Category Archives: Baseball

What do the Texas Rangers have in common with the Buffalo Bills? A lot, actually.

Can the Rangers make it a third trip to the World Series? Pretty good chance, but the question remains – can they actually win it?

McGILLIGAN: Watching the Texas Rangers dismantle the Toronto Blue Jays young pitching staff this past weekend was fun. The Rangers are loaded with talent on all sides of the ball and yet I have zero confidence they can win the World Series.

Can they get to a third-straight World Series? Absolutely.

Will they find a way to lose? Yes.

The Rangers are the Buffalo Bills of Major League Baseball. A team loaded with iconic talent that romps through the regular season, does well in the playoffs, but comes up short when it counts most.

Player wise the similarities are there. You’ve got a once in a generational talent like Josh Hamilton posting ridiculous numbers. He’s the Rangers Bruce Smith who was dominant in the early 90s and posted a season with 101 tackles, four forced fumbles and 19 sacks in 1990.

(NOTE: I could have used Thurman Thomas or Jim Kelly in place of Smith)

Hamilton is surrounded by all-stars in the form of Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, Elvis Andrus and Joe Nathan. The Bills had a supporting cast of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Darryl Talley, Cornelius Bennet and Andre Reed.

Talent wise, it’s hard to argue either team has or had an equal. However, despite the solid numbers, a narrow defeat (1990 Super Bowl for Bills and 2011 World Series for Rangers) left a black cloud over both squads. The Bills went on to become sort of a punch line in that no other team has lost three-straight Super Bowls and the Rangers don’t want that distinction.

This season, the path looks even clearer for the Ranges to be the American League champs again, but I bet most money would go against them in the World Series.

Right now they look like world beaters, no one can come close to them. But just think back a few months, the Cardinals had no business in that World Series yet they have the rings Texas covets.

LIVINGSTONE: I can’t argue against what McGilligan said above – the Rangers remind me a lot of the Buffalo Bills, loaded with talent but when it comes down to the clutch, that one moment in a game where a guy needs to step up and be the hero when it most counts, they falter.

Not only does the lack of clutch been non-existent the last two World Series the Rangers have played – I’d say the clutch is there this year with the likes of Josh Hamilton looking like he’s from another planet, he could be the player they’ve been waiting for to step up to the plate, so to speak – but so has the pitching. The Rangers aren’t known for their sold starting pitching. They lead the league in nearly every major hitting category – Homeruns (75), average (.278), runs (280), RBI (273), slugging (.477) and OPS (.823) – but winning doesn’t just come down to offense. In close games the Rangers have scored 17 runs in late innings, putting them 23rd in the league with a .252 average (NOTE: all stats courtesy of MLB.com), and are a mere 5-7 in one-run games with four blown saves on the season.

Look, the Rangers are good, but the pitching, after losing CJ. Wilson to free agency, is the team’s biggest question mark. With a 3.40+ ERA good for 11th in the league and opposing hitters hitting .250 (10th) and a 1.29 WHIP (14th), the starters are merely average. The relievers are tops in the league, posting a 2.16 ERA and an opposing average of .194. Great, but we saw a dominate bullpen in Atlanta last season falter come the end of the season due to being overworked.

I guess only time will tell, but I wonder if Texas will be able to ride offense all the way to the World Series championship.

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What time does to the memory in re-telling sports stories

Oh, how the story of Curt Schilling’s bloody sock will forever morph as time moves ahead. Certainly, at some point, aliens will be involved in making the sock red.

McGILLIGAN:Time does a lot of funny things to one’s memory.

It can distort facts and happenings of actual events into reasonable facsimiles that we come to accept as truths.

This happens in sports all the time. Stories get exaggerated or blown out of proportion. However, some stories are simply made infinitely better because of the distortions of time. So here’s a smattering of sporting events and how I believe I will come to remember them in 20 years.

Red Sox-Yankees 2004 – Game 6 of the ALCS

The infamous ‘Bloody Sock’ game. Starting pitcher Curt Schilling, who did not look good in Game 1 of the ALCS, pitched a great game despite having an ankle injury that resulted in some bleeding that led to his white sock turning red.

What time will do: I will tell my children that Schilling came out with a ridiculously pronounced limp, fanned 14 Yankees and the bleeding was so bad it had to be soaked up between innings by the grounds crew.

2002 Salt Lake City – Gold Medal Game Men’s Hockey

Canada wins the gold medal by defeating the USA in the final 5-2. Earlier in the tournament, the usually mild-mannered Wayne Gretzky – Team Manager of the Canadian squad – went on a bit of a tirade about Canadian hockey which focused most of the attention on him and took a lot of the pressure off the players.

What time will do: Sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of my home, I will wistfully tell my grandchildren the story of how Gretzky came to be called the Great One. Trailing 2-1 to start the final period, Gretzky decided to come out of retirement. The Great One scored four third period goals – all end-to-end rushes if I remember it correctly – to help Canada wins its first gold medal in 50 years (no need to embellish the last part).

1993 World Series – Game 6

Joe Carter blasts a three-run home run to propel the Toronto Blue Jays to its second World Series title defeating the Philadelphia Phillies. I can still remember jumping up and down in my living room when this happened (I’m a Red Sox fan, but as a Canadian I loved that team).

What time will do: Just moments after being sworn in as a Canadian citizen in the dugout, Carter stepped to the plate and hit the winning home run which smashed through one of the SkyDome’s restaurant windows. The ball landed directly in a plate of fries, how do I know this? It was my plate of fries.

2000 World Series – Game 2 of the Subway Series

After sawing off the bat of Mets catcher Mike Piazza, Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens throws part of the broken bat at Piazza while he runs to first base. Clemens tries to claim he thought the piece of jagged lumber he threw was a ball.

What time will do: Probably nothing, some people do such stupid things (like claim to have never used steroids and used the word misremembers) that no embellishment is needed.

The stupidest rules in sports

Rays BJ Upton hit a 200 foot homerun off Kyle Drabek this week, prompting Write Fielders to look at some stupid sports rules.

STRADER: After watching Kyle Drabek suffer the fate of a legendary BJ Upton homerun in his last start, I started to wonder, what are the stupidest rules in sports?

For those who didn’t see it, Drabek got Upton to fly out. Yep. Fly out. It was high, lame, and ready to be caught by Colby Rasmus. Camped under it, Rasmus all of a sudden looked shocked, and struggled to react as the ball plopped to the ground 10 to 15 feet beside him. It was in a dome, and it wasn’t the old Metrodome. For a few moments, even the TV commentators couldn’t figure out what was going on.

And then, it came to light (nice pun, huh?). There are catwalks, gangplanks whatever you want to call them, dangling from the rook of Tropicana Coliseum. They aren’t high enough to be completely out of the way of fly balls, and in a moment of genius, someone in the MLB offices simply decided to steal a page from SkeeBall. Hit a particular ring, and it’s a double. Hit another, a triple, and strike the one Upton struck, and you get to do a homerun trot for what was a 300 foot flyout to centre.

Disgusting? For a stats geek, yes. Upton should be minus one, and so should Drabek’s ERA. They both know it.

Stupid. Definitely.

So I’m going to list my top five stupidest rules in sports (okay, two to six, cause Tropicana’s roof wins top spot), and hope that some of our readers and tweeters will add in their own.

Deciding an elimination game on penalty kicks

I will admit, watching Liverpool beat Milan in 2005 was one of the most exciting sporting matches I’ve ever watched. But are you kidding me? Deciding the Champions League, the World Cup on penalty kicks? Footballers across the world need to rise up against this one (Don’t riot! I’m not inciting riot!  How about just a nice letter writing campaign?). It’s idiotic. Can you imagine the Stanley Cup awarded after a shootout? The World Series after a homerun derby?

The intentional walk

I’ve always hated it. I understand it, and you should be able to decide you’re going to walk a guy, but I paid to watch you pitch. So pitch. If the dips—t wants to swing at stuff off the plate, let him swing. But to have the catcher stand up, and just dance to the side while you lob balls. Come on. Who was it a few years back who took the swing at one that was just too close and got a hit? I believe it was Miguel Cabrera? Genius, pure genius.

Disqualifying a golfer for an unsigned scorecard

It’s a game of honour. We punish ourselves, and we don’t cheat – at least stand up guys don’t cheat. This is the dumbest thing in the sport outside of most of Phil Mickelson’s decisions. Some player completes a gruelling 18-hole round, in 30-35 degree heat, while spending the entire day focused on the leaderboard, their shot making, the 50,000 people standing right beside their ball, they forget to sign their card, and you’re going to take a major from them? Honour should only go so far. This is stupid.

Boxing scoring

Anybody who has been on a playground knows how to score a fight. Who has ever watched their buddy duke it out with a bully, helped him up after getting his ass kicked and said, “Don’t worry about it man, it was close, I had you at 108-105.”

The double fault

In that it shouldn’t exist. “Oops, sorry. Haha. I know, I’ve been practicing that for about 15 years, but let me try again, ok?”

Give me a break.

Field goal kickers everywhere unite.

So, these are mine.

What are yours?

Joe Maddon: Genius or just crazy?

Rays manager Joe Maddon: batting order mad scientist or just plain mad? If putting Carlos Pena in the lead-off spot the last two games is any indication, he may seem like a genius.

LIVINGSTONE: Prior to the start of the day’s games, I always like to look at the starting line-ups. In the first quarter of the season, I’ve become fairly knowledgeable at what to expect from the way a manager arranges his batters to maximize run potential. Lefty out of the line-up due to unfavourable pitching match-up; moving a middle-of-the-line-up guy up a few spots because of a good match-up with the scheduled starter, etc, etc.

In fact, many managers follow a quasi-standard approach to the line-up. Speed at the top, above average power and on-base percentage in the two-hole, power through the middle – with a smattering of speed in there as well – and then so on down the line with a mish-mash of speed, power, contact hitters in the bottom third.

Then there is Joe Maddon.

Looking at the line-up for the Jays-Rays game Tuesday night in Tampa Bay, I wasn’t completely shocked to see the regular clean-up hitter, Carlos Pena, hitting lead-off. Yep, lead-off. Upon first seeing this, I thought maybe it was an error on Maddon’s part, but then remembered that the long-time Rays bench coach likes to think outside the box when it comes to forming his starting line-ups.

The strategy is simple, I think: put together the best possible line-up that will bring the most effectiveness to the offense. Sure, Pena at the top doesn’t bring much speed, but as we saw in the 8-5 victory over the Jays, having Pena at the top paid off in the way of a three-run home run and what would be the turning point for the Rays in taking the game. Yeah, if they’d lost it might have raised questions about the move to put Pena there, say if they needed a speedy contact hitter at a given moment in the game – but that wasn’t the case and Maddon, in his thinking, looked like a genius.

 

 

Ortiz rants, Clemens continues to ruin himself

David Ortiz went on a rant Monday after helping the Sox reach .500 for the first time this season. The topic? How he gets no respect. Cue Aretha Franklin.

McGILLIGAN: A short while after reaching the .500 mark with an 8-6 win against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, the wheels seemed to come off again for the Boston Red Sox.

The normally calm, cool and collected David Ortiz let loose a rant in his postgame interview deriding management and the media. It seems every time it looks like the Sox are about to turn the corner, something bad happens (Cody Ross is out 6-8 weeks with a fractured bone in his foot).

Ortiz seemed to take offence to not being seen as a leader of the team.

“I’m the kind of [expletive] who worries about winning games,” Ortiz told ESPNBoston. “I’m a winner. I hate losing. But what I do, I don’t do for everybody to know. I do it for us to get better and the trash talking out there to stop.”

The outburst came after a question concerning a team meeting that took place in the wake of GolfGate involving Josh Beckett. He then spoke about him not being seen as a good leader or the team being without one since the retirement of veteran players Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek.

“I don’t get no respect,” Ortiz said, channeling a Rodney Dangerfield. “Not from the media. Not from the front office. What I do is never the right thing. It’s always hiding, for somebody to find out.”

Only time will tell if this outburst is a good thing. Perhaps Big Papi just needed to vent and maybe it will solidify him as the public face of the team. He along with Dustin Pedroia is the backbone of the squad and Ortiz has been crushing the ball so far this season. That’s the positive outlook.

The negative view is the Sox have unraveled to the point its upset even the most unflappable of players in Ortiz. While this season may be hard to watch for Sox fans, it’s never dull.

If I have to choose one, I’m going to be an optimist and say the Sox are starting to get it together and Ortiz is simply asserting himself as the Alpha Dog in the room, inviting any future problems be directed to him, leaving his teammates to go about their business. This is what Pedroia did for Kevin Youkilis in the wake of Bobby Valentine’s comments and what someone should have done for Beckett, rather than let him open his mouth and dig himself deeper.

Clemens Trial Update

While it’s been tough watching the Sox struggle, it’s great to see more Yankees implicated in the steroid scandal during the Roger Clemens trial. Clemens former trainer added two more names to the list of Yankees who allegedly cheated/disgraced the game/tarnished an era/made Baby Jesus cry (the last is probably too far) in Chuck Knoblauch and Mike Stanton.

In the case of Knoblauch, what we’ve learned is that taking steroids gives second basemen the yips.  I fully expect this trial to claim even more players in collateral damage. For instance, I think we’re days away from hearing that the trial has upset Mark Texeira to the point that he’s lost his stroke.

It’s a numbers game

After eight years of waiting, and some 3,710 minor league at-bats, Rich Thompson made his way back to the majors. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

McGILLIGAN: Baseball is a game of numbers.

Often times it’s the numbers we look to for an explanation as to why a play happened or who is best suited to pitch or hit in a given scenario.

We use numbers to determine greatness, justify rooting for one player over another or as a way to delve even deeper into a game we love and will never stop calculating.

Sometimes the numbers reveal something you never thought they could. Take for instance 2,944 and 3,710.

Heading into play on Wednesday night, those numbers were a representation of the perseverance and dedication it took Rich Thompson of the Tampa Bay Rays to get back to the major leagues after his first and only plate appearance on April 20, 2004 with the Kansas City Royals.

2,944 was the numbers days between his major league appearances which officially ended when Thompson pinch ran for Luke Scott in the Rays 2-1 win against the Boston Red Sox.

3,710 was the number of minor league at-bats he took before returning to MLB.

A great story to be sure, but one that got even better Thursday with two smaller numbers – 1 and 2. In Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Red Sox, Thompson was in the starting lineup and hit ninth for the Rays. In his second plate appearance in the fourth inning, Thompson singled for his first major league hit and RBI as Sean Rodriguez scored on the play. But Thompson wasn’t done, he made the most of his time on the base paths by stealing both second and third base in the inning.

Of all the numbers used in baseball, it’s hard to imagine any combination could have summed up Thompson’s effort on Thursday.

Now he’s got a new number to worry about, extending his major league hitting streak to two games.

(NOTE: the numbers 2,944 and 3,710 are courtesy of an article on Yahoo! Sports by Kevin Kaduk)

What’s next, Stigmata?

32 games into the season and the standings in the East look ass backwards. The Sox, juggernauts in the division for years, sit dead last, seven games under-.500 as of Friday morning.

McGILLIGAN:I’m at a loss to describe anything about the Boston Red Sox season. Just when you think things can’t get worse, a new scandal, injury or Bobby Valentine quote rears its ugly head.

A recent tweet by ESPN/Grantland columnist Bill Simmons summed it up best when he said, “I’m running out of ways to hate this Red Sox season.” The tweet contained a link to an ESPN story regarding Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett missing a scheduled start because of a sore lat muscle two days after playing a round of golf. I’ll get to Beckett and the latest test of patience in a minute.

While I’m not at the hate stage yet, although it’s rapidly approaching. This might be the worst season in a long time, let’s review.

After the stink of fried chicken and beer cleared, the Red Sox were without GM Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona and coming off one of the worst September collapses in recent memory. Ben Cherrington was named the new GM and he hired Bobby Valentine as manager. The stories of the two men disagreeing on personnel, most notably what to do with Daniel Bard, began filtering out. The season had not yet started.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and his replacement, Andrew Bailey, went on the DL before the end of spring training. Carl Crawford and his foolish contract is on the DL as well. Jacoby Ellsbury goes down with a shoulder injury, hurting both the Sox and my fantasy team.

The season begins and things immediately get worse. Valentine publicly questions Kevin Youkilis; Dustin Pedroia defends his teammate and take a shot at his new manager. Solid start. The bullpen can’t hold a lead, but they don’t get too many chances to blow one as the starting pitching is terrible.

In its first series with the Yankees and on a day when the team is celebrating 100 years of Fenway Park – the only part of the organization that hasn’t crumbled – the Sox blow a 9-0 lead to the Yankees. In an extra cruel moment, my fellow Writefielder Livingstone calls during the collapse and is giving me pitch-by-pitch updates of the utter failure. Thanks buddy.

Now we’ve got Beckett. His first start after the golf fiasco results in seven earned runs in 2.1 innings pitched. Questioned about it after the game, here’s his comments courtesy of the Associated Press: “We get 18 off days a year, I think we deserve a little bit of time to ourselves.” That’s more than three weeks of vacation; some people don’t even get that at their job and are paid far less Beckett’s $15.75 million 2012 salary. Oh yeah, the baseball season is not 12 months long and you’re a pitcher, you essentially have to do your job once every five days.

What made the loss even worse – besides Beckett’s seemingly uncaring attitude and indifference – was that former Sox pitcher Derek Lowe got the win for Cleveland and pitched effectively.

I know Beckett was instrumental in the two recent Red Sox championships, but if you’re getting paid $15 million a year to throw a baseball, golf in the off-season and concentrate on your job.

All I’m asking is that you at least pretend to care as much as the people in the stands who make a fraction of what you do and use some of it to watch you play.

LIVINGSTONE: I’m going to chime in here, but with caution.

We’re heading into the third week of May, and, well, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Red Sox and the Yankees sitting fourth and fifth in a division they’ve dominated for the better part of the last twenty years (Sox maybe last 10 or so, but hey, it seems like two decades).

Simply put: I love this. I love watching the Sox crumble. As a frustrated Jays fan my entire life, getting blown up by the Sox in nearly 15 of 18 games against the Beantown squad in 2011 (The Sox outscored the Jays something like 115 to 35), and many years before with similar outcomes, it’s a breath of fresh air to see the Sox unable to win games.

That said, they won’t spend the entire season at the bottom. the Orioles are off to a blazing, unexpected start and it’s sure to cool down for them. The Sox have loads of talent, seasoned and young, and with the proven pitching in years past, I’m sure guys like Beckett and co. will turn things around. Dice-K and Lackey will be back soon and adding those arms to the rotation will bring more strength and stability to the struggling starters.

Until that time, I’ll bask in watching the Sox keep the bottom of the toughest division in baseball.

High socks bring out the best in youthful Jays

STRADER: The key was the high socks, not the eight hole.

Lind crushed a homerun, a first at bat single, and the radio is blowing up about how a move to the eight hole was a great move.

No, no it wasn’t.

Lind can go 0-4 in the eight hole tomorrow, and everyone will shut up about it.

Bautista has five homeruns on the season. Besides the first in game one, we’ve heard at four different points of the season that he’s “back on track.”

Consistency will prove that, nothing else.

The same goes for Adam Lind.

So I will wait before I say he’s back on track.

But what I saw yesterday was the first instance of what I’ve been waiting for all season…

Fun team shit.

What’s the average age of our starting rotation? 24 something?

Why aren’t they showing up to games with the same haircuts? Plaid jackets? Matching suitcases that say “I’m the next Nolan, No I am, No I am…”

This is baseball. It’s fun. It’s 162 games a year.

Make it fun, make the game fun. Practice like professionals, prepare like professionals and then play loose. Play like you’re 24, making a million dollars, and get the chance to hit jacks in front of people everyday. Throw gas past guys in front of people.

Man, I pay 20 bucks to go to batting cages and pretend to do that.

Why do you think the Tampa Bay Rays can hit Sean Rodriguez in the clean up spot and kick our butts?

Yes, a lights out pitching staff helps, but their staff hasn’t even been that lights out. They have closer issues too and yet they’re constantly competing in the hardest division in sports. (Nah, I don’t believe the NFC East is that tough. I think it’s over-hyped).

You want to know what I think is great about Joe Maddon. Everybody is smiling, right up until they lose. Everybody is enjoying the game. Leaning on the rail, cheering each other on.

Remember the Chicago Blackhawks jerseys?

Remember the appearance of 20 similar looking pairs of black frames?

The mohawks?

Nobody can say the Tampa Bay Rays don’t prepare, but nobody can say they don’t have fun.

Baseball is a game of confidence. If you’re confident, you take inside pitches. You walk into that batter’s box questioning yourself, and you swing at offspeed pitches that touch dirt two feet in front of the plate.  (Please don’t do that anymore Joey…)

You want to get Adam Lind and Jose Bautista out of their funks, then why aren’t 20+ guys showing up to the park with T-shirts that say “I’m with Joey”

Yesterday, Eric Thames, Colby Rasmus, Brett Lawrie and Brandon Morrow, along with the aforementioned Lind, wore high socks together.

The key was the socks.

Good for them.

Now, it’s on Farrell to realize he has a bunch of kids with a world of talent. They’re not going to stop working if you make things fun.

Look at how hard they’ve worked just to get to where they are.

Practice should be work.

The game’s should be loose, and fun.

It is just a game, after all.

How did we get here, Robert Andino?

McGILLIGAN: Look at how carefree you were two years ago.

A little less so last season.

Seriously angry this year.

You went from a smiling youngster to looking like the kind of grizzled veteran who wouldn’t sign an autograph for a kid from the Children’s Wish Foundation.

How did you end up this way and is your three-year pictorial transformation indicative of the Baltimore Orioles surprising season? There’s a few ways to look at it.

Theory 1: Andino can see the future

In this theory, 2010 Andino is ecstatic because he secretly knows he joined a team with loads of talent that just needs time to mature.

2011 Andino is smirking because he knows what’s going to happen next season and he sees all the pieces falling into place.

2012 Andino is ready for Baltimore to vault past the rest of the American League East. He’s not smiling because it’s all business from here on in, staying focused and winning games.

Theory 2: Losing sucks and it takes a toll

In 2010, Andino was happy to be playing major league baseball. The Orioles lost 96 games that year, but he was just happy to be on the team.

2011 Andino is still happy about being in the majors, but another 93 losses has him a little bit weary.

2012 Andino sits down for his team photo and is not sure he can stand another 90-loss season. Losing sucks, there’s nothing good about.

Theory 3: The Wire

In 2010, Andino was introduced to the gritty crime drama The Wire set in Baltimore. He becomes addicted and watches the first three seasons during West Coast road trips.

2011 Andino watches the depressing fourth season, but realizes its great television.

2012 Andino finishes the fifth season on DVD and gets angry when teammates tell him theres no sixth season.

I’m more apt to believe in theory 2 for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve never met Andino, but I doubt he`s clairvoyant.Second, he and all the other Orioles players must be just as surprised by their start as the rest of baseball. Quick, name five Baltimore Orioles. If you can’t do it, don’t feel bad there are players on the Orioles who can’t do it either. I can’t explain the Orioles strong start this season other than to say it’s a statistical aberration and it won’t last.

What I do know is if we took another photo of Andino today, it would look more like 2010.

First or third, I’d never thought about it…

STRADER: I’ve love sitting behind dugouts.

You can heckle managers – Go back to Japan! – cheer favourite players, and hey, when the dancing birds are out, it’s nice to be close enough to get a T-shirt.

(Not that I’ve ever gotten a T-shirt Blue Jays!)

So, when I go to the SkyDome (Yes, I’m sticking to SkyDome, Rogers) I always ask about the availability of seats along the third base line.

And until my buddy Brent brought it up to me, I always thought the home dugout was along the third base line.

But is it?

And if it isn’t, why isn’t it consistent, who gets to choose, and why?

So I did what I could to look into it – thank you Wikipedia…

It turns out that it isn’t consistent at all, in fact, far from it.

The home dugout is wherever the home team wants it to be.

Major League Baseball does not appear to have a rule on it. Wiki experts note this, and with a quick look up myself, I couldn’t find anything on it. So if any of our twitter followers know, respond. We know there are a few players out there so chime in and let us know what you prefer and why.

In the early days of baseball there weren’t as many coaches on a team. Managers could also act as base coaches, and whether the boss liked to advise on the first or third base line could have swayed his choice of dugout locations.

Where the sun falls during day games is also a great reason why a manager might favour one or the other. Maybe he likes to keep his players footsies warm? Maybe he wants to steam out the opposition?

I would recommend metal benches and conveniently faulty water taps to add to this strategy.

It turns out first base is favoured on the American League side (eight to six) and third base is favoured in the National League (10 to six). And the cathedrals of baseball, Wrigley and Fenway, differ in their approach.

The Sox sit on the first base side, the Cubs sit on the third.

Wiki also notes that some parks simply have one dugout built larger and nicer than the other, with the Nationals RFK stadium as a blatant example of this – the home team picking the bigger and nicer location of course.

Personally, I would have a sound engineer in for one game (Why not? If teams spend money on guys sitting in the outfield with white signs for balls and strikes I can waste $20,000 on a sound consultant, can’t I?) and have him determine which dugout allowed the home plate umpire to hear me, the manager, the best.

Then I’d be heard over Omar, and the poor guy wouldn’t have to do my job for me…

Editorial note: Vizquel’s ejection in the fifth inning of a game last week against the Texas Rangers was only the second ejection of his career. Way to go Omar. I don’t know what got you going, but some anger from that dugout was due…Now to see it from Lind’s bat…