Jeff Samardzija, Secret Agent Man

Jeff Samardzija, Secret Agent Man
July 6, 2014, 7:30 pm
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Sounds like you can stop chanting “Beat L.A.” at Warriors games, because they are deeply and profoundly beaten.
Ray Ratto

Jeff Samardzija is the best All-Star ever because he plans to sneak across enemy lines between the National Anthem and the first pitch. If he doesn’t dress out like Inspector Gadget when he is introduced as a National League All-Star, we as a nation will be sorely vexed.

The newest Athletic, at least until Jason Hammel turns up, fled the safe miseries of the Chicago Cubs two days before the teams were named Sunday, so while he’s going to be introduced as a full-fledged National Leaguer, he will be in fact be the first official in-game turncoat in All-Star history.

“(It’s) just a random happening, to tell you the truth. I don't think it's ever happened before,” the elongated Benedict Arnold-in-training said. “I don't think anyone knew that I was going to be an All-Star before the trade or after. It just happened to be that way. I won't get to pitch, which is a bummer but that's all right. I'll just go through whatever ceremonies they have and just jump over to the AL dugout with an NL jersey on and have some fun with the six other dudes we have over there, which is exciting. It's crazy. This many guys in the All-Star game is exciting.”

The only Cub who was named, shortstop Starlin Castro, is now destined to sit alone while he frets about the day when Addison Russell, the key to the Cubs’ half of the Samardzija deal, is given his job. Yay, Cubs!

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As it was, the A’s sent third baseman Josh Donaldson as a starter, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, first baseman Brandon Moss and catcher Derek Norris and backups, and pitchers Scott Kazmir and Sean Doolittle; Doolittle’s beard is eligible in the fan vote. In addition, two 2013 A’s, (San Diego) pitcher Pat Neshek (St. Louis) and catcher Kurt Suzuki (Minnesota) and a 2012 Elephant, Tyson Ross (Padres) also went, so once again (as in for the first time in nearly forever) the All-Star Game goes through Oakland. I mean, since it’s not going to go TO Oakland any time soon, why not?

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As for the lesser team in the Bay Area, the Giants got Madison Bumgarner, but he will not perform because he is scheduled to pitch Sunday against Arizona. The only other scheduled Sunday starter will be Johnny Cueto of Cincinnati, and Adam Wainwright (Saturday) is the only other pitcher who is likely to be a full spectator.

Outfielder Hunter Pence was the other West Bay gentleman, and he is commemorating the day by pulling the bottoms of his uniform pants to his upper thigh as a tribute to John Stockton.

And if he doesn’t pinch-hit or come in as a late-inning defensive replacement, it will be the first time since 2006 that the All-Star Game has been untouched by a Giant.

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Carmelo Anthony says anyone in the NBA who wants to hurl max money at him is still welcome to try, but the smart money is still with the Knicks and Lakers, and the smarter still money has him using the Lakers to get the Knicks to go all-in.

The Lakers as bait -– think of it. Sounds like you can stop chanting “Beat L.A.” at Warriors games, because they are deeply and profoundly beaten.

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Another American League All-Star, Toronto’s Jose Bautista, wins the pregame podium-off a week ahead of time after ripping baseball’s replay system a new one. On a day in which no actual helpful information is dispensed, he will be asked to clarify his Saturday rant, in which he offered this:

“This whole replay thing has become a joke in my eyes. I think they should just ban it, they should just get rid of it, I don’t really understand the purpose of it, but getting the right call on the field is not the purpose. That’s pretty obvious and evident. I don’t know what kind of agenda the people that are doing the replays are on, what their plan is, what their purpose is, who they’re looking after. But obviously getting the right call on the field is not what they’re doing.”

I think one of Bud’s little elves is going to sneak down to Los Angeles to have a chat with Joey Bats this week.

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Why soccer in America can’t have nice things, No. 38,101: Dom Dwyer of Sporting Kansas City scored against Chicago Sunday, and to celebrate pulled out a cell phone camera and joined a group of fans for a selfie.

And to think Luis Suarez got four months for just biting a guy. If that’s the standard, a selfie should be worth two years on highway-trash patrol.

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Boston pitcher John Lackey remembers everything and forgives nothing . . . well, sort of. When asked Saturday by reporters about Baltimore’s All-Star designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who homered, doubled and single off him as part of a 5-for-5 day, Lackey opened up by shutting down, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun.

“I’m not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are some things that I would like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”

That would be Cruz’ 50-game suspension last year as part of the Biogenesis scandal. This of course, prompted Baltimore manager Buck Showalter to offer, “There's so many insinuations, quite frankly, about people in every club. You usually don't hear those comments after a shutout or something.”

Well, I think this will blow over about never.

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Because the Washington NFL franchise couldn’t organize a picnic for red ants, its latest attempt to show that their team name isn’t a slur has been to hire Ben Tribbett, a blogger who broke the George Allen slur story back in 2006 (Allen, the son of the former Washington coach, was accused of using a slur to describe a volunteer campaign worker while running for governor of Virginia).

The problem? In researching the story, he came upon a list of other slurs, one of which was . . . oh, this is too obvious . . .

Tribbett shut down his blog last month, but someone dug it up, as is always the case. But once again, everything Washington touches on this subject turns into a pile driver digging the team’s hole deeper and deeper. Seriously, until the bribe money comes from the NFL, Danny Snyder should just come out and say, “I won’t change it because I’m rich, damn it, and rich folks don’t have to do anything just because not-so-rich folks say they should.”

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And finally, here’s to Finns Ville Parviainen and Janette Oksman, who won the 19th World Wife Carrying Championships. Yes, it is as described.  Parviainen-Oksman finished the 278-yard obstacle course in 63.75 seconds, less than a second ahead of Britain's Rich Blake Smith and Anna Marguerite Smith.

There was no immediate announcement on who was named to the Wife-Carrying All-Star Teams, but fan voting ended Sunday.

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