Thursday, May 31, 2007

It was a long time coming...

...but Gheorghe: The Blog has finally caught up to the rest of the eBays and added Google AdSense, in order to (hopefully) pay for some Gheorghe: The Happy Hours. I guess we might need to actually generate some content in order to make this worthwhile. If I offered to post a clip of a classic '80s cartoon below, is that something you'd be interested in?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cherish the moment, Nats fans

Our second installment of "Hey, it could be worse..." might seem to be coming at an odd time for the hometown nine, seeing as the Nats are a respectable 12-6 since starting the season a dismal 9-25. But, after visiting RFK last night (and trust me, there was nowhere near the reported 18,483 in attendance) and watching the Nats lose 10-0 to the offensively challenged Dodgers, I thought we better shower the Nats with whatever accolades we could now, because it is about to get very ugly again, very soon (and yes, I do hope for a collapse, because I want to win those cases of beer). You see, the Nationals took advantage of some very inept clubs (Hi NL Central!) on their way back to respectability (for them at least), and a cursory look at the upcoming schedule indicates the Nationals are in big trouble (Dodgers and Padres to start this homestand means very few runs for the Nats), but, as we like to say around here, "Hey, it could be worse..."

Overall Record: 21-31 (.404)
Wow, the Nats are in great shape here. Four teams actually have less wins than Washington right now, and three are tied with the Nats at 21. Throw these guys a parade.
Hey, it could be could be the team I root for, the free-falling New York Yankees, who are 21-29 and have lost 5 in a row (but at least Alex Rodriguez is gettin' some strange). Or, if you're like most of the country and wish people would stop talking about the Yankees, we can focus on the horrendous defending World Series champ Cardinals, who are 20-29 and show no signs of fixing their woes.

Pitching: Runs Against, 251
Again, given the personnel the Nats call a starting rotation, they're in decent shape here too. I find it amazing that a professional baseball team can run any of these guys out there semi-regularly and still scrape together 21 wins: Jason Simontacchi (last night's sacrificial lamb), Matt Chico, Jason Bergmann, Jerome Williams and Levale Speigner ("Sir, how did you get in the clubhouse? Oh, you're tonight's starter. Riiiight...SECURITY").
Hey, it could be worse...well, you could be the Tampa Bay staff, which amounts to Scott Kazmir and a pile of driftwood. Driftwood with sky-high ERAs and WHIPs. They're the only club to already allow over 300 runs, and they still employ Jae Seo. Good lord. We could also pile on the Yankees and Cardinals again here, but honestly, that's going to get old fast, since those two clubs belong in every one of these categories (what a sad, sad day).

Hitting: Runs Scored, 191
Yep, still a major problem. Nick Johnson is never coming back, Dmitri Young has chosen buffets over BP, and Mr. Guzman still gets to bat second in a MLB line-up (somewhere, Rob Neyer just hung himself with a flannel noose). That home ballpark doesn't help either - I watched 5 or 6 ropes off Nats bats get easily caught last night, all due to the unreal size of the RFK outfield.
Hey, it could be could be the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. I know, I said no more, but these guys are the ONLY team scoring less than the Nats (179 RS for St. Louie). I think it's time to call up Rick Ankiel...seriously...come on, you know you're intrigued.

Management: "Larry, Darryl and Darryl"
Manny Acta - With that personnel, can you expect any more?
Jim Bowden - Antichrist. Can't believe he's still employed.
Stan Kasten - All I ever hear is how great this guy is, but if that's the case, what the hell is he waiting for? Fire Bowden now. Christ, let Screech (no, not the porno one...the mascot bird) be the GM.
Hey, it could be worse...ugh, with Bowden still as GM, could it? Dayton Moore in KC, the young kids in Tampa...they've done a better job. Maybe the corpse in Pittsburgh is worse, but I'm still taking Bowden in this race.

Friday, May 25, 2007

And so begins...Summer

No offense to Whit's poignant and solemn post below, but this is the Friday before Memorial Day, and I think we all know what that means: Summertime. So, aided by the 'House's Geoffrey (guess which video is his) and several Smithwick's, I give you my Top 5 "Beginning of Summer" music videos (there was going to be some film clips involved, but YouTube has failed me, and Mark Harmon, again). Enjoy the excessive YouTubes...I've got a beer waiting for me downstairs:

1. Summertime by Will Smith (um, what's up with the intro to this clip?)

2. Summer of 69
I mean, really, does it need words?

3. Summer Nights (from Grease)
All you theatre fans out there...enjoy. Plus, you know you all loved Olivia Newton-John at some point in time.

4. School's Out
I think my love for Alice is well established.

5. Summer in the City (by the Lovin' Spoonful)
A terrific classic rock song, plus, it's the intro scene of this third Willis film.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Little Misdirection

Wow. There is very little that strikes me as sensible in this. It wouldn't be the first time a bar was sued for a drunk-driving death, but the inclusion of these other defendants hurls the whole thing towards "frivolous." You can hardly come down but so hard on a father whose son is just a memory. Still, at some point someone close to the family has to step in and preserve dignity, or at least let some of the innocent -- no, already victimized -- defendants in this suit let their horrible memories fade without this harassment.

Like many, I've been using the "reckless bartender overserved me" as a punchline for 15 years. This would be comical if it weren't based on a tragedy. We get back to one our favorite antiquated virtues at G:TB, personal accountability. It's always always always someone else's fault. If there's not a counter-suit of the estate by the towing company, I'd be surprised.

Read on... (I highlighted the more alarming passages)

Hancock's father sues, claims son was overserved

ST. LOUIS -- The father of Josh Hancock filed suit Thursday, claiming a restaurant provided drinks to the St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher even though he was intoxicated prior to the crash that killed him.

The suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court by Dean Hancock of Tupelo, Miss., does not specify damages. Mike Shannon's Restaurant, owned by the longtime Cardinals broadcaster who starred on three World Series teams in the 1960s, is a defendant in the case along with Shannon's daughter, Patricia Shannon Van Matre, the restaurant manager.

Other defendants include Eddie's Towing, the company whose flatbed tow truck was struck by Hancock's sport utility vehicle in the early hours of April 29; tow truck driver Jacob Edward Hargrove; and Justin Tolar, the driver whose stalled car on Interstate 64 was being assisted by Hargrove.

The Cardinals and Major League Baseball were not listed as defendants. In a brief statement, the Cardinals said, "We hope this matter will come to a swift and fair resolution for all parties involved."

Authorities said the 29-year pitcher had a blood alcohol content of nearly twice the legal limit when he crashed into the back of the tow truck. He was also speeding and using a cell phone and wasn't wearing a seat belt, police chief Joe Mokwa said after the accident. Marijuana was also found in the SUV.

Mokwa said Hancock went to Mike Shannon's not long after the Cardinals played a day game against the Chicago Cubs on April 28. The lawsuit claimed that Hancock was a regular at the restaurant bar and was there for more than 3½ hours.

"It's understood that for the entire 3½ hours that Josh Hancock was there that he was handed drinks," Keith Kantack, a lawyer for Dean Hancock, said. "It's our understanding that from the moment Josh Hancock entered Mike Shannon's that night that he was never without a drink."

A person answering phones at the restaurant declined comment. A message left with Van Matre was not returned.

The lawsuit claimed Tolar was negligent in allowing his vehicle to reach the point where it stalled on the highway and for failing to move it out of the way of oncoming traffic. A police report said the car became stalled when it spun out after being cut off by another vehicle.

Police said Hargrove noticed the stalled vehicle and stopped to help. The report said he told officers he was there five to seven minutes before his truck was hit by Hancock's SUV. But Kantack said the tow truck may have been there up to 15 minutes, yet failed to get the stalled vehicle out of the way.

"Were the police contacted?" Kantack asked. "Why weren't flares put out? Why was the tow truck there for an exorbitant amount of time?"

Tolar did not have a listed telephone number. Calls to the towing company were met with a busy signal.

Kantack said others could be added later as defendants in the suit. [Ed. Note: Presumably this could be Josh's dope dealer, the cell phone company, the seat belt manufacturer, the state of Missouri for imposing the speed limit, and the U.S. Federal Government for the 21st Amendment.] He declined to speculate on whether the Cardinals or Major League Baseball could be added to the suit but said the Hancock family has been "overwhelmed by the support and respect the Cardinals have shown since Josh's passing."

Dean Hancock said in a statement that the "facts and circumstances" of Josh's death "have caused great pain to all of Josh's family." As administrator of his son's estate, Dean Hancock said he has an obligation to represent the family on all issues, "including any legal actions necessary against those who contributed to the untimely and unnecessary death."

G:TB "Commercial Ghem of the Day"

A new, completely forced G:TB segment that is really just an excuse for me to post more YouTube clips. As hard as it is to remember, there wasn't always a YouTube, and it was a lot harder to waste time at work than it is now. Minesweeper? No thanks, I'm busy searching for the best commercials of the last 20 years. At first, this post was going to be dedicated to hidden YouTube gems, in particular the video of this...

"July 21, 2004 - From his spot in left-center field, Manny inexplicably makes a diving play to cut off a relay throw from center fielder Johnny Damon, allowing David Newhan of the Orioles to score on an inside-the-park home run."

...but apparently Manny has kept said clip off the interweb (Sidebar: Do you think Manny knows how to use a computer?). Since Manny and the 'Tube failed me, I had to move on. Here's G:TB's first CGOTD (many more to follow):

God I love that clip.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

If Stephen A. Smith can do it...

...why can't the Milwaukee Brewers? What the hell am I talking about you ask? Being a soap star, that's what. Intrepid G:TB reporter Dennis just discovered that four members of the Brewers filmed cameos today for an upcoming episode of "The Young and the Restless". The lucky Brewers:
J.J. Hardy (strikes me as Steve Blake-smart)
Chris Capuano
Jeff Suppan
Bill Hall

They all supposedly have a speaking role in the scene, some photo op for the campaign of Wisconsin state senatorial hopeful Jack Abbott (sorry, I only know "Days of Our Lives", so I've got nothing on this Jack Abbott fellow). The episode airs Wednesday, June 20th, so have your wife/girlfriend/illegal immigrant maid set up the TiVo for you.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast of Falcon Crest, only on SOAPnet...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Can't Stand the Waiting

Breath bated. Check.

Hair neatly combed. Well, to the best of his ability, check.

Tie clipped in place. Check.

Chris Farley interview impersonation honed. Check.

Sometime this week, intrepid G:TB proprietor T. Coraghessen Boyle is scheduled to meet, live and in person, the inspirational foundation for all things Gheorghe. As our man will be "working" at a professional function during the course of this interaction, discretion and poise will be at a premium. If he's gonna keep his job and we're gonna keep this blog going, we'll need your help.

In that light, we ask you, the G:TB community, to provide your helpful hints for getting our guy through this occasion, fraught as it is with both peril and opportunity. Advise away in the comments section below.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Tale of Douchebaggery

"It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times."

December 20, 2004 - Despite being regarded as one of baseball's better GMs (we will not be discussing the Kei Igawa signing today), Brian Cashman swigs a bottle of Nyquil, scans the available free agent pitchers, and is awestruck by the 3.00 ERA and 18-8 record of 28-year-old Carl Pavano, a man once traded for Pedro Martinez (big whoop, he also was traded for Cliff Floyd and Guerrero black sheep family member Wilton). Cashman, obviously high on crack, ignores the fact that Pavano was a sub-.500 pitcher with an ERA closer to 5.00 than 4.00 in his previous 6 big league seasons and signs him to a 4 yr/$39.95 million deal (don't say $40 mil or Carl will get upset).

How has his Yankees career turned out so far? Rather than force a bad analogy on you (probably involving Carrot Top or Pauly Shore), I'll let you decide for yourself:

2005: 17 GS, 4-6 record, 4.77 ERA, 1.47 WHIP
Hmmm, not a great start. Why all the missed games you say? This year he was gone by June with a bum shoulder. Frail doesn't even begin to describe Carl.

2006: 0 GS...what a dick
A misprint you say? Nope. Carl "bruised his buttocks" (I wish I was making that up) in a spring training game and provided ZERO to the Yankees rotation in 2006. He also managed to break two ribs in a car crash during the summer, and waited until the week he was finally supposed to start a game to tell the Yankees.

2007: 2 GS, 1-0, 4.76 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
A work in progress. Well, no, a complete debacle in progress. Is he hurt? Is he faking it? The New York Times claims "Many in the organization believe Carl Pavano wants to have reconstructive surgery even though his elbow may not be damaged enough to require it." This guy is the definition of soft. When Mike Mussina is giving you shit and calling you "American Idle", you know there are problems.

By my count, that is 5 wins as a Yankee, or just under $8 million a win. If the Kevin Brown and Chan Ho Park contracts never happen, I contend Pavano's deal would have to be regarded as the worst contract ever given a pitcher.

Since I, like Carl, haven given up on his 2007 season, I eagerly await the 2008 Carl Pavano Adventure (if he ever pitches for the Yanks again) about as much as I await the release of yet another Larry the Cable Guy movie. Lucky for me, that film opens today (honestly, who greenlights shit like Delta Farce?) Carl plans on attending the premiere with his smoking hot girlfriend, and blowing out his knee squeezing into the aisle middle seat.

"It is a far, far better thing that I (never) do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better (DL) rest that I go to than I have ever known."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Laces Out" Night at the Ballpark

The Red Sox Class A team, the Lowell Spinners, sure do seem to know promotions. I count 38 promotional nights already, with the newest addition being June 24th, when the Spinners will trot out Stephen "You're no Vinatieri, You Bum" Gostowski to kick autographed footballs into the stands as part of "New England Patriots Night" at the Spinners' LeLacheur Park. I can only hope Spinners RHP Felix Ventura can get involved in this.

"I'm looking for Stephen Gostowski...and a clean pair of shorts."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More Brilliance from MLB

Some comments over at Jerry's Wheelhouse have led me to my pulpit at G:TB. My apologies in advance for the heavy-handedness. I just like to call bullshit where I see it.

I find it amazing that suddenly the blame for Josh Hancock's death is getting thrown the way of baseball locker rooms and not his notable alcoholism and his penchant for the Irish taxi. ("Hailing a green checkered.) Every two-bit journalist seems to be up in arms that there was ever beer served in clubhouses. Is anyone really thinking this will significantly curb ballplayers' drinking? Is there supposed to be a message in this?

Maybe, just maybe, the propaganda shouldn't fixate on liability concerns cloaked as moral ground and the notion that baseball players drinking in their workplace is outrageous; maybe it should be about pleading for responsibility and accountability when you drink, but those are two words whose mere mention makes most Americans cower. At best they're terms used in a very, very hollow manner.Yep, I sound hypocritical, but when I joke about "reckless bartenders overserving me" and such, that's sarcasm pointed directly back at my own flaws.

How many pro athletes have DUI's now? How many can easily afford some form of transportation other than their own vehicle? How many times did Hancock play a drunken Pac-Man with the highway stripes without one of his close confidants -- close enough to publicly weep over his loss -- taking him aside, even kicking the crap out of him if need be? It's not a criticism, it's illustrating an area of need. Keeping Bud Lights out of exactly one section of the stadium is not such a need.

Teach friends to come forward and grab buddies by the nape of the neck; re-stress to people everywhere with concrete examples that they simply have to call cabs, hide keys, do whatever it takes. Step up for those who are impaired. Again, pot-kettle here, I know. But I've hidden keys and forcibly called cabs and lost a friend to drunk driving and had relatives get DUI's and argued a lot when comrades tried like hell to get me to rethink driving drunk . . . and appreciated it like hell the next day.

Getting off the soapbox for now, but with every story of a baseball team banning drinking from its clubhouse, it strikes me as the same as colleges banning kegs. Well, that took care of the problem, wipe your hands and call it a day. Or maybe it's just inconvenient and annoying to those affected while not drying anyone out a drop. Exert that energy more wisely.

It reminds me of an episode of "Donahue" from the fall of 1991; some tall, bearded genius among the audience brought a roar of applause with a tempered, rational look at how misguided so much of today's alcohol-related policies and actions are. If anyone can track that brilliant guy down, I'd love to buy him a beer.

Because Mark missed us so much...

...I went back to the YouTube well, and for some reason decided this would be today's filler post. The clip is mighty entertaining to begin with, but the video description takes the cake: "A scene from one of the finest American films of the last quarter century." Mayhugh couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

King of the Hill(s)

Get ready for a myriad of nonsensical baseball-related posts from G:TB in the next few months. Let the horror begin today with our version of the name game...

Aaron Hill - A potential All-Star second baseman in the making for the Toronto Blue Jays. After two competent but unexciting seasons in the bigs, Aaron is absolutely smoking the ball to start the 2007 season: .313, 6 HR, 21 RBI, .586 SLG. His six homers already match his career high. Batting anywhere from 5th to 8th in a powerful Blue Jays line-up, Aaron should be able to excel all season long under the dim Canadian lights.

Henry Hill - American Mob legend. Had a great run. Lufthansa ended up being a big problem.

Shawn Hill - Given the uncertainty of John Patterson's paper mache arm, Shawn very well may be the Washington Nationals ace of the future (stop laughing, these guys are actually pitching much better, the hitting, yep, that is still atrocious). Hill is 2-3 on the year, but with a 3.00 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. The kid has 25 Ks to only 11 BBs. His worst start of the season was last night, where he gave up three earned in only 6.1 IP vs. the Padres. Prior to that start, he had not given up more than 2 ER in any game.

Alfred Hawthorn Hill, better known as Benny Hill - Comedic genius. Just look.

Rich Hill - Since Carlos Zambrano seems mentally incapable of leading a pitching staff, and Prior and Wood have finally become afterthoughts in Chicago, Rich is the young stud pitcher the Cubs thought they had (several times) the last 5 years. His 12-to-6 curveball is devastating, and a beauty to watch. 29 Ks, 11 BBs, a 3-1 record and 1.07 ERA (and even more absurd 0.87 WHIP). Swint, this guy is the Cubs future AND he's a Michigan alum - you need a jersey ASAP.

One Tree Hill - Crappy "teenage" drama Swint loves (these actors all make Ian Ziering's portrayal of an 18-year-old Steve Sanders believable). Bonus points for giving Rick Fox a job.

Also Receiving Votes: Hank Hill, cartoon patriarch; Bob Hill, ranges from horrendous (Grizzlies) to nondescript (second Magic stint) NBA coach.

And your winner: Rich Hill, King of the Hills...G:TB predicts a Cy Young award for the young Cubbie within the next three years.