Alex Belth returns with the second installment of his Q&A with sportswriter Roger Angell, discussing the Yankees of recent vintage, Barry Bonds, Bill James, and more.
Tom Goodwin and company could allow the rest of the NL Central to catch the Cubs with Sammy Sosa out. Steve Sparks could be tossing knucklers in the 9th in Detroit. The Marlins cross their fingers on Dontrelle Willis with Jack McKeon now running the ship. Plus news and notes from 14 other teams.
I was as surprised as anyone that Ken Griffey Jr was activated today. There were bound to be some odd roster moves made to get him back active and Ruben Mateo was the first casualty. The Reds have a good reason for activating but not playing Junior, but I’m not able to explain it. The plan with Griffey is to play him and hope he helps the team. Good plan. Tim Kremchek was quoted on SportsCenter (via ESPN Radio) as saying there’s “significant risk of his shoulder popping back out while swinging the bat.” I’d like to see the entire quote and I hope my upcoming article on Dr. Kremchek sheds some new light on him. It’s not news that Griffey (and Jeter) have risk of re-injury, and any injury to a superstar player is significant. Teams take risks all the time and they’re not taking one they think they will lose.
On the other hand, it’s getting painful to watch Barry Larkin. I’ve said time and again that if I were a major league player, I wouldn’t hang ’em up gracefully…you’d need to drag me out of the game. At some point, someone needs to grab Larkin and start dragging. Once again, his calf has betrayed him, just another in a series of parts succumbing to age and tarnishing memories. Once he’s gone, we’ll forget the painful end part and remember a great shortstop. Barry, I think it’s time.
Andruw Jones’ defense has declined, the imprisonment of Johan Santana must end once and for all, and B.J. Upton is showing the kind of plate discipline not usually seen among Devil Ray farmhands. Plus other news and notes out of Atlanta, Minnesota, and Tampa.
Your favorite player hit .360 last season. If you know nothing else, what can you expect him to hit this season? This isn’t meant to be a trick question; let’s assume the guy had at least 500 at bats in the previous season. Gates Brown and Shane Spencer need not apply. What’s your best guess? .350? .340? Not likely. The evidence is overwhelming. Let’s look at all hitters since WWII who hit .350 or better in at least 500 at bats; the only other requirement is that they had at least 250 at bats in the year following.