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April 13, 2009

Prospectus Today

Curbed Enthusiasm

by Joe Sheehan

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Just a quick note... if you happen to run into spring, let her know that New York misses her and is very sorry for what it did, and is waiting patiently for her to come back.

I had a testy radio interview on Friday, and it's been gnawing at me all weekend. We were talking about various first-week story lines, and I kept coming back to my standard refrain: It's one week of baseball, and it doesn't tell us much, if anything. You make worse decisions by overreacting to four games than you do by minimizing them. The hosts pressed a bit, and expressed some frustration that I wouldn't move off of that point. While I'm sure it made for good radio, the segment left a bad taste in my mouth.

I know that my position isn't the most entertaining one in the world. I've been trying to find things to write about in April and May for most of a decade, so if anyone is aware of the challenges presented by that position, it's me. It would be very easy to fall into the trap and do a column today about how Cliff Lee is struggling to repeat last year's performance, killing the Indians' chance at the AL Central, and then do one tomorrow about how the Cardinals are a lot better than we thought, and then make Wednesday all about the Padres and their statement in the NL West.

Then on Thursday, I could fashion a noose and give myself sweet, sweet relief from my own idiocy.

Baseball is harder than that. Baseball is about six months, not six days. Two starts mean nothing. Losing five out of six games is meaningless-every team in baseball will do that at some point during the season. It doesn't mean more just because you started that stretch at 0-0. I can go through a full season's worth of 35 PA stretches and find a whole bunch that look like .304/.448/.870. Saying Brandon Inge has a 1300 OPS "for the season" is factually correct, but functionally irrelevant. Getting excited about a "hot start" puts far too much credence in the idea that past performance predicts future results. A guy's career doesn't tell me what his next week will be, and his last week doesn't tell me much about his next 25.

I know this makes me a killjoy. (I don't think it necessarily makes me a bad guest, but that's an eye-of-the-beholder issue.) Sometimes being right isn't all that much fun; as arrogant as it is to say this, I'm fairly familiar with the concept. Let's be clear, too, that this applies when the first week of the season confirms my biases. The Astros are a bad baseball team that probably has the worst bottom 20 roster spots in MLB; that they're 1-5 with the worst run differential in baseball doesn't tell us much more than we knew a week ago. Just because a small sample confirms your pre-season analysis doesn't make it any more valid.

This doesn't mean there's nothing to write about in the first week of the season. I think the management of bullpens around the game has been a source of hilarity, from the idiotic resource management we saw last week to the process by which some managers... some veteran managers... some veteran managers of NL Central teams... that are long-time rivals... assigned roles to their relievers and then ran away from those decisions based on two outings. I have no idea how managers do this; you spend first an offseason and then an exhibition season reaching a conclusion, and then you abandon that conclusion in less than a dozen batters faced.

Maybe Kevin Gregg should be the Cubs' ninth-inning guy. Maybe Carlos Marmol should be. To let Gregg's first two outings change your mind about the answer, however, isn't decision-making, it's panic. The same goes for Jason Motte in St. Louis, who didn't even get to blow a second save before being lifted for another reliever. To the first category of bullpen follies we can throw in Joe Girardi, who played righty-lefty games against something called Brayan Pena on his way to having Phil Coke face three straight righties with the game on the line yesterday. I assume Edwar Ramirez was trapped under something very heavy.

It's not about the answer, it's about the process, and the process by which these decisions were made stunk. That's a lot more interesting than the Red Sox being 2� games out.

Here are some other things on my mind after the first week of what is going to be a highly entertaining season:

  • Catchers' behavior on plays at the plate has to be reined in. In the third inning of yesterday's Rays/Orioles game, Chad Moeller set up in the right-hand batters' box, and while waiting for a late throw, flipped Gabe Gross over his left shoulder before the ball ever got there, then fielded the throw and chased down Gross. It was reminiscent of the Jason Varitek/Eric Byrnes play from the Division Series a few years back, when the Red Sox had cases of uncalled obstruction on consecutive plays.

    Look, I get that the de facto rule is that catchers can block the plate, but it's out of control. If you have the ball, fine, but you can't just block the plate on spec. Catchers, like Moeller yesterday, look like offensive linemen protecting a passer, knocking the baserunner wherever they please until the ball arrives. This behavior is obstruction, and in fact, it's often not all that close a call. Right after calling a consistent rule-book strike zone, this is the area of the game where umpires need to improve their performance the most.

  • It is likely that the Angels' season is going to be defined in terms of Nick Adenhart. Either they rallied together after the untimely death of their teammate, or they never overcame the emotional turmoil created by the events of April 10. As with most story lines, it will be defined after the fact.

    So let's note this before the next six months unfold. In the immediate aftermath of Adenhart's death, the Angels took two out of three from the best team in baseball, coming from behind and fighting off a couple of late rallies in the late innings of the third game. I don't know what these guys are going through as people, and they have my absolute sympathy as they deal with the loss of their friend, but from a baseball standpoint, they have reacted to the loss as well as could possibly be expected.

    I think it's important to stick a pin in this moment, so close to the tragedy, both to acknowledge the team's strong response and as a buffer against history being rewritten as the season rolls on.

  • The Padres have 13 pitchers on their roster, which is just ridiculous. How they got there, however, is just as crazy. Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Heath Bell, and Cla Meredith have been with the team for a while. Edwin Moreno is a 28-year-old reliever who has been in the pros since 2000, and in the organization since 2007, after a stint in the Mexican League.

    Of the other eight pitchers currently listed on the Padres' 25-man roster, none was in the organization last Thanksgiving, and six were acquired in the past four weeks. Read that again: half of the Padres' pitching staff was working for someone else a month ago. That's one reason, a big one, why I had them going 60-102 this season. It's one thing to dumpster-dive for talent. It's another to build a big chunk of your pitching staff with rejects from the Nationals (Shawn Hill), Giants (Kevin Correia, Luis Perdomo), and salvage cases from the Mexican League (Moreno, Walter Silva).

    I can't think of a parallel for this. There have been teams who put together some awfully unimpressive pitching staffs, but that usually involved promoting unready or unworthy talent from within. I can't remember a team importing seven guys in seven weeks, and honestly, it makes me wonder just how little talent the Padres have on hand that they can make spots available on the 40-man roster for the likes of Eulogio de la Cruz, Luke Gregerson, and Edward Mujica.

    It's a great front office, a beautiful ballpark, and a terrific city. All three will witness a massive rebuilding project over the next few years. There may be no team in baseball with more on the line in this June's draft than the Padres.

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

Related Content:  The Who,  Managers Of The Year,  The Process

57 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

oira61

I'm reading Steve Fireovid's book "The 26th Man." Fireovid was a career AAA pitcher who wrote the book late in his career, when he had a great ERA in Indianapolis but couldn't get a look from the parent club (Montreal) even though they needed a starter. Makes you wonder what the guys toiling at San Diego's AAA team are thinking.

BTW, it's a decent book, but it's no "Ball Four." Sorry, Steve, you might also be a 4-A diarist :(

Apr 13, 2009 09:54 AM
rating: 1
 
buddaley

I did not hear the broadcast, but I wish more people would reiterate the point you make about early performances. I find it annoying when announcers make a big point that Bonifacio is hitting .500 with power and so is bound to be a major factor in helping the Marlins win this season. It may happen that way, but you can't tell that from his first 28 ABs. I think it a kind of malpractice in that it misleads the readers/listeners into misunderstanding the nature of the game.

Apr 13, 2009 10:02 AM
rating: 0
 
Richie

"Malpractice"??? Their job is to sell Bud Light, not accurately explain what's going on out on the field. If you (and I) enjoy accurate explaining, well, plenty of other folks just want to be entertained and join in on rooting for the home team. Nothing wrong with that.

If the broadcasters aimed at the few us rather than the many them, then that would be malpractice.

Apr 13, 2009 10:18 AM
rating: 4
 
Stinneford1

Joe, if the Padres have a "great front office" then why were they in such a bad position that they had to pick up 6 guys off the street? That doesn't make sense to me. Something tells me if the Padres were run by Ed Wade you would have been all over Wade for fashioning a roster that needed to pick up 6 guys off the street.

Apr 13, 2009 10:05 AM
rating: 7
 
kddean

Have to agree, it's conflicting.

Apr 13, 2009 10:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

Because Kevin Towers, Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta all have track records that extend back further than their assembly of the current Padres team and include many successes. That the current roster is a mess is on them (and moreso, the scouting and development operation), of course, but I'd take that trio over what...24, 25 front offices?

Ed Wade...doesn't have that kind of resume'.

Apr 13, 2009 10:38 AM
 
Stinneford1

Decent point about Wade, but it's not like the Phillies were gawd-awful during his tenure.

Regardless, I think it would be fascinating to read a deeper dive into the Padres current situation - to see how three guys that you have a lot of respect for oversaw this slide in player development and scouting. And it's not just this organization - it happens a lot. Why? Is there a common variable(s) in those situations?

Would be interesting.

Apr 13, 2009 11:26 AM
rating: 3
 
aztropf

I also think the Padres ownership situation plays a factor in this. The team couldn't really do a whole lot this offseason. Thatdoesn't explain the downfall of this franchise from a few years ago, but it limits their options in filling out the roster.

Apr 13, 2009 11:49 AM
rating: 2
 
abcjr2

From what I read, San Diego's owner mandated a drastic reduction in team salary in a short period of time. So it's not surprising that they have a stars-and-scrubs makeup. For that I blame the owner, not the GM. My only question about the GM is whether the asking price for Peavy was unrealistic, and whether the decision to hang onto him was the right one. My impression is that it was the right decision. If they don't keep him through the contract, and still decide to trade him, they may get a better return in July (like the Indians did with CC Sabathia) than they were offered in the off season.

Apr 13, 2009 12:29 PM
rating: 0
 
Matthew Avery

The Padres will never get a package like the Yunel Escobar plus prospects deal the Braves were offering early on. The Padres should've taken that and run.

Apr 13, 2009 22:16 PM
rating: 0
 
sdfdranger

I disagree, Towers will do better than everything that was offered for Peavy. It won't be the cubs or the braves. It will be somebody like the brewers with a package that will start with: A. Escobar, Salome, J. Jeffress, etc.
Or even philly with the likes of Donald, Marson etc.
I called my shot, whats your call?

Apr 14, 2009 10:22 AM
rating: 0
 
junjin

downfall from a few years ago? it happened just last year!

2007: 89-74, 3 outs from playoff berth
2008: poop

Apr 14, 2009 08:29 AM
rating: 0
 
David Coonce

Well, as a Padres fan I can tell you that Moores has consistently refused to spend money in the draft, which means the Padres pick "easy-sign" guys like Bush and Nicholson and Nick Schmidt when far better players are available. DePo and Alderson have only been with the team a couple years, and Towers has tended to have less of a hand in the draft than most GMs, according to most familiar with the situation.

Remember, Towers traded Akinori Otsuka, Billy Killion and Adam Eaton for Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young. That trade alone should win him some sort of award.

Remember - before last year, the Padres weren't "gawd-awful" either.

Here's the Padres #1 draft picks of the 2000s, followed by a player picked later in the draft: (omitting 08)
'07 Nick Schmidt (Rick Porcello)
'06 Matt Antonelli (Joba Chamberlain)
'05 Cesar Carillo (Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus)
'04 Matt Bush (Justin Verlander, Stephen Drew, Jered Weaver)
'03 Tim Stauffer (Nick Markakis, Chad Cordero, Carlos Quentin)
'02 Khalil Greene (Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir, Matt Cain)
'01 Jacob Gautreau (David Wright)
'00 Mark Phillips (Bobby Jenks, Chase Utley, Grady Sizemore)

That's a long record of failure, and it's not just hindsight. No scout in his right mind though Bush was better than Drew, and Stauffer was already damaged goods when he was drafted. It was all about an unwillingness to draft players based purely on signability. The best, brightest minds in baseball can't overcome a penny-pinching owner.

Apr 13, 2009 15:39 PM
rating: 7
 
Ameer

Great, informative post. Thanks!

Apr 14, 2009 07:01 AM
rating: 1
 
Amos

Fair post for the most part, but listing draft picks with guys that could have been picked in the same slot is an unfair game to play most of the time. Anyone in their right mind would have picked Verlander, Drew, or Weaver instead of Bush in 2004, but lots of teams missed on guys like Utley and Wright. Heck, the Mets picked Aaron Heilman over David Wright. Carillo looked like a good pick before the injury bug bit, and Stauffer had an injury they didn't know about. And Porcello's demands were so high that most teams passed on him.

Apr 16, 2009 14:13 PM
rating: 1
 
greensox

Great point Stinneford.

Apr 14, 2009 09:35 AM
rating: 0
 
Bob

Thanks for this great (albeit testy!) article. I agree about the misplaced hysteria revolving around first week performances, but it is also placed at the end of the season as well (and perhaps more so). The Mets' "collapses" are excellent cases in point, as is Joe Torre, who in 2007, we were constantly reminded, "rallied" the Yankees to the postseason after a 21-29 start (as if Torre wasn't managing the team during that dry spell as well).

Apr 13, 2009 10:14 AM
rating: 4
 
jramirez

Joe - On the play involving Tejada and Mueller in the 2003 ALDS obstruction WAS called, but Tejada was not awarded an extra base because of it. A minor distinction I realize but one worth noting.

Apr 13, 2009 10:25 AM
rating: 1
 
Richie

Casey Stengel recognized 60 years ago that in order to sell papers/air time, the media had to have a daily story to tell. And "this isn't all that significant" ain't it.

If railing about this floats your emotional boat for one reason or another, fine. Nobody's perfect other than me. But what is there to wonder about here? What, you think the "Ol' Professor" got it wrong?

(Casey was called the "Ol' Professor", wasn't he? I'd hate to have gotten that wrong)

Apr 13, 2009 10:28 AM
rating: 3
 
beaversnkings

To be fair, and I'm no huge fan of TLR, he and his prince Dave Duncan were very clear leading up to Opening Day that the Cards' closing situation was going to be a closer-by-committee, so I believe that your veiled criticism is not particularly fair.

Apr 13, 2009 10:37 AM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

It's not a committee decision to bring in a guy to protect a lead in the ninth and yank him after he gives up a 3-2 single, gets an out, then gives up a 2-2 single. That's panic. "If you give up two singles, you're coming out, even if they haven't scored yet."

There was no platoon advantage issue. TLR just yanked Motte for McClellan because Motte gave up two hits. If that's going to be the standard, then don't let Motte start the inning, because you're setting him up to fail.

That's no way to run a bullpen. It's twitchy, and twitchy creates problems.

Apr 13, 2009 10:44 AM
 
bctowns

Joe, I think the Marmol/Gregg/Piniella criticism may be a case where you are falling victim to the small sample size curse yourself. Piniella has confirmed that Gregg is still his "closer" but he won't be used in multiple innings after discovering that Gregg's left knee tightens up after coming out of the game in the eighth. While Marmol's appearance the next game was made much of by the media, it seems to be a case that Piniella was just using his healthiest pitcher to close the game out, while learning about how best to use his offseason acquisition.

Apr 13, 2009 11:55 AM
rating: 2
 
Robert Flaxman

Yeah, Piniella has said all along that (a) Gregg is the closer but (b) there remain opportunities for Marmol to find himself in that spot on occasion. Marmol had seven saves last year, due to how the team decided to use Wood (they didn't watch to pitch him in three straight games, for instance). I believe that Marmol got the save on Saturday because, as the Cubs were down 5-4 prior to Soriano's home run, Marmol had been warming in the 8th and Gregg, since it wasn't a closer situation, had not been, and Lou didn't think it made sense to warm Marmol up and not use him when he was ready to go come the ninth. Gregg was in there last night and today, although neither was technically a save situation (four-run leads both times). I think Joe jumped the gun with the criticism a little bit. Just because a lot of Cubs fans are clamoring for Marmol to be the closer - I'm not one of them - doesn't mean the Cubs are actually doing that.

Apr 13, 2009 21:52 PM
rating: 1
 
shamah

Not having seen the game it's hard to say, but what if Duncan or TLR saw something in Motte's delivery or stuff that told them he just didn't have it that day? Wouldn't you want to yank him as soon as you realize that to avoid further damage. I'm not saying that's what happened, just saying that there could be other explanations beyond panic. I'd be more inclined to agree with you if Motte gets sent down tomorrow because he lacked a "closer mentality" or some such nonsense.

Apr 13, 2009 13:57 PM
rating: 3
 
aztropf

We all also know that "closer by committee" is a euphemism for "we have a guy but he's never been a closer before so we won't specifically name anyone yet". Happens every year. When's the last time you actually saw a real closer committee?

Motte was the annointed closer in St. Louis, at least until he gave up a few runs on opening day. Now it's off to panic mode.

Apr 13, 2009 11:54 AM
rating: 1
 
beaversnkings

Annointed by the media, maybe, but not by team management.

Apr 14, 2009 10:07 AM
rating: 0
 
greensox

The trouble is that there was no legitimate reason to pick the Indians so high other than a bias toward Shapiro. How did they improve themselves? Kerry Wood and DiRosa. But they lost CC Sabathia and replaced him with - Carl Pavano.
Shapiro has fielded ONE playoff team. ONE

Apr 13, 2009 10:49 AM
rating: 0
 
SaberTJ

How about the best offense in the Division? I know it's early, but Martinez and Hafner look like they did then the Indians took Boston to the limit in the ALCS. Don't forget this team also was great in the 2nd half without Martinez, Hafner, OR Sabathia. Find me a better offensive core in the Central than Sizemore, Martinez, and Hafner.

Thome, Dye, Konerko...no, way too old.
Mauer, Morneau....Cuddyer? Maybe, but Mauer has to be heatlhy.
KC - maybe in a year or 2.
Cabrera, Granderson, Ordonez..maybe, but their pitching is the worst in the division.

You are also forgetting a full year of Choo, along with LaPorta waiting in AAA.

Apr 13, 2009 11:20 AM
rating: 0
 
KowboyKoop

The Indians are the least flawed? Their rotation is Lee (who isn't exactly a sure thing himself) and four major question marks. That's a pretty significant flaw...and their offense isn't SO good that it can overcome bad starting pitching. The Twins are the favorite. If the Royals could just get either Gordon or Butler to be a force...their pitching is good enough to hang around, Ponson and HoRam are on short leashes.

Apr 13, 2009 12:52 PM
rating: 2
 
Steve Hild

Well, if you throw Carlos Quentin in along with Dye, Thome, and Konerko, it changes things a little.

Apr 14, 2009 09:07 AM
rating: 1
 
aztropf

I'm not a huge fan of the Indians, but the better question is who will win that division? Every team is flawed, it just seems on paper that the Indians are least flawed. At least while Joe Mauer is hurt.

Apr 13, 2009 11:59 AM
rating: 1
 
SaberTJ

Agreed.

Apr 13, 2009 12:06 PM
rating: 0
 
SaberTJ

I personally don't see a whole lot wrong with Lee's pitching performance. A lot of his strikes are being called balls(according to MLB Gameday) which obviously is going to lead to him falling behind in the count. So he's had to groove more pitches than he'd like to, and even the Blue Jays lineup can hit those.

Apr 13, 2009 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

I hear ya Joe, but there is an argument to be made for experimenting with players/roles during (and especially at the beginning of) the season, even if it may not optimize your chance to win the game you are currently playing. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, and you will need to develop players along the way if you want to be successful in the short-term.

For example, Girardi's decision on using Phil Coke as he did- Coke is seen as potentially a starter, or at least as a potential top-tier setup man. In order to see if he can do those jobs, he has to be tested by throwing to righties as well as lefties.

Also, the Hillman/Farnsworth debacle you described a few days ago- I presume the Royals acquired Farnsworth with the intent to make him the "lock-down 8th inning guy" (a spectacularly bad decision, but bear with me). If you don't see if he can do this now, then you will not get the info you need to either shift him to mop-up duty (the best decision, I think) or keep him as a core set-up man.

The Coke decision is more defensible, in my mind, but the point remains. If you never delegate a task to an employee that they haven't done before, you will never develop employees (or interns, etc.). If you never break in rookies, allow players to prove they can overcome platooon splits, etc.

(Oh, if I had the time to enter BP Idol...)

Apr 13, 2009 10:57 AM
rating: 3
 
aztropf

Well, except it's not like Farnsworth was an unknown. You knew what he can and cannot do. A few early season successes or failures won't change years of knowing what Farnsworth is capable of.

There's some logic is seeing what players do, but only when they are unknown quantites, or at least young enouogh to improve. Farnsworth is neither. Sticking him in a situation in which he often fails is poor management and hoping for a different result is basically wishful thinking.

Apr 13, 2009 11:58 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Excuses ... you have time to post an extensive comment, but not to enter something you wish you'd entered ... hmm.

Apr 13, 2009 14:08 PM
 
ScottyB

Will, that was just an attempt at humor (but I appreciate the tweak!!!)- I'm much better in my role as subscriber than I would be as a baseball researcher/writer

Apr 13, 2009 19:59 PM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

...successful in the long term, not short term in paragraph 1... maybe I wouldn't be a great BP Idol entrant, after all... ;-)

Apr 13, 2009 10:58 AM
rating: 0
 
Sal T

Casey Stengel was the "Old Perfessor"; so yeah, technically you got it wrong.

Apr 13, 2009 10:59 AM
rating: 0
 
HeavyHitter

Great article, Joe. Girardi has never had much confidence in Edwar, to the detriment of the Yankees. He's a funky-looking and funky-throwing pitcher who gets great results in the long run, but becomes a batting practice pitcher if the hitter guesses right when he decides to throw a fastball. Ya still gotta use him. Piniella, on the other hand, is as flitty as a bimbo with ADD. Everyone but him has figured out that Marmol shold be the closer, through thick and thin.

Apr 13, 2009 11:20 AM
rating: -2
 
qwik3457bb

The Yanks have confidence in Edwar, but not in a key spot, and if you've seen his numbers in high leverage situations vs. medium and low, you know the reason why.

No, Coke, with only 1 bad outing before this, is an acceptable move for Pena. It just didn't work. The 2nd hit was a bloop that fell in. The 3rd was a pounded double that scored an insurance run, but really, once the bloop falls in and they're down a run, with Soria looming in the 9th, there's not much of a chance anyway.

Apr 13, 2009 13:56 PM
rating: 0
 
One Flap Down

Harry Kalas RIP. Collapsed and died in the booth while getting ready for today's game in Washington.

Apr 13, 2009 11:26 AM
rating: 5
 
antoine6

Who gave this a negative ranking? I'm hoping they just hit it by accident. RIP Harry, voice of the Phillies.

Apr 13, 2009 12:48 PM
rating: 0
 
davidlockw

I love all the inferences that one can find behind the comment that blocking the plate without the ball is the "defacto rule." The umpires should correct this in extraordinary situations like you describe, and maybe they have done so. E.g., maybe Matt Holliday never did touch home for the Rockies 163rd game win over the Padres in 2007. Maybe instead, he was safe due to player obstruction, since the Padres catcher clearly didn't have the ball(which ended up skidding past him)while blocking the plate with his foot.

Apr 13, 2009 12:24 PM
rating: 0
 
mglick0718

What's to be done about insane bullpen management? Such as the practice of keeping your closer out of a tie game so that you can lose the game with your 5th best reliever on the mound? The Exhibit A I have in mind is Jerry Manuel losing with Darren O'Day on the mound and keeping Francisco Rodruigez fresh for the save situation that never materialized Friday night (but he made sure to bring in K-Rod the next day to protect a 4-run 9th inning lead). I know Joe's written a lot about this, but really, what's a civic-minded fan to do? The depressing thing is I can't think of a single manager in baseball that doesn't follow this particular "Book". I react a little more strongly to this early in the season because it's been 6+ months since I witnessed such dumb managerial moves.

Apr 13, 2009 12:44 PM
rating: 2
 
mglick0718

I've never understood why catchers are allowed (in practice) to block the plate at all. Can you imagine allowing first basemen to do this?

Apr 13, 2009 12:47 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

Kent Hrbek can!

Apr 13, 2009 13:06 PM
 
mglick0718

Touche'.

Imagine my amazement to see the headline of this story after my previous post disparaging Jerry manuel (and every other manager that would have done exactly the same thing):

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090412&content_id=4234500&vkey=news_nym&fext=.jsp&c_id=nym

But no, apparently Jerry means not that he'll bring him into tie games or prior to the 9th inning, but that he's going to be so bold as to bring him in with a 4- or 5-run cushion. G-d help me if I'm interpreting this correctly.

Apr 13, 2009 13:32 PM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

I'm curious. What happens if the runner pulls a Pete Rose vs. Ray Fosse on these catchers who prematurely block the plate with their legs and lower body? Aside from the pitcher throwing at your head later in the game, wouldn't a couple full speed shoulder tackles without leaving the basepath should rectify the situation?

Apr 13, 2009 13:59 PM
rating: 1
 
eighteen

It would be nice if the situation were resolved so that the rules were followed and no one needed to get hurt, or feel they needed to ruin someone's career (like Rose did to Fosse).

Apr 13, 2009 14:27 PM
rating: 0
 
krissbeth

Well, one of the two is wearing protective gear....

Apr 14, 2009 11:46 AM
rating: 0
 
Carewfan29

That is the way hockey polices itself.

Personally, I think that might be the only way it changes. I hate the idea of anyone getting injured that way though.

Apr 16, 2009 08:10 AM
rating: 0
 
Lou Doench

Heck, Our Pal Joey Votto took a spike yesterday on a play at the plate where he tried too hook slide around Ryan Doumit. Doumit was stretched all the way across the plate to take a throw from left field. Votto did everything he could to avoid him and still caught spikes. Luckily it just caused a change in uniform, but still...

Apr 13, 2009 14:47 PM
rating: 0
 
Noel Steere
(965)

Joe,

We haven't seen spring yet here in Chicago, either (though that's par for the course), but she is on my Facebook, and she asked me to pass this along:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JkBiP7rPt0

Apr 13, 2009 17:20 PM
rating: 0
 
hyattff2003

Joe, after watching the video, I think you are overreacting. Gross slides and it's a non-issue. If he lowers his shoulder, we have a serious injury to Chad Moeller.

Apr 13, 2009 17:22 PM
rating: 0
 
mglick0718

I can't wait to read your reaction to today's Jeff Passan column: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AmgvopVy.zZBNrAyCg6WZ4ARvLYF?slug=jp-panicnumber041409&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Apr 14, 2009 12:50 PM
rating: 0
 
Nathan

Joe,

Thanks for your sample-size sanity! A typical writer this time of year will dismiss these concerns by a mere caveat, even though they are completely damning to whatever point he's trying to make.

Apr 15, 2009 09:05 AM
rating: 0
 
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