MLB Playoffs are on? I’ll pass…

Bored baseball fan

The MLB Playoffs are in full swing with the Divisional Series set.

Yawn.

The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, and Oakland Athletics face off for the chance to win a championship that will be earned after 162 (or 163) games.

Meh.

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Atlanta Braves ramp up the racism with new caps

atlanta-braves

Was there really a point to this? Bringing back the screaming savage indian of years past? It’s bad enough that racism like this existed for so long, it was Atlanta’s logo from 1967 to 1989. The mohawked image first made an appearance in 1954 during the Braves’ Milwaukee days.

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MLB Advanced Media BLUNDERS in “breaking” Braves-Cubs Dempster non-trade

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This is what happens when you over-centralize your power and resources. When you make a blunder, you being the so-called authority, the fallout is magnified.

MLB Advanced Media (perhaps the greatest Orwellian doublespeak that you’ll ever hear) is Major League Baseball’s subsidiary which seeks to control and monopolize baseball related web content. It’s the reason bloggers and websites don’t get media credentials.

Believe it or not, I’ve read the media portion of the collective bargaining agreement and there are provisions in it for television, newspaper and radio; none for the internet. That’s because access for web outlets is restricted to simply MLB’s so-called “Advanced” division. Although they’re actually pretty regressive as it took them years to figure out how allowing embedding of video is actually a good idea, not a bad one.

Yesterday they dropped the ball big time in “breaking” a trade between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves that never happened.

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Scott Linebrink- HE GONE! White Sox and Atlanta Braves complete Swap

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The Chicago White Sox jettisoned relief pitcher Scott Linebrink today to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Kyle Cofield.

The 34-year-old Linebrink went 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA for the White Sox last season. He recorded 52 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings. However, his numbers seemed a lot worse than that? Maybe it’s because he was limited mostly to mop-up duty perhaps? Opposing hitters batted .262 against Linebrink in 2010.
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Policing Baseball: Macha Gets Wish, Venters Suspended

Prince Fielder

Milwaukee Brewers Manager Ken Macha is really angry.  Finally.  And Major League Baseball did something about it Monday afternoon.

After Braves’ Jonny Venters threw a breaking ball over Prince Fielder’s head Saturday, he drilled Prince in the back, hard. Fielder had hit a game-tying homer in his previous at-bat. That puts the Prince at 14 plunks this season, third in all of baseball and two behind teammate Rickie Weeks, who leads all of baseball with 17.

Manager Ken Macha could be angry about a number of things going on with his Milwaukee Brewers. Regardless, Ken Macha is putting his foot down on Major League Baseball for failing to police pitchers for intentionally drilling hitters. Major League Baseball responded by suspending Venters for four games and fining him an undisclosed amount and suspending Braves’ Manager Bobby Cox for one game.

By: Melissa S. Wollering

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Cubbies are Consistently Inconsistent

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By Paul Schmidt

Nothing like an easy week or so of baseball to just get you relaxed.

The Cubs have always given their fans something of a workout, pumping them waaaayyyy up, then bringing them waaaayyyy down.  I feel as though, personally, that they may actually make my head explode.

Somehow, in their last 10 games, the Cubs are 6-4.  It seems ridiculous to see this in print, given how I feel about the end of their long home stand against the Dodgers and the beginning of their nine game road trip against the Braves, Reds and Astros.  In fact, I had to look that record up.  I assumed it would be somewhere around 3-7 or 2-8.

My own personal experience certainly shows in that, having been at Wrigley for both of the losses in the Dodgers’ series.  On Thursday night I saw an absolutely lackluster performance from the offense until the ninth inning, which ended with consecutive (awful looking) strikeouts by career minor leaguers Bobby Scales and Jake Fox.  Then on Sunday, on Illini Day, after schmoozing with Bruce Weber, Wayne McClain, and some short blonde guy apparently associated with the University, the Dodgers scored five runs off Cubs starter Sean Marshall before we could get to our seats in the nosebleed section.

4 of the last 6 have now gone to extras for the Cubs, which means if you’re reading this and you have some juice left in your arm, you might actually get a call from Jim Hendry to see if you want to throw in the bullpen this week.  Especially if you’re a lefty.

Another career minor leaguer, Randy Wells, continued to throw well during that stretch, throwing seven innings of two run ball in the Thursday night Dodgers loss, and then throwing almost seven innings of no-hit baseball against

Your 2009 NL Rookie of the Year?  Without winning a single game?

Your 2009 NL Rookie of the Year? Without winning a single game?

the Braves the following Tuesday.  He ended up giving up just one run, and handing the ball over to the bullpen with a 5-1 lead.  And then not factoring into the decision.

In fact, that game will forever be the game that I refer to as, “The game that caused me to consult a cardiac specialist the next day.”  I can’t, on advice of said doctor, go into what happened at the end of regulation innings and then in the bottom of the 12th (the mere mention of that inning makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up), but suffice it to say it involved Aaron Heilman pitching to Larry Jones, also known as Chipper…in extras, with the winning run in scoring position…with first base open…when ol’ Larry has hit 6-of-12 in his career against Heilman, including three doubles and two home runs.

If you can’t figure out what happened in that game, well, then you really mustn’t be a Cubs fan…

At any rate, that was the game that also caused me to realize how remarkably consistent the Cubs have been this season.  Usually this would be a good thing, but then, is anything ever really that good with the Cubs?

The fact is, they’ve been consistently inconsistent. From a game to game basis, I, personally, have no idea what to expect from this team.  I can’t believe that I’m the only one in that respect – I currently think that Lou Piniella throws darts at photos on the wall to determine who is going to play where on a daily basis.  If he’s not, it couldn’t honestly be any worse or yield any more unpredictable results than whatever method he is using.

Here’s the thing though: A Major League Baseball team can’t survive playing the way they are. You have to have consistency in some way, even if it’s just in the lineup that gets thrown out there every day.  In 2007 and 2008, that wasn’t a problem.  Injuries, for the most part, stayed away or were minor, so they could put their best foot forward most days.

The defense was solid on a daily basis.

There was always someone that was hot on offense, a bat that carried the team while others struggled.

Now re-read those previous three paragraphs. Do any of those three things sound like this years’ edition of the Chicago Cubs?

They really don’t.  Injuries are mounting, on offense and on the pitching staff (though it seems like the rotation is finally getting healthy with Rich Harden set to throw this coming weekend). The defense has been shoddy at best (with the Cubs posting a record that is something like 2-5,302 when they commit an error this season), and the offense has disappeared for long stretches of games, with only Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot showing consistent signs of life.

It’s been maddening, and difficult to watch.  And yet, every time I say I’m going to take a break for a few games, I sit down and turn it to WGN or Comcast Sports Net come game time.

The face of a waffler.

The face of a waffler.

I’m as consistently inconsistent with my convictions as the Cubs have been playing baseball this year.

Funnily enough, those might be the only two things you can count on.