August 19, 2006
It was Don Drysdale’s mantra for years, his way of trying to explain the often unexplainable game of baseball.
While interviewing an unsuspecting player on a wrap-up show, Drysdale would roll out the line: “If you could put this game in capsule form, you’d never be able to spend all the money.”
The player would invariably respond with, “exactly Don,” as if he had a clue, and away they’d go.
If we were lucky enough to have him with us still, Big D would undoubtedly say about a player like J.D. Drew, “back in my day, we just taped it up and went out there.” But that’s another story.
There’s not a man alive who can explain this 17 out of 18 thing that happens every 107 years. Not a Dodgers executive, not the general managers who’ve aided the Dodgers by trading with them, and certainly not the “experts” in the media.
What, you want my hypothesis? That’s a mistake. All I’ve got is the addition by subtraction theory. As in, subtract Odalis Perez from your ball club; proceed to win 17 out of 18 ball games. Easy as pie.
Of course, the instant Elgin Baylor left basketball, the Lakers won 33 straight, and we’re not comparing Baylor to Perez, by any stretch of the imagination. But the Dodgers did rid themselves of a ton of dead weight in shipping Perez to Kansas City. Unloading Tim Hamulack, Lance Carter, Franquelis Osaria, Jae Seo, and Danys Baez lightened the journey too.
The only man left is Mark Hendrickson, and he’ll be back in Florida by the end of business Friday. Tell me that guy isn’t the perfect Tampa Bay Devil Ray.
I’m not sure I understand the infatuation with Julio Lugo either, but OK. A postseason-tested, experienced outfielder and left-handed pinch hitter like Ricky Ledee makes more sense, but OK. If a locker room full of Tampa Bay Devil Rays is the way to a streak of 17 out of 18, once every 107 years, then OK. By all means…
Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…
Personal Notes: I went to a wedding at the Richard Nixon Library last Saturday. There’s no punch line; just that weddings are held there, and I went to one. And I don’t know if this is an omen, but I stepped on the scale this morning, and it broke…
Look-Alikes: Jackie Autry and Randy Jones…
Memo to Jim Rome: Show up for your freaking job. Radio or TV, regular radio or satellite, just punch the damn time clock already.
If you absolutely must miss work; please, please, please, no Skip Bayless! Repeat, no Skip Bayless!!
A little Jim Lampley once in awhile is acceptable, if for no other reason than to hear him say: “You either are unique or you’re not. No adjective necessary.” And even that’s only cool because of the Seinfeld scene in which Elaine suggested she had “some grace,” before being corrected by Gail Strickland: “You either have grace or you don’t.” And Lampley’s occasional use of the word “rubric” never hurt anyone. But please, no Skip Bayless…
Slam Dance: A lot grand slams going around lately. First, Travis Hafner sets a Major League record by hitting five slams before the All-Star break, then ties Don Mattingly’s 1987 mark with his sixth in one season, just the other day. And this weekend, Tiger Woods tries for another grand slam win at the PGA. I still say, the Tiger Slam sounds like a breakfast at Denny’s.
Anyway, homering with the bases loaded is a beautiful thing, and any record involving the grand slam is worth discussing. To review, the all-time record of 23 slams has been Lou Gehrig’s for 67 years. Manny Ramirez is second, with 20, Eddie Murray third with 19, with Robin Ventura and Willie McCovey tied for fourth at 18. Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams, at 17, and Henry Aaron, Dave Kingman and Babe Ruth, with 16 each, round out the top ten.
Miscellaneous grand slam notes include the following: Rich Reese, Willie McCovey and Ron Northey share the record for pinch hit career slams, with three. Perhaps known best for his locker-room catatonic state, Mike Ivie is one of four men to hit three pinch slams in a single season. Jim Northrup and Larry Parrish are the only two players to record three grand slams in a calendar week. Northrup’s slams in 1968, were complemented by another in the World Series for the Tigers.
Everyone knows about Chan Ho Park and Fernando Tatis, Atlee Hammaker and Fred Lynn, Dave McNally, and Tony Cloninger, so we won’t elaborate. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, God bless em, hold the record for the fewest grand slams in a season which stands as a team record, with four.
And from Wikipedia: "The first slam in Series history, hit with none out in the 1st, is overshadowed when, in the 5th inning, Bill Wambsganss turns the only unassisted triple play ever in the Series."
Swimming Upstream: Did you see this quote from Tim Salmon? Jim Edmonds’ 2007 Anaheim return makes complete sense, because according to Salmon: “You know what they say. Once an Angel, always an Angel.” Uh, hello? Who says that, exactly? Actually, no one says “once an Angel, always an Angel.” I’ve never heard that said, ever. The correct usage of the phrase is precisely this: “Once a Dodger, always a Dodger.” Goes back almost 107 years. Sacrilege, Tim…
Remember, glove conquers all….
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