"He’s sittin’ on 714"

I’m not sure if “honor” is the right word, but in honor of Barry Bonds’ current home run total, here’s Milo Hamilton’s call of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run on April 8, 1974, while both members of baseballrelated.com were ensconced in wombs.

Meanwhile, Albert Pujols is on the cover of Sports Illustrated again, for the second time in less than two months, and why not? Also in the issue is Baseball Prospectus’s projected home run leader board from the year 2020, which I want to reproduce here for posterity:

1. Barry Bonds (765)
2. Hank Aaron (755)
3. Babe Ruth (714)
4. Alex Rodriguez (678)
5. Willie Mays (660)
6. Adam Dunn (638)
7. Ken Griffey Jr. (637)
8. Albert Pujols (620)
9. Manny Ramirez (589)
10. Sammy Sosa (588)
11. Robotic Hitting Unit HR-1 (587)
12. Frank Robinson (586)

One of the above was actually my own addition to the Baseball Prospectus list, solely to make Levi chuckle.

If it’s the last Thursday in March…

In Levi’s honor, Albert Pujols is on the cover of the Sports Illustrated baseball preview issue this year. And once again, here are their predictions, posted here so we can refer to them during the season and laugh at them in October.

NL East
1. Atlanta Braves
2. New York Mets
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Washington Nationals
5. Florida Marlins

NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Houston Astros
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Cincinnati Reds

NL West
1. L.A. Dodgers
2. S.F. Giants
3. San Diego Padres
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Colorado Rockies

AL East
1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central
1. Chicago White Sox
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Detroit Tigers
5. Kansas City Royals

AL West
1. Oakland A’s
2. L.A. Angels
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners

The two wild-card teams, they believe, will be the Angels and the Mets. White Sox vs. A’s in the ALCS, Cardinals vs. Braves in the NLCS, and White Sox over the Cardinals.

Backpedaling often results in a sack

Paul Tagliabue now contends that his “as boring as

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standing in line at the supermarket” comment specifically refers to when he was on his law firm’s softball team in the 1970s and they made him play right field. He should have listened to Peter, Paul and Mary’s inspirational song about playing that position!

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue on…baseball?!

From the January 23 issue of Sports Illustrated:

Despite being a childhood baseball fan, he dismisses the national pastime as “about as exciting as standing in line at the supermarket. Baseball doesn’t test anything but your ability to withstand boredom.”

Perhaps trying to soften the blow he’s just landed on baseball’s chin, he broadens his attack. “Look,” he says with a sigh, “I think the popularity of all sports in our society is a measure of how much disposable income there is and how much interest we have in the unnecessary.”

Clearly, Paul Tagliabue isn’t paying enough attention to the tabloid headlines while he’s at the checkout (granted, they have been a little boring of late, with the continuous Brad/Angelina/Jennifer/Vince talk).


A hell of a full-body beatdown is administered to Phil “Scrap Iron” Garner by Tom Verducci at SI.com.

And every word of it seems right on. The manager did take several chances last night to put his team into the best position to win, then he complained about their effort afterwards.

That’s a couple of the key ingredients for longterm bad karma.

An affront to baseballrelated.com

The May 30 issue of Sports Illustrated had to be forwarded to my new address, so I only received it just today. So Steve Rushin’s column about keeping score at baseball games only just now came to my attention. This passage is of particular concern: “Those of us who keep score have joined Trekkies and train fanatics — known as ‘foamers’ in the railroad industry — in the pantheon of get-a-lifers.”

So let’s see: I know how to score baseball games and do it occasionally, Levi knows how to score baseball games and does it religiously, Levi has obviously seen “Star Trek” a few times since he often refers to me as James Tiberius Ellwanger for no good reason, and, of course, my enjoyment of trains has reached legendary status.

Original comments…

Levi: Aside from the personal slam, I have to take issue with this guy. At Wrigley Field, I regularly see people in my section keeping score. Some of them are the group of season ticket holders I’ve gotten to know over the past seven years, who are clearly dedicated fans, but I also see a lot of people with the scorecard and pencil they’ve bought on the way in, obviously not veteran scorers, but enjoying the game that way anyway.

Last week, I even had a stranger who showed up an inning late borrow my book for a minute fill in his card. I had to help him decipher my handwriting.

A year of Thursdays later

Here we go again! Sports Illustrated has Johnny Damon on the cover of the baseball preview issue this year, because clearly, they know who people want to see. And here’s their predicted order of finish in the divisions:

NL East
1. Atlanta Braves
2. Florida Marlins
3. New York Mets
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. Washington Nationals

NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Houston Astros
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Milwaukee Brewers
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West
1. San Francisco Giants
2. L.A. Dodgers
3. San Diego Padres
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Colorado Rockies

AL East
1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

AL Central
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Detroit Tigers
5. Kansas City Royals

AL West
1. L.A. Angels
2. Texas Rangers
3. Oakland A’s
4. Seattle Mariners

Guess you can’t go too far wrong with what are basically the final standings from last year. Remember, baseball is unlike mutual funds in that quite often, past performance is a guarantee of future results.

I can already tell this season isn’t going to be quite as good as 2004. No MLB team will be serving poutine at its concession stands, and worse yet, Hostess doesn’t seem to be making Baseballs this year.

In other news, the famous iPod has been sold, and it is on its way to the purchaser.

Original comments…

Luke, hanger-on: Most important: Do you predict a baseball-related road trip this year?

Levi: There has been some discussion, but we have yet to finalize any plans, primarily because the “Levi” part of the team isn’t very good at getting organized enough to finalize plans.

And they named the baby Damon

I guess I should make mention of the fact that the Boston Red Sox are the Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year, which I guess makes sense, since as of now, the Sox winning is the feel-good sports story of the year. The story in Sports Illustrated is about Red Sox fans, which means it’s heartwarming and tearjerking, not to mention heartjerking and tearwarming.

The problem is with the timing, since this issue came out at the beginning of December (I guess it was tied to a TV special where they revealed the choice). What happens if, for example, Brett Favre thwarts an invasion of Earth sometime between now and the end of the year? Well, maybe now that the Sox won the World Series, it won’t matter so much if we’re enslaved by aliens.

And what a season it was

Levi’s obviously extremely busy at work, but if we all clap our hands, maybe he’ll show up and make some observations on the playoffs once they get under way tomorrow.

Subheads in today’s L.A. Times: “Angels have conjured a special season, and if the franchise is haunted by ghosts of ’86 playoff loss to Boston, the players seem unaware of it” and “The Dodgers had 53 come-from-behind wins, 26 in final at-bat, but keeping that magic going against powerful Cardinals won’t be easy.”

Now we get to make fun of Sports Illustrated for being very wrong about the National League division winners in their before-the-season predictions. The teams we saw on the trip are in bold.

SI Prediction Actual Results

NL East
Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves Florida Marlins
Montreal Expos New York Mets
New York Mets Montreal Expos

NL Central
Chicago Cubs St. Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros Houston Astros
St. Louis Cardinals Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates Milwaukee Brewers

NL West
Arizona Diamondbacks L.A. Dodgers
San Francisco Giants San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres San Diego Padres
L.A. Dodgers Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies Arizona Diamondbacks

AL East
New York Yankees New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Tampa Bay Devil Rays Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central
Minnesota Twins Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers Kansas City Royals

AL West
Oakland A's Anaheim Angels
Anaheim Angels Oakland A's
Seattle Mariners Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers Seattle Mariners

In other news, over the offseason, the Dodgers are going to add 1,600 more ridiculously expensive seats to Dodger Stadium by moving the dugouts forward into what’s now foul territory and putting in more seats between the current ridiculously expensive seats behind home plate and the new dugouts. They’ll also be transforming the current rubberized warning track into a dirt track. I hope having the new expensive seats distracts them from raising ticket prices elsewhere in the stadium, namely, the reserved level (third deck) tickets that are currently $17, $12, and $10.

Original comments…

Toby: Levi is probably too busy still celebrating NU’s big win over Ohio State Saturday. …And rightfully so.

Jim: But he’s not posting on the Football-Related Program Activities blog, either! Oh, wait, there is no such thing. Football ticket prices (especially in the NFL) and game schedules don’t lend themselves to road trips.

An e-mail from my father: “Wore my NU hat to the Bucs game and was literally hugged by Buckeye haters.” That’s “Bucs” for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Ride ’em, Cowboy!

Work has continued being busier than I’d like, so there’s just this today, from an article on the Cardinals in Sports Illustrated:

“On Sept. 20, after a 7-4 victory over Milwaukee clinched the NL Central title, La Russa cut himself and his charges loose, romping around the visitors’ clubhouse at Miller Park soaked in champagne and beer. When King gave him an impromptu ice bath from a plastic wastebasket, La Russa, easily 75 pounds lighter than King, chased the reliever around the clubhouse, leaping on top of him and riding him piggyback, fists pumping in the air.”

Wild weekend of baseball coming up.

Original comments…

Dan: Where was John Mabry throughout all this?

Jim: He was scoring dope for a teammate!

Ha ha! Sorry.