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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.

Milton Bradley, Ted Lilly Join the Club

I have been quite negligent with Sombrero Watch, missing out on Carlos Beltran’s efforts on Saturday (I’m letting you off the hook on this one, buddy), and Ryan Howard last week. Though a day late, invitations were extended to Milton Bradley and Ted Lilly to join the club. Our buddy Milton turned the trick on Monday night in the Rangers’ 2-1 win over the Yankees. He’s lucky Scotty Feldman and company pitched well enough to keep the Yanks bats at bay otherwise his five runners left on base would have looked a lot worse. Anyway, perhaps harder to do than injuring your knee while arguing with an umpire, Milton K’d three times against Mike Mussina. The other was against Jose Veras. Nicely done, Milton. We welcome you with open arms.

The other inductee from Monday night would be Ted Lilly. I had to wrestle with this one greatly before giving my blessing. Early on I made the call to keep all pitchers because they don’t really count, but Ted Lilly is the exception. I am proud to announce that Ted Lilly is the first member of the club to achieve the Platinum Sombrero. Not only is it remarkably difficult to achieve the Golden Sombrero, imagine how tough it is to go Platinum. Especially when you consider that Lilly’s a pitcher; how many pitchers even get five at-bats in a game without getting pinch hit for? For those two reasons, Lilly was inducted.

Honorable mentions from Monday go out to Jason Repko, Marcus Thames, and Jason Michaels who all punched out four times in five at-bats. Better that you all didn’t turn the trick — I’m not so sure we would’ve had room for you anyway.

Does Paul Janish Deserve Induction?

In case you’re wondering how this works, yes, I scan MLB boxscores each night. I’m not looking at standings, I’m not looking at pitching lines, I’m not looking at who went deep. There is only one thing on my mind when on Sombrero alert: the K column. And as soon as I see a “4,” my eyes light up. I saw that tonight, unfortunately it was next to the name Paul Janish (pronounced Yawn-ish, no surprise). Yawnish put the home crowd to sleep in Cincy taking the collar against the Red Sox. He punched out three times against Justin Masterson, twice swinging and once looking, and K’d the final time swinging against reliever David Aardsma. Luckily for Yawnish, Jay Bruce and Adam Dunn picked up the offensive slack, and Aaron Harang was on top of his game to make up for the 0fer. The Reds beat the Red Sox 3-1.

But onto more important items, I’m not so sure Yawnish even deserves induction into the LBS Golden Sombrero Club. When a rookie is batting just .204 with only one extra base hit, it’s hard to really consider him a legit inductee. I need guys who will have some sort of longevity so one day in the future we can reminisce and say “remember back when he took the Golden Sombrero?” I’m not sure we have much more than a guy just filling a hole here who we won’t ever hear from in two years. For now, I’ll be lenient, but let it be known: this is a reluctant induction of Paul Janish into the LBS Golden Sombrero Club. Consider yourself honored, Mr. Janish. The pleasure’s all yours. Just take a look at the company.

Joey Votto, Miguel Montero in the Club

I didn’t quite have the chance to post this up after Sunday’s game, but since the Reds are still playing at the time of this publishing, I feel I can induct Joey Votto into the club. Reds first baseman Joey Votto joined the LBS Golden Sombrero Club taken an ofer against the Marlins in a 9-2 loss on Sunday. He punched out four times against the Florida staff which is quite the impressive feat. In fact, to make matters more impressive, he turned the trick against three different pitchers — starter Ryan Tucker, as well as relievers Joe Nelson and Justin Miller. About the only good thing we can say for Votto as he receives his inauspicious honor is that at least he went down hacking all four times. Congrats Joey, and welcome to the club.

If one wasn’t enough, then two certainly is. It’s always more fun to go join a club with some company, anyway. UtesFan89, who authors the blog Playing for Pride, sends in the news that Diamondbacks backup catcher Miguel Montero took the gas pipe against the Pirates today. If you’re wondering how UtesFan89 happened upon the news, it’s because he concentrates his writings primarily on the Pirates during the baseball season (putting up with such futility is reason enough to visit his site). And luckily for me, UtesFan89 has done all the homework and passes on this, “Miguel Montero got the highly regarded Golden Sombrero (4 at-bats, 4 K’s… all swinging, just FYI). He also left 8 runners on base, and had the error on Duke’s sacrifice bunt that wasn’t a sacrifice.” Clearly not a good day to be Miguel Montero.

I’d like to say something positive about Miguel Montero, but there isn’t much there. As for Votto, expect plenty of brighter days. And big thanks to Playing for Pride for the Andre Miller-like assist.

Jonny Gomes Wears the Golden Sombrero

And on May 29th, 2008, it was a momentous occasion in the life of Jonny Gomes. I hereby induct you, Mr. Gomes, into the LBS Golden Sombrero Club.

Gomes, a notorious hit-or-miss player with a lot of pop and a ton of strikeouts as well, did just that. He took the gas pipe striking out four times in a 5-1 loss to the White Sox. He punched out three times against John Danks and the fourth time was against Octavio Dotel. The dubious performance drags Gomes’ average down to a paltry .209. At least he does something to hang his hat on: he now belongs in the same club as Curtis Granderson, Matt Joyce, and Carlos Pena. Congrats, Jonny, you deserve it.

Matt Joyce Takes the Golden Sombrero

Yes, I may have slacked on my duties and missed the fact that Justin Upton took the collar last week against the Marlins (and nearly wore the hat Tuesday night going 0-for-4 with 3K’s), but I was all over the affairs in Anaheim.

You might think that I was rooting for Ervin Santana in the top of the 9th inning with the game tied 2-2 because I wanted my Angels to win, but you would be partially wrong. Oh no, I had ulterior motives. I was knuckling up on my chair waiting to see if Matt Joyce could do what he hadn’t done before: put a ball in play against Ervin Santana. And much to my delight, Mr. Joyce obliged my greatest wishes by failing to connect for the fourth time in the night. His final line for the evening: 0-for-4, 4K’s, three swinging, one looking, all against Ervin Santana. And the Angels won 3-2 on a game-winning hit by Gary Matthews Jr. in the bottom of the 9th. Lovely.

So to Matt Joyce, I wish you nothing but success in the future, so long as you’re not playing the Angels, and so long as you aren’t chasing the Golden Sombrero. Also, we must establish some LBS Golden Sombrero Club policy here. I’m thinking no on awarding retroactive Sombreros in case we don’t see it within 24 hours. Justin Upton, you are lucky my friend. And proudly, there are now three members and counting in the LBS Golden Sombrero Club.

Curtis Granderson Joins the Golden Sombrero Club

A big hearty thank you goes out to Signal over at Signal to Noise , one of the finer and longer-standing sites in the sports blogosphere, for passing along the tip. I am proud to announce that Curtis Granderson has become the second player this year to join the LBS Golden Sombrero Club since its inception on Wednesday. Carlos Pena was the inaugural member, taking the collar against A.J. Burnett of the Blue Jays. On Thursday, Tigers extraordinary CF Curtis Granderson had the inauspicious honor of K’ing four times against the Red Sox in a 5-1 loss.

Granderson punched out in the 1st and 3rd, and ended both the 4th and 7th innings with strikeouts. All four times Granderson went down hacking, all four times against Josh Beckett — certainly a respectable opponent not to be ashamed of. Though as Signal points out, leadoff hitters aren’t supposed to do that. So even if you’re Richie Sexson and you can’t hit water if you fell out of a boat, be happy that you weren’t Curtis Granderson on Thursday.

And for all it’s worth, I happen to think highly of Granderson as a ballplayer. He’s one of the top centerfielders in the game and has provided quite a spark to the Tigers since coming off the DL. He’s a good guy and he’ll definitely have brighter days ahead of him. After all, can’t get much worse after Thursday. I kid Curtis, I kid.

Remember, if you see a player who has taken the Golden Sombrero in a ballgame, please email in the news. Also feel free to include an image of a sombrero of your choice, and both your name and sombrero will be featured on the site. Thanks