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A lot of people have written in to express their astonishment over Joe Morgan’s latest ESPN column. Reduced to its essence, Morgan argues that the ability to reach base isn’t the most important skill for a leadoff hitter, nor even the second-most important. The column is filled with old-baseball-player wisdom, and the rationale behind it pretty much comes down to, “because I’m a Hall of Famer, and I say so.”
One of the most complex and bedeviling problems in baseball today is understanding to what extent large-market teams have an competitive advantage over small-market teams.
How freaking good are the Mariners?
After looking downright mortal during a season-opening 3-3 homestand, the Mariners have run roughshod over the AL West, ripping off nine consecutive wins over divisional rivals, the last five without their best hitter, Edgar Martinez. They’ve won easy (5-1 and 8-1 over the Angels) and they’ve won hard (late rallies to beat the Angels 5-4 and the Rangers 13-11), but they’ve done nothing but win.
I saw very little baseball over the weekend, taking off early Friday with my wife to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. Even though it was only a few days, I feel like I missed a lot. I guess that’s one of the great things about baseball: so much happens every single day.
As I explained last week, we asked the attendees at each Pizza Feed to predict the results of the divisional races this year, along with the World Series winner, major award winners, managerial firings, etc. This week, we’ll take a look at the American League divisional races.
The Yankees and Red Sox play a four-game wraparound series this weekend, ending with the traditional 11 a.m. start on Patriot’s Day. The teams are nominally the contenders in the American League East, but as Chris Kahrl put it a few weeks ago, the AL East is really the Yankees, and the two pairs behind them: the Sox and Blue Jays, and the the Orioles and Devil Rays.
There are a couple of stretches during the year when doing this column can be a bit difficult. One of them is right now. We’re about ten days into the season, which is too late to be making any predictions about how things are going to go–although I do wish Dave Pease hadn’t nixed my line about Eli Marrero’s shot to hit .400–and too early to draw conclusions about what we’ve seen so far. Oh, we can throw some numbers out, and I stand by what I said the other day about the strike zone, but for the most part, the first couple weeks of the season are about watching and waiting.
One of the points we’ve been pounding for years is the concept of sunk costs. In baseball, it refers to the amount of a guaranteed contract yet to be paid. The money is committed, and must be paid to a player regardless of whether he’s playing or not.