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Quick note on the opening sentence: the 2008 Cubs won 97 games (before exploding vs. LA)
While I think Milledge is worth taking a flier on, I'm not sold on Baltimore as a good landing spot for him. Jones and Markakis are pretty well established, meaning all of these interesting guys are going to be competing for playing time in left, to say nothing of Felix Pie.
Having two guys out there competing for starts is healthy, but adding Milledge in there would seem to guarantee that no one got the playing time they needed to make a good impression.
Fair enough, but he's no Nyjer Morgan either. Noting that he had almost the same slugging percentage as Jeff Franceour is probably a bigger indictment of Franceour than a positive statement about Podsednik, but while you are correct that he's not much of a power threat, he isn't completely punchless either.
It feels too early to say that he won't get an MLB AB again, he's too young to bury just yet. I can see him having to wait well into camp before someone gives him a call, but injuries and ineffectiveness can make strange bedfellows.
If you read the description though, he didn't really start the fight. What he did, in terms of making a motion to his own dugout isn't really any different from what lots of players do--the Twins' "Smell 'Em" gesture in 2006 or the Rangers' "Claw and Antlers" routine in 2010 come to mind.
He was the one who got hit in the head, but he didn't charge the mound. Once he gets on second, you can see him jawing with the other players, but the thing that starts the brawl is Milledge getting shoved.
I agree, it's not a great thing to have attached to his name, but I can't help wondering: If the player involved with this didn't already have a bad reputation, would this incident put a black mark on their record? If that had been just a normal MLBer, would the stories read the same way?
As amusing as a true stern-sider would be, you are correct. Duchscherer and other righties are indeed starboard dominant.
Both Young and Span were reaching into their gloves to retrieve the ball when the ball popped out, which seems to me to be voluntary release.
Consider this: If there had been two outs in the inning, such that both players would have simply run the ball in rather than throw it, would they have dropped the ball? I have a hard time believing they would.
It's not just the time element, which I agree is too often slapped on these discussions as a way to end them. The question is whether or not replay helps get the call correct, and in both of these cases the answer is likely no. If replay isn't going to help in situations like these, that's when the time element comes in.
If it's set up in a way that allows umpires to change calls without dealing with the messiness of runners and it's something that works, then it's worth the time. Until that point, however, replay ends up seeming like a better deal than it is actually likely to be.
This is where I think having the WBC in place is really useful. If the ball size becomes an issue, they can just fall back on the international rules. If I had to guess, I'd guess they agree on using the MLB ball, but either way, it seems likely that they'll find common ground.
As far as injury concerns go, there's not much to add. Every game a player plays is a chance to be injured. I'll leave it to Will to discuss whether or not there really are more injuries later in the season, but especially for young arms, the risk certainly seems to be real. Teams will have to way the risks and the rewards, but in order to get as many players to play as possible, organizers will have to think long and hard about making it worth their while to do so.
I'm sure plenty of writers would love a November trip to the islands as well!
My major objection to the neutral site idea, and I do like it generally speaking, is that makes the series more like another exhibition. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but it does increase the likelihood that one or both teams wouldn't take it seriously, which would basically turn the series into another All-Star weekend.
I think the unquestioned superiority of MLB is fading, especially elsewhere in the baseball world, hastened by Japan's back-to-back WBC titles. While that is a different competition, the question is being asked, where before it was not.
It is an issue though, that the MLB team has a lot more to lose than to gain, which is why adding say, all four Series teams (AL and NL champs from MLB and the Central League and Pacific League champs from NPB)to make the title more prestigious might not be a bad idea. A goodly amount of prize money would probably suffice as well.
If the WBC is any indication, one good loss is all it takes for American teams to kick it into gear. The 2009 team would have been solid, but the injury bug hit them pretty hard.
Club competitions are a different animal, which gives me some hope for the American chances. There's no question in my mind though that the talent difference between the two potential teams won't be big enough for either side to think of the competition as a cake walk and still win it.
NPB is Nippon Professional Baseball.
I played with the wording there a few times, but settled on ought for one reason above the rest: ultimately, this series is good for baseball as a sport and for MLB as a league. If the league's profile goes up, ad revenues rise, team's make more money from that and other sources and, in theory,player salaries rise as well. That may break down, but if it does, it's the fault of someone further up the chain.
The profile of NPB is rising and while I'm not sure what it's equivalent in the MLB ladder is, I am sure that there are plenty of NPB players who could make the jump without too much trouble.
Well caught, it's been corrected.
Given what the Twins have done with the parts, the trade now stands as Johan Santana for Deolis Guerra, Phillip Humber, Jon Rauch, and J.J. Hardy.
Especially given some GMs' preference for high school arms.
Basically, the Incaviglia Rule is that teams can't trade a player until they have been with the club for a year, though I think this only applies to players acquired in the draft. A team can still trade for a player and then two weeks later trade him for someone else.
Michael Cuddyer was Eric Byrnes before Eric Byrnes was.
Gomez was the best defensive CF in the AL last year as I recall, according to runs saved, at +17. Young was something like a -2.
Here's the quick and dirty version of the WBC rules on injury replacement:
Players can only be replaced between rounds one and two, and the new player must come off the Provisional roster. If Jones is the one who goes down, he can be replaced by any non-pitcher/catcher player off of team USA's original roster.
To be honest though, I can't see this being an issue. DeRosa could easily move over to third in a pinch, and if things get REALLY bad, Youkilis has some experience over there. If Chipper really can't go, team USA will probably add and outfielder and just D-ro over to third, splitting time with Wright.
Last I heard, the Twins were decidedly NOT interested in Crede. Has something changed internally, or has Crede\'s price dropped?
Mill was a genius, but the free agent market is hardly a good place for a utilitarian.