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04-30

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Western Front: Walked By an Angel
by
Geoff Young

04-23

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16

Western Front: The Rockies and Dodgers Have Swapped Scripts
by
Geoff Young

04-16

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1

Western Front: The Continuing Development of Dexter Fowler
by
Geoff Young

04-09

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3

Western Front: Xavier Cedeno's Not-So-Excellent Adventure
by
Geoff Young

04-02

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6

Western Front: Lines in a Larger Song
by
Geoff Young

03-27

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2

Western Front: The Reluctant Optimism of Spring
by
Geoff Young

03-19

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4

Western Front: Pieces of Peoria
by
Geoff Young

03-12

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1

Western Front: Rime of the '83 Mariners
by
Geoff Young

03-05

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5

Western Front: Different Ballparks, Same Problem
by
Geoff Young

02-26

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5

Western Front: Even Writers Need Spring Training
by
Geoff Young

02-19

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15

Western Front: San Diego High School Baseball at the Turn of the Millennium
by
Geoff Young

02-12

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7

Western Front: Three Former Astros
by
Geoff Young

02-04

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4

Western Front: They Took Their Turn
by
Geoff Young

01-29

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23

Western Front: Pass the Bonds, Please
by
Geoff Young

01-22

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6

Western Front: Pacific Surfliner
by
Geoff Young

01-15

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13

Western Front: Zeroes and Ones
by
Geoff Young

01-08

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4

Western Front: What Will Become of Neftali Feliz?
by
Geoff Young

12-18

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6

Western Front: An Almost Defense of Kevin Towers
by
Geoff Young

12-11

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22

Western Front: Padres Break Bank, Won't Pay to Have it Fixed
by
Geoff Young

12-04

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2

Western Front: Thou Shalt Not Run on Johnny Cueto
by
Geoff Young

11-27

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11

Western Front: Jeff Francis' Historic Season
by
Geoff Young

11-20

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2

Western Front: Surprise, You Won 90 Games
by
Geoff Young

11-13

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3

Western Front: Three Days in the Desert, Part 2
by
Geoff Young

11-06

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9

Western Front: Three Days in the Desert, Part 1
by
Geoff Young

10-30

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14

Western Front: Three Giant Draft Picks
by
Geoff Young

10-23

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3

Western Front: Better Than Setting Cash on Fire
by
Geoff Young

10-16

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10

Western Front: The Year Baseball Went Missing in San Diego
by
Geoff Young

10-03

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2

Western Front: If It Wasn't for Accountability, I Wouldn't Have Any Ability
by
Geoff Young

09-25

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Western Front: Portrait of a Hacker
by
Geoff Young

09-18

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20

Western Front: Chase Headley is Awesome
by
Geoff Young

09-11

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6

Western Front: Céspedes Won't Be Leaving to Join Devo
by
Geoff Young

09-04

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12

Western Front: They Move Like Living Things
by
Geoff Young

08-28

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6

Western Front: When Loney was Better than Gonzalez, and Kotchman was Better than Both
by
Geoff Young

08-21

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6

Western Front: Before Felix was King
by
Geoff Young

08-14

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4

Western Front: Pick the Collie, or Maybe the Weimaraner
by
Geoff Young

08-07

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4

Western Front: When the Time is Right
by
Geoff Young

07-31

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3

Western Front: Where Has Upton's Power Gone?
by
Geoff Young

07-24

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6

Western Front: Walk-off Wins are the New Market Inefficiency
by
Geoff Young

07-17

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5

Western Front: First Win the Division, Then Puppet Show
by
Geoff Young

07-10

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9

Western Front: Trying One's Patience
by
Geoff Young

07-03

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5

Western Front: Ready, Set, No!
by
Geoff Young

06-26

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10

Western Front: Fowler Power
by
Geoff Young

06-19

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6

Western Front: Angels Rush in Where Rangers Fear to Tread
by
Geoff Young

06-12

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12

Western Front: A Brief History of the Vedder Cup
by
Geoff Young

06-05

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6

Western Front: Tres Compañeros
by
Geoff Young

05-29

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Western Front: Attending to Center Field
by
Geoff Young

05-22

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7

Western Front: My Kingdome for a Morse
by
Geoff Young

05-15

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12

Western Front: La Casa Sucia
by
Geoff Young

05-08

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4

Western Front: Three Days, Three Dingers
by
Geoff Young

05-01

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4

Western Front: As a Manager, He Makes a Good Right Fielder
by
Geoff Young

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October 30, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Three Giant Draft Picks

14

Geoff Young

With the benefit of hindsight, how different might the NL West look if given the opportunity to repick in several drafts?

Brian Sabean doesn't always get the credit he deserves. The Giants GM has been lampooned for his tendency to sign players who are past their prime (outgoing skipper Felipe Alou complained upon being dismissed after the 2006 season that, “I don't believe one manager enjoys having players die in their hands”) and for being out of touch with the hippest trends. Early in his tenure, Sabean went on record as saying “I am not an idiot” in defense of a trade that sent popular third baseman Matt Williams to Cleveland for four players, the most notable of which was future MVP/“Survivor” contestant Jeff Kent.

All of which I'm sure is fine with Sabean, who gets results while those that would criticize him must settle for dismissing his success as a fluke or some such. The man and his team have played in three World Series in the past 11 years and won two of the last three. Clearly he is doing something right.

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The oddsmakers in Vegas place some weird bets, but aren't you better off using your money elsewhere?

My wife and I drove to Las Vegas this weekend for an aunt's 90th birthday party. The aunt is a Dodgers fan, but we love her anyway. She, likewise, tolerates our affection for the Padres.

I typically don't make sports bets because setting fire to one's cash is more efficient, but once in a while I do. In 1997, shortly after the Padres acquired Kevin Brown from Florida, I put $20 on them to win it all the following year at 50-to-1. They got swept by the Yankees in the World Series, and I regretted not having bet on them to win the National League, which would have netted me $500.

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October 16, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: The Year Baseball Went Missing in San Diego

10

Geoff Young

Chronicling the Padres' off-field saga from 2012 and predicting its implications for the future.

The Padres had a strange 2012, even by their standards. The strangeness wasn't limited to on-field action. Ongoing ownership and television contract issues often overshadowed how the team performed in games.

It's all a bit convoluted, so we'll go over some background information before looking at the 2012 timeline and what effect the events of this year will have on the franchise and the city of San Diego in the short- and long-term.

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The season is nearly at an end. How many predictions made in the early going actually panned out?

Oh, navel. Thou art so lovely and so perfectly placed. I could gaze upon thy glory fore'er and still not grasp all the intricacies of thy splendor. Or I could point at stuff I said earlier this year and laugh. Yeah, let's go with Plan B.

January 31: Fixing a Bug in the Mariners
What I said
The Mariners did not score enough runs in 2011 to field a competitive team. There was no single point of failure; rather, this was a systems-level issue, with nearly all components contributing. The solution is to add a promising young hitter, Jesus Montero, to the lineup. His strong minor-league track record and pedigree suggest that he can provide a boost to the offense in 2012 and beyond.



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September 25, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Portrait of a Hacker

1

Geoff Young

The Sultan of Swing, the man more allergic to walks than most players in major-league history, drew three walks in a game. Here's the epic story of Miguel Olivo.

Miguel Olivo hooked a two-run homer just inside the Safeco Field left-field foul pole last Friday night against Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando. The eighth-inning blast extended the Mariners' lead to 6-3 and helped secure Seattle's 71st victory of 2012. Beyond contributing to a meaningless win, Olivo's home run inspired the following table (stats here and throughout the article are through games of Saturday, September 22):

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Chase Headley is having a monster season in San Diego, but could this breakout have been predicted? Where does he go from here?

“When are we going to get a 'Chase Headley is awesome' article at BP? Or did I miss it?” These were the exact words, and this is the exact article. And I don't know if you missed it.

What you may have missed, particularly if you are in or not in San Diego, is that Headley has been on a rampage since being omitted from the National League All-Star team. As of this writing, he leads the majors—along with the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera—with 20 homers in the second half. As in, more than everyone else. As in, more than the 15 he hit over the previous two seasons combined. This helps explain why the Padres are tied with San Francisco for the third-best record in the NL since the break.

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September 11, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Céspedes Won't Be Leaving to Join Devo

6

Geoff Young

Despite his current late-season swoon, Yoenis Cespedes has exceeded expectations and hit well in Oakland's ballpark.

It has been a while since I've thought about Yoenis Céspedes. That isn't entirely true. I think about him quite often, in a purely platonic way, but it has been a while since I've put those thoughts into words. The last time came toward the end of July, while marveling at Oakland's ability to win games at the last possible moment. Included in that piece was the tale of a Céspedes walk-off homer against the Dodgers on June 21.

I also wrote about him back in April, when we all still wondered why the A's would sign a 26-year-old outfielder from Cuba to a four-year, $36 million deal. Between those two articles, Céspedes displayed his abundant talents and made it apparent that Billy Beane—backlash in the wake of being portrayed by Brad Pitt in Moneyball notwithstanding—might know a thing or 52 about baseball.

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September 4, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: They Move Like Living Things

12

Geoff Young

A small-scale study on watching a baseball broadcast from the home team and away team's perspective.

Synchronized and graceful, they move like living things.
—Neil Peart

Being among the estimated 40-plus percent of San Diegans who cannot watch Padres games on television in 2012, I find myself watching many games involving two teams in which I have no rooting interest. Watching baseball without regard for outcome is weird but also liberating. It allows me to focus on aspects of the game I might not otherwise consider.


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There was a time when both Casey Kotchman and James Loney ranked ahead of Adrian Gonzalez on prospect charts.

I've wanted to write about this for years, and now that Adrian Gonzalez and James Loney have been traded for each other, I have an excuse. Casey Kotchman wasn't traded for either but in my mind fits in the same group of “Promising Young Southern California First Basemen of the Mid-Oughts” that is as meaningless to the rest of the world as it is cumbersome to say.

But this is my habit. Association by guilt. Say Jake Peavy, I immediately think of Dennis Tankersley. Going back further, mention Ron Oester, and I think of Tom Herr, Glenn Hubbard, Johnny Ray, and Steve Sax. It's a reflex reaction. I can't not think of the other members of a set when I think of one.

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August 21, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Before Felix was King

6

Geoff Young

Despite Felix Hernandez's recent 99 Game Score in his perfecto, Seattle has a history of losing well-pitched contests.

When Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez spun a perfect game against the Rays last Wednesday night, he became the third pitcher in Mariners history to notch a no-hitter. Randy Johnson was the first, in June 1990, against the Tigers. Chris Bosio followed that nearly three years later against the Red Sox.

One of my favorite Bill James toys is his Game Score, which attempts to measure a starting pitcher's effectiveness in a single game on a scale (roughly) of 0 to 100. Like any other tool, it isn't perfect, but it provides a useful gauge. When you get past 90, you're in elite territory. Both Johnson's and Bosio's no-hitters scored 89, the former because Johnson walked too many (six) and the latter because Bosio struck out too few (four). Still, a no-no is a no-no, and there is no-no denying the greatness of their performances.

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What would happen if dogs played baseball? If there were a real Draft Derby? Join the world of the whimsy and find out!

What if dogs played baseball?

Years ago, when I was writing for a long-forgotten blog, I asked myself this question and made the mistake of doing so out loud. My theory in life is that you ask anything in the hope of finding something, but this crossed a line. In our house, “What if dogs played baseball?” has become code for, “There are no stupid questions, but that is a stupid question.”

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August 7, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: When the Time is Right

4

Geoff Young

It's the same song but a different verse when it comes to Josh Hamilton's and Albert Pujols' seasons.

Once upon a time, Josh Hamilton was going to hit .400 and Albert Pujols was washed up. Then magic (well, regression) happened and it no longer was so.

When last we checked, Hamilton and Pujols were headed in opposite directions. After beginning the season at .404/.458/.838 through 35 games, Hamilton slumped. Pujols hit .213/.248/.307 during that same stretch (May 16, to be precise) and then caught fire. Not literally, of course—that would be painful.

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