Monday, July 31, 2006

Thanks BiIly

The trade deadline has come and gone and Billy Beane didn't do a damn thing. It wasn't that long ago that Billy made "Fucking-A" trades:
  • Izzy and T-Long, who WAS a decent enough prospect when Billy got him, for Billy Taylor,
  • Jermaine Dye for a couple of retards,
  • Ray Durham for that kid with polio,
  • Rincon for the B-Lot parking attendant.
Then he moved on to trading spare parts for valuable pieces:
  • Guillen for Harang and "future closer" Joe Valentine,
  • Dotel for Mark "The Next Giambi" Teahen and Mike Wood,
  • Payton for Bradford,
  • Kennedy for Byrnes and Quintanilla.
The past couple of years he's got his work out of the way early, leaving the deadline headaches to those dopes that didn't get the job done early. Or was that just an excuse to justify the deals he couldn't get done at deadline?

So what about this year? Why didn't Billy do a damn thing?

Well, I can already tell you what you're going to read in the papers tomorrow.
"Sure, we had some conversations, but we really feel like we made our moves this off-season. And when we get some key guys back from the DL it's going to be like we made our moves after the deadline."

--Billy Beane, tommorow


Piss on my head and tell me it's raining. Again.

Here's what Jason Kendall had to say when he came over from the Pirates:
"Obviously that's all you hear: Big Three, Big Three, Big Three. I'm excited, and it's going to be neat to work with guys of that caliber."

--Jason Kendall, 11/30/2004
Billy Beane sat right next to Jason Kendall when he made those comments. He shook his head in agreement. So here I am, like a fucking fool, believing that Billy's going to make one last run with the Big Three. And as we all know, just two weeks later the Big Three were no more. But we got that Asian sensation, Keiichi Yabu, so all was forgiven.

Billy didn't do anything to make the team better this year. And he didn't do anything to make the team better in the future. Awesome. I'm sure the second half is going to be a blast.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Macha is Baltimore or less retarded

Emphasis on the "More"

Macha takes the fifth, literally

In the city in which Cal Ripken once called home, Ken Macha continues his own iron man streak of being a completely brain dead ass wart fucknozzle purple nerpal shitdick. It's been a long time coming, but Macha is finally responsible, solely, for another loss this season. For those who are keeping track, tonight makes 5 games that Macha has lost all by his lonesome brain cell. And no, the long hiatus between such occurrences does not mean that Macha is doing a better job of managing this year; it just means that the team is such a collective complete piece of shit that Macha is unable to cost them wins. What is Macha supposed to do when everybody sucks? Yeah, he was always putting out moron lineups and his pitching changes were befuddling, but it was just not possible to lay those losses squarely at the dumb as shit feet of Ken.

That all changed tonight.

In the 7th inning, Kirk Saarloos comes out for his second inning of work after what had been a nice 1-2-3 sixth inning. Now, I wasn't too keen on this move to begin with, because the 7th inning is Calero/Duchscherer territory, reserved for two of the best relievers in the league, not some 5+ ERA scrub with a weak sauce sinker. Of course, one can defend the move because Saarloos had mowed through the 6th inning with alarming ease. Still, I was apprehensive.

First batter: crushes a liner to third. Fortunately, it was right at Chavy. 1 out, but still nobody is warming up in the pen.

Second batter: Solid single. That makes two batters that Saarloos has faced, and two whom he has not fooled. Still, nobody is warming up in the pen.

Third batter: See second batter, making the appropriate contextual adjustments. Still, nobody is warming up in the pen.

Now, at this point, it is clear that Saarloos is done. He's throwing absolute meatballs up there, and has given up three ropes and two singles. Any other manager goes and gets his relief aces at this point, but Macha is no ordinary manager.

Ken was of course still asleep, and allows Saarloos to not only remain in the game to face the middle of Baltimore's lineup, but he STILL doesn't get anybody else up in the pen.

Fourth batter: Grounds into a fielder's choice. Two on, two out, and Mora and Tejada coming to the plate. With Saarloos throwing grapefruits, was there any doubt as to what was about to happen?

No, there wasn't. Both batters singled and two runs come in. Game is effectively over.

And then the kicker: NOW Macha decides it would be a good time to get Calero warm in the pen. 6 batters, 5 hard hit balls, 4 hits, two runs. That's all it takes before Admiral Asshat wakes up and actually does something. After the fatal blows have been delivered.

Speaking of fatal blows, Macha's continual managerial dicksucking is KILLING this team. After taking 3 out of 4 in Boston and looking like they might finally get some momentum and put together a little winning streak, Macha manages to put the kibosh on that. Today was the 5th loss that was solely Macha's fault. Any other manager, and this team of misfits and talentless shitfaces is looking at a 6 game division lead. But not Ken. He's got us into a 4 way dogfight, but all you'll hear from the apologists is that Ken is doing a great job despite everything that's happened to this team with injuries and ineffectiveness.

And though I harp on this ad nauseum, I'll just mention it again. What few games this team does win are not because of Macha, and the injury excuse is no excuse at all.

Wouldn't it be cool if Macha died? Yes, it would.

Thanks for the five losses, asshole.

New A's Blog

Boston Has AIDS.

Now ain't that the fucking truth.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Go Team

During my almost three-month hiatus, I've come to realize two things:
1) The 2006 version of the Oakland Athletics are the sorriest sacks of shit in the history of baseball and
2) The internet sucks when I'm not on it.

I've come to hate these assholes. They fucking suck and I hate watching them. They're gutless, heartless, and act like a bunch of fags when they actually win a game. Anyone see the college boy circle jerk that went on during the 17-inning affair versus the Dodgers? Or how about Marco Scutaro dry butt-fucking Frank Thomas after his walk-off against Anaheim? I wonder how much grab ass went on in the clubhouse when Anaheim then proceeded to take the next three games against our "first place" Athletics.

Wait a minute. Anaheim took three of four in the most important series of the year? Jeez, where have I heard that one before? And guess what? Seven of our final 10 games this year are against those very same Angels. It sure is gonna be fun watching the Angels celebrate their Division championship on our field. Again.

I'm starting to hate Billy Beane too. I mean, seriously, do SOMETHING already. The Astros just got Aubrey Huff AND cash for a box of rocks and a bucket of nuttin. But we'll continue to trot Dan Johnson and his .700 OPS out to first base day after day. Aubrey Huff, Julio Lugo, John Smoltz, Andruw Jones, Nick Johnson...they're all available. And Billy's out there getting guys like Steve Karsay and Scott Sauerbeck. Great.

And how about the clusterfuck of nothingness the best GM in the game conjured up this off-season?

Freddie Bynum is out of options, so what does Beane do? He packages him with a very serviceable arm in John Rheinecker for Juan fucking Dominguez. Why Juan Dominguez?

"He pitched against us the other day and struggled with his command, but he pitched against us in September and he was pretty much lights-out."

--Ken Macha, 3/31/2006

Are you fucking shitting me? All I kept reading about was how impressed everyone was with Juan Dominguez's ONE start against us in September. How come no one brought up his OTHER start against us in September. You know, the one just two weeks earlier in which he gave up eight runs in 3.1 innings? And I hate to break it to you, Kenny, but Dominguez just didn't struggle with his command "the other day," he struggled all Spring. His Cactus League ERA when Billy traded for him was 8.44. But shit if he wasn't fantastic that one start in September. The one where he was "lights-out". The one where he struck out a whopping 3 batters in 7.1 innings. The one where he gave up 8 hits in 7.1 innings. The one where he gave up a homerun and two doubles. Lights-out my ass.

Billy Beane traded John Rheinecker for another Juan Cruz. And he traded Juan Cruz for another John Rheinecker. One big fucking circle. Just to get rid of Freddie Bynum. Because he was out of options. And we can't have anyone that's out of options on this club. Except for Antonio Perez. Because he's such a fucking powerhouse.

                        IP     ERA    WHIP
John Rheinecker 52.1 3.96 1.53
Brad Halsey 65.2 3.97 1.55

Juan Cruz 54.2 4.45 1.30
Juan Dominguez (AAA) 87.2 5.85 1.63

AB Avg OBP Slg%
Freddie Bynum 73 .260 .289 .425
Antonio Perez 55 .091 .194 .200

Andre Ethier 165 .352 .403 .545
Milton Bradley 94 .213 .327 .351
Aren't trades, like, supposed to make your team better?

And that Esteban Loaiza signing is working out just smashingly too. Kenny Rogers is available, has a lifetime 347-0 record at the Coliseum, is coming off of his best season in about six years, is cheaper than Loaiza, and Billy doesn't go after him? Jesus Christ, man. In what world is Kenny Rogers NOT a better option than Esteban Loaiza?
                         IP     ERA     WHIP
Kenny Rogers 114.2 3.85 1.19
Esteban Loiaza 56.0 6.43 1.66
I guess the Frank Thomas thing has worked out pretty well. But Frank Thomas is a future Hall of Famer. Taking a whirl, and a cheap whirl at that, on one of the best hitters in the history of the game doesn't really take a lot of balls. This isn't Chris Singleton we're talking about. It's The Big Hurt.

Hopefully, Billy will go out and do something near the deadline. He always does. Like last year when we got those superstars Jay Payton and Joe Kennedy. Or the year before when he, uh, reinstated Chris Hammond from the 15-day disabled list and designated Eric Karros for assignment because he had already made his move a month earlier (Dotel).

I'm sure Billy's hard at work. Working the phones. Pounding the pavement. Focusing all his efforts on making this club better.

"It was a lot of business, and a lot of pleasure. Being at a sight like Germany, it was a great opportunity to explore the business end of soccer."

--Billy Beane, 6/29/2006

[slaps forehead]

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thick as a Brick

Really don't mind if you sit this one out.
My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT.
I may make you feel but I can't make you think.

Oh boy. Where to begin? I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head, and some of them even qualify as halfway coherent. The A's stumble into the All-star break in a tie for first only by the grace of God. But let's make no mistake about it: The A's are a truly BAD team, and will likely finish the season ten or more games out of first place. This is a truly uninspired bunch, but worse, it's a truly talentless bunch. I do look forward to the first one or two games after the break, when after we relinquish first place (for good), I will no longer be forced to listen to the "But we're still in first place!!" crap that the apologists have been spewing for the last thee weeks. That is literally the most meaningless and rhetorical drivel I've heard in a long time. Yeah, great, so it's technically true. So the fuck what? It was also technically true that Enron's stock was still worth a lot of money. It's not about where it WAS, it was about where it was GOING. As in, straight to the gutter. Kind of like the A's.

At least this season is no longer Macha's fault. Before the year, I thought we had an above average team that he would turn into an average one. But it's clear now that we have a terrible team whom he is turning into a slightly more terrible team. Now mind you, Macha is still part of the problem; just not as big a problem as he was for the last three years. The A's could and should do a lot better with their manager, and if I were given the choice between Macha managing the team or a hobo living under a bridge somewhere in Berkshire, I would choose the hobo without a second's hesitation. However, what is Macha to do? The team sucks. The team is just truly god-awful, and you can see it in their eyes that they've simply given up on the season. Now, Macha still pulls his crap like he did on Thursday, bringing Halsey into the game to face three right handed batters in the 7th inning, when he should have just gone with Calero-Duke-Street to close out the game and not bother with the scrub relievers, but whatever. It's not like this is a playoff team by any stretch of the imagination.

The Poet and the painter casting shadows on the water --
as the sun plays on the infantry returning from the sea.
The do-er and the thinker: no allowance for the other --
as the failing light illuminates the mercenary's creed.

So how can we fix the A's? Well, it's not going to be easy. But one thing is clear is that the team needs an overhaul from the very top to the very bottom. The team hasn't been drafting well, they haven't been signing good players, and even Billy Beane's trades have been less than spectacular lately. Outside of the highway robbery that was the Mark Mulder trade, most of Beane's trades since he got Foulke have been positively Bavasi-an. That's a problem. What do we attribute this to? Luck? A change of fortunes? Neither, says I.

The A's are suffering from what many economists term a "brain drain." Since 2001, this team has lost Grady Fuson, Paul Depodesta, and Rick Peterson. All three were largely credited, along with Billy Beane, as being the reason why such a small market wonderdog could compete with the big boys. However, since they've left, the drafts have been uninspiring (you can only hide behind Huston Street for so long), the free agent signings have been as befuddling as they've been terrible, and our pitchers can't stay healthy for more than 9 minutes at a time. The A's don't go headhunting for other teams front office commodities like they should. Look at Logan White down in Los Angeles and what he's done with their farm system. He's got a price. Find out what it is. You just can't keep promoting from within, because eventually you'll find out that while you might have the best gosh darn mail boy in the city, he's a little overmatched as a COO. So go get yourself a new COO.

This is a problem. This is a big problem. An organization stretches from top to bottom, and if you have incompetence at any level, it's a big hindrance. The bottom line is that the A's with Kubota, Forst, and Young are not the same as the A's of 2000-2003. And worse, if you'll read between the lines of this article that FM reader Justin recently sent me, the A's had to make a choice between Ken Macha and Rick Peterson after 2003. I won't spoil the ending for you, but it's pretty clear that the A's chose wrong. The iocane powder was in the other goblet.

The resurgence of the A's starts with getting a new assistant general manager, director of scouting, and pitching coach. It might also include getting a new general manager. I'm on the fence on that one, a stark contrast from the guy who was practically in tears when Billy briefly left for the Red Sox. But yeah, it might be time for him to go, too. I'll put it this way: If Billy retired tomorrow, I don't think it would really bother me.

The horses stamping -- their warm breath clouding
in the sharp and frosty morning of the day.
And the poet lifts his pen while the soldier sheaths his sword.

You need to have superstars to win. Or, if you can't get superstars, you need superstar performances from good players. The A's are getting neither. Yes, they expected better from the likes of Crosby, Ellis, Kotsay, etc, but nobody was ever predicting silver sluggers from any of them. You need a guy who goes into every season as a silver slugger candidate. The A's haven't had that since 2001, which was not so coincidentally the last time they fielded a good offense. Billy needs to quit wasting money on middling players. It's time to put all of your eggs in one basket, and then just fill out the roster with whatever. Who is the superstar we should or could get? Ya got me. It should have been Vlad in 2004; if he was willing to sign a reasonable contract with a loser franchise like Anaheim with its loser fanbase and Disneyland stadium in the worst city in the country, he would have signed with Oakland. But instead, we get David Justice. Or Erubiel Durazo. Or Scott Hatteberg. Guys whose best case scenario represents only "ok."

If you can't sign or trade for superstars, you need to draft them. And the A's drafts over the last 5 years have been patently average, especially considering the number of picks they've had. And don't give me this bullshit about not having the money to sign these guys. If your whole philosophy involves building your team through the draft, don't complain if the owner isn't willing to give you a million bucks for your 18th round selection. You have a budget that consists of a final bottom line. So don't waste the money on garbage, spend it on the draft. But most of all, don't come crying poor to me when you draft crappy players. Justin Smoak should be in our farm system right now. Can anybody stand in front of the mirror and tell themselves that he wouldn't have signed for what we wasted on Jay Witasick? Or what we wasted on Jay Payton? Efficient allocation of resources is an important part of running a business, and right now it seems like we've got a bunch of fucking monkeys doing that job.

The cattle quietly grazing at the grass down by the river
where the swelling mountain water moves onward to the sea:
the builder of the castles renews the age-old purpose
and contemplates the milking girl whose offer is his need.

Team fitness is a problem. It's been a problem for awhile. Jermaine Dye was pretty much the most useless player in history from 2002-2004. He goes to Chicago, instantly drops about 20 pounds, and becomes the kind of player who would have justified a 33 million dollar contract. You mean to tell me that carrying a bunch of extra weight on a shattered tibia isn't condusive to major league success? Get out of here. Ricardo Rincon was a godsend when he arrived in 2002. Over the last three years, he got fat and out of shape. His velocity decreased, and he could no longer find the strike zone because his stomach kept getting in the way. Scott Hatteberg also looks a lot leaner than he was last year. Yeah, he's playing in the Crapinal League, but his level of fitness has to be serving him well. And then there's Joe Blanton, who is such a fucking disgrace to look at that words actually fail me. And for those that haven't had the pleasure of seeing Blanton at Crogans (his alcoholic ass is there after every home day game), let me assure you that he's even fatter in person. He doesn't belong anywhere near a major league ballfield, and he needs to be running about 5 miles per day so he can avoid tripping over his own stomach.

A pre-game show recently took the viewer inside the A's clubhouse, where it was shown what kinds of snack foods are available to the players. This includes entire freezers full of ice cream, and buckets and buckets of candy. The sodas were in the fridge. What I didn't see (aside from Gatorade) was anything even remotely healthy. No fruits or vegetables. Nothing with antioxidants, or phytochemicals, or vitamins, or minerals, or the kind of substances that provide a player with natural energy for a long season. Just transfatty acid, MSG, and sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

This is a problem. Get rid of the crap in the clubhouse. The A's are a lethargic bunch of assholes because they eat nothing but shit all day. Do you think Justin Gatlin would allow a fucking Klondike bar within 100 miles of his digestive tract? No. The body is a machine, and needs to be treated as such. Put the right stuff in there, and you'll get performance out of it. As I have not seen the food selection in any of the other 29 clubhouses, I cannot comment on what other players feed their teams. But I will say that there is no way it could be LESS healthy than the A's. Your fitness level is directly related to your diet. The A's obviously have a horrible diet, and judging by the number of out of shape players they have, an even worse exercise regimen. And guess what? The team with the terrible diet and exercise patterns also happens to be the team with the most injury problems. This is not a coincidence. Would it kill Joe Blanton to eat an orange and a bowl of oatmeal on gameday? Is the 10 pound bag of Ruffles really necessary?

And the love that I feel is so far away:
I'm a bad dream that I just had today -- and you
shake your head and
say it's a shame.

Fixing the A's won't come overnight. First, they need to sell off all their parts that won't be here next year, and try and bring in some players who will be. This includes Barry Zito, Joe Kennedy (if you can even trade him), Jay Payton, and Scott Sauerbeck. Outside of Zito, you won't get a lot, but perhaps a team will give up on an electric arm with a bout of wildness in their rookie league, or a hitter who hasn't finished growing. Francisco Liriano was once considered an afterthought in a trade. He now just might be the best pitcher in baseball. Guys like these are available. Billy needs to find them.

And here's a thought: How about trading Frank Thomas? The bottom line is that this team isn't making the playoffs, and if Frank is worth bringing back next year, another team will give him more money, and then we can all just complain about being poor again. Our marriage with Thomas was always going to be only one year. He would either be too unhealthy, or too good to afford for 2007. Well, it's the latter. But guess what? He might bring you back a pretty package. Look at the lack of production that Anaheim, Toronto, Detroit, Seattle, and Texas are getting from their DH. There are teams where he'd have value. Or what about the Mets? Big Frank could give Willie Randolph a nice little secret weapon once a game off the bench when anybody except Beltran, Wright, or Delgado are up. Package him with Barry Zito? Now is it worth Milledge and Pelfrey? Maybe, maybe not. But let's explore that option.

Second, they need to get rid of Macha. If a miser like John York can fire Donahue and Erickson with money still on their contract, Wolfe can bite the bullet on Macha. The players don't like him, they don't respond to him, and they clearly don't play for him. Let him refer to some other teams players as a "non-entity," but just get him the fuck away from Oakland.

Third, a new scouting director (or just more scouts) need to be brought in. Have him or them start right away so that the 2007 draft isn't thrown in the crapper the same way the last 4 drafts have been. We can turn this thing around.

And finally, find a superstar by whatever possible means. Teams with superstars win. The Sharks couldn't beat a team of schoolgirls; they trade for Joe Thornton and become one of the better teams in hockey. That's not a coincidence. If it costs, Barton, Windsor, Suzuki, and everybody else in the system, fine. We can no longer sit on our asses masturbating behind the Casino Fantastique billboards waiting for guys like Crosby and Johnson to turn into Mantle and Dimaggio. Go get those players.

The A's are not among the top 10 teams in baseball. They may not even crack the top 15. This season is lost, so it's time to prepare them for the future. Will this organization prepare for the future, or will they continue to be as thick as a brick?

So you ride yourselves over the fields and
you make all your animal deals and
your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

John Kruk: All-Star Nut Job

The All-Star Selection show was roughly 44 seconds old when John Kruk made an asshole out of himself...Karl Ravech asked the panel of knuckledraggers (John Kruk, Harold Reynolds, and Steve Phillips) who they would place in their American League Starting outfield and John Kruk was the first to open his mouth.

Manny Ramirez. Okay.

Johnny Damon. Meh.

Raul Ibanez.

Kruk proceeded to go on about how Ibanez is a "Gamer" and has "put his time in" and is having "a wonderful season" and a whole bunch of other jibber jabber that just did not make any sense.

It did not end there. Earlier in the week I predicted that someone in the National Media would gripe about the selection of Pirates outfielder Jason Bay to the starting initial concern was ESPN's panel of experts on Around The Horn, or even worse...Cold Pizza...sadly, I forgot about the dream team that is Baseball Tonight and the head fool John Kruk himself. I figured someone like Jay Marriotti or Bill Plaschke would talk down on Bay because he plays for the Pitiful Pittsburgh Pirates and doesn't have enough "star power" for the All-Star game and how someone like Andruw Jones or Jim Edmonds should be there instead...and they still fact, I still predict someone brings up his O-for in last years homerun derby as a reason why he does not belong. Just give it time my friends. Just give it time. But in the end it was Kruk that started the flinging:

"I can see the selection of Carlos Beltran, but how can you take Jason Bay over someone like Andruw Jones?"

At the All-Star break Bay ranks in the top 5 among NL outfielders in On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, and OPS....And it's no fluke: Last season Bay finished in the top 3 in the same categories (first in OPS) and the year before that was the National League Rookie Of The Year...all of this while playing half of his games in a park that can be murder on Right Handed hitters due to it's spacious left field...which Bay plays quite well as a fielder.

Andruw Jones be damned.

The only thing more insane than John Kruk is the fact that I actually give two craps about the All-Star Game.

And while we're on the subject of ESPN personalities that need fired, here are some NBA fans having a laugh with Stephen A. Smith at the NBA Draft

- Aside from Jason Bay being voted into the All-Star game (and rightfully so) the Pirates will also be represented by Freddy Sanchez which will also draw criticism around the league. After all, how could the worst team in the League have not one, but TWO All-Stars....I don't know...maybe because they're good and the rest of the team is swag?

Keith Law from Scouts Inc. already offered his rage into the selection:

"Yes, Sanchez is hitting .363, but even if you want to argue that this half season isn't a fluke -- which it is -- he has no business on the roster ahead of Wright or Cabrera or Rolen, all better players having better years. Sanchez' selection is one of those where a few years from now, he'll be hitting .280/.325/.410 and in five years from now, he'll enter the "This guy was an All-Star?" pantheon."

- Keith Law

Aside from the fact that Wright and Cabrera made the team anyway, I'm not sure why the stick up his ass has a stick up it's ass on this pick. Sanchez may not be a .363 hitter for his career but he still has a career .300 average right now, an OPS currently over.910, and is leading the NL batting race at the halfway point. I think thats what the All-Star game is supposed to be about.

If you haven't had the chance to watch Freddy Sanchez play this season (and judging by the times the Pirates have been on ESPN this year and the Attendance at PNC haven't) you're missing out. He never strikes out and sprays line drives all over the field...many of which fly into the gaps for wall banger doubles, honestly...he looks like Jason Kendall used to look in his prime. Which is excellent. And he can play every position on the infield....some better than others mind you...but he can still hold his own anywhere on the diamond.

- I'm not sure why, but when I see this clip all I can picture is Greg, Ken Macha, an A's game, and instant laughter. My only regret is I don't speak a lick of German.

- Couple weeks ago I was sitting in one of my co-workers offices when the following scene played out:

His office wall is on the other side of Mens room (which is right next door to the ladies room - it's a bad location for an office)...when you're in his office you can hear all the discussion that takes place in the Mens room and vice versa. We were sitting there chewing the fat when all of a sudden we hear a sound coming from the mens room that resembes someone pouring a bucket of water into a tub of water.

Him: "Great, someones pissing in the shitter again."

Me: "Sure sounds like it."

Him: "I hate that."

Me: "Yeah."

Him: "Because they always miss and end up peeing all over the seat, then when I have to shit, I have to sit in a puddle of pee."

I then got up, walked over to the wall, banged on it with both fists and yelled: "HEY, QUIT PISSING IN THE SHITTER!"

I sat back down and we shared a good laugh.

About five minutes later an intern comes walking over and goes, "I wasn't pissing, but I am regretting that 3rd refried bean burrito that I had last night."


- Jim Tracy is worse than Ken Macha and I say that with a straight face.

- Being a Pirates fan is the most frustrating thing in the world. It's bad enough we had a 12 game losing streak, but the way we lost those 12 games was just infuriating. We lost three games to the Twins where we had the lead or a tie in the 8th inning. We lost a game to Arizona where in the bottom of the 9th we had the bases loaded with no one out, didn't score, had the winning on third with 1 out in the next inning...didn't score, and give up a leadoff homerun in the top of the next inning. We lost two games to the White Sox by one run.

Jim Tracy insists on hitting Jack Wilson 2nd, even though he can't get on base...he has a scary love affair with guys like Mike Edwards and Jose Hernandez, and he uses Solomon Torres out of the bullpen every night. Literally Every night. The guy is durable (and very good) but at this pace he is going to have his career ended before the season ends.

He also loves to bunt with guys that can hit. Take the bottom of the 9th inning on Friday Night, which sadly enough, I had to witness from three rows behind the Pirates dugout. The Pirates battled back from a 7-1 hole to make it a one run game in the bottom of the 9th...Jeromy Burnitz led off the inning by reaching first base with an Error....winning run at the plate in the form of Jose Bautista...a really good young hitter for the Bucs. On this night Bautista had a triple, a homerun, a walk, and was hit by a pitch.

Tracy's call?

A sac bunt.

The first bunt attempt hit Bautista squarely on the hand...probably could have broken it, and since this is the Pirates with Pirate luck, i'm surprised it didn't. It went down as a foul ball and Bautista stayed in...Tracy kept the bunt on, which as can be expected..failed...and the Pirates lost another one run game. The very next night Bautista had another three hit game (and followed that up with another two hit game today). I sure am glad he was bunting in the 9th inning of a one run game.

Still not as crazy as the game in Cleveland a month and a half ago where Tracy called 5 Sac Bunts in an American League Ballpark (with the Pitcher hitting) only to watch the Pirates lose by one...glad we wasted 5 outs in THAT one.