Which teams have the strongest starting rotations in the senior circuit?
Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in the Baseball Prospectus annual stop at Washington DC's Politics and Prose bookstore. As I joined Steven Goldman, Derek Carty, and Adam Sobsey in the question-and-answer session with the 125 or so attendees—yet another packed house that lived up to our past history there, for which we profusely thank our DC-area readership and the store—the most apparent difference from years past was the bona fide sense of hope the audience had about the Nationals.
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Pitchers continue to get injured while batting, so should baseball continue to require NL pitchers to hit?
I'm not known around the Internet as the world'sbiggestA.J. Burnettfan. During last Wednesday's BP roundtable, I even dusted off an old Simpson's riff: "I'm a well-wisher in that I wish him no specific harm." Now, to set the record straight, any voodoo dolls I may have referenced over the past decade or so for any player exist only in my breathlessly hyperbolic narratives, and I would never actually wish injury on a ballplayer, particularly not such an injury as befell Burnett later that day. The recent trade that sent the enigmatic righty from the Yankees to the Pirates mandates that he practice his hitting and bunting, and unfortunately, a less-than-stellar bit of work on the latter sent a ball into his own face, fracturing his right orbital and necessitating surgery. Fortunately, it does not sound as though he suffered a detached retina, which could have threatened his career.
What kind of production do teams receive from players tabbed to replace superstars?
Earlier this week, Mariano Rivera arrived at the Yankees' spring training facility in Tampa, Florida, and caused a stir by strongly hinting that the 2012 season would be his final one. The 42-year-old, who has served as the Yankees’ closer since 1997, has shown no signs of slippage, with four straight seasons of ERAs under 2.00 backed by stellar peripherals—strikeout and walk rates better than his career numbers, even—and high save totals. Late last season, he surpassed Trevor Hoffman as the all-time saves leader, and with five World Series rings in hand, the only real challenge that remains is for him to convince manager Joe Girardi to allow him a cameo in center field.
The A's make a Moneyball move with Manny Ramirez, the Yankees round out their bench with Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez, and the Red Sox finally get what was coming to them for Theo Epstein in Cubs reliever Chris Carpenter
Nate wonders about an overflow effect in two-team markets and finds some surprising results.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Bradford Doolittle wrote about the divergent directions of the Cubs and White Sox on Thursday, but how might the dire outlook for the White Sox and the hope on the horizon for the Cubs impact attendance in the Second City? See what Nate had to say on the subject in the article reproduced below, which originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on April 12, 2006.
The Cubs finished fifth last season, and the White Sox finished third, but the moods of their respective fan bases don't mirror their showings in the standings
You don’t really meet a serious baseball fan, native to Chicago, who roots for both the White Sox and the Cubs.
This is the only two-team town in which I’ve resided, so I don’t know if there is a similar divergence in New York, Los Angeles, or the Bay Area. I have a Chicago friend who is a transplanted New Yorker—he loves the Mets but absolutely despises the Yankees and everything Derek Jeter stands for. (Winning?) My own mother lives in central Missouri and roots for both the Cardinals and Royals, which might not be quite the same thing but shows a certain generosity of spirit. Undoubtedly there are many in Chicago who root for both teams, who grew up in some neutral suburb or West side neighborhood and just like their baseball however they can get it. Those people, assuming they exist, are a decidedly silent minority.
Theo Epstein can put an end to the Cubs' managerial merry-go-round.
Back in February, I wrote about how the Chicago Cubs had never had an iconic general manager. The dismissal of Mike Quade is an opportunity to ask a similar question of the Cubs. It’s not that they have never had a great manager—Hall of Famer Joe McCarthy got his start in the majors with Chicago, taking the team to the 1929 World Series, in the process becoming the first and last manager to get Hack Wilson focused on baseball, but McCarthy was forced out in a power struggle with Rogers Hornsby 71 years ago. That’s a lot of baseball under the bridge without a skipper putting his mark on the team in some way.
Some might point to another Hall of Fame skipper, Leo Durocher, who coached the team from 1966 to 1972, but despite the Lip’s helping the Cubs go from 50-103 in 1966 to 92-70 in 1969, he never did win anything with the Cubs, clashed with key players such as Ron Santo, and wasn’t exactly focused, wandering off on the team from time to time to deal with personal matters that somehow seemed more important than his job. Durocher is also, correctly, far more identified with the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants than he is with the Cubbies.