Orlando Hudson Agrees There’s No Place for African American Bench Players

Anytime you’re quoting Gary Sheffield you’re probably starting off on the wrong foot. Yes, Sheff’s the same guy who says he didn’t take steroids like the cream and the clear because “steroids is something you stick in your butt.” Clearly Sheff’s logic is second-to-none. Anyway, with MLB celebrating the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, Dodgers’ second baseman Orlando Hudson talked about blacks in baseball:

“There aren’t too many blacks in baseball, period,” Hudson said. “They feel like they won’t get that chance. You watch the College World Series, how many African Americans do you see?”

“You look at it, you know, Brandon Phillips plays every day. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard play every day. [I] play every day. Vernon Wells plays every day. [Carl] Crawford plays every day. [Mike] Cameron plays every day. Bill Hall plays every day. I don’t know too many African American bench players.”

First of all, I don’t care for that line of thinking to begin with. We hear some player saying it almost every year, invariably around this time. MLB doesn’t discriminate; whether you’re Indian, Korean, Colombian, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, or African American, they’re just looking for someone who can hit, field, or pitch exceptionally well. It’s up to each individual to choose what sport they want to play. African Americans are great athletes and dominate pro football and basketball. They’re free to play baseball too — there aren’t any race restrictions.

Furthermore, Hudson’s line about bench players is simply ignorant; just because Orlando can’t think of any black bench players off the top of his head doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Without doing much thinking I came up with Craig Monroe, Dewayne Wise, Joe Thurston, Fred Lewis, Dexter Fowler, Damion Easley, and Daryle Ward as guys who are or have been bench players recently. I wonder what Hudson has to say about that. I wish they would just drop the issue entirely. I would guess that the amount of white American players has decreased lately because of the global growth of the game but I don’t hear anyone complaining about that.

Fred Lewis Goes Golden Sombrero

In a game where Clayton Kershaw strikes out 13, you can imagine at least one player would be threatening for the Golden Sombrero. On Wednesday night, the unfortunate victim was Fred Lewis. Just to show you how “on” Kershaw was, he K’d Lewis three times. Fred was probably the Giants’ hottest hitter entering the game, batting .417 and slugging .625, so you know Kershaw really cooled him off.

Fred punched out all four times up and he was equal opportunity, striking out looking twice and swinging twice. Can’t give Kershaw credit for everything because it was Jon Broxton that gave him the whiff treatment his last time up. Lewis is a good player and will get his fair share of hits this year. Hard to expect too much from a lefty facing a southpaw who has a good fastball and a devastating curve the way Kershaw does. Not that I have any sympathy or anything because if the Giants never scored another run the rest of the year I’d be quite satisfied.

Video: Nick Swisher Pitches for the Yankees in Blowout Loss to Rays

Forget Mariano Rivera — the Yankees have a new closer. In case you were wondering what the highest payroll in baseball can buy, here’s the answer: a pitching staff that gives up 15 runs on 17 hits. Since the game was already out of hand at 15-5 in the bottom of the 8th, Joe Girardi decided to have utility man Nick Swisher throw the final half-inning for the Yanks.

Girardi’s decision was actually pretty smart considering he only burned three relievers on the staff despite Chien-Ming Wang lasting just one inning of his start. It was actually pretty funny watching the guys in the dugout crack up. Notice how Jose Molina didn’t even put down a sign at first. Ultimately this is just another example of what a good sport Swisher is — he hadn’t even pitched since his freshman year of high school. By the way, does anybody feel worse than Gabe Kapler right about now? How do you punch out against a guy throwing softer than BP fastballs??

Vin Scully Talks Boners, Throws Out the First Pitch

While I was searching for the video of Vin Scully throwing out the first pitch Monday at Dodger Stadium, I came across something that’s slightly more deserving of our attention. This video comes from the Dodgers’ second game of the season, a loss to the Padres on Tuesday last week. Turn up the volume for this beauty:

That “boner” jam reminds me of the time Hideo Nomo was pitching for the Dodgers and not doing too well. Scully, in one of his slips, said “And now homo is struggling.” I guess he does have a dirty mind at times. OK, now for what we all came. Here’s the southpaw from the Bronx throwing out the first pitch of the Dodgers’ first home game of the ’09 season. Skip ahead to the 1:30 mark to see the lefty fire a strike.

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The Manny Bird Already Chirping to Leave LA for Cleveland

For those of you who had the first week of the season as the date Manny Ramirez would have his first “Manny Being Manny” moment, congratulations and please step forward to claim your prize. Even though the city jumped for joy when Manny arrived at camp, I cautioned that it was only a one-year deal with a player’s option for a second year, meaning Ramirez could be gone after the season. Looks like he already has his eye set on new (but old) scenery:

“I would like to play for Cleveland one more time, to go back where I started,” said Ramirez, with the Dodgers playing their home opener Monday against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. “I have so many good memories there, why not? I think to go back where you started is everyone’s dream.”

So much for the honeymoon in Los Angeles. Wasn’t this the same Manny who proclaimed how much he loved LA and how it was the best spot for him? I’m not even sure why this guy would mention his interest in the Indians considering Cleveland’s budget constraints compared to his salary demands. Now if Manny takes a pay cut and is willing to DH in the future, I could see him going back. Just one question though: Why make this announcement now? Is he just intentionally trying to piss people off and get the McCourts nervous all over again? I guess so. He won’t even let fans enjoy the one year they might have left with comments like this one.

Dude Sues White Sox for Getting Injured in T-Shirt Giveaway

File this story under the header for “Money grabs.” Many teams will have giveaways where they launch stuff into the crowd, creating a frenzy as people who just dropped $50 for a ticket, parking, and food, all scramble for a $5 shirt. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Anyway, one particular White Sox fan says he was injured from one of these giveaways and is suing the team:

David Babusiak’s lawsuit says he suffered a severe back injury after T-shirts were fired into the crowd at a game in 2007. He claims shooting T-shirt projectiles was an “abnormally dangerous activity,” especially when some fans may have been drunk.

Babusiak of St. John, Ind., filed the suit Thursday in federal court in Hammond. It seeks $75,000 in damages.

Sure, I’ll admit that the shirt cannon shooting creates a frenzy for a minute, but so does a foul ball or home run ball hit into the crowd. Don’t they have disclaimers on the tickets saying the team isn’t responsible for injuries that happen at the game? Even after this guy got hurt I can’t imagine it’s 75 grand worth. Can’t people find better ways of making money?

(via Fark)

Carlos Pena Scores the First Golden Sombrero of the ’09 Season

A year later and it’s almost like nothing has changed. May 7th of last year, Rays first baseman Carlos Pena took the Golden Sombrero against the Blue Jays. To refresh your memory since it’s been so long, the LBS Golden Sombrero Club is designed to recognize players who achieve the dubious distinction of going 0-for-4 in a ballgame with four strikeouts. The even more difficult task is going to bat five times in a ballgame and not even touching the ball. The 0-for-5 with five strikeouts game is the more rare variety of the Sombrero, known as the Platinum Sombrero. Andruw Jones was the only player of record since the Club’s inception to get the Platinum Sombrero.

Anyway, picking up right where we and Pena left off last year, Carlos Pena achieved the first Golden Sombrero of the year. Pena had the unenviable job of facing Josh Beckett, who brought his A-game for the Red Sox. Beckett allowed just two hits over seven innings, striking out 10 Rays. Pena was the victim three of those times. Justin Masterson completed the sombrero, k’ing Pena in the 8th. Pena went down swinging twice and looking twice, so he was definitely equal opportunity. This was only one game of 162 for Pena, so we know brighter days are ahead. The guy’s a power hitter with back-to-back 30-homer, 100 RBI seasons — strikeouts are part of the game. Boy is this guy hit or miss.