Friday, July 4, 2008


Darwin----The defending Eastern Division champions are in first place again, their pitching staff lead all of BARB in ERA (XXX), but is it all a house of cards?

GM Scott Hatfield thinks so, at least if you read the transcript of this press conference:

HATFIELD: Th---um----Is this thing on? Right. OK, any questions? Yes, you there.

PRESS: Bob Nightengale, Kansas City Star. Mr. Hatfield--how does one put this? Why are we here?

You got the press release, right?

Yes. But it doesn't seem to make any sense. We've watched the Finches pitch and play pretty good defense for more than a third of a season, you're in first place, and your announcement says, and I quote, 'Our club is on the verge of a total collapse.'

Yes, that's what it says.

Well, sir, can you explain how you come to that conclusion?

Sure, Bob. I came to it by the same means that I assembled the best club in BARB, with my superior knowledge of baseball. Next question.

Candy Sofax, Modern Maturity. If I could follow up on my colleague Mr. Nightengale---I don't meant to speak for him, but I think he was hoping to hear an explanation of your particular chain of reasoning.

Oh, right. Well, it's like this. We put together a veteran club to start the year, as you know, and our old guys are having troubles staying healthy. Randy missed a month to start the year, but then we lost Smoltzie and Glavine at the same time and, really, if you look at the numbers, none of these guys are averaging six innings a start. That puts a real strain on our bullpen. As you know, a Finches trademark the last two years is a deep, flexible, pen. But, with J.J. Putz and Jeremy Accardo both out, and us with no situational lefty---none proven, anyway----well, I think we've let that souffle bake as long as we dare. Even if Tom and John got healthy, really, we're still going to be calling on our bullpen sometime in the fifth most games. And that's just too heavy a workload, in my opinion. We've already seen our team ERA rise nearly half a run in the last two weeks. Like that souffle, it's time to get that thing out of the open, so it doesn't fall. Yes, you there.

Dan Taylor, Channel 26, Action News. That's---

Never heard of you.

We have the Valley's leading sportscast, at 6 and 10.

Maybe you mean Death Valley, Dan.

No, that's the San Joaquin Valley. And we'll right back with a real question right after we plug high school football.

It's the middle of the summer, Dan.

Well, we have highlights of annnnother San Joaquin Memorial scrimmage, right in the next segment. Don't you looove it when I smile while cocking my head to the left, and then the right?

And here's another thing. Why do you do updates and teasers from the newsroom with your shirt off, then put on a suit that looks like it was from an 80's wedding and needs a mullet to carry off when you do the actual broadcast? You haven't actually done any location broadcasts since Appleton had a heart attack.

Well, I'm too busy reading scores from arrrrrround the majors. Dodgers won, Giants lost, Athletics breeze, Angels edge! And here's some stock footage of a walkoff home run by some Yankee from yesterday afternoon. And back to you!

Mmmmm. I just love how you manage to pack so little into 90 seconds. Is there a question from a real journalist?

Eric Maddy, Huntington Beach Coupon Clipper here.

Yes, go ahead, Eric.

What exactly are the Finches going to do about their rotation?

Finally a question I know the answer to! Well, it's simple. The veterans are banged-up and not going deep enough. So it's time to shake things up. We're going to let Wakefield take a spot start to push the rotation back, and I don't mind telling you that we intend to let him throw as many pitches as it takes: 130, 140, whatever. He doesn't throw hard enough to hurt himself. The main thing, we're going to skip Randy's next start and throw him to the back of the rotation. Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Sanchez are going to go in there ahead of him and after Kazmir, Grienke and Perez. Then we'll see about where Randy fits in. We're going to stretch our young pitchers out and ask them to go deeper into games and take the pressure off the pen. I know our team ERA is probably going to continue to climb, but we'll be able to keep our relief corps from getting overworked.

Hal Bodley, AP. What happens when Tom Glavine gets off the DL?

Well. Tom is a veteran and knows the score. We don't think he would be effective in the pen, so we plan on using him as a starter if that's what is best for the team. But if we have five or six guys we like better...that could be a problem. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Thank you for attending, and may the baseball gods smile on the Darwin Finches...!