Categories
Spring Training

CACTUS FEVER

Saturday, April 2
Cleveland 1 at Texas 3
Surprise Stadium, Surprise
Temp: 85 at 6:07 first pitch

Garcia Bomb Beats Bieber

Cleveland starter Shane Bieber, he of lofty, top ten fantasy baseball pitcher status, ranking somewhere between Shohei Ohtani and Julio Urias, fairly cruised through the first three innings of Ranger batsmen, notching six strikeouts along the way. In the second, he gave up a loud two-out double to left by Kole Calhoun and walked Andy Ibanez before fanning Nick Solak to end the inning. Bieber wasn’t so lucky in the fourth. Mitch Garver singled to third and Ernie Clement’s throw in the dirt enabled Garver to gallop to second. Nathaniel Lowe cashed him in with a base hit to left. Up came Adolis Garcia, who teed up a Bieber offering, golfing a towering drive to left over the Boulevard Beer sign for a 3-0 Texas lead. Bieber stayed in for one more batter, striking out Calhoun before being replaced by Bryan Shaw.

The Guardians got a run back in the fifth when diminutive number 67 Steven Kwan, who a fan in front of me assured me had “made the team,” drew a one-out walk. After Oscar Mercado popped out to shallow center, Clement doubled to right, putting runners at second and third. A wild ball four pitch from Zak Kent saw Kwan scamper home to make the final score, 3-1.

Ballpark Buzz … Attendance of 5,005 seemed a generous number. … The JUGS Gun radar rap sheet: Bush–97, White–95, Kent–96, Richards–94, Bieber–91, Morgan–93 … Both clubs played the shift ad nauseum, perhaps 75% of the time. When lefty Calhoun came up in the sixth, Cleveland played him as a dead pull hitter. No fielder could be found on the left side of the infield. Kole might want to work on his bunting. … After Garcia’s two-run poke, Kwan had the most impressive at bat in the sixth. The lefty — who crowds the plate like a slugger — inside-outed a Joe Barlow pitch, mashing an opposite field clothesline rope that careened into the left field corner for a double. … Looking for a deep fantasy dark horse reliever? Say no more. The Guardians’ Eli Morgan dazzled with his deceptive, sneaky-fast 93-mph heater that seems to come out of his armpit. He struck out Corey Seager, Lowe, Solak and Cameron Cauley in three innings of work. Morgan only allowed a Marcus Semien single in the seventh, Semien’s only hit in a 1-for-4 night. In two spring appearances totaling five innings, Morgan has struck out six, walked none and allowed three hits to land in the Guardians bullpen. Stash ‘im if ya need ‘im. … It’s been a great, abbreviated-but-welcomed spring in the Cactus League. Opening Day draws near with everybody chomping at the first place bit. See you next year. Same bat time. Same bat website.

Categories
Spring Training

CACTUS FEVER

Sunday, March 27
Arizona 0 at Texas 13
Surprise Stadium, Surprise
Temp: 86 at 1:06 first pitch

Baker’s Dozen Does In D’backs

Reality bites. Like a diamondback. Only it was Arizona who bit themselves in the foot Sunday. The ball club went with split squads, keeping big boys Carson Kelly, Ketel Marte, Josh Rojas, Nick Ahmed and David Peralta home at Salt River Field at Talking Stick to dispose of their facility-mates, the Colorado Rockies, 5-2. That left Jack McCarthy, Cooper Hummel, Pavin Smith & Co. on this side of Phoenix to ward off the Rangers Half-Billion-Dollar Duo, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, with Adolis Garcia on deck to drive them in. It didn’t go well. Texas’ “A” team led Arizona’s “B” team, 6-0, after six innings. Cue the wholesale changes resulting in Texas’ “B” team going against Arizona’s “C” team and, well … the Rangers racked up seven runs in the eighth inning, aided largely by Julio Frias walking four straight batters to force in two runs.

A.J. Alexy looked sharp in the win, setting down all nine batters he faced, striking out two in three innings of work. Indeed the D’Backs didn’t collect a hit until Braden Bishop led off the sixth with a single to right. After Jake Hager flied out to right, Jose Herrera singled to left but McCarthy struck out and Hummel flied out to deep left center. Arizona only managed two more hits — a Smith single in the seventh and a triple off the big bat of Matt Davidson in the ninth. The hulking first baseman hit a towering drive that gravity eventually convinced to return to Earth. The ball hit the top of the center field wall with so much force it rebounded halfway to the infield, I swear on a stack of World Series scorecards. It was by far the loudest hit of the four the D’Backs managed against the Rangers’ 13.

Ballpark Buzz … Rangers catcher Jose Trevino had a 3-for-3 day that warrants explicit second guessing. In his first at bat in the third, Trevino hit a rocket to third baseman Drew Ellis. Bent low in his crouch, Ellis pivoted 23 degrees counterclockwise and dropped his glove four inches, all in two nanoseconds. He froze, waiting for the smack of ball hitting leather. Didn’t happen. The ball sped past underneath his glove. A tough scorekeeper might have given Ellis an error because the ball almost hit him. He does after all have a glove, besides being paid $570,000 per year to make said play or at least knock it down where he then — a perk of the hot corner — has three full seconds to pick it up and throw to first. There was an error on the play but it went to the left fielder Jake Hager for failing to corral the ball, then falling down minus the banana peel, allowing Trevino to reach second. It was pretty much a “wait for the ball to stop rolling” kind of play. In the fifth, Trevino got almost all of a Caleb Baragar offering, sending the ball to deep center where Jake McCarthy had enough time to pitch a tent, gather firewood and adjust the Coleman stove … before dropping the ball. Trevino’s third at bat was a legitimate line drive double down the left field line. After watching the Brewers’ Pedro Severino mash last week, I’m convinced line-drive doubles are in the DNA of barrel-chested catchers. … Stowers’ home run was a blast down the left field line that topped the pole by 3-to-4 feet and went about 385. It’s 350 down the line. … Adolis Garcia didn’t disappoint. He went 2-for-3 including a first-inning double hit on a rope to the gap in left. In the fourth, he hit a sharp one-hopper up the middle for a single. … Texas Leaguers R Us. Chalk up two for the Rangers today. In the fifth, Nick Solak dunked one to right that scored two and an inning later, Matt Carpenter turned the trick again, dropping one into center for a ribbie. … In the eighth inning, I thought the D’Backs’ batboy was fooling around with a bat next to the on-deck circle. Ryan BlissHe started swinging it and I did a double take as he approached the plate. The public address announcer said, “Number 6, David Peralta.” The scoreboard immediately went to the Oops!-Default Arizona Logo. The batter wore number 6 but it wasn’t Peralta. Nope, meet Ryan Bliss. MLB lists him at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds. Please. Knock off three inches and 20 pounds. But the 22-year-old can indeed play. He worked a walk and made a snappy throw from short for an out in the bottom of the frame. As I write this, the D’Backs just inked Marte to a 5-year, $76M extension. Perhaps watching Bliss today was a wake-up call for Arizona brass to get Marte’s name on the dotted line? Sign him. Now.

Categories
Spring Training

CACTUS FEVER

Saturday, March 26
Los Angeles 10 at Kansas City 5
Surprise Stadium, Surprise
Temp: 91 at 6:05 first pitch

Four Dodger Dingers Rock Royals

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Royals had twice as many hits as the Dodgers — 10 to 5 — but trailed by twice as many runs, 9-4. Such is the succinct shock and awe of watching three-run home runs disappear into the night. Justin Turner turned the trick after Brady Singer walked Chris Taylor and Max Muncy in the first. Tomas Telis did the deed in the eighth after Brad Peacock hit Zach McKinstry and walked Andy Burns. Telis’ clothes-line blast to right left the yard faster than a Telus text. Toss in Kevin Pillar’s two-run bomb in the sixth and Jake Lamb’s solo shot in the ninth and it was bombs away for the Dodgers after the Royals had regrouped from Turner’s opening salvo to tie the game 3-3 after three. They got there with Carlos Santana smashing a two-out double to left to cash in Bobby Witt Jr. and Andrew Benitendi. Witt had singled and stole second before Benitendi drew a walk. Whit Merrifield opened the scoring in the first with a triple to the right corner. Fantasy baseballers take note, Merrifield was cool and dried at third before the throw reached the infield. Another 40-SB year seems like a cinch. He came home on a wild pitch.

Ballpark Buzz … The white elephant in the winning L.A clubhouse was, “What is wrong with Cody?” He sported the golden sombrero tonight with four strikeouts. Since his third-inning single March 24 against Colorado, Bellinger has struck out. Eight. Consecutive. At. Bats. Dodger hitting coaches Brant Brown and Robert Van Scoyoc won’t sleep a wink tonight. … Evidently Banner Medical Center didn’t get the memo, a.k.a. last week’s column. Tonight their non-baseball trivia question asked how many mammograms they’ve performed the past year. 9000-plus, if you’re keeping score at home. I’m sure the mothers in attendance just loved responding to their children asking, “Mommy, what’s a mammogram?” …

My Fantasy Baseball strategy … If ya need it, as spring training is already winding down. From the six spot, I’ve been pretty consistent — after 50+ mock drafts from multiple spots — of drafting the following 22 starters when (sigh) Ohtani doesn’t fall into my lap. Round-by-Round: 1–Bichette (SS) / 2–Scherzer (SP) / 3–Urias (SP) / 4–O’Neil (OF) / 5–Peralta (SP) / 6–Bryant (1B) / 7–Chisholm (2B) / 8–Manoah (SP) / 9–Jansen (RP) / 10–Romano (RP) / 11–Av. Garcia (OF) / 12–Ad. Garcia (OF) / 13–Donaldson (3B) / 14–McGee (RP) / 15–Voit (CI) / 16–Baddoo (OF) / 17–Desclafani (SP) / 18–Bader (OF) / 19–O. Cruz (MI) / 20–Kiner-Falefa (UT)

Note the emphasis on team power and speed with an unabashed prayer for batting average. There’s little or no speed with corner infielders so I targeted Bryant because he can swipe a few and now has HR-friendly Coors Field. Others I have targeted are Albies, O’Neil and Chisholm. The rest will arrive on your doorstep. How? Pick 4 starting pitchers and 4 hitters in the first 8 Rounds, targeting the above. Use the dead space between hitter to drop down and grab The Starting Pitcher You Really, Truly Love. Forget the waiver wire, this is a six-month commitment. Use the 9th and 10th Round to take two relievers. Your 11th, 12th and 13th Rounds go to collecting Av. Garcia, Ad. Garcia and Donaldson respectively. Rounds 11-thru-13 run like clockwork. McGee is listed as the Giants’ closer but for some reason he’s ranked 300+ at Fantrax. Dig him up. If he’s scooped, Rogers or Bednar should be available. Rounds 15-to-19 can be a bit of a white knuckler, because some joker may take a flyer on Oneil Cruz out of the blue. I’m drafting him 30 or 40 spots higher because when at the 200+ ADP, be safe, not sorry. Also, I drafted catcher Luis Torrens in the 30th round (last) to clear up space for other picks. Catchers don’t run but he did poke 15 over the fence last year. The above road map has the necessary built-in deviations so you can breathe easy during the 45-seconds between picks. Good luck, managers!

Categories
Spring Training

CACTUS FEVER

Cactus Fever is back! It’s great to finally escape the Covid bubble for spring baseball. Keep watching this space for more game reports.

Saturday, March 19
Milwaukee 11 at Texas 0
Surprise Stadium, Surprise
Temp: 79, partly sunny.

Brew Crew Routs Rangers

If Milwaukee fans were worried about run support for their fantasy baseball chart-topping Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader, today’s game was one to file away for future reference. The Brewers scored early, often and — aided by three Texas misfires — trounced the Rangers 11-zip.

Back-up catcher Pedro Severino got the start and made the most of it with a first-inning, two-run bomb off Dane Dunning that sailed over the 400-foot sign in center. The Brewers poured two more across in the third when Adolis Garcia let a Kolten Wong fly ball to center get the better of him. Garcia looked to be tracking the ball well, then slowed and the ball bounced behind him off the warning track for a double. Luis Urias cashed Wong in with a single to right. Severino’s hot bat smashed a double, moving Urias over to third. Urias should’ve easily scored on the play but he pulled up lame at third and was replaced by Brice Turang. A Tyrone Taylor sacrifice fly scored Turang and Milwaukee led 4-0 after three. The Rangers had yet to put a man on base.

The Brewers added a run in the fourth when Jonathan Davis walked, stole second and came home on a Rowdy Tellez single to right. Milwaukee doubled their score in the fifth, exploding for five runs — all unearned — against Nick Tropeano, who gave up four hits while recording one out. It was a somewhat complicated affair. David Dahl led off with a double and moved to third on Jonathan Davis’ ground out. Andruw Monasterio hit a grounder to Yonny Hernandez who set to throw to first. But Dahl broke for home and as Hernandez paused to recalibrate, his feet had other ideas. He slipped, went down in a heap and his throw home landed on Greenway. Turang dropped a single into center, advancing Monasterio to third. Weston Wilson, pinch hitting for Tellez, punched a ball to Hernandez. Yonny’s toss to second was an adventure. His second error of the inning allowed Monasterio to score. Brett Sullivan doubled home Wilson and Turang. Sullivan eventually scored on a Corey Ray line-drive sac fly. When the dust finally settled after Dahl’s second at bat of the inning, a deep fly ball to Willie Calhoun in left, Milwaukee had reached double digits. An eighth inning Wilson dinger topped the fence in left to make the final, 11-0.

Texas only mustered three hits on the day and two of them came in the ninth inning. After Jonathan Ornelas struck out, Zach Reks and Nick Tanielu hit back-to-back singles, stirring the crowd. Or maybe it was the collective surprise that two consecutive batters were both wearing number 64. Unfortunately, Steele Walker — “great name for a wrestler,” said one fan — hit into a double play to end the game.

Ballpark Buzz … Concession stand wobbly pop selection included Papago Orange Blossom. Four Peaks’ The Joy Bus WOW American Pale Wheat Ale was plastered across the outfield wall, ensuring parents would have to explain to their kids what puts the “WOW” in beer. … Lamest ballpark promotion in living memory: Mid-fifth inning, a young fan with his face up on the scoreboard was asked how many Banner Medical Centers serve the state of Arizona. (You won’t find that on the back of a baseball card.) It gets better. The options were: A) 7 … B) 51 … and C) 43. Oh, they are so coy. The poor kid had no idea. Do NOT raise your hand. I refuse to give the answer because it would mean they won. Banner Medical Center, it is not all about you. You. Are. At. A. Baseball. Game. … The Texas Rangers Pro Shop has outstanding gear. I wanted to buy one of everything. I think the designers had so much time off during Covid that they came out of their hiatus with all the haute couture $34.95 could stand. Check it out. … Finally, as I strolled/ambled down West Greenway Road to the ballpark, I marveled at how baseball really is heaven on earth because when the Gates of Spring Training open, we are all eleven.

Categories
Humor Political Satire

Mar-a-Lago Still

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-sj6if-fb3afc

The T-Rump Dig begins a new chapter with the T-Rump out of office. Henceforth, our podcast will consist of come-what-may musical merriment as the Grand Old Party wagon careens toward some cliff. Any cliff. Do follow to hear the latest.

First out of the gate … Suffering a GOP schism even Moscow Mitch can’t fix, Kevin McCarthy makes that palm tree pilgrimage few would dare. 

Categories
Donald Trump Humor Satire The T-Rump Dig

The Trumpassic Period Compendium …

With the Tyrumposaurus scurrying off to Mar-a-Guano with his tail between his legs and the Joebiden assuming power over the Milkanhoney Preservation, so ends the four-year fire alarm dino historians knew as the Trumpassic Period.

Belisle’s four-volume set regurgitates the entire 1,400-day Oval Dwelling debacle. He brings it home with twice-weekly cathartic tales from the initial migration ban right through the insurrection and (gasp) second impeachment. It’s all finally behind us. The Trumpassic Period — Years #1 thru 4 relive the malarkey and mayhem an apoplectic Dino Nation consumed daily as their Milkanhoney Preservation teetered on the brink.

4 books. 8 bucks. For 7 days. All four of The Trumpassic Period volumes are available for one week only at $2 each from Thursday, March 11 to Wednesday, March 17th. Follow the big footprints and the opening of mouths for said feet. From sycophancy to the Solitary Sinkhole, this compendium captures the long grift and short shrift of one truly tyrannical Tyrumposaurus.

All four years are now fossilized and available on Amazon at David Belisle’s author page.

Categories
Book News Humor Political Satire Satire The T-Rump Dig

The Trumpassic Period — Year FOUR

The decline of the Roman Empire had its moments. But none like these.

That’s right. The Trumpassic Period — Year Four: Trial by Combat puts a cap on all things politically unconscionable.

From Day 1096 to Day 1464, Belisle brings home the beefs and bones about the Tyrumposaurus that kept Dino Nation one step and a nose dive from the crazy weed patch and psychotherapy.

The Coronavirus ravages the Milkanhoney Preservation but the T-Rump continues his super spreader rallies. The Kushneratops lays claim to the community stockpile while the Randpaul is fine with spittin’ in the pool. 

Year Four: Trial by Combat is 100+ more dino tales — two per week — that capture the T-Rump’s fourth year in power for all the terrible after taste it left. There are more unsavory reptiles than you can shake a Caviaraptor leg at, all willing to holler “Election fraud!” from the highest mountain to stay in the good graces of the tyrannical T-Rump.

This 394-page chronology of T-Rump’s final days in the Oval Dwelling ring and sing with the doom and gloom infamy that 30,000 lies and a second impeachment will bring one diabolical dino. For the my-life-passed-before-my-eyes reader in you.

Available on Amazon for $4.99. Download today!

Categories
Donald Trump Humor Political Satire

The T-Rump Dig Podcast … Days 1460 & 1464

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-fvst2-f86a93

We did it! We survived. This is the final T-Rump Dig podcast as the Joebiden has at long last emerged victorious and assumed power. The last two T-Rump Traxx are: Day 1460 — “Everyday Feeble” … The Mikelindell visits the T-Rump with not-so-sage advice … and Day 1464 — “Biden Sees” … The T-Rump and his clan exit stage right from the Oval Dwelling, bringing a new dawn for Dino Nation. … Dino tail wags to Sly & The Family Stone and the Foo Fighters. (Think Inauguration Day.) Enjoy! … And for all those who’ve followed this incredible journey since I began the T-Rump Dig on Day 163, thank you for your support. I trust  the catharsis took.

Categories
Donald Trump Humor Satire

Biden Sees …

They squatted like so many bumps on a log. Big but suddenly unimportant bumps. It was moving out day at the Oval Dwelling and the Tyrumposaurus, his offspring and their forlorn family broods waited patiently in an open clearing in the jungle. The Sore Loser Send-Off would not be complete until the non-family dinos arrived. They’d planned for six thousand but would settle for six. The family group stared straight ahead in silence. There was no idle chatter or small talk because there was no investment return. As well, the T-Rumps did not have the social acumen to care what the person beside them was thinking. Even if they were family.

Five minutes passed. A dino finally came huffing and puffing down the path. It was the Markmeadows.

“You’re late,” barked the T-Rump in perhaps his final tyrannical tirade.

“Sorry, I slept in.”

“Where are others? You were supposed to bring five dinos with you. I said bring five.” He turned to his family. “Didn’t I say bring five?”

The line of squatting dinos all nodded as one.

“I — I, well, as much as I hate to admit it, none of my friends wanted to come. They’re all at the Joe–”

“Stop. Don’t say it.”

The T-Rump’s children could feel the seething rage bubbling beneath the surface in their father at this colossal snub. It was too much for the T-Rump Jr. Tears sprang from his eyes.

“Dad, you were great, dad. I’m so, so sorry it had to end this way.”

“It didn’t end, damn you. It was all the Mincepencenow’s fault. One more lie. I just needed one more lie. I didn’t lose. Don’t worry. I’ll be back in some form.”

Eric wiped a tear from his eye.

“What’s that mean, dad? Some form? Are you cutting me loose, is that it? Don’t cut me loose, dad. I’ll be good.”

Behind the cover of their cheesy grins, the Kushneratops spoke with his wife in a hushed, terse tone.

“Why did I let you talk me into moving into a cave in the Neverglades just down the path from your father?”

“Because daddy needs me. Us, he needs us.”

“I don’t know how to say this nicely, but we need a little distance … no, we need a lotta distance between your father and us.”

“How can you say that? He has 74 million dinos ready to march lockstep with him.”

“Lockstep? He can’t even step on a Trollertweety. His days as a leader are done.”

The Markmeadows raised a short arm.

“Oh, T-Rump. I just wanted to relay a couple of messages before you all begin the, heh-heh … long trek south. The Kevinmccarthy, he said that you still have the ability to lead the Grandoldparty.”

“He did?”

“And the Marjorietaylorgreene. She’s trying to get the Joebiden impeached.”

“Already?”

The T-Rump cocked his head as he mulled over the possibilities. He took in his entourage. 

“What do you say, kids? Should we stay?”

Before they could answer however, a sound came whistling through the jungle on wing and a prayer. It was Inauguration Day and there was a new sensation sweeping Dino Nation. It was proud, pure and fighting to be heard. Few fighters had fought so hard.

We — we can all now find our way

Feel the load now fall away

To build back our home

Our — our rights were declining

Mighty words once black and white 

Peaceful protests gone

Joebiden sees four years where we have been 

Joebiden sees we need to see his grin

Joebiden sees the who what where and when

Joebiden sees where we need to begin

We — we saw the uprising

We all wondered why

The truth belonged to the right

But we — we’re so deeply divided

Grey matter no longer grey

How did we lose our mind?

Joebiden sees who took it on the chin 

Joebiden sees two teams and both can win

Joebiden sees we need to love again

Joebiden sees we need to see within

Joebiden sees four years where we have been 

Joebiden sees we need to see his grin

Joebiden sees the who what where and when

Joebiden sees where we need to begin

Joebiden sees who took it on the chin 

Joebiden sees two teams and both can win

Joebiden sees we need to love again

Joebiden sees we need to see within

Joebiden sees its time to stop the spin

Joebiden sees we need our next of kin

Joebiden sees us through the thick and thin

Joebiden sees us in these times we’re in

……………………………

You can hear the musical version of today’s post and previous T-Rump Digs at my podcast site at Podbean. Two new T-Rump tracks every Saturday. Enjoy!