June 23, 2005

Although I still haven’t fully recovered from Evander Holyfield’s dismissal on "Dancing with the Stars" and Georgia’s last-second loss in the Arena Bowl, I’ve managed to pull myself together and assemble this list of 10 Klayman Katastrophe Award nominees…

Aubrey Huff

In perhaps what could easily qualify as the year’s worst 0-fer, Huff’s 4-1-0-0 line on Tuesday night was downright painful to any owner who went to check his name in the New York-Tampa Bay box score.

As most of you are probably aware, the Yankees and Devil Rays combined for 31 runs on 41 hits in what turned out to be an epic 20-11 New York comeback victory. Twelve players had multi-hit games, seven had multi-RBI games and nine home runs were hit between the two teams.

Yet, Huff wanted no part of all the action, scoring a single run while being the only nine-inning player to wind up hitless.

Travis Harper

Ok, I’m sure almost no one owns Harper outside of his immediate family or those who play in AL East-only leagues, but for those unfortunate few who for some reason had Harper in their starting lineup on Tuesday night, it is safe to say that your ERA and WHIP will never, ever recover. Harper, who was left out on the mound to get pounded during a 13-run eighth inning, allowed nine baserunners and nine earned runs in just 0.2 IP.

Let’s say your pitching staff had thrown 600 innings and had an ERA of 3.99 heading into Tuesday. After Harper’s appearance, your ERA would have risen to 4.12 on the season. That’s a 0.13 increase — 11 weeks into the 2005 season! Pretty unfathomable stuff.

Humberto Cota

I really dislike this guy. Not as a person or as a baseball player, but as a fantasy catcher who just refuses to produce when he is on my roster.

Since Brian Schneider didn’t pan out as my No. 2 catcher (we have to start two in our league), I’ve spent the past month searching for a decent second option behind the plate. Catcher waiver wires are about as barren as NHL arenas this time of year.

I picked up Cota on May 31, following a 15-game span in which he drove in 14 runs, hit a pair of homers and batted .313. In the 11 days I owned him, he batted .227 (5-for-22) with no homers or RBIs.

So on June 10, after doing little to impress, I sent him back to waiverland. He, of course, responded by hitting .318 with a homer and three RBIs in his next five starts. After welcoming him back on June 19, he’s gone 0-for-8 in four games. I would have been better off picking up former Tar Heels point guard Ed Cota than the Pittsburgh backstop.

Nook Logan and Hee Seop Choi

Looking for some power and speed, I scooped up this dynamic duo last week. From June 16-21, the two combined to go 0-for-27 for my fledgling team. For those of you who were wondering, that’s not very good.

Fed up with Logan, I sent him packing Wednesday morning, just in time to miss a 2-for-4, one-run night. I kept Choi one more day and got an extra 0-for-2 out of him before waiving him this morning. As usual, look for Choi to light up Brian Lawrence in San Diego tonight.

Eric Milton

I don’t own him in any league, but Milton deserves a mention simply for the fact that he has allowed 25 homers in 81.2 innings. The all-time record for homers allowed in a season is 50, set by Bert Blyleven in 1986. Blyleven, however, threw 271.2 innings that season. If Milton stayed at his current HR rate (one HR every 3.2 IP), he would be on pace to allow 84 homers if he pitched as many innings as Blyleven did 19 years ago. Odds are he’s not going to throw 190 more innings this year (or even 90 innings), but you get the point (if there is one).

Adam Dunn

MLB.com’s Geoff Grant decided that he was going to bench Dunn on Wednesday, since the powerful lefty was batting .146 against southpaw pitchers in 2005. Any time you have a guy with 50-HR potential on your roster, it’s probably a good idea to keep him active, no matter what the circumstances. Dunn, apparently deeply upset with Grant’s lack of trust in his bat, took Mark Mulder deep in his first two ABs to increase his homer total to 20. Since Grant is sitting in fourth place, and I’ve been in 11th for three weeks now, I feel as bad for him as I do for Terrell Owens being underpaid by the Eagles.

Juan Pierre

Can you cut a guy with the potential to steal 50 bases? Tough call, but when you are rostering a .246 hitter with one homer and 15 RBIs, the 16 steals Pierre has almost aren’t worth it. This past week he added to many owners’ miseries by going 2-for-23 with one steal, and of course no power to speak of.

Carlos Zambrano

What’s happened to Zambrano this month? Did he and Victor secretly swap places at the start of June?

Heading into his June 11 start, Carlos was 4-3 with a 2.94 ERA. He pitched decently against Boston that day (5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 8 K), started falling apart against the Yankees last weekend (6.1 IP, 9 H, 6 H, 6 BB, 3 K) and completely bottomed out in Milwaukee last night (1.2 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). His ERA has risen all the way up to 4.27, and with only four wins in 15 starts, he has been a pretty big disappointment, outside of his 88 Ks in 92.2 IP.

Victor, on the other hand, has pitched eight straight games in which he has gone at least five innings — without giving up more than three runs. His ERA has fallen from 5.81 in April to 3.97 after Wednesday’s start in Philly. He’s only walked 10 batters in 27 innings, compared to Carlos, who has issued 14 free passes in only 20 frames.

Rounding down

In the building where I work we have the greatest Thai restaurant of all time (OK, slight exaggeration, but I have eaten there roughly 417 times in five years, so it must be good). To make a long and rather pointless story short, the dish I always order (Pad See Ew) costs $8.51 with tax. So every time I go to pay, I wind up getting back 49 cents in change.

This could be the most annoying thing of all time.

For years I’ve tried to explain to the folks behind the registers that giving people back 50 cents makes more sense. After all, they are constantly forced to go out to the bank, get a bunch of penny rolls, and every 10-20 minutes, unwrap a new batch of 50 pennies, so that they can give people back exact change. This process ends up backing up the line (which would be long to begin with) to the point where people lose patience and leave. If more than one out of every 851 customers leaves because of this, it is worth it for them to lose one penny on every transaction, just to avoid delaying the line and losing customers.

But every day, I leave with a quarter, two dimes and four pennies in my pocket, then go upstairs to the soda machines, where everything, of course, costs 50 cents.

And before I go on too long about this, the Klayman Katastrophe Award winner for the week is…

Milton. Can you imagine what his Strat-O-Matic card will look like next year? I’m thinking two full home runs at 4-7 and 5-7. Apologies to those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, which is usually most people reading this column.

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