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Lima Time for the Camden Riversharks

Last we had heard about Jose Lima, he couldn’t cut it in the Korean league. Either that, or he was too busy scouting the talent in the stands instead. Well somehow Mr. Lima has made it back to the States and he’s now playing independent ball in the Atlantic League. No surprise that the Camden Riversharks of New Jersey wasted no time in pimping Lima Time shirts.

Yes, I found this out when T.J. Simers went on a completely tangential rant about Lima being the last exciting Dodger playoff performer. I don’t get his rants some of the time, but he is a funny dude. And pretty much anytime you can get Jose Lima in the news works for me. For the record, Lima’s not completely slumming it — Ben Davis and Felix Rodriguez are two other former big leaguers also on the team. Though I’m not sure how the Ravens feel about Joe Flacco doubling as Camden’s bullpen catcher in his spare time.

Obama Takes a Jab at Cubs Fans

Presidential candidate Barack Obama recently sat down with ESPN’s Stuart Scott for an interview that will air next week, I’m led to believe. There was one particular clip from the interview that can be construed as controversial. Eamonn Brennan at the brand new blog over at MOUTHPIECE SPORTS (we’re on strict order to capitalize the name, and make sure to bookmark the page), shares Obama’s remark:

Scott: “Who would you root for?

Obama: “Oh, that’s easy. White Sox. I’m not one of these fair weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren’t watching the game. It’s not serious. White Sox, that’s baseball. Southside.”

I like people who speak their minds, especially when the remark has truth to it. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the demographics of Cubs and Sox fans, but his description fits in with the common stereotype. While I appreciate the honesty, Obama’s not exactly doing himself any favors in terms of gaining the popular vote — everyone knows there are many more Cubs fans than Sox fans. Not sure if the remark was worth the street cred he gained.

(via Chicago Sun-Times)

Joe Torre Has a Blog

I was going pretty crazy when I saw Joe Torre’s State Farm Commercial. It’s a humorous spot that features Torre surfing, doing yoga, walking with a lap dog in Beverly Hills, and pretty much everything else that’s considered trendy in LA. Seeing how Torre’s already embracing the LA culture, why not go the max and join the technological revolution too, right? That’s exactly what he’s done — starting a blog that’s hosted by MLB.com. Even if it’s not penned by Torre, his words and subject matter are pretty humorous.

Here’s an interesting tidbit about LA culture. It’s not just a TV cliché: People really DO carry pocket dogs around with them wherever they go. I have no idea where you’d put these little yip-yaps when you go to the restroom, or even why they’re such a hot accessory; then again, I just moved from a town where people buy color-coordinated pepper spray cans. But I do know it’s a real phenomenon; I learned about it first-hand when I found myself walking down Rodeo Drive with this little white Maltese or Pomeranian named Butch under my arm.

I really don’t care if Torre’s not punching in the keys on his blog — that’s some funny stuff right there. Where do you put those yip-yaps when you go to the restroom? A town where people buy color-coordinated pepper spray cans? Attention Gilbert Arenas: there’s a new sports blogger out there who could be giving you a run for your money.

Roger Clemens Appearing at a Minor League Park Near You

We haven’t heard much from Mr. Mis-Remember since his fated day in front of the investigation committee. Now it looks like Roger Clemens is slowly coming out of his cage, showing up at a minor league game over the weekend between Worcester and Ottawa (Worcester’s manager was a teammate of Clemens on the Red Sox).

Followed by an entourage of police officers, Clemens walked from the dugout to the Tornadoes’ bullpen midway through the fourth inning. Before leaving the field, he signed autographs for team employees but not fans. He was also introduced by the public address announcer and waved to the crowd of 3,153, who responded with a chorus of cheers and boos.

A chorus of cheers and boos? That’s a strange mix. Obviously there are still many people in the public that think Clemens is nothing but a cheat. But Clemens was also in the New England area — a place where he first made his name and became a Red Sox legend. And what’s up with being picky over the autographs, Roger? Maybe he has to be conservative with them since he’s apparently hard up for cash these days.

Ryan Zimmerman Goes Golden

You know, if the Nats really want extra coverage on LBS, this is all they really have to do. Contributor JS emails in with the news that his Cubbies handed it to the Nationals on Sunday, giving Ryan Zimmerman the coveted Golden Sombrero. Considering Zimmerman’s the three hitter for the Nats, you wouldn’t ordinarily figure that he’d be taking the Golden Sombrero if it came down to any of the batters in that lineup. You’d probably guess that Austin Kearns, Angel Hernandez, or the likes of Willie Harris would struggle to make contact against top arms like Dick Harden, Carlos Marmol, and Jeff Samardzija. But no, it was Ryan Zimmerman who took the shaft punching out all four times on Sunday.

For Zimmerman, taking the Golden Sombrero was really indicative of the way his whole season’s gone. Zimmerman busted onto the scene in ’06, the year after he was drafted by Washington, driving in 110 runs. His encore performance last year included a 24 home run season. Zimm definitely took a step back this year as he’s been battling a bum shoulder. And in case you were wondering, Zimmerman punched out three times against fireballer Dick Harden, and the final time against Jeff Samardzija. I’m guessing Zimmerman will see better days. Kinda hard to do worse.

Jim Thome Joins the Club

As you can imagine, I’m quite pleased to have yet another established slugger join the coveted ranks of the LBS Golden Sombrero Club. The elite franchise that is the LBS GS Club has no room for the Paul Janishes of the world; we’re all about the Hall of Famers, the 500 home run club members. Jim Thome could be the club’s proudest inductee up to this point. Anyway, if Thome had been halfway productive on Saturday against Tampa Bay, maybe his team wouldn’t have lost 5-3. Then again, with the way Scott Kazmir shut them down (except for Jermaine Dye), you really can’t blame him.

Thome thrice took the gas pipe against Scott Kazmir, twice swinging and once looking. Then in the 9th, Thome punched out swinging against Dan Wheeler. For the second straight game against the Rays, the White Sox bullpen blew a late innings lead, this time they gave up 4 runs in the 8th to fall behind 5-3. On Friday night, the pen gave up 3 in the 8th and 3 more in the 9th to lose 9-4. As White Sox fan extraordinare Lance Johnson says, if the White Sox lose the division by one or two games, blame it all on Octavio Dotel. Surely not Jim Thome — those 500+ home runs have to come at a price, right?

End the Francisco Rodriguez Cy Young Talk, Please

There’s no two ways about it — being a huge Angels fan, I have plenty of affection for Frankie Rodriguez. He was lights out in ’02 when the team won the World Series, and he’s been a stud in the pen ever since. You can’t possibly be an Angels fan and not love Frankie. Sure, he makes saves more adventurous than they need to be, but he still gets the job done more often than not; there’s much more to like about him than not to like. Anyway, that all being said, I’m getting sick of people suggesting that Frankie is a candidate for the Cy Young Award in the AL this year (ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian on Thursday night on SportsCenter for one). On what grounds? The fact that he happens to play for the team that’s won the most and that’s happened to generate the most save chances in the league? The fact that he might wind up breaking a record because of this? I agree, he’s having a special season in terms of the numbers, but I can’t agree that his season is worthy of Cy Young contention.

Frankie hasn’t pitched a fraction of the innings that studs like Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay — my top two candidates — have thrown. These guys are giving 7, 8, 9 innings an outing for their team — all quality innings, too. These guys have been unhittable for most of the season, being more effective than Frankie who only has to pitch one inning at a time. Not only have Lee and Halladay been spectacular making them more deserving than K-Rod, but Frankie isn’t even the top closer in the league. Joe Nathan (the best closer in baseball the last five years), Jonathan Papelbon, Joakim Soria, and Mariano Rivera have all been more effective this year pitching a similar amount of innings. The only difference between Frankie and those other four guys (aside from those guys being more effective) is that Frankie has more saves. That’s it. Doesn’t mean he’s been any better, just means his team has created more save situations. I’m not hating on Frankie here because he’s a reliable closer and has been one of the most reliable closers over the past few years, but he just has no business being mentioned in any Cy Young talk. As far as I’m concerned, it’s between Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, and pretty much nobody else. Plain and simple. Let’s just hope the writers don’t screw this up as they’re so frequently known to do.