Friday, August 31, 2007

Rodney Likes His HGH

Rodney Harrison is going to get hit with a 4-game suspension on Saturday for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Harrison doesn't admit to using steroids, but does admit to using a "banned substance," which is HGH. Harrison stated he used the banned substance to help recover from injuries and not to gain a competitive advantage.

Whatever.

Harrison puts the team in a bad spot; I think he's the second most important player on the field after Brady and without him one of the other DBs has to make the reads and adjustments.

Not a good start to the season, especially with San Diego and Criminal City on the schedule in the first month.

Falling to Pieces

As if getting spanked in the Bronx wasn't bad enough, injuries are starting to pile up for the Sox. In the past week, we've seen Manny get taken out of a game and replaced by Bobby Kielty, who then got injured his own self less than an inning later. Kielty's already back playing though he's not fully healthy, but Manny could be out for a week, two weeks, or more with a strained left oblique.

Tonight things got worse. (Not even speaking of the 9-8 loss to the woeful Orioles after Varitek grounded into a double play to end the game with the tying run at second.) Tim Wakefield was scratched from his start with a sore back. Then the game started and JD Drew went out with a right foot contusion, meaning the sore-backed Kielty had to enter the game.

Of course, that's probably an improvement. The Sox could activate Johnny Pesky off the Retired for 53 Years List and he'd give the Sox more offense than Drew has lately.

Good thing tomorrow is September 1 and the Sox can call up some replacements. Clay Buchholz will make his second MLB start tomorrow and Jon Lester returns to start Sunday's game

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Well, That Was Disappointing

That series could not have gone any worse.

Sox head to the Bronx for 3 games with the Highlanders on the verge of being knocked out of the race at 8 games back, and leave with the Nyackers right back in it after the Yanks swept Boston 3 straight.

There's not much to be said for the series except:

1) The Yankees offense is significantly better than the Sox offense, and for the first time all season we can see direct evidence that the Sox pitching advantage isn't the equal of the Yanks' hitting advantage. All credit to Andy Pettitte, Rogah Clemens, and Chien-Ming Wang for shutting down the Sox. After a weekend series in Chicago where the Sox looked unstoppable against a team that has stopped caring, it was Boston that looked like the sleepwalking team in this series.

2) Manny Being Manny sometimes means he wants a week off.

3) Robinson Cano is Curt Schilling's Daddy. (Two HR this afternoon to mar an otherwise great performance from Schill.)

4) JD Drew cemented his place as the Worst Free Agent Signing of the Off-Season. His level of incompetence at the plate is staggering. He hit 1-for-11 in the series and seemed to come up and strike out at every crucial juncture. He's awful right now. Drew was a statistical favorite of the Sox Brass, but he hasn't done jack this season. Complete. Waste. Of. Money. $75 million for a platoon player.

Where have you gone, Trot Nixon?

MLB Security Wants an Answer Right F@#$@#ing Now, Tito!

As if it hasn't been a bad enough week for Terry Francona - two losses in the Apple, currently watching his team get no hit by Chien-Ming Wang, Manny out for maybe a week - MLB Security decided to give him a pop quiz about his uniform.

In the FIRST INNING of Wednesday night's game.

That's right - MLB Security is too busy to, I don't know, stamp out steroids abuse, but they will goddamn interrupt your goddamn game whenever they goddamn feel like it to see if you are wearing the goddamn proper uniform.

Francona doesn't wear a fleece top to be a jerk, he wears it because of a history of circulation problems. Francona told reporters: "I don't want to get too personal. There are times when I get cold. There are times when I don't want to be tucked in. ... I don't want to get into sob stories, but all the stuff I wear underneath, I feel cooped up. I have two pair of tights. I get a little claustrophobic."

Well, Tito, we already know Bud Selig doesn't give a crap about the health of MLB's players so why do you think you'd be any different?

According to MLB.com: "Prior to Wednesday's game, [Bob] Watson [vice president of on-field operations], visited Francona in the dugout. Initially, Watson was disappointed, because he thought Francona wasn't wearing his uniform top. However, Francona dutifully pulled his jersey down under the pullover so Watson could see he was obeying protocol."

Are freaking kidding me?

First, I could care less if managers sitting in the dugout wear jackets or fleece pullovers as opposed to uniform tops. So long as they're wearing MLB-sanctioned gear (which used to be the rule), who cares if they're wearing a jersey no one can see? What's next, random cup checks as batters step into the box?

Secondly, and more importantly, why is MLB Security making this spot check in the middle of the inning? What's this jerkwad doing that's so important that he can't wait five minutes until the inning is over? Is Terry Francona's jersey a topic of the daily briefings at Homeland Security?

The whole thing seems ridiculous. Did Bob Watson think that after Tito proved he was wearing the jersey Francona would run inside and take it off?

Unreal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

94 is Not Progress

The grace period is officially over for Greg Robinson and Daryl Gross.

It's not time to demand G-Rob and Gross be fired, but it is time to demand results.

When Gross took over a Syracuse AD from Jake Crouthamel a few years back and fired Paul Pasqualoni as the head football coach, it was the rare SU fan that was angered. Pasqualoni had won a lot of games over his years on the Hill, but he hadn't won nearly enough games against teams that mattered. So when idiot columnists berated SU fans for wanting Coach P gone by pointing to his impressive win-loss record, it always burned me that they never looked at his win-loss totals against the four schools that mattered most: Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. It didn't matter how many times he beat up on Temple or East Carolina; it mattered what he did against the big-time competition.

And Pasqualoni failed over and over against the big-time competition as his teams never met expectations until a few losses had lowered them. He deserved to be fired, plain and simple.

As bad as Coach P was near the end of his regime, however, nothing he ever did comes as close to the disgrace Gross and Robinson have inflicted on the once-proud Syracuse football program. Under Greg Robinson the SU program is 5-18, with only one win in conference. How bad has it gotten? Here's a few examples:

1) Sports Illustrated has the Orange ranked as the 94th best football team in the country. That's out of 119.

2) As bad as the #94 ranking is, it's actually a sign of IMPROVEMENT. The Post-Standard's Bud Poliquin wrote of this "improvement" in his blog entry yesterday:

Indeed, some not-so-insignificant evidence of this can be found in ESPN.com's preseason "Bottom 10" where the Orange is -- get this -- not listed. Seriously. No punchlines. No nothing. Not for SU. At least not now. [snip] There is no Syracuse, which won four times as many games in 2006 (4) as it did in 2005 (1). And after being something of a fixture on that list over the last couple of campaigns, that is great, good news for the locals. The point, though, is that according to ESPN.com, Syracuse is crawling back. Sports Illustrated may have the Orange ranked 95th [sic] in the land. Sporting News might have wondered in print if SU still fielded a football team. And nobody, but nobody, has Robinson's boys landing in a bowl game. But Syracuse is not in the "Bottom 10." Not now, anyway. And that's a step in the right direction. A small one, sure. But a step is a step, right?

Um, sure.

3) When SI.com's Stewart Mandel wrote his recent "four-tier hierarchy" column on college football teams, Syracuse got special attention - and not the good kind. Placing SU in the third tier, Madel wrote: "In normal times, Syracuse would qualify as one of the barons (the second-tier), but they're just so darn bad and so irrelevant right now."

Yeah, but we've got new helmets! What does that do for us?

Syracuse opens the season Friday night in the Dome against Washington, another once-proud team that's descended into Suckville. I probably won't have my cable upgrade until next week, which means I won't have ESPN, which means I won't be able to watch the game, but I'm thinking that might not be the worst thing for my mental health.

Robinson is saying all the right things, of course, but he always has; it's time for less talk and more wins.

I'm taking an open approach to the season. I don't think SU will better last season's win total of 4 games, but their schedule is loaded with twinkies (Washington, Illinois, Miami (OH), Buffalo, UConn, Cincinnati) that a .500 record is certainly attainable. But likely? No. Unless there's massive improvement Syracuse is looking at yet another season of irrelevancy. Another year of "moral victories." I hope I'm wrong. I hope SU qualifies for a bowl (even if it's the International Bowl), but the team has given us no indication that it's ready to be relevant again.

It's always the coach's fault, but a lot of the blame here has to be placed on AD Daryl Gross, as well, who's seen Syracuse athletics falter across the board under his regime. The football team is 5-18, the basketball team failed to qualify for the NCAAs, and the lacrosse team - the national powerhouse lacrosse team with their 9 National Championships in the past 25 years - finished 2007 at 5-8, the first losing season since, um, at least as far back as 1977. (The SU Athletic department's website doesn't go back any further.) Gross was brought in to raise the prominence of the university's athletic programs, but so far it's been nothing short of an embarrassment.

Unfortunately, Syracuse football fans find themselves on the brink of where we were for the last five years of the Coach P Era - desperately searching for hope, but not seeing any evidence of it. Maybe Friday night can turn things around.

It's got to get better soon or it's going to get a whole lot uglier, too. In coming seasons, Syracuse is bolstering its schedule by adding the following opponents to a schedule that's already getting more difficult as the Big East improves: Boston College (2010-2017), Notre Dame (2008), Penn State (2008-2009), Southern Cal (2011-2012), and Virginia Tech (2010-2011).

BTW, Check out G-Rob's Wikipedia page, which includes the following information: "One disgruntled fan named Joel(orangenasty) has created a website called www.grobmustgo.com to create a grass roots campaign to have him fired. However, this website only has 29 members and two active posters who both live in their parents' basements."

BTW #2: That's better than the hack-edit of Robinson's Wikipedia entry from earlier this month, which simply stated: "
Greg Robinson is hung like a donkey with elephantitus...you know you want it."

Yeah, the internets is a fun place.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Memo to ESPN: Rowdy Friends Are Not Now

ESPN's latest attempt at jackassery is coming to your Monday Night Football broadcasts this fall in the form of "ESPN's Rowdy Friends." Look, I know ESPN-bashing is a sport all its own, and I know it must be tough for the Four Letter Network to have spent all that cake to secure the MNF broadcasting rights only to have the NFL make Sunday Night the most important game of the week, and I want to give the network credit for crapcanning Joey T in favor of Jaws but ...

Rowdy Friends? Really? Can we just put a moratorium on any idea that sounds like it comes from the marketing department?

If you haven't heard, "ESPN's Rowdy Friends" is your chance to be part of the telecast. That's right, you can make an ass out of yourself on video, upload it to the Worldwide Leader, and ESPN will broadcast it! Woo! Who's not having fun? Here's ESPN's blurb on how it works: "Each week, two fan videos will be selected and incorporated into the MNF game telecast. Get creative and get in the game -- tell us why all fans should tune in to watch your team on MNF!"

Yeah! Kick ass!

I don't really care to convince anyone why they should watch my team on MNF, and no clever 30 second video is going to make me suddenly go, "You know what? I think I will watch Tampa Bay this week because Susie from Tampa just told me that Jeff Garcia is going to throw for 400 yards and Jon Gruden looks like Chucky! I can't believe I was going to watch How I Met Your Mother instead! I mean, sure, Doogie Howser is a riot but he doesn't look like Chucky!"

With Jaworski in the booth this should be a positive MNF season, but things like "Rowdy Friends," no matter how small a role they play are just completely unnecessary, just like the mind-numbing celebrity interviews they force upon us each week.

Just cover the game. If you want to add in silly nonsense, do it at half-time. No one's sticking around to watch the Berman Schtick, anyway.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sox Sweep Sox 46-7; Eyes Turn to the Apple

Way back at the beginning of the baseball season I predicted the Chicago White Sox would win the American League Central. Um ... yeah. After the Carmines (that's for you, Hawk) beat up on a not-remotely-interested White Sox club on Sunday to complete a 4-game sweep in which the Pilgrims outscored the Pale Hose 46-7, the WhiSox find themselves 16.5 games back of division leading Cleveland (and 1.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals).

I only got to watch one of the games on television, but between that one game and the parts of the other three I caught on the net I don't think the Sox can take too much pride in destroying a team that is tossing out players that are either too old to give a crap about a lost season or too young or inexperienced to turn things around. It's a team in which most of the players are playing for themselves.

The Red Sox remain the best team in baseball according to winning percentage and can effectively clinch the AL East with a sweep this week in the Bronx. The Sox are 7.5 games up right now and will be either 7 or 8 after their day off and the Yankees' game with the Tigers tomorrow. Either way a Sox sweep will put them up by double digits with under 30 games to go. Of course, a sweep by the Nyackers and everything gets all tense again.

The success of the Yankees in regular season series that take place in August and September has been one reason why they've won the division year after year.

We're set for two great pitching match-ups. On Tuesday night it's Matsuzaka against Pettitte, and on Wednesday evening Beckett and Clemens take the mound. (Pitching match-ups for Thursday's matinee have yet to be announced.) Apparently only Wednesday's game gets national coverage, so the country will be spared from an all-out Yankees/Red Sox blitz; that comes in two weeks, when the Friday to Sunday series gets ESPN, FOX, and ESPN coverage - though I won't be able to watch the FOX game because of MLB's ridiculous decision to continually schedule Cardinals and Cubs games opposite Yankees and Red Sox. (Seriously, the NFL is never this stupid, are they? Do they ever schedule Bears v. Packers at the same time as Cowboys v. Redskins?) Hopefully by then it won't matter.

If the Sox have as good a week as they had a weekend the AL East race will be over before the college football season kicks off.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Useless Countdown: Cabrera Ties McCarver!

Sure the Angels lost on Wednesday night to the Yankees, but the big story (which I'm sure the National Media will ignore - someone get Fox Sports on the phone) of the night in sports is that Orlando Cabrera hit a HR to give him 97 for his career, tying him with Tim McCarver for 713th on the all-time list.

I gotta admit - I was a bit worried this day would never come, yet here it is. Viva Cabrera! (Or something.) Cabrera pulled through, however, and now we sit on the doorstop of history, waiting breathlessly.

Two current players also sit at 97 career HR: Bengie Molina and Juan Uribe, but it's all about Cabrera and McCarver as Orlando desperately tries to surpass McCarver before the end of the season.

If Cabrera can get that final, elusive HR to forever leave McCarver in the dust, he'll be in the company of perhaps the oddest collection of players to end their careers tied with the same number of home runs. Players tied at 98 (702nd on the all-time list) include: Greg Colbrunn, Hoot Evers (who is not the Evers of Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance, but does have a first name that doubles as an animal sound and was traded by the Tigers to the Red Sox in a 9-player deal in 1952), Butch Hobson, Todd Hollandsworth, Chuck Knoblauch, and Lonnie Smith.

The Devil Rays are Matsuzaka's Daddy

At least Petey had the Yankees as his daddy.

Daisuke Matsuzaka lost to the Devil Rays AGAIN on Wednesday night. The D-Rays have beat the Sox 3 times this season, all of them coming against Daisuke. Matsuzaka gave up only 2 runs on the night (BJ Upton hit a 2-run homer), but the Sox offense was shut down by the 4-12 Edwin Jackson.

If the Sox don't win the World Series it's likely going to be the fault of their narcoleptic offense, which just seems to disappear at times, even against awful pitchers.

More on that another time; right now it's about Matsuzaka, who (cliche alert) has pitched better than his 13-10 record indicates. In his last 15 starts, he's given up more than 2 runs or less 11 times, yet is only 6-7 in that span. That should happen if you're a great pitcher on a suckjob team - not when you're pitching for a club with aspirations of winning the big fancy trophy. Four of Matsuzaka's losses came in starts where he gave up only 2 earned runs. In his six wins, he gave up the following earned runs: 2, 0, 4, 0, 1, 0. It has to be incredibly frustrating to go out there time and again and just not get any run support.

After a wobbly opening two months, however, we shouldn't lose sight that Daisuke has earned his salary, if not the salary and his transfer fee. For the season (and going into last night), he currently holds the following American League ranks: 10th in Wins, 15th in IP 5th in Ks, 16th in ERA, 17th in WHIP, 12th in BAA. Given that the Sox considered him their #3 starter going into the season behind Beckett and Schilling, Matsuzaka's season has to be considered a success to this point. Sure, the wins aren't there, and yes, he's given up far too many walks, but his numbers are comparable to the best #2 starters in the AL. There's no reason not to be comfortable with Matsuzaka being the #2 starter in a playoff series, let alone #3.

If the Sox could score a few more runs for him he'd have 15 or 16 wins right now and would be a top 10 Cy Young candidate.

Frustrating night at the Trop all around.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I Prefer the Whore That is Your Sister


Marco Materazzi has lifted the veil of secrecy and admitted what he said to Zinedine Zidane to get the Frenchman to head-butt him in the chest during the World Cup final.

He said: "I prefer the whore that is your sister."

I dunno - after all this time it's kind of a letdown. Sure, the phrase rolls off the tongue but you'd think to get the reaction he did Materazzi would've had to include at least one barnyard animal and a clever phrase describing a sex act. "The burro prefers your sister's version of the Corinthian Slurp to her Crabcake Paco."

Eric Gagne is Single-Handedly Ruining the Season

It's a good thing Eric Gagne took a few extra million from the Red Sox to approve the trade that sent him to Beantown from Arlington because the way he's pitching he's costing himself money every time he walks off the field.

Last night, after a dramatic 8th inning rally that saw the Sox go from 4-1 down to 5-4 up, Gagne came on for the save and served up 3 runs to blow the save and the game as the Sox lost 7-5 in a game they shouldn't have won, then shouldn't have lost.

Teams that want to win World Series can't let those games get away.

It's fitting that on they day the Sox finally traded Number One Super-Object of Fan Ire Wily Mo Pena (to the Nationals for a package of Big League Chew and a flavored Skoal to be named later) Gagne steps up to fill Wily Mo's spot. (Even in being hated Wily Mo can't catch a break.)

I'm not questioning the decision to trade for Gagne - he was there, it cost next to nothing, it should have strengthened the already best bullpen in the game - but the results speak loudly. He's made 7 appearances, pitching 6 innings, and has given up 14 hits and 10 earned runs for an ERA of 15.00. Instead of being compared to Papelbon or Rivera, Gordon Edes referenced the never-to-be-forgotten ultimate symbol of pitching ineffectiveness John "Way Back" Wasdin in discussing Gagne this morning.

Maybe Gagne's just in a slump or maybe he's just another classic example of a soft major leaguer that just can't hack it playing in the Northeast.

Gagne's debacle also takes some of the spotlight off the first game of the doubleheader that saw heralded savior-of-the-future Clay Buchholz make a dazzling major league debut, getting the win as the Sox beat the Angels 8-4. It seems pretty clear that Buchholz is going to be in the rotation next year; as much as the Sox like to take their time with prospects before they push them up to the big league club (which you have to be in a town where fans can turn on you after one bad week), Buchholz and CF Jacoby Ellsbury (back up for the second time this season) haven't done anything but prove they deserve an extended look with the Sox. With Wily Mo now gone, it'll be interesting to see if the Sox keep Ellsbury in the bigs as a 4th OF. Usually with younger, still developing players you want to keep them where they can play every day.

Watching prospects like Buchholz, Ellsbury, and Jon Lester it's not hard to figure out why the Sox just flat-out refuse to trade them for a rent-an-arm like Gagne or a rent-a-bat like Jermaine Dye.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Your Tuesday Early Evening Useless Countdown Update

I'd like to thank Orlando Cabrera for not hitting any home runs during my two week vacation, leaving him one HR short of tying Tim McCarver and two of passing him. Sources tell me that Tim McCarver is pulling a Bud Selig and refusing to follow Cabrera around anymore, but promises he'll send a representative to every game.

Or at least watch it on TV.

Or watch the highlights on SportsCenter.

Or read about it in the paper.

Or have someone tell him about it sometime ...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Shamrock!

The Boston Celtics stepped back into their storied history on Tuesday, pulling off the status-quo changing of deal not seen by the local hoop club since the early 1980s as they finalized their deal for Kevin Garnett.

This is not the kind of deal an entire generation of Beantown hoops' fans has ever witnessed. This isn't moving one bad seed (Ricky Davis) and one bad contract (Mark Blount) for a slightly less-worse contract (Wally Szczerbiak). This isn't moving one bad contract (Raef Lafrentz) and a draft pick for a slightly worse contract (Theo Ratliff) and potential (Sebastian Telfair). This isn't trading for a second stint with Antoine Walker. This isn't acquiring a Rodney Rogers or Gary Payton for a playoff push. This isn't signing an end-of-the-line veteran like Dominique.

To be peferctly blunt, this is exactly the kind of deal fans of the Leprechaun have watched the Lakers pull off for two decades as the La-La club made their run at being the signature franchise of the League that was once unquestionably the Kingdom of Red & Green.

It was one thing to get beat by the Lakers in the Finals. As much as that burned it was a hundred times worse becoming irrelevant as the Lakers became dominant. It sucked. The Lakers had Jerry West and Phil Jackson and the Celtics had ... where to start? How many incompetent idiots can run a team? For a day, at least, Danny Ainge has erased the jokes that were Dave Gavitt and ML Carr and Rick Pitino and Paul Gaston and, well, Danny Ainge.

Twenty one years.

Twenty-one years since the Celtics won an NBA Championship and now hope comes in a former number 21 in the guise of Kevin Garnett. KG can't wear 21 in Boston as it hangs in the rafters in honor of Bill Sharman (he'll wear 5), but the only number that really matters is 17, and for the first time since the Pistons bounced the Cs out of the Conference final at the end of the 1987-88 season the Celtics have a legitimate shot of playing for Banner 17.

The Celtics aren't favorites to win an NBA Championship - heck, they're not even favorites to get out of the Eastern Conference (that would be Detroit) - but they are certainly in the conversation with the Pistons and Cavaliers and Bulls to get to the Finals. And for a franchise that has sucked for two decades that's a giant leap forward.

Just how irrelevant have the Celtics been? No one on the roster has made the All-NBA First Team since Larry Bird (1988). No one on on the roster has made the All-NBA Second Team since, um, Larry Bird (1990). Pierce has made the All-NBA Third team twice (2002 and 2003). that's it. That should change with Garnett in town.

Danny Ainge's overhaul of the roster is pure alchemy and something I didn't think he was capable of accomplishing in such a short time. Yes, the Cs gave up a lot but the idea that they gave up too much is absurd. Ever since Antoine's second departure this has been a team that was both too old and too young at the same time. Ainge was unwilling to give up Paul Pierce and unable to put a quality cast around him, so he kept Pierce and kept getting younger, more athletic, and filled his roster out with potential.

Then he waited for two franchises (Seattle and Minnesota) in a similar "too old-too young" fix to decide to rebuild and cashed in his potential future for their proven quanlity. Delonte West and the #5 pick to the Sonics brought them Ray Allen, and Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff's contract, and two first-round draft picks (one of which was originally Minnesota's) brought them Garnett.

Here's how to evaluate NBA trades - he who gets the best player has made the better trade. The Cs did that on both accounts. That's nothing against anyone they gave up (except Telfair) but with Pierce and Allen already on the roster there was no need to keep stockpiling potential. It was time to make a move and make a run. Sure, this could blow-up, and sure, this doesn't guarantee any banner raising, but if you're in the game to win championships you've got to go for it when presented with the opportunity. As bright a future as Al Jefferson has, he's not Kevin Garnett.

The Celtics have finally decided on a direction and it is Win Now. They were finally in a position to acquire the one player that allows them to make a run and they did it. Give Ainge credit for not taking 'No' for an answer - either from the T-Wolves or Garnett. Maybe Ainge's drive was built of out desperation and anger at getting the much-deserved shaft by the Lottery ping-pong balls. The Celtics tanked games last year to get Oden or Durant and got neither. Whatever it was he's done what many thought impossible - he's put the fire back in basketball in Boston without Oden or Durant.

There's still work to be done, of course. Right now the Celtics have only nine signed players, though draft picks Glen Davis and Gabe Pruitt will make it 11. They need at least one more player and they can potentially get two more beyond that. With the New Three on the court, Rajon Rondo can simply play the point and play defense and not worry about his poor shooting, but the Celtics desperately need a veteran point guard (not Gary Payton) on this roster. And another big man (not the Candy Man).

Things are looking up for the Celtics. From expectant (pre-ping pong) to irrelevant (post-ping pong) to nearly irrelevant (post-Allen) to the most intriguing team in the East (post-KG).

What's even more remarkable about the acquisition of all this talent is that KG, Pierce, and Allen compliment each others' games so well. KG can go down low, Allen can stay outside, and Pierce can slash. The biggest critique of KG has been that he doesn't want to take the big shot in crunch time. Not a problem because Pierce loves to take that shot and he's wise enough to recognize when another player is in a better position to take that shot.

Time to prove just how good a coach you are, Doc.

Useless Countdown: Cabrera Within One of McCarver!

Orlando Cabrera has rediscovered his power stroke, hitting his second home run in four days. Cabrera is now one behind his pretend-nemesis Tim McCarver.