About Jeff Kallman

I've spent the better part of a quarter century as a professional journalist in print, on radio, and in cyberspace. Today, I work freelance. Here, I think and write about baseball.

The Red Sox purge the Panda

Even a slimmed-down Panda proved still injury prone and unable to pull his weight in Boston.

Even a slimmed-down Panda proved still injury prone and unable to pull his weight in Boston.

Has any fall from grace in the past two or three years been as profound and sad as Pablo Sandoval’s? Maybe this year’s collapse of his former Giants qualifies. Maybe.

The Red Sox have designated Kung Fu Panda for assignment—while he was already down on the farm at Pawtucket rehabbing after an inner ear infection sidelined him earlier this month. The team activated him, then designated him.

All-Star starters don’t always deserve to be (but you knew that, didn’t you?)

Hall of Famer Ripken, the all-time leader in undeserved All-Star Game starts.

Hall of Famer Ripken, the all-time leader in undeserved All-Star Game starts.

So. Aaron Judge lived up to his notices in the Home Run Derby Monday, inspiring speculation on whether he’ll take Max Scherzer over the fence in the All-Star Game tonight. (My call: Don’t bet against it too heavily.) At long last the All-Star Game isn’t going to determine World Series home field advantage. But I find myself transfixed on a remarkable article at FiveThirtyEight whose sub-headline is more arresting than the main one: “Cal Ripken made too many All-Star teams, Keith Hernandez not enough.”

Ahhhh, wait till last year?

Lester and the Cubs probably couldn't wait for the first half to end---but how it ended for Lester Sunday was only too embarrassing . . .

Lester and the Cubs probably couldn’t wait for the first half to end—but how it ended for Lester Sunday was only too embarrassing . . .

At the current rate, the Cubs may spend the final half of this season hearing one after another whisper, sometimes elevated to a shout, saying, “Ahhhh, wait till last year!” Team president Theo Epstein isn’t willing, however. And Sunday afternoon may have made him even more resolute.

2017, Part One: Houston, we have a (sort of) problem . . .

The Astros own baseball at the All-Star break, but . . . but . . . but . . .

The Astros own baseball at the All-Star break, but . . . but . . . but . . .

If you predicted entering spring training that the Houston Astros would be a) the team to beat, and b) next to impossible to beat, they would have wrapped you in a straitjacket and sent you on a one-way trip to the Delta Quadrant. But when not rubbing its eyes over the Astros’ 1986 Mets-like ownership of the game thus far, baseball spent the first half of 2017 wondering about certain rule changes actual or to be, wondering whether the baseballs themselves were given shots of rocket fuel (total Show home runs in May and June: 2,161; or, one homer plus per game of Lou Gehrig’s former consecutive-games played streak), and wondering whether the unwritten rules needed to be overthrown post haste.

From gripping a knuckleball to brain disease gripping Jim Bouton

The dance is only too different now for Jim Bouton and his wife, Paula Kurman.

The dance is only too different now for Jim Bouton and his wife, Paula Kurman, now that Bouton battles cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

Freshly-deceased Anthony Young, hapless Mets pitcher, showed grace under the harrowing pressure of a record-breaking losing streak and in refusing to let the inoperable brain tumour that killed him last week knock him down. Now another New York baseball legend shows his own grace under the pressure of insidious brain disease. 

And, unlike some of the reaction he got when he published the book that changed his and baseball’s life irrevocably, there won’t be many wisecracks about former Yankee, Pilots, Astros, and Braves pitcher Jim Bouton’s brain making for a good dog’s breakfast.

Badly timed not-so-grand slam punches Montero’s ticket out

Once upon a time, Cliff Robertson, playing cartoonish Western villain Shame on the cartoonish television series Batman, barked at one of his henchmen, “A big mouth works best when it’s kept shut!” Miguel Montero, backup catcher whom the Cubs now wish to make a former Cub, is learning the hard way.

Manager Joe Maddon takes the ball from Jake Arrieta Tuesday, after the Nationals scored four and stole seven off him; catcher Miguel Montero was unamused and spoiling to schpritz after the loss.

Manager Joe Maddon takes the ball from Jake Arrieta Tuesday, after the Nationals scored four and stole seven off him; catcher Miguel Montero was unamused and spoiling to schpritz after the loss.

Anthony Young, RIP: Grace under real pressure

It wasn't always easy for Anthony Young to smile during his record losing streak.

It wasn’t always easy for Anthony Young to smile during his record losing streak.

“A.Y. took a lot of kidding about his losing records,” said Doug Flynn, a former Mets second baseman and fantasy camp coach, about Anthony Young, with whom Flynn never played but who met him at various Mets fantasy camps. ”But he was the victim of some bad luck during the streak. He knew inside that he was a better pitcher than his numbers.”

Sending Schwarber down will fix only one Cub problem

The Scwarbinator going to the farm to right himself solves only one Cub issue . . .

The Scwarbinator going to the farm to right himself solves only one Cub issue . . .

Kyle Schwarber is lost for now. He’s been lost most of the season, in fact. So has been almost half of the defending World Series champions. Team president Theo Epstein could and did send Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa to find himself again, preferably not chasing bad pitches and rediscovering the groove that might have been fractured when he was moved to the leadoff slot.

Hey, Porter!

Umpire Alan Porter was not amused at being asked to un-block Daniel Murphy's sight line at second base Tuesday night.

Umpire Alan Porter was not amused at being asked to un-block Daniel Murphy’s sight line at second base Tuesday night.

Bet on it: If Daniel Murphy had F-bombed umpire Alan Porter Tuesday night, Murphy would be sent to bed without his supper and with a few thousand less dollars in his bank account. What’s the penalty for the ump F-bombing the player who did nothing more heinous than ask him to move a bit further out of Murphy’s sight line playing second base?

The Leaning Tower of 161st Street

Aaron Judge, hitting one of the home runs that have been dropping jaws all season thus far.

Aaron Judge, hitting one of the home runs that have been dropping jaws all season thus far.

These, I thought to myself, were the kind of home runs I saw Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Dave Kingman and Mike Schmidt hit. Not just home runs but conversation pieces. Not just an unimpeded trip around the bases but anything from a potential flight onto the number 4 el tracks to a broken window behind a ballpark.