Posted: Wednesday January 25, 2006 12:55PM; Updated: Wednesday January 25, 2006 12:56PM
Overdosing on Anna
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A lot of dimwitted words are uttered by a lot of not-bright people that are connected with baseball over the course of a year, but we may make it all the way through 2006 before we top some of the things that have spilled out of the mouth -- not to mention the blouse -- of Anna Benson lately.
The self-professed sexpot wife of pitcher Kris Benson -- "I am sexy and I don't shy away from that," she said after her husband was traded from the Mets to the Orioles -- recently defended the now-infamous deep-cut Mrs. Santa Claus getup she wore to at a Mets' Christmas party, attended by 100 or so school kids.
"Do these kids' moms not have breasts?," Mrs. Benson asked incredulously.
Just to set the record straight: Yes, Anna, I'm sure they do. They just don't get the same exposure.
The Mets insist that Benson, the pitcher, was not traded because of Benson, the often foul-mouthed wife. Clearly, though, that was a nice fringe benefit of the deal for the Mets.
Two other beauties from the Mrs. that could make a Bartlett's for the diarrhetic of the mouth ...
"Look, there are millions of guns in the world. Face it... we will never have a world that has no guns, so, therefore, we should all have guns." -- from a letter on her Web site to "gun-haters"
"You are a selfish, pathetic excuse for an American, and you can take your big, fat ass over to Iraq and get your pig head cut off and stuck on a pig pole. Then, you can have your equally as fat wife make a documentary about how loudly you squealed while terrorists were cutting through all the blubber and chins to get that 40 pound head off of you." -- from a letter on her Web site to filmmaker Michael Moore.
And, just for good measure, one last one, from her statement after her husband's trade to the Orioles:
"I am not just another pretty face. I am a woman to be seen and heard.
I, for one, am not listening any more.
The Dirty Deal
With the best free agents gone, and Spring Training just weeks away, the most desperate of teams have to make trades to get better. The Red Sox, who need a center fielder to replace Johnny Damon and a shortstop to replace the traded Edgar Renteria, top that list.
The Sox looked as if they had solved their center-field problem with the rumored trade for Indians left fielder Coco Crisp. But that deal has been gummed up with the report that Boston reliever Guillermo Mota failed his physical. The trade is not completely dead. It's likely it'll still be consummated.
But the way it's being played out in the press is not sitting well with Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro.
"Sometimes those conversations leak out. Most of the times they don't," Shapiro said before the news of Mota's failed physical. "We pride ourselves in conducting our business in a way that respects our players. Which means we don't talk about them."
News of the proposed deal, first reported by the Boston Herald, has not been met with enthusiasm in Cleveland, where the Indians are expecting to compete with the White Sox for the American League Central division title. Many bloggers and fans believe that by trading Crisp for, in effect, third-base prospect Andy Marte, the Indians are looking too far ahead and short-changing the '06 season. The Indians, who are also working on a deal that would bring Phillies outfielder Jason Michaels to Cleveland, disagree.
"We're not going to take any steps back," manager Eric Wedge told reporters.
Marte is highly thought of, and the Sox had considered moving him to the outfield to get him into the lineup on a regular basis. Still, the 22-year-old Dominican has only 57 career Major League at-bats. He's far from a sure thing for '06.
Andy, We Hardly Knew Ya
I love the fact that the Red Sox tried to soften the impact of their earlier trade of shortstop Renteria -- a failed signing last offseason that has cost the Sox at least $11 million to fix -- by telling everyone that Marte was a star-to-be. And now they're trying to trade Marte for Crisp. To me, that's the No. 1 sign of a club madly trying to plug holes.
"He would be one of the five players you would want to start a ballclub with," Red Sox special assistant Bill Lajoie said of Marte during the Winter Meetings in December.
If the Indians-Red Sox trade comes off and Marte leaves, Boston -- supposedly building its franchise with oodles of young talent -- will have traded two of their best prospects this winter: shortstop Hanley Ramirez (in the deal with Florida that brought Josh Beckett to Boston) and Marte.
Welcome back, Theo.
The Bottom Lines
I'm throwing a flag on NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. In Karl Taro Greenfeld's profile of the commish in this week's Sports Illustrated, Tags says that baseball "is about as exciting as standing in line at the supermarket. Baseball doesn't test anything but your ability to withstand boredom." I'm not trying to defend baseball here. You like it or you don't. Fine. But come on, Tags. Have you tried to sit through the last few minutes of any given NFL game, or tried to watch it through the endless beer and car commercials? I like football as much as the next guy, but it's not exactly edge-of-the-seat stuff all the time, either. Absolutely unnecessary. Fifteen yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Astros are in a standoff with maybe their most popular player ever, and a happy ending may be hard to come by. Here's the situation: The Astros don't think Jeff Bagwell can play this year with his brutalized shoulder and want to collect on an insurance policy (the team would recoup $15.6 million of Bagwell's $17 million salary). But Bags -- this guy, remember, is the Astros -- isn't ready to hang up his spikes just yet. He wants to go to Spring Training to see if the shoulder will hold up. The Astros, forced to file a claim before Spring Training begins, have done so, with two doctors declaring Bags' shoulder dead meat. But if Bags insists on going to Spring Training -- and he is -- and the insurance won't pay up (that's still to be seen), the worst-case scenario is that Bagwell finds out he can't play and he costs the team almost $16 million. Best case is that the Astros have a part-time first baseman who, with that bad shoulder, is just a shell of what he once was, at $17 million for 2006. Either way, Bags will get paid, whether he plays or not. But an arbitrator may end up deciding who forks over the bulk of his paycheck.
You have to love how new Reds owner Bob Castellini pulls no punches. A couple of days after taking over, he canned GM Dan O'Brien and never once falsely praised him or uttered the words "a new direction." Instead, Castellini simply said, "I just needed my own person." Good for him ...