MLB General

2008 MLB Payrolls

It’s good to be A-Rod

The 2008 Major League Baseball payrolls were released today and the Yankees somehow managed to spend more than ever with a total payroll of $209M. That is a $14M increase over last year’s payroll, which incidentally bought them a first round exit out of the playoffs by the Indians, who cost about a third as much. It’s hardly surprising that the Yankees are #1 when you consider that A-Rod will make more than the entire Florida Marlins roster this year.

The real surprise is that the Red Sox are no longer #2.  Boston actually pared payroll by $10M this season and have been supplanted by the Detroit Tigers, who acquired Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera in the offseason, apparently with designs to win it all this year.  The Tigers spent a league high $43.5M more this year vs 2007.  Other teams who really opened up the checkbook this year are the Mets (+$20M) and the… Rays?  Tampa Bay spent an extra $20M this year but still ranks next to last with a total payroll of $43.8M.  

Besides the Red Sox, the Giants, A’s, and Orioles all stand out for significantly reducing payroll when MLB as a whole spent an additional $203M this year vs 2007.  For the record, the Rockies only spent $54M on payroll last year.

The entire 2008 MLB Payroll numbers after the jump.

Baltimore Orioles

Fans laugh at the Orioles for a whole new reason

Baltimore and Tampa Bay put together a pretty exciting game that tallied up 23 total hits and ended with the Orioles grabbing the victory 8-4. Considering that Baltimore had picked up just their second win in the last 14 games after getting outscored by 68 during the embarrassing span you’d figure there would be more to talk about than Melvin Mora’s wrestling match with a bat weight. Wrong.

The Baltimore Orioles still have a sense of a humor despite recent struggles on the field.

Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora had a hard time getting a weight off his bat in the first inning of Tuesday night’s game at Tampa Bay, prompting laughter from his teammates in the dugout and the nearby fans.

Mora pounded his bat several times in a futile attempt to get the weight off as he approached the plate. When the weight finally dropped from the bat after a successful attempt, the fans along the third base side near the Baltimore dugout cheered and Mora responded by tipping his helmet toward them.

Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself then you’re just going look like an idiot while everyone else is laughing at you.


[]: Orioles, Fans Enjoy Mora’s Fight With Bat Weight

MLB General

The Full Count: Baltimore Beatdown

1. Power Rangers: In perhaps the most amazing accomplishment so far this season, the Texas Rangers beat the Orioles 30-3 on Wednesday. That set a record for the most runs any major league team has scored in a game since 1900. Incredibly, the Rangers only scored in four different innings, but in those innings they scored 5, 9, 10, and 6 runs. They were leading 14-3 going into the eighth, then put up sixteen runs their last two innings. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vasquez each had two homers and seven RBIs. David Murphy had five runs and a team-high five of the Rangers’ 29 hits. All nine Rangers in the starting lineup had a multi-hit game. On the Orioles’ side of things, their four pitchers who appeared each allowed at least six runs. Their staff ERA for the season increased from 4.39 to 4.60 in one game. Meanwhile, the Rangers passed five teams on the runs scored list, now ranking ninth in the league in that category. Then in game two of a doubleheader, Texas scored nine more runs to set the American League record for most runs in a doubleheader with 39. Also, their 30 RBIs set a major league record, and their 29 hits were the most in 15 years. In what has been a mostly forgettable season for the Rangers this year, they had one of the more memorable performances of the season by any team.

2. The Streak Ender: If your team has a winning streak going, Jake Peavy will be happy to end it for you. The Mets had won four in a row and seven of their last eight, but Peavy more or less shut them down. He had 11 strikeouts in six innings, allowing two runs as the Padres won 7-5. Peavy, who is 14-5 with a 2.21 ERA, has to be considered the leading Cy Young candidate in the National League. His performance on Wednesday was his 7th start this season with 10 or more strikeouts. He leads the National League in that category 186. There is bad news for the Padres rotation though. Chris Young, who leads the league in ERA, has a hurt back and could go onto the DL again. That would be poor timing, considering San Diego is trying to hold on to a slim wild card lead.

3. Getting started in August: Albert Pujols and the Cardinals had both performed well below expectations this season until recently. Pujols had a great July, but has really turned it on this past week. He homered in his fifth straight game on Wednesday, giving him seven long balls this month. Wednesday’s homer was his 30th of the season, and his effort put his OPS above 1.000 for the first time all season. As for Pujols’ team, the Cardinals won their 10th game in their last 13. Yadier Molina and Jim Edmonds added homers and Braden Looper had a solid start as the Cards beat the Marlins 6-4. They are only three games back of the division-leading Cubs now.

Player of the Day: The entire Rangers starting lineup: 30 runs, 6 homers, 30 RBIs, 29 hits in a 30-3 win over Baltimore.

MLB General

The Full Count: Rally caps are working

1. Best team in the league?: Right now, the team with the best record in the majors is the Boston Red Sox, who are 25-11 after a huge comeback win over the Orioles on Sunday. The Sox were down 5-0 to Baltimore entering the ninth inning, but a combination of errors, walks, and timely hitting erased the deficit as Boston won 6-5. There were two crucial errors, the first on a dropped popup by catcher Ramon Hernandez, the second on a dropped throw at first by pitcher Chris Ray. The latter error allowed two runs to score and ended the game. The Orioles ruined a great start by Jeremy Guthrie, who went 8 and a third and did not give up an earned run. The Red Sox now have an 8-game division lead, the largest in the majors. They will face the Tigers, Braves and Yankees over the next week in a crucial series of games for them.

2. Another ninth-inning rally: The A’s found themselves down by 2 entering the ninth inning against the Indians. Like the Red Sox, they found the deficit to be no problem. They hit two homers in the ninth–the first a two-run shot by Milton Bradley that tied the game up. Then red-hot Jack Cust hit a three-run, game-ending homer. It was his 6th homer in only 7 games this season. Four of the five runs were charged to Joe Borowski, Cleveland’s struggling closer who now has a 9.00 ERA. However, prior to Sunday he hadn’t allowed a run since April 25, and Borowski’s 12 saves are among the best in the majors, so he likely won’t be relieved of his duties as of now. Both Cleveland and Oakland now are a game back in their respective divisions.

3. Mets shut down Milwaukee: The more experienced Mets took a series against the Brewers that matched two of the NL’s best teams. New York’s 2-1 series win was highlighted by a 9-1 win on Sunday. Oliver Perez pitched 8-plus innings with only one run and two hits allowed. The Mets stole four bases (including three by David Wright) and hit two homers in the rout. However, Atlanta still leads them by a half-game in the division, while the Brewers are up by 7 in the weak Central.

Co-Players of the Day: Torii Hunter, Twins: 3-5, 2 HR (8), 7 RBIs in a 16-4 rout of the Tigers.

Fred Lewis, Giants: 5-6, 4 RBIs, hit for the cycle in only his 16th career game.

Stat of the Day: Of the Twins’ 23 homers this season, 17 have come from either Torii Hunter or Justin Morneau. Only six different players on the team have gone deep all season.

Walk Off: The Brewers are easily the best team in the Central, and should run away with that division. However, I still don’t think they can beat some of the National League’s best teams. Right now they have only played 6 games against teams with a winning record, and they are 3-3 in those contests. Obviously that’s not enough evidence to judge a team on, but there will be after they play the Twins, Dodgers, Padres, and Braves in consecutive series in the coming weeks. If they emerge from those games with a winning record, then the Brewers will be legit contenders instead of a team that’s taking advantage of their weak division.

New York Mets

What the hell is going on with athletes and hair?

Not to be outdone by some piddly team from Baltimore and their mustaches, the NY Mets have decided to all shave their heads in a show of solidarity. There’s no significance behind their decision to shave their heads other than “because they can.” Only Jose Reyes and Aaron Sele declined to get the shorn. Jose because he probably loves his hair and Aaron because he has some family photos he has to take on Thursday.

Second is this photo of Dwight Gooden with what appears to be some sort of back of the head soul patch/target. It’s one of the most ridiculous haircuts we’ve seen in basketball since that flaming hairstyle by Memphis’ Jeremy Hunt this year.

And finally, here’s a random video of Manny Ramirez stroking Julian Tavarez’s hair. Don’t ask. Don’t tell.

Baltimore Orioles

Rick Dempsey strikes out in his first at-bat of the season

Rick Dempsey knows how to be a professional ball player and he also knows the ins and outs of being a studio host on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, but he still has a lot to learn about being a broadcaster inside the booth. Seems like Rick is having a bit of trouble with the whole improv and spur of the moment conversation that is essential to a live game.

In his first game of the season as a commentator on Saturday, Dempsey made a complete jackass out of himself when Laura Giuliani, the wife of O’s left fielder Jay Gibbons, was in the booth to promote an upcoming fundraiser intended to raise awareness about domestic violence. So, what’s one of the first things to come out of Dempsey’s mouth but, of course, a completely retarded joke about Giuliani strangling her husband. Everything is going pretty smoothly until about the 2:45 mark of the video:

Dempsey came out and apologized for his comment but there’s no rewind button in life, so, unfortunately, people are going to remember his little slip of the tongue mind. Things sure are a lot easier in the safe confines of the studio where all the words just magically appear on the screen in front of you, aren’t they Rick?


[]: Dempsey’s remarks no laughing matter

Tampa Bay Rays

He sure can move for a big guy

This might be the most amusing thing you see all day. Is that Justin Timberlake in there?

(Hat tip: Larry Brown Sports)

MLB General

The Full Count: Remember Gary Sheffield?

1. Sheffield’s back: Gary Sheffield took more than a month to give any kind of contribution to the Tigers whatsoever. Yesterday he finally gave the breakout performance every Tigers was fan was waiting for as the team beat the Orioles 3-2 to complete a sweep. Sheffield went 4-4, with a solo homerun and RBI single that provided the difference in this game. He raised his average from .191 to .226 in one day, and in the past ten days his average has nearly doubled. Additionally, he stole his fifth base of the season, which puts him at a career-high pace. The Tigers now have a four-game winning streak going, and they may finally have the slugger they were looking for.

2. From Champs to Chumps: The Cardinals are having one of the worst seasons ever for a defending champ. Due to a five-game losing streak, they have dropped to last place in the division and have the second-worst record in the entire National League. On Wednesday they were shut out 4-0 by the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers, who have the best record in the NL. Starter Anthony Reyes is now the official unluckiest pitcher in baseball. Despite allowing either 3 or 4 earned runs in each of his five outings, he is 0-5 due to awful run support. In fact, the Cardinals have only given him 1.2 runs per game in support, due to an offense with a .245 team average. Don’t blame Albert Pujols for their struggles; he is currently on an 11-game hitting streak that has increased his average by 90 points. The Cardinals can’t wait until starter Chris Carpenter returns, as all of their current starters have an ERA above 5.00 with the exception of Braden Looper.

3. Still perfect: Josh Beckett may be the Red Sox’s team MVP through one month of the season. He has yet to be beaten, and continued his success Wednesday by improving to 6-0 against the A’s. Beckett pitched 7 innings, with 7 strikeouts and 3 runs allowed. It wasn’t his best outing, but the Red Sox gave him plenty of support in a 6-4 win. The Red Sox are 17-9 and have the biggest division lead in the American League; Beckett has accounted for over one-third of those wins.

Player of the Day: Barry Bonds, Giants: 2-4, HR (9, 743 career), 4 RBIs in a 5-3 win over the Rockies.

Baltimore Orioles

Sep 27 in Sports History: Robbie Alomar spits on an ump

In 1996: Roberto Alomar of the Orioles proved that yes, most professional baseball players are out-of-touch douche bags when he spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck following an argument over balls and strikes in Toronto. If that wasn’t bad enough, Alomar remarked after the game, “I used to respect him a lot. He had problems with his family when his son died (of a rare brain disease) — I know that’s something real tough in life — but after that he just changed. He became real bitter.” When hearing Alomar’s words the next day, Hirschbeck charged into the Orioles’ clubhouse and confronted Alomar, but was restrained. More controversy was created when acting commissioner Bud Selig allowed Alomar to play in the postseason and not have to serve a paltry five-game suspension until the beginning of the 1997 season. (baseball

In 1999: The Detroit Tigers played their final game at Tiger Stadium (also referred to as Griffin Stadium in the early days) with each player wearing the number of a retired great from Detroit. Gabe Kaplar represented Ty Cobb in centerfield and wore no number. The Tigers defeated the Royals 8-2. The stadium opened in 1912 in downtown Detroit and some great moments included the feats of Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Denny McClain’s 31 pitching wins in 1968 and World Series titles in 1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984. (

In 1984: Jon Facenda, the legendary voice of NFL Films, died at the age of 72. Facenda, who also worked as a Philadelphia anchor, was there at the beginning, narrating the first NFL Films feature “They Call It Pro Football.” His deep, rich voice — revered as “the Voice of God” by football fans — was often mimicked by the likes of Chris Berman (who actually made up “the frozen tundra” — Facenda never said it). He was replaced by Harry Kalas. (

Baltimore Orioles

Orioles fans walk out in protest

Is that Oddjob?

A sports talk radio station in Baltimore, WNST organized a protest against current owner Peter Angelos for making the Orioles a terrible team.

WE, the lifelong fans of the Baltimore Orioles, demand new ownership. We want someone other than Peter G. Angelos and his group owning, making decisions and fortifying the baseball team and civic treasure that is the Orioles.

After 13 years of bad management, fan apathy (and in some cases fan abuse) and horrible baseball, we feel it is time for a fan revolt and we will use this website and “rally” day as our only means of unifying, coordinating and, hopefully at some point, taking back a tremendous source of civic pride, joy and community formerly known as the Baltimore Orioles.

Well, apparently the protest got about a thousand orioles fans to buy the cheapest tickets in the house and walk out at 5:08 PM. Baltimore averages only about 27 thousand fans a game so a thousand folks is somewhat significant but hardly as much of a dent as this photo would indicate.

Sure it’s a PR embarassment for the ownership group of the Orioles but is the rally going to do anything but be a black eye for a couple of days and some free press for the radio station that organized it? Probably not. Still, kudos to the thousand or so Orioles fans who felt passionate enough about their team to get out there. A thousand folks isn’t that much but it beats the usual attendance at Braves playoff games…

[Oriole Magic]: THE RALLY

[Yahoo]: Orioles protesters walk out on team