Surprise, surpise. The Bucs bought out the remaining year on Jermoy Burnitz's contract today for $700,000. Maybe they'll do the right thing and put that money towards Teixeira.
It sounds like they might choose to pick up the $3 million option on Damaso Marte though. I'd be pleased. He was solid last year. Nothing spectacular, but a consistent, experienced left arm in the bullpen for 3 million? I'll take it.
What I always liked about Ollie is this: he's a competitor who sucks at competition but still instists on competing. You can see him on the mound, playing mental games with himself, trying to stay tough - and more often than not he he fails. He psychs himself out. He's got all the athletic tools. Mentally, he just isn't quite there.
But when he stays tough, like he did last night...damn he's good. And you can see it on his face, he's overcoming something that's difficult for him. Makes him fun to watch.
It's too bad we don't get to see him in the World Series. Man, if they went on to win that thing - Ollie would have been a hero. Chavez's catch would have been the catch.
Our old friend Oliver Perez is starting Game 7 for the Mets tonight. Yep, Oliver Perez, headcase extrordanaire...Game 7, Mets, New York, biggest market in the world. And it's weirding me out man.
Not sure why the whole situation is making me uncomfortable. Can't quite wrap my head around it.
Is it a secret fear that he might pitch really, really well? Nope. I'm rooting for him. I love Ollie, always have. He drove me nuts, but I loved him. It's not his fault he got shipped out. Well, it is his fault in the sense that he sucked this year, that's true. But it's not his fault Littlefield gave up on him. Giving up on players is a Littlefield classic.
Maybe it's a secret fear that he might really, really suck? Nope, not that either. 'Cause more than likely, he will suck. That's his style. He's a headcase. Up and down like Jenna Jameson on a see-saw.
Am I nervous he's going to suck and everyone's going to say "well that's what you get with an ex-Pirate?" Nah, not really. 'Cause it's pretty much true. Whatever.
So what the hell is it? Why am I weirded out? Please, someone tell me, 'cause I'm clueless. All I can do is sit around, watch the game, and think about what a strange little career he's had so far.
2004 - Ollie, out of nowhere, amazing. The next big thing. The new face of the franchise. He's a local hero in Mexico. Oliver Perez billboards everywhere. He's a God.
2005 - He's gonna be an All-Star. Hell, he's gonna win the Cy Young. No question, this kid's the man. Pirates fans are pumped. But...disaster. No consistency. Gets so mad at himself he kicks a laundry basket and breaks his toe. How you break your toe on a friggin' laundry basket is beyond me. Season's wasted.
2006, Part 1 - High hopes. He's gonna bounce back. He is. We all got faith. He's a trooper. But...no. More inconsistency. Gets so bad he gets sent to the bullpen, Charlie Sheen style. Then it's down to the minors. Yes, sent to the minors, by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not good. Finally, he's traded as part of that Xavier Nady deal. Pirates fans are pissed.
2006, Part 2 - Mets, NLCS, Game 7
That's three interesting years for my boy Ollie.
What's going to happen tonight? Who knows. Logically, he should get his tits lit.
But, in my gut, I got a feeling he's going to get it done. I do. I really, really do.
Thanks to Katielady for finding the Ollie picture.
You'll have to excuse the scantily clad Asian gal. I got all excited about photoshopping the whole "back on track" pun. I spent about a half hour searching for a picture of somebody on their back and this was really the only half decent one.
Anyways, game thoughts.
Ben looked great. What a relief. When he dropped back to pass I didn't get that "oh shit" feeling in my gut. Always a good sign. Anyways, I don't want to talk to much about Ben or analyze his performance or predict what's going to happen next. I just know that he looked damn good on Sunday and I hope he keeps it up. Plus, the beard was back. Coincidence? I'm not so sure anymore. The boy could seriously have magic facial hair.
O-line was so much better. Ben had all day back there and Willie and Najeh looked great. Speaking of -
Willie. Still loving him. Consistently impressive. Always a threat. Willie's the man.
Najeh. Looked decent. His numbers are gaudy, but when you break it down he wasn't so amazing. He had a lot more trouble working the goal line than I would have liked. Still, you have to be pretty pleased with his overall numbers. On a side note, his new nickname "The Dump Truck" is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Here's the story that led to the name...it's a good one. How'd you like to wake up to that at 3 am? Frightening. I can't help but picture Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters at his little party. "Ok, who brought the dog?" And then out busts Najeh. Good stuff.
Our run D is absurdly good. Last week we held LT to 36 yards. This week it's Larry Johnson and 26 yards. I doubt we give up a 100 yard rusher all season.
Santonio finally looked worthy of a first round pick. Showed that playmaker quality we've all heard so much about. If he doesn't slip on that horrific Heinz turf he goes all the way on that first drive. Of course, he did muff two punts. That's not good. But we won, so I'm going to forgive it. Hopefully Willie Reid's back soon and can take over punt return duties. I love Santonio on kick returns, not punts though.
Our special teams still sucks. Pathetic. Needs to change fast.
Troy might want to think about cutting the hair. I have mixed feelings. I love the hair. It looks badass. I like things that look badass. But it's a liability. If LJ doesn't get a hand on it Troy takes it to the house. His hair cost us 6 points. Can't be having that.
Cedrick continues to be woefully underwhelming. The sooner Santonio locks up that number 2 spot the better.
Ryan Clark continues to impress. He's not quite the ball hawk that Chris Hope was, but he tackles well, he doesn't get beat deep, and he hits hard.
Last, but not least, we caught our first glimpse of a good old-fashioned Hines smile.
All in all, the game was great. But, as Cowher's so fond of saying, we haven't accomplished anything yet. And that's the truth. We beat up on a mediocre team. That's what the defending champs are supposed to do. We've got a losing record. We're in third place in our division. Still, I'm feeling a helluva lot better than I was last Monday.