Thongs, called shots for sluggers

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Yeah, I know I’ve been in a wicked writing slump lately, but just to set your mind at ease: While typing this, I’m not pulling a Jason Giambi and wearing a tiger-striped thong.


Did you read about the minor leaguer who was traded for 10 maple bats? I’m told, though, that the Laredo Broncos, who made the swap for pitcher John Odom, drove a hard bargain. In fact, they threatened to nix the deal if the Calgary Vipers didn’t drop their additional demand for “a resin bag to be named later.”


The more I look at Tigers manager Jim Leyland — he of the three-packs-a-day cigarette habit — the more I’m convinced he would have made a great Marlboro Man in the movie “Thank You for Smoking.” (A part played by Sam Elliott, possessor of the best voice this side of Yankees P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard.)


Speaking of the Yankees, they were reportedly much miffed when they heard about a promotion planned for this year’s All-Star Game festivities involving the Red Sox’s David Ortiz … in their own ballyard, no less. But come on, let’s think about this. If you’re going to have the winner of an online contest try to call the shot of a current slugger during the Home Run Derby — a la Babe Ruth in the ‘32 World Series — who better than Ortiz, the universally liked, Round Mound of Round-Trippers?

I mean, who would the Yankees prefer in the role of the Bambino, John Goodman?


Besides, it’s not like Big Papi has never hit a homer in The Stadium before. A quick check of his stats at reveals he has hit 16 of his 276 regular-season dingers there, plus another three in the playoffs — 19 more than Goodman.


The Nationals’ Lastings Milledge tells Sports Illustrated: “I take every game like it’s my last.”

Milledge also swings at every pitch like it’s his last. That’s why he’s struck out 115 times and walked only 37 in 528 big league ups.


Elsewhere in baseball, the players okayed tougher drug rules the other day. The biggest change: When a player hits his 50th homer of the season now, he’ll be met at home plate by a lab technician and presented with a specimen cup.

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