Lessons learned from lessons taught (or, perhaps, some less mawkish description of this article)
Woman: I’m so bored. Man: Me too. I wish there was some way we could derive significance from our meaningless sex-filled lives. Spokesman: [appears] Now you can! With “Children!” Man and Woman together: [confused] Children? Spokesman: That’s right! Children! Children are you, but smaller, slower, and almost impossibly incompetent! Act now and you’ll experience the miracle of life on a daily basis! With “Children” it won’t take long before you’re asking yourself, “Hey! Where’d my meaningless life go? And can I have it back?”
Taking another look at a deal that was immediately considered, by many, an easy Boston victory.
A narrative about last August’s Red Sox and Dodgers trade has grown up, certainly in Boston and to a lesser extent in the national press. Essentially, the Dodgers foolishly helped the Red Sox by taking a bunch of expensive garbage off their hands. The Red Sox gladly took advantage of the Dodgers, passing off said garbage while also acquiring two top pitching prospects in Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. Weighed down by their expensive Boston detritus, the Dodgers now languish in last place while the Red Sox, freed from these obligations, have floated towards the top of their division. In short, win for Boston, loss for Los Angeles. But I’m not so sure that’s the case.
When the trade was made the players headed to Los Angeles were looked at as under-performing and expensive. That’s mostly because they were. Carl Crawford had played 161 games over two seasons for Boston, producing just over a win in the process, and had followed that up by undergoing Tommy John surgery. Adrian Gonzalez was in the midst of his worst season since his first in San Diego, and was supposedly one of the organizers of a meeting with the front office to complain about manager Bobby Valentine. In retrospect it’s hard to fault Gonzalez for that one, though the optics aren’t great. Josh Beckett had taken his reputation from World Series hero to clubhouse cancer and added the cherry on top of a five-plus ERA. Nick Punto was who cares I don’t know why he was included in the trade. Point is, the players Boston sent west were not at the peak of their trade value, yet L.A. took them, their full contracts, and handed over two pitching prospects to boot.
There's crap to be bought that you don't even own yet!
It’s that happy time of year again when the air gets warmer, the sun heats up the skin, and thoughts naturally turn to baseball merchandise. “Excuse me attractive member of the opposite sex, kindly move out of the way of that AMAZING WHITE SOX-THEMED LAWN CHAIR WITH CUP HOLDER!!” Fortunately for you, Major League Baseball is here to help you, the baseball-obsessed consumer, out. Here are some ways to spend your summer dollars* other than just setting them on fire to cool you off. Note: I can’t vouch for the efficacy of one exercise versus the other.
Pitchers haven't adjusted to Will Middlebrooks, because Will Middlebrooks hasn't made them.
Remember Kevin Maas? Maas was a 25-year-old rookie first baseman for the Yankees who came up in late June 1990. He wasn’t a huge prospect until he hit eight home runs in his first month. Then he was. He went on to hit 13 more over the remainder of the season, with a .904 OPS, and a 150 OPS+. He was even intentionally walked 10 times. It was good enough for a second-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting, despite just 79 games played.
So that was it, Maas was the next great Yankees slugger. Everyone bow down. Then 1991 happened. Maas hit 23 homers, but he needed twice as many plate appearances to do it. He put up a mediocre .220/.333/.390 slash line. There were certain pitches Maas just couldn’t hit when thrown in the right place. Opposing pitchers had learned them and Maas was unable to adjust. Two mediocre seasons later the Yankees cut him and, other than 64 plate appearances for the Twins in 1995, he was out of the majors for good.