Pitchers and catchers reported today with the first official workout tomorrow. About time!
La Russa's new book
Written by "Friday Night Lights"' Buzz Bissinger, "Three Nights in August" follows TLR in August, 2003. A review here for the book that comes out April 5. link
Billy Bob Bad News Soup
Coming off his acclaimed role as a high school football coach in the movie adaptation of the aforementioned "Friday Night Lights", Billy Bob Thornton is playing the role of a coach again. This time it is a remake of "The Bad News Bears", a Walter Matthau-Tatum O'Neill comedy from 1976. Billy Bob plays the beer-guzzling Morris Buttermaker character who volunteers to baby-sit a bunch of Little Leaguers for dubious reasons and inadvertently helps the rag-tag bunch become successful.
Cardinals' pitcher Jeff Suppan has been a technical adviser on the film, set for release June 10. Thornton said a mutual friend got them together for some catch recently. "Jeff said I threw about seven or eight pitches that were above average major-league quality," said the former high school catcher, who received a tryout with the Royals some years ago. "My slider was working that day. He even said to me, 'What are you doing here?'"
On the Cardinals' 2004 season, "I'm not surprised they lost the World Series because you could see it was going to be the Red Sox' year, but I am surprised they got swept," Thornton said.
"I love the Cardinals," said Thornton, a self-described "above-average" Little League and American Legion pitcher, who grew up in Arkansas listening to the team on KMOX. "Meeting Suppan, for me, was like meeting Jimmy Stewart."
Kettmann's back dogging Mac
The former San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter who has been almost single-handledly attacking Mark McGwire is back at it again with more strong comments. "I've spoken with a number of reliable inside sources who've talked in explicit detail about his steroid use." But, not a shred of additional proof. I sent Kettmann an email last week asking him about this with no reply. Sooner or later, he has to answer to someone. link
New headlines for Mac and missus
Some beefcake and a lot of cheesecake are common in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue. Mr. and Mrs. Mark McGwire get in the act. Not for the faint of heart. link
Vina still in limbo
As previously expected, former Cardinals second baseman Fernando Vina's chronic hamstring injuries are not improving. As a result, he is not in spring camp with the Tigers, with whom he signed a $6 million, two-year contract after the 2003 season. Thanks, again, Walt! link
Duncan audio interview
On MLB.com. Look under "Sights and Sounds" on lower right. link