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What about "The Great American Novel" by Philip Roth (1973)? He postulated that the ideal lineup was by descending <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBA</span></a>!
This phenomenon seems to be a necessary function of making a list that added up. As you say, PFM (and anyone making a list) has to put the money it shorts the top players onto the salaries of the middle guys. The $5 to $10 tier on any bid list has guys who, in the auction, go for anywhere from $17 to $1, depending on a range of auction dynamics (the order that players are called, other teams' (ha) poor money management, etc.).
It's difficult if not impossible to account for that in a bid list; it looks like most experts are more likely to give that to the best players, and maybe PFM and Mike are right to say it would be better to give it to the tier of hitters just below the stars. In a sense I guess it's self-correcting -- if Goldschmidt's salary starts moving closer to Adrian Gonzalez's, I'll be happy to get Goldschmidt. Lesson one, which we all know: you need to be a little flexible in an auction, fight for value at every roster spot, while spreading risk to the extent possible.
It was on Fox Sports 1, while the regular broadcast was on Fox. I can't remember where I saw it was going to be on, though the link was to a NY Post article describing it.
Overall I liked it -- as noted, at the beginning there was lots of basic introductions to sabermetrics, though even I appreciated tables that they presented, e.g., for OPS that .730 was ML-average, .800 was good player, .900 and above a star. Varied between wonky (not talking about the game to talk about wOBA) to weird (Kapler was arguing about the rule that a runner needs to be in the box along the first-base line during the last 45 feet before the bag). Was absolutely better than Buck and Reynolds, though.
Here's the original link: http://nypost.com/2014/10/09/fox-going-nerdy-with-stat-heavy-alternate-nlcs-option/
Looks like Game 6 would be the only chance for another try, but who knows.
I seem to remember Shooty Babitt sliding to a stop after singles back in his only season with the A's (1981).
A's 6, Orioles 2, 14 innings, June 11, 1980.
5,634 people and I saw this one, which ended with Tony Armas hitting a slam to end it, giving Mike Norris a complete-game win. Jim Palmer only lasted 6 1/3 innings.
I think your twitterer doesn't have that offer, but is wondering if Price would get Taveras and Bryant. I know if I had Taveras and Bryant, there's no way I'd give them up for Price. As you say, if I really needed Price it would be reasonable to expect to have to give up one of them, but both??
I would think that changing the distance from the rubber to the plate would have an even more profound effect on curveballs. Might not be insurmountable, but it would certainly take a lot of adjustments to get the break just right. (I seem to remember reading a story once, in which two towns' baseball teams were playing a big game. The team that was going to face the pitcher with a good curve had someone sneak onto the field the night before and dig up the rubber to move it a foot closer to the plate. The curveball pitcher just couldn't find the range, whereas the fastball pitcher wasn't affected.)
A great old example of a failed attempt to explain the game:
Okay, I used the BP WAR numbers; the 10+ seasons are the same, and they came in 12 seasons. There's also the fact that Mays's 21 and 22 year old seasons were lost to military service.
I guess my point is, trying to say that Trout's career so far is comparable to Mays's career is premature. Maybe he will have four more 10+ WAR seasons in the next seven years, but that's pretty much unprecedented, and should not be expected. He does have a better shot than any other player active today, but I have to agree that regression is more likely than continually maintaining such an elevated level of play. That only means that he is more likely to be an excellent player rather than an historically great one.
LOL. Mays had six 10 WAR years between 1954 and 1965, in addition to two years of 9.9 WAR; the other years, his worst total was 8.3. Hard to call that inconsistent. A 10 WAR year is pretty unusual, so we'll see if he measures up to Mays. Not impossible, but certainly improbable, given that most would put Mays as the top CF in history.
I don't believe it's legal for anyone besides the first baseman to wear a mitt, so they would have to swap.
Re the 1962 NL MVP result, I'll never forget the impassioned plea for Mays in "The Steagle", an otherwise pretty forgettable movie about the Cuban missile crisis.
I doubt that baseball-reference.com is making a case for Gomez as MVP. Like any other stat, WAR is one measurement, not a be-all end-all. Sabermetrics is about getting as much information as possible. And accurately determining the relative, actual values of those various pieces of information, to come up with a decision actually supported by the evidence. As opposed to, say, appeals to authority (like relying on Rivera's opinion).
Looks like he's only been an outfielder in his minor-league career, at least according to both BP and baseball-reference.com.
You're not understanding the rule. It has nothing to do with the "baseline" -- except between home and first for the last 45 feet, there's no requirement that a runner run within a specified "baseline." The rule just speaks of progress to the next base. Craig was clearly running towards home; there's no requirement that he do so in foul territory once he's touched third. He's entitled to run directly to the next base, and because Middlebrooks was in his path, they made contact, and Craig continued toward home, that's obstruction.
I think "very likely obstructed" just refers to the judgment determination of where the runner would have ended up without the obstruction. For example, if Craig had stopped after the tripped over Middlebrooks, the ump would not have allowed him to score. Or, if Bogaerts was right behind the play and thrown Craig out by 30 feet, the tag play probably would have been allowed to stand. In other words, the obstruction wasn't the judgment call, the remedy was.
LOL. I was rooting for the A's, but I don't subscribe just so I can get my fan-boy notions validated. While a 56-44 split obviously does not mean the the team rated at 44 will not win, the analysis just can't be written off as worthless. And, this time, it proved to be correct. Good luck to the Tigers against the Red Sox. Chances are the Sox will be favored, but I'll still be rooting for the Tigers. At least, until they play the Cardinals. (I grew up a Giants fan, you will never find me rooting for the Dodgers in a World Series.)
*why* can't you? (not "what")
I think the parallel is that the doctors in the Semmelweis story, and mainstream baseball thought, was that both were resistant to new ideas that challenged some of their established ideas. I think it's something of a straw man to say that the reason sabermetric ideas were rejected 30 years ago was because of the arrogance of Bill James et al. Sure, there's something of an attitude of "I can see this, what can't you?" that is somewhat off-putting, but I do think it was overused. Any acknowledgement of nuance in presentation of sabermetric ideas was also used as one way to dismiss the ideas (along with, "You never played, so what do you know?"). And, I don't know of anyone who claimed that scouts know nothing about the game.
Sure, over time the ideas have made their way into the mainstream, but I would like to think it was because open-minded establishment types came to see the merit of at least some of the new ideas. Not because sabermetricians "softened" their views; probably more likely that the establishment types softened theirs.
Apologies if I was misreading your comment.
I remember that as well (was it really 40 years ago?). As I recall, the main reason it was never heard from again was that so many balks were getting called in spring training.
The countervailing "rule" (is it official?) is that, if a lefty's foot goes behind his body, he must throw the pitch. The gif for #7 is pretty close to that kind of a balk as well.
Great article! Your #3 has always given me the most trouble in creating my lists. The temptation is to rank those $1 to $8 players based on my perception of their relative value, but the fact is that the dynamics of the auction of the first 2/3 of the available players always makes the last 1/3 impossible to predict in any meaningful way. I absolutely agree that it's imperative to make a complete price list that balances the bid total with the available money total. But in the $5 or so range, some guys go for $10 and some go for $1, just based on the vagaries of the particular auction.
I'm tempted (after doing these list for a LONG time) to try and change my methodology to move the guys in that price range whom I want to $7 or so (and be happy if I get them for less) and rank the others at $1 or $2, giving the extra money to the guys at the top.
During the auction, I keep track of the ongoing difference between my bid prices and the actual prices. And while I try to adhere to my maximum prices, I understand that if there is a difference between the two, I will adjust my bidding to make sure I'm not missing out on the best players left, and buying $9 players for $20 at the end just to spend all my money.
The basis of all of the baseball antitrust decisions was, that Congress was free to subject baseball to the antitrust laws, and that Congress's failure to do so meant that the Court wouldn't. I don't think there is any distinction regarding a team move. (In any event, the commerce clause argument would be that a move would affect all of baseball, not just the A's.)
I do have to think the option is in fact a contract -- if the city sold to someone else, the A's could certainly sue for breach.
It is a balk if he steps on the rubber without the ball, but it looks to me like the pitcher is near it but not on it. (That's what the runner is asking about when the ump shakes his head, I'd wager.)
Wait a minute, what? The reason that virtually no team -- but especially, no team that should be a .500-plus team -- should have less than a 20% chance to make the playoffs, is that there are about 130 games yet to play. A 20% chance to make the playoffs is a longshot; I looked at the Vegas odds, to wint the pennant (not just the playoffs) the Angels are listed at 11/2. the Dodgers at 5/1, and the Jays at 15/1. And those odds are based on all the bets -- not on the Pecota analysis. Now, maybe you don't put any stock in Pecota, but I'd be tempted to go against the "common wisdom" and take a chance betting on the writers' predictions at those odds.
How much more evidence do we need for the MLB intent than the suspension of Cesar Carrillo? 100 games: 50 for PED use, apparently based solely on the Biogenesis evidence (and not on a positive test), and 50 for allegedly lying to the MLB investigators about it. As he's not on a 40-man roster, he's not an MLBPA member, so the union can't challenge the suspension. Says here that stinks.
The shallower the league, the higher the studs should be paid. When the average player (and the dollar player) is better, being better than average is worth more.
The 1981 account of Ron Darling vs. Frank Viola (Yale vs. St. John's), which he watched sitting with Smokey Joe Wood, is a fabulous read among many fabulous reads of Mr. Angell.
Bay area baseball fans of a certain age certainly have pangs about that first one. I was eight, and felt just like this: http://90feetofperfection.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/browncrop.jpg
Not challenging the Barfield pick, though Ellis Valentine was the guy I loved to see throw from right field.
I remember a great story, allegedly from the former Giants farmhand Ollie Brown. Someone mentioned what a great right arm he had, and he said, "Maybe, but I'd trade it right now for a great bat."
Would love to hear about where (and even when) the extra money got spent -- I know your list added up! (Maybe in a follow-up article.)
Adam, don't forget the Braves' own historical brother combination, Hank and Tommie Aaron.
Would love to think Pynchon might hear about this, check it out, and be amused by it. Thanks for linking together two of my favorite things.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR0588DtHJA (just to show he has a sense of humor about things)
I do think the best summation of Weaver's genius was, he put players into the game when they had the best chance to succeed. Which is, of course, a lesson for a manager in any field.
John says the ramifications are legal (not personal, or just embarrassing). It's also not a new story -- Palmeiro has been consistent in his denials, and apparently even passed a polygraph test. So, his reputation has been sullied by those who refuse to believe his story. John has come to the conclusion that he does believe Palmeiro. Not sure how "overwhelming" the evidence has to be, nor why (given the lack of legal ramifications for Palmeiro) the legal ramifications for a third party are outweighed by the public's supposed need to be convinced by additional evidence that Palmeiro isn't a liar.
I always liked "Pete Happy".
That 27th guy *has* to take a strike, doesn't he?
It's also very true that night games make it especially difficult to adhere to a "normal" sleep schedule, even apart from travel considerations. Most athletes will tell you that three-plus hours of intensity (and the attendant adrenaline level increase) also takes its toll, and finishing after 10 (or 11) o'clock means that sleep is unlikely for hours at best. (Of course, alcohol is one way to try and shorten that time, but in the long term that's counter-productive. Not to mention, a main reason that players for years have used amphetamines, to overcome hangovers.) I can only guess what additional effects on that cycle would be added by Adderal.
Not sure where you're getting his vote -- this post (http://tinyurl.com/feinsand) doesn't list Johnson or Ibanez, has Jeter 3rd. True, no Cano (Soriano is 8th).
Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to the next 29 Beatles lyrics references. Especially given that you've started with one of the lewdest . . .
Count me as another who appreciates the need to read the reports rather than relying on the shorthand that was the star ratings. You're putting a lot of work into giving us the details about the players, and putting the work in on my end to understand those details will (I hope) make me a more knowledgeable fan. Thanks!
He certainly doesn't lack for passion -- I enjoy his writing about surfing Mavericks, for example, and I agree about the excerpts I've read about his father. He does like to poke his finger in the eye of any kind of statistical analysis, which he seems not only to dislike, but to not understand at all.
He's been playing the part of old curmudgeon in the SF Chronicle for 30 years (and I don't think he's much over 60). It's to the point when it annoys me if he ever says anything I agree with. At least that happens only very rarely.
True about the second baseman backing up the relay man (the first baseman trails the batter-runner to cover second).
But, you just can't say that it was a terrible choice to send him because he got thrown out. I hope you don't think that if a guy gets thrown out it was wrong to send him; I know you didn't say that. The fact that he was thrown out by inches, by an excellent play, means that he would likely have been safe well over half the time. Maybe the no-out situation warranted more caution, but that absolutely doesn't mean don't send him if you think he'll be safe.
It is not like getting thrown out at third with no out; a third-base coach can be too timid, as well as too aggressive, and in this case, it is not at all clear to me that he was too aggressive. The Giants made an excellent play; that was the only way they were going to throw even Fielder out. You may well know more about Lamont's record than I do, and have a predisposition towards blaming him. Watching the play, I can't say it was a clear mistake
Sure, he was out on a close play, but it did require an excellent relay (from Scutaro; Blanco overthrew the relay man Crawford) and a good tag, to barely get him. Anything less from Scutaro, and Fielder is safe.
In the gif of Fister, it's weird that his wrist rotates inward instead of outward once he releases the ball. Might it be a change instead? (Point would be the same, it hurts my arm just watching it.)
What is the story behind being unable to watch Fox on mute and listen to another feed? The radio (here in the bay area), mlb.tv, both are well ahead of the video feed.
I have to say, I think the surfer is drinking an Anchor Steam, which might shake your thesis a tiny bit. Otherwise, pretty spot-on.
Not to get all pedantic, but the last headline should be "berth", not "birth", right?
Have to say, I would have to think the home-team advantage is way more attributable to getting last ups, as opposed to any crowd factor. It's a big advantage late in the game, and even more so in extra innings, to be able to end the game in your at-bat but always to be able to match any visiting-teams runs. Apart from the better team getting home-field advantage.
I think Simmons's injury was a broken finger, not a knee.
Nice article. I think we also have to wonder about the pressures on Strasburg himself, both external and internal. External, in that he is certainly aware of the conversations about Rizzo's decision, and internal, in that I have little doubt that Strasburg himself *wants* to be out there through September and October. I don't remember now who said it, but I heard it phrased this week as, how can he not go out there if he's feeling good? First, we don't know how good he feels -- it's widely said that at this time of the year, most every major-league player is hurting some, after 135 games. And second, as Jason points out, there are personal concerns. As much as I'd like to see Strasburg and the Nats be successful this year, that shouldn't be my only consideration, and it cannot be Mike Rizzo's only consideration. Even if Strasburg were to say he's willing to put the short term over the long term; there's so much pressure on him to say that, and so little reward in the court of public and pundit opinion for him acceding to the limitations imposed by the Nationals for his protection.
I have heard that it used to be even more of a "gentlemen's agreement", that claims wouldn't be made in order to forestall those other teams claiming players in "retaliation". Of course, the fact that these waivers are revocable is another reason for teams to be a little wary -- might be a little consternation in the clubhouse when it leaks that a team claimed him, especially for the first baseman . . .
I do think that part of the Dodgers' claim of Gonzalez was to keep the Giants from getting him. (Fleecing the Red Sox, as I think this trade does, is just a bonus.) But otherwise, I agree that there's no reason that lots of other teams shouldn't have claimed Gonzalez; even with his contract, he'd make an awful lot of teams better.
Agreed, I'm sure there are other large organizations (like the University of California, where I work) that strictly limit non-IE browsers, based on security concerns (however valid or invalid). I like the story (which may well be apocryphal) that, at one of Hillary Clinton's first staff meetings at State, someone asked whether they might use Firefox, and the room erupted in applause. Clinton said she'd look into it -- I don't know how it played out, but would be interested to learn (and forward to my IT department!).
Well, the Braves got what they needed in the short run, (i.e., a veteran pitcher and an outfielder off the bench), and gave up a superfluous pitching prospect. As Dan Evans writes, maybe they will be pilloried in a year or three, but they're playing for a playoff berth in 2012, and if they make it, could well be worth it for the Braves. Any Cubs' advantage won't show itself until 2014 at the earliest.
Well, cf. Ramirez at .267, and especially Uribe at .195. Does look like Don picked the two best out of the three . . .
I think that the "intangibles" broadly understood is just a recognition that players are human beings, with feelings, strengths and weaknesses, bodies that are not always at 100%, and minds that are not always at 100%. (I've played competitive sports enough to know as well that it is a difficult, and draining (both physically and emotionally) thing to try and be at the top of one's game for three or so hours. Maybe it's a little easier for some major-leaguers, but I believe that for the vast majority, they're out there at 100% effort.)
Some players have an easier time of this than others -- for example, there's a reason many players will go out drinking after a night game; it makes it (a little) easier to sleep afterwards, to wind down from that three-hour adrenaline rush. Which, obviously, can have an effect on the next game. (And explains to some extent the use of greenies.)
All of these -- and more, such as any individual's changes in focus and effort in "clutch" situations -- are "intangibles" that are difficult if not impossible to measure, but which do have an impact on statistical outcomes. (I think fielding is a different order of difficulty, as it's inherently subjective to say a fielder "should have made" any particular borderline play, and I would think that's an essential part of any granular analysis of fielding.)
That certainly does not mean that we should stop exploring statistical correlations and causations. Just that we need to recognize that the nature of the endeavor is that there will NEVER be a "grand unified theory" that can take statistical results and predict future results -- for a game, a season, or even a player's career -- beyond the typically-accepted 70% accuracy range. Maybe we can improve on that a little, but my instinct tells me that the "human factors" may well be that 25-30% that we can't get beyond.
I've thought for a while that Joe Morgan tends to think more in the short term -- what can win THIS game -- and, I think it's certainly true that he rejects the notion that probability analysis can override those short-term considerations. Run-probability numbers? I think Joe processes the situations where going against those numbers works as casting the validity of those probabilities into question. (As opposed to the "quantum leap" -- even if the probability of a 65/35 split is valid, the 35 WILL occur 35% of the time, and Joe would say that the player definitely has an influence on that. Who can argue with that -- outcomes on the baseball field are NOT random/determined by the percentages in the context of a single event.)
I did see Joe play a lot (when the Giants traded him away, I was totally pissed), and he was definitely one of the headiest players out there -- he observed his opponents, and utilized those observations to help his team win that game. (Bill James wrote about his ability to smell out a pitchout, a great example.) Not often mentioned is the fact that he -- and many of the Reds of the 70s -- were hard-core bench jockeys, who would do their best to verbally intimidate those players they could get to. Just a point that he would do whatever it took to win each and every game. Sabermetrics tends to look more to long-term results. IMO, both are relevant -- I think there is something to Joe's belief that one-run strategies are called for more in the playoff context, for example, when strategies that will play out over a season are dicier in a best-of-seven series.
I enjoyed the book "Sixty Feet, Six Inches," the "conversation" between Reggie Jackson and Bob Gibson. Would love to be a fly on the wall for a similar conversation between Joe Morgan and Earl Weaver . . . I have to think Joe would respect Earl enough to engage him, and maybe acknowledge some things he might not acknowledge otherwise.
(In "w2ill" the "2" is silent.)
It's also true that not every hanging breaking ball (or nothing fastball, or change-up that gets left up in the zone) gets hit. I always thing of the strike-zone illustration in "The Science of Hitting" in which the fat part of the zone is never 1.000 -- pitchers *can* and *w2ill* get outs with bad pitches. So it only is fair that some good pitches get hit.
Maybe "It's 5:00 Somewhere" by Jimmy Buffett?
Best wishes for success, Steven. Have greatly enjoyed your writing here and elsewhere, and will definitely make the effort to read your stuff in the future.
It is important, of course, not to fall into the trap of overpaying the marginal first basemen if you don't get one of the good ones. Instead, swallow hard and take a dollar Giambi, or a dollar Overbay, instead of going to $20 on Alonso. (Unless you value him at that anyway, given the overall inflation in your league.) Then go after the Cadillac middle infielders; make sure you have (say) Phillips and Tulo to balance having Overbay at 1B. Then check out the KG article and get as a backup plan a minor-leaguer who has a chance to come up during the year and replace Overbay.
Of course, Pete LaCock is the son of former Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall. (He was signing autographs at Scottsdale Stadium during spring training 2011.)
The examples you cite are probably instances in which the regulation is indeed harder to justify, but the bigger cases involved "yellow dog" contracts, minimum wage laws, and child labor laws. These are the decisions that are more difficult to reconcile with a jurisprudence that is applying an actual due process analysis as opposed to an animus towards laws protecting workers.
Well, yes, the majority *said* that the limit to 10 hrs/day and 60 hrs/week was insufficiently linked to the workers' health and safety. The minority justices, and courts after 1937, argued for (and eventually got) a standard more deferential to legislatures in the area of workers' and unions' rights. There's no question (referencing the comment below) that there is still agrument over the wisdom and the constitutional rationale for a more "statist" result in these cases.
Your reference to the Bernstein book looks interesting, and from the little I've looked into it, he might have a point concerning the use of Lochner-like analysis in later civil rights jurisprudence. That said, you'll have a hard time convincing me that the Court correctly decided Lochner, the minimum-wage cases, etc. Maybe it was going to law school in the 70s -- we spent a lot of time on them, and I was always reading the dissents from that era more favorably. Hence my agreement with Steven about the substantive due process analysis that did in fact favor the economically powerful over those with less power in the labor law arena.
Steven is closer to correct about Lochner and its progeny than you are. The law overturned in Lochner *was* a health/safety regulation (limiting bakers to 10 hours/day and 60 hours/week); the 5-4 majority held that the law unconstitutionally infringed on the parties' rights to contract. It was 30+ years later that a different majority held that substantive due process was no longer a bar to such statutes, and that governments (state and federal) *could* limit private contracts to protect (mostly workers') health and safety.
Wait -- Landis became Commissioner in 1920; the "proclamation" you refer to was well after the fact.
You do support Steven's point, though, that players had few if any protections from processes stacked against them. I for one a glad that they have more protections now.
Copy the name field to the first empty column on the right side of the spreadsheet, and THEN run text to columns. You can then filter for non-blanks on the column to the right of the last name field, and tidy up 10 or so multiple-word last names.
What I do then, which may be a little obsessive, is, in the blank column to the right, create a lastname/firstname column, using the formula =[lastname field]&", "&[firstname field] on the top row; copy that to all rows below it; then, highlight the entire column, copy it, and paste special using "values" over the same column. That will give you a lastname, firstname column that you can move over the first name lastname column.
Let's not be naive here, the arbitration process encourages, if not requires, such presentations of facts in contexts that favor one's side. The team's representatives make similar arguments the other way. It's the agent's job to make the best presentation on behalf of his client.
I have to admit, Bowa is the type of coach/manager that I really rebel against. The coach who assumes that the players don't "want to win enough" if they don't "show" enough emotion.
It also seems true that the 73% SB% in 1993 can hardly be seen as a positive for Bowa. Maybe I'm prejudiced against him. but I have to admit I can't see any basis to give him credit for being a positive influence.
That's my experience as well, Firefox shows the "new" tag inconsistently, but IE* (at work) and Safari (on the iPad) always show it.
This aricle (very nice, BTW) makes me think someone should do a new version of "Glory of Their Times", which to me personally was a great way to link to the history of baseball (and American history generally). Lots of players from the 50s and later are still alive, and their stories could, it seems to me, provide such a link for a new generation. (Of course, Ken Burns's "Baseball" could do the same thing, if kids nowadays could just be inclined to watch it.)
For its sheer ridiculousness, "It Happens Every Spring" with Ray Milland as a chemistry teacher who discovers a potion that repels wood. It gets crazier from there.
Rueter's nickname in the Giants' clubhouse was in fact "Woody".
To quote Wojo from "Barney Miller," "just like it's spelled."
He's slated for left as it is, with Adam LaRoche under contract and reportedly ready to play.
I think the most interesting part of that would be to track the guys who change the most heading up to Opening Day. Would seem to give a good read as to who's likely to be the "flavor of the week" come late March/early April, and who the market might be undervaluing.
Well, when one run will win the game in the bottom of the ninth or the bottom of an extra inning, seems to me that a sacrifice would be the safer play. Some of that is the "avoid second-guessing if it doesn't work", but it also avoids the potential negative outcomes inherent in hit and run plays.
There's a box for me under the tree, and it smells like horse poop. Thanks for the pony!!
It's actually available on audible.com, agree as to its awesomeness.
+1 on the New Yorker article. Especially if you've also read Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Times and its article on Smoky Joe Wood. (Of course, the entire book is wonderful.) I'm partial to Roger Angell's writing too, his New Yorker baseball articles dating back to (at least) the early sixties are a joy.
The Mets haven't drawn less than 2MM since 1997; last time they were below 1MM was in 1981. They definitely get megabucks for their TV package, so they won't be hurting. (The "$75MM loss" in 2011 is likely an accounting trick.) In the modern era, rebuilding is a fact of life. A New York team has the revenue potential to do it at least as well as any other team, assuming they do it in a smart way. They can always pay for the free agents necessary to accelerate the process.
"Collusive vendetta"? Really? Look, I have been persuaded that he's worthy, but I followed baseball during his prime (I was born in 1954), and as a non-Cubs fan, I always thought of him as a very good, but not great, player. It's been a slow process that mainstream baseball writers understand the value of walks or the nuances of context in the pitcher-dominant 60s. In short, it was ignorance, not a vendetta. (Or do you think there was some reason writers didn't like Santo? My impression was always that he was a well-respected player, though as I say, I grew up on the west coast so wasn't really aware of the way he was regarded in the rest of the country.)
Again, it's a shame that Santo didn't live to see himself get inducted. But really, it's not a crime. It's an injustice, that is belatedly being rectified. But at least it is being rectified.
I guess I don't understand how *fixing* the years-long failure to induct Santo is somehow a slap in the face. Yes, he deserved to get in, and now he's in. It would have been better if he'd lived to see it, sure. I think that it's a good thing that baseball's hall is more selective than other sports' halls, and I think BP and others have done a lot to help get guys like Santo and Blyleven in. It is an honor to be inducted, and I'm with Bill that the attitude that "the Hall of Fame doesn't deserve Ron Santo" and so the family should make some kind of statement is misguided. Let's celebrate the career and life of Ron Santo next summer.
I've always brought food into Candlestick and then Willie Mays Field, as well as the Oakland Coliseum. (I am partial to the Italian Combo sandwich from Genova Delicatessen in Oakland, plus the artichoke torte, have been doing that since I lived near the deli in 1976.) However, a couple of years ago I went to a Warriors game at the Arena, they wouldn't let me bring in a sandwich. Sad to think that it's the wave of the future that stadia will prevent folks from bringing in their own food, so that can ensure that folks have to buy $6 hot dogs (not to mention $9 beers -- I know that neither place will allow you to bring in alcohol, like we did in the 70s and 80s . . .).
LOL, too true. Though I do think Sanchez is more "variable" in his results than is Cabrera, though I do see Melky struggling at AT&T.
I was in high school when Kingman came up with the Giants, and the Giants' ill-fated attempt to make him a third baseman notwithstanding, he had a lot of promise. (He made a great attempt in a playoff game against the Pirates in 1971, reaching over the fence on a dead run trying to take a home run away from a hitter, only to run into the foul pole and have the ball come out from the impact.) I was also at one of the games he pitched for the Giants. (Bill Lee's autobiography has a fun story about Kong pitching at SC.) Fun times . . .
There was a time (and I guess I'm dating myself) when NL umps wore chest protectors inside their shirts/coats and AL umps wore the "balloon" protectors, and as a result, accepted wisdom was that NL umps were better at calling the bottom of the zone accurately, and AL umps were better at calling the corners. So, standing above the catcher's head would make it a higher strike zone. Just seems like there are tradeoffs either way.
I'm with Diana on that point.
I like it. Wish I could filter by league, but the links at the bottom of the page are a great feature, IMO.
Were Jerry Sands's 2010 stats similarly aided by his home parks?
Interesting that you say "the top players are all very expensive and, in my opinion, usually go for far more than they are actually worth" while acknowledging the top players' importance. Maybe it's just semantics, but I've been persuaded that in shallow mixed leagues, the top players ARE worth the higher salaries, and in fact, it's worthwhile to pay almost anything for the very best players and then fill out one's roster with the "merely good" players that you can get in the $5 to $10 range.
But then, I agree with your preference for a deep single-league format. So what do I know?
Christy's brother Henry pitched a little for the Giants in 1906 and 1907, but never won a game. (Hence, I remember as a kid before the Perry brothers took over the record, the trivia question was, which brothers have the most wins, and the answer was Christy (373) and Henry (0), with 373. The rejoinder was, Cy Young and his sister had 511.)
At AT&T, as Mathewson wore no number, there's just a sign with his name.
Interesting note about your Giants proposals -- not only does Barry Bonds share no. 25 with his father (and I'd certainly have no problem with a joint honor), but both Will and Jack Clark wore no. 22. The way the numbers are currently displayed at the Giants' park might confuse some of us old enough to remember Jack's Giants tenure. (Can't remember offhand if Christy Mathewson's plaque says Christy, to distinguish him from Henry . . .)
That 1969 season was of course the season Jim Bouton wrote about in Ball Four, where Killebrew was called (with maximum respect) "The Fat Kid". RIP indeed, Harmon. It was always fun to watch you at the plate, knowing that any time you might hit one onto the iceplant that used to be above the bleachers in the Oakland Coliseum outfield.
Clearly he's been disliked by some people for a really long time. I used to attend A's games back in the late 70s (when the team was known as the "boat people of the American League"), with a thousand or so of my closest friends. There was one guy who would sit behind the first-base dugout when LaRussa was coaching first (so it looks like it was 1978) and do nothing but rag on LaRussa. It was unrelenting, and pretty graphic as I recall. Never did know where it came from, but apparently it's a feeling shared by more than a few.
An interesting infield-fly wrinkle happened some years back in an Expos-Giants game in SF. Bases loaded, infield fly is hit by a Giant batter and it drops. Runner on third tries to score, the throw comes home and the catcher steps on home plate as he catches the ball. Umpire calls runner safe, fielders go crazy arguing the call. Frank Robinson, manager of the Expos, comes out and yells at his players; apprently he's the only one in red white and blue who knows that it's not a force, because the batter is already out. The runner has to be tagged, which major leaguers forgot about. Oops!
Christina, thanks for the Odd Bodkins reference. (Marcel WHO?) Just to let folks know that Dan isn't completely retired; there's http://danoneillcomics.blogspot.com/
It wasn't much of a secret in those days that some of the A's liked to party, there were a couple of Oakland bars where there was a good chance you would run into some of them, and I seem to recall that Page the Rage was among them. That didn't stop me from liking him as a player (I'm close to his age, and obviously I knew my way around the local bars as well), those A's teams were pretty bad but it was fun to go to the games and be among 1500 close friends. Sorry to hear he's died, sad news.
As scothughes notes, Harper wouldn't have enough options for that to be a viable strategy, he'd have to clear waivers in order to be sent to the minors once he's out of options. (Even if a player isn't on the 40-man, after four years (IIRC) he's subject to the Rule 5 draft unless he does get put on the 40-man at that point.)
Does the fact that Harper signed a major-league contract (and is already on the 40-man roster) mean his six-year clock has already started ticking? Or is that only once he's on the active 25-man roster during the season?
Phil Regan, who pitched in relief for the Dodgers in the mid-60s, is even given "The Vulture" as a nickname in Baseball-reference.com. He was 14-1 (with no starts) in 1966.
I have to admit that I like the notion that decisions whether or not to publish material that clearly won't be everyone's cup of tea lean toward publication. As has been pointed out, it's easy enough to click back to the main page, where there is plenty of analytical material for any subscriber. I wouldn't want to think that something that would amuse me, or challenge me in a different way, was written and then nixed because it might possibly offend someone, or be considered tasteless by someone.
Maybe it's because I *like* "tasteless" humor; I loved National Lampoon, too.
Well, if it's between March 17th and March 21st, I'll be there, in lieu of an actual event in the SF Bay Area . . .
Well, they don't actually "disappear" -- they can be viewed with a single click. I do always click on the minimized posts; if I were to suggest a small improvement to the function, it would be a "view all" button.
Apart from anything else, this notion that a failure to bring a libel suit is somehow evidence of the truth of the "libeler's" statement/accusation needs to be put to rest. These players are almost certainly "public figures" who then would have to prove actual malice: that the statements were made with knowledge that they were untrue, or with reckless disregard of their truth or falsity. That's an extremely difficult standard to meet, and not meeting it means lots of money in legal fees. Those are very good reasons not to bring a libel suit, even if the accusations are not true. (Not to mention the inherent difficulty of proving a negative.)
Your statement that "If someone doesn't care, fine, their solution is to allow users in who otherwise, having not been users, would not have met the performance standards for Hall consideration . . ." assumes that steroids could make the difference between a HOF career and a non-HOF career. There's absolutely no conclusive evidence that that's possible.
Rosario was picked by the Orioles (from the Brewers).
Pobo, openoffice.org has a free spreadsheet program that will open and edit .xls files. You can also download the excel viewer from microsoft.com.
As is Kansas City, no?
Apologies if I've missed it, but any word on Michael Taylor? Looks like he's hitting about .250, so I guess it makes sense that 1-for-4 isn't likely to get a writeup . . .
Was the 18 October deadline extended? The banner says there's 8+ days left to vote . . .
Picking nits, runners were at first and third when Bench came to the plate; Tolan stole second on the 3-1 pitch, that's when Williams went to the mound, and they faked the intentional walk. Still a great play.
Add my thanks to everyone else's. I learned a lot from your work over the years, and I look forward to reading your work in whatever venues you publish in going forward.
Well, I read all three opinions in a college course (on sources of legal authority) before I even went to law school, and in Federal Baseball Club v. National League that Court specifically said that Congress could eliminate the exemption at any time. In both Toolson and Flood, the Court said that, given Congressional failure to remove the exemption, the Court would view that failure as positive intent to retain the exemption. Straight separation of powers. Even if I would have been arguing on Flood's side . . .
Cool story. Two months ago I took my daughters (20 and 26) to New York City, for the youngest's first time. We took that train from Manhattan to Coney Island; it wasn't a game day, so we contented ourselves with walking around the park and visiting the store. Later (after a Nathan's dog, of course) took the train to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and walked around that ballpark. (The home team was practicing, working on pop-ups; guess I can figure what happened in the previous game! The players weren't in uniform, but in workout clothes that made me realize how YOUNG they are, but that's mostly on me . . .)
Point is just to reiterate your point that loving the game comes before understanding analytical tools and their application. My daughters roll their eyes when I talk about things like sacrifice bunts, ro caught stealings, but they go to more games a year than I do, and even love going to the AFL games when I take them with me to Ron's first pitch symposiums. I am really happy that they love the game, and maybe the analysis will rub off on them, but it's okay if it doesn't.
Learning Curves. Hmm, see a few novels have already used it, maybe add the colon phrase "15 Years Spent Learning Why I've Always Loved Baseball".
I've been a PC guy for over 25 years now, no iPhone (though I do have a fifth-generation iPod), and I've really been jazzed by my iPad. The web browsing is fabulous, like the folks above I spent opening day surfing while watching the games and was blown away by how easy and beautiful it was. The battery life is obviously a big deal as well. Ben has a great point, no reason to take my laptop on vacation when the iPad can do just about everything I need.
I bought the at bat 2010 app, and can't complain as far as it goes, but am I missing something about mlb.tv? It is a flash app, isn't it, and so unavailable to the iPad? Thanks for helping out an apple newbie . . .
Did you find the 2010 version? It took me a little time to find it, it's at
Best wishes going forward, Joe -- hope you find success and happiness, and I look forward to reading your material in the future. I'll certainly stay a BP subscriber, though, there are still plenty of smart people here who can keep me advancing my own baseball knowledge, as Joe always has.
When I saw the term "dba" I KNEW I couldn't do it, as much as I'd like to. (I have lots of experience dealing with the content to go into (legal) databases, and even baseball databases, but always passed to the dba. Oh well . . .
What correlations have been shown between weather and other environmental conditions (e.g., wet grounds) and injuries (general and specific), and what are the best ways to "counteract" those conditions? (Clothing, shoe types, protected dugouts, etc.)
Very classy, as always, and great advice to all of us: know what we don't know, and be open to other ideas. Best wishes to Peter, who has done two things I would give my left nut to do: get paid to write/talk about baseball, and sing with Little Feat.
Nobody's "backing you up" because you're overreacting to a fairly lighthearted comment. And, has it occurred to you that what you call "bashing" is often criticism by people who do love American ideals, using the freedom to criticize that is one of the most important of those ideals.
Sorry to waste the baseball bandwidth. I too am thankful for the folks at BP and all the information they provide, giving me a somewhat better basis on which to form my own opinions about players and teams, and the game of baseball.
Wouldn't it seem as though the Phillies would be an obvious team to approach about Bell? They're certainly playing for 2010 in a sense, so the short-term nature of the contract situation might not be such an issue.
The pitcher covers home as well on a wild pitch, but I can't think of a situation other than a rundown when he covers second or third.
I know I saw some team that moved the third baseman to the shortstop's left, but I'm blanking on who it was -- the Nationals maybe?
I do think that the other way to do this is to have the shortstop (or the guy on the rightfield side of second) take the throw, so the whole left side isn't open.
Things that drive me crazy about McCarver, #n+1: Saying what a great play it was for Melky to run through Thompson's stop sign. The throw had him beat, if Ruiz catches it Melky is out even if he misses the tag (because Melky missed the plate). Luck was the only reason they got that run, and without that luck the game might have been different.
It's a pretty unique set of circumstances -- Manuel was probably thinking it analagous to a bunt that the third baseman fields with a runner on first, when the catcher is supposed to break to third.
For all the fielders, it seems fairly counterintuitive. I can't think of any other situation in which the pitcher covers a base other than first (as opposed to backing up). Maybe Rollins should have taken the throw from the catcher? Maybe next spring there will be a new drill during PFP . . .
I'd always heard three referred to as a hat trick -- the golden sombrero comes after the (mere) hat trick.
This was my take as well, it wasn't at all clear to me that Rollins knew he'd caught the ball in the air. His intent was to trap it, and tagging the base was the play if he had been successful. Morgan and Miller were also congratulating him on the deke, with only the slightest hint that they'd like to hear what Rollins would say about it. (I didn't know what Rollins had said, thanks for relaying it.)
I guess the other side of the argument would be to reduce some of the off days. (Not that I'm looking for a way to convince managers to carry 12 pitchers.) Yeah, I know, TV, but I think it's madness to have so many days off in October just so you could play a Boston-Colorado World Series in November. And don't get me started on today's off day.
Here's hoping that you get to the SF Bay area at some point, I'm sure there are lots of folks who would join me at either the Coliseum or the park in SF.
I agree, that checking the homepage and/or subscribing to the RSS feed are better than, and at least as easy as, looking for the e-mail. Thanks for responding; maybe I'm just a little compulsive, and it's certainly true that checking my personal e-mail from work is actually less easy than checking the homepage or google reader, but I appreciate your working on the other options to the newsletter.
Not sure if it's been mentioned above, but minor-league players' financials would be a nice article. How much do they make, what perks do they get? The mechanics of split contracts, whether former major leaguers get any extra bargaining power, how players tend to react to the extra paychecks when they get a cup of coffee . . .
What are you saying, that because Minaya apologized and Rubin accepted the apology it's a non-story? Seems to me, the press conference is a story in and of itself, and it clearly gives folks insight into the Mets' season. (Not to mention the mindset of its management.) Isn't underreporting at least as bad as overemphasizing the story?
So the question then is, what would who do to undo the deal? Would Sabean be asking for money along with Johnson and Dunn? Would Rizzo (either in response, or first) ask for a throw-in (like Lewis, or Kevin Frandsen, or someone like that)? Not to say that adding money (from the Nats) and a throw-in (from the Giants) to your deal wouldn't be viable . . .
Gread thread, BTW.
Lots of great memories, could write forever here. I saw the only win Jim Bouton got in his 1978 comeback with the Braves, over the Giants at Candlestick. Also remember a great 14-inning complete-game win by Mike Norris in 1980 over the Orioles -- Tony Armas hit a slam in the bottom of the 14th.
Ollie Brown was a guilty pleasure, as much for his reponse when (for the umpteenth time, apparently) someone mentioned what a great right arm he had: "Yeah, and I'd trade it for a grat bat." I was also never much of a Johnnie LeMaster fan, but one night he wore a jersey with "BOO" on the back, so he could claim they were calling his name . . .
Y'all are making me feel old, in 1976 I graduated college and started law school, which meant a short summer. I did a road trip with a friend, and we stopped in Kingman, AZ one mid-morning after driving all night when neither of us could keep driving. A Tigers game was on Game of the Week (there's another article -- remember when we often got to see only one game per weekend, no home games of the local team ever?) and Fidrych pitched. Wasn't all that effective (though his ERA was still under 2 when the game finished), but it was early in the "Fidrych-mania" of that summer. As another tall, curly-headed kid I identified with him (there were some risque stories about him even then, which only added to his appeal). Sad to see him go, not least because we're the same age . . .
Thanks for the note, I think you made the right call.
Wonky question -- I have a tablet PC, any advice for a program that will allow me to score on it (or on a laptop generally)?
IIRC, Willie Crawford wore 99 when he was with the A's in 1977. (Though admittedly not from the beginning of his career.)
It\'s nice that the West Coast gets one visit (I went to last year\'s Alameda event, I\'m not really complaining, though I\'d like to see more out here), but I\'d like to put in my vote for a SF or Oakland ballpark event . . .
I personally don\'t believe that confessing and apologizing would do anything to increase McGuire\'s HOF vote. (Assuming he\'s guilty.) IMO, he can\'t win -- not confessing is held against him, confessing would be as well.
The Given Day was an excellent book, highly recommended. (It\'s not *entirely* a baseball book, but Babe Ruth and the 1919 Red Sox are in it.)
There are certainly fields in the Phoenix area that aren\'t used by the AFL (haven\'t Maryvale and Suprise been off the rotation the last few years?), and worse come to worse they could even play in Tucson. Will make those October/November trips that much more fun . . .
I\'m pretty sure there has to be actual contact/interference for the runner to be called out. (The usual call is a throw from the catcher to first -- if you miss the runner he usually isn\'t called out, hence the coaching advice to catchers to aim at the runner\'s back.) As Howard didn\'t make the throw, I think there\'s no way the runner could be called for interference.
I agree it\'s defensible -- the positive/negative analysis here doesn\'t seem to take into account that a foul ball on a suicide squeeze is a totally neutral event. All Aybar had to do is make some contact, and I think it\'s on him that he bunted right through a buntable pitch in a situation where his only job is to make SOME contact. It wasn\'t anything that the Sox did based on the supposed predictability of the squeeze, it was just Aybar\'s failure.
Very cool that you got access to the notice of grievance. Any chance you\'ll also get MLB\'s response (if there is a formal \"answer\" to the grievance)?