Josh Bell went 2-for-5 with three RBIs yesterday for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, leaving his average at .324. Josh Perrault tossed a scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out two.
Former Oriole Adam Loewen went 1-for-5 with an RBI and four strikeouts. He’s batting .179.
Special thanks to Jay Cutler for those five picks last night. The guy who took San Francisco -3 appreciated each and every one of them. But he could have done without that final drive. Not good for his blood pressure.
The ESPN Zone began taking entries this week for its eighth annual Ultimate Couch Potato competition, scheduled for Jan. 1. Four fans will square off in a “competitive sitting” competition on New Year’s Day to see who can watch the most continuous hours of televised sports. Entries close on Dec. 9.
Bathroom breaks are allowed only once every eight hours, and sleeping is forbidden. Go easy on the beer.
Prizes include a recliner, free cable for a year and $1,000 toward the ultimate home sports theater. If you’re interested, fire off an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with 200 words or less describing why you should compete. You can learn more by visiting espnzone.com/ultimatecouchpotato.
Last year’s winner Jessica Mosley, an education coordinator from Arlington, Va. will return to defend her UCP crown after winning last year’s competition by watching 70 hours, 45 minutes of non-stop sports. The Guinness Book of World Records official mark is 69 hours, 48 minutes, set by Suresh Joachim in 2005, so Mosley is excluded. If I’m her, I’m not taking this sitting down.
Peter Schmuck would have shattered the record if he had purchased one more family-size bag of Doritos.
Going back to my interview with first base coach John “T-Bone” Shelby, I asked how he thought Adam Jones could improve in center field.
“One of the things he did this year that probably showed at times is, he has good speed, he goes back well on balls, but there were some balls hit this year that he didn’t get to and he was a little disappointed,” Shelby said. “Basically, just keep the fundamentals that you have - coming in on balls, going to your left, going to your right and getting in position to throw the ball. His arm is nothing he has to work on. Just get in position to throw the ball. And I think this upcoming season, he’ll probably want to do some extra things, like going back on balls and going in the gaps and just keeping everything in check, because he knows there will probably be more people watching him now that he won a Gold Glove.
“There’s always something to work on. You have to fine-tune your fundamentals. And he always works. That’s the one thing I love about him. I honor him for that. It just looks easy because of the way he does it.”
Now for the elephant in the room: The argument that Jones plays too shallow and doesn’t get back on enough balls.
“We’ve talked about that a lot because some balls that were hit, I felt like he could have gotten back on. And if he was here, he would say the same thing,” Shelby said.
“One thing that helps outfielders is knowing the pitching staff. And with so many different guys in the rotation this year, there were only a couple guys on the team that were basically ground-ball pitchers. The majority of guys gave up a lot of fly balls, so I think that’s where he was having difficulties a little bit. With somebody like Bergy (Brad Bergesen), you can play in, but with others you can’t because they don’t throw sinkers.
“It’s just a matter of making adjustments, knowing your pitchers and basically learning your teammates.”
Jones would benefit from hitting the cutoff man more frequently. His arm is strong enough, but accuracy has been an issue. It will be addressed again in spring training.