July 7, 2005

A week after writing my first positive column in five years, it’s time to return to the standard format with these eight Klayman Katastrophe Award nominees:

Dan Johnson, Magglio Ordonez and Bill Mueller

On the verge of getting out of 11th place in the MLB.com office league, things fell apart on Tuesday night. First, Josh Beckett got lit up, then he left with his 329th career injury. Next I watched as Tony Womack (1-for-5, no runs, ribbies or steals) once again did little in a game in which the Yankees pounded out 12 runs on 17 hits.

But it wasn’t until I got home later in the evening that the true evil of the day really started to set in.

Earlier that morning, I reshuffled by lineup for the day, putting Womack, Trot Nixon and Larry Walker on my active roster, while sending Dan Johnson, Magglio Ordonez and Bill Mueller to the bench. Since Johnson hadn’t been playing every day, Ordonez had been struggling since his return and Mueller hadn’t gone deep since June 11, the decision was pretty easy to make.

So when I tuned into ESPN’s Baseball Tonight shortly after midnight, I had no idea of the horrific events soon to follow. First the Red Sox-Rangers highlights revealed that Mueller had decided to hit a rare homer, thanks to rookie Texas hurler Chris Young. Then it was Johnson’s turn to go yard, courtesy of Toronto’s Josh Towers. Finally, as if things couldn’t get any worse, I watched as Ordonez, who had been taking up a roster spot on my team all season, took Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook deep.

Three benched players, three home runs. Plus Aaron Boone, who I cut for the third time earlier in the week, added a home run for good measure.

The 14 players who did get a chance to play for me on Tuesday, combined to go 7-for-52 (.135) with two runs, no homers, no RBIs and one steal (way to go, Adam Everett). On top of it my pitchers added a 7.20 ERA and 2.00 WHIP.

Looks like 10th place is going to have to wait another day, week, or month.

Sean Casey for Rafael Furcal

I offered a guy in one of my other leagues Sean Casey for Rafael Furcal last week. Since I’m dead last in steals, and the guy I’m trying to trade with is way in front of everyone in speed (25-steal lead), but is last in AVG (.258), it seemed like a perfectly fair deal.

Yet, when I went to check my inbox the next day, I came across this lovely e-mail:

"Dude, what are you smoking? Get real."

Get real? Get real?

Furcal was batting .229 and Casey was at .320 when I proposed the deal (June 28). Last time I checked that was a 91-point difference in batting average. Sure Furcal has value for his speed alone, but the guy was hitting .229! That’s lower than Tony Womack. Casey is a .305 career hitter, whose power has been down, but has the ability to go .330-20-90.

With a 25-steal lead, any owner would be foolish not to try and deal a guy who is weighing down their batting average. Maybe you can get someone better than Casey, but please don’t make me feel like I am making an unreasonable offer when the guy I am willing to part with is batting nearly 100 points higher than your struggling middle infielder.

Dmitri Young

Think of all the people who raced to the waiver wires on Opening Day to grab Young, and then spent the rest of the night/week gloating to all their friends about how they scooped him up before anyone else. Odds are they’re not saying much right now if they’ve been holding onto the struggling 1B/DH ever since.

While Young did flourish in early April, batting .385 in his first 13 games, he’s batting .209 since April 18, including an .059 mark so far in July.

Sure he’s still a better pickup than Tuffy Rhodes was in 1994, but it doesn’t look like he is going to hit the 486 home runs he was on pace for back on April 4, especially now that he hasn’t been starting every day.

Corey Patterson

I was so proud of myself for grabbing Patterson at this year’s draft, considering our league’s elite owners (Cory Schwartz and Geoff Grant) were both targeting him heading into the evening.

Two months into the season, Patterson was batting a respectable .278 with 10 homers. Five weeks later and he’s at .232 with 11 homers. He batted .157 in June, followed that up with a .143 average in July, and found himself on the bench for two straight games earlier this week.

Schwartz, who has failed trying to trade a number of solid players to me for Patterson , is now offering me David Dellucci and Bill Hall, and I actually might take it. The problem is, if I take the deal, Patterson is sure to bat .325 with 20 homers the rest of the way.

Mike Morse

Another stellar pickup. Despite reading that Morse was playing way over his head last week, I decided to take a chance on the rookie shortstop when I picked him up on June 28. It was hard to ignore his .395 average (in 75 AB), nine RBIs and pair of steals when he was just sitting out there on the free agent wire.

Since my great acquisition, Morse is 1-for-18 with one run, no homers, no RBIs and no steals. With Willie Bloomquist starting at shortstop the past couple of games, looks like it’s time to cut bait on the 23-year-old.

Matt Belisle

I picked him up earlier in the week after he notched a save on Monday for Cincy. When I saw that the Reds won 7-4 on Tuesday, I assumed that Belisle recorded his second straight save, and that I had made a rare genius pickup.

That, of course, was not the case. The Reds were leading 6-3 in the ninth, with Belisle warming up, when Ken Griffey Jr decided to tack on an unneeded insurance run to undo the potential save situation. Belisle entered in the ninth, gave up a run, and closed out the Reds victory two batters later.

Jarrod Washburn

My best spot-start pickup of the week shut out the Royals, 5-0, on Sunday. So why is he on the Katastrophe list? Because when I saw that he blanked KC, I assumed he pitched a nine-inning, complete-game shutout.

But of course, it didn’t happen that way since the game was rained out after five innings. Washburn’s gem was only a partial gem, and I wound up losing four shutout innings that I thought I had for two hours, before actually checking the box score.

July 4th fireworks TV coverage

It would seem that covering the July 4th fireworks celebration on TV would be a fairly easy task for a network. After all, the only thing you really need to shoot are the fireworks. How tough can that be?

Well NBC, in an effort to overproduce the entire event, spent the entire 30 minutes of the actual fireworks display switching between 67 different cameras, while half the time NOT showing the fireworks. Instead they opted for shots of grinning people, a full orchestra and closeups of the fireworks, where you couldn’t even tell what you were looking at.

Did we really need to see Donald Trump glaring up at the fireworks, over and over again? Was it necessary to keep showing the orchestra after the first few times?

It seems pretty simple to me. Show the fireworks, it’s what people are tuning in to see. You only need a few cameras, and for the most part you can probably stay on one camera for the entire 30 minutes. Then again, we live in a world where simplicity is too often ignored (deep thought of the week).

And this week’s winner is?
Ordonez. Despite my poor lineup moves on Tuesday, I still forgot to insert Ordonez on Wednesday and missed out on a 2-for-5, two run, two RBI night.

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