Thursday, August 23, 2007

Some thoughts on a Thursday...

-- On a day when the Orioles announced that manager Dave Trembley would return for the 2008 season, his pitching staff laid one of the biggest eggs in major league history. If you haven't heard by now, the Orioles lost to the Rangers last night 30-3. All thirty of Texas's runs were unanswered, as unbelievable as that sounds. The Rangers managed to hit six home runs while amassing 29 hits -- with 13 of them coming from their 7th, 8th, and 9th place hitters. The blowout left many people, mainly embarrassed Orioles fans, shaking their heads in disbelief.

Since the game was the first of a doubleheader, Trembley decided before the game even started that he'd try to save his best relievers for the second game to try and salvage at least a split. That plan surely backfired quickly, as each successive Orioles reliever tried to under-pitch the one before him. Daniel Cabrera allowed six earned runs, Brian Burres allowed eight, Rob Bell seven, and Paul Shuey nine!

This game was the first example under Trembley that I could give for the team looking disinterested and obviously, lackadaisical. Even one of the pitcher's friends wasn't convinced that he (Shuey) was giving 100%. "I had one buddy call and ask me if I was trying. I said, 'Yeah, I really was,"' Shuey said. Wow, I'm convinced.

To put it frankly, the Orioles pitching was just terrible last night, and the Rangers hitting was amazing (that's an understatement.) The O's just need to find some way to put that awful game behind them and move on while continuing to play, for the most part, much better baseball in the second half of the season.

-- In one of the happier stories to comment on, Eli Manning and former Giant running back Tiki Barber have been exchanging verbal jabs through the media this week. Barber, who is now a TV personality and NFL analyst, was critical of Manning in some of his comments the other day. He also seems to have a bitter tone when discussing his former team after his retirement.

I've never been a fan of either Barber or Eli Manning, with them being New York Giants and all, but I'd, unfortunately, have to side with Manning on this issue. Barber didn't like how he was treated after he announced in the middle of the Giants season that he was going to retire after the year was done. But, really, how was his team supposed to take it? The Giants were in the middle of a playoff push, and Barber picked a strange time to make his future plans known. If he wanted to retire, that's his decision, and that's fine. But he took a lot of the team's focus away by declaring his intentions to the media.

And as far as being a professional, if he's going to be an NFL analyst, he doesn't need to take little shots at his former team and teammates on-air. He may have some strong feelings, but taking out his frustrations by critiquing Manning during the preseason was a low blow. Good for Manning for defending himself.

-- I just finished watching a great Little League World Series game between Chinese Taipei and Japan. Japan won 4-3 on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. While watching the game, I had two main thoughts. First, I was surprised to see some of the kids wearing batting armor like some of the pros do. The kids are 11, 12, and 13, and a couple of them had elbow and arm pads. I thought that was confusing to see, and I'm not sure why they really need to wear them at all. And second, I'm glad to see the new 85-pitch rule that the league has installed. Most of the kids already throw so many innings before they even get to the world series, and just about all of them throw curveballs too. The pitch limit keeps teams from relying way too heavily on their one or two best pitchers, which means a more well-balanced team is better prepared to win. Throwing so many innings and curveballs can ruin a kid's future baseball career, so I'm glad to see some effort going towards having some of the kids throw less.

That's all for now. I'll try to write something else tomorrow.

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