Jim Thome, Jeff Mathis, Travis Snider Join the Sombrero Club


It was a big night for the Golden Sombrero on Friday night and all three told a story. Jim Thome was a pretty notable inductee to the Club going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against the Yanks. Thome went down looking the first time and swinging the next three times as the White Sox lost 5-2 in 10 innings, dropping under .500 for the season. Incidentally, Thome got the lone hit for the White Sox when they got one-hit by the Yankees on Saturday. At two games under .500, you can pretty much bury the White Sox playoff hopes unless they get Rockies-hot.

Jeff Mathis did his usual work for the Angels on Friday night, going 0-for-4 with four punch-outs. In a lineup full of seven .300 hitters and Howie Kendrick hitting in the .270s, Mathis is the eye-sore when they sub him in for Mike Napoli. The one good part about Mathis’ night was that he went down hacking each time, but the real kick in the balls must have been in the 7th inning when Mathis made two of the three outs while the rest of the team batted around. Ouch.

Lastly, on a night where we had two full on sombreros, Travis Snider of the Blue Jays must be mentioned for taking the collar going 0-for-4 with four Ks. His only redeeming point was that he walked once. Every time Snider punched out he ended the inning with one, including in the 9th with the bases loaded against Jonathan Papelbon to end the game. Talk about a crowning achievement.

Mark Reynolds Receives His Golden Sombrero Crown from Cliff Lee

mark-reynoldsThe LBS Golden Sombrero Club is beginning to discriminate in terms of membership. Garrett Jones of the Pirates takes one last week against the Rockies, the LBS presses are not halted. Hank Blalock was lucky to have slipped between the cracks last week too. But Mark Reynolds, possibly the hottest hitter in baseball, getting crowned by the hottest pitcher in baseball, Cliff Lee, is definitely front page worthy.

A few things must be pointed out here. First off, Cliff Lee has been the best pitcher in baseball this month, and when he’s throwing a complete game two-hitter, you really can’t blame the hitters too much — certainly not a free swinger like Mark Reynolds. Reynolds actually leads the majors in strikeouts by a comfortable margin and even appears to be on pace to break his own single-season record.

Ordinarily I’d spend this time ripping on Reynolds for whiffing so frequently, but you have to give the guy tremendous credit because his approach is certainly paying off this year. Reynolds might be the most underrated hitter this year, ranking second in home runs and in the top 10 in nearly every major statistical category. He’s also been on fire since the All-Star break, leading the majors with 14 home runs and posting a ridiculous 1.222 OPS. We’ll definitely give him a pass for Wednesday night.

Jason Bay Goes Platinum Sombrero

The Orioles/Red Sox series was pretty noteworthy for several reasons. On Tuesday night, Boston blew a 10-1 lead and lost 11-10, giving Baltimore its biggest comeback ever. The very next day, the Red Sox responded by coming back from down 5-1 in the 9th with four runs to tie it and send it to extras where they won it in the 11th, 6-5. One significant aspect of the comeback win on Wednesday was that they essentially did it without Jason Bay. The Red Sox left fielder and AL RBI leader went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the 11-inning game.

Bay punched out his first two times looking and then he went down hacking his next three times. The bright side for the guy is that he wasn’t exactly a rally killer despite his ofer — he only left one man on base. Bay really struggled in the series against Baltimore going 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get heckled after this one like the most recent Platinum Sombrero victim, Alex Rios. He should also be happy his teammates are there to pick him up when he’s not producing — taking two of three despite that crappy series by the clean up hitter is impressive.

UPDATE: LBS contributor Alan notifies us that Russell Branyan received the coveted but less-difficult Golden Sombrero on Wednesday evening against the Yankees

Alex Rios Apologizes for Platinum Sombrero-Inspired YouTube Fan Tirade

Ladies and gentleman, the moment we’ve all been waiting for finally came. Yes that’s right, we had our first platinum sombrero of the season. As Gilbert and I were discussing in the comments, Alex Rios of the Blue Jays took an 0-for-5 with five strikeouts against the Angels on Thursday, earning the rare and coveted Platinum Sombrero, the second of his career in fact. Rios is a talented player who has what I’ve called the best-looking right handed swing in baseball (J.D. Drew wins my award for a lefty). But Rios has had his low points. Thursday would count as one of them, and I wish his story ended on the field. Unfortunately it didn’t. As documented by this video at Deadspin, some jerkoff fans heckled Rios who was coming out of a charity event, riding him about going 0-fer and getting upset when he didn’t sign an autograph. The video has plenty of F-bombs and profanity and seemed to be a setup by the fans:

What bothers me is that Rios is the one who later apologized (due to pressure from the club I’m sure, only because the video wound up online). But for anyone who watches the video I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s the fans who should be issuing the apology. Just because they’re fans who support the team and because Rios is a public figure who makes millions doesn’t mean he’s not a person. That doesn’t give you the right to harass him outside the stadium when he’s on personal time. That doesn’t give them the right to make some mean-spirited remarks. They’re the jerks who should be apologizing for an embarrassing performance.

Also, as the Platinum Sombrero moniker has picked up steam all throughout the internet as a result of Rios’ tirade, let it be known that LBS has been up on this for the longest. Also, LBS is the only site that will also point out that Mike Cameron achieved the Golden Sombrero that very same day, his coming against the Marlins. You just can’t buy that type of coverage anywhere else!

Chipper Jones Sports the Sombrero

Man, just when you thought the LBS Golden Sombrero Club had seen its last days, we get two players achieve the milestone in the same week … from the same team no less. A few days ago it was Braves rookie outfielder Jordan Schafer turning the trick against the Giants in the first game of the series. On Wednesday evening, it was none other than likely Hall of Famer Chipper Jones who received the honor.

Chipper went 0-for-4 in the team’s 6-3 loss, punching out all four times. He went down looking the first time and swinging the last three. His first three at-bats came against another Hall of Famer, pitcher Randy Johnson. The final K-job came against reliever Merkin Valdez. The Sombrero was particularly intriguing as far as Golden Sombreros go for several reasons. For one, this was the first time in Chipper’s 15-year career that he’s gone Golden. Secondly, he’s easily the best hitter that we’ve seen take the Sombrero since the club’s inception. Lastly, it came against Randy Johnson in the same game where the Unit earned his 299th career win. Point is although the Big Unit is 45-years-old, the lanky lefty still has some nastiness in him. Not bad for an old dude.

Jordan Schafer Goes Golden Sombrero

It was a brutal day for Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer Monday in San Francisco. The rookie went to the plate four times and punched out all four times, gaining entrance into the notorious LBS Golden Sombrero Club. Schafer went down hacking his first three times up, twice against starter Jonathan Sanchez, then the third time against reliever Justin Miller. By his last at-bat, he likely decided it just wasn’t his day so he didn’t bother swinging, striking out looking against Brian Wilson.

The Braves lost the game 8-2 and Schafer left three men on, so there’s no doubt he let his team down. Despite homering in his first major league game ever, the rookie’s average is now hovering around the Mendoza line at .205, with his slugging percentage not much higher. He’s been dropped to eighth in the order and could be headed to Triple-A before long if he keeps this up. By the way, his 55 strikeouts through 44 games puts him second only to Mark Reynolds. He’s whiffed more than Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, and Adam Dunn this year. Hmm, let’s see, Howard, Fielder, Dunn, Reynolds, and Schafer. Which one doesn’t belong? Exactly. Can you say “Gwinnett here I come?”

Hunter Pence Goes Golden Sombrero

It’s been a while since we’ve had an LBS Golden Sombrero sighting, so let me refresh your memory. When a player goes 0-for-4 in a game and does nothing but strikeout each time up, he earns the Golden Sombrero. For the nearly impossible 0-for-5 with five strikeouts, the player receives the rarefied Platinum Sombrero. Well Sunday at Wrigley Field, Astros right fielder Hunter Pence went 0-for-4 with four punch-outs, earning the coveted Golden Sombrero.

Now Houston won the game 6-5 so that should slightly ease the pain for Pence. The good thing about Hunter’s Sombrero is that he was up there hacking, striking out swinging the first three times. By the fourth at-bat, he probably was so discouraged he decided to keep the bat on his shoulders and go down honorably. The one comment I will make is that at least Pence punched out the first three times against a fireballer like Rich Harden, so that’s nothing about which one should be embarrassed. Hunter’s also hitting .323 this year even after the Sombrero, so better days should be expected.