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If you're talking about a 78-win baseline projection, I'd have to agree with you. If you're talking about non-objective-based expectation ... I don't get the feeling around town that much is expected of the '13 Cubbies. I don't however think the Cubs have a non-zero chance of putting up a surprisingly good season. I just wouldn't count on it.
Definitely something to watch. I can't claim any high-level knowledge of San Diego's pitcher development program (though I do have a relative that works in the organization in the minors) but after years of stability, the Padres have had changes in general managers, scouting directors, farm directors. If there is a current "Padres Way" to oversee pitching mechanics, it hardly seems like it would have been in place long enough to affect all those injured prospects. So until proven otherwise, I'd go with coincidence as the most likely explanation. Young pitchers, you know?
Folks, I did a little bit of digging at the SABR site this morning regarding the origin of the Frick quote on Musial. For the Oct. 12, 1963 edition of the Sporting News, Lowell Reidenbaugh wrote an extended recap of Stan Musial Day. Reidenbaugh was a seminal figure in baseball journalism, serving as TSN's managing editor from 1958 to 1979. Here's the relevant paragraph from Lowell Reidenbaugh:
"Commissioner Ford Frick suggested that the Hall of Fame plaque which will be engraved for Musial in 1969 should read, 'Here stands baseball's happy warrior; here stands baseball's perfect knight."
I found the AP version of the next-day story in the Google news archive, and it reads:
"Stan's story is greater than the records he has made, because he has been great on the field and great off the field. His errors have always been physical errors, never errors of the mind or heart. I hope the plaque they one day unveil of him at the Baseball Hall of Fame does not concern itself with figures. I hope it says: Stan Musial -- here stands baseball's happy boy, here stands baseball's perfect knight."
I tend to think that the AP version would be the most accurate transcription of what was actually said, while Reidenbaugh cleaned it up and embellished it a bit since he was more a writer than a straight news man. As for the version that is on the statue and is the best-known of the bunch, I have no theories on where it came from or why it's so different. I assume it's just wrong, but perhaps someone unearthed a recording that we don't have access to online. In that case, I stand corrected.
Incidentally, what was actually on Musial's HOF plaque was a list of his career accomplishments, just like everyone else.
salvo -- I used the version from Paul Dickson's Baseball Greatest Quotations. (Which, by the way, I meant to acknowledge at the end of the article, along with Danny Peary's We Played the Game. It was late when I finished, and I simply forgot.) I am not sure why the discrepancy exists, and Dickson doesn't list specific sources for his collection. But his version is less redundant, I must say. These things tend to evolve over time.
Google actually has the relevant page available to peruse:
Not that I have observed.
I did not name names.
Fair points all, Tim. What I've tried to do is paint a portrait of Guillen as I see him. That is as a guy who is incessantly starved for attention, who can't shut his mouth, talks without thinking and makes everything about himself. Your point about me writing in the first person is interesting -- maybe I don't like him because I'm similar in some ways. However, I don't necessarily see that as a bad trait for a writer. For a manager, I see it as just about the worst trait one can have.
In any event, I expect reaction to this piece to be polarizing, much as the man himself is. Without a doubt, he is one of the more compelling personalities I've come across.
I could lie and say that I was thinking of Roger Angell and Ted Williams independently and not the story you refer to, but I won't. I was of course remembering Updike's great "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" but got bad information from my head. For posterity's sake, I asked Ben to make the fix.
Thanks so much to everyone for the kind words. This was one of those rare cases where you just start writing and the thing seems to write itself. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Stone, who took 15 minutes out of his pregame preparations on Friday to speak to me. I really thought his voice carried the piece. - B
Hoot, I look as Eck as the next evolution in the closer role, furthering the process that began with Sutter. Keith Woolner wrote about this in the first Between the Numbers book. He was the first reliever to come in to start the ninth in at least 20 percent of his appearances over a career. Obviously, as you point out, he wasn't used exclusively in that manner or he wouldn't have had such high innings totals. Before him, however, it just wasn't common for a reliever to pitch only the ninth inning. Sutter got the specialization ball rolling, and Eckersley/LaRussa booted it down the field.
Thanks for that. That was awesome. You slap some glasses on Garagiola and he'd be a ringer for George Costanza.
Hard to keep up.
What you said.
I didn't get into it in the article, but Don Cooper insists that Sale is mechanically sound, saying that if he had poor technique, he wouldn't be a "strike-throwing machine." I am not one to argue with Don Cooper.
In terms of applying an appropriate portion of their resources to relief pitching, the Rays have certainly been ahead of the curve.
I used think so. I read everything there was to read about him. I even hung out with one of his biographers -- the late Danny Sugerman -- once. I'm not sure how brilliant Morrison was. Guess it's how you define it. It's his poetry that puts me off. He was certainly intellectually curious and well read. In any case, I still love the Doors.
I had no idea that Koufax did television. I would love to find some clips of that. I've always thought of him as this elusive, Garboesque mystery type.
I did say modern era. I'm pretty sure they're still looking for Delahunty at the bottom of Niagara Falls.
Man, I had forgotten that. Thanks JimmyJack.
I've heard for a couple of readers and asked some of the veteran media folk at the ballpark, and it sounds like there were some interesting issues with that '72 team that really bound them to the Sox community. Not the least of which was the fact that the team came close to leaving the South Side. My curiosity is piqued, so I'm planning an ITP feature on the '72 Sox once we get closer to the Dick Allen celebration, which is on June 24.
"Suburban, upper class beats urban, blue collar every time."
You would have no way of knowing this, palehose, but that statement is the antithesis of both my life story and everything I'm about today. I might live on the north side, but I live in Uptown which, while adjacent to Wrigleyville is decidedly not Wrigleyville.
Also, for what it's worth, I've researched this and there isn't that much difference in the demographics between the crowds at either place. For one, marketing surveys have shown about 63 percent of the fans for both teams come from the suburbs. Which makes sense. For a lot of car-reliant suburbanites, getting to Wrigley is more of a hassle than it's worth. But people that love to drive prefer places where it's easier to park, like the Cell, located right off the highway.
Dear moderater, I accidentally pushed the inappropriate tag on the previous post. It is not inappropriate. It is actually very nice. This the result of me reading things on my Kindle. I am always touching things I don't mean to touch.
Yep, good catch. As the title says, I lifted that one straight from the note they gave us and didn't give it any thought. Guess I'll have to fact check them from now on.
No, that's the one. When I checked Dunston's game long to find the date, I saw that was his only homer off Slocumb.
No and no. It was a behind-the-scenes type of person.
I do think it's important to note that while the industry is still very much feeling its way with issues like pitcher usage , injury prevention and rehab, there is no question that pitchers collectively last longer today than they ever have. At the same time, teams have become so risk averse in their handling of pitchers that they almost certainly aren't getting full value of the arms they produce.
It's a whole separate issue but I've always wondered when some small market team is going to start riding its top young, homegrown arms with the thought that they are just going to leave after six years anyway. It wouldn't help their reputations among agents, but how much incentive is there really to protect a guy's prime years that will be spent with a competitor?
I've never seen a first baseman simply assume that a ball was going to get through the middle. I think it's safe to say based on his whole professional career that Gamel doesn't have great defensive instincts.
I can't vouch for a word she said, but I sure did enjoy them all.
I cannot vouch for a word she said, but sure did enjoy them all.
I'll throw in yet another wrinkle: I use "7F" for a fly out to left, "7Ff" for a foul out to left and "2Pb" for a foul bunt out to catcher, among other things. This season, I've thought about starting to use "FL" for a fleener, but haven't remembered to do it in any of the three games I've attended. I underline the player if he makes a notably good defensive play and if on a groundball, the fielder makes a good play and the first baseman a nice pick, I underline them both. I doublescore great plays, but only use that about five times a season.
I love keeping score.
Thanks Dave and sorry R.A. I kept wanting to type Wallace for Brett Carroll all weekend. I have no idea why, just some kind of short circuit in my head.
I used to score games for Stats Inc. and the habit from that I've retained is the marking of baserunners. For instance, take a bases-loaded single to right, with runners on second and third scoring and the one first advancing to second:
Or a wild pitch:
But I don't code every pitch anymore.
Well geez, steely -- take your pick. By FRAA, he's -17.4 over the last four years. By UZR, he's -12.9. The Fielding Bible has him at -29. Seems unanimous to me. But I'll amend my statement: He's a statue with soft hands. I like Konerko too, but that doesn't make him Keith Hernandez.
Good question on the bat weight, which I can't answer. Sounds like a good topic, tough. I'll add it to the list.
I'm not aware of much, if any, interaction between Thomas and Dunn. Thomas isn't around the team all that much. However, Harold Baines was Chicago's first base coach last year. I asked Dunn if he ever talked to Baines about the trick of the DH trade and Dunn just said something like, "Sure, I talk to Harold all the time."
Drop the "don't" from that. Geesh. Time to call it a week.
At least if none of these issues don't work out, we know they have plenty of organizational depth to fall back on. Oh wait ...
I couldn't understand Dunn's unwillingness to have his eyes checked, unless there still is some bizarre stigma attached to corrected vision in today's game. (Not likely.) In any event, a vision test is a standard part of the workup when players report to spring training and as far as I know, his went fine last month. Haven't heard anything to the contrary, anyway.
As for the sports shrink, the Sox had one in their employ last year and I assume they still do. How his services are actually deployed, I have no idea. I have an Ozzie clip somewhere where he is making cracks about the team's psychologist, but I couldn't locate it for this piece.
It's even worse than that. I mentioned Beckham lockers next to Dunn, but I failed to point out who is on the other side: Peavy. There might be something to this No. 44 theory.
One clarification folks -- a colleague told me that Wilken didn't get an extension but was simply given assurances that his job was safe even after a new baseball opps guy was hired. Thought I'd pass that along, just for the sake of accuracy.
Also, one reader suggested that the "proper" name for CubbieCon is CubsCon. Actually, the team just calls it Cubs Convention. I didn't mean to suggest those were formal designations, though the Sox do in fact call their convention SoxFest.
This is why writing for BPro is so great -- I can count on references like that connecting for at least a few people.
Thanks psavio -- lots of interesting back story there. I'll run that by some of my native Chicago friends.
It'd be an interesting topic, if I could find enough converts. The only time I've ever "switched" loyalties was when I left home for the University of Missouri. I grew up an avid Iowa Hawkeyes fan, but with a few months of arriving in Columbia, I was a Tiger through and through. Now I don't pay any attention to the Hawkeyes at all.
Another guy that would have worked is Gregg Jeffries. He turned out to be a really good player, but after he hit .321/.364/.596 in 118 PA, as a 2B, at the age of 20, in New York -- the hype meter went spiraling out of control. No way he could live up to his first impression.
Too bad nobody jumped on Gates Brown. The parameters of the topic limited us to first-hand experience and I don't think anyone on staff is old enough to have been personally affected by Gates' 1968 breakout. A career .257/.330/.420 hitter, Brown hit .370/.442/.685 for the pennant-winning Tigers in the year of the pitcher. He only had 104 plate appearances, 102 of them against righties. In 48 PAs as a pinch-hitter, he hit .450/.542/1.392. (In one appearance he didn't expect to make, he doubled with two hot dogs stuffed in his jersey.)
The reason I remember this small-sample breakout so well is that an older friend of mine once me about a mini-brawl that broke out among some friends in a Strat-O-Matic league based on the 1968 season. The Gates owner was using him with impunity and there were no PT restrictions in place. He was destroying everybody and finally somebody got fed up.
And eight different organizations -- he was traded twice in one day last year.
KG mentions his slider and when Jackson was with the White Sox, that really seemed to be the bane of his existence. In his second start last year, he struck out 13 against the Rays. I recall virtually all of those Ks being on swings against his slider. It was unhittable.
Other days, the thing would just spin up there and get crushed. I remember a few rough games when afterwards, Jackson would grouse about not being able to get a feel for his slider. If he ever gets consistent with that pitch, look out. Alas, it seems like he would have figured it out by now if it was ever going to happen.
One thing is for certain: Jackson's travels can't be attributed to a sour personality. He's one of the more effusive and affable ballplayers I've been around. He's multilingual and is one of the few players that seems as popular with the Latino players as with the Americans.
I highly recommend Danny Peary's "We Played the Game" - an oral history of baseball from 1947-72, in the words of the players themselves. Also, Chicago writer George Castle put out an oral history of baseball in the 1970s a couple of years ago. I haven't read it, but knowing George I'm sure it has plenty of text.
As it happens, I am the only other member of the BBWAA that writes for Prospectus -- that I know of -- and I don\'t contribute on the baseball side. I\'m not nearly as senior as John (this was my fourth year) so I generally get to vote for only one award a year. Believe me, I consider it a great honor to get that vote. This year, it was AL Rookie of the Year. Since Longoria was a unanimous pick, I don\'t really have to tell you who I voted for.
For what it\'s worth, I\'ve supported every measure put before us about including Web writers. I\'m not sure I agree with John that this case strengthens the argument for more inclusion. I think it makes more of a statement that the whole thing is cracked. This was a hell of a black eye, as far as I\'m concerned. I just had one award, but I spent about 2 1/2 hours crunching numbers and double-checking every team\'s season stats to make damn sure that I wasn\'t leaving anybody out -- or including anybody I wasn\'t supposed to. And this despite the fact that I strongly suspected that I was going to vote for Longoria all along because I watch 100s of games through the course of a season and spend many hours writing about and analyzing statistics. I would venture to say that among serious baseball fans, there are as many who know that Volquez got three votes as know that Soto won the actual award. That\'s a shame.
I took my vote so seriously because as someone who has an affinity for the numbers side of the game, I\'m all too aware that 28 votes is an awfully small electorate. These awards mean a lot in a baseball history context so the privilege of a 1/28th say in the matter (1/32 in the NL) demands respect and attention.
It baffles me how something like this could have happened, especially in three separate cases. I guess working in Kansas City with the likes of Bob Dutton, Jeff Passan, Sam Mellinger & Joe Posnanski has spoiled me because I know that those guys are what the BBWAA is supposed to be all about.
I don\'t know anything about the guys John mentioned as having been the guilty parties. I wouldn\'t throw them out or anything, though. People make mistakes, even in what is supposed to be their area of expertise. For sports writers, those mistakes are a little more public than in most other professions, which is something else that should be kept in mind. I think the BBWAA should look at ways to avoid these kinds of errors. We could have done two things:
- Provide a list to each voter of eligible rookies -- with statistics. Yes, we should already know, but why run the risk of this sort of embarrassment?
- Ask the members who voted for the ineligible candidate to re-submit their ballots. If I had voted for Roy Hobbs, would that have counted, too?