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I'm sorry, this is crazy talk. All of it. To spend $200+ million on Scherzer so you can trade Strasburg or Zimmerman simply makes zero sense. To borrow a phrase currently popular on these pages, winners' curse otherwise known as more money than brains.
A couple of years from now, we'll all be looking at this contract the same way we looked back on the Pujols and Hamilton deals, wondering what was everyone thinking? How did it go so wrong?
Just because I feel like piling on, do you remember the inverted W that made Scherzer a sure injury risk and had him ticketed for a career in the bullpen? You know, once he'd had the inevitable UCL replacement.
If you go back to last year, you'll see that Lewis wrote a very similar piece, one with which I agreed 100% (I commented on that one also).
The difference though is prior article dealt with voters who were not taking the process seriously or were using their ballot to conduct personal crusades (see Ken Gurnick). Lewis was very right about taking those voters to task.
The difference here is if every ballot must be made public, voters with a honest difference of opinion are going to get caught in the same net as the Gurnicks and Marty Nobles, and that is a dangerous road to take in my opinion. As several have noted, the cure could be worse than the disease as too many voters submit to a herd mentality, just to avoid the inevitable vicious backlash if they dare submit an atypical ballot with or without a cogent defense.
I think the issue of public vs. private is a distraction, an excuse to publicly excoriate voters with whom we disagree. There's a reason the secret ballot was invented.
The real problem, if it is a problem, is different classes of voters who use different criteria to evaluate what is and is not a HOF player. This is far more of a cultural issue than anything else.
I know statheads like to think there is an objective measure of what makes up a worthy HOF career, that's the bar that ought to be used when voting for a candidate and anyone who votes otherwise is making a mistake.
It just isn't that simple. As much as we'd like to think such an objective value exists for each player, there is no such thing. The best numbers we have at our disposal are still rather fuzzy, with significant margins of error and faults in the algorithms that can lead to poor conclusions.
WARP was not handed down by the baseball gods on marble tablets, it is an estimate that has undergone revision multiple times. That's how Bobby Grich went from an unsung HOF candidate, to a cause celebre, then back to an HOF also ran. For all we know, future revisions could well return him to HOF relevance. I loved JAWS, but even that system required eyeball considerations of career and peak values before making a HOF call on a player.
So, if some writers choose to use other criteria for HOF voting, that is their prerogative and it isn't necessarily wrong. I agree with most of the conclusions posted at BP on the topic, but I think it takes a touch of hubris to try to make the case that [insert your favorite statistical model here] is the only good way to make a HOF voting decision and anyone who does otherwise is a bad voter, deserving of public scorn.
When I read crapola like that penned by Marty Noble, that's when I pine for the days of Fire Joe Morgan. The more things change...
I'm still trying to figure out what this piece has to do with Ron Paul, a guy who hasn't been relevant since the last time the Yankees won a World Series.
Point taken, but given two hours to fill, I direct you to Enchanted or American Hustle. Love those dresses. Never thought I'd say that on a BP message board...
He's the boss!
Also, have to note, the Brewers don't play all of their Sept games at home in that movie. The GM holds Stan out of the lineup in away games so that Stan can get his hits at home, in front of paying customers. So you don't see the away games.
I would have guessed any movie featuring an animal performer, but those are already well-represented.
Moneyball so bad it couldn't be mentioned? I thought Moneyball was pretty good.
Trouble with the Curve hasn't been out long enough to gain true perspective in my opinion, but it isn't very good and when all is said and done, it could very well justifiably end up on a worst list.
Unlike some of the criticisms here (it's bad baseball movie because the movie poster has inaccuracies? really?), Trouble inexcusably sucked when it came to accurately portraying how baseball clubs scout players. Unlike the trivial errors most sports movies make, these glaring errors were so bad, they detracted from the storyline itself. Just plain lazy writing and film making.
I can see why people, especially baseball people, might have problems with Bull Durham and I agree with you on Eight Men Out and Field of Dreams, but Waterworld, man, that crosses the line. Negative away!
So, so wrong about Mr. 3000. Not a top notch movie, not even a great baseball movie, but the criticisms are way off base. It wasn't so long ago that Tampa Bay attempted to goose fan interest by featuring Boggs' chase for 3000 and the whole Jim Morris story, so Mr. 3000 is far from implausible. Mistakes in the baseball historical record are still being found today, to dig up a 30-yr old counting error isn't that hard to buy.
What really counts though is the ever-entertaining Bernie Mac who was tremendous in the role of Stan Ross. Mac is hilarious and gives some depth to what could have been a stock character. I often tell people, and mean it, that Stan Ross is my second-favorite baseball player ever.
Mr. 3000 was coincidentally on TV last night. I have kids who play ball. I tell them to watch Stan. He's a jerk, yes, but he also a fierce pride in what he does and his drive to work harder than anyone else is what made him so great at his chosen profession and so great as a character. I love Stan for his pride, his fears and even his hubris. He's larger than life without losing his humanity.
Mr. 3000 has plenty of problems as a film. It would never make a top 10 list of baseball movies, but to call it among the worst ever, you must not have seen very many baseball movies.
Here, I'll help you. The above list is a fair start, but here's few awful baseball flicks that are far more deserving of mention:
The Scout (Brendan Fraser, Albert Brooks). Total stinker.
Cobb (Tommy Lee Jones). Incoherent, inaccurate, over the top.
Eight Men Out (John Cusack). I know baseball junkies like this one, but too much inside baseball for the casual sports fan and too long, turning a fairly good story into a snoozefest.
Mr. Baseball - this is what Mr. 3000 looks like done badly. Terminally clichéd sports flick.
The two Bad News Bears sequels and the remake with Billy Bob Thornton. The original was a classic, trying to capture that magic again was as likely to succeed as a sequel to Citizen Kane.
The Major League sequels. The aren't many movies I've seen that were worse than Major League 2. Horrible movie.
I thought it was a terrible mistake not to send Gordon as soon as I saw the play. The Royals best chance to tie that game was for Gordon to score right then. Down 1 run with 1 out left in Game 7 of the World Series is not the time to play it safe.
Yes, Crawford had the ball and probably has a decent arm, but even if Gordon has only a 25% chance of scoring, that's almost certainly better odds than any other strategy with two outs and MVP Bumgarner dealing from the mound. KC left a bullet in the chamber and their fans will go to their graves wondering "what if?"
Let's see the DNA results first.
Where's Fire Joe Morgan when you need them?
Nope. He's dead on there.
Forget baseball. This is ALL jobs. There is a sorting process that begins before you are even hired. When the writer wondered if the application process is geared toward winnowing out the undedicated, well, of course it is. Who wants to hire some kid who can't even be bothered with the effort it takes to fill out a job application?
While I'm sure the writer is harder-working and smarter than most 19-year olds, he also suffers from the typical delusion that your first job will automatically put you right in the heart of the company, with the CEO hanging on your every opinion. Uh, no. New hires get the crap jobs that nobody else wants to do, the drudge work, and tasks that frankly any idiot should be able to manage (although, miraculously, many can't). A 19-yr old gets hired at McDonalds for the summer, do you think the first thing he'll do is assess company pricing, scout locations for new stores and negotiate franchise contracts? Hardly. What he'll be doing is cleaning the toilets and empty trash bins full of half-eaten Happy Meals.
Until you prove you can handle the most menial tasks, nobody is going to trust you with anything else. That's how organizations sort out the stupid, the lazy and the uncommitted. Maybe the writer didn't get to display his awesome knowledge of low A ball pitching prospects, but if he was paying attention, he had a wonderful opportunity to learn from the ground up exactly what it takes to operate a professional sports team.
Quitting after only a few weeks was a serious mistake and a real lost opportunity, assuming the writer still has any designs on this kind of career. Or maybe the demands of pro sports ops managed to weed itself out of his career aspirations just as efficiently as pro sports washed out the writer himself.
You are splitting hairs on whether MLB clubs are actually independent companies or not. It isn't a relevant distinction as far as I'm concerned.
The point is, pro ballplayers can be told on a moment's notice that the city of employment has changed, and if they wish to remain employed they will relocate to their new place of employment by a particular date where they will start work for a new boss with new co-workers.
The exact same thing happens to many non-ballplayers in the business world. Your job moves, you move too, or you find employment elsewhere. Getting traded from one "office" to another is not uncommon at all.
All I can say is I was very lucky to have grown up in Detroit (hear that much?) listening to Ernie Harwell on WJR.
I'd pay double for that kind of action, Randy.
Nonsense. People get traded all the time. Or have you never heard of an involuntary job transfer? I've experienced it, done it to other people and seen it happen to many more.
Don't tell me it isn't the same thing, because it is. Just think of pro ball as one large company with offices in multiple cities, which is essentially true.
At the All-Star break, the Yanks are on pace for 81 wins and the Astros for 72.
Granted, they may well not finish that well, but, well, just saying.
And the bat.
Could Trout be pressing a bit after signing the big contract extension?
Just wondering what the GDP graph would look like if you ran it out to 2013.
Isn't that only true if 5-win GMs are just as rare as 5-win players?
Of course, if every team has a 5-win GM, then aren't they all replacement level, or essentially zero-win GMs relative to the industry?
And if there a 100 guys without GM jobs who could step in and perform just as well as the 30 employed GMs, then a $5 million salary is just as ridiculous as a $35 million salary.
I suspect two factors at work, first the pool of qualified candidates among FOT is much deeper than among players (almost certain) and second, the difficulty in discriminating between a 2- and 5-win GM is so difficult that it is probable they would be regarded as equivalent in skill and deserving of the same salary.
Every labor pool consists of a small number of elite performers and a large number of fungible candidates.
The elite performers in any industry will get paid top dollar (if the industry structure is rational), everyone else will be clustered in a relatively narrow salary band.
See Freakonomics for a discussion of this phenomenon with respect to the illegal drug trade.
It is simple supply and demand. If you want to make a high salary, you have to own skills that are rare and highly sought after. Anyone can drive a truck, fewer can design one, fewer still can profitably manage a fleet of 500 trucks in 30 states along with the people required to maintain, drive and fill them.
Face it: most of us are replacement level.
“At some point you price yourself out and end up getting replaced by people who are the same age you were when you started.”
Not just academia, that describes the job market in general. Welcome to reality, gentlemen.
Has Hayhurst really said anything that Jim Bouton didn't write about 40 years ago? At least Bouton had the gonads to use real names.
I do respect what Hayhurst has done and although I didn't much enjoy "The Bullpen Gospels", I may well give "Bigger than the Game" a shot. But I can't shake the feeling that in some ways baseball culture has changed little and may have even gone backwards since the days of the 1969 Pilots. SSDD isn't an inviting topic.
So why not get Scott Boras to be your legal guardian?
What an asinine system. But I expect nothing less from the NCAA.
In bocca al lupo!
Let's not forget the mellifluosity of "schwanzenstucker" rolling off the tongue of a lovely Teri Garr.
Sorry, July 21.
Good story, but my favorite Berkman fielding play came on July 31, 1999, at the Astrodome. Eighth inning, Astros up 4-3. Berkman is playing left field and Tony Womack hits a bloop over the third baseman's head. Thinking might save the one-run lead, Berkman comes up on the ball, but gets caught in-between, has to stab at a shoestring catch, but misses it and the ball rolls to the wall with Fat Elvis trotting after it in what had to be the worst 100-foot jog of his career.
Womack circles the bases (I think he walked the last three or four steps, probably because he was laughing so hard). Bonus: the bases were loaded, so Womack gets credited with an inside-the-park grand slam. Tony Womack! Dbacks win the game 7-4.
I was at the game, seated right in front of where Berkman misses the catch. I thought for sure he'd be credited with an error, but nope, Womack got his bit of baseball history. And it became very obvious that whatever fine qualities Lance Berkman might have, he should never, ever again be asked to stand around in the outfield with a glove on.
Barry Bonds as Stan Ross? I love it.
Re: Zdeno Chara, a left-handed shot in hockey is a right-handed batter in baseball. So, just Gary Sheffield, not his mirror image.
If you want LeBron to give pro ball a shot ala Michael Jordan, you'll have to teach him to play golf first (including the intricacies of the Nassau).
It crap like this that makes me miss Billy Martin.
Gurnick does deserve credit for making his ballot public and explaining his reasoning.
I think the fact that he offered to surrender his future ballots though says a lot about his convictions. Why would you give up your ballot if you genuinely thought you were doing the right thing? If he can't deal with the attention or the criticism that his principled stand will attract, then I agree that he shouldn't have a ballot.
No, because we are dealing with a precise number of ballots and votes; there is no uncertainty in the totals. Therefore it is unnecessary to specify significant digits, either the total is 75%+ or it is not.
Gurnick is an idiot who deserved every bit of that criticism and who ought to have had his ballot taken away if didn't already surrender it voluntarily.
This analysis is a very good argument for making all of the ballots public. That might make some people uncomfortable, but the fact is HOF voting is too high a privilege to give voters an opportunity to engage in personal crusades. They ought to be held accountable, just as Gurnick was, and if they can't handle the criticism, they can give up their ballot, just like he did.
Beat me to it on Miller. Hard to believe he gets overlooked, again, in favor of a facetious candidate like Dorsey or a historical footnote like Pumpsie Green.
Not to be too harsh, I know this is not meant to be an entirely serious exercise. Me, I'd vote for Miller and Jobe. James probably gets a vote, but I'd let him finish up his career first.
1 billion points! Finally, I can retire...
See Journal of Theoretical Biology 249 (4): 826–831. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2007.08.032. ISSN 0022-5193. PMID 17936308. Long after my sophomore experience, unfortunately.
Eliminating the 5th starter in favor of the 4-man rotation is more like cutting off the pinky toe. A bit bloody and painful at first, but ultimately harmless. Of course, your sandals might never fit quite right ever again and you'll have to endure a bunch of nosy questions from your fellow GMs the next time you choose to sit shoeless around the Winter Meetings hotel pool.
George Orwell, 1984.
I thought the purpose of the appendix was to serve as a repository of gut bacteria that could be used to reinoculate the lower digestive tract in the event the natural flora was lost. If it isn't, it should be.
No idea Greg Maddux was such a jerk. Pissing on rookies?
Pete Rose, bastion of credibility.
Anyone still think Leyland isn't overmanaging his pen after he uses four pitchers to close out a 7-1 lead, including using Benoit with a 5-run advantage to start the 9th?
I'd say fire him now while they can, but I asked the same thing last year when he insisted on running an obviously toasted Valverde out there game after game, but if it didn't happen then, it won't happen now.
Sox in 7 with at least one more Tiger bullpen meltdown on tap.
Little Caesars. They had Domino's money back when they were "small market".
Somebody please fire Jim Leyland. A 7-1 game and he manages to somehow use 6 relievers, and still get the Red Sox out.
I find it endless amusing that Detroit was considered small-market when the Tigers sucked, but are apparently a large-market team now that they've had sustained success.
Peralta is a right-handed hitter.
Considering that, unlike a coin flip, the odds of a hit during any given at-bat are not the same given varying times of days, home/road games, different pitchers, facing the same pitcher multiple times in a game, etc., I just don't see the point of this analysis.
I don't think being on a playoff team is an absolute requirement for an MVP vote, but discounting it completely is a mistake.
The Angels without Trout and his 10 WARP are a 4th place AL West team instead of an also-ran 3rd place club. OK, not his fault. But is Trout nearly as valuable to his club as Cabrera?
Not at all. The Tigers without Cabrera and his 8 WARP drop to 2nd place in the Central, one game up on KC, looking up at Tampa and Texas in the wildcard race. Knowing what we do about the value of making the playoffs vs. missing by 1 game (or 10), how valuable is this player to his team? And, no Don Kelly wouldn't have that effect, so he's a silly example to have brought up.
For anyone who would like to claim that can make a 1 WARP player an MVP candidate should his team scrape into a wildcard bid by a single win, I have to point out that an 8 WARP year is far more likely to spell the difference between a playoff berth (and advantageous scheduling should the team win the division) than some setup man. So, no hardware for you, Mr. Kelly.
Granted, not every MVP argument will works out as neatly as this one. But the "contender component" is not entirely invalid.
Maybe not the toolsiest prospect to come along, but the dude definitely has 80 makeup.
The umpire did a nice job on that play by Donaldson.
How does that change anything? You have a boss who tells you to throw away $365 million of his money and guess what? Vast majority of the people watching are going to think it was your idea anyway. For example, myth 4 in this article.
A president or GM who had to work under those conditions should definitely be thinking about resigning before their reputations are completely destroyed, at least if they ever want another job in baseball. To do otherwise risks being tarred by the reckless decisions of another. Or being seen as a doormat who signed off on the worst free agent signings of the last 30 years.
Guess what? For better or worse, old boys' clubs are how pretty much every organization on Earth operates. It isn't just baseball. You'd be surprised at how many major corporations whose hidebound cronyism matches or even exceeds that of the baseball industry.
The (potentially rapid) declines of both Pujols and Hamilton were foreseeable. In fact, as I recall, several writers on this very site raised that very possibility when those two were on the free agent market.
The problem is not bad luck or timing, not back loaded contracts and not failure to produce in 2013, the problem was in the thought process that poured $365 million into two players who were guaranteed to decline, the only question being how fast. Add in Pujols' injury history and Hamilton's atypical career curve and the results shouldn't be that surprising.
Yes, Pujols and Hamilton could have had great seasons and made those deals look pretty good, at least this year. But who gambles $365 million and the fortunes of your franchise for the next five years on anything but a dead-solid lock? Instead of bitching how you were screwed over by chance, it would do well to recall the finite possibility of throwing snake eyes before betting every dollar you have, and then some, on a roll of the dice. This is the ugly downside of failing to heed the doctrine of diversification.
I understand we are working the benefit of hindsight and even dead-solid locks are anything but. Honestly though, that doesn't matter. Results are what count, not excuses. These signings failed spectacularly, the damage to the franchise is potentially breathtaking in scope and the persons responsible for this train wreck shouldn't be waiting for a deserved axe to fall. They ought to be tendering their resignations.
Wow. Jimmy Leyland must be a gas at family gatherings.
Untracked as in "it took our starter a couple of innings to get untracked".
I *always* heard "on track" until sometime in the 90s when the malaprop become commonplace. I know the usage of "untracked" is decades old in some specific contexts (horse racing, understandably, is one), but I'm convinced dufus broadcasters and athletes corrupted "on track" to "untracked" without really thinking about they were saying. Now it is common usage, to the detriment of us all.
Was Dan Vogelbach the inspiration for Bo Gentry?
Cobb, "avowed racist", supported the right for blacks to play major league baseball. That was in 1952, before most MLB teams had been integrated.
Much of the lore surrounding the violent temper of Ty Cobb was embellishments and outright fabrications made by Al Stump, after Cobb's death.
Whatever his personal qualities, Cobb never assaulted the integrity of baseball like Rose did. And Rose has yet to apologize, nor has he even admitted fully to his actions.
You want go after HOFs, try Roberto Alomar or Kirby Puckett. How about Wade Boggs? Dennis Eckersley? Where's the outrage? I'll say one thing about those guys, they never broke the most important rule in baseball, then lied about it for 25 years in the face of overwhelming evidence. Rose (and Jackson) did.
I'm sorry Adam, but Ty Cobb isn't even in the same universe as Pete Rose when it comes to disgracing the game of baseball.
Thank you. I'm so sick of the Mulder/Zito/Hudson argument being presented as anti-Moneyball when they were classic Moneyball selections (even if those players were drafted before the events of the book and movie).
Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
The audio clips are from the 1948 World Series.
Can't say I like the new team essay format. I actually liked the meandering commentaries. They were thoughtful, touched on multiple points and often raised intelligent and interesting questions. The new format is dry and uninformative, too short and restrictive to really capture the shape of the teams' past season.
What make you entitled to a cheaper ticket that some other person should take a paycut?
Not that ass-clown.
I remember that ad. It dates back to the mid-70s at least. I probably have a Tiger program lying around somewhere that has it.
I'm not going anywhere near something called "Jock Eye". That's just too gross to imagine.
Maybe we all know something now that his girlfriend doesn't.
So, how is the fan's comment racist, but Freehan's is not? Or did the TV credits list the character as "racist fan"? Or maybe there were other, less quotable (and typically Detroit) lines left unsaid here.
You know what is a shame? I'll wager if you canvassed present day MLB players, at least half of them wouldn't even know who Marvin Miller was.
I agree. But it isn't like the umpire was favoring one team over the other, the implication given in the Cano example.
Let's be fair, the home plate umpire was calling those low and outside pitches strikes all game long, for both teams.
So Swisher is a senstive guy who needs a hug? He's not long for New York, is he?
Agreed. I always thought the "role" argument was flimsy. Not that many players don't fervently buy into it as, like most managers, they've labored under that system for their entire careers.
So, it is just a matter of breaking that mold not only at the managerial level, but among the players, too. Drill it into their heads that they can and will be used at any time, depending on the game situation, not the inning, and they will eventually adapt. Redefining roles by leverage as you've suggested is an excellent way to acomplish that shift in pen management.
True. But the point stands, how many people today remember who was at the plate and who was on the bases when Buckner made his misplay? Not nearly as many who remember Cabrera, Bream and Bonds, I guarantee. And Buckner's error wasn't even in a series-ending game, while Lind's was, in fact it directly led to the series final play. Heck, more people probably remember that Alex Gonzalez made the error that continued the Bartman game than those who remember Jose Lind.
I just find it curious how these narratives take on a life of their own, with heaps of blame washing up at the feet of some, while others who might have been equally culpable escape notice completely.
"Freese Goes Deep"
"Talking About the Birds and the Freese"
Kirk Gibson going manimal on the Padres in the clinching Game 5 of the 84 Series, two HRs, the last an absolutely vicious, vapor trail-leaving drive into the right field deck. Dude went 3-for-4 with two HR, five RBI and even scored one of his three runs on a *pop up* for crying loud. Talk about not being denied.
How does Jose Lind get a complete pass while Bill Buckner, 16 years later, is STILL the MLB patron saint of WS goats?
You are correct, but I don't think that changes the philosophy any. Trout is a shoo-in for the ROY, so enough MVP voters will go for Cabrera, figuring the handing of two pieces of hardware to Trout would be overkill.
Not any different really from voters who don't consider pitchers for the MVP and just count on the CY voters to sort out the hurlers.
I think Cabrera wins the MVP for three reasons:
1. Tigers made the playoffs, Angels did not.
2. Triple Crown props.
3. Trout suffers from "splitting" the awards, as in many writers will split their ballot into Trout for RoY and Cabrera for MVP vote. Also not too unlike those who vote for old favorites in the All-Star and Gold Glove balloting while hot-shot rookies have to wait a year or two before they "earned" their vote.
Mind, I'm not arguing that Cabrera deserves to win, just predicting that he will and why.
Welcome to Houston, KG. Glad to have you.
Do we really have to have a "Party Naked" reference in an article about Steve Garvey?
Whatever. Maybe not in five years, but probably in ten, no more than 15, balls and strikes will be called by computer. So will foul balls and home runs. Calls at first base not long after. Umpiring responsibilities will become largely limited to the application of the rules and not on physical events. It is as inevitable as the adoption of fielding gloves. Get used to it.
No. This is lousy. It is the same standard that the NFL uses and it sucks. Almost everyone can see what the correct call ought to have been on the replay, yet the officials ignore it because they lack "incontrovertible" evidence.
Let the umpires/referees use the replays to get a second look at the close plays so that they can make the best call possible with whatever means are available. Players and fans deserve no less than the best attempt to get the call correct and to hell with any artificial constraints on that process, particularly if they those constraints, like those in the NFL, are put there largely to soothe the egos of the game officials.
That would be a lot more impressive if the writers weren't such inept RoY voters.
If you ask yes or no questions, don't act surprised if the only answers you get are "yes" and "no". With the occasional "hope so".
The divisiveness of Luke Scott is pretty much limited to the views of the journalists who write about him.
A player who made the bigs in his early 20s, struggled a bit then exploded in his age 26 season. Interesting, someone should do a study on that...
Oh, c'mon. Ventura never lands a punch.
That's what was so funny about it, old guy Nolan doesn't try to run or dodge, he calmly steps down off the mound, bulldogs Ventura like some kind of frisky calf and proceeds to land a flurry of uppercuts on the helpless Robin. As I recall, and you can't see it well here, Ryan landed those punches to the top of Ventura's head, not his chin, hence the added insult of being on the receiving end of the Noogie Express. The cavalry shows up, pushes the combatants across the infield and Ventura gets loose enough to wrap his arm around Ryan's collarbone. Only in Chicago could that be called a victory.
One more reason to justify my decades-long dislike of White Sox fans. And where was the Hawk Harrelson disclaimer/warning? Granted, a White Sox homer put the video together, so no excuse for my not having seen that one coming.
And most definitely, Daryl Kile.
Dernell Stinson, Mike Darr and Nick Adenhart.
Just another piece of confirmation that sabremetrics has come full circle, from the challengers of common wisdom in the past, to the defenders of orthodoxy of the present. The revolutionaries of yesteryear are the rulers of today and someday will be deposed just as ruthlessley as they overthrew the former regime.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Curse you, Ben. I have two DMB teams, Melky is on one, Ruiz and Miley are on both.
Just wondering, do major league organizations give their potential draft picks an intelligence test?
Scouts' Takes: fun read if you can ignore the fact that most are just confirmation bias on display.
That would be you, Jay. Just to be clear.
Best wishes to a real stand-up guy and a terrific and entertaining writer.
Try Dread Zeppelin. You get Led Zeppelin covers by an Elvis impersonator in a reggae style. It only worked once, but it was enough for me.
Quarter? This was hockey?
So much wasted effort.
"Lords of the Realm" by John Helyar, essential reading on the history of the business of baseball and what Marvin Miller meant to the players.
Familiar much with the winner's curse?
Anybody left who still thinks players are overpaid?
Players could more easily get away with outlandish behavior 30 years ago. Unless the story was so wild as to get picked up by a national wire service, nobody except maybe the locals would know what a player did or said. Contrast that with the internet and ESPN today where Yu Darvish can make a mild comment about opposing hitters in the afternoon and it is national news on a loop for the next 24 hours.
What the writer said about the Bill Lee quote is correct, today's player would never live it down. Look at the reception John Rocker, Luke Scott and Carl Everett received for far milder comments. All three are still routinely mocked right here at BP, years after the fact.
The players haven't changed. We have.
Well, why couldn't you do it in reverse? Use your first pick or two on the top talent available, then draft late round talent in rounds 3-8, sign them to minimal bonuses and use the saved money in those rounds to ink the top 1 or 2 picks?
What, no Stubby Clapp?
It was only after reading Cat's description of the perfect boyfried that I realized I was lucky enough to have one.
He's my dog.
2,229 words (yes, I counted) to say "there's no accounting for taste" followed by 33 comments that prove it.
I predict all prospects high and low will be busts and I'm right 70% of the time. I dare any prospect prognosticater to best that record.
Eight Men Out is flat out boring, A League of Their Own is entertaining, but has way too many cringe-worthy scenes and and an excrutiatingly mawkish last 10 minutes. For the Love of the Game is just not a very good movie, although the game scenes are well done, other than some sloppy factual errors.
You know, there are movies about baseball (Eight Men Out, Major League), movies with baseball (Bang the Drum Slowly, Field of Dreams) and some with both (Bull Durham, The Natural). I've never seen Field of Dreams by the way. Don't ask why.
In no particular order:
1. Bad News Bears (Matthau, of course. I'll *never* watch the remake. Why bother?)
2. Major League (Bob Uecker should be in the HOF for his Harry Doyle portrayal alone).
3. The Natural (Malmud blew it. Levinson fixed it. One of the greatest endings for any movie, ever).
4. The Sandlot
5. Bang the Drum Slowly (just barely edges Bull Durham).
Near misses: Mr. 3000, Bull Durham, Little Big League, Fever Pitch, A League of Their Own.
Worst Baseball Movies ever:
1. Cobb. What the hell was that about? Give Tommy Lee Jones the Oscar for most overacted performance of the century. I don't care if Ty Cobb really WAS like that, give the man some depth and make it interesting, even if you have to make it up.
2. The Scout. Interesting premise that devolves into the hell of a schlock pyscho thriller that resolves itself with a group hug on the roof of Yankee Stadium. Sound stupid to you? Yah. Putrid.
3. For the Love of the Game. Incoherent, the non-baseball scenes are flat and uninteresting. Maybe chucking the whole flashback storyline would have helped. On the other hand, I think it just sucked.
4. Mr. Baseball. It says a lot that Tom Selleck is far more entertaining as the arrogant faded superstar ("Last year I led this club in 9th inning doubles in the month of August!") than as the humbled and "improved" team player that he becomes. Terminally cliched and predictable.
5. Eight Men Out. Way to take an interesting story and turn it into a plodding by the numbers recounting that is as exciting as a Joe Friday police report.
I believed, and still do, in this philosophy. I am compelled, however, to admit rostering a $4 Geoff Blum as my final player in a 2001 roto draft instead of an up and coming rookie that I honestly did not know that much about and decided not to trust. I wasn't alone, as that player went undrafted in a 12-team league.
That player was Albert Pujols.
Wouldn't it be better to repeat this exercise with the endpoints the start and finish of Morris' career rather than an arbitary decade? Not that it will change the point any.
Cashman (thought bubble): "Screw what the NY media thinks! I just signed #$%@ Elvis!!"
Quinn is not disinterested, but uninterested. Disinterested would imply no stake in the outcome, not the lack of curiosity demanded by context.
I know, somewhat nitpicky, but you said it twice and that particular error always bothers me.
Should the Eric Gregg space be double-wide?
Re: Lueke, he pled guilty to a charge of false imprisonment with violence and received three years of felony probation. Lueke also, for what it is worth, apologized to the woman he victimized. Before you belittle that, think on how many similarly accused athletes (and non-athletes) have done less - or worse.
The justice system did its work, Lueke is now a convicted felon and cannot be said to have got off scot-free. You can argue as you like whether the punishment fit the crime, but that debate belongs within the realm of the American legal system and really has nothing to do with baseball. I'm sorry if the facts of the case forced the state of California to bargain a relatively light sentence, but demanding additional punishment through the vehicle of pro ball is misguided.
For those who think Lueke's actions should disqualify him from a pro baseball career, I have to ask, does that mean no one should give him a job? I mean, if a baseball club won't employ him, then why should Walmart or an insurance office or a quickie oil change station? Is there a difference?
Hey, Ken, don't sweat it. I'm no NEA fan, but I didn't think your aside was out of line. Thanks though for not using the comments as an excuse for further bashing. Your reply to adam was as polite and kind as anyone could ask for.
I do see occasional political snark on BP, but, with very few (known) exceptions, these rarely come from the writers, but the readers in the comment section. Nothing BP can do about that.
Yo, Dutchman, what an completely inappropriate and stupid comment on Show.
If drug treatment is such a panacea, why did Show die of an overdose in a rehab clinic? Because it was privately funded? Or do I misunderstand your argument?
Mike Darr. Duane Ward. Mackey Sasser.
Milt Cuyler. His on-field ebullience almost made you forget his replacement-level ability.
Spike Owen. How can you not root for a great baseball name like that?
Mark Quinn. Irresistable combination of world-class egotism and a ridiculously violent and twisted batting stance that looked like it was cribbed from a Hanna-Barbera feature. The Royal stadium crew let loose the home-run fireworks when the notorious hackmaster extrordinaire drew a bases on balls for the first time in 90+ PAs spread over three months. Crying shame the Mighty Quinn played less than three full seasons in the bigs.
Jimmy "the King" Leyritz. Over-rated bit player, but the dude definitely had HOF-level style.
Anybody remember when BP touted polished college players and mocked the scouts who preferred to go with high-risk high school hitters?
Thanks, Kevin. That was a great read, far better than the linked Atlantic article which was so eager to hold up the inaccuracies of "Moneyball the Movie" that it managed to fall into more than a few fallacies of its own.
Dodgerken, as a Tiger fan, I'm come as far as hoping to get more than four years of ace pitching out of Verlander.
Yeah, Ken, that one will get made. But you forgot a couple of important scenes. Like when the Japanese players beat the Chinese bat boy to death for being slow to the on-deck circle with the lumber and of course, the Jap boys blowing off steam after practice by raping a few Filipino girls. You know, those.
Why didn't you call this one "The Loney Bins"?
Eliminate all divisons. Two leagues with 16 and 14 teams. Top five teams in each league make the playoffs, with best record drawing a bye in the first round.
Curse you, BP. Curse you.
I knew this day would come. I spent a decade+ dominating my sim leagues in no small part to my willingness to calculate MLB and MiLB EQR splits for every player. Now you've made that valuable but difficult to acquire data available to any first-year owner with an internet connection, a mouse and a working digit. Now I'm staring into the yawning mouth of stage 3 hell.
On the bright side, I might actually spend the December holidays with my family this year.
No Albert Belle is like leaving Joe Dimaggio off the list of great hitting streaks:
Drilling a heckler with a baseball.
Breaking Vina's nose.
The corked bat.
Chasing down trick-or-treaters in his truck.
And of course, the Iceman cometh-ing and getting medieval on the clubhouse thermostat.
"Incontrovertible evidence" is a terrible standard. It is what makes the NFL review system untenable, officials standing around looking for 100% certainty when the correct call is right in front of their face.
What is incontrovertible? 100%? 99%? 99.9%? 98 1/4%? Less? How about if close calls are reviewed by video and you let the officials make the best possible ruling based on 1) what they saw on the field and 2) what the video replay shows, and just leave it at that? Far better than posing a ridiculously high standard that is in place more to allow officials to save face than to actually allow the best possible chance at a correct ruling.
Put in practice, don't you think Meals would have changed his mind given a second look? And how exactly would that be bad for the game?
Karma? So you are suggesting that Scott's injuries were "deserved" because of an expressed opinion that also happened to be held by 30-40% of the US at the time? What a long, terrible stretch it is to try to get those two items into the same story.
Bll Freehan. In the shadow of Fisk and Bench, but 40+ WARP while laboring for some really bad 1970s Tiger teams. 5.9 WARP in the 1968 Series run.
Why not inflation-adjust the dollars to allow for direct comparison?
I just gotta know, what day will Bud have all the players wear Curt Flood's number?
Dick Allen = Taxi Driver
Ted Williams = Unforgiven
Andy Van Slyke = Office Space
Bill Lee = Repo Man
Manny Ramirez = Zero Effect
Albert Belle = Raging Bull
Curt Flood = Norma Rae
Dennis Eckersley = Crazy Heart
Tim Raines = Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Barry Bonds = Jeremiah Johnson/Pulp Fiction
Wow. Pretty consisent response there, but I have to disagree. With the exception of big plays, last out, standing Os, etc., I didn't buy a ticket so I could look at your backside for nine innings (or even one). My kids and wife are vertically challenged and probably can't see over you even if they stand up, too. So have some consideration and put your butt in the seat where it belongs.
Your "enjoyment" of the game shouldn't involve blocking the view of the people behind you, thereby diminishing their own outing. If you have to stand, at least have the courtesy of doing so only with a couple of empty rows behind you.
Most sports venues will now no longer allow patrons to take their seats until there is a break in play, just for this reason.
Partir, c'est mourir un peu.
Thank you, Christina.
I'm just trying to digest this in the context of outfield walls that used to be filled top to bottom with advertisements.
I think what you have here is teams adapting to a different competitive environment than they faced in the 70s and 80s when the running game was far more prevalent that it is today. With less need for stud defensive backstops, whether perceived or actual, teams are sensibly opting for offense in the catching slot.
Toe Nash, anyone?
I don't see how you can say that, Ken. Look at the AL finish last year:
You've got a 3-way chase for the top spot that earns you home-field and a 4th seed opponent in the first round and a 4-5 team battle for the 4th playoff berth. The NL had Philly out front for best record, but five teams (SF, Cin, Atl, SD, StL) all finish within six games of each other in a fight for the other three spots.
How is that less compelling than the current WC format? We already have divisions decided in August, it's frequently only the 85-win teams fighting it out for the wildcard in Sept anyway.
Fine, we'll gin up extra excitement Bud-style by making it five playoff teams with the overall best record drawing a bye in the first round. Reward enough? Now we're getting hockeyish, with more a third of the league getting into the post-season. But I'd still take that over the current divisional setup.
Get rid of the divisions. Two leagues, balanced schedule, interleague if you must. Top 4 teams make the playoffs. End of story.
Meche can do whatever lets him sleep well at night, but that $12 mil isn't really for the seasons he won't pitch for KC. It represents all the years he spent contributing to his major league club while being grossly underpaid thanks to the MLB system that keeps players off the market for years before they can draw a free agent payday. In my opinion, Meche earned that money years ago. It's his to keep and nobody should be begrudging him that.
Thank you, Christina, for comparing baby boomers to salmonella. For that, you have my eternal thanks, admiration and love.
Um, I have to disagree. BP commenters tend strongly toward insufferably smug group-thinkers and sycophants. Critical reasoning is generally in short supply. The comments left here might be more intellectually pointed than the poorly spelled rantings left on most boards, but too often the naivete is just as evident.
Case in point, the unavoidable urge of most BP readers to negatively rate any comment with which they disagree, no matter how lucid or well-constructed. This is the equivalent of shouting down your opponent in a debate and serves little purpose other than to make an opposing view less accessible. If you disagree, leave a comment saying why that is so instead of going the lazy route and spray-painting over a point that happens to conflict with your own personal worldview.
ETA on this post being negatived into oblivion: 7 minutes.
Personal best to worst:
Tiger Stadium - a national treasure
Kaufman Stadium - very nice, especially considering it predates the modern mallparks, laid back
Jacobs Field - nice, great compared to what it replaced
Milwaukee County Stadium - great sightlines, cheap, good eats
Coors - not all that different from Arlington or Jacobs really
Comerica - nice, but...yawn
Astrodome - cheap, good sightlines, easy in/out, COOL
Minute Maid Park - expensive, inaccesible, HOT
Arlington - sorta like Jacobs Field, if the temp at the Jake was 110F every night
Mile High - not really a baseball stadium at all
Cleveland Stadium - was this stadium actually good for anything, ever? at least it had grass, er, mud, instead of turf
Three Rivers Stadium/Riverfront - can't tell the difference from the inside, turf, poor sightlines
You might have to separate those tallies to account for pitchers developed by their respective systems and those that were signed as free agents and presumably finished products as far as mechanics go. Players acquired by trade might fall into either bin depending on their career status.
Dividing the player pool up in this manner might separate organizational ability (teaching good mechanics to young pitchers) from trainer skill (keeping pitchers taught under different systems healthy). A third possibility is none of the above, the capacity of management and scouting to correctly identify those pitchers who are inherently low-risk and largely immune to developmental or training factors.
To be really comprehensive, prospects lost to injury by an organization may have to be added to the pool in order to avoid survivor effects.
Oh yeah, Manny doesn't want to attract attention. That must be why he walks around in two feet of dreadlocks and answers press conference questions in Spanish when everyone knows he understands English just fine. What other under the radar act comes next, taking batting practice in a bikini?
I honestly like Manny, but have to admit that he's basically the Hanson brother of MLB, a hitting prodigy who probably spends his downtime playing with Tonka trucks and Legos.
At 26, the Orioles may just not see much room for further development in Reimold. Not that me might not make for a fair complementary piece, but perhaps not worth sweating blood and diamonds over. If I'm Baltimore, I'm more worried about the flattening production curves of guys like Markakis, Wieters, Jones and Pie.
As for his difficulty pulling the ball, is it possible that pitchers figured Reimold out and are keeping the ball on the outside of the plate, where he can't hit anything but the aforementioned weak flies?
Bingo. You win.
David Samson is obviously unmarried.
Consistency is the hobgoblin of Joe Morgan.
Kudos on Steve Jackson. I immensely enjoyed Illuminati myself.
KC is 28th in isolated slugging, 26th (4th most) in double plays and dead last in stolen base percentage. Basically, this is as anti-moneyball a lineup as you can get, with predictable results. I doubt Joe Morgan will notice.
A walk-less recovery. Classic.
It isn't hard to entertain the simple.
C'mon Jay, the Tea Partiers are not the ones who introduced that particular bit of vulgar slang into the national consciousness. It's akin to calling Lynn Cheney a rugmuncher, then blaming her for publicizing the term when she protests.
You've always been a straight shooter and not prone to littering your articles with political remarks, so I'm not going to get too bothered here. I think the sentence would have been just fine if you'd just said Tony "Tea Partier" LaRussa instead.
I'm having trouble connecting Bob Probert's apparent heart attack to head injuries suffered over a lifetime of ice hockey unless you want to argue that his presumed head injuries fomented his abuse of alcohol and cocaine. A doubtful supposition that, if you knew Bob Probert.
Would somebody tell Bob Feller to just shut the F up? Or better yet, quit asking him for a comment in the first place? Or do some reporters' enjoy sniggering behind his back while the old dude makes one embarassing, classless and self-aggrandizing statement after another?
Stories like Nava are what make sports worth watching.
MTV still has VJs? I didn't know they even still played videos.
Nice one, John. Thanks.
I grew up in Taylor, MI, living the cliche of the kid who smuggled a transistor radio into bed under his pillow so he could listen to Ernie call the evening Tiger game.
Thank you, Jay.
I agree. Easily his best piece so far.
Just curious, any idea exactly what percentage of tickets sold are written off as a business expense? I think you'd have to exclude luxury boxes and the highest-priced box seats that the average fan isn't going to buy anyway. I'm just finding it hard to believe that corporate sales are really driving up the price of the tickets all that much. Our Canadian accountant (above) has the numbers pretty much nailed I believe.
Having enjoyed corporate seating on a number of occasions myself, I can tell you two things. First, season tickets are often one of the first expenditures to get cut when times get tough, deadening the impact of corporate-driven ticket prices during a recession. Second, business buyers may negotiate lower ticket prices, either because they are long-term supporters of the club, sponsors of the team in some way (advertiser or supplier) or simply buy enough seats to get a discount. So unless you have actual revenue data, tickets for business purposes may be selling for less than you'd think from the posted prices.
I'm sure Mr. Kushnick is a nice fellow and all, but BP can kill this series now. The writing is poor, unfocused and, in the two articles I've read so far, largely lacking in any revelations about the work of a player agent. The worst aspect is the self-promoting nature of the pieces, there's just no objectivity at all, just a series of statements about what a great guy the writer is and how much he and his clients love each other. I understand his first responsibility must be to his clients and his livelihood and that it might not be wise to publish a truly honest accounting of his business; I'll just say I'm not particularly interested in reading agent spin.
I don't want to be too critical without offering alternatives, so here are some suggestions:
Why did you decide not to scout younger than high school seniors? Why did you break your own rule? Do you regret that or were you wrong about the senior rule in the first place?
Can the false apologies. Of course you are scouting children for financial gain. That's what you do. Same for every pro and college sport industry. You didn't create the system, so stop apologizing for it.
The entire paragraph about the black/white actors in Blue Chips has nothing to do with the rest of the piece and should have been dropped entirely.
On the allegation that scouting has gotten uglier, offer some specific examples, hopefully personal ones or at least that you observed directly.
Why shouldn't young kids retain an advisor? What are the pros and cons from your perspective?
The bit on your lack of a professional approach early in your career started well, but a written piece needs a beginning, middle and end. This one only has the beginning. What happened? When did you realize that you had to change your approach? Did you lose a client or did something else happen? Has a change to a more business-like approach made you more successful? Offer some specific examples, whether personal or what you've seen in the industry.
The description of how you've found clients by accident was somewhat interesting, but could have been cut to half its size. Again, we have a beginning, but no middle or end. Did those kinds of serendipitous meetings change the way you scout potential clients? How? Is this common or are you decribing an unusual event? Does this sort of thing ever go too far, for example, you get unnecessarily distracted from a targeted player who ends up signing elsewhere while you end up with a non-prospect or even no client at all?
That would be interstate-25.
You know, Baseball Prospectus used to be as well known for its quips and jokes as for its analysis, but nowadays it seems to be mostly infested by a bunch of dried up, humorless - I'm going to say it - nerds who apparently take themselves and the site way too seriously. Joe D. was being funny and the hell with anyone who thought otherwise to the point blocking his comment.
Go ahead, negative rate away. I'll be honored.
McGwire has apparently just publicly admitted he used steroids for nearly a decade. I guess this last round of balloting made it obvious that there would be little HoF downside by making the admission.
I have admit that I was perversely hoping that Obama would be on the cover. Any chance he got to write the foreward?
Really? How about if your buy-in was proportionate to your fantasy team dollar budget? For a buck, you get a half-budget, for $10 you get a normal budget and for $100, you get a double-budget of fantasy dollars.
If that structure intrigues you, I suggest you start shopping now for an MLB franchise.
Is it really necessary to continue to refer to Mahay, or anybody else, as a "scab" some 15 years after he appeared as a replacement player?
Hilarious. You are kidding right? Smith and Wesson was targeted by numerous such lawsuits starting in the 1990s, along with many other gun manufacturers. S&W was notable for being the only major firearm manufacturer to voluntarily offer those kinds of admissions along with some other concessions in return for being dropped from a suit.
Is there a Fire Tim McCarver website?
He probably poked himself with a piece of venison.
The argument fails to consider the downside, namely that Wells bounces back with a few productive seasons, even if they are short of $20+ million value. The case for trading Halladay as a means to dumping Wells' contract is predicated on Wells continuing to suck and that is simply not a given.
Can you imagine if a team picked up not only a pair of Cy Young caliber seasons in Halladay, but also 2-3 years of league-average outfield play in Wells for nothing more than a couple of prospects and payroll relief? The entire Toronto front office would get bounced on their collective ears trying to justify that and rightfully so.
Wells may well be a mistake, no reason to compound that error by also pissing away the best starter in baseball. Better to work around the Wells mistake by acquiring a plethora of good cheap talent for Halladay than to surrender both Wells and Hallady and just start from scratch.
Cool. A Run, Lola, Run and a Dorf reference in the same bit.
This sucks. I'm not voting for anybody. I tried to read a transcript and gave up after two paragraphs. There is just no way a written transcript can capture the inflection and tone of the subject and without that, you can't get the meaning.
I don't have time or patience to sit through all four audio interviews and I'm not sure they are pertinent anyway. Whoever called this a swimsuit competition was spot on.
Great article, Eric.
Speaking of context, I'd like to point out that in all likelihood many of the sabremetric writers advocating for platoons, Howard in particular, participate in Strat leagues or something similar. You even alluded to this in your article. The problem with that is those leagues are based on known stats for a past season, making platooning choices a simple matter of mathematics. But teams playing this season must make decisions in real-time, without any prior knowledge of the likely outcome other than the noted sample-size limited near past.
It is this context I believe that often drives these arguments. The writers may have their premise somewhat skewed based on Strat league roster construction while neglecting the real problems faced by actual teams. I'm sure it is an unconscious bias, but likely a very real one.
Such a big word. And I'm thinking it doesn't mean I was shooting at myself, which I was if you read it properly.
Spoken like a guy who never got to feel up the hot chick. Pack of bubble gum brains can be an advantage in that I'd never had got that far otherwise.
It seems to me that two-division format was originally created largely to add a round of playoffs. But with the acceptance of the wild card, aren't divisional assignments obsolete, even detrimental given the wildly varying team strengths and the different number of teams in each division? Why not dispense with divisions entirely in favor of league standings with the top 6 teams making the post-season?
I'm guessing the aforementioned travel costs would be a factor. Also, it is probably a lot easier to sell tickets with a second-place team two games out in a four-team division than a 10th place team with the same record in a 16-team league.
Before the pro- and anti-union arguments ensue, everyone needs to keep in mind a very important point. In virtually any other profession, you have the right to choose your employer (assuming they choose you, too, of course). But in professional baseball, very few players have this option thanks to the draft system.
Think about this. You graduate from Notre Dame with a law degree. You'd like to take a corporate attorney job in Chicago, your hometown, but instead you find you've been drafted by a firm in Alabama. They decide you'll do litigation, because that's where the money is. Not that you get any, the firm makes millions and attorneys who have been in the business 20+ years earn 300K per year, but you get 15K with a modest annual raise for the first decade. You don't want it? Tough. That firm owns your rights; you can't take a job with just anybody, just them. Then, after a few years, the firm decides to sell your work contract to an insurance company in Wichita. You pack up your family and move, because you have no choice. Finally, after a decade or so, you are released from the original contract and then and only then are you free to accept a job offer from a firm of your own choosing. This is what it is like to be a professional baseball player.
I have little use for unions, the argument that they should protect a drunk from keeping his truck driving job says more than enough. But I've always been a strong supporter of the MLBPA, it is the only leverage the players ever had against the billionaires who run the monopoly of organized pro ball.
Beg, borrow, steal or, preferably, buy, "Lords of the Realm" by John Helyar. Fascination account of the history of the business of baseball. It is a disgrace that Marvin Miller is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, he did more for the game of pro ball than anyone in the 20th century.
Read the first paragraph. Marc isn't constructing an argument for putting Sandoval on your fantasy roster, he's examining the likelihood that Sandoval will be a future contributor worthy of acquiring and holding in a keeper league.
Yep, well, I'm guessing nobody is going to see this, but Veras got DFAed today after posting a stellar 5.96 ERA in 26 IP while walking 14 and allowing three HRs in 11 IP vs LHs. Yeah, I know small sample size. But it was big enough for the Yankees.
I like Joe Sheehan's columns. But he really does put on the Yankee goggles a little too often.
As a native Detroiter, I'm have mixed feelings over the apparent impending destruction of Tiger Stadium. My earliest memories of the park are going to see the Tigers and Red Sox sometime in the late 60s. The Red Sox pitcher gave up a big inning with someone landing a homer about two rows away. I spent a Saturday afternoon there with my little league team in 1974, a wild seesaw battle vs KC that the Tigers won when Aurelio Rodriguez launched a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Ron LeFlore. The 84 Tigers. Seeing Dave Stieb come into a sold-out stadium and throwing a shutout during one of the mid-80s races with Detroit. The bad late 80s teams, but catching a game with Canseco, McGwire and my three brothers in town and the lowly Tigers beat the AL champs.
The powerful early 90s offense with Cecil, Deer, Fryman, Incaviglia and Tettleton. Saw Cecil put one over the left field roof. Lou Whitaker taking Roberto Hernandez deep in the ninth to beat the White Sox sometime in the early 90s. Heckling Canseco and Eckersley from the right field stands. Getting seats two rows behind the Yankee pen and the late Steve Howe as he sat in the bullpen fending off the autograph hounds who kept grabbing the back of his jersey. Meanwhile a young guy named Pettitte was on the mound and some skinny kid named Rivera warmed up in front of us. Mike Mussina throwing a two-hit 6-0 shutout in his rookie year. The near-riot on Opening Day 1995 after Belle and the Indians shellacked a bad Tiger team 11-1. Seeing Bobby Higginson as a rookie and just knowing he'd be good.
I moved in 1996 as the corruption, malfeasance and incompentance that has enslaved Detroit since 1968 began to infect the rest of the state. I'm not surprised the city is tearing down Tiger Stadium, I'm sure someone is making money or political hay or both out of it. To be fair, the Save Tiger Stadium crowd has had at least 20 years to make their case and they've yet to show that their money can match their nostalgia.
I passed by Tiger Stadium as a kid every time we went to visit our east side relatives and as a new college grade, I worked just down the street and would pass by on my way home everyday. No matter how grey and cold it was, the sight of the white facade with the big field lights always made you think of summer and green grass.
But as much as I loved the park, it is just wood and concrete. Some political crony can make it his personal mission to tear the place down, but it doesn't matter to me, because those people can never take a lifetime of memories from me or anyone else.
Read Tom Stanton's brilliant "Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Season in a Classic American Ballpark". He captures just what Tiger Stadium meant to Detroiters that grew up watching the same team in the same park that their parents and grandparents did.
AH Paydirt was the BOMB. Still have the 85-90 seasons in the back closet. Ran entire seasons, with statistics, playoffs and Paydirt Bowls. Great game.
40 minutes of my life gone...the formula in Step 2 has an error. It should be P + not, P *.
You guys all missed the point. Slyke's remark was not about baseball as a business, but on the interpersonal relationships of the players themselves. He's talking about their worth to each other not being guided by appearance or skin color or class, but production.
For what it is worth, I tend to disagree with the notion that you can neatly compartmentalize aspects of a person's life, disapproving of certain statements while appreciating their other accoomplishments. It's a package deal to me, if a guy is a jerk and loser, I don't want him on my team no matter how many homers he can hit.
Hey, Beav, it's OK to reserve a place for Ernie Harwell, but as a Tiger fan I'm happy to tell you that he's still too alive to be knocking back stories and drinks with Kalas and the rest.
Loved those early 90's Tiger teams. Whitaker, Trammell, Cecil, Deer, Inky, Tettleton, Phillips. Man, when the bats got going, and they usually did, Tiger Stadium rained long balls.
My best memory of Rob Deer though wasn't a home run, it was a defensive play. I'm sitting in the Tiger Stadium upper deck just to the right of home plate with my dad. Runner on third and the batter hits a looping liner to right. Deer came in a couple of steps, snags it belt-high, then just sorta flicked the ball toward home without any obvious effort. That's when the whole park just seemed to stop and watch this absolute frozen rope of a throw sail toward the infield. The runner tagged and took two or three steps, then stopped dead and watched with the rest of us as this laser beam came in and nailed the catcher right in the glove with a thwack that you could hear all over the park. My dad just said "wow, he's got an arm, doesn't he?"
Nobody got thrown out and the game probably wasn't on the line, but that is still the most perfect outfield throw I have ever seen in baseball. It also made me realize, maybe for the first time, that I really didn't have what it took to be a major league ballplayer.
Mmm. So small sample size discounts the 5 homers, but apparently not a factor when considering the 217/433 split?
Where\'d you come up with 49 IP? In his major league career, Veras has thrown 78 IP, with 30 against LHs in the last two years. I don\'t have the 2006 splits handy, but even if all 11 of his IP that year were vs LHs, you can\'t come close to 49 IP.
Maybe Veras made a jump. He has a live arm. Maybe he\'ll be better. It happens. But I\'m saying a blithe assertion that he\'ll have no trouble vs LHs runs contrary to an existing history. And I don\'t even want to go into the fact that his 4.5 BB9 last year was the BEST rate of his major league career. (Minor league rate 3.6 BB9, if you were wondering).
I am honestly glad though that at least someone had more evidence for their argument than a simple, \"he\'ll do fine\".
\"Jose Veras can get both righties and lefties out in the seventh inning\"
Really? Because he gave up 5 HRs to LHs in 25 IP with the Yanks last year. His minor league splits are somewhat mixed given that he\'s pitched less than 30 innings with four teams the last two years. In his last extended minor league campaign (2006 Columbus, 52 IP), Veras was indeed effective vs both sides. But in Oklahoma 2005, he was again tattooed by LHs with a 5.61 FIP over 64 innings.
Platoon splits can be highly variable. But to casually toss off the claim that Veras won\'t need a LOOGY wingman to cover his flank from LH power...I\'m not buying it. More likely Veras is just the second coming of Felix Rodriguez and that tale has already been told.
I always wondered where the phrase \"mouth writes a check that his butt can\'t cash\" came from. I completely overlooked the possibility of an unemployed rear end, but it seems so obvious now.
Well, there\'s the foreward written by Keith Olbermann and of course, BP 2009 has gone indexless, which I found quite exciting.
Seriously, dude, the fun per hour quotient for your $13 pretty much dwarfs any other entertainment option in that price range. Even if you hate the book, you aren\'t any worse off than if you blew the cash on two hours, a bucket of popcorn and a ticket to \"The Pink Panther 2\". If nothing else, you can always use the book as a doorstop, monitor stand or to light your charcoal grill 163 times, give or take (figure two attempts/pages per lighting. The cover is good for two shots by itself.)
I have to say I like the idea of the well-marked \"home plate entry\". I\'m a little disappointed though that too bad the renderning didn\'t show the \"second base entry\" instead, something I recall achieving as a sophomore in high school, IIRC.
Dude, are you really going to make me do this? See what happens when politics gets introduced to a baseball site...
Let\'s say I do as you say, buy the book locally AND spend an extra couple of dollars on the coffee. That two bucks didn\'t appear in my wallet out of nowhere. I now have $2 less to spend at (obvious bait) Walmart or the gas station or whatever, ad infinitum. The buck has to stop on somebody and that\'s the guy who gets screwed for no other reason than the local bookstore can\'t compete with Amazon. Why should that guy have to pay for the lousy business
practices of the bookstore owner?
Paying more than you have to for something is up to you. It\'s your money. Doing it because you think it helps the local economy is ridiculous. That\'s just grass-roots protectionism and if you think it works, I have a Smoot-Hawley Act for you. The real reason the economy is tanked in this country is because economically ignorant people like you have been in charge of the nations pocketbook for the past 50 years.
Nate Silver does not mix his politics with his baseball to any significant degree. If he did, I\'d probably find someone else to read because when I come here, it is to read about baseball, not to be treated to the personal political views of a sportswriter. Signing up Keith Olbermann, and I don\'t know whose idea it was, is basically the same thing, mixing politics with baseball. Olbermann is a significant political commentator and media figure and you will not convince me that his decade ago stint on Sportscenter and his SABR membership is what got him this gig. Whatever Keith eventually writes in the annual is beside the point.
Would I protest if BP opted for the equally unqualified ex-sports babe Sarah Palin? Of course not. I\'d just stand back and let the Olbermann defenders scream THEIR heads off. They\'d be right, too. For those of you favoring the \"Olbermann will sell more copies\" argument, I don\'t doubt that an annual with Mrs. Palin\'s name on the cover would outsell the Olbermann version by an order of magnitude.
But I really don\'t think BP had the intention of prostituting the annual with celebrity for the sake of sales. There are just people on staff who probably know and like Keith Olbermann, find him entertaining and thought it would be a great idea. Well, it wasn\'t, because there are many readers who intensely dislike Keith Olbermann and he just doesn\'t bring enough to the BP community to overcome that dislike.
In polite company, you avoid topics of politics or religion so that you can enjoy the matter at hand, rather than get sidetracked into an unresolvable and potentially acrimonious debate that may lead to permanent divisions. You know, like this one.
FWIW, if any of the BP writers committed a series of crimes like cheating on their taxes, etc., yeah, I\'d be a lot less likely to read them. Why would I bother to read the analysis and opinion of someone with such little credibility? How would I know if their \"analysis\" was genuine or just fudged numbers slapped together to support a conclusion?
There is no such thing as separating personal \"hobbies\" or lives from professional reputation. A guy who cheats at golf or on his wife will cheat you, too, if you are dumb enough to go into business with him. Your character dictates your actions and character is there with you wherever you go and whatever you do. If Bill O\'Reilly acts like an ass on TV, I guarantee you, he acts like an ass at home, too.
\"How can you say he is a bad person just by his political views?\"
Brock, my man, you really need to reconsider that statement. If I\'m in support of
eradication of the Jewish race
forced relocation and reeducation of the entire populace
state confiscation of all private property
suspension of the Bill of Rights
capital punishment without trial for speaking against the state
are you going to tell me I\'m just misguided and not really a bad person?
Um, and wouldn\'t that mean that some poor schlub slaving for minimum wage at Amazon.com will then LOSE his pittance of a 401K and expensive HMO insurance plan? You know, to continue in the class envy vein.
Instead of paying more than I have to for an item, how about if I buy it from the lowest-priced seller, then use the money I save to buy an ice cream cone or a caffe mocha or something, thereby saving TWO jobs, instead of just one? Hey, that second might be yours. I\'m guessing in the case of houstonuser, it is.
This kind of mentality is destroying the economy of this country. And how we got here from Keith Olbermann, I\'m not sure.
Let\'s face it, the Baseball Hall of Fame has gone the way of the Academy Awards. Sometimes they get it right, often they don\'t, with seemingly only dumb luck differentiating the two. HOF voters have bestowed baseball fans with little more than a series of trivia questions rather than an honest accounting of the all-time baseball greats. The Trammell and Raines votes are what finally did it for me.
I understand sometimes mistakes are made. But a pattern of serious malpractice has become evident over the past decade, a panoply of errors that cannot be laid solely at the feet of the Veterans Committee and that won\'t be rectified until the old Hall is razed and rebuilt from the ground up. As if.
I have to disagree. Shoehorning personal political views into an article most definitely detracts from the topic at hand. I\'m interested in reading some bit about 1950s outfielders and the writer chooses to go off on some tangent about Supreme Court appointments in the 1860s and how this justfies gerrymandering of districts in the 1990s. What?
You know, the occasional political joke doesn\'t bother me at all. But keep the political arguments out of the baseball articles and vice versa. Nate Silver might do politics when he\'s away from baseball, but I can\'t remember him mixing the two to any extent. That\'s an example a few other BP writers would do well to follow.
It does however disqualify him as \"thoughtful\".
Maybe next year, we can get noted baseball fans Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez to chip in a few lines in the annual.
Seriously, what does Keith Olbermann have to do with baseball? That he\'s a fan? Olbermann hasn\'t done sports in years. Which makes him every bit as qualified as, um, let me think...oh, yeah. Former sportscaster Sarah Palin. I\'m looking forward to her hardball commentary in BP2010.
Just so know, as soon as I get my copy, I\'m ripping the Olbermann foreward out, setting fire to it and sending you the ashes, Steve.
I\'m sure Mr. Scoggins is a very nice man and that he loves baseball, but I had to stop reading after the \"he hit the ball so hard it was inevitable he was going to hit into a lot of (double plays)\" comment. There was just no point in going on after that.
If this interview doesn\'t bring Fire Joe Morgan out of retirement, nothing will.
Haven\'t been to Cincy in years, but I\'m all for LaRosa pizza and Montgomery Inn BBQ. You can buy the sauce in grocery stores in the Midwest and the South. My wife and I go through a couple of bottles a week.
Best culinary advice I\'ve ever taken was the Montgomery Inn:
\"Just get the whole rack with a side of extra sauce\".
\"Are you sure?\"
Boy, was that right.
Can\'t say I\'m a Yankee fan and I never had the priviledge of seeing a game in Ruth\'s House, but that was so much better than listening to Jay Jaffe whine for eight paragraphs.