Baseball Toaster The Juice Blog
Monthly archives: August 2005


Major League Bling
2005-08-30 21:05
by Scott Long

I'm generally not a basher of athletes and how much they make, as I realize it's all about them free markets. (Do I sound like Adam Smith?) Every once in awhile, though, there is a story, which makes me feel a bit differently. Take for example the latest incident with Dwight Gooden and him fleeing police. The thing I couldn't get past was that the car Gooden was driving was a 2004 BMW. With all the drug and alcohol problems Gooden has had, the idea that he still has enough Benjamins to motor around in a high-end vehicle is a bit depressing to me. I love those Behind the Music stories where an athlete or musician falls hard from their perch, as it feeds the jealous side of my brain. If I were the head of Gooden's legal defense I would blame the MLB pension for the incident, noting that "without the generous MLB pension, Mr. Gooden would have been driving a Ford Fiesta, which would have left him unable to outrun even a moped."

More evidence on how great your life is if you're a Major League pitcher are the following real estate listings for a couple of hurlers. Featured in the July 1 issue of The Week magazine, these listings just cement the notion that the best guarantee for a professional career in baseball is to be a left-hander who can consistently throw strikes.

Situated on 77 acres of picturesque Indiana countryside (in Mishawaka, IN), with a gated entrance and a half-mile paved drive, this luxurious home was built in 1902 and is now owned by Seattle Mariners pitcher Jaime Moyer. Amenities include five bedrooms, four full baths, four fireplaces, and a sauna. Also on the grounds are a baseball field, black-bottom swimming pool, hot tub, fish pond, lofted barn, and horse stalls. The home is located two hours from Chicago and 15 minutes from Notre Dame. List price: $2.75 million.

Hampton Estate is set on 30 acres close to downtown Denver (Evergreen, CO), and is owned by Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Hampton. The elaborate main residence includes a master suite with private deck, three additional bedroom suites with private baths, five fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen, loft library, four-car heated garage, and landscaped garden with 40-foot waterfall. The house is currently on auction and has most recent been listed at $4.95 million.

A great story I would like to read would be on how much the average athlete loses when he sells his designer MTV crib, filled with all of its custom bling bling. My guess is that Hampton might make some money on his casa, as it's built in an area that has a lot of high-end buyers. On the other hand, Moyer spending nearly 3 million dollars on a house in Mishawaka, Indiana is muy, moooooeeee loco. Unless Charlie Weis is still looking for a new pad or Moyer's father-in-law, Digger Phelps is making more money at ESPN than I think he is, I just don't see who is going to be able to afford a 2.75 mansion in St. Joseph County. I'm guessing Jaime Moyer thought if he built a baseball field in the middle of his pasture, they (future homebuyers) would come. Crafty on the mound, daffy off it, seems to be the story. Of course, I'd like to have his "problems" and I know Dwight Gooden would trade places with Moyer in a New York Mets' minute.

College Football Bloggers?
2005-08-29 08:34
by Scott Long

Scott's Rule No. 42: The 2 best regular seasons in sports are baseball and college football. With the 162 game schedule, MLB enables teams to grow, as the season is as much about evolution as anything else. (See the Oakland A's almost every year.) College Football is the diametrical opposite, with every game being crucial to winning a national title. I guess I'm a man of extremes, as I love the pacing of both seasons.

While we know there are a lot of excellent baseball bloggers, I don't know of one good football blogger, so if you know of a quality one, please drop me an email or post the address in the comment section. If you are looking for the best college football preview, pick up Phil Steele's, as it even trumps Sporting News and Street and Smith. Football handicapper Steele focuses his whole year on football and the mix of analysis and statistics is unsurpassed in his jam-packed preview.

Look out for my college football preview later this week.

Take a Look Into My Grab Bag
2005-08-26 18:30
by Scott Long

Had a list of topics I wanted to get to, so here is my latest, written for those with short-attention span's.

The last issue of Sporting News has an interesting cover piece entitled "The Stats that Matter". While the baseball section of their special report, offers little new, the sections on football and basketball are worth checking out. It seems like basketball is the sport which statheads can impact the most at this point, as outside of few people like Dean Oliver, the subject has been virtually ignored. In the college basketball section, Juice Blog friend, Ken Pomeroy is focused on. If I was a professional handicapper, I would be checking Ken's stats on a daily basis.

I thought Maxim magazine had dedicated its focus on sexy women, but this month they must have decided to go a different direction, because their covergirl was the homely heiress, Nikki Hilton. I've never understood the sex symbol status of Paris Hilton (though the Carl's Jr./Hardees ad was pretty hot), but she is a goddess compared to her sister. Considering that neither one of these sisters have any discernible talent, outside of being media whores, I have no problem ripping them. The real truth is that Kathy (mom) is the hottest Hilton. (Primo MILF) I could go into any major city nightclub on a weekend night and I would bet half the women in the bar would be better looking than Nikki Hilton. Same goes for Ashley Simpson, but at least she has a nice rack.

While a little late to the party, (see my post below), Nicholas von Hoffman of the Huffington Post, has a piece on the Are those at the liberal version of the Drudge Report checking The Juice for story ideas? I wouldn't be surprised, but Nicky von (as I call him) has a different spin on the XXX.Church, taking the angle that it's the religious who are most afflicted by porn.
"The Christian porn slave is more likely to pop the gun in his pants than pop off a Venezuelan politician. Porn, considering the thoughts it gives rise to, is life affirming. Porn addicts do not pay good money to get onto those websites to see doctors kill babies. Religious people are more susceptible to porn dependency than normal people. Religion and porn are both highly repetitive activities. They are conditioned to enjoy repetition. Same prayers over and over, same muff shots over and over." (All of you who are for the abolition of weasel wrapping, please send your cards and letters to Nick von Hoff and not me, as I do not agree with all of Nicky vH's comments, though I hope at his age to filled with as much venom.)

If you are short on time, I highly recommend subscribing to The Week magazine, as it compiles information from the top newspapers and magazines to give you a breakdown on what is newsworthy across the continent. A short blurb in this week's issue caught my eye. "British police announced they are searching for a man dressed in only a diaper who approaches women on the street and asks if they know of any nearby diaper changing stations." (Since the man was not described as wearing a Twins baseball cap, in addition to his Huggies, my initial thought that it could be TFD is probably misplaced.)

Finally, for those of you that are upset that baseball is being ignored around here, let me offer that September's Playboy magazine features a short article and pictorial with Jose's ex, Jessica Canseco, who is a superfinefox. Top quote from her is that "Jose's (testicles) were nonexistent. They're not there." Jessica did offer up that the human growth hormone Jose was taking had made his penis larger. "Your penis is a muscle, so it makes it heavy, solid," she says. "He was very well-endowed down there."
All I know is I'm looking forward to Will breaking down this piece of medical info in his next Under the Knife colunn.

XXXChurch.Com is on the Porn Patrol
2005-08-23 20:51
by Scott Long

Note: This post has some links to sites which are adult in nature.

I'm sure many of Baseball Toaster's readers have serious porn addictions. I know I would think less of you, if you didn't. Now, for those of you that feel that you need to gain some control of your seedy desires, let me present,

X3Church is an organization started by 2 young pastors, focused on bringing awareness to hairy palms. They describe their mission on their website this way.

"Hey a little porn never hurt anybody, right? C'mon dude! Get a clue. A little porn is like a little heroine(sic). It's gonna jack you up one way or the other. I know this may be a surprise to some of you, but you can't have your cake and eat it too. You have got to decide what type of person you are going to be."

Well, from reading this description, I would have to classsify myself as a big cake eater. The church has made it's money from the beginning of time, trying to make people feel badly about their predelictions, so I guess it would only make sense that some "dudes" like Pastor Bill and Ted would tinker with the whole "spare the rod" bibical verse." These haters of slapping the greasy gopher follow in a line of religious zealots like John Harvey Kellogg, who started his cereal company as part of his fanaticism against all things sexual. Here was his following idea about masturbation.

"A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment."

All I can say is a life without burping the worm would leave one with a serious case of grape nuts. Just like anything else, too much time spent on a hobby can be a problem. (you know who you are--- you, who spend 6 hours a day on, pumping the gas at the self-service island to shapely young lasses face-sitting on willing participants.) If you fit this description, maybe you might need an intervention, which the reverends against the two finger taco tango would be glad to help you with.

With the help of their friend, Pete the Porno Puppet, these men of the (wash) cloth want to help you with your addiction. Personally, I think these two need to come to grips with themselves, literally and figuratively, but maybe they can help you. Remember, I'm just here to serve my readers.

Parity Stinks
2005-08-20 21:05
by Scott Long

Okay, it's time someone says it. We need to put an asterisk behind whoever wins the 2005 World Series, because there is not a team worthy of being hailed the champ. Sure there have been second-rate champs like the 2003 Marlins, 2002 Angels, 1990 Reds, and any year the Twins won it all, but at least these teams had to beat a high quality opponent to be the ultimate victor. In 2005, all the playoff contenders have major flaws.

The St. Louis Cardinals have followed up 2004's best regular season record with the top mark of 2005, but this is an inferior team to last year's NL champs. The Card's offense is nowhere as good, as their OPS has dropped by 30 points. Considering the age of many of their top players, it's amazing that they have been this good. The combination of their bullpen and Chris Carpenter having career years has kept the St. Louis far ahead of the pack, but considering the pack is the rest of the National League, another asterisk should be considered for that accomplishment.

Despite the miracle performance of the Atlanta Braves, the league just isn't good. The amazingly close NL Wild Card race should be tempered by the fact that these teams shouldn't even be in a playoff race. I mean, when the Dodgers are 10 games below .500, but only 5 games out of 1st place in the NL West, this is the subject the Senate should be conducting a hearing on. I mean does anyone believe that besides possibly the Cardinals, any other NL franchise could beat the AL Champ in 2005? I know some of you would point to the Astros, but I don't even see them making the playoffs, as I have a hunch their Big 3 starters will be lucky to be the Big 2 by the end of the year.

While the AL is superior to the NL, the league also lacks a great team. The White Sox posted a record during the first half of the year that would have given one the impression they might have the skills, but they were somewhat lucky, early on and the injury problems of Frank Thomas have really exposed their lack of a consistent stud hitter in their lineup. The White Sox starting staff is the best 1 through 5 in baseball, but their starters don't have the kind of stuff that makes them a team to fear in the post-season.

Last year, the real World Championship was between the Red Sox and Yankees. Both of them were great teams in 2004, but this year, a mix of injuries (Red Sox) and poor roster decisions (Yankees), have left both as extremely flawed teams. At this late point of the season, the two are struggling to qualify for the playoffs, despite enormous salary disparity advantages versus their competition.

Current AL Wild Card leader, the Oakland A's, lack enough power-hitting to make a run at a World Championship this year, but they could be the best team in baseball by 2006. The addition this month of Casey Kotchman to the Angels lineup has really helped the offense, but their starting pitching is very flawed. The Indians are similar to the Angels, as their starting pitching is questionable, but their offense will keep them in the hunt. The Twins have the pitching, but the season ending injury to Torii Hunter I think will be too much for them to overcome. I would argue that all 4 of these teams were better in 2004, but the mediocrity of 2005 has kept them in the playoff chase.

So put this season under the category of "be careful of what you wish for", because I've always hoped that MLB could have more parity, being tired of knowing the Yankees had an advantage over the rest of the league. Well, unless Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke start pitching like they did last year, 2005's post-season will be one of a lot of mediocre teams fighting it out to be the top dog. (A better description would be, top of the dogs.)

POSTNOTE: Continuing in my process of putting my neck on the chopping block, here are the teams I see in this year's playoffs. AL: White Sox, Red Sox, Angels, and Yankees. NL: Cardinals, Braves, Padres, Marlins.

Best Summer in Television History
2005-08-17 12:38
by Scott Long

It used to be that the major networks were the only one's producing new shows and the summer was a place for reruns. This concept began to change with the advent of HBO developing their own original programming, which they premiered during the summer to full media attention. With the great success that HBO received from this strategy, Showtime and FX networks decided to emulate their cable competitor. The past couple of years, with their market share evaporating, even the major networks have gotten on the bandwagon, realizing that the medium needs a 365-day strategy.

While many rag on television, I would argue that it has never had more quality programs. Considering that major studios are run by their marketing departments, with the majority of releases focused on either big budget effects, remakes of past films and television series, or sequels, it's now rare to hear quality dialogue on the big screen. Many writers and directors have come to the realization that if they want produce quality work, television is the best place to fully develop their themes.

As I mentioned last week's post, The Fat Club FX's "Starved" is the best new show of 2005. Not far behind is a similarly dark comedy, "Weeds", which appears on Showtime. Starring the always-great Mary-Louise Parker, who plays a recently widowed mother of two that decides to sell marijuana to keep her family living in the comfortable suburban life they had grown accustomed to. If you are looking for a darker, edgier version of "Desperate Housewives", this is the place to move to.

Continue reading...

Rituals and Superstitions
2005-08-14 14:03
by Will Carroll

There are some famous rituals in baseball - Wade Boggs chicken, Tony Gwynn's video work, Eric Karros' stretching routine come to mind. Break those and there's likely to be consequences. I'm curious - what rituals, routines or superstitions do you know of by recent players and, if broken, what happens?

Think of this as Part One. This is going somewhere ...

Juice News Note: Welcoming New Staff Member, Ryan Wilkins
2005-08-12 00:23
by Scott Long

A few weeks back, Will and I had posted that we were looking for someone who could help us with some technical tasks that we were either too busy or too lazy to do. We had a number of applicants for the position and we thank you all who applied. Our decision was to go with Ryan Wilkins. If the name sounds familiar, Ryan has written at Baseball Prospectus in the past. We are excited to have him on board here and you will see his writing on different topics here occasionally, in addition to his contributions behind the scenes, making the Juice site be the juiciest it can be. Below this post is a new article Ryan has written on the Oakland A's that both Will and I are proud to post here. I'm sure the topic will please some of the purists who are offended by our discussion of other topics besides baseball. Enjoy.

The Lonesome Crowded West
2005-08-12 00:22
by Ryan Wilkins

(With apologies to Modest Mouse.)

April and May were tough months to be a seamhead in California's East Bay. Home to the worst team in the American League West and an offense that would make the '03 Dodgers scoff in disgust, it looked as though the cynics might have had a point: the nucleus of young hitters Billy Beane & Co. had assembled were largely injured or ineffective, the young pitchers acquired for Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder were performing erratically at best, pitifully at worst, and the team's record reflected this combination of frustrating events. On May 29, as SportsCenter has since hammered into our brains, the A's stood 15 games below .500 and in last place in their division.

Date          Record     RS    RA
Thru May 29    17-32    186   258

And then something happened.

Or maybe it didn't. One of the most tired clichés in sportswriting is the notion of a "turning point"—the idea that 25 grown men can, collectively, have their entire world turned upside-down in a moment of mystical brilliance, thanks to some vague noun like "focus." Where yesterday scoring more runs than that other group of guys across the diamond was a Sisyphean ordeal, today it's like taking candy from Maggie Simpson? Right. Alcoholics might refer to this as a moment of clarity. Serious sportswriters call this "mailing it in."

Whether something special happened that day is really beside the point, however. What is important is the A's started winning. Four straight victories against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays morphed into 10 out of 15 against the Blue Jays, Nationals, Braves and Mets. Yet on the morning of June 16, everyone's second-favorite Internet baseball columnist listed the A's among a group of nine teams "who can clearly be considered sellers at this point" in the season. They weren't there yet.

Continue reading...

Scott is Appearing in St. Louis this Week
2005-08-11 17:45
by Scott Long

Just wanted to give a shout out and mention that I will be headlining the Comedy Forum in St. Peter's (suburb of St. Louis) this weekend. Shows are at 8:00 and 10:15, both nights. If you are interested in coming, contact me at and I will set you up with some free tickets. Please list your phone number, also. I will be on a number of radio stations on Friday in St. Louis, including my buddies at 590AM, between 12:30-2:00.

Clay Aiken, Felipe Alou, and WWJAD
2005-08-10 17:08
by Scott Long

This month the Bravo Network features a comedy special starring Kathy Griffin. If you're not familar with Griffin, she is a sometimes actress who has appeared on "Seinfeld", played the part of Brooke Shields' best friend on "Suddenly Susan", and now appears on celebrity reality shows. Griffin's current stand-up act is just long stories about her experience with celebrities and she rips on them like Joan Rivers during her prime.

Why you might ask am I discussing Ms. Griffin? Well during her current special, she has a hilarious segment on Clay Aiken. If you are a newer reader at this site, in the past I have discussed Mr. Aiken and have been bombarded with comments by angry Claymates from the Claynation. My problem with Aiken, besides I think he's a minor talent at best is how he constantly talks and sings about romantic feelings for women, even though it would seem to be a big fat front. Now I know in our politically correct climate, we all have to have to put out our disclaimer so here is mine:
Scott Long is for gay marriage, gays in the military, and even gays getting the chance to be professional figure skaters.

Having said this, when someone puts on a facade like Aiken does towards women, this is when I feel I have the right to comment on it. In her routine, Griffin goes way farther than anything I've said in discussing him. She refers to how much she loves Clay, partially because he is the gayest man on the planet. Her nickname of Clay Aiken is "the Gaiken".

Now, I find it interesting that Kathy Griffin has a large gay fanbase, even though she uses language, which if just read in a transcript, would seem extemely homophobic. Are her gay fans self-hating? No. They know that she has no vendatta against the gay community and even more importantly, Kathy Griffin makes them laugh. I've been doing comedy for 13 years now and let me tell you there is a real tightrope that has to be maneuvered to escape the PC police. Having done numerous appearances on radio, I know the landmines are even larger, as there is a small group of listeners ready to jump at any thing that offends their sensitive ears.

This zero-tolerance world claimed another victim today, as 3 people were canned at San Francisco's KNBR radio station because of "inappropriate comedy sound bytes". This all stems from an incident where the station's talk show host, Larry Krueger offered up that the Giants have too many "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly." Yes, the words make me feel a little queasy, but I think the original punishment of a suspension was fair. Considering Krueger apologized, I think canning him was too harsh. Sure Giants' manager Felipe Alou had a right to be upset and to voice his opinions, but we have to be careful when one statement can wreck a person's career.

Through deregulation, there are few radio stations in the country which are not owned by large corporations. The same goes for our newspapers and television stations, which have severely limited the opportunity for edgy commentary. While I'm not a fan of the phrase "brain-dead Carribeans", knowing that a sentence like this can give a person a potential life-sentence is scary. Considering Krueger had done thousands of hours over the airwaves, a little more rope should have been given.

We can all be a little more sensitive, but I also think we could use just as big a dose of perspective in the way we deal with things. From the Kathy Griffin's comedy special, I learned that Clay Aiken has some perspective, as he didn't behave like a Diva and refuse to deal with Griffin, despite her past cutting material being focused on him. Because of this example, I'm off the bash Clay bandwagon, as I respect his thick-skin. Hopefully we can all learn from Clay. So Felipe, next time someone says something offensive, realize your power and have some perspective. Maybe even turn the other cheek. And just remember. WWJAD. (What would Jesus Alou do?)

Blogging Fantasy
2005-08-09 13:12
by Will Carroll

I'm in the midst of an important fantasy draft. Not football - but baseball. I play in a sim league that in near-real time re-creates seasons. We started in "1982" and have progressed to the start of "1992." Knowing the future raises interesting questions - do you try to build a consistent winner, or aim for one year to stack things up? Does it pay to tank your season and get the highest pick? (There is a lottery, so it's not without risk.)

The league includes a bunch of names you'd know - guys like Baseball America's Kevin Goldstein and Jim Callis, former Baseball Weekly guy Mat Olkin, and several STATS guys. So I like to win, like I did back in "1989."

So, knowing that we have some smart people here at The Juice, I figured I'd ask for your help. I have the seventh overall pick, not the best thing in a draft that is insanely top heavy (Pedro and Piazza). The rule is that a player must go 75% of PA/IP to be brought back for next season. Here's my team:

C: Ivan Rodriguez, Damon Berryhill, Jim Leyritz
** I'm loaded here. Pudge is a long-term guy who'll be well above average. Berryhill's a replaceable backup, while Leyritz is a nice backup who has a great split.

1B: Will Clark, Tino Martinez, Eric Karros, Gene Larkin
** It's hard to call this "loaded." All are above average, but 1B is stacked and none of these will get anything special back. It's also impossible to get them all "gruntled" (enough PA to keep). I'd like to trade Clark while he's still good for a team making a one-year run. Larkin serves no purpose.

2B: Mickey Morandini, Joey Cora
** Here's a clear weakness. Morandini is league average and there's no depth. Eric Young and Bret Boone would be available at the #7 pick possibly. Jeff Kent will be gone at #4 after Pedro, Piazza, and Javy Lopez.

SS: Shawon Dunston, Jose Hernandez
** Umm, ick. Dunston's past his marginally useful period and Hernandez isn't quite to his. Cora can scoot over here if need be. There's not much available in the draft, so I'll stick these to in the 8 slot and hope for the best.

3B: Vinny Castilla, Mike Pagliarulo, Chris Donnels
** It's 1992 and Castilla is about to head to Colorado. Pags is a near worthless backup who helped me last year. Donnels is nearly as worthless - think of him as a Triple-A guy called up to take PAs.

LF: Greg Vaughn, Glenn Braggs
** Vaughn begins our parade of "can't hit lefties" but at least he'll be useful in the future. Not good, but useful. Braggs can theoretically hit lefties, but it's not a pretty sight.

CF: Vince Coleman, Turner Ward
** Coleman has his last productive season, but has to be platooned with someone that can hit lefties. Ward's not helpful, but is a useful spare part in the future.

RF: Jim Eisenreich
** Eisenreich also can't hit lefties, surprise!

Starters: Randy Johnson, Jose Mesa (160 IP), Pete Schourek (140 IP)
** Unit's a year away from being UNIT. Mesa's still a couple years from being a closer. His '93 is brutal, so finding a team willing to let him suck would help. Schourek's horrendous in '93, but had a big '95. Do you get the sense that Johnson's breakout '93 is going to get wasted?
Future Help: Darryl Kile (125 IP), Dave Burba (75 IP), Arthur Rhodes (95 IP)
** All three slot in as part-time starters and relievers. Not bad for rebuilding.
Fading Fast: Russ Swan (104 IP)
** The swingman had a 1:1 K/BB ratio. That's never good.
Other: Tony Castillo (50 IP), Dan Plesac (80 IP)
** Nothing to see here. Roster filler, though Plesac is consistently adequate for a long time.

So that's what I have. I don't have a link to the available players, so just assume that almost anyone worth having is gone. The '92 debuts and some lesser lights are really the only hope for shoring up a team aimed squarely at mediocrity. I'll be looking for players that can help in '94, for starting pitching to take innings behind my staff of one big ace and a bunch of spare parts staff, and looking squarely at sucking mightily through the next two seasons.

So, your task is to let me know what you think. Where should I go? What should I do?

The Fat Club
2005-08-08 22:53
by Scott Long

In the world of Hollywood where one flavor of the month theme can hatch many other series with the same concept (see CSI, home makeovers, etc.), the newest theme to hit the airwaves is food-oriented shows. Starting with "The Restaurant", a couple of years ago, eating has become a topic that is now being explored not just on the Food Network.

The best new show of the summer is "Starved", which follows 4 New Yorkers, who know each other from the overeaters self-help group they all attend. The "self-help" therapy group is like something out of the movie "Fight Club", but with more attitude. When an individual shares one of their failures in controlling their appetite, the group leader eviscerates them like they are being roasted by the Friar's Club.

Self-hatred and self-absorption are both core elements of anyone with a substance problem, be it binge drinking, drugging, or eating. The writer, director, producer, and star of "Starved" is Eric Schaeffer, who just might top Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), as the most repugnant lead character in a comedy show.

Schaeffer's character, Joe, begins the show by digging around the dumpster for a brownie he had thrown out, because he needed the chocolate rush to make him feel better about himself, after being rejected by a potential internet dating prospect because he was too old. Later on in the pilot episode, Joe (Schaeffer) questions if he made the right decision in asking a woman out that he met on the subway, because he couldn't tell if she was too fat to be his type. (In Joe's world, 5'9"-120lbs is good, 5'9"- 140 is too fat)

Joe also has a foot fetish, which he "solves" by bringing a new pair of red shoes to their first date and insisting on her putting them on. Towards the end of the episode, another one of Joe's idiosyncrasies arises, while he's getting a hummer from his new girl. I won't give away what this issue is, but the scene is shot from the view of Joe looking down, as you would happen to do when getting oral treats. Amazing what basic cable (FX network) will allow. What a great racket Newscorp has, as they have the FX Network to provide the morale depravity that Fox News hosts can rant against.

So I'm sure many of you, after reading this review would ask, "And what is funny about these situations?" Well, all I can to do in answering this is to state if you like dark comedy, "Starved" is for you. All the discussion in regards to the "death of the sitcom" has been overdone. Sure the traditional laugh track sitcom doesn't work anymore, as I'm guessing that "Everybody Loves Raymond" will be the last one with mass appeal, but the sitcom still thrives, if it doesn't seem formulaic. Both "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Arrested Development" prove this and the pilot episode of "Starved" shows potential to join these shows as quality comedies.

One could argue, with shows like "Nip and Tuck", "The Shield", Rescue Me", and now "Starved" that the FX Network is close to eclipsing HBO for the being the network with the best original programming. With the end of "Six Feet Under" and possibly "The Sopranos", HBO's might be looking up to FX soon.


Continue reading...

Visual Humbugardy
2005-08-08 20:29
by Will Carroll

It's not nearly as cool, but let's call it my homage/rip-off. A video daily double.

Identify this game.

You must have the day and game situation correct. (For instance, "What is June 3, 1990, fourth inning, 2 outs" would be the proper form.)

And on the racist talk show host? I have little time for stupidity, publicity stunts, or things that are clearly this wrong. Apology or not, the guy crossed the line. I'll side with Alou on this one.

2005-08-06 21:46
by Will Carroll

I'd like to clarify something. A couple articles were written this week that referenced me as a "licensed sports trainer." This is not correct, in either sense. I am not a Certified Athletic Trainer. My father is. We have the same name and were co-authors on "The Juice" so I understand why some might get confused. I just want everyone to be clear that I am not passing myself off as anything I am not.

Jose Canseco Uncovered!!!!!!
2005-08-05 22:09
by Scott Long

With the steroid story in baseball heating up and Jose Canseco looking more and more like a historian/soothsayer, it's time to do an update on what Jose is up to. First, though, let's take a look at what has happened to the other players who were requested to appear at the Senate hearings on steroids in baseball.

*Mark McGuire basically pleads the 5th at the hearings. Reputation in shambles.
*Sammy Sosa basically pleads the Cinco at the hearings. ("The Cinco" is like pleading the 5th by saying "my lawyers will answer since I can't speak English well enough to answer for myself.") Sosa's currently batting .239, with a slugging percentage .150 points below his lifetime average.
*Frank Thomas played only 34 games, before calling it a season, after fracturing his ankle.
*Curt Schilling, who has averaged 200 innings per year over the past 14 seasons, has pitched less than 34 innings and has an ERA two and a half runs higher than his career average.
*Rafael Palmiero. Uh, if you missed it, things are not going really well for him. Look for him at the Hall of Fame ceremony in 2010 signing autographs next to Pete Rose, across the street from the museum.

The dose of bad events that has happened to these men even trumps the Chunky Soup Curse. (The Chunky Soup Curse, which occurred at the turn of the century, brought a plague of injuries to pitchmen Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner, Jerome Bettis, Brian Urlacher, and Donovan McNabb.) Sure there are extenuating circumstances in regards to the problems that have befallen the baseball crew who spoke to Congress, but it does get you thinking there might be some kind of Jose Mojo* going on.
*Jose Mojo is a voodoo-like act perpetrated by the former slugger, not to be confused with the 1991 second baseman of the Padres, Jose Mota.

While things have spun badly for these players, our man Jose lives in a house with 6 extremely psuedo celebrities on VH1's "Surreal Life 5". Past Surreal Life casts have had some interesting moments, like furry and obese porn star Ron Jeremy and the spider lashed, former religious huckster, Tammy Bakker, finding common ground or Oakland A's former batboy/Charlie Finley spy, MC Hammer, preaching a sermon which moved bleached out and obese, Vince Neil enough to take inventory of his life or gold toothed, grandfather clock wearing around his neck, Flavor Flav falling head over domanatrix heels for bleached and salined obese, Brigitte Nielsen.

While I can't say I saw a lot of episodes of any of the first 4 Surreal Life's (a badge of honor), I will admit that what I did catch contained some entertaining moments from each of the casts, as there was a nice mix of egotistical talentless people making asses of themselves, while at the same time exploring their own humanity enough to be an interesting sociological experiment. This is not the case with Surreal Life 5, as it offers only the first part of this formula. Surreal Life 5 just might be the worst reality show I've ever seen.

You know things aren't going well for your show, when Jose Canseco is the most interesting person of your group. Jose, who is more buff and waxed than a vintage Corvette at an Auto Show, seems to have a serious desire to dress like a working girl at the Bunny Ranch. One episode, where the cast members have to put on a burlesque show, Jose strangely decides to wear white knee-high stockings with his leopard skin bikini briefs. I know Jose feels like he's was blacklisted from MLB, but if you like nylon elastic at your knees, go buy a pair of baseball stirrups and leave the stockings for the botoxed former supermodel. Maybe he got used to wearing panty hose, when he was under home arrest, as they were the only thing that would fit under his ankle detention bracelet.

My award for most in bad taste moment on television of 2005 occurs in an episode where the cast is told they will be remodeling the backyard at a shelter for battered women. Considering that Canseco had been accused of beating his former wife, (charges dropped) one might question why VH1 would decide to choose this group for Jose to be involved with, but hey, maybe it's part of some kind of community service from his barroom altercation in 2001. Look for Surreal Life 6, when Randy Johnson helps out the San Diego Zoo by building new bird cages.

Hopefully this update has filled you in on what are the current happenings for the cast of America's greatest reality show of 2005, "The Senate Steroids in Baseball Hearings." It will be hard to top the first year of this riveting reality show, but from the rumors currently circulating about what big league star will test positive next, "Steroids in Baseball 2" could be just as thrilling! Stay tuned here at The Juice for the latest news on all reality steroid programming!

Mondays with Scott
2005-08-02 21:05
by Scott Long

So I was all set to write about my experience watching the White Sox and Orioles at Camden Yards on Monday, when I had a conflict arise, so I was stuck listening to the game on radio. Taking the lead from Detroit Free Press' Mitch Albom , I decided not to let the small little fact that I was not at the game, get in the way of me reporting as if I was. I mean I've been to Camden Yards before, so I'll just weave that knowledge in the following story.

Despite the typical Baltimore steamy summer temps (mid-90's), it's always a treat to see a game at Camden Yards. Entering on Eutaw Street, I saunter over before the first pitch to Boogs, for the best baseball barbecue in the majors. Man it smells great standing here in line, though it must be about 140 degrees by the open pit.

Checking today's starting rosters I notice that after winning the first 3 games of the series, the White Sox have given Tadahito Iguchi and Scott Posednik the day off. Ozzie Guillen has done a great job of keeping the whole team fresh, but the 2 weak spots on the roster, Pablo Ozuna and Timo Perez are the fill-ins today. The White Sox sent down Willie Harris, which I don't like, since Harris is a superior defensive second baseman and outfielder to Ozuna, plus adds a great pinch-runner off the bench. With the recently acquired Geoff Blum brought in to be a back-up at third base and shortstop, I don't see the value in Ozuna. And don't get me started on Timo Perez.

Leading off the game, Mr. .291 OBP Perez, walks and ends up scoring on a single by Carl Everett. With Brian Anderson having little left to prove in the minors and with his ability to make a fair contribution to the team, the guy keeping him off the major league roster is Timo, so I'm conflicted by any success by him. The White Sox end the first inning up one nothing. It's amazing how often the Sox have scored first this year. I'm guessing they lead this category by a substantial number.

Looking around the park in my best Albom view, I see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie a few rows in front of me. Ah, just another day at the park.

Continue reading...

An Open Letter
2005-08-01 17:51
by Will Carroll

Mr. Canseco:

I have, on several occasions, questioned your veracity and honor in regards to claims you made in your book, "Juiced." You may remember that in March, I said to you in New Jersey that I simply could not believe some of the claims you made regarding other players. You said that I'd find out someday that you were right.

Someday is today. Mr. Canseco, I apologize. Your claims in regards to at least one player have proven to be true. I hope you understand that my doubt was well-meaning, the modern equivalent of "Say it ain't so, Joe." As much as I hate to say it, Jose, you were right. I apologize.

- Will Carroll

Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
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