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To many of us in the Bay Area, the Giants signing of Zito to such a large & long contract was a head scratcher from the git-go. His decline in the 2-3 years preceding the signing was obvious, and while we didn't expect him to be quite so terrible, we didn't think he was close to worth that deal.
Kershaw otoh is showing no such signs of decline. The Zito & Kershaw cases aren't analogous. I wish they were--I'm a Giants fan...
Dude, I've watched the local AL & NL teams first-hand for the entire DH era, and sorry, the AL team and its opponents have for the vast majority of that time played a far less interesting brand of ball. And why not? With the DH there is no true end of the lineup that both teams must start dealing with several spots prior.
With the DH, managers (and us second-guessers in the stands) don't have to grapple with as many questions about how to manage the starter, bullpen, and bench, nor is the risk of aggressive base-running near the bottom of the lineup as worthwhile. It's not at all so simple as do you pinch hit or a bunt.
But as you say, maybe it's just me. I've never felt that what baseball needed was more hitting, so the addition of another more competent hitter who has no role in the game but to come to the plate every few innings doesn't do anything at all for me. We've already got eight "good enough" hitters...who btw don't just sit on the bench fondling their bat the rest of the game.
The DH doesn't add different dimensions to the game whatsoever, it just takes away, and so the DH game is a blander game. But hey, if the AL wants to keep it, fine, just don't go foisting it on the NL.
My kids are now adults in their 20s, but when they were little it helped keep them from getting too twitchy as the game dragged on for there to be a reward coming. So the 7th inning became when they could get chocolate malts (the old frozen Carnation ones...it was the 80s at Candlestick & the Oakland Coliseum, before fancy ballpark foods). They'd of course get a hot dog before or early in the game, and maybe something like peanuts around the 4th or 5th, but it was that 7th inning malt they hung in there for.
Now they joke about that when the 7th inning rolls along, but follow the joke with "want a beer?" Just one of many reasons why adult kids are a the best reward for whatever you go through raising them.
Fair enough, not a slugfest--let's just call it a boring continuous mambo-line of hitters, waiting for a home run without concern about the risk of the pitcher's spot coming up and leaving ducks on the pond (nor the surprises that can happen when they do, but geoff's off getting a beer...).
"All of the arguments for keeping the DH center around good feelings about some traditional notion of what the game of baseball should be, rather than what really makes the game move."
Sorry, but what makes the game "move" for me has not much to do with tradition and everything to do with variety of strategies and play. The DH turns the game into a bland slugfest. I live in a two-league metro area, so I've had more opportunity than most to assess which game is more interesting and has greater lasting appeal.
Yes, dragging a washed-up slugger out for a few more years generates more cash because it draws in more casual fans. And God forbid we should force GMs to worry about having to consider whether a money-maker can actually catch the damn ball, or managers to worry about anything much at all. If that's the best argument that can be pulled out for the DH, then I'll just counter with tradition for now, and hold onto my better game argument until there's actually any argument to be had.
Sadly, the "it makes money, so it's inevitable, screw the game, get over it" argument seems to be enough these days. Like so much in American discourse, logic and actual value be damned.
I get sick of Brandon Crawford being referred to as a "UCLA product." As one of the few majors leaguers lucky enough to be a likely long-term starter on the team he rooted for as a kid, if you feel a need to give some lineage for him, call him a "Bay Area native" or "Giants system product" or "Lifelong Giants fan" or whatever, but don't make him appear to come from LA just because he spent four years going to school there.
fyi, that guy in the Giants NLCS Game 7 celebration losing his glove is Brandon Crawford. Ironic that he couldn't handle his own glove...but maybe that was a foreshadowing of his not making the gold glove finalists.
I would have expected that Coors game at the beginning of this season to easily make a list of Zito's most important games as a Giant, both because it foreshadowed yesterday's game and was critical to keeping the team and fans from doing a Jonestown early this year.
Interesting. I claim no first-hand knowledge of player contracts, so this may well be, although somehow allowing GFs to be used but not Saves is sure odd. But when you get lawyers and the great minds of baseball together, I guess any bizarre outcome is possible.
In any case, given restrictions on the stats that can be used as "non-performance" contract incentives, the evolution I envision will definitely be harder to get to. But I've lived long enough to see the Berlin Wall built and fall, so I've got faith I may live long enough to see the absurdity of the closer fall too. I'm less sanguine about the DH.
I can see in Leyland's comments--and in the way Bochy has managed the Giants bullpen with the loss of Wilson and the mid-season collapse of his replacement, Casilla--that we may be working our way out of this historically recent madness of the designated closer. Absent a Rivera, I can see a day looming when the cognitive dissonance of Leyland's comments gets reconciled by more & more managers opting for a "temporary" "Closer by Committee" approach that runs longer and longer as they get more value in situation and batter-specific matchups.
A few things stand in the way of this:
1) the safety in avoiding second-guessing, but that's as much the media's issue as the manager's, and as the media gets younger and more sabermetrically inclined, I think the questions the managers get asked will shift away from there being value in protecting the closer role.
2) The same as #1, but substitute the front office, and again, I think that shift is clearly underway.
3) Player contracts. I think this could be the toughest, as closer-designated players often have incentives tied to saves. Ultimately though I think this will wither away, as front offices become more resistant to those clauses with their change in attitude, and agents start to see value in promoting incentives based on less crude statistics that also can add value to every member of the bullpen.
So, for the first time in maybe 25-30 years I'm starting to see a light. That light got a lot brighter this morning reading that even an old-school guy like Leyland has at least worked out the anti-closer logic, even if he can't manage to overcome the mindset.
Only for Sunday games.
I've always favored turning the warning track into a moat.
Also, with the rail in front of dugouts now, a water pit in front of the dugouts would turn those walk-off-team-dash-to-field events into a steeplechase. Think of it as a last little extra for the fans.
You'd never get the players to agree to a doubleheader. So scrap the first current-style game.
But I like the idea of picking teams playground style. So go ahead and select players as currently selected, but no one knows who they're going to play for until 1/2 hour before the first pitch, when the managers pick teams. I think the competitive juices of the players would kick in with this more impromptu and (to my mind at least) fun approach. They'd get fired up during the picking, and that would sure be a lot more entertaining to watch than the boring call them out to the baseline to tip their hats stuff. Picture players calling out to the managers lobbying to be picked early, the revelation of who the managers really think is best (aside from their own guys, of course), and the poor guys left at the end trying desperately to avoid being the last picked.
1 - R
2 - L
3 - L
4 - R
5 - L
6 - L
7 - L
8 - R
9 - R
No real method to my madness--simply which one I thought looked more hittable by a batter of that size with that stance. I will not be at all surprised if I get them all wrong, and I won't even feel bad about it.
After all, we know all of these pitches were hit, it's just a matter of whether they were hit were they ain't. If we got position of fielders maybe we'd have another piece of data we probably wouldn't be able to evaluate properly either.
I don't see any BP staff responses (yet). Even if you have to take a secret poll, I'd sure like to see how you folks who presumably watch a lot more baseball a lot more closely than many of us do match up against the unwashed masses.
Grit your teeth and just trust to Kershaw's command of physics? A face mask might help with that.
Hey, it's ok if you don't remember what Scully says about the Giants, just so long as you remember the phrase "three-shutout sweep," as that tells you all you need to know about the Giants.
But I'll own up to the guilty pleasure of tuning into Scully on long night drives in the valley, and it even pleased me that my sons came back from school & work stints in LA as Scully fans (but hating the Dodgers & all other things LA, but Scully, even more than before).
I'm not sure I'd want him all the time, though, as I get my fill of the gosh-all-mighty style from Jon Miller already (who clearly was influenced by Scully, despite growing up a Giants fan). My preference is for the bone-dry humor the Giants have had from the likes of Simmons, Greenwald, and Kuiper. Regardless, Scully's a pleasure to listen to, no matter your loyalties.
That throw of Parker's was a thing of absolute beauty.
Funny that McDonald is such a poor hitter--in his first at bat last Friday, he drove the ball deep for a warning track out. So when he got the bloop hit to ruin Cain's perfect it game it didn't surprise me or the people I was with at the game all that much--we thought he must be an exceptionally good hitting pitcher.
Wow, I knew I was getting old, but I didn't realize I was so old that I saw Ed Halicki pitch in 1918.
Three more wins and Cain finally gets over .500. It's looking like he just might get there.
Two minor points:
1) I suspect the "not" in the first sentence is an editing left-over.
2) Sabean came up through scouting; Bochy did not. So aside from the classic dynamic of the more politic top-guy over-riding the less politic lower guy to soothe the waters, Sabean's also very biased towards scouts because in his heart he still is one (which goes a long way towards explaining a lot of the rest of his actions).
As one of the seagulls who watched and admired Evans at Candlestick, as well as a bit of Smith in orange & black (after he stopped pummeling Giants fans in the stands), I am both surprised and thrilled to see an argument for their HoF credentials on BP.
That said, I have to admit that it's a bit baffling to me too. Both were excellent players, but I don't think any of us seagulls ever thought of either as even borderline HoF. In part that might be because I'm a Small-Hall guy, in part it might be because of the argument npb7768 makes above.
But even sticking to the starting criteria of the article, the WARP list through 30, it becomes obvious that the criteria are clearly flawed. McCovey is #41, Aaron is #59--below Mike Piazza and Bobby Bonds (and Evans & Smith, of course), just for example. Jack Clark is but three slots below Jeff Kent, which would elicit guffaws from even the ornithological seagulls of Candlestick. In short I can't see how anyone can accept those rankings as even a decent rough starting point for HoF worthiness, even marginal worthiness.
Regardless, it's still nice to see Evans and Smith get the recognition of a shout-out that other much less-deserving players (cough, Mattingly) get routinely, just because they happened to land on the right team. And the walk through James' 10 reasons plus the additional ones by the author is great. So many thanks, even though I disagree with the premise.
It's not a baseball movie, but I've always been fond of "Chan is Missing" in large part for the baseball element throughout it--a constant in the background soundtrack of the movie is Hank Greenwald calling a Giants game. For Giants fans of that era (or at least for this one) nothing conjures up such warm-in-the-belly baseball feelings as the sound of Hank's voice floating through the background of life.
For once it's a good thing that Sabean doesn't read BP--he'd probably follow up on the idea of bringing LeMaster back.
Fair enough. But can you guarantee that the criteria used to determine "the best" today will still be considered valid in a few decades, let alone 100 years from now? You can't of course, whereas I can confidently guarantee you that they will be different.
So ultimately you still end up with a time-slice perspective of "the best," but one with a distorting 5-20 year delay effect (at a minimum). Personally I'd rather have a selection that is at least tied to what was valued when the players were playing--and logically was thus what they were trying to achieve--rather than one based on criteria the players never knew existed.
I agree with you on steroids, but stealing signs is small-c cheating--if they're in view and I can decode them, then that's your failure, not mine.
On my first visit to the Hall I was struck more than anything by the fact that it is much more of a history museum than a catalog of the best players. My second visit decades later did nothing but solidify this perception of the Hall as first and foremost a history museum.
If you view the Hall as a catalog of the best players, then the argument that being elected to the Hall confers fame is valid, but if you view it as a history museum, then their fame during their playing years is an important factor in whether they belong there or not. Not the only factor by any means, but an essential and critical one.
Conserving what the game was in an era and who were the best-regarded players of that time in fact helps illuminate the changing perceptions of player quality. If you've lived through the radically changing perceptions of player value over the last few decades, you also know that perceptions of a player's value can be as fleeting as fame.
imo the Hall can best serve future generations of baseball fans by continuing to first and foremost be a history museum for the game, and use its catalog of "the best" players to illuminate that history, including changing definitions of player value. We don't need it to be a strict statistical ranking; we have plenty of far more powerful tools available for that.
Maybe not on par with feel-good stories featuring sick children, but my favorite moment of ballplayer-does-something-for-kids was one by Matt Williams. He was the featured player for a Junior Giants pre-game Q&A that I took my kids to. One kid asked him for bunting tips, which drew great guffaws from the other players, coaches, and parents. After settling his own laughter Williams answered that it wasn't something he did much, but he did his best at giving some tips. Then, in his first at bat of the game, he bunted for a hit; a little gift for those kids who had been there earlier, and probably particularly for that one kid who asked the silly question.
Aside from changing to the automatic manager-signaled IBB to remove the stall gambit and the boring process, I'd leave the IBB alone.
Contrary to the rest of you it seems, I think it's a worthwhile part of the game, allowing the defense manager to take a risk (as generally ill-advised as it may be) in exchange for a choice of batters to face or the setup of a force. Whatever you do you're still going to have "unintentional/intentionals" and the proposed change would just introduce the whole host of problems y'all have pointed out when you've got a pitcher who just happens to be wild.
btw, I've seen the load-the-bases for the force work many times. And I'm a Giants fan who suffered through all those Bonds IBBs, which didn't actually work to the other team's advantage for most situations anyway.
I say let managers display their ignorance. That really has always been part of the game!
"No baseball simulation that I know of has an option for randomized 'not that into it today' diminishment of a player’s abilities, or 'severely distracted,' or 'slightly out of whack.'"
It's been awhile since I last re-read it, but didn't J Henry Waugh's game had something along these lines?
As for the 9th last night, assigning blame to any individual for that inning is an angels on pinheads exercise.
It'd require multiple angles at every base, but might infielder's tag and hand-to-base show up as temporary heat spots similarly to the fouled ball? Graze-the-uni tags wouldn't show of course, but if it's a question of hand-to-bag vs. definite tag timing, you might get a slightly more precise read than with plain video. Seems too problematic, but so would streaming video to phones ten years ago.
How are they using it for cricket?
Please. You wouldn't have even done this article if Wilson hadn't made facial hair such a topic. I get tired of his act too, but give credit where credit is due.
@ Rob McQuown: What's your logic on the 3rd place NL Manager vote for Bochy? Just the act of running Huff out there endlessly should disqualify him.
Wow, first time I've ever seen anyone quote from Revolution 9, as played normally, that is.
I was going to go there too, but had too much trouble limiting myself to only that. Suffice it to say, the fewer times I have to stand to pretend I believe in god and jingoism, the better. Thankfully, my team (Giants) seems to appreciate that their fanbase includes an awful lot of folks that lean my way, and so since the start of the 2002 season they've limited GBA renditions to Sundays & nationally televised games.
I don't think it is ridiculous at all. There is a big difference between appropriate immediate response to a tragedy and turning it into a recurring commemorative "occasion," and like Memorial Day and Veterans' Day (aka Armistice Day), eventually a cheapened and mostly empty tribute.
More thoughtful commemorations would be fine, but by definition that means there is thought put into them, each and every time. In this case the question I would have for the Mets players is are the others who died in the WTC collapses less worthy of commemoration than those from the NYFD/NYPD/NYPA? I'm not asking if they were more or less heroic or brave at that moment, but whether they are somehow less dead or less worthy, and should not be honored equally. Wearing hats of those agencies honors only them, whereas the flag on all uniforms honors the other WTC victims, as well as the service men & women who have died since (as well as before).
It's very sad to see Tejada's career end this way (and god forbid he should manage to extend it further). I always wanted him to be a Giant, but by the time he got to them it was clearly much too late by years, to anyone but Brian Sabean and Tejada.
Tejada was an amazing player in his prime, and a lot of fun to watch because he was so animated, but the 2011 Tejada was like running into an old flame three decades too late who's put on 70 pounds and become bitter and mean. Over the lunch you tried to beg off from, you catch glimpses of what so charmed you when you knew her before, but overall you squirm and suffer, waiting for the meal to end. The collapse of the Giants this August has been hard to watch, but the daily besmirching of the Tejada of my memory will possibly be the more lasting pain for me from this season.
Yes, he should have been, in fact he belongs in it more than Gillaspie, since we're talking middle infielders. Regretfully he's only doing .251/.287/.370 in AA, so I'm not holding my breath.
If anything, Phoenix was a better place to hit than Fresno; the ball flew in that desert air. Gillaspie's defense was very good when I saw him in San Jose a few years back. So maybe I'm just too impatient--I only started going to SJ games when I moved to the south bay ~4 years ago, and I happened to hit a period when a lot of players shot from SJ to SF very quickly (Posey, Sandoval, Bumgarner, etc.).
Still, do we have any future backup/utility guys in our system wasn't the question. The question was do we have a hope of ending the revolving doors of "proven vets" & AAA backup/utility guys in the middle infield. If we get 70% of the year out of Sanchez next year I'd be surprised, much as I like the guy & his play when he's healthy. Maybe Keppinger becomes his backup, but imo that's mostly just another PV having poor pinch-hit appearances while hogging a roster spot. And good god, we still need a shortstop.
So, bottom line, it sounds like our only hopes for avoiding the continuing pain of watching Sabean overpay more below-replacement PVs is: 1) Crawford figures out ML pitching, and 2) in 2-5 years maybe, very maybe, Panik proves to convert well to 2B (and hit ML pitching). In the meantime Lincecum & Cain tire of watching stopable grounders find their way up the middle and losing 1-0 games, and move on to put together their HOF careers dueling each other for a decade on the Yankees & Red Sox.
Who do you project (if anyone) winning the Giants middle infield jobs long-term? Emmanuel Burris seems yet another topped-out placeholder, we're all hoping Brandon Crawford will eventually be able to hit ML pitching, Conor Gillaspie seems to be stalled, and Ehire Adrianza is tbd. Is there realistic hope within the organization for the middle infield (conveniently ignoring the Sabean/Bochy proven vet syndrome)?
"Oh, and the worst pitchers on the Giants are still above replacement level—as if the fan base didn’t have enough reason to be smug about their pitching staff."
But then we have our "hitters" to smack us back down to earth.
Anyway, being the smug/insecure Giants fan that I am, I'm wondering just how rare this all-above-replacement staff might be. Just looking at this list the White Sox are nearly in that position as well, so I'm guessing it's maybe uncommon, but not rare.
It's funny how everyone wants to attribute Lincecum's problems to something besides what he says: his mechanics are off and he's obsessing about it to the point of making it worse. Just like August last year. This is a guy who has spent his life studying his mechanics, and if he says his mechanics are off--and the prior year more than showed he can recognize and correct his mechanical problems pretty damn well--why on earth is that a suspect explanation?
His fastball is still humming in the mid-90s, so the fatigue theory is just plain silly, and he was shaky in his start before the Oakland game, so the Posey-less theory doesn't go too far either (5/16 v Col: 5.2 in, 9 hits, 6 BB, 3 K, 3 ER).
Mike Krukow gave a great breakdown on the problem with Lincecum's mechanics after he got pulled recently. I don't recall all the specifics, but it starts in his stride throwing off his windup, resulting in his release point being early, which destroys his control and reduces the break.
Radio Corporation of America.
RSA is very good--it more accurately describes what it is than TAV, there's no significant namespace conflicts, it avoids the side-quibble with the style guide, and it sticks to three characters.
I'll second it.
My response above was to mswain784's comment, btw.
The "True" question quickly dives into Plato and shadows on cave walls. My college girlfriend wrote my Philosophy papers (I wrote her History papers), so I'll stay out of that, but buffum's right, the Total Average namespace is already gone anyway.
Comprehensive Average would be ok, I guess, but it's not as slick as True Average, and you're heading into the extreme syllable range of some folks.
Agreed, but I'd go further: any abbreviation with mixed upper & lower case has got a very steep uphill climb to broad acceptance.
BP's use of mixed-case abbreviations hurts broad acceptance. They make the stats look weird and complex, and while BP's particular audience probably tends to love weird and complex, the broad population is going to shy away from weird and complex. So tAVG suffers from the same problem, plus it breaks the long-established two- or three-letter convention of the most widely-accepted baseball stats.
The obvious problem BP faced with just using TA is referred to in computing circles as namespace, and the TA namespace is already well-used in ways unprintable in a family journal. So you threw a lower-case "v" on the end to try to avoid that association. Nice try, no cigar. TBA also has namespace issues with "To Be Announced."
I'd suggest burning the upper/lower rules and going with TAV, and in verbal use call it T-AV (TEE-ahv). Actually sounds kind of cool, imo, which should help it get picked up by announcers..."yeah, his ribbie's are up there, but when you look at that lineup's tee-ahvs it's clear the guys in front of him really deserve a lot of the credit."
This Giants fan would be happy to let the president's team have Rowand back.
And yeah, the Penny signing is utterly pointless and yet one more example of Sabean's wacky tendency to make pointless non-deals at times like this, but it's equally weird to see it as a knock on Sanchez. The fact that they traded away Alderson says much more about what they think of Sanchez (the pitcher, that is, not the damaged goods Sanchez they wasted Alderson to get).
Great solution, thanks!
One more vote here for the newsletter being sent later in the day. Getting BP in the morning means I have to file it away to read another time, as I actually do my job during the day. It used to come in just before noon, Pacific time, which was nice because I could read it at lunch if I wanted, but later in the day for evening reading would be fine too. Recognizing that on the web a publication is never done for the day, any late-day arbitrary cut-off like 5:00 Eastern time would work.
On presentation order, this is also another vote for putting media listings further down. Those of us who pay for Premium content should get it highlighted up front and not have to first scroll through a lot of content we may or may not be able to get. And call me a Luddite, but I much prefer reading to listening to people yak anyway. I can see an argument for Unfiltered going first, since with breaking news it will be the most timely content.
Quote(s) of the day would be good--I find the weekly quotes compilation pretty tedious to wade through for the gems, so highlighting the best as they occur would be better.
I'm tempted to support the listing of teams in articles, since I'm one of those mostly one-team guys, but I think that would just encourage my myopia. So I'd just as soon you didn't list all team references in the newsletter, and continued to encourage/trick me to read articles I might not otherwise.
But whatever, you folks do a great job, so however you decide to package the newsletter is fine with me.