bush Administration began planning an invasion of Iraq within days of Bush's inauguration in January 2001 (60 Minutes transcript here). Xymphora has a good overview, as usual. Also check out this article in Time. It's clear Bush has as much power in the White House as his wife Laura does. ... Dick Cheney calls the decision to invade Iraq "perfectly justified... I don't have any qualms at all about the decisions that were made." Of course not. No one he knows will be killed or lose a limb(s) and Halliburton, his former company (of which he is still on the payroll, despite his denials) will rake in billions. ... The media was AWOL on the WMD story ... From the Carnegie Endownment for International Peace: "WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications" (111 pages/PDF).

January 10, 2004

3 Teams Down. Next Group of Fans to Piss Off? Astros. Will Carroll writes: "I have learned early this morning that Roger Clemens will sign a one year deal with the Houston Astros. ... It is expected that Clemens will not be required to travel with the team if he is not pitching in a specific series..." Way to support your teammates, Rog! A poster at Will's blog makes this comparison:

Fat Billy ERA+ (2002-03): 101, 112
Jeff Suppan ERA+ (2002-03): 97, 105

I would love to face Jimy's Astros in October (actually I'd love to meet any NL team in October, but pounding the TCM like a drum in the World Series would be extra sweet). ... The Marlins have made a one-year offer for more than $10 million to Vladimir Guerrero. The Orioles are offering five years at $67.5 and the Mets's offer is 3 years at $10 per with plenty of incentives. I'm shocked at how low the base salary of New York's deal is (and only one year from Florida?). ... Is this market correction or collusion?
Iraq's WMD Plans or Bush's Moon Rocket Doodles? You make the call.

Time's up. The answer is here. This was the imminent threat? And Bush et al. expects us to take this seriously? Amazing.
Boston Names Coaches. The Red Sox have announced most of their coaching staff. Brad Mills, who went to college with manager Terry Francona and worked with him in Montreal and Philadelphia, will be the bench coach. Lynn Jones will coach first base; no third base coach has been named. Hitting coach Ron Jackson, pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Euclides Rojas all return from 2003. ... Former 3B coach Mike Cubbage is miffed over how he was let go. Boo f'ing hoo. After last summer's 25-8 rout of the Marlins, Cubbage admitted he had sent guys home knowing they would mostly likely be thrown out. "It's a fine line. Guys want to score for the hitter. I kind of regret sending Walker. But it was a chance for outs, and they were having a hard time getting outs." Good f'ing riddance.

Boston opens its season on Sunday April 4 at Baltimore. The game had been scheduled for April 5, but ESPN wanted the game for its first Sunday night telecast. ... Analyzing the Hitters in the Class of 2004 HoF voting. ... Rob Neyer asks: "When you're analyzing player performance, is quality of competition important?" Discuss. ... Phil Orr asks: "Do pitchers really get worse in the playoffs amongst better offenses?" ... Joe Morgan and Those Who Followed.

Japan Times: "Tokyo native Juri Morioka worked for 15 months as an administrative assistant with MLB at its head office in New York. She has filed a $3.4 million lawsuit in federal court against MLB ... [Morioka] detailed an incredible pattern of abuse by her supervisor, an atmosphere in the MLB International Department that she claims was overtly racist against Asians, and says that when she confronted top management with the allegations, she was fired and the whole case was covered up. Even more provocative, are the people Morioka claims participated in the coverup. A MLB senior vice president, the head of human resources and the executive vice president of labor relations."

Fat Billy from Ohio will decide by next week whether he will go back on his word (say it ain't so!) regarding retirement and sign a one-year deal with Houston. The TCM met with Astros owner Drayton McLane on December 23. ... I wonder how the Gerbil bounces on the Tampa turf.
Back to Bert. Apparently, the Evil Doers have decided to pack up and go home and stop chattering. ... Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says the Bush Administration began planning to invade Iraq within days of Bush's inauguration in January 2001, not after the 9/11 attacks as has been previously reported. No one questioned it. "The president [said] 'Go find me a way to do this.'" ... Changing his tune 180 degrees, Colin Powell now acknowledges that he knows of no "smoking gun [or] concrete evidence" of any ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. David Kay, head of the US-led Iraq Survey Group hunting for weapons, plans to resign without issuing a final report. ... The Bush administration has quietly withdrawn from Iraq a 400-member military team whose job was to scour the country for military equipment and weapon caches. ... Richard Perle: "I don't think that you can draw any conclusion from the fact that the stockpiles were not found." (Tell that to the nearly 500 dead Americans sent to the slaughter for something millions of Americans could see was an Obvious Lie long before the invasion.) ... As usual, all this information is dumped out on Friday, because Saturday is the day with the lowest newspaper circulation.

SL, Wisconsin: "My family was one of Hitler's victims. We lost a lot under the Nazi occupation, including an uncle who died in the camps and a cousin killed by a booby trap. ... I've seen nothing to eliminate the possibility that Bush is on the same course as Hitler. And I've seen far too many analogies to dismiss the possibility. The propaganda. The lies. The rhetoric. The nationalism. The flag waving. The pretext of 'preventive war'. The flaunting of international law and international standards of justice. The disappearances of 'undesirable' aliens. ... The invasion of a non-threatening sovereign nation. The occupation of a hostile country. ... The spying on ordinary citizens. ... The demonization of government appointed 'enemies'. The establishment of 'Homeland Security'. ... Closed extralegal internment camps. The militarization of domestic police. ..."

TNR: "NASA has not so much as sent a robot probe to the Moon in 30 years, because as far as space-exploration advocates can tell, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, of value to do on the Moon. ... Spending $200 billion on a Moon base that does nothing would be pure, undiluted government waste. ... Either [Bush is] a science illiterate surrounded by advisors who are science illiterates, or it's a blank check for aerospace contractors." Yeah, Bush will do this and cut the deficit in half over the next 5 years. ... Was Saddam drugged? ... More evidence of the LIEberal media.

January 8, 2004

Much Ado About Nothing. Silverman: "Conspiracy buffs were undoubtedly let down early last night with the return of Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez to the masthead of the redsox.com Web site. As part of an mlb.com-prompted overhaul, the site was revamped Tuesday, with the images of Garciaparra and Ramirez being replaced by Curt Schilling and David Ortiz. The Red Sox were deluged with inquiries as to whether the overhaul was a message about future happenings. It wasn't, although the club acknowledged that it had approved the Ramirez- and Garciaparra-less look when it was shown to them by mlb.com." Dirt Dog remains on the case -- and has posted some great Theo quotes from this morning on WEEI.

Is Andy Pettitte a Big-Game pitcher? ... Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for two men accused of killing Dernell Stenson. ... Larry Mahnken looks at "The New Face of Evil, Part One". ... Matthew Namee (Bill James's research assistant) fills in for Aaron Gleeman and looks the greatst keystone combinations. ... New Blog Link added: East Coast Agony (Mets/Sox fans).

Josh Marshall has posted a long-ass Q&A from "a conference call early this evening [with] 'senior administration officials' [discussing] the ins and outs of [Bush's] new immigration policy." ... Eschaton has uncovered some more of Iraq's WMD drawings. He also cites a December 15, 2003 press conference at which Bush said basically the same thing (that quaint American notion of being innocent until proven guilty) about Saddam that Dean was ripped for saying about OBL. Q: "Mr. President, you said earlier this morning that in a trial that all of Saddam's atrocities need to be brought out. He was in power more than 30 years. It probably would make for a long rap sheet." A: "You're not supposed to pre-judge. ... I will instruct this government to make sure ... the process withstands international scrutiny." ... John Dean on Ashcroft and the Plame investigation. ... Neal Starkman on "The S Factor". ... William Pitt: "Two Loud Words".

January 7, 2004

MLB Site Changed Yet Again. Now the Red Sox masthead has pictures of Pedro, Nomar, Ortiz, Manny and Schilling. ... Probably just cosmetic changes today.
Ironic, Don't You Think? Dan Shaughnessy claims Pete Rose is selfish, has shown "no evidence of contrition" and loves money more than baseball. In short, he "doesn't get it." Okay, fair enough. But check this out: "The motivation for his admission is obvious: He wants to make money. He has 500,000 books waiting to be bought. Rose needed a good hook to command that kind of press run. ..." ... Oh, man. Shaughnessy hypes (or alludes to) his own best-selling tome in approximately every other column. Indeed, he did it in this one. The column leads off: "Here's the deal: When the ground ball trickles between the legs of the first baseman -- allowing the winning run to cross the plate in a World Series game -- absolutely no one wonders whether the game is on the level. There's no wild speculation that the fix is in. It's just an error, a physical mistake made by a human being." ... Coincidentally, that "physical mistake" was the event that led Shaughnessy to write and publish his book. A picture of that error is prominently featured on the paperback's cover. ... What are the odds?

Doodles of Mass Destruction. Headline in the WP: "Iraq's Arsenal Was Only on Paper." Check out the scary weapons plans here. ... Meanwhile, the DoD reports up to 22,000 US casualties in Iraq. Not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqis corpses, although no one knows the true total. The Defense Dept. says: ''They don't count. They are not important.'' And the cost of the war nears $100,000,000,000.
Grab The Tinfoil. From the Boston Globe's website: "Have you heard the latest buzz about the seemingly dead Manny-for-A-Rod, Nomar-for-Ordonez blockbuster deal? According to several fan message boards, including sonsofsamhorn.com and bostondirtdogs.com, the official team sites of the Red Sox, Rangers, and White Sox all changed their flags at the top of their sites within an hour of each other at about 2 a.m. today, removing images of the aforementioned players." ... The Red Sox now feature Pedro, Wakefield, Ortiz and Schilling; Chicago and Texas have pictures of their respective parks. ... I don't know what the other two teams' banners looked like before, but Dirt Dog has before and after shots of the Red Sox's site. ... As far as I know, no other team has decided to update its site. .. Is it alive?

January 6, 2004

Gammons Does Chuck Berry. Understand, Climb into my machine so we can cruise on out ... Out.
Kids In The Hall. Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley were elected to the Hall of Fame. ... The Yankees and Javier Vazquez agreed to a 4-year/$45 million contract. ... Did Pete Rose also cork his bats? I have no desire to discuss whether Rose should be eligible for the HoF or not, but I will say that if he continues to be ineligible, the Hall of Fame should remove everything associated with him -- caps, bats, gloves, balls, pictures, whatever -- from their exhibits. People pay to see those exhibits, so the Hall is technically making money off of Rose and his achievements. Be consistent. If he's out, get him all the way out.

Box of Soap. Beverly Eckert: "I've chosen to go to court rather than accept a payoff from the 9/11 victims compensation fund. Instead, I want to know what went so wrong with our intelligence and security systems ... I am suing because unlike other investigative avenues, including congressional hearings and the 9/11 commission, my lawsuit requires all testimony be given under oath and fully uses powers to compel evidence. ... My husband's life was priceless, and I will not let his death be meaningless. My silence cannot be bought."

New York Times columnist William Safire was one of the most prominent voices to spread the news that Air Force One had been a specific target on 9/11. While the White House had to admit by the end of the month the claim was 100% hogwash, it did serve to quiet the criticisms of Bush's avoidance of Washington, DC that day (W told a German interviewer that he was "trying to get out of harm's way"). Tom Tomorrow believes Safire recently (and unwittingly) outed his source for the lie. ... "In an extraordinary request, the Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Monday to let it keep its arguments secret in a case involving an immigrant's challenge of his treatment after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. ... Lucy A. Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: '[W]e're living in frightening times. People can be arrested, thrown in jail and have secret court proceedings, and we know absolutely nothing about it.'"

Moveon.org is catching flak because 1 of the 1,512 videos submitted for its "Bush in 30 seconds" advertising contest links Bush to Hitler. After complaining about the ad, the RNC is now hosting it themselves! (Another ad includes comments from Theodore Roosevelt, George W. Bush, Hermann Goering and Benjamin Franklin, which can be read here; the text of a similar ad is here). ... Since when did the right -- with its talk of Femi-nazis and Hitlery -- become so concerned with comparisons to Nazi Germany? They seem cool with it as long as the jack boot is on the other foot. ... Most people think of Hitler solely in terms of the Holocaust and not his genius for political manipulation, propaganda, and fear-mongering (all of which the Bush administration mimics quite well), so the comparison seems foolish (although Cuba's National Assembly did refer to "concentration camp[s]" at the Guantanamo naval base). ... Regardless, there is a clear historical connection between the Bush family fortune and Hitler's Nazi party.

"On Oct. 20, 1942, the US government ordered the seizure of Nazi German banking operations in New York City which were being conducted by Prescott Bush. Under the Trading with the Enemy Act, the government took over the Union Banking Corporation, in which Bush was a director. The US Alien Property Custodian seized Union Banking Corp.'s stock shares, all of which were owned by Prescott Bush, E. Roland "Bunny" Harriman, three Nazi executives, and two other associates of Bush. ... Bush's family had already played a central role in financing and arming Adolf Hitler for his takeover of Germany; in financing and managing the buildup of Nazi war industries for the conquest of Europe and war against the USA; and in the development of Nazi genocide theories and racial propaganda, with their well-known results."

"[N]ewly-uncovered government documents in The National Archives and Library of Congress reveal that Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, served as a business partner of and US banking operative for the financial architect of the Nazi war machine from 1926 until 1942, ... nearly eight months after the U.S. entered the war." ... The financial connection was also reported last October by AP and CNN.