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Overrated Joe Torre Mismanages Dodgers Bullpen

Joe Torre is a friendly guy, great with the media, and he stars in hilarious State Farm commercials. He’s also extremely overrated and at least partially responsible for the Dodgers 2-4 start to the season because of bullpen mismanagement. Because a manager doesn’t pitch, run, field, or hit for the players, they shouldn’t be given too much credit for what a team does or doesn’t do. Torre gets tons of credit for his success with the Yankees when every other manager could have sat there and watched those teams win World Series titles. David Wells has even shared the same sentiment that Torre wasn’t anything special. Joe also gets credit for the Dodgers making the NLCS the last two years. Nothing is said about the Dodgers being average his first year until they got Manny. To me, a manager’s job is to put his team in the best position for success. Batting A-Rod 8th in the playoffs and Matt Kemp 7th doesn’t put his team in a good position for success. Neither does what Torre did the first week of the season managing the Dodgers bullpen.

The Dodgers blew a 6-4 lead in the 9th on Saturday night while closer Jonathan Broxton watched from the bullpen. Broxton was unavailable Saturday night because he pitched back-to-back days on Thursday and Friday. Sure, George Sherrill’s an excellent option to close out games and was a stud with the Dodgers last year, but he struggled in spring and there’s really no debate that Broxton’s the team’s number one option to close out games. Sherrill gave up three runs while getting just one out to blow the save (the first run was charged to Ramon Troncoso). Now let’s go back to why Broxton was unavailable on Saturday to close what could have been the Dodgers’ third win of the year.

Broxton worked the 9th in a 10-2 Dodgers blowout on Thursday. Broxton hadn’t pitched since Spring Training because of some mismanagement on Wednesday and that’s why Torre felt the need to pitch him in the blowout. On Friday, the Dodgers led 7-1 in the 9th and Russ Ortiz came on to close out the win for Hiroki Kuroda. Ortiz got one out while loading the bases and Torre pulled him for Broxton. The Dodgers were leading 7-1 at that point and needed just two outs. Broxton got them but that made him unavailable to pitch on Saturday — a game the bullpen blew. True Blue LA also points out that Torre didn’t even use Broxton on Wednesday against the Pirates in a tie game. Instead, he used Troncoso in the 9th and Ramon Ortiz (who blew the game) in the 10th while saving Broxton for a save chance that never came. I’ve never understood the logic behind throwing one of your worst pitchers out there to potentially lose the game while a much better pitcher waits only to close out a potential win. It doesn’t make sense to me and it really burned the Dodgers. This first week of the season for the Dodgers has been an example of classic bullpen mismanagement by Joe Torre.

Cameron Maybin’s At-Bat Song Is Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA

The Florida Marlins opened up the season taking two of three from the Mets in Flushing. It wasn’t until Friday night that they debuted in front of their home crowd in Miami against the Dodgers. Florida took two of three in that series as well, taking advantage of some Dodgers bullpen mismanagement. That’s not the concern here however. What is of concern is a little matter of at-bat music — the song that plays throughout the stadium as a player approaches the batters box to hit. As my co-worker Marcas Grant pointed out to me, the Dodgers announcers were having a ball joking about Cameron Maybin’s at-bat song which happens to be Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.” The Palm Beach Post actually had an inkling that the song would turn some heads before the season began.

Pitcher Chris Volstad told them, “[The song] goes against that grain a little bit but I think more people will like it than won’t like it. It’s one of those popular catchy songs people like. It’s hardly the motivating-type song but maybe it puts him a good mood.’’

Either Maybin’s going to have to change up his song or wear some headphones at all times because he screwed up pretty badly on Sunday. Not only did Maybin misplay a ball in center field leading to the Dodgers first two runs but he also got picked off first base by pitcher Charlie Haeger. If he keeps playing that way there won’t be much more Miley Cyrus around Sun Life Stadium and that would just be a shame for everyone. Just for kicks because we kind of have to at this point, here’s the hit song:

Sources:
Florida Marlins walk-up hit: Cameron Maybin ready to “Party in the USA” [The Palm Beach Post]

Toledo’s Walleye > Detroit’s Octopus

The Toledo Walleye are in their first year of existence as a minor league hockey team in the ECHL. They’re affiliated with the Blackhawks and Red Wings of the NHL and apparently their fans have taken a cue from one of their parent franchises. Instead of chucking octopuses on the ice like the fans of Detroit have done, the fans of the Toledo Walleye actually toss a Walleye (catfish looking fish) onto the ice after goals. Here’s a news package on the matter from FOX Toledo and keep your eye out for one of LBS’ most famous commenters towards the end:

I dunno Spin, I kind of like the guy who rocks the air guitar with the walleye but kissing it isn’t bad. In case you’re wondering about the history of throwing an octopus on the ice, we’ve explored that topic in the past.

Can Buddhist Tiger Woods Take God’s Name in Vain?

It’s been mentioned in several holy scriptures that thou shall not take the Lord’s name in vain. Is Tiger Woods exempt from this rule because Tiger’s a devout Buddhist? After all, listen to him get pissed off after a poor shot on the sixth hole Saturday in the third round of the Masters:

I’m guessing anyone who’s screwed up in sports has had a similar reaction to Tiger but now that he’s a Buddhist, maybe the God Squadders won’t be able to criticize him.

Sources:
Tiger Woods Outburst at the Masters (Video) [The Big Lead]

Milton Bradley Flips Off Rangers Fans

That didn’t take long. Two weeks after proclaiming himself baseball’s bad guy, Milton Bradley had his first “incident” as a Seattle Mariner. The upside is that he didn’t direct his anger towards any broadcasters or umpires this time. The bad news is he decided to get pissed at the fans and his actions were caught on TV. Check out this picture of Milton Bradley flipping off Rangers fans giving them the middle finger (uncensored version below):

My man Todd Wright who precedes my show on Sporting News Radio mentioned the story of Milton’s middle finger after he was tipped off by Evan Grant’s blog post on The Dallas Morning News site. Turns out that the answer to Grant’s question was yes, Bradley did indeed flip off the fans. I’m sure a fine and possibly a suspension will be forthcoming. And it looks like option D from the how long will Milton Bradley last in Seattle pool might be your winner. Uncensored version of the photo below.

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James Posey Sets the Best Picks Around

Can I just ask how that happens? Seems like it would have to be intentional to get the hooking action with your finger there. I guess when your team is out of the playoffs like James Posey’s Hornets squad then you have to come up with creative ways to keep up your interest. Too bad Stephen Jackson had to be on the wrong end of the extension.

Classic photo courtesy of Weed Against Speed at With Leather via J.E. Skeets’ good eye and Jimmy Traina at SI Hot Clicks

Ron Artest Appears at UCLA ZBT Fraternity House for Rush Event

Its been well documented that Lakers forward Ron Artest is a nutball and shameless self-promoter. From dying his hair blonde to showing up on late night talk shows in his boxers, we’ve known he was crazy. We also know that the guy connects with his fan base better than almost any other athlete thus making him extremely likable. Such was the case on Monday when Artest showed up at Zeta Beta Tau’s fraternity rush event at UCLA. ZBT actually won the right to have the Lakers star in attendance that night, according to UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, by selling the most tickets to a Los Angeles D-Fenders game of any fraternity.

Artest enjoyed Korean barbecue and played H-O-R-S-E with the attendees. About 130 rushees were in attendance which is about triple the crowd for a typical event and a handful accepted bids to pledge the house, according to the DB. For as much crap as Artest takes on and off the court, the guy really is incredible when it comes to connecting with the local fan base. I’m surprised he had a chance to make it out to Westwood now that he’s busy starring in a reality TV show. Anyway, here are some pics from the event, courtesy of Zeta Beta Tau.

Sources:
Lakers forward Ron Artest shows up to Zeta Beta Tau’s rush [Daily Bruin]