Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Around the Internets

Monster Update Edition

It seems the venerable Colbert Report may have solved our monster mystery.

Tuesday's Starting Five

1. Cliff Lee. Last year this guy made eight starts for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. This year this guy already has 15 wins (the first AL pitcher to hit that number) against two losses for the Cleveland Indians. Lee escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the seventh to preserve a two-run Tribe lead.

2. Houston Astros. Fresh off a sweep of the formerly NL East-leading New York Metropolitans the 'Stros (formerly the Houston Colt .45s, seriously) knocked off the NL Central leading Cubs in the first of three at Wrigley. Although they're still 12 games behind the Cubbies, Houston has won 8 of 10, is within striking distance of the .500 mark and could announce their intentions to stay in the division race by winning this series in Chicago. And with Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and what's left of Miguel Tejada at the heart of the batting order and Randy Wolf coming in via trade to back up Roy Oswalt in the pitching rotation they might be heard from down the stretch. Or, at the very least, they are going to have a lot of say in who survives the Brewers-Cubs death waltz.

3. The Dugout Fracas. Or brouhaha. Or donnybrook. Or scrap. Or whatever other awesome word for group shoving match you can come up with. It's a great part of the baseball season: When the heat of August is bearing down, the despondency of losing or the pressure of a close division race is setting everyone on edge. Tempers flared and a losing streak bled into violence (or at least pushing) last night when hefty Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder shoved and then face-shoved teammate (and last night's starting pitcher) Manny Parra in the dugout during the top of the seventh inning. Apparently, Fielder took issue with the fact that Parra was going to head into the clubhouse after being pulled for a pinch-hitter. He really wanted his company in the dugout. Like a lot. So, this really isn't about a divided clubhouse. The real issue is that Fielder wants to be close to Parra so badly that he can't bear the thought of him leaving, even if it's just to go down the tunnel into the locker room. Parra completes Fielder.
[Ed Note: I was going to post the video, but MLB.com seems to the be only place to view it.]

4. Ryan Braun. After playing the peacemaker (and being one of the few people potentially strong enough to hold down Prince Fielder) in last night's intra-Brewers melee, Braun stepped up to the plate and cracked a home run over the ivy-covered Wrigley walls. It was his 30th of the 2008 campaign and made him just the second player in Big League history to begin his career with two 30 HR seasons. The other player is Albert Pujols. These two are also the only two hitters to sweep the 5 various (and varyingly important) Rookie of the Year Awards. Not bad company for good Jewish boy.

5. NYC futbol fans: It's a big week. And, no I'm not even talking about the start of the Jersey City intramural league. One of the world's most presitigious footballing powers has touched down on our fair shores this week. FC Barcelona are in town and before they take on the Red Bulls of the MLS (Wednesday night at Giants Stadium) they are playing an exhibition in Manhattan at 5pm tonight. The game is being put on with charitable organization Malaria No More and is taking place at Chelsea's Waterside Park (24 Street and 11th Avenue).