Our Daily Dread: Sounds like a broken (bat) record?


AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Albert Pujols breaks his bat on a ground out to second base during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s Cardinals-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.

The headline was across the top of the USA Today sports section on Aug. 4: “Baseball is getting a grip on broken bats” (linked here).

The story contends that, according to MLB research, incidence of bats breaking into multiple pieces in 2009 is so far down 30 percent from last year.

“We’re still trying to reduce it even further and we are pleased with the results thus far based,” said Dan Halem, the MLB senior VP and general counsel. “We’re not done yet.”

Bats busting up like balsa wood aren’t done yet, either. You see the last two nights of Dodger games?

The photo above of what Albert Pujols did in Tuesday’s game. Later, when the Dodgers’ Orlando Hudson was grounding out to end the seventh inning, the ball went back to the pitcher, but his broken bat nearly took out second base umpire Adrian Johnson, who ran to avoid getting smacked. The shot on the TV screen before the commercial was of the barrel of the bat sitting in shallow center field.

On Wednesday, the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez shattered his bat in at least five pieces as Cardinals reliever Ryan Franklin jammed him inside. The grounder to short became an adventure for Brendan Ryan, who first had to sidestep the spinning barrel, field the grounder, and throw Ramirez out at first — but miss a shot at trying to start a double play. He lost a chance of trying to get the far easier putout on Andre Either, which put the game’s tying run at second base. That, in effect, could have changed the outcome of the game (the next two hitters failed to bring him in and the game ended with a 3-2 loss).

In the same USA Today story above, it points out that the sale of maple bats has dropped from 52 percent to 45 percent this season, as far as Louisville Sluggers go. Braves catcher Brian McCann, who still uses maple, responded to the stat that broken bats are down 30 percent this year: “I disagree. They might be down, but I don’t know about being down 30 percent. There still seems to be a lot of bats flying around.”

Seems to be correct.

Seems like no matter what they’ve told players to do — put the label up, stop ordering sticks with thin handles, cut back on maple — it’s not that impressive of a decrease.

You’ve decreased, perhaps, the chances of someone getting seriously injured — again — by a flying shard. But you haven’t eliminated it.

And that seems unacceptable.

No, it is unacceptable.


AP Photo/Ben Margot
The White Sox’s Paul Konerko shatters his bat on a pitch from Oakland Athletics’ Gio Gonzalez in the third inning of a game on Aug. 15.

== More stories recently:
== A sidebar to the USA Today on the bat manufacturers (linked here)
== Another USA Today piece on how bats are made according to player specs (linked here)
== Another follow up on the development of the Radial Bat (linked here)

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Our Daily Dread II: The dirty (not so) little pictures of Erin Andrews


What’s Erin Andrews’ next move? It’s already been made by, and for, her.

So now, who’s more at fault, the aspiring ESPN sideline reporter for dressing up for the GQ cameras back in April for a spread that has been released in the September issue (check out the sideline-friendly shoes)?

Or the magazine editors, for capitalizing on publishing them at a strange time in her existence?

Or us, for being among those that has chosen to even mention their existence. Now that they’re part of the media circulation, we can’t really ignore ’em, right?


Then why do we feel more dirty than Ms. Andrews at this moment?


It’s still pretty fresh in our minds, hearts and adrenal glands — the story less than a month ago coming out that she’d been secretly videotaped through the peephole of a hotel room undressing, and then it being released on the Internet before ESPN stepped in (as did Andrews’ lawyers) with threats of big-time punishment.

Andrews has also has had to call 911 to get some “a&&holes” parked in a car outside her house to go away because, as she told the operator, and we’re paraphrasing, she’s suddenly become a sports version of freakin’ Brittney Spears.

Andrews has been laying low the last few weeks, awaiting her first assignment on ESPN’s college football coverage, set to launch in about two weeks. Reportedly, she’s also shopping her “story” around to the Oprahs of the TV world to get her side on the Importance of Being Erin.

It’s been far too long, in fact, since another Andrews story has surfaced. We thank GQ for its decision to put these pictures out there, despite what some may say is completely wrong. To our surprise, Columbia University still has a football team, and this provides the evidence.

(Just like GQ provided evidence earlier this year when it posted the photos of Sasha Baron Cohen prancing around as “Bruno” with the Birmingham High football team that got LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines’ jockstrap in a bunch).


Well, she does clean up nicely.

Like, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez (linked here), who writes that: “It’s too soon to be treating her as a sex symbol again.” That implies there is an apparent right time for her to be seen as a sex symbol again, but this just isn’t it.

In a story that appeared Tuesday on “Entertainment Tonight,” GQ Style Editor Adam Rapoport said Andrews, back in April when these photos were taken, was “up for doing anything” during the shoot. “It was the ESPN guys who kept saying, ‘Are you sure you want to shoot her in that?” said Rapoport.

Right, wrong or just still ridiculous, the EA Sports Chick, who does work now for EA Sports, remains her own smokin’ gun on an Internet looking for the next thing, or something recycled, to where even boundaries know no boundaries. Let the mud keep flying and expect an ESPN “E:60” report on this sometime in 2012, when she disappears from the sports landscape and takes up a new career as a probation officer.

There’s more, moron, and hardly just from us:

== The GQ story and photos under the headline “Erin Andrews Can Score: The ESPN reporter, an obsession of the sports-blog set, consistently lands that perfect sideline interview that captures the glory, the heartache, the drama of college football. But until now, we had no idea how good she looks in shoulder pads” (linked here)

== A two-minute video called “sexy (and completely authorized)” that goes with the piece and pretty much offers nothing more except for a saucy soundtrack:

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What you’re missing on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with the Bengals not showing their stripes


With the Cincinnati Bengals, right?

What could you be possibly missing?

Episode 1, for starters.

Episode 2 launches tonight (10 p.m.), and according to the HBO turn-it-around-quickly editors, these are the highlights (should you choose to pass on this as well):


== Quarterback Carson Palmer talks about his high standards for the perfect sports energy drink mix: “I’ve always been a Gatorade snob. Sometimes guys (who mix the drink) half-ass it. They don’t really put the right mixture of the Gatorade powder and water to create the best taste. Some guys mix is watered down. Some guys is too sweet. But (team athletic training staff member) Lemar (Mosley) has a wild-berry fruit punch mix, mixing three or four flavors, and it’s fantastic. That is an A-plus right there.”

== Linebacker Dhani Jones engages in a simultaneous application of acupuncture and an aggressive inside-the-mouth massage. His reaction to how he felt about the therapy: “What do you mean, ‘How do I feel?’ I am getting pain from all directions.”

== Receiver Laveranues Coles invites cameras into his dorm room to demonstrate his unorthodox therapeutic sleep recovery system.

== Receiver Chad Ochocinco visits a local establishment for an evening out on the town, but passes on all offers to buy him a drink. “You see how boring my life is?” he says. “All I have is Twitter.”

When do the cameras go to the police station for the perp lineup?

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Mannywatch, vs. what Manny’s watching (allegedly)

From The Onion Sports (linked here):

Documentary Manny Ramirez Talking About Turns Out To Be ‘Billy Madison’


LOS ANGELES — After less than five minutes listening to Manny Ramirez describe a “powerful documentary” about a son who struggles to take over his father’s business, Dodgers teammates concluded that the perennial all-star was actually talking about the 1995 Adam Sandler comedy “Billy Madison.”

“I kind of figured it was ‘Billy Madison’ when Manny started talking about ‘the bad man’ who tried to take the company from the opera singer from ‘Saturday Night Live’,” teammate Mark Loretta said. “And when he said the most interesting part was learning that penguins can ‘grow to be as tall as men,’ that pretty much clinched it.”

Ramirez later told his teammates he was looking forward to a new documentary about the the auto industry, in which an overweight man and a skinny man travel across America in an attempt to sell brake pads.

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