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July 24, 2002

The Daily Prospectus

Splorg

by Joe Sheehan

I know not what I write...

  • How, exactly, does a crappy team spend 10 hours at a ballpark, get outscored 26-4--including 26-0 over the previous 15 innings--and then put up a five-spot to break the hearts of a contender and its fans?

    Sometimes, this game is just weird.

  • It's probably time to just do away with the statistical category of "error." I saw Omar Vizquel make one tonight, except you won't find it in the boxscore, because the official scorer called it a hit. It was a horrid decision, and all too typical of the way in which games are scored these days.

    If the guidelines for discerning between a hit and an error are going to be ignored, then what's the point? Just call everything a hit and move on. I'm serious about this. I can't watch a game without seeing some clear error--glove touches ball, player not in mid-air or something--called a hit by a guy whose entire goal is to pocket his $75 with as little hassle as possible. Get rid of the whole system.

    Too radical? OK, how about this? Stop treating the position of official scorer as a means of funneling dog-track money to BBWAA members. Make it a real job, hiring 20-25 guys, training them, and adding one to each umpiring crew. Then perhaps we could look with some respect at the distinction between a hit and an error. Because right now, the whole thing is a bad joke.

  • Karl Ravech just referred to Dave Roberts as "Bip Roberts."

    I miss Bip Roberts.

  • Next week, when I'm safely ensconced in my home office, I'll have to write a column on the Angels. I've ridden them mercilessly over the years, and while I can't say I agree with everything they've done, the fact is they're in the thick of things in both the AL West and the wild-card race.

    The other thing I could do is just wait a month, by which time they'll look like the Angels again. I mean, it's what they do.

    Bill Stoneman can make that last paragraph look stupid by doing what the Angels never seem to do: make the big move at the trade deadline that improves the team, even if it means adding significant payroll. Disney has been a wart on the baseball landscape for nearly a decade; maybe 2002 will be the year in which the multi-national corporation worth quadrillions of dollars actually spends a couple million on a first baseman or a catcher.

    It's not even their couple million. For heaven's sake, the Angels got $9.5 million last year from actual small-market teams like the Mariners and Indians. Is it really too much to ask that they spend some of it without a hard-and-fast guarantee of increased revenues through a playoff appearance?

    Motivated ownership groups. Not revenue sharing, not a luxury tax, not the firing of Bud Selig, not new stadiums, not a work stoppage. Motivated, well-funded ownership groups are what baseball needs. Leeches like Carl Pohlad or the Tribune Company or Disney do nothing for the game.

  • Shea Hillenbrand walked.

    Really.

    Hillenbrand was walked intentionally twice on Saturday, snapping a streak of 207 walkless at-bats. Until yesterday, though, he hadn't walked on his own in more than two months (May 21). Tanyon Sturtze, clearly rattled by the three homers he'd given up to the first four batters of the third inning, walked Hillenbrand on five pitches yesterday.

    If Hillenbrand finishes the season above an 800 OPS, I'll be surprised. I believe I predicted 780 earlier this year in an ESPN.com chat session, and I stil like the sound of that.

  • Along these same lines, why pitchers insist on throwing first-pitch strikes to Alfonso Soriano boggles the mind. I'm not saying he won't adjust, or that he's not having a great season. I'm saying that he seems to have proven he can hit the 0-0 fastball, and that it might be time to update the scouting reports and try something else.
  • Pizza Feeds tonight and tomorrow night in Manhattan. See this page for a reminder of the details.

 

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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