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Actually, now that I, um, actually look through the tables instead of just glancing at the first couple, I don't see any strike-through names: not <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Pete+Rose">Pete Rose</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=20248">Eddie Cicotte</a></span>, or Shoeless <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=23855">Joe Jackson</a></span>. And in the Runs table, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1589">Derek Jeter</a></span>'s name should be italic, not bold. Again, quibbles. Thanks.
Very interesting; thanks. A quibble: Shouldn't <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Pete+Rose">Pete Rose</a></span>'s name be crossed out? He's ineligible for the Hall of Fame under its current rules, right?
To me, the root of the problem is that baseball announcers seem to think listeners are most interested not in the game but rather in the announcers' opinions about the game, the players, baseball in general, sports in general, current events, etc. Announcing has become a sports talk show, occasionally (often grudgingly) interrupted by descriptions of the game itself
It's especially bad on radio, where announcers ignore "routine" pitches and even entire at-bats in favor of bantering, telling stories, or interviewing a player's wife about an upcoming charity event. Baseball is game of ebb and flow, with tension building pitch by pitch until it's sudden released when bat strikes ball. Failing to announce each and every pitch kills that tension.
The great old-time announcers learned to paint word pictures, noting the placement of fielders, describing exactly how plays unfolded, and allowing listeners to visualize the action. Announcers today do TV as well as radio. I suspect they carry over to the radio booth the habit of not describing what TV viewers can plainly see for themselves.
"[Stan] Bahnsen, of whom you've never heard." Sigh. Speak for yourself, kid.
Roster expansion would only increase the time-sucking and offense-sapping parade of relief pitchers. Many teams would use extra roster slots to add even more relievers. Restricting a roster to 11 pitchers would still not stop the reliever parade. Teams would rotate relievers between the majors and minors to keep their bullpens stocked with fresh arms, effectively restoring 12- or 13-man bullpens.
Instead of restricting reliever numbers, I'd restrict reliever use. Require each reliever to pitch to at least two or three batters. Or restrict a team to use of only four pitchers during the first nine innings of a game, except in case of injuries. Control fakery of injuries by requiring any pitcher removed from a game because of an injury to go on a disabled list.
Managers use so many relief pitchers because that reduces offense. In order to boost offense, force managers to use fewer relief pitchers.
I saw him play in Birmingham one game this summer (AA). Rocket line drives every at-bat, including one over the fence. Small sample size, obviously, but wow. Head and shoulders above anyone else I saw in a half dozen Birmingham Barons games this season.
If a cricket player would have made a "routine" two-handed barehand catch on that ball, then I guess cricket players are so vastly superior that major league baseball players had better hope the cricketeers don't try their bare hands at the round-bat sport. That ball was not exactly hit "to" Hunter, as you yourself acknowledge by saying he overran it. "Should have been called an error"? OK, now you're being ridiculous. Did you lose a big bet on that game or something?
Pat Hughes has a fundamental flaw that's more and more common among radio announcers: he spends half his time chatting with sidekick Ron Coomer instead of describing the game. Pat (and many other announcers) seem to think that if no hit or out occurred on a pitch, then nothing happened that's worth mentioning. It drives me nuts, especially when I hear the crowd roar but Pat never interrupts his banter with Ron to tell me why. I want to hear the result of every pitch. But broadcasters increasingly seem to view themselves as hosts of a sports talk show rather than play-by-play announcers. It's apparently a popular approach or it wouldn't be spreading. Or maybe it's not so popular. Maybe that's why Pat is "not a legend quite yet."
When Bobby Cox managed the Braves, he used something like your option #3. Whenever an off day allowed, he would usually skip his fifth starter, at least in the days when Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz headed his rotation. That seemed to work rather well. However, I do recall one writer (maybe even in a Baseball Prospectus annual) claiming that this retarded the development of the fifth starter, who was usually a young pitcher being introduced to the majors. I'm not sure what evidence there may have been for that.
This article seems to me the opposite of sabermetrics. Instead of looking at the evidence and seeing where it leads, it stakes out a position and then selectively marshals evidence, no matter how fragile or even irrelevant, to back up that position. I usually like Sam Miller's writing, but this is that-guy-on-the-barstool-who-always-likes-to-stir-things-up stuff, not what I come to Baseball Prospectus for. It should never have been published, at least on this site.
No problem; a minor glitch in an interesting piece. Frankly, the way Lynn pitched, he may have deserved to be charged with more runs than the Reds actually scored. Not that I'm bitter.
Granted, Lance Lynn has been pitching poorly of late. But even he hasn't yet figured out a way to give up seven runs in 6-2 loss. He actually was charged with seven hits but only four runs.
My grandmother used to say "cattywampused," meaning all messed up, as in "the house settled and the walls got all cattywampused." She was a Cubs fan, which would tend to give one a deep understanding of cattywampusedness.
Contenders also sometimes do things at the trading deadline that might improve their chances in the short term (that season) but also increase their chances of becoming a bad team (not merely a .500 team) in the longer term. For example, if you make a playoff push by trading prospects for veterans, in a year or two the veterans have left via free agency or succumbed to the diminishments of age, but you no longer have any prospects to take their place.
Or tomorrow your starter might pitch a complete game, or you might have your second- or third-best pitcher available for a save situation in the ninth (instead of your worst pitcher) if your closer can't pitch. A 162-game strategy might call for using your worst pitcher if you're trailing by a few runs in the late innings. But does it really make sense to essentially give up on a game if you're tied in the ninth?
Is it really a good idea to make umpires—certain umpires, at least—even more insufferably arrogant than they already are? I want umpires to be as small a part of the game as possible. Your notion would instead encourage more Eric Gregg/Ron Luciano–style showoffs. No. Please, no. Please.
So if you were the Dodgers you would be all over Hanley Ramirez for doing something that he was required to do by the Dodgers' "bosses" in MLB?
I'm afraid I don't get your point. Ramirez was engaging in exactly what he would have been doing had he been in Dodgers camp. Jeff Kent was not. Unless there's some reason to think that playing in the WBC is more likely to cause injury than playing in spring training, the criticism does indeed strike me as silly.
He hurt himself diving for a ground ball. Don't you think that in a spring training game he still would have dove for the ball? St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese hurt his back earlier this month diving into the stands after a foul ball during a spring training game.
Vin Scully also does play-by-play and pitch-by-pitch coverage, although fellow Dodgers announcer Charley Steiner does not. Denny Matthews of the Royals used to call every pitch, but I haven't listened to him enough lately to know whether he still does. I did say "almost" no announcer. However, I listen to a lot of baseball on Sirius XM, and there are not "plenty others" who call every pitch. I'm not sure there are any others. I agree that each announcer should describe the game differently, based on what he or she thinks is important. But most seem to think a pitch on which "nothing happens" isn't important. EVERY pitch is important. That's part of the tension and release of a baseball game—the count building and then the at-bat being resolved one way or another. I'm afraid that Milo often ignored several pitches in a row, one or more outs, one or more hits, sometimes almost entire innings while bantering, interviewing somebody, mentioning groups who happened to be attending that day, talking about some upcoming event he was planning to attend, etc. I DON'T CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT. I want to know about the game. I'm a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and Mike Shannon is a St. Louis icon and by all accounts a great guy, but trying to follow a game he's announcing can be maddening. I once listened to a Colorado Rockies announcer devote two full innings to an interview with some player's wife, only occasionally sparing a few words to catch up on the past few hits and outs. I strongly suspect it was not the quality of her insights that had him in thrall.
What I hope for the future of baseball radio broadcasts is that they return to actually broadcasting the game. Whatever "personality" the announcers want to inject should wait until after they describe what is happening on the field. Every play. Every pitch. I'm sorry to say this, but Mr. Raymond's partner, Milo Hamilton, is the very worst at giving his self-indulgent stories and opinions primacy over the game itself. To be fair, however, almost no radio announcer today provides play-by-play, pitch-by-pitch coverage. It drives me nuts. But apparently the majority of listeners prefer it that way. Otherwise, it wouldn't have caught on so universally.
I love baseball. When I'm listening to a radio broadcast, I want to hear what's happening in the game. I don't really care about anybody's thermos.
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but I'm at a loss to see what anyone finds offensive. The article is, in fact, about Ryan Freel the "real person" and "real player." If you skip the first three paragraphs, that's pretty much all it's about.
I guess it's those first three paragraphs that some are objecting to. But this is a baseball site. Articles are going to be filtered through the prism of the writers' baseball experience, whether as fans, as sportswriters, as statistical analysts, or as fantasy players. The death of Ryan Freel hit Mr. Lindbergh particularly hard because, as a fan and sabermetrician, he deeply appreciated the things that Mr. Freel could do for a baseball team, whether real or fantasy. "When players we watched, rooted for, and yes, owned in fantasy leagues pass away, it feels personal, even if our relationship with them wasn’t."
Mr. Lindbergh genuinely felt a loss when Mr. Freel died. Those who are objecting to his article seem to be saying that he's not entitled to feel that loss, or not entitled to express it. Isn't that just a wee bit presumptuous?
Another factor: The American and National leagues used to be genuine rivals. They had separate presidents and separate business offices. They hired separate umpiring crews with separate ways of doing things. (National League umps wore inside chest protectors while AL umps used the outside "balloon" protector, for example.) Being traded between leagues (the only way a player could change teams in pre-free agency days) was somewhat unusual and was remarked on in press coverage of such deals. Players and managers, and certainly executives and team owners, tended to be either National League guys or American League guys. There was no Major League Baseball in today's capitalized, corporate sense, just a commissioner who was reactive (dealing with controversies as they came up but otherwise letting each league run itself) rather than proactive (a la Bud).
Interleague play took place on only two occasions: the All-Star Game and the World Series. The win-one-for-our-side ethos was stronger in the latter, of course, but still present in the former. I remember reading stories of league presidents giving pregame locker-room pep talks, trying to fire up their teams to uphold the honor of their leagues.
Was it better back then? I dunno. It was smaller. Baseball was smaller. The world was smaller. The All-Star Game was a midsummer diversion created by a go-getter sports editor to boost the game of baseball during the Depression and sell some newspapers. It outlasted the Depression, outlasted any meaningful distinction between the two major leagues, and will probably outlast newspapers. Whatever else you think of it, that's pretty impressive.
The Willie Mays you list was the father of the "real" Willie Mays. I live near Birmingham, Alabama, not far from where both Willies grew up. Oldtimers have told me that Cat was faster than his son and, some say, maybe even a better fielder, though nowhere near the hitter.
You could make the "all else being equal" argument about almost anything. All else being equal, a strategically placed pebble in the path of a ground ball that otherwise would be a double play wins championships. So, as the 1960 World Series conclusively proved, pebbles win championships.
But all else is never equal. Mr. Funck's argument is that other factors, such as intelligence and luck, win more championships than money. Given that the New York Yankees have not won the past 30 or 40 World Series in a row, his position is demonstrably correct.
Who is the only center fielder ever in one season to score 100 runs, drive in 100 runs, hit 40 homers, walk 100 times, hit .300, and win a Gold Glove? Jim Edmonds, in 2004. And he almost did it in 2000, missing only in batting average (.295). Granted, Gold Gloves didn't debut until 1957, but this buffet of stats still illustrates the breadth of Edmonds' skills. Injuries and his willingness to take a walk depressed the counting stats that some Hall of Fame voters look for, which is why I don't actually expect him to make the hall. But I agree that only Cobb, DiMaggio, Mantle, Mays, Speaker, and Griffey (and maybe Sliding Billy Hamilton from the 19th century) were better at his position. Shouldn't the seventh-best (or eighth-best) center fielder in history be in the Hall of Fame?
Yeah, he's having fun in the booth, and occasionally he even gets around to telling you what's happening on the field. By all accounts he's a great guy, but if you're trying to follow the game, he can be maddening. At the end of the 2005 season, he announced a batter, then noticed an airplane flying over the stadium, which reminded him of an aerial photo he'd seen of the about-to-be-demolished Busch Stadium II, which led to some musings about the festivities the Cardinals had scheduled to commemorate the stadium's closing, and so on. Finally, after several minutes of meandering, he said, "Okay, the count's 3 and 2." Arrrggghhhhh!!! And this was during a playoff game. I'd love to have dinner with Mike Shannon, but as a play-by-play announcer, he's more like an every-other-play announcer, maybe, unless he's interviewing somebody from some local charity or event, in which case you're lucky if he eventually gets around to telling you about the hits, let alone the pitches or outs.
The one basic duty of any radio announcer, before analyzing or entertaining or coming up with catch phrases, is to tell me what's happening in the game. That means every play and, yes, every pitch, even if it's just a parenthetical "ball two" inserted into a discourse on the next month's worth of team promotions. For whatever reason (habits from doing TV broadcasts? habits from sports talk radio? ego in thinking that listeners are more interested in the announcer's wit and wisdom than they are in the game?), few announcers do that anymore, and it drives me nuts. Marty Brennaman is one of the worst about this. He starts "bantering" with Jeff Brantley about his golf game or something, and batter after batter scarcely even gets mentioned. Brennaman also virtually ignores the game during the half-inning that he spends talking with a beat writer about the Reds. The Cubs' announcing team is also horrible (you lose the entire half-inning that they spend interviewing whatever F-list "celebrity" is singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" that day), though to be fair it's more Ron Santo's fault than Pat Hughes'. I have some other issues with Marty Brennaman, but the fact that he doesn't do his primary job, which is to tell people who aren't watching the game what's happening, alone disqualifies him from any "best" list.
You left out one key scouting report: Just how much power does your cat have? My girlfriend has a cat that could probably bat cleanup for a couple of major-league teams. Though he'd be a cancer in the clubhouse.