Roger Angell, The New Yorker’s celebrated baseball writer, has a new compilation out titled Game Time, which contains many new pieces along with some previously published ones as well. BP correspondent Alex Belth caught up with Angell last weekend and talked about growing up a New York Giants baseball fan, the present-day Yankees, plus other topics New York baseball-focused and otherwise.
Although the owners and players shook hands on a new collective bargaining agreement last August 30, the final version of the CBA was not published until this week. The eight-month delay becomes easier to understand when one looks at the document. The table of contents alone runs 11 pages; counting the attachments, the CBA itself is 223 pages long.
Over the next few months I’ll be writing a series of articles about the new CBA. These articles will walk through the document from beginning to end, translating the key points from legalese to English and discussing them in the context of past agreements.
The Expos shuffle their lineup, the Giants adjust to life without Robb Nen, and the Blue Jays are happy to have Frank Catalanotto. Plus reports on Brad Wilkerson, Tim Worrell, and Doug Davis.
The Diamondbacks’ rotation is a mess, Bruce Chen’s latest destination is Boston, Willie Harris gets his shot with Aaron Rowand going Mario Mendoza in Chicago, and the Devil Rays scrap the publicity stunts to play the kids. Plus news and witticisms on 19 other teams.
The weird thing about the standings in the AL so far this season is how closely they match the projected standings based on runs scored and runs allowed. Usually this early there are more anomalies, more instances of division rivals whose positions in the standings don’t reflect the caliber of baseball they’ve played. (Clay Davenport has taken this notion to an extreme, which you can find both in last week’s article and every day in his Adjusted Standings.) Looking just at Pythagorean records, though, the entire American League is lining up the way it should.
The NL is quite a different story. The Central’s four contenders are separated by just two games in the stadings, but a whopping nine games based on runs. The Reds’ sweep of the Cardinals closed the gap between the two teams to just a game, but the Cards have outscored their opponents by 50 runs, while the Reds have been outscored by 48, while the Astros and Cubs fall between those extremes. In the West, the seven-game edge the Giants have on the Dodgers is not reflected in the runs the two teams have scored; the Dodgers have a .596/.592 edge in expected winning percentage.
One of the things I’m seeing more and more of–and no, I’m not arrogant enough to take credit for this–is people discussing injuries and their effects on teams and individuals. There’s always been an ebb and flow around big injuries, but I’m starting to see a very subtle shift. There are big debates over pitch counts, discussions with team doctors, and even articles that intelligently discuss age-based overuse. Injury analysis will probably have a slower acceptance curve than performance analysis–and we all know how slow that move has been–but we’re here at the beginning. Pioneers, of a sort. Kinda cool.