We can learn a lot from our most difficult seasons.
Routine decisions are the easiest. I know which coffee I like best, which chair in my living room is most comfortable, and which jeans in my closet are flattering. Medium-hard decisions require more thought, but when pushed I can decide where to go for vacation and what color would look best should I decide to paint the kitchen. But the hardest decisions are the ones that have financial implications, because, let’s face it, a life without money would be incredibly difficult.
There is nothing wrong with being particular if you can afford it. Roy Oswalt can afford to be the Van Halen of baseball—with stipulations that he’ll play only for teams in a particular time zone, and that all the brown M&Ms be removed from the clubhouse bowls. Most of us, though, players and people alike, have to risk venturing into situations that might not be suitable to us so we can maintain mere subsistence, never mind repose in candy-coded splendor.
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The son of the fiery manager discusses his father's multiple tenures with the Yankees, his Hall of Fame credentials, and his impact on the game.
Love him or hate him, the late Billy Martin was one of the most successful managers in big-league history. He was also no paragon of virtue, which makes him a controversial figure when it comes to his Hall of Fame worthiness. That decision now rests with the veterans’ committee, which thus far has not deemed him worthy of the honor.
Are there many pitchers who reach the 200-inning threshold without producing wins above replacement-level players?
Every now and then I will come across a statistical line or trend that catches my eye. The numbers don’t necessarily need to be staggeringly positive or negative, either, as I tend to gravitate toward inane accomplishments as well. For instance, Adam Dunn’s bopping of exactly 40 home runs every year from 2005-08 stands out, as does Aaron Harang’s raw unintentional walk totals from 2004-08: 48, 48, 48, 49, 45. Last season, Rodrigo Lopez piqued my interest, as it seemed like he pitched the entire season for the Diamondbacks without being demoted or missing time, and yet he never really pitched all that well. Sure enough, Lopez finished the 2010 season with exactly 200 innings and exactly zero wins above replacement level produced.
Think about that for a second: it is relatively rare for a starting pitcher to stay on the mound for 200 or more innings, and even less likely that a player who accomplishes such a feat would literally add nothing above what a freely available minor leaguer could provide. Lopez has had an interesting career. In his first full season with the Orioles in 2002, he produced a 3.57 ERA and 3.8 WARP in 196 2/3 innings. He followed that successful campaign up with a dismal one, adding a mere one-tenth of a win thanks to an ugly 5.82 ERA. Fortunately, in 2004 he got back on track with a 3.59 ERA and 4.5 wins above replacement in 170 2/3 innings.
You think times are tough now? Dial up the wayback machine to Orwell's year for some real pain.
This probably won't make Cubs fans feel any better, but their quick exit from the playoffs doesn't compare to the devastating loss they suffered at the hands of the San Diego Padres 23 years ago. As a result, however, the Cubs will observe the 100th anniversary of their last World Series title next year. (A team reunion seems out of the question).
The Yankees--maybe you heard about this--had a significant comeback against the Rangers the other night. We also ask a few questions about the surging Phillies, and see how this year's team differs from previous playoff-contenders.
Jerry Hairston's injury lets the Orioles be creative--too bad they'd rather play Deivi Cruz. The Royals' young starting rotation starts to show signs of wear. Jose Contreras is Spanish for Ed Whitson. Plus news, notes, and Kahrlisms from nine major league teams.