Joe Sheehan looks back at Morris to see if he really could pitch to the score.
Garret Anderson takes aim at the Earl of Doubles while playoff heroes John Lackey and K-Rod struggle in the early going for the Angels. Mark Prior Cy Young, Hee Seop Choi Rookie of the Year, Mark Bellhorn benchwarmer? Could happen. And the Tigers try to avoid making history while Alan Trammell works Ramon Santiago, Omar Infante and other kids into the league’s worst lineup.
Even when I try to be “short and sweet”–tough for a guy who’s six feet tall and arrogant as hell–it seldom works. What I don’t say in UTK often ends up in emails, and since I have this near pathologic need to answer every email, I skipped some yesterday. (I apologize if one of yours was one of them.) One reader challenged me to expand on my “Tony Gwynn is full of crap” statement–and I’ll agree, what I said was abbreviated and had the bare minimum in the way of explanation. To fully say what I think, though, I would have to deviate further from my format as a Gammonsesque “notes” column, and end up with literary loose bowels.
Now, does the situation deserve a more full account? Yes. The drug situation does not need knee-jerk reactions. When I helped write the piece on Steve Bechler’s death, I stayed as far away from the mainstream coverage as possible, trying to take as many factors as possible into account to get to the facts of the situation. I’ve taken on the use/abuse of creatine since the genesis of this column. Now, my take on drugs in baseball is moving from something I can’t ignore to a feature and potentially something in a longer format. Ideally, it will come out later this year or even perhaps as a BP2K4 piece. Yes, the issue demands a proper response…so please give me time to do it right.
Looking at outfield defenses, I found that the difference between the best and the worst outfield defenses worked out to around 150 hits, given an average pitching staff and equal chances. These are the fly balls that skip past Carl Everett and are devoured by Darin Erstad.
For purposes of this column, figure 33% of those go for doubles. Generally, doubles are about 20% of all hits, including ground-ball hits, so if anything, that’s a little conservative. And also for purposes of this example, we’re playing in an average park with an average pitching staff backed up by an average infield. The average AL team last year hit .264/.327/.424, while the average NL team hit .259/.327/.410.
Let’s say that you’re in the NL, with an average outfield, and you replace those players with all-stick immobile outfielders and punt outfield defense–we’ll call these guys the Kahrls. What happens to your pitchers?