We don't like to hear baseball players complain about their lots in life, but can we blame them for not counting their blessings?
Back in December, Ken Rosenthal tucked this into a column about Bobby Abreu: “Abreu, who turns 38 on March 11, is not the type to demand a trade, but he would welcome one, according to sources with knowledge of his thinking.” The news in that sentence was that Abreu would welcome a trade, but the most telling part was that Abreu “is not the type to demand a trade.” To oversimplify things: we don’t like guys who demand trades, and we like guys who don’t. Rosenthal was protecting Abreu and stressing that Abreu is a good guy in a tough situation. Rosenthal knows Bobby Abreu well—I’m pretty sure; Rosenthal knows everybody well—and Rosenthal vouches for Abreu. Abreu is not the type to demand a trade. Remember that.
Two months later, of course, Abreu demanded a trade, or at least said it would be “the best thing... The right thing to do.” He also said he has “learned not to have much trust in these people,” which is just a staggeringly dumb thing to say about one’s boss. He suggested that the lack of clarity on his role has affected his preparation, sort of making an excuse for his sub-.100 batting average this spring. It’s gotten ugly, and Bobby Abreu looks like a jerk. But he’s not a jerk, is he? Ken Rosenthal vouched for him. So what’s going on?
Wrapping up the Fall Classic with some quick hits about the Giants and Rangers.
The 2010 World Series is in the books with the Giants having won their first world championship since 1954, back when they called Upper Manhattan's Polo Grounds home and no major-league team played ball west of the Mississippi River or south of the Ohio River. While the series certainly provided a handful of memorable moments that shone the spotlight on deserving superstars, unlikely heroes, and freaks with ill-considered beards, this fall classic didn't exactly fall into the “classic” category. For the sixth time in the past seven years and the ninth time in a baker's dozen, the series was over before a Game Six could be played. The team that scored first won every game after Game One, and in fact not a single lead changed hands after the fifth inning in any game. While the match-up may have meant the world to the long-suffering fans of both the Giants and the Rangers (who'd never even won a playoff series before this fall), to those of us without a dog in the hunt, it was notable mostly as the last oasis of baseball for the next three-and-a-half months.
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What looked to be a pitchers' duel rapidly became a blowout, giving one team a spot in the postseason.
Two at-bats had a profound impact on this game. The first took place with Wakefield on the hill and Bernie Williams standing in the batter's box in the second inning. Williams laced a first-pitch double off the glove of Kevin Millar. The ball was hit so hard that no one in Fenway, Millar included, really saw it happening. The double put runners on second and third with nobody out, and eventually both runners were driven home on sacrifice flies, making the score 5-2.
The other pivotal at-bat was a microcosm of the 2005 season for Edgar Renteria; good intentions but no results. Facing a suddenly shaky Johnson, who had loaded the bases on two walks and a single in the second, Renteria worked a 3-2 count, bringing the Fenway Faithful to their feet. Finally, Johnson decided enough was enough and blew a fastball right past Renteria for the strikeout. The inning was over, the momentum gone, and Sox fans had little reason to stand up for the duration.
As many of our readers were submitting their ballots for the annual Internet Baseball Awards, 11 Baseball Prospectus authors went into the polling booths themselves, voicing their opinions on who should win the major baseball awards this year. Here are the results...
As many of our readers were submitting their ballots for the annual Internet Baseball Awards, 11 Baseball Prospectus authors went into the polling booths themselves, voicing their opinions on who should win the major baseball awards this year. Here are the results:
It's 11:49 p.m. EDT, and I'm sitting here staring slack-jawed at a 13-inch television set. In St. Louis, the remnants of what was a crowd of 47,000 people are going nuts, and the Cardinals are jumping around as if they've won the World Series. Edgar Renteria has just hit a three-run home run to cap a six-run ninth inning, giving the Cards a 10-9 victory.