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Thursday, March 30, 2006
Updated: April 3, 12:33 PM ET
Page 2's 2006 MLB predictions

By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2



May 1 -- With Willie Randolph's Mets off to a disappointing 11-15 start, Joe Girardi's Marlins standing at 6-19, and Lee Mazzilli's days as manager long since over in Baltimore, many baseball people begin openly speculating that perhaps the Yankees of the past decade have had success not because of their coaches and team leaders, but because they have an astronomic annual payroll.

May 2 -- Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez forces Major League Baseball to again amend its policy on electronic devices on the field after he plays an entire game in left with a boombox on his shoulder.

May 3 -- Let out of his contract with the Nationals for refusing to play left field, Roger Clemens signs a one-year, $20 million contract with the Astros. Under the terms of the deal, Clemens does not have to travel with the team on the road, pitch against teams with winning records or against opposing starters with ERAs under 5.00, and his son must bat cleanup in every game in which he appears.

May 4 -- Jeff Bagwell holds a press conference to announce that he feels healthy enough to return to action, but the event ends abruptly when Astros owner Drayton McClane suddenly appears on stage and chops off Bagwell's right arm with a brutal axe blow to the shoulder.

Gary Sheffield
Sheffield's on the run -- might as well let Bonds take the heat.
May 5 -- Asked by a reporter about steroids use, Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield points and yells: "Hey! Look over there! I think I see Barry Bonds! Look!" and then runs out of the room.

May 6 -- Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard hits home runs in his first three at-bats in a victory over the Giants, giving him a league-leading 12 on the season, but strikes out in his final trip to the plate, eliciting hearty boos from the home crowd.

May 7 -- On a dare from teammates, Mariners catcher Rene Rivera catches starting pitcher Jamie Moyer barehanded for an entire game, and suffers no ill effects.

May 8 -- Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano experiences elbow problems for the second year in a row due to spending too much time online "e-mailing his brother," according to a team report. But since Zambrano also is reported to be suffering from poor eyesight and unusual hair growth on his palms, many suspect the "e-mailing his brother" claim is a cover story.

May 9 -- Alex Rodriguez grants the wish of a dying child, who turns out to be from Boston, by striking out four times in a game against the Red Sox.

May 10 -- The Giants lose to the Cubs, falling to 15-20 on the season, but maintain their six-game lead in the National League West.

May 11 -- New St. Louis pitcher Sidney Ponson takes a 250-mile trip to Kansas City on a Cardinals off-day where he discovers barbecue ribs. He returns to the team five days later weighing 580 pounds.

May 12 -- Before a series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, reports that Jeff Kent is a huge ass.

May 13 -- The translator for Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang gathers reporters around to clarify the pronunciation of Wang's name: "Look, for the last time -- it's not pronounced 'Wang' like, you know, 'wang.' Remember it this way: 'Wang' rhymes with 'dong.' Ah, nevermind."

May 14 -- A's catcher Jason Kendall is busted for using a corked bat. Kendall had raised suspicions by hitting two balls to the warning track in one week.

May 15 -- The Phillies issue a formal apology to their fans for somehow forgetting again to acquire any good starting pitchers in the offseason, the franchise's 123rd consecutive year of doing so.

May 16 -- A Red Sox front office employee drives struggling third baseman Mike Lowell way out into the country, lets him run around in a field for a few minutes, and then shoots him.

May 17 -- Toronto's high-priced free agents are distraught to discover the "big money" contracts they signed in the offseason were for Canadian dollars.

May 18 -- A walk-off home run by Prince Fielder gives the Brewers a 5-4 win over the visiting Phillies and an impressive 24-17 opening to the season -- a start that has enabled Cecil Fielder to win more than 300 grand betting on his son's team.

May 19 -- With the Cubs visiting U.S. Cellular Field to play an interleague series against the White Sox, the defending champs get their first home sellout of the season.

May 20 -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen take a leave of absence from the team so he can dedicate time to coming up with insults of Frank Thomas for when Oakland comes to town on the 22nd.

May 21 -- With manager Frank Robinson asleep in the dugout again during an afternoon game, Alfonso Soriano changes the lineup card, putting himself at second for the Nationals and Jose Vidro in left.

May 22 -- Frank Thomas makes a fitting return to Chicago by tearing a hamstring as the A's lose, 7-4, to the White Sox.

May 23 -- Before a Dodgers home game against the Rockies, Lakers star Kobe Bryant takes batting practice and shags flies, but he is asked to leave when he refuses to part with the balls after catching them.

Grady Little
Looks like Grady Little's going to take a different approach in Los Angeles.
May 24 -- In an 11-4 loss to the Rockies, Grady Little's Dodger bullpen starts showing its first signs of fatigue, most likely due to Little's season-long practice of going to the pen by the third inning in hopes of living down his reputation for leaving starters in too long.

May 25 -- With an outfield of Steve Finley, Moises Alou and Barry Bonds, the Giants sign Rickey Henderson for a much-needed infusion of youth.

May 26 -- The the Braves stuck in the National League East cellar with a league-worst 5.11 staff ERA, pitching coach Roger McDowell begins nervously rocking back and forth.

May 27 -- New Royals acquisitions Mark Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz realize their names have been spelled incorrectly all season on the backs of their jerseys, but they're told by the team's equipment manager: "Look, you play for the Royals -- no one is going to notice. Plus, we can't afford to fix it so you're just going to have to suck it up."

May 28 -- On "Kids Run The Bases" day at Comerica Park, Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers punches a 7-year-old boy who points a camera at him.

May 29 -- Curt Schilling logs onto a Boston Red Sox fan message board to ask users if anyone knows how to deep-fry a Twinkie.

May 30 -- Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez drops a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on his big toe and tells team officials the pain is so great he won't be able to pitch again until September.

May 31 -- Finally in good health but hitting just .185 with only three home runs on the season, Ken Griffey, Jr. is told by Reds manager Jerry Narron to skip his pregame stretching routine from now on.