The Gray Pages

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Team Williams

There are three Hall of Famers named Williams: Billy Williams, the Cubs left fielder in the 1960s and early 70s; Ted Williams of the Red Sox; and Joe Williams, a pitcher with the Kansas City Monarchs.

The following Williamses were All-Stars: Bernie Williams, CF for the Yankees; Davey Williams, who had two nice years playing second base for the New York Giants in the 1950s; Matt Williams, seventeen years (!) playing third base, mostly for the Giants and later Arizona; Mike Williams, a Pirate reliever selected for two All-Star games in the early part of this decade; Mitch Williams, the Wild Thing; Stan Williams -- whose baseball card I once owned for some reason -- a starter-then-reliever who had a nice 1960 at 23 years old and a very nice 1970 at 33 years and otherwise unremarkable; and starting pitcher Woody Williams who, whatever else his flaws, always seem to pitch in the playoffs. Scott Williamson is not eligible.

So what do we have?

SP: Joe Williams
LF: Ted Williams
LF: Billy Williams
CF: Bernie Williams
2B: Davey Williams
3B: Matt Williams
RP: Mike Williams
RP: Mitch Williams
SP: Stan Williams
SP: Woody Williams

Manager Dick Williams (selected over manager Ted Williams, who did a pretty fair job for the Senators/Rangers) moves Billy Williams to RF. Team Williams needs a catcher, a first baseman, and a shortstop.

SP: Joe Williams
C: ?
1B: ?
2B: Davey Williams
3B: Matt Williams
SS: ?
LF: Ted Williams
CF: Bernie Williams
RF: Billy Williams

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Today's baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me."

So rants Andy Rooney. As it happens, there are lots of Rodriguezes. Lots of Ramirezes, too, which is a name that's easy to confuse with Rodriguez if they're all named Rodriguez to you.

It got me thinking: what's the best All-Time Name Team that could be created?

1B: Rodriguez
2B: Rodriguez
3B: Rodriguez
and so forth.

I don't really want to do the work on this, but I think a squad of Williamses could beat a squad of Rodriguezes or Ramirezes or any other names. Off the top of my head:

LF: Ted Williams
CF: Bernie Williams
3B: Billy Williams
1B: Matt Williams (since 3rd base is taken)
SP: Woody Williams

There are two Hall of Famers named Collins; two Gibsons; two Hubbards (one's an ump); two Jacksons; a Kell, a Kelly, and two Kelleys -- which ought to count for something; four Robinsons (a ha!); two Smiths; and three Williamses.

If I do another post on this, I'll envision one game of Williamses versus Robinsons, winner-take-nothing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tony Batista

By now, you have certainly read reports of Sen. Larry Craig's (R-Idaho) arrest for soliciting anonymous gay sex in the Minneapolis airport. The reporting has been couched in other terms too dull to repeat here, but it's pretty clear what he was doing; he pled guilty to it.

I'd like to spend a moment deconstructing his defense. Quoting According to [the police] report, Craig denied he was trying to proposition the officer and maintained that he used “a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that [the undercover officer's] foot may have touched mine” (emphasis added).

The distance between one's feet, or -- in medical jargon -- "stance," while using a toilet is hemmed in by one's pants, or specifically the largest diameter of one's pants while said pants are dropped around one's ankles. (I'm not sure if the ovular shape of pants lends itself to having a "diameter," per se, but I think the image suffices.) A fatter man would be able to extend his legs further apart than a skinny man, thanks not to his flexibility but because there's a clear relationship between the circumference of one's pants and the maximum diameter of the pants while warming the ankles. And that distance is as far apart as feet may be.

"Ah, yes," I hear you asking, "What if one took off one's pants in order to use the bathroom? Wouldn't that allow for a larger 'stance'?" That's true, but we have no record of Mr. Craig claiming to have removed his pants -- and this would have provided a stronger defense as to what his purpose was that day.

Future disgraced former Senator Craig, looking as his official Senate photo, does not appear to be particularly fat. He can't have an abnormally wide spread, not without removing his pants. If he was able to pull this off, he has an historically wide-open stance. He would be the Tony Batista of dropping a deuce. The story does not hold water.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Great moments in the history of the world

August 8, 1992: Jack Clark Files for Bankruptcy

JACK CLARK, in the second year of a three-year, $8.7 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, has filed for bankruptcy and listed $6.7 million in debts. "He had some expensive hobbies, and I think they got ahead of him," said FLETCHER A. ROBBE of Long Beach, Calif., the ballplayer's lawyer.

The 36-year-old Clark filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on July 30 in Santa Ana, Calif. Details of the filing appeared in The Orange County Register yesterday. Clark, batting only .211 and sidelined with shoulder injuries, could not be reached for comment.

Clark, who previously played for San Francisco, St. Louis, the Yankees and San Diego in a career that began in 1975, listed debts of more than $11.4 million and assets of nearly $4.8 million in his filing.

He was also listed as having bought 18 automobiles, including a 1990 Ferrari that cost $717,000 and three 1992 Mercedes Benz cars costing between $103,000 and $143,000. He still owes money on 17 of the automobiles, is liable for about $400,000 in Federal and state taxes and lost about $1 million in the past year in a drag-racing venture, the petition said. (AP)

... incidentally, Jack Clark's ability to waste his $8.7 million pales in comparison to Lou Gorman's ability to waste Jean Yawkey's $8.7 million. At least Jack Clark got a car.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I've never been much for creeds

This site's motto -- the plural of anecdote is not data -- is tested every time a player switches from the AL to NL. I'm looking at you, Joel Pinero.

If I were an agent, I would have my client sign a one-year deal to play in the NL Central (or pitch in the NL West) and then put him on the market for a huge payday. Fox Sports ranks the top 6 teams in baseball as hailing from the Junior Circuit. Sounds about right to me. But I question their ranking of the Devil Rays as the worst team in baseball. They'd be a touch under .500 in the NL.

Part of me wants to give Jim Bowden credit for what's turning into a pleasant season. And yet, the quality of the opponents is a huge distraction. Kudos to the Braves for bucking the NL trend and trying to make themselves better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

White House predictions, Part II

In the middle of February, I made my first stab at predicting the nominees of each party. Here's my second round:

1. Hillary Clinton
2. John Edwards
3. Barack Obama
4. Bill Richardson
5. Joe Biden
... Moving Hillary to the top means I've succumbed to the conventional wisdom on this race. Bill Richardson is disappointing me.

1. Mike Huckabee
2. Mitt Romney
3. Fred Thompson
4. Rudy Guiliani

... Huckabee stays in the lead spot, and Romney is still No. 2. McCain and Brownback have dropped off my list entirely.

... keeping in mind that I predicted the Yankees would fold like umbrellas.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The word "surreal" is tossed around lightly these days

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Who's Next?

Anti-incumbent sentiment throws out some veterans

... In the Legislature, Erik Fleming, D-Clinton, lost the House seat he was first elected to in 1999, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Robertson, R-Moss Point, was trailing 20 points behind his primary opponent. Robertson, who's held the seat since 1992, drew criticism for killing a cigarette tax increase and grocery tax decrease plan.

Watson upsets Robertson
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The Mississippi Press

PASCAGOULA -- Newcomer Michael Watson apparently defeated longtime incumbent state Sen. Tommy Robertson as of 11 p.m. and with 23 of 20 precincts voting. (Ed's note: What the hell?)

Robertson received 2,730 votes, or 39 percent, and Watson had claimed 4,228, or 61 percent. A total of 6,959 people voted in the race.

The winner will face off against Democratic candidate and former Gautier legislator Ray Vecchio in the general election Nov. 6. Vecchio garnered 1,026 votes with 17 of 23 precincts reported.

Votes counts are unofficial.

Watson, a Pascagoula native who practices law for a local defense firm, has said his top priorities include fully funding the Mississippi Adequate Education Program every year, creating more jobs in the state, promoting family values and listening to the needs of the community.

Watson has also said that rebuilding local businesses after Hurricane Katrina should take initial priority over attracting new, out-of-state business.

"I want to work on the businesses we have now," Watson said in a July interview with The Mississippi Press. "I want to build local business first. Then let's worry about bringing in outside business."