Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Thursday News
2005-05-12 06:54
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I don't know why I even keep even checking the various online power rankings...wait, yes I do! #29! Take that, Kansas City! has evidence of a smart managerial move, so don't look if you're a Hurdle-hater: "[Byung-Hyun Kim's] pitch sequences were much cleaner. We eliminated some pitches -- basically it was fastball, slider, and the occasional changeup to some of the left-handed hitters. That was just a real big shot in the arm right there." One unintended consequence of this win, however, may be more appearances of the dread sleeveless blacks. Elsewhere Brad Hawpe, .391 with RISP, gets some love.

If Bobby Cox says we're "on the right path," it must be true. Chin-Hui Tsao may have some recurring shoulder problems, although this observer thinks his real handicap is the lack of movement on his fastball. (And as Old Man Barry Zito knows, movement is a product of that which does not move.) The baseball-eating-scoreboard play from Tuesday night was indeed a Coors Field first, and the precedent then established (ground-rule double) will be a part of pregame discussions henceforth.

I don't know how closely the rest of you have been following the bizarre saga of Jason Giambi, but it's certainly been about the only thing on ESPN the last few days, not that the NBA playoffs, Dontrelle Willis, the White Sox, or a potential baseball World Cup would be of interest to anyone. I lived in the Bay Area for about five years, and while he was there, Giambi was my favorite player on my favorite local team. I wished him ill when he left Oakland for New York, because unlike the classy Miguel Tejada, he played the A's for a bargaining chip for an entire summer before fleeing for pinstripes with a leaky story about a promised no-trade clause as an excuse for his bad faith.

I did not wish him literally ill, though, and that's what Giambi now is -- baseball-sick. He can't hit, and only his formidable batting eye is keeping him on the Yankees' roster, barely. The Yanks, reasonably, want to send him to the minors where they can determine whether he can still hit without him killing their lineup, which has accelerated its production as of late. Giambi, showing trademark humility, won't. ESPN's Buster Olney has suggested on TV that the Yankees should call his bluff -- let him come to games, put on the uniform, sit on the bench, and completely refuse to play him under any circumstances. The theory goes that a frustrated Giambi will eventually agree to a contract buyout so that he might start his career over somewhere he can actually play (the A's have named as a possibility, although I fail to see what their already crumbling offense would do with him). Trouble is, maybe he knows he's done and figures he might as well collect the full amount of money he has coming, from the DL a la Albert Belle if not the active roster. Is he that big of a heel? Of course he is, he's a Yankee!

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