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Manny’s Career Ended When He Forced His Way Out of Boston

The Manny Ramirez experiment in Los Angeles has been a failure.  When Manny became a cancer in the Red Sox clubhouse and completely forced his way out of town, it looked like the Dodgers were grabbing a legitimate slugger that could anchor the middle of their lineup and help propel them to the next level.  Had he not been busted for steroid use, that could very well have happened.

When I say Manny’s career ended when he was dealt to the Dodgers, I’m not implying the tank was empty.  He’s certainly had his fair share of exciting moments while playing in L.A.  The phrase “Mannywood” became an instant hit and a sign was plastered in his honor on the left field wall at Dodger Stadium.  As a result of the circumstances that have surrounded Ramirez with suspension and injury, the “Mannywood” sign is now being removed.  Factor in the struggles the Dodgers have faced as a team this season, and it appears the removal of the sign signals the end of a short era that turned out to be a disappointment in the end.

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Are Bonds’ 73 as Safe as DiMaggio’s 56?

You don’t need a jury, a judge, or an LBS writer to tell you that Barry Bonds’ single-season home run record of 73 is a product of steroids.  Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and the other poster boys of Major League Baseball’s steroid era shattered records that we all know they wouldn’t have touched if they weren’t juicing.  Many believe that the steroid era is behind us.  After looking at the numbers and considering the amount of no-hitters that have been thrown already this year, I must say I’m starting to become a believer as well.

When the topic of untouchable baseball records arises, Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak is always the first one that comes to mind.  That’s completely understandable and I’m a firm believer that no player will ever surpass Joltin’ Joe’s record, but I think it’s about time we started including 73 home runs in that discussion.

Since Bonds’ record-breaking year in 2001, no American or National League player has eclipsed the 60 home run mark.  Ryan Howard came closest when he belted 58 in 2006, but that’s still a whopping 15 homers shy of Bonds’ record.  I think people underestimate how far off the record that actually is.  The last two seasons — when the perception has been that Major League Baseball is really cracking down on the use of performance-enhancing substances — home run totals have been way down.  In 2008, Ryan Howard led the NL with 47 long balls while Miguel Cabrera led the AL with only 37.  In 2009, Albert Pujols led the NL with 47 while Mark Teixeira and Carlos Pena tied for the AL lead with 39.

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Ken Williams Pranks Gordon Beckham

It’s somewhat of a compliment to have your name tossed around at the trade deadline in Major League Baseball. It’s a sign that you’re desired, that teams want you. At the same time, having your name mentioned in trade rumors can also leave you somewhat paranoid. Players will constantly wonder if they’re going to be traded.

Even though he’s having a down season, White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham was worrying about his status. Beckham knew his name was involved in rumors and that GM Ken Williams is unafraid of making shocking deals. Apparently Williams was well aware of Beckham’s mentality and decided to take advantage of the situation. As this video recaps, Kenny called Beckham into manager Ozzie Guillen’s office 10 minutes prior to the trade deadline to screw with the kid’s head. You have to hear more about the pressure-packed situation in this video of Ken Williams pranking Gordon Beckham courtesy of Chicago Breaking Sports:

 

I don’t know if MLB Network had a camera crew filming the joke for an episode of The Show, but that sure was a made-for-TV moment. As far as baseball pranks go, that was pretty good. Although I do have to say that Adam Dunn’s prank of Jay Bruce is still my favorite.

Video Credit: Chicago Breaking Sports

The Curious Case of Brett Wallace

Matt Holliday. Roy Halladay. Roy Oswalt. Those are just three of the best players in baseball to be traded over the past year, two of which came at the deadline. Strangely enough, there has been one uniting issue about all three players: one minor leaguer has been involved in all three of their deals. Brett Wallace.

Wallace was good enough to be the centerpiece in a deal for an All-Star slugger and MVP candidate. Average enough to be swapped for another minor league hitter. Promising enough to be desired for a Cy Young candidate. So steady that a career .263 hitter was more attractive. How is it possible that a player can be so wanted and unwanted at the same time? Before we answer that question, we must first find out more about the man.

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Mullet Night Recap at the Cell in Chicago

Friday night was “Mullet Night” at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago for the White Sox/A’s game. The Sox’s Web site explained the details behind Mullet Night: Join the White Sox for a night celebrating a classic American hairstyle, THE MULLET. Stay postgame for a spectacular fireworks display set to a music soundtrack of classic hair-bangin’ rockers!

Apparently the first 250 fans participated in some sort of pregame mullet march around the field too. I don’t know if the mullets had anything to do with it, but the Sox continued their stellar play winning 6-1 for their 12th straight home victory.

It must also be mentioned that alleged Detroit lover Kid Rock threw out the ceremonial first pitch and had Dick Butkus’ name misspelled on the back of his shirt. I don’t know of too many Tigers fans who would be so willing to wear White Sox gear, but I guess Kid Rock is one of them. Anyway, here is a comprehensive review of some of the best ‘dos at the Cell for Mullet Night.

WHITE SOX MULLET PICTURES

Business in the front, party in the back.

Photo Credits: Coach_Burnett, MattWhilhelmBMX

Bigger Jerks: Guy in LeBron Heat Jersey or Cleveland Fans at Progressive Field?

This is such a tough debate to call. Who was the bigger jerk in Cleveland on Wednesday night? Matt Bellamy, the young kid who wore the LeBron James Heat jersey to the Indians/Yankees game in Cleveland, or the fans who harassed him with verbal expletives? In many senses, the guy was baiting the fans on purpose and knew what he was in for. In others, shouldn’t we still treat each other civilly regardless of which team we support?

At the very least you have to say it was wrong to throw the guy out of the stadium. That’s how over 70% of people felt in a poll conducted by Jimmy Traina in his Hot Clicks section at SI’s Extra Mustard. Hey, Bellamy may have been asking for some heckling and went against his girlfriend’s advice, but did he deserve to be thrown out of the stadium? No way. Now if you want to see the reaction from the Cleveland faithful, prepare to put on some earmuffs. This video of the fan wearing a LeBron Heat jersey to the Indians game has some language that is NSFW:

Sources:
Fan Ejected for Wearing LeBron Heat Jersey [Hot Clicks]
Video Credit: YouTube user jb107502

Roy Oswalt a Solid Addition for Phillies

According to Yahoo! Sports, via the AP, Roy Oswalt has approved a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies and will be sent there from Houston in exchange for Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ and two prospects, pending a physical.  With the Phillies amidst a seven-game winning streak after stumbling for the better part of 2010, they’re about to make a great deal.  More importantly, it’s safe to say Steve Phillips would love it.

Never have my emotions been more mixed about a deal then they were when Philadelphia unloaded Cliff Lee to make room for Roy Halladay.  The younger Lee was coming off a dominant postseason and looked — and still looks — to be one of the best left-handers in Major League Baseball.  Yes, Roy Halladay dominated the AL so it was only assumed that he’d roast the weaker NL and yes, we entertained the idea of Halladay winning 25 games with the Phillies.  Oh yeah, and Doc also threw a perfect game this season and is still very much in the Cy Young discussion with a 12-8 record to accompany a 2.21 ERA.

However, it seemed like the Phillies were playing with fire when they made the Lee-Halladay trade.  They were dealing one great pitcher for another who is slightly more seasoned and dominant, but take into account the ages of the two and it almost seemed like a wash.  How much stronger can your rotation possibly get when you’re giving up a Cliff Lee and not bringing in two pitchers to replace him?  Philadelphia waited half a season, but they’re about to bring in that second arm.

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