Our Daily Dread: The trade winds vs. a bunch of hot air


As of this morning, Roy Halladay, in the top one of those paid to deliver baseballs on the Major League level, was was still a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, employed under contract through 2010.

Lucky us.

It means, without further delay, the Dodgers, and Angels, have time. If only to catch their breath and knock their GMs over the head with a hammer.

If the Blue Jays really want Clayton Kershaw off the Dodgers’ roster, plus a couple of other prospects, for the playing rights to Halladay for the rest of this season, plus all of next season, the deal should have been agreed upon a week ago. Perhaps, after pausing for two seconds to make sure you heard all the names correctly.

If the Blue Jays really want Jered Weaver off the Angels’ roster, plus Brandon Wood and some other prospects, for the playing rights to Halladay for the rest of this season, plus all of the next, the deal should have been agreed upon a couple of days ago. Perhaps, after pausing two seconds to see if Halladay wanted some family passes to Disneyland thrown in there.

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Our Daily Dread: Jump, Rennert, jump

Remember last summer, with that kid tried to jump off the Santa Monica pier with his motorcycle. Kinda?
Ronnie Renner established the Guinness world record for the highest jump on a motorcycle on a quarter pipe — 59 feet, 2 inches.
Tonight, he’s raising the bar.
At Butler Field in Chicago’s Grant Park, the 32-old Renner gives it another leap.
“I really wanted to head east, get off the West Coast for a special event,” Renner told the Associated Press. “I’ve only been to Chicago a few times but I love the city and thought it would be a great place to have it. I love to do something like this in front of people that never get to see freestyle, so it works perfect.”
How it’ll work: Renner launches himself up a 22-foot quarter pipe, through a 180-degree arch, go upside down and land on a steel ramp that’s 31 feet, 9 inches tall and 64-feet wide.
“I’m just taking everything I learned last year and just plan on raising the stakes,” Renner said. “It’s real technical. There’s no room for mistakes when you’re doing a 180 like that.
“I don’t want to be beat it by inches. I definitely want to beat it by feet. A significant amount would be nice. Now I have a bar set that I have to beat or else it’s a failure. That’s intimidating, but at the same time that’s why I do this stuff. It’s definitely a good challenge.”

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More Goossen VI: How much did he fit into the Dodgers’ and Mets’ plans back in the mid ’60s?

The Dodgers were the ones who drafted Greg Goossen out of their own backyard — Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks — after the Houston Colt .45s had their eye on him. That was, until Goossen blew out his knee getting in a fight.

This is from a Sports Illustrated story by William Leggett published on March 29, 1965 (linked here) — the cover is all about UCLA’s victory in the NCAA basketball tournament, with Gail Goodrich on the cover:


Now, this year, as the chastened Dodgers of 1965 work their way through their spring-training exhibition schedule, they are the most drastically changed team in the major leagues, baseball’s “mystery a go-go.” True, the 11 players remaining of the baker’s dozen who knocked off the Yankees in the World Series are still the Dodgers’ big names: Koufax, Drysdale, Maury Wills, the Davises–that crowd. But big Frank Howard is gone, traded to Washington, and Jim Gilliam has retired to the coaching lines, maybe. The perfect relief pitcher, Ron Perranoski, lost his magic last year, and Johnny Podres was ailing so badly that he pitched only three innings all season. Tommy Davis’ batting average dropped 51 points. The old baker’s dozen needs help badly, and the Dodgers expect it to come from people you have seldom, if ever, heard of–Wes Parker, Jim Lefebvre, Bart Shirley, John Purdin, Willie Crawford, Tommy Dean, John Werhas, Al Ferrara, Derrell Griffith, Hector Valle, Greg Goossen, Howie Reed, Bill Singer. The Dodger roster is loaded with youthful nonentities. Seventeen of them are 23 or younger, five are 19, two are 18. Twice in recent weeks this infusion of youth has totally confused even the Dodgers themselves.

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More Goossen V: His Jewish roots makes the Catholic-raised player book worthy


One of our favorite books last spring was “The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-By-Position Ranking of Baseball’s Chosen Players,” by Howard Megdal, a Kosher-tongue-in-cheek celebration of the Jewish influence of baseball over the years.

Megdal concludes that Hank Greenberg, not Sanford Koufax, was the greatest of all Jewish players in major-league history. That’s enough to start an argument, but one he can defend.

Defining a Jewish player can be a bit tricky. To Megdal, “any player who self-identified as Jewish qualified. … I am a baseball expert, not a Judaism expert. … I leave that to religious scholars.”

It is, then, kind of quirky that Greg Goossen, who played at the Catholic boys’ school Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, is considered a Jewish candidate for mention in this book. Goossen’s dad, Al, was born Jewish (and later converted to Catholicism); his mom was Catholic. When it came to education, she was the decision maker.

In the book’s rankings, Goossen is No. 7 all-time under first basemen. but Megdal seems most impressed by Goossen’s post-career linked to Gene Hackman, who hired him as sort of a bodyguard and stand-in for about 25 years of his film career.

“While it is hard to fashion an argument that Goossen made a huge difference for his oft-losing major league teams, is it possible that his presence was the difference in Hackman’s finest films?” asks Megdal.

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More Goossen IV: A Q-and-A with Bouton


Tracked down at his Springfield, Mass., home, Jim Bouton had this to say in light of the Seattle Pilots’ 40th anniversary, and coming up on the 40th anniversary of his classic “Ball Four”:


Q: What images do you conjure up of Greg Goossen and those Seattle Pilots?

JB: People ask me all the time about the characters in “Ball Four” and if I can elaborate. I don’t have any other memories beside what’s in the book. Once the document was done, I erased everything. I know Greg was a really fun guy to be around and a great teammate, a smart guy.

Q: Forty years later, do you have any special memories of the Pilots that resonate stronger than any other?

JB: More people send me letters and remind me of things haven’t read in the book for years, so that always refreshes my memory. It strikes me how lucky I was to be with that particular group of guys. It was just a very special collection, mostly because the Pilots’ thinking going in was to win the pennant by drafting older players. So these were real guys with stories and histories, and many had some great years at one time — Gary Bell and Tommy Davis, for example — they had real careers, so as they playing together for the first time and were getting to know each other, they’d tell stories. It was a great bunch of old storytellers who also knew how to play ball. I was so lucky to have them and the nice thing about it, some of them were all past their prime and not so full of themselves. They were real people and had great respectives about who they were and how they were dealing with that.
I still get so much mail, people stopping me, constantly bringing back the memories. They’re in my life every day. Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t ask me about one of my teammates. I never get tired of it. It’s a different memory. People tell me, ‘My grandfather says I need to read your book.’ I’m OK with that.

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