If Hardy Remains a Tulip, He Can Thank Carlos Delgado

Tulips face many hurdles this year, not the least of which is the ghost of Carlos Delgado

The Tulips face many hurdles this year, not the least of which is the ghost of Carlos Delgado

JJ Hardy will be the sole Tulip playing tonight so that manager Alpren can attempt to locate something that will lift Hardy out of his 0 for 28 drought– that or contemplate Hardy’s future on the team.

While all things indicate  that he is relatively committed to the idea of keeping Hardy aboard, his reasons for doing so are not exactly clear.

On the one hand, Alpren believes that Hardy could break out of his current slump and go back to one of those streaky tears that he exhibited earlier this year.  On the other hand, what drives Alpren– what haunts him at night even– and keeps him from making certain positive managerial moves is what has been called by physicians or Alpren himself: The Delgado Syndrome.

Flash back to last year:  The Tulips had been running strong in their league and even looking playoff bound, but manager Alpren felt that he needed make some changes. Tulips’ Carlos Delgado (NYM-OF) had hit .204 in March, .258 in April and .229 in May with 3,4,and 6 home runs in those respective months.  Not seeing any point to keeping the dead weight around, Alpren decided to trade him.

“On the 12th of June, I think it was, I dealt Delgado to the commissioner for Marc Jacobs.  Ever heard of him?  He was hitting something like .250 and I though he’d be better than the .230 Delgado.”

(The writer was unable to locate Mr. Jacobs on YahooSports!- ed.)

After he left the Tulips (some conjecture to spite Alpren), Delgado  took out his super bat and became a legitimate candidate for the league MVP. He finished 9th in the balloting despite hitting abysmally in the first 3 months of the year.

Some of his post Tulips highlights and numbers: On June 15th, he broke Juan Gonzalez’s record for most runs batted in by a Puerto Rican player.  Later that month, he hit 9 RBIs in one game.  In one week, he hit 4 Hrs.  In July he hit .357.  In September, he hit .340.  From July to September he hit 24 HRs and had 70 RBIs.

The Delgado Syndrome does more than prevent Alpren from trading away slumping players.  It creates a condition of continuous second guessing that initiates paralysis.  Alpren has been psychologically able to entertain the possibility of dropping Jason Giambi to make room for someone who could actually contribute without incident.

But suggestions of  getting rid of Hardy, given his slump, is met  with the empty stare of vacant eyes and a brisk shaking of the head.  This is usually quickly ameliorated by quick offers of lime-aid to him from his wife which apparently prevents him from going into the second stage of the malady which is characterized by his shifting back and forth on the balls of his feet and looking up at the horizon.

“Something else homemade and delicious can have the same preventative affect,” Alpren said.

It might be asking too much to expect that tonight’s isolation game will help Alpren make up his mind about Hardy, but one thing that’s for sure is that it is not just Alpren watching this game.  It is also the smoking ghost that will pull up a chair right beside him.


Update:  Hardy got a hit, but only one (1 for 5) despite the fact that the Brewers took batting practice during the game and beat the Indians 14-12.  Alpren did not comment on the game accept for wishing Hardy “Mazal Tov” on his one hit.

Did Santana Tip Off Jeter for the Sake of the Ducks?

Earlier in the year, the integrity of Ducks and their manager Joe Patrice was called into question over a trade that he entered into with the manager of Werewolf Bar Mitzvah, Papa Lima. The trade was the Duck’s Alex Rios for Werewold Barmitzvah’s Yankee pitcher Phil Hughes.  Eyebrows were raised because the trade did not seem equitable, especially because the Ducks were adding a 7th starting pitcher.  More probelmatic is that when it got vetoed and Papa Lima dropped Phil Hughes allowing anyone to pick him up for free, Joe Patrice did not bother meaning he would be willing to give up a good player for him, but not take him for free .

One of those who vocalized concerns over the trade was Manager Alpren who earlier today said, “Rios was one of the guys that beat me.  I should have let the trade go through.”

But those who know Alpren and how he manages his team also know that even if the trade going through would have benefited him, he would have still been compelled by his sense of right to speak up and make sure that no collusion was taking place.  In the absence of a vocal and involved commissioner (as the commisioner of the Governor’s Ball has been this year, despite calls for his attention), the only check on possible abuses is the other managers in the league.


The Ducks' Derek Jeter and Ducks' Johan Santanna avoid eye contact

Last week, Tulips fans wondered if once again the Ducks  engaged in some foul play when their superstar pitcher Johan Santanna (NYM-P) gave up three hits to Derek Jeter also on the Ducks before he was lifted.  The Ducks could afford to forgo the pitching categories which they had pretty much surrendered already, but only if they were able to compensate for them by making sure that they beat the Tulips on the offensive categories.  The intimidating Santana put little of his characteristic zip on his pitches to the Yankee captain and Ducks’ dependable Derek.

The Ducks indeed ended up beating the Tulips only by a few percentage points, that which a 4 for 4 game would give them, and they outscored the Tulips by only one run 24-23.  Derek Jeter scored twice on Santanna’s bill.

Eyewitnesses at the game did not notice any obvious tip-offs from Santana to Jeter, and some point to the fact that Santana has been less than stellar in his last three outings to suggest that this was just a bad night.  But still the questions remain given how perfect the scenario panned out for the Ducks.

Manager Alpren, for his part, has been silent about the issue, busy with the bumps and bruises of his 4 and 6 team.

None of the possible parties involved, Jeter, Santana and Ducks manager, Joe Patrice has so commented yet about the matter.

Dying Offense Provides No Sunshine; Tulips Lose

Picture 1

The Ducks prevailed against the Tulips yesterday after a week of Alpren’s team out in front, but with the team full of injuries, slumps and distractions the manager had a nagging feeling for much of the week that something would go amiss.

And he was right; the Ducks ended up flipping average as the last batters to come to the plate and the Tulips went down 9-10.

They managed to stay strong in pitching, but that proved not to be enough as they lost every offensive category besides for triples.  Much of these woes have to do with the injuries to Casey Kotchman and Jose Reyes, but one does not have to look far to find other reasons for the Tulips defeat.

Jason Giambi went 2 for 18. Russell Martin went 3 for 18. New acquisition Marlon Byrd figured out the team culture quickly and went 4 for 18.  Milton Bradley went 2 for 11, (but he has an excuse).

But the worst has been JJ Hardy, who is having the roughest slump of his career.  Hardy’s average has dipped to .207.  He is 0 for 28, not having a hit since June 5th (articles in recent Milwaukee publications ribbing Hardy for being 0 for June are untrue).

When asked what Alpren did last time Hardy was in a slump, he said that he played Reyes or Renteria.  Renteria, he traded away and Reyes has been languishing on the DL for weeks.  Every-other-day-Jose owes Alpren a whole lot of sprints when he returns to the line-up in God-knows-when.

The Tulips Marlon Byrd Probably Out

The Tulips' Marlon Byrd probably out

Last time Hardy was in a slump, Alpren also resorted to his ever-inspiring pep-talks and Hardy did indeed break out of it.   Reminded of this strategy, Alpren looked up to the sky and said,”I’m not sure why I picked up that Marlon Byrd.  He’s a turkey.”  Tulips fans know they should expect similar encouraging words for Hardy soon.

Milton Bradley is Thinking About Other Things

Along with the rest of the Tulips team, outfielder Milton Bradley seems to have his mind on other things.

Milton Bradley thinking about life

Milton Bradley thinking about life

The team’s offense has stalled and there is a general  air about the Tulips that suggests  their thoughts are stuck on issues unrelated to baseball.  A preliminary investigation has not turned up any particular practical family, political or economic issue, but the lack of concentration that has left them hitting a woeful .221 is manifesting in other strange ways and it may be a “culture problem” or even some kind of “philosophical conundrum” that Alpren needs to address if he is going to turn the team around.

An example of the team’s woes is Milton Bradley whose head is just not in the game. And while one might be tempted to explain his distractedness by looking towards his injuries, the occasional Bradley injury has, in the past, put him on the bench — but not his head in the clouds.

On Friday, in the 7th inning a sunglassed Bradley lost the ball in the sun and then in the 8th with a runner on third, after catching the ball Bradley tossed the ball into the stands as a souvenir for a fan.  A nice gesture.  But the problem was that there had been only one outs.

Loud boos were heard at Wrigley, many of whom were undoubtedly Tulips fans and Bradley must have taken it to heart despite the fact that he expressed the fact that he wasn’t embarrassed by the error:

“I wasn’t embarrassed,” he said, “I’ve done a whole lot of [other] things to be embarrassed about.  The run was going to score and a fan got a souvenir.  I just made a mistake.  I guess I’ll be in the bloopers.”

This is clearly the attitude of someone who is possessed by the larger questions surrounding his life:  Who am I?  What is life about?  What will happen after I die?  After baseball?  Why are some bodies made in such a way that they can withstand stress and pain and some are not?  What is pain, for that matter?

Bradley reminds some of his teammates as a modern day Thales (the father of Philosophy according to Aristotle), whose constant thinking about the greater issues of the world allegedly caused him to fall into wells, clearly visible to someone whose eyes were not searching for distant truths.

Luis Castillo contemplates life and how to switch teams

Luis Castillo contemplates life and how to switch teams

Other teams in the past have quelled the kind of attitude that is emerging on the Tulips of existential malaise and moves towards more important than baseball things by initiating OTAs- outside team activities.  The Yankees have taken their team to shoot pool, thaeGreen Bay Packers have rented out movie theaters and shown their players *Remember the Titans.*  It is unclear whether Alpren will be bringing in clergy or philosophy professors from Yale to deal with the teams deeper questions, but he may want to consider it before these deep inquiries get out of hand.

Although unconfirmed, rumors about Luis Castillo’s embarrassing game-losing drop of Alex Rodriguez pop-up center around his own quest for understanding  and his desire to join the Tulips.

There’s Hope for Tulips, But Not Much Else

The Tulips are hanging on by a thread after 6 of their 7 days have been played this week.  They are currently leading the Ducks 11-9, but with their anemic offense wandering around doing other things, they could very easily end up losing.

They currently hold only 2 offensive categories:  triples and average.  It is unlikely that the Ducks could wrest triples from them, down to the Tulips 3-0 (Hit by Bay, Sanchez and the newly acquired Byrd).  But where the Tulips are susceptible is at average where they only lead .221 to .208.

Where the Tulips have done okay this week is in their pitching stats  They are holding 9 categories, to round out their 11 points, but could end up losing saves as they are tied 0-0 or if the Ducks make a late play, they could end up tying Qs where they only lead 2-1.

The Ducks are not impervious to a Tulip challenge.  They could lose  Runs (19-18), RBIs (19-17) or DBLs(5-7).  But the problem of course is that the Tulips offense doesn’t seem to want to get going.   To be fair, Bay, Sanchez and Teahen are having above .300 weeks.  But the rest of the Tulips are either injured or possessed with other things this week.  And that happens– but for Alpren who is struggling to reach the .500 mark again, he would rather they keep their heads in the game.

Milton Bradley Stays in the Game

Milton Bradley indicates to trainer where it hurts

Milton Bradley indicates to Cubs trainer where it hurts this time

Tulips outfielder Milton Bradley has been plagued by injuries this year and yesterday when his right leg cramped up  during the game with the Astros, Tulip fans wondered whether he would be headed to another extended rest.  Bradley has been out three times this seasons so far with leg injuries.  But luckily, Cubs management had the answer and fed him liquids enabling him to stay in the game.  This was after he allegedly “talked his way into the lineup” on Tuesday, convincing Pinella that he was healthy enough to play, and then went 0 for 6.

After Tuesday’s game, Pinella and hitting coach Gerald Perry pulled tape from Bradley’s banner 2008 season  in Texas when he hit .321 with 22 HRs and 77 RBIs and they allegedly “found something that will help him get to the ball much easier.”

He improved and went 1 for 4 on Wednesday.

The Tulips can ill-afford another one of their players going on the DL, with Reyes and Kotchman occupying their DL spots.  It may not help; but Pinella, Perry and Alpren have yet to pull and analyze tape that will help them figure out why Bradley is injury-prone.  If they are looking for possible stretches of injured days, prior to coming to the Cubs, they could look around the following dates:

Sep 19, 2008: Missed 2 games (left wrist injury).
Sep 16, 2008: Left wrist injury, day-to-day.
Sep 12, 2008: Missed 2 games (wrist injury).
Sep 6, 2008: Wrist injury, day-to-day.
Aug 18, 2008: Missed 2 games (illness).
Aug 16, 2008: Illness, day-to-day.
Aug 10, 2008: Missed 5 games (strained left quadriceps).
Aug 5, 2008: Strained left quadriceps, day-to-day.
Aug 4, 2008: Missed 5 games (quadricep injury).
Jul 30, 2008: Quadricep injury, day-to-day.
Jul 12, 2008: Missed 1 game (left knee injury).
Jul 11, 2008: Left knee injury, day-to-day.
Jun 24, 2008: Missed 1 game (strained left quadriceps).
Jun 22, 2008: Strained left quadriceps, day-to-day.
Jun 20, 2008: Missed 2 games (quadricep injury).
Jun 18, 2008: Quadricep injury, day-to-day.
May 31, 2008: Missed 1 game (dizziness).
May 30, 2008: Dizziness, day-to-day.
May 16, 2008: Missed 2 games (right shoulder injury).
May 13, 2008: Right shoulder injury, day-to-day.
May 2, 2008: Missed 1 game (hamstring).
May 1, 2008: Hamstring, day-to-day.
Sep 24, 2007: Torn ACL, sidelined indefinitely.
Sep 21, 2007: Missed 12 games (right oblique muscle strain).
Sep 11, 2007: Right oblique muscle strain, day-to-day.
Aug 8, 2007: Missed 4 games (hamstring).
Aug 4, 2007: Hamstring, day-to-day.
Jul 7, 2007: Missed 8 games (oblique injury).
Jul 1, 2007: Oblique injury, 15-day DL (retroactive to June 21).
Jun 20, 2007: Missed 16 games (calf injury).
Jun 8, 2007: Calf injury, 15-day DL (retroactive to June 3rd).
Jun 3, 2007: Calf injury, day-to-day.
May 30, 2007: Missed 14 games (hamstring).
May 23, 2007: Hamstring, 15-day DL (retroactive to May 15th).
May 22, 2007: Hamstring, day-to-day.
May 19, 2007: Missed 4 games (hamstring).
May 17, 2007: Hamstring, day-to-day.
May 11, 2007: Missed 15 games (hamstring).
Apr 23, 2007: Hamstring, 15-day DL.
Apr 20, 2007: Missed 6 games (hamstring).
Apr 13, 2007: Hamstring, day-to-day.
Sep 1, 2006: Missed 1 game (ankle injury).
Aug 30, 2006: Ankle injury, day-to-day.
Jul 14, 2006: Missed 20 games (shoulder injury).
Jun 20, 2006: Shoulder injury, 15-day DL.
Jun 19, 2006: Shoulder injury, day-to-day.
Jun 6, 2006: Missed 36 games (right knee injury).
May 7, 2006: Right knee injury, 15-day DL (retroactive to April 27th).
Apr 27, 2006: Right knee injury, day-to-day.
Oct 2, 2005: Missed 38 games to the end of the regular season (Torn left Patella Tendon).
Sep 2, 2005: Transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL (torn left Patella Tendon).
Aug 25, 2005: Torn left Patella Tendon, 15-day DL (retroactive to August 23rd).
Aug 23, 2005: Knee injury, day-to-day.
Jul 23, 2005: Missed 47 games (finger injury).
Jun 3, 2005: Finger injury, 15-day DL (retroactive to May 30).
May 31, 2005: Finger injury, day-to-day.
Aug 13, 2004: Missed 1 game (hamstring).
Aug 12, 2004: Hamstring, day-to-day.
Jun 30, 2004: Missed 4 games (suspension).
Jun 1, 2004: Missed 2 games (ankle injury).
May 31, 2004: Ankle injury, day-to-day.
May 4, 2004: Missed 3 games (ankle injury).
Apr 30, 2004: Ankle injury, day-to-day.
Aug 29, 2003: Missed 46 games to the end of the regular season (back injury).
Aug 15, 2003: Back injury, 15-day DL.
Aug 10, 2003: Back injury, day-to-day.
May 8, 2003: Missed 12 games (strained right hamstring).
Apr 26, 2003: Strained right hamstring, 15-day DL (retroactive to April 23).
Apr 23, 2003: Strained right hamstring, day-to-day.
Apr 19, 2003: Missed 1 game (hamstring).
Apr 18, 2003: Hamstring, day-to-day.
Aug 30, 2002: Missed 16 games (appendicitis).
Aug 14, 2002: Appendicitis, 15-day DL (retroactive to August 12th).
Jun 4, 2002: Missed 29 games (eye Contusion).
May 2, 2002: Eye Contusion, 15-day DL.
Apr 17, 2002: Missed 4 games (right quadricep).
Apr 11, 2002: Right quadricep, day-to-day.

(courtesy of Al Yellon at Bleed Cubbie Blue)

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