“This is the famous Allen “Bud” Selig. We know of no Commissioner in any age that costs the game as much in action and in sloth. His unique harebrained ideas and wild schemes produce a sense of dread you will find in no other executive in any sport…” I wrote that little parody of the Budweiser label off the top of my head and, relatively, I don’t even drink that much Bud. Which is to say I drink a lot of it. Selig said that he thought the Marlins’ post-game celebration after winning the NLCS was “tacky and out of place in today’s society which is less tolerant of alcohol abuse.” No problem with the victory cigars, apparently, but the alcohol…oooh nooo…save me from the deadly alcohol, where in a joyous clubhouse celebration following one of baseball’s great team achievements, being sprayed over the head with sweet, delicious champagne causes: Nation-wide increase in SIDS Tripling of federal budget deficit Teenage pregnancy Massive outsourcing of middle-class jobs to India Outbreaks of the deadly mutaba virus in every metropolitan area All of which clearly call for–no, demand–the intervention of Bud Selig.
On September 9th, Edwin Jackson assumed he would be celebrating his 20th birthday with a few friends. Instead, the Dodgers summoned him to join the big club in Phoenix and make his major league debut. Towing the rubber for the Diamondbacks was Randy Johnson, who we’ve heard is a decent pitcher in his own right. The 36,488 people in attendance could hardly be classified as friends, and we are fairly certain that most had never heard of him before game day. Jackson made himself at home anyways, holding Arizona to one run on four hits in six innings to earn his first major league win.
Very few pitchers can make the necessary adjustments to debut by their 20th birthday, but Jackson’s climb up the ladder is even more remarkable than most. He is a conversion, having made the transition from high school outfielder to major league pitcher after the Dodgers selected him in the sixth round of the 2001 draft. Jackson is not alone, as the presence of converted position players on the mound is growing in the major leagues, and more teams are viewing a pitching career as a viable alternative to releasing struggling hitters who were blessed with strong arms.
The Orioles begin their search for a manager. The Rockies weren’t lucky or unlucky–they were just untalented. And the Mets are trying to lure away Rick Peterson from the A’s. All this and much more news from Baltimore, Colorado, and New York in your Thursday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Dear Aaron Boone: It was a home run, not diplomatic immunity. Love, Joe Boone, whose Game Seven home run won the ALCS and sent the Yankees to the World Series, has been swinging at pitches he has no hope of hitting ever since then. I looked it up, expecting to see that Boone has taken about four pitches in the World Series. It turns out that he’d actually let 25 baseballs go by in the first three games, just shy of half of the 51 pitches he’d seen. He’s pushed counts to 3-2 in a number of at-bats, so it’s hard to make the argument that he’s not being patient enough. That said, he was horrific last night. The Yankees’ three biggest chances to win the game landed in his lap, and he approached his at-bats as if it were fifth-grade gym class or a co-ed softball league with some goofy rules like “swing or you’re out.” Against Carl Pavano in the second inning, with the bases loaded, one out and the Yankees down 3-0, Boone swung at the only two pitches he saw and flied to center field on the second one. Sacrifice flies down three runs with the pitcher coming up aren’t team baseball, they’re a lifeline for the opposition. Boone got another chance in the ninth, after Ruben Sierra’s triple tied the game. Boone again went up hacking, fouling off the first and third pitches he saw to fall behind 1-2, then grounding out weakly to shortstop after two more foul balls. Finally, in the 11th inning, Boone again batted with the bases loaded and one out. And just as he had against Pavano and Ugueth Urbina, he made Braden Looper’s job easy by hacking at fastballs up and in, pitches he doesn’t have the bat speed to hit. Boone swung at six of the seven pitches he saw, looked completely overmatched, and struck out. Three at-bats, two pitches taken out of 15 seen, three times falling behind in the count, three outs. Boone needed to have a solid approach last night, and his mental effort was completely lacking, leading to wild swings that gave the pitchers all the leverage they needed to get out of jail.