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Why am I Not Surprised, Jim Bowden

Jim Bowden, the current Nats and former Reds GM, has struck me for quite some time as a big idiot working in MLB. It seems like he’s a kid with a bunch of baseball cards, willing to trade them when he gets bored or when someone comes knocking on his door. Bowden’s track record precedes him — he’s done wonderful things with the Nats since their inception, no? Anyway, the DUI maven himself is reportedly being investigated by the FBI along with his assistant, Jose Rijo, for skimming signing money from Dominican players. The investigation began after a few White Sox employees were busted for skimming bonus money from Dominican players.

MLB sources said FBI and baseball investigators have been speaking to numerous officials, however they said Bowden and Rijo were among those specifically under investigation for their suspected involvement.

One source, an MLB official speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the investigation was “in its infancy” and involved allegations about several teams and their employees. It was unclear whether Bowden and Rijo are suspected of receiving money or whether they are believed to have played some other role in the scheme.

Let’s see, DUIs, dumb trades, deceitful trades, fights with girlfriends … hmm, why does money skimmer not seem too improbable? Can’t wait to see what develops from this situation. Man, between the Bowden/Rijo money skimming deal and an Orioles scout being fired for ties to a betting ring, we sure are entering some promising territory. Bowden of course has denied any wrongdoing, but what would you expect him to do? Maybe he just paid the reporters some hush money with his scraps from the Dominican signing bonuses. Class act.

Jose Guillen Was the Mariners’ Glue

With the Mariners in town to visit the Royals for a weekend series, it gave the Seattle writers a chance to catch up with former Mariner Jose Guillen. And believe me when I say this, I was absolutely floored to read the comments not only Guillen made about the state of the Mariners, but also what fired GM Bill Bavasi had said about him, and what the writer himself felt:

With [Guillen] went the one Mariner who held his teammates to a higher standard. If he needed to get in someone’s face to see the game played right, he’d do it.

This year’s team is missing that.

As Guillen said, “they are a bunch of good guys.” There is no one in the Mariners clubhouse with an edge. Bill Bavasi said as much on June 16, the day he was fired as general manager, saying not having Guillen around hurt the team.

Let’s see, Guillen got in the face of his KC teammates in late May and they’re still 10 games below .500. He left the Angels after 2004 and they did even better the following year. Man, the very idea that Jose Guillen is the missing link to the Mariners this year makes me chuckle. Please.

Hey Ump, Have a Whiff of My Armpit!

What you are about to see is Kash Beauchamp, manager of the Wichita Wingnuts. And yes, he is crazy.

Video via FanIQ. And much like 100% Injury Rate, I cannot possibly show this without comparing it to the Phillip Wellman blowup — the standard bearer for all minor league managerial meltdowns.

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Lance Berkman Dismisses Myth that Home Run Derby Messes Up Your Swing

Lance Berkman Home Run DerbyLance Berkman is absolutely mashing this year, so much so that he won the fan vote to start as the NL first baseman over sluggers like Albert Pujols, Derrek Lee, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez, and Prince Fielder. He also got invited to participate in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium and happily accepted. Lots of players are invited to participate in the Derby and choose not to because they think it will screw with their swing, or worse yet, get them injured or tired. Lance Berkman, who finished second to Miguel Tejada in 2004, is having none of that. As he told The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio Wednesday, the Home Run Derby doesn’t screw up your swing:

“I don’t know that there’s a whole lot to that. I know some guys really think that it messes your swing up and I guess some people have dropped off in performance in the second half, but I doubt very seriously that it was because of the Home Run Derby. I think that when you get to the Major Leagues and you spend so much time taking swings the right way, if you take 45 minutes or an hour trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark, I don’t think it’s going to permanently flaw your swing for the rest of the season.”

Not to say that I don’t understand players being reluctant to perform in the Derby, because I do, but I agree with Berkman that it shouldn’t ruin your swing. If player performance drops off in the second half of the season after they participated in the Home Run Derby, it’s likely because the player wasn’t much of a slugger to begin with but still was in the Derby because nobody else wanted to do it (e.g. Bobby Abreu, Garret Anderson, and Alex Rios). Besides, many All-Stars got there because they had tremendous first halfs and were due for drop-offs anyway. I think that’s the biggest factor, more than anything else. I agree with Berkman, but I can speak from experience to say that sometimes simple games due impact swings.

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Paul Konerko, Welcome to the Club

We’ve had several near misses in the LBS Golden Sombrero Club lately, but no inductions until Wednesday night. Keep in mind, a player who goes 0-for-5 with 4K’s but doesn’t K in every trip to the plate doesn’t quite qualify unfortunately. The point of the Golden Sombrero is that it highlights the an incredibly brutal game — a night where the player does not even reaching base nor touch a ball all night. That’s pretty bad. Jay Bruce was pretty close on Tuesday night, but he got plunked in his first at-bat before K’ing the next four times. Anyway, today, the focus is on Paul Konerko.

Paul Konerko was just activated from the disabled list after missing about three weeks with an oblique injury. In his first game back against the Royals, Konerko went 1-for-3 with an RBI ground out and a single. The man once considered a force in the AL who was coveted by the Angels added to his already miserable season by going 0-for-4 with four punch outs against Kansas City, three swinging, and one looking. Konerko did the deed three times against Brian Bannister, and the fourth against Ramon Ramirez. It’s sad to see Konerko — a virtual lock in the past for 30 homers and 100 ribbies — struggling so much at the plate. At this point I typically like to say that the player will have better days, but in the case of Konerko, I think his best days are behind him. Konerko may have gone the unfortunate way of the Sexson. What a shame.

A-Rod Has Some Crappy Taste in Chicks

I guess all this A-Rod the adulterer stuff started last year when the NY slime rags photographed him with that skank in Toronto. That led to wife Cynthia wearing a **** You t-shirt to Yankee Stadium, and ultimately, the Madonna rumors that came out last week. Since the whole Madonna incident, another former stripper has come out of the woodwork telling us about her affair with A-Rod that included two sexual encounters a few years ago. And most recently, it was John Rocker’s former girlfriend, Alicia Marie, coming out and saying how close she is/was with A-Rod. Wow. He’s quite the player. But my deal is for a guy pulling over a quarter billion dollars, how isn’t he pulling hotter chicks? Or to be more precise, what’s his preoccupation with the muscular, she-male types?

After the jump, there are pictures of all the ladies he’s been involved with. I would expect a better looking group.

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In Billy Beane, the A’s Should Trust

I learned my lesson (for the 82nd time) this year, that you can never underestimate Billy Beane. After he traded away Dan Haren and Nick Swisher leading into the season, I said the A’s had conceded 2008. They’re happily in 2nd place in the AL West, well over .500. What the **** do I know. Anyway, I think the Rich Harden trade definitely was one worth making for the Cubs, and was probably smart on the A’s part as well.

At first glance, the A’s got completely ripped off. Which probably means Beane got a steal. Sure, Beane was fleeced on the Tim Hudson deal after Dan Meyer decided to suck upon being dealt to Oakland, but there’s no doubting Beane’s track record — he’s awesome. Beane’s already received at least equal value in both the Haren and Swisher deals, and most of the prospects haven’t even come close to blossoming yet. So let’s break this trade down on both ends.

For the Cubs, they’re getting an ace who’s capable of pitching seven pretty unhittable innings in a ballgame. Rich Harden is one of the harder-throwing starters in the game, also possessing a devastating change up that he mixes in frequently. The dude needs a milk IV pumping into his bones not to mention a bubble to sleep in so he can be healthy, but he’s dominant when he’s out there, however infrequently it may be. The Cubs are essentially getting Mark Prior once again, and everyone knows how frustrating that can be. They’re rolling the dice and taking a gamble that can have a huge reward, and one that probably makes them the favorite at the sportsbook. If it doesn’t pay off, they’re not going to be hurt too much by losing the players they traded away. If it does pay off, they could be looking at winning a World Series. It was definitely a gamble worth taking.

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