I'm sick with the alien death flu, so just a quick salmagundi to keep you rolling on a Monday morning.
- I didn't watch the big Roger Clemens interview with Mike Wallace last night, so feel free to leave your impressions of it in the comments. I saw the recap on SportsCenter, and it doesn't look like I missed anything. Clemens flatly denies ever using any performance-enhancing supplements, and attempts to discredit Brian McNamee at every turn, even implying that he has dragged Clemens's name through the mud in an effort to avoid jail time. Clemens's pleas of innocence ring a bit hollow, and his case is weakened by Andy Pettitte's admission that he himself *did* take HGH, just as McNamee claimed in the Mitchell Report. Was McNamee right about Pettitte but wrong about Clemens? Maybe, though Clemens has a serious uphill fight on his hands.
Clemens also feels -- rightly so, perhaps -- that he has already been deemed guilty in the famed court of public opinion. It sounds as if he is finally ready to hang up the cleats and splintered bat, and most of his energies will be spent trying to clear his name in time for the Hall of Fame vote of 2013. The prism through which we view this era may have changed dramatically by that time, though right now people overwhelmingly consider Clemens a cheat, even if has the same number of positive PED tests to his discredit as Barry Bonds, Turk Wendell and David Eckstein, and exactly one fewer than Ryan Franklin, Guillermo Mota and Matt Lawton.
- At The Hardball Times, John Walsh ranks the best outfield arms of 2007. Carlos Beltran ranks about league average for center fielders; Shawn Green was close to the bottom of the pile among right fielders; Moises Alou, somewhat surprisingly, ranked fifth among big league left fielders.
- Also at THT, Chris Jaffe continues his collection of articles detailing the best World Series games of all time with his latest entry, the best Game Sixes. No surprises, Game 6 of the 1986 Series clocks in at #2:
Bob Stanley relieves Schiraldi to face Mookie Wilson, and throws a wild pitch. Tying run scores, winning run on second. CRAP! It's bad enough I have to be so pessimistic. Do they have to justify it? Mookie battles, fouling off several pitches.
All inning long I'd expected the worst. All throughout the frame, I expected the Mets to win that inning. Then, I finally found some relief when I saw Mookie bounce a harmless grounder to Bill Buckner for an easy ou - GAAAAAAHHHH!!!
I felt like I'd stuck my tongue on the third rail. I can only imagine how horrible that play must have felt for a Red Sox fan.
Afterwards, a sportscaster stuck in the catacombs of Shea didn't know what had happened because of his location. From the cheering he knew the Mets won, but that's it. Determined to find out what happened, Dan Patrick asked the first player he saw, "Bill Buckner, what happened?"
- At his irresistible JoeBlog, Joe Posnanski continues his crusade for Jim Rice's exclusion from the hallowed Hall. Many Rice supporters have argued that Rice was the most feared hitter in the game and that his twelve year stretch from 1975-1986 was one of the most dominant dozen seasons of any batter in baseball history. Posnanski found 19 non-HOFers who had a twelve-year stretch at some time in their career during which they bested Rice's 133 OPS+ from his great stretch. Perhaps most damaging to Rice's case is that one of those nineteen ballplayers was teammate Fred Lynn, who posted a 135 OPS+ over the same exact twelve years as Rice.
- There were a couple of fairly trivial ex-Met signings yesterday, as Hideo Nomo inked a minor league deal with the Royals, and Mike DiFelice signed a similar deal with the
- In an interview with MLB.com, Nationals' GM Jim Bowden talks about Lastings Milledge and the unfair portrait of him that has been painted by the media:
MLB.com: After you acquired Dukes and Milledge, there were questions about their characters. What was your reaction to this criticism?
Bowden:I was surprised by Lastings because I have known him since high school. But the one thing I have learned in this game: In this day and age with media and the Internet, when you make mistakes in your life, they are magnified. Everybody reads about the mistakes a lot of times and then people begin to say this is a troubled person. We read where Lastings made a mistake when he was 17 years old and we read after he hit a home run, he was high fiving fans at Shea Stadium. [The critics read] that and they came to [negative] conclusions based on two incidents in his life. Most of the people who say this have never sat down with Lastings. They never met his dad, mom and friends.
- Kim and I watched the two-hour Sunday premiere of the new American Gladiators, and it was reasonably entertaining. The show hasn't really changed all that much from its decade-ago incarnation. Some of the events -- Assault, Joust, Hang Tough, and others -- have been resurrected, while some -- Atlasphere, Breakthrough and Conquer, and others -- have been left behind, replaced by newer events like Pyramid and Earthquake.
The new events are good ones, though some of the carry-overs -- Joust and Hang Tough in particular -- aren't terribly captivating. The Gladiators themselves seem pretty solid; the men are led by Titan, who looks to me like a beefed up Jay Mohr. The show's climax remains the Eliminator, a beast of an endurance test that often renders meaningless the results of the events that preceded it.
Ultimately, the show very, very similar to the original version, and I would be pretty surprised to see NBC squeeze more than a season or two out of it. It airs Mondays at 8pm, and with Hollywood's writers still on strike, it may be all we have to watch for a while.