Tom Tango returns to address your second and final batch of questions from last week.
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You asked, he answered. Below is the second and final batch of responses to the questions BP readers submitted for sabermetrician Tom Tango. All questions are presented in their original form.
Some thoughts on the pros and cons of instant replay.
Umpires are terrible, right?
Well, no, not really. But listen to fans in Boston or Tampa Bay or Anaheim or Minnesota or pretty much any other major league city and they'll tell you they are. Recent blown calls - some minor, some major - in those cities can't help but give the everyday fan that opinion. With 24-hour talk radio, high profile cable shows like Sportscenter, Baseball Tonight, MLB Tonight and others, official team blogs and websites, and a countless number of fan blogs all there to analyze any and every movement on the field, a blown call can reverberate like never before. Umpires can turn into household names - for all the wrong reasons - overnight. It's not an easy job.
Expanding the playoff field from eight to ten teams might enrich the Lords of the Realm, but what effect would it have on the fans?
Bud Selig has started up the expanded-playoff mill once again. On Thursday, the Commissioner told the AP that he believes the playoffs will expand from eight teams to 10 beginning in the 2012 season, reigniting what was already a very controversial issue even among the most devoted of baseball fans. At BP, reactions have ranged from pure criticism to mild tolerance. I propose we put to one side, at least for the moment, what the right answer is. Let’s see if we can first agree on a set of common principles on which to evaluate a proposal like this one.
The Albert Pujols soap opera, plenty of prospect talk, Emma Span on fan fiction and Brad Shoemaker of Giant Bomb on video games. What else could you ask for?
Yup, another one of these things. After plenty of baseball talk, including oodles of emails, a long take on the Albert Pujols soap opera and breaking down some of the latest prospect lists published here, we are joined by our own Emma Span, and go inside a strange little corner of the baseball world; fan faction. We've done loads of independent film, art and music talk of late, but we've heard your calls for more video game discussion, so we are joined by Brad Shoemaker from the downright outstanding Giant Bomb and the Giant Bombcast. It's a great talk about the state of the industry, some games to look forward to and of course, StarCraft in Korea. Then it's the usual goofy stuff that you all know and love (or hate).
Note: We do alert you to the presence of the occasional adult language. Don't say we didn't warn you.
With Cliff Lee now added to the staff, where does the 2011 Phillies rotation rank all-time?
As Kevin Goldsteinnoted, Monday, December 14, 2010 may go down as one of the 10 best baseball nights in the history of Twitter. The night had it all: accounts successfully replicating those of very reliable sources to pull a prank, subsequently sending everyone and their followers into a veritable frenzy, the cream of the free-agent crop signing a lucrative contract, the revelation of a mystery team akin to a turn in a wrestling story line, and practically anyone that cares about baseball emotionally invested in every twist and turn. When the dust settled, Cliff Lee had agreed in principle to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, a year to the day after Ruben Amaro Jr. acquired Roy Halladay and 363 days after Amaro traded Lee to the Mariners in a companion deal that drew the ire of every Phillies fan. The news was shocking, as it had seemed for weeks that Lee’s decision would boil down to the Yankees or Rangers. After all, both were contending teams making big offers.
The anguish of seeing both your favorites lost post-season games on the same day makes for a glum day in Brooklyn.
The late Bart Giamatti famously observed that baseball is designed to break your heart, but the former Commissioner was notably silent about its ability to strangle you with your own entrails. That's how I felt on Monday, watching two teams near and dear fritter away late-inning leads and ultimately suffer walk-off losses.
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The Phils went up the escape hatch and sent LA down the rabbit hole, while the Red Sox shoved the Rays toward the wall.
I just want to remake the point that these League Championship Series have the potential to be the most interesting and entertaining post-season series we've seen in a long time. Even though one of the matchups is at 2-0 already, it's provided one close game, and another that gives us plenty to talk about.
The Royals skipper talks about managing on both sides of the Pacific, and his relationship to his players.
Trey Hillman has a world of experience. He was manager of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters from 2003-2007 before taking the helm in Kansas City, and the 45-year-old Hillman has spent better than half his life in the game. Signed by the Indians in 1985, Hillman spent three years as a player, three as a scout and minor league coach, and 12 as minor league manager in the Yankees organization before his five seasons in Japan. A native of Amarillo, Texas, Hillman was named as the 15th full-time manager in Royals history last October.