Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

FJM has gone dark for the foreseeable future. Sorry folks. We may post once in a while, but it's pretty much over. You can still e-mail dak, Ken Tremendous, Junior, Matthew Murbles, or Coach.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005



A follow-up to my previous post ("FJM Instant Classic," which, by the way, is in reference to the insanity of Joe Morgan's column, and not the quality of my critique):

In the 13th inning of tonight's Marlins-Braves game, right after Andruw Jones hit a slider about 750 feet to left for his 25th home run, Buck Martinez started talking about how before Chipper Jones was hurt, Andruw was hitting like .240, and had no power, and blah blah blah. Then, Chipper gets hurt, and Andruw suddenly turns it on and has a massive June and is going to win an MVP.

I've bitched about this in previous posts, but I am now ready to declare this my biggest beef with sportscasters: the inability to distinguish causality from coincidence.

For example.

Is there any actual proof that Chipper Jones getting hurt in any way helped Andruw Jones, physically or psychologically? Is there any explanation that makes any kind of sense? For that matter, can anyone even make one up? Martinez and Morgan (and others, I assume) just assert that the two are causally linked, but how? Why? If Andruw Jones is having a terrible April, and then one day he drinks a Diet 7-Up and watches the movie "Down Periscope," and then he hits fifty home runs, is it because he drank a Diet 7-Up and watched "Down Periscope?"

Or, for a better analogy, what if Andruw Jones is having a terrible spring, and then SOME OTHER GUY ON HIS TEAM, like, say Julio Franco, reads a "Bloom County" collection and punches his dog in the nose, and starting the next day Andruw Jones goes on a tear and hits 50 home runs, is it because anti-pooch feelings and pro-adorable penguin feelings have somehow passed trough Franco's body and unleashed something buried deep within Andruw Jones?

Why do people insist on finding links like this?

When the Mariners won 114 games a few years back, I heard one of their announcers (don't remember who) cite what he called a "telling" statistic: when Mark McLemore scores a run, the M's are [some kind of very good record]. I remember calculating the corresponding winning percentage, and finding it was within like .015 of the M's overall winning percentage. In other words, when McLemore DIDN'T score a run, the M's record was basically identical to when he did score a run. Thus, the stat was the exact opposite of "telling."

There are tons of these things. Like when a stat flashes on the screen that so and so's ERA in innings 4-6 is 4.50, but from innings 7-9 it's an incredible 1.35!!! Of course, as anyone could realize if (s)he thought about it for two seconds, the only times a pitcher goes 7+ are when he is performing well, hence his ERA will be lower. Or, this team must have a great bullpen, because it's an amazing 42-3 when leading after eight innings! Great. The league average winning % in that scenario is like 95%.

Starting now, I lead the crusade against misattributed causality! Who's with me?!!? No one?!?!? Awesome!!!!!!!!


posted by Unknown  # 11:48 PM
I'm totally with you, especially if you calm down a little.
This is a milestone, dak -- the first of what will surely be thousands of times you will tell me to "calm down" in reference to an FJM posting.
Causal fact: Matt Clement's great 2005 season kicked off only after Bronson Arroyo did at bunch of jager shots at a Boston College Heaven and Hell party.

I mute ESPN on Sunday nights because it pains me too much to listen to Joe Morgan explain fourteen thousand times in one game that a pitcher must work a batter with high and inside pitches if he wants to strike him out with a low and outside pitch.

Total causality.
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FJM Instant Classic

Let's see what Joe Morgan has to say about Andruw Jones, shall we?

When you perform on baseball's biggest stage, the expectations of fans are heightened. And while Jones, 28, has had a solid career, some expected him to be better at the plate. It's true that he's averaged 30.6 home runs in his eight full seasons (he debuted in August '96). However, he had a .268 career average heading into this season. He's hit .300 just once (.303 in 2000), and people have expected more from him offensively.

Okay, maybe Jones didn't become the absolute monster some people thought he might at the exact moment they were watching him explode during the 1996 WS. (Mark Lemke never hit .417 in a full season, either.) But here are Jones's career seasonal averages:

.269/.343/.500/.843. 95R, 31 2B, 32 HR, 97 RsBI, 15 SB.

That's pretty damn good. And he's 28. And he's a CF who plays the best defensive center field in like 50 years. And he negotiated his own contract at below market value so he could stay in Atlanta. And he had a .907 OPS in 2000. And he has played on some really terrible offensive teams his entire career. So who in the world cares that he has a .268 career average, or that he's only hit .300 once? If there's a criticism of him, it's maybe that he doesn't walk enough -- he did have 83 BB in 2002, but averages only like 63 a year, and could be more selective. But aren't we nitpicking? Is there one team in the entire league, except maybe the Cards, that wouldn't want Andruw Jones in CF?

The point is, right off the bat here, that Andruw Jones is good. We can all agree there, right Joe? Even though you weirdly start off by talking about how he's not that good, and use stupid statistics to back your point? Whatever. Andruw Jones is really good. We all agree. Good. Now, let's see what incisive analysis you bring to this discussion.

Maybe one of the reasons Andruw is hitting so well this year is because he's not in Chipper's shadow. Andruw has always been the "other Jones" in Atlanta. Chipper has been the star and the major run producer...Sometimes good players are stifled to a degree when they have great teammates.

This is amazing. Joe Morgan thinks the reason Andruw Jones is having a great because Chipper is hurt? How does removing a guy with a .401 lifetime OBP make anyone on his team a better hitter? Does Joe think that these people's egos are so fragile that they are given a boost when a longtime teammate suddenly leaves, or is hurt, or something? In my humble opinion, this is one of the lamest comments announcers and analysts make -- that a player "steps up" when another player goes down, as if the two are causally linked. As if Andruw Jones has been suffering emotionally, for the last ten years, because Chipper gets all the attention. Or like, when Sammy Sosa leaves the Cubs and people start talking about how Derrek Lee is "stepping up" and "putting the team on his back," BECAUSE Sosa left. Like, if Sosa were still there, Derrek Lee would think, "I'm going to take it easy and hit .280 with 18 HR this year, because Sammy Sosa is on the team. What? He got TRADED? Fuck. Okay. I guess I'll hit .380 with 50 HR, because my teammates need me."

If Andruw Jones could have had this year last year, or 2001, or whenever Chipper was MVP, don't we think he would have? How about attributing his good year to the fact that he is 28 and hitting what is widely recognized as his prime four-year stretch? How about using logic and reason and intelligence instead of good ol' timey whimsy and conventional folksy baseball wisdom? How about ANALYZING something instead of just saying stuff you heard Harry Caray say about Ken Boyer in like 1964?

Here's more -- still annoying, but in a new way (for this column):

Still, I don't see Andruw Jones' being a .330-40 HR-125 RBI hitter. But he doesn't have to do that to contribute to the Braves' success. He might not be totally satisfied with his career, but he has to be happy with it – because he's contributed to Atlanta's amazing run of division titles (he's been part of nine of the 13 straight).

Well, if you believe in paces, (and I don't, for the most part, but Andruw doesn't show many signs of slowing down), his actual projection this year is .282/50/114 with a .955 OPS. I love that Joe doesn't even bother to look that up, and just blindly and illogically throws out .330/40/125 -- which is what someone like Pujols, not Andruw, would give you. (As Joe himself noted earlier, Jones has hit .300 only once. And also, again, who the hell cares.) Then he goes on to say that he doesn't have to do that to contribute to Atlanta's success. Right. All he has to do is do everything he has done for the last NINE YEARS, during which he has been an absolute rock in a frequently-changing line-up, offensively and defensively, that wins its division every single year. Also, what on God's green earth would suggest that Andruw Jones is not "satisfied" with his career? And why is holy hell would Joe Morgan feel it necessary to tell Jones, and us, that he "has to be happy with it?" What the hell is that? And then we get this weird diversion:

Another factor has contributed to the heightened expectations faced by Jones: He and Vladimir Guerrero were signed the same year, in 1993, and I'm told that Jones was ranked above Guerrero in at least one analyst's ranking.

Expectations were high for Andruw Jones. Because he was 18 and awesome. Does anybody in the universe remember that he was ranked above Vlad by "at least one analyst?" This is not exactly a Brien Taylor-type situation. Jones has had a great career. Plus, who the hell remembers or cares that Jones and Vlad were signed the same year? Darin Erstad and Geoff Jenkins were both drafted in 1995. I'm sure "at least one analyst" thought Jenkins was better than Erstad. Did that heighten expectations for Jenkins? I'm dizzy, from the stupidity.

As excellent as Jones is, Guerrero has had a better career. Guerrero, 29, is a career .325 hitter, and he's driven in 100 runs six times (compared to three for Jones) and exceeded Jones' career high in homers (36) five times. So Guerrero has been more consistently productive on offense, while Jones is better defensively, but they're both good at both sides of the game. The edge goes to Guerrero because of his batting average and production.

I will refrain from commenting on how rudimentary are Joe's methods of comparison/contrast (still with the BA and RsBI?!), and instead will point out that he makes the same point like six times: Jones is excellent, Guerrero has been better. Guerrero has hit better. Guerrero has been more consistently productive on offense. Jones is better defensively. They're both good at everything. Guerrero is better because he hits better.

Then there's this:

Guerrero also has struck out far less than Jones. In a single season, Guerrero hasn't yet reached the 100-strikeout mark. Jones has struck out 100 or more times eight straight years.

Here are some people who have struck out 100+ times in a season: Jim Thome, Mike Schmidt, Sammy Sosa, Reggie Jackson, Mark McGwire, Willie Stargell, Mickey Mantle, Barry Bonds, Duke Snider, Eddie Matthews, Harmon Killebrew, Ralph Kiner, Jimmie Foxx...should I continue? (amazingly -- side note -- The Babe never did, though he had a few seasons in the 90s.) In fact, most of these players led their league in K's at least once.

How does Joe Morgan, about whom, by the way, Bob Costas once said "no one knows more about baseball than [Joe]," which makes me suddenly hate Bob Costas -- not understand that striking out is not always a bad thing? It's just an out. Is Robert Fick a better player than Andruw Jones because Fick has never struck out 100 times in a season?

Then Joe says:

But comparisons can be misleading, because Andruw Jones is a great player in his own right.

He has made this point fifteen times already. Also, yes, comparisons can be misleading, expecially when they're being made by Joe Morgan. And whom is he warning that comparisons can be misleading? Why did he make the comparison, then? He's arguing with himself. It's like he's saying, "Rocky Road is delicious. Mint Chip is also very good, but Rocky Road is better. But hold on -- don't compare them, it can be misleading. But they're both good. But be careful when you talk about them. But Rocky Road is better. But be careful."

Believe it or not, he's not done yet. Apparently, he does not yet think we have gotten his point about Andruw Jones:

When you excel on the October stage, people expect you to be a .300 hitter, hit 35-40 homers per year and drive in 120 runs every year. Jones hasn't lived up to those expectations, but he has been one of the best and most consistent players in the majors throughout his career.

First of all, the only person who has tossed out those numbers is you, Joe. And second, oh my God, I hate you. YOU were the one who said that those numbers were "expected" of him. YOU are "people." And will you PLEASE stop making the point that Andruw Jones hasn't lived up to some unnamed people's expectations, but is still good?

Joe then goes into a lengthy and miserably-argued section about where Jones ranks defensively all-time. He says: third, behind Mays and Griffey, Jr. I will leave it up to someone else (dak, probably, or maybe Junior [the blogger, not the ballplayer]) to check on Griffey's RF vs. Jones's. (My guess is Jones comes out ahead. Could be wrong.) But suffice it to say, Joe's argument is anecdotal at best, and nonsense at worst.

Then we get to this, completely out of sequence:

The main criticism of Jones as a hitter is that he hasn't been especially patient at the plate. He needs to be more selective, as his eight straight 100-strikeout seasons attest (including a career-high 147 last year). While he's showed stretches of being patient, he's been inconsistent.

Yeah, we talked about this about four pages ago. Where were you, Joe? In any case, he's right that Jones could be more selective, and wrong that the evidence for this is the number of strikeouts he has per year. Jim Thome is incredibly selective, and he strikes out all the time. Adam Dunn is selective -- ditto. Chipper Jones strikes out 90+ times a year and has the aforementioned .401 career OBP. In fact, let's look at some recent league K leaders: Thome, Giambi, Dunn, Bellhorn, Sosa. All guys who are selective hitters. Selective hitters often get to 2-strike counts, and thus often strike out. So, Joe, if a lot of strike-outs isn't necessarily a good indicator of whether a player is a selective hitter, what is?


Let's think.

Gosh, I don't know...

How about...

How many times that player WALKS?

How about that, Joe, you blundering dolt?

Jones could walk more. That is, probably, the number one criticism one can make of him as a hitter. It is complete jibberish to say that the fact that he strikes out a lot is evidence that he is not a selective hitter. The two are not causally linked.

He continues:

In today's game, 100 strikeouts isn't that extreme. A hitter should never strike out 147 times, though.

Here are some people who have struck out 140+ times in a season: Adam Dunn, Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, Mo Vaughn, Andres Galarraga, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Bobby Bonds, Dick Allen, George Scott, Frank Howard, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Edmonds, Troy Glaus, Mark McGwire. That's, least eight HOFers?

When Jones is patient, he's one of the better hitters in the game. When he isn't, he's just a good hitter – but his good is pretty good. Yes, many fans expected more because of Jones' fantastic start in the '96 World Series...

Oh my God. He's making the same point. Again.

Jones' experience can be compared to Carlos Beltran's performance in the postseason last year. In 12 games in a two-week span, Beltran hit eight home runs (four each in the NLDS and NLCS) with 14 RBI and a .435 average. The difference is that Beltran, 28, was an established major-leaguer when he made his amazing postseason debut. Andruw's teenage youth in the '96 Series gave his success more of a mystique and raised those expectations.

And again. I give up.

EDIT: Added win shares analysis in the "comments section."

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posted by Unknown  # 7:25 PM
I'm honestly thinking about printing this and sending it to ESPN.

Career Range Factors:
Ken Griffey Junior: 2.48
Andruw Jones: 2.67
[up through 2004]
Vintage Morgan. Meandering, irrelevant, misinformed, repetitive, dull, incoherent, ill-researched, pat, unoriginal.

Sensationally bad.
No idea who wrote this, but it's something:

Range Factor

Range factor is a statistic used by total baseball to estimate how much ground a player can cover. It’s based on the total number of plays made by a particular player.

As Bill James points out in Win Shares, this is kind of a well-intentioned, but not very productive idea. Think about it for a minute. If you’re a shortstop on the D-Backs, you’re not going to make as many plays as the shortstop for the Tigers. Why? Because you have Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson striking out every third batter. Fewer balls are hit in play and you will make less plays. It has nothing to do with your abilities, but instead with the abilities of your teammates. He notes that teams are worse as their Second Basemen get more putouts. Range factor is a ratio of the number of outs you make to the number of outs your teammates make, not with the numbers of outs other players at your position make.

1. I think you mean "fewer" plays.
2. Sorry.
3. Yeah, RF is kind of shitty. There are a few other metrics you can use, but as we all know, probably, none of them is particularly good. I remember Rob Neyer using RF to prove that Enrique Wilson was a better defensive shortstop than Jeter in 2003...I think Jeter is way overrated defensively (nice work, Gold Glove voters) but even so, I think I'd rather have him than Enrique WIlson. It is also often misused, I think, because (as in the Wilson-Jeter comparison) people compare defensive replacements within teams, which eliminates the "different pitchers" variable, but also leads to incredibly small sample sizes. At the time of Neyer's analysis, Jeter had played in hundreds of games, and Wilson in like fifteen, and unless I don't understand how RF works, that seems like a faulty comparison. Anyway, you have to assume a lot of other shit in order for RF really to mean anything in comparing players, esp. CFs -- like, for example, that each team's other OF are comparable. All of this to say, with RF, I think it's like what Churchill said about Democracy: It's the worst form of government, except for all the others.

Actually, I didn't write any of the above except for "No idea who wrote this, but it's something:"

Rest assured, I would never, EVER, use the word "less" in place of the word "fewer."


I really don't know if there's any defensive metric that I trust. Maybe someone out there has a good one they'd like to promote.
Ah. Somebodies else made that mistakes. That make more senses. Sorry I doubted you [plural].
FWIW, I added up defensive win shares for a random 3-year period for all CF's. I chose 1999-2001 to encompass Griffey's last year in Seattle and first two years in Cincy. (Later, too late, I realized that he only played 111 games in 2001 due to injury. Don't have the energy to recalculate):

Most Fielding Win Shares per 1000 Innings Among Center Fielders -- 1999-2001

Andruw Jones, 6.26
Juan Pierre, 5.16
Darin Erstad, 5.13
Torii Hunter, 4.93
Mike Cameron, Cin-Sea 4.92

Interesting. But I don't exactly know how.
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A Question

Is it ironic or entirely appropriate that Joe Morgan is the author of "Baseball for Dummies?"

posted by Murbles  # 4:48 PM
'tis bolf.
Some kind of Freudian proof that we can't hide from who we truly are.

(Excellent reading and analysis, btw. Glad to add it to my daily routine.)
The first sentence of the book (no joke):

For those of you who still believe that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York, we bring you a line from the gangster movie Donnie Brasco: "Fuhgedaboudit!"
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Way, WAY Off-Topic

But seriously, what is going on here?

Report: Putin pockets Patriots owner's Super Bowl ring

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin walked off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring, but was it a generous gift or a very expensive international misunderstanding?

Following a meeting of American business executives and Putin at Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg on Saturday, Kraft showed the ring to Putin -- who tried it on, put it in his pocket and left, according to Russian news reports.

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posted by Junior  # 1:34 PM
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More from Big Stein

Now, I know this blog is about people who say dumb things about sports, but since it's been up and running for like two months and we have already accumulated 1500 misguided comments about the White Sox' success being due to "Small Ball," here, for a change of pace, is another asinine comment from George Steinbrenner.

On his family helping out with the Yanks:

"As I have said many times, `You must let the young elephants into the tent.''

Not to nitpick, but isn't a tent the last place into which you would want to let a young elephant?

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posted by Unknown  # 2:25 AM
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I Just Thought of This

If Miguel Tejada were actually tall and white, how over-the-top would the coverage of him being the next Cal Ripken be?

The newspaper articles, the guys yelling on "Around the Horn," the interviews with Cal asking him what he thought of young Michael Tiled trying to take his place in Baltimore ...

I think we're very lucky that scenario didn't arise.

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posted by Junior  # 5:57 PM
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Ryne Sandberg Signs On

Add Ryne Sandberg to the list. The entirety of his entry on the White Sox in his latest power rankings:

1. Chicago White Sox (50-24) – This team is so strong because of its style of play. The White Sox continue to surprise me because of their ability to hit and run, steal bases and play great defense. They believe in the style of play that Ozzie Guillen has instilled in them.

Not gonna throw their pitchers a bone, there, Ryno? Not going to mention that if their pitching staff, especially their bullpen, weren't playing so great, nobody would be talking about that awesome style of small-ball that gets them a whopping 4.8 runs per game (which, I should mention, is exactly how many runs the Devil Rays have scored this season)? No? Okay, forget it.

If I were Cliff Politte, Dustin Hermanson, Neal Cotts, or Damaso Marte I would be getting kind of sick of this.

posted by Murbles  # 1:39 PM
They're also 4th in the AL in taters. But, sure, it must be their ability to hit and run.
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Monday, June 27, 2005


An Off-Topic Waste of My Time

The largely sociological post made by dak below led to a discussion of how similar Cal Ripken, Jr. and Miguel Tejada were, and whether Ripken was "head and shoulders" better than Tejada.

I tried to answer the latter question in the comments section. I'm posting it here because I wanted people to read something that wasted like ten minutes of my life.

Dear mattymatty and dak,

My first impulse was to say that no, Cal Ripken was not in fact head and shoulders above Miguel Tejada, at the very least offensively. This reaction was likely based in a) my belief that Tejada is pretty damn great and b) my belief that Cal Ripken gets ball-washed quite a bit, and perhaps is a tiny bit overrated.

But -- and I think you'll appreciate this, dak -- let's really look at the numbers. dak's done some of the work for us, but as he admits, Ripken played in a vastly different offensive era. How will that factor compete with Tejada's "canyon of a ballpark" in Oakland?

Fortunately, we don't have to make hand-waving arguments either way. OPS+ is both era- and park-adjusted. I took Tejada's first seven full seasons and Ripken's first seven full seasons and came up with the following:

Tejada OPS+: 109
Ripken OPS+: 126

What can we draw from this? Up to this point in their respective careers, Cal Ripken was significantly better on offense than Miguel Tejada relative to his peers. Surprising, at least to me.

As a point of comparison, Ripken's average OPS+ over this period is coincidentally equal to Tejada's during the 2004 season, when he was a monster. Tejada's, meanwhile, is close to Juan Uribe's 2004 season, which was very good (an OPS+ of 107; he hit 23 homers and batted .283). But Juan Uribe was no Miguel Tejada last year.

As a side note, I'm pretty suspicious of the Similar Batters lists. The metric they use was developed by Bill James, but if you look carefully at what it constitutes, it is NOT era- or park-adjusted. Meaning Tejada's inflated batting average and power totals (due to this recent hitters' era) are compared directly to Ripken's numbers during a much lower-scoring period. So the Similar Batters lists are interesting, but not exactly rigorous.

Which is not to say that it's not the best, quickest, and dirtiest method we have. I'm certainly never going to develop a better way of comparing players across eras because I am too lazy and stupid.

In sum, from what we know so far, Ripken was clearly the better hitter than Tejada through this point in their careers. Head and shoulders better? Maybe. Could Tejada do some things over the next few years that might change how these two stack up? Definitely.

But his numbers will have to be really insane if all the other major league baseball players continue to hit as they have.

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posted by Junior  # 11:44 PM
And yes, I'm already having second thoughts.

Looking carefully at Ripken's stats, you find that he peaked very early in his career. His second and third (full) years in the league were also the second- and third-best years of his career in terms of OPS+!

This, of course, skews his "first seven years' average OPS+" posted above. And his career OPS+ is indeed only 112, but that takes into account a very long, drawn-out decline phase.

Tejada, meanwhile, had two very mediocre years his first two full seasons (not even counting the 104 PA he had when he was 21). Since then, he's been extremely productive, though it's worth noting that he's never surpassed and OPS+ of 126 in any season (in 2002, when he won the AL MVP, it was 122, which gives you an idea of how awesome 126 is).

Of course, it looks like he might break 126 this year.

Where does that leave us? Well, we still can't just throw out Tejada's mediocre years and say he's peaking later, because you simply can't assume things that haven't happened yet. And hey, Ripken did post insane OPS+'s of 144 and 145 in 1983 and 1984, when he was just a young pup.

Anyway, I think Tejada has a chance to equal Ripken's career OPS+ of 112 when all is said and done, but up to this point, you have to say Ripken's been better up to age 28.
Really nice work here. I remember thinking that Rip was overrated offensively, too, and maybe defensively, but it is important we all remember how damn good he was, early on. I'd also like to admit my personal mistake in thinking that Tejada, who never walked and swung at tons of bad pitches, would flop in Baltimore. He's good. But he's going to decline after he turns like 32 and his wrists start slowing down. I predict that by the end of his massive contract, he'll be at .260/.320/.480. You heard it here first.
Well since I started this whole thing, I should probably weight in again, huh?

I'll admit that I grew up a Red Sox fan in DC so I watched Ripken on TV (or heard him on the radio) just about every night. I'm sure that sways me in his direction. Also, I think Tejada is the best all around player in the Majors right now. That said, there is an article in Baseball Prospectus (that predictably I can't find now) about a comparison between these two players. I'll post the link if I find it, but that article was the basis for my statement. That and my pro-Ripken bias.
Found it! Ok, cop out time! Here's BP's Joe Sheehan to prove my point about Ripken Vs. Tejada:

I'm surprised. I thought that the two players would have been much closer in value, as I remember Ripken's career as the high early peak, the great 1991 season (at age 30), and a lot of workmanlike performances in between. He was better than that, and while the raw numbers don't look that great to us now, attuned as we are to the lines put up by Tejada and Alex Rodriguez and their ilk, they were terrific in the context of his team. A year like Ripken's 1987, for instance, when he hit .252/.333/.436, had a ton of value, even though the raw line would get little more than a nod in 2005. Ripken's top two season's both dwarf Tejada's best, and if you line up their careers by WARP, you see Ripken's massive edge at every step. ...

Ripken wasn't accumulating his advantage on just one side of the ball. Compared to Tejada, he was outhitting him in most seasons and out-fielding him in every single one. Ripken was a terrific defensive shortstop in the 1980s, and a good one pretty much up until the day Davey Johnson moved him to third base.
Like I said, I'm surprised the gap between the two players is as wide as it is. Note that looking forward a year isn't going to help much, as Ripken had a monster season in 1991, winning the AL MVP with a .323/.374/.566 (14.9 WARP2) line. Ripken would go on to be a six-, seven-win player through age 35, then slowly decline before ending his career after the 2001 season. For Tejada to even approach him in career value, he'd have to extend his current peak for another four years, then have a very slow, long, decline phase.

Any comments?
To me, the funny thing now is that among people interested in sabermetrics, Cal Ripken might be underrated!

The only current shortstop to exceed Ripken's amazing 162 OPS+ season of 1991 is A-Rod, and he hasn't done it since 2001 ... when he hit 52 home runs and posted a 164 OPS+. The very next year, he hit 57 home runs and recorded a mere 152 OPS+!

We live in some funny times.
Truly so, Junior.

Well, now that we've dispensed with some actual baseball talk, back to this: Will someone please point out to Joe Morgan what a moron he is?
Let's slow down for a second here. So far, Ripken is better than Tejada, yes. My point is not that Tejada is better than Ripken or the other way around. My point is that they're simply very similar players -- that it's more than superficial to compare the two. The fact that we've now got the 2 longest threads on this blog devoted to this comparison, and that you were quickly able to cite a comparison from BP, leads me to believe that the Ripken / Tejada comparison is at least worthwhile.

I'll grant you that OPS+ through the first X years of their careers give Ripken a more than slight edge. That's nice work. So I guess at this point it comes down to how you define "head and shoulders."

I'd like to see the data that proves that Ripken was a better player defensively. I'm not saying it doesn't exist; it might. I'd just like to see it.
I think they've got a lot in common. They're both Baltimore shortstops who are outstanding hitters and the best players on their teams.

Tejada isn't as universally loved as Ripken. I can think of a few reasons:

1. His team hasn't done anything. Ripken's Orioles won the World Series in 1983, when he was a wunderkind 22-year-old MVP. I can only imagine how popular a player who did that would be today.

2. Tejada has a nice consecutive games streak. Ripken had his ridiculous streak (it is what it is, not saying it was worth it).

3. Ripken was better.

4. (And this is pure speculation ...) Tejada ain't white.

I hate to pull quotes, dak, but this sentence was in your comment below: "What that means is that IN THE HISTORY OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ONLY ONE PLAYER WAS CLOSER TO MIGUEL TEJADA IN OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION THAN CAL RIPKEN."

I don't think that's true, although I can see why you wrote it (I tend to trust Baseball Reference as well). In fact, there is a shortstop currently playing who has had production more similar to Cal Ripken's than Tejada's.

His name is (gulp) Derek Jeter. Through the age of 30:

Derek Jeter OPS+: 121
Cal Ripken OPS+: 126

Not a popular conclusion around here, but there it is.
We're not talking about how good they are at offensive production -- that's only part of how "similar" they are. Yeah, Jeter's closer to Ripken in OPS+, but he's a different kind of player than Ripken and Tejada. Namely, he steals more bases and hits fewer taters (than both Ripken and Miggy).

This is not about being better or worse than Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, or Miguel Tejada. Yeah, I'm using B-R's "similar players" metric, and it ain't perfect, but it's better than just comparing OPS+ when we're talking about how similar players are. Isn't it?

Again, as you kind of pointed out Junior, the whole point of this is that we're talking about one dude who's white and one who isn't. I had in fact thought of comparing Ripken to Jeter, but this is problematic for two reasons:
a) Jeter is one of the few minorities, or halfsies or whatever, who actually is called a "leader" and a "lunchpail" type player. A smart player, and, I'm sure I've heard, "an ambassador of the game." So it wouldn't have really helped prove the point.
b) AND, Jeter is not as similar a player to Ripken as Tejada was. Jeter has been the best offensive player on his team like maybe twice -- without looking it up. Jeter doesn't hit for as much power as Ripken did, especially early in Ripken's career. Don't get me wrong -- they're still very similar, but Tejada's just closer to the type of player that Ripken was. I think, at least.

And yes, of course there are other reasons why Ripken is more popular than Tejada. But I agree with you on point #4, that Ripken was white and Miggy isn't, and that's really all we were concerned with.

I actually think the other reasons you brought up are more pertinent to the discussion than point #3 -- "Ripken was better." I mean, let's think about it for a second. Why would one player be considered the patron saint of gentlemanly ballplayers, while the other is called a little ball of energy? It probably isn't 17 points in OPS+. As Junior points out, it's more likely to be his WS ring at a really young age (see: Derek Sanderson Jeter); his games streak eclipsing another white ghost of baseball (see: Mark David McGwire); and his whiteness (see: white dudes).

Oh, and as far as mattymatty thinking that Tejada's the best player in the game today, well, there's only one other person I know who shares that opinion: Joe Leonard Morgan.
dak, junior-

Don't you guys work in the same office?
Yeah, we're supposed to be working today but we're sort of not. Don't tell our boss (Earl Weaver).
Gosh, I should really check this site more often!

I think you're right, dak. Tejada is more similar to Ripken than Jeter is in terms of overall offensive game. Jeter is a batting average/OBP guy with significantly less power. You can't just use OPS+; otherwise a guy like Ichiro would be "similar" to Ripken, which is crazy.

I'm amending this sentence:

> In fact, there is a shortstop currently playing who has had production more similar to Cal Ripken's than Tejada's.

to this sentence:

In fact, there is a shortstop currently playing who has had production more similar IN VALUE to Cal Ripken's than Tejada's.

OPS+ is a very imperfect measure of value, but still.

Of the current shortstops, I'd say Tejada actually is the most like Ripken. Pretty cool, given the other similarities.

Let's not sneeze at 17 OPS+ points, though. The difference between Tejada and Jimmy Rollins so far is 16 points.
The info about defense is in the same BP article that I quoted below, but I didn't include the numbers because I was trying to have a post less than a mile long. Trust me when I tell you that BP says Ripken was a much better defensive shortstop than Tejada has been so far.

I'm not sure where race fits into this picture. Its kinda interesting that it got brought up, but there are numerous examples of non-white players being thought of as 'gamers' at least recently. Unless Baltimore has some incredible racism that I'm just not aware of I don't see how this fits into the picture.

As for OPS+ I think thats probably the best stat that I know of to compare players across eras. It adjusts for era, ballpark, etc. which makes players comparable who might not be so with more conventional stats.

Dak: I could care less what Joe Morgan thinks about the best player in baseball. Tejada so far has been the MVP in the AL in my opinion. There are tons of worthy candidates, but I'd pick him so far. As I don't recall saying anything negative about anyone, comparing me to Joe Morgan on a blog called "Fire Joe Morgan" seems a bit rude.
On the topic of the value of ops+, I tried to educate myself a little more on the formula, and a weird thing jumped out at me. Unless I am mistaken, the formula assumes that, in a "hitter's park," hits, total bases, walks and hbps are adjusted downward and vice versa for a "pitcher's park." My question is would walks and hbps be necessarily affected by the dimensions and altitude of a particular park. You can argue tired pitchers and poor movement on breaking balls, but I am suspicious of a stat that might, in some cases, inflate ops+ numbers for guys that draw a lot of walks or hbps in a pitcher's park. Like Jeter, for instance.
mattymatty -- don't take it personally. dak gets ornery whenever anyone says anyone other than Pujols or Bonds is the best player in baseball. Miggy is on pace for about 100 XBH and an OPS of .965, and he plays every day, and he's a SS, and I think you're right that he, ARod, or Roberts is your AL MVP so far this year, with Ortiz fourth due to his DH status.

Now, let's all play nice, since we all have one common goal: disgracing Joe Morgan.
yeah dudes. matty, i didn't mean any harm by it...sorry if it came off as a cheap shot.

now, ken t's right; i don't really understand how you can say anyone other than bonds, pujols or a-rod is the best player in baseball. and, joe morgan is literally the only other person i know who thinks miggy is the best player in baseball (he's said it numerous times during game broadcasts). i didn't mean it to be rude; again, sorry if it came off that way.

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Diversion II

I know this is straying a bit far from the point of the blog, here, but this really made me laugh.

From ESPN report on Steinbrenner's statement of 6-27:

Team executives are due in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday for meetings with the Boss that could be a prelude to trades aimed at improving poor pitching and disastrous defense.

"My patience is a little short by the fact that the team is not performing up to its great capabilities," Steinbrenner said in a statement issued by spokesman Howard Rubenstein. "The players have to want to win as much as I do."

Rubenstein said the Yankees owner dictated the statement to him while lifting weights.

How pathetic and desperate is Steinbrenner to seem macho and virile that he has to get it out that he was lifting weights? Rubenstein might as well have said, "Mr. Steinbrenner's remarks were made after a viagra-less sex romp with a 19 year-old female triathlete, during which, I might add, Mr. Steinbrenner performed admirably."

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posted by Unknown  # 7:50 PM
Not to mention that the statement itself is a little bit stilted - "my patience is a little bit short by the fact" --- it wants a verb
You can't expect the man to produce perfect sentence structure while he's squatting a Volkswagen.
o i get it. he's talking in code. by "the team" he means "players in the aggregate." and by "the players" he means his "individual genitals." and by "great capablities" he means "ninja-level sex."

-jimmy ballgame
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Come on.

Did ESPN really, really need to bring back "The Rick"?

Come on.

posted by dak  # 5:42 PM
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redux redux

All right MFers. Sorry for the lack of posts -- I've been out of the country for a while. Also, I don't know why the site is f'd up here at the top. I'm trying to fix it; we might have to switch to a new template if the problem persists.

Regardless, I love the point that Ken Tremendous makes in the "Redux" thread about white guys being called "throwback" players. I'd like to add a little, because it drives me freaking crazy.

I forget who made the following point about Paul O'Neill, but it's a fantastic one. Paul is a no-doubt cry-baby. A whiner. I know we've talked about how much a DVD of nothing but Paul O'Neill being called out on strike 3 would sell for in Red Sox Nation. Yet Paul O'Neill was always labeled a "gamer," a "fiery competitor," a "great teammate." We've all seen athletes of color bark at umps the same way that O'Neill did, and they were usually called borderline head cases. NO ONE in the history of major league baseball has benefitted from being white as much as Paul O'Neill. Look it up.

Here's a comparison to think about: Miguel Tejada and Cal Ripken. Remember, Miguel Tejada has played in more than 800 games in a row. He is credited with raising the level of play of his teammates (I'm not saying it's true, just saying that's what peope say about him), he plays pretty hard (though again, it's hard to think of that many players who don't play hard), and he can flat out rake. What terms do people use to describe Cal Ripken? "Mr. Baseball," "a class act," "saved the sport," "Iron Man," "Ambassador of the Game," "Mr. Whitefolks." What words do people use to describe Miguel Tejada? "Electric," "sparkplug," "quickminded."

When was the last time you heard the word "lunchpail" used to refer to a player who wasn't white? In any sport? What makes Trot Nixon, Brett Favre and Dan Majerle more "lunchpail" than Moises Alou, Byron Leftwich and B.J. Armstrong? Do you have to look like a stereotypical American blue-collar worker to embody the spirit of a "blue-collar athlete"?

I wish I had more evidence to point to -- apologies for the anecdotal-ness.

posted by dak  # 3:39 PM
Welcome back, dak!

Though I've never read it or heard it, I always thought of Popeye Jones as a lunchpail player.
A.C. Green?
Right, sure, AC Green...but for a black guy, he's pretty "white," isn't he? You know what I mean.
It's time for today's official ESPN Sportsnation poll, brought to you this afternoon by David Sunflower seeds.

The question:
When he says "white," what does dak mean?

A) Religious
B) Gay
C) In possession of an embarrassingly small and/or malformed penis
D) Scrappy
I think I may have made that point about O'Neill. In any case, Bill Simmons, who should really be cited on this blog more, not for stupidity but for general asinineness, made a pretty good point recently hen he noted that you neer see white players and black players compared to each other. If a white basketball player is good, he is compared to Larry Bird or Vlade Divac, and corresponding black players are compared to Jordan, Pippen, Magic, etc. This is silly, in 2005. Can't we all just agree that, say, Daunte Culpepper and Troy Aikman are similar QBs, minus the SB rings? Why can't someone say that Raffy Palmeiro's swing reminds him/her of Ken Griffey's? Et cetera. Also, welcome back, DAK, and yes, The Rick did need to come back, because people don't hate Boston sports fans enough right now.
None of you guys remind me of Ralph Wiley or Scoop Jackson.
Junior's comments remind me of a young Haruki Murakami.
I agree completely (and I LOVE this blog) with the general gist of the post. That said, Cal Ripken and Miguel Tejada are only similar players superficially (both Baltimore shortstops who have played a bunch of games in a row). Ripken was head and shoulders above Tejada as a ballplayer. Its not even close both offensively and defensively.

I know that wasn't the point of the post, but I felt it necessary to say.
Oh, I'll take this bait.

mattymatty wrote:
"That said, Cal Ripken and Miguel Tejada are only similar players superficially (both Baltimore shortstops who have played a bunch of games in a row). Ripken was head and shoulders above Tejada as a ballplayer. Its not even close both offensively and defensively."

To begin with, Cal Ripken and Miguel Tejada have the following in common:
1) MVPs
2) Offensive and "clubhouse" leaders of their team
3) Shortstops for the Baltimore Orioles
4) 2 of the 3 longest consecutive games played streaks of the last 35 years (Garvey)

Is that really "superficial"? I don't think so. But if you still do, well, this is where it gets good.

It'd be foolish to compare all of Ripken's career to Tejada's so how similar are they up to this point in Tejada's career? Well, Tejada was 28 before the season started. Here's a chart of the most similar batters in Major League Baseball history, to Miguel Tejada, through age 28:

Guess who's #2? That's right: Cal Ripken. What that means is that IN THE HISTORY OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ONLY ONE PLAYER WAS CLOSER TO MIGUEL TEJADA IN OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION THAN CAL RIPKEN. By the way, the same is true the other way -- Tejada is the second most similar batter to 28-year-old Ripken. (link:

Is this not similar enough to you? "Superficial"? They're a Vern Stephens away from being identical offensive twins.

If you want to look at career averages (up through last night's game for Tejada):
OBP: Ripken: 340; Tejada: 338
SLG: Ripken: 447; Tejada: 480
AVG: Ripken: 276; Tejada: 279

Yes, Ripken played in a less offensive time, but Tejada's spent most of his career in that canyon of a ballpark in Oakland.

As far as defense goes, I don't have great numbers available, but career range factors: Ripken 4.62 (as SS); Tejada 4. 65.

In summation, I think you're wrong.
Dear mattymatty and dak,

My first impulse was to say that no, Cal Ripken was not in fact head and shoulders above Miguel Tejada, at the very least offensively. This reaction was likely based in a) my belief that Tejada is pretty damn great and b) my belief that Cal Ripken gets ball-washed quite a bit, and perhaps is a tiny bit overrated.

But -- and I think you'll appreciate this, dak -- let's really look at the numbers. dak's done some of the work for us, but as he admits, Ripken played in a vastly different offensive era. How will that factor compete with Tejada's "canyon of a ballpark" in Oakland?

Fortunately, we don't have to make hand-waving arguments either way. OPS+ is both era- and park-adjusted. I took Tejada's first seven full seasons and Ripken's first seven full seasons and came up with the following:

Tejada OPS+: 109
Ripken OPS+: 126

What can we draw from this? Up to this point in their respective careers, Cal Ripken was significantly better on offense than Miguel Tejada relative to his peers. Surprising, at least to me.

As a point of comparison, Ripken's average OPS+ over this period is coincidentally equal to Tejada's during the 2004 season, when he was a monster. Tejada's, meanwhile, is close to Juan Uribe's 2004 season, which was very good (an OPS+ of 107; he hit 23 homers and batted .283). But Juan Uribe was no Miguel Tejada last year.

As a side note, I'm pretty suspicious of the Similar Batters lists. The metric they use was developed by Bill James, but if you look carefully at what it constitutes, it is NOT era- or park-adjusted. Meaning Tejada's inflated batting average and power totals (due to this recent hitters' era) are compared directly to Ripken's numbers during a much lower-scoring period. So the Similar Batters lists are interesting, but not exactly rigorous.

Which is not to say that it's not the best, quickest, and dirtiest method we have. I'm certainly never going to develop a better way of comparing players across eras because I am too lazy and stupid.

In sum, from what we know so far, Ripken was clearly the better hitter than Tejada through this point in their careers. Head and shoulders better? Maybe. Could Tejada do some things over the next few years that might change how these two stack up? Definitely.

But his numbers will have to be really insane if all the other major league baseball players continue to hit as they have.
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Best Chat Ever, Full Version

Fire Joe Morgan has acquired the full transcript for Joe Morgan's June 24th chat, including private messages sent between The Showgirl and Joe Morgan, which are displayed in red.

The ShowGirl: (9:55 AM ET ) Welcome to The Show! Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will be here at 10 to take your baseball questions. Send 'em in now!

Joe Morgan: (10:05 AM ET ) Hey, The Showgirl, I'm really sorry, I've been delayed a couple minutes, but I promise I'll be in to chat ASAP...

The ShowGirl: (10:06 AM ET ) Joe's been delayed a couple minutes, but he'll be here ASAP...

The ShowGirl: (10:07 AM ET ) Joe?

The ShowGirl: (10:08 AM ET ) Joe?

The ShowGirl: (10:09 AM ET ) Joe?

The ShowGirl: (10:10 AM ET ) Hello, Joe?

The ShowGirl: (10:11 AM ET ) Joe?

The ShowGirl: (10:12 AM ET ) Are you there?

The ShowGirl: (10:13 AM ET ) Joe?

The ShowGirl: (10:14 AM ET ) Joe?

The ShowGirl: (10:15 AM ET ) Seriously, Joe, you're contractually obligated to do one online chat a week. It's part of your job.

The ShowGirl: (10:16 AM ET ) Joe, this is extremely unprofessional.

The ShowGirl: (10:17 AM ET ) Jesus, Joe, all we ask is that you do a chat from anywhere in the world there's a working computer for 45 minutes a week. You can even cut out early like you do most of the time.

The ShowGirl: (10:18 AM ET ) Joe?

The ShowGirl: (10:19 AM ET ) Sorry folks, it actually looks like we're going to have to postpone or reschedule Joe's chat for today. So sorry for the confusion. I'll keep you posted on Joe's raincheck and hang on to all of your questions for the next time.

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posted by Junior  # 12:30 PM
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Best Chat Ever!

Joe Morgan's most informative chat session to date (June 24th):

The ShowGirl: (9:55 AM ET ) Welcome to The Show! Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will be here at 10 to take your baseball questions. Send 'em in now!

The ShowGirl: (10:06 AM ET ) Joe's been delayed a couple minutes, but he'll be here ASAP...

The ShowGirl: (10:19 AM ET ) Sorry folks, it actually looks like we're going to have to postpone or reschedule Joe's chat for today. So sorry for the confusion. I'll keep you posted on Joe's raincheck and hang on to all of your questions for the next time.

posted by Murbles  # 2:05 AM
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This is so dumb, I'm not even going to comment on it.

John Kruk, professional architecht, fixes Coors Field:

Since I mentioned Coors Field above, I want to briefly discuss how I think the Rockies should change their park. Obviously, the problem with Coors is that as big as it is, balls still fly out because it's in Colorado. To counteract that, the Rockies should move the fences in and make the outfield walls as high as Fenway. That way, a fly ball that is decently hit is still going to be a homer, but those line-drive homers would stay in the park.

posted by Murbles  # 2:00 AM
Great idea! The possibilities are endless! We could totally remove the walls in Dodger Stadium, and if the ball rolled into the crowd the players could fight fans for it. Think of all the exciting inside-the-park homers.

Or just put big holes in the wall with "Homerun" "Triple" "Out" painted next to them. Just like that game Krukkie used to play in the arcades when he was 8.
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Sunday, June 26, 2005


Well ...

Predictably, the Mets' terrible bullpen imploded and the Yankees came back to win in the bottom of the ninth.

Interestingly, though, the key hits in that inning were delivered by New York's least favorite sons, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Not once did Joe Morgan mention how clutch their hitting was tonight. I wonder how much ejaculate would have been expelled in the booth had Jeter done the same.

He did, however, mention that Joe Torre did a brilliant job of having the right guys hitting in the inning. What?

I mean, he pinch-hit with Tino, which was actually a questionable move given that it would have destroyed the defense in the event of a tie. Tino walked, which saved an out.

But the Yankees won the game with zero outs on the board.

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posted by Junior  # 11:37 PM
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I Think I May Have Figured Out the Problem

John Kruk, on BBTN, just talked about the Red Sox' 8th-inning rally, and mentioned how he thought the key was David Ortiz "giving himself up" by pulling the ball to the right side of the infield with Mark Bellhorn on 2nd and nobody out. David Ortiz, it's fair to say, has never tried to "give himself up" by pulling the ball to the right side. He hits almost everything to the right side. That's why teams put on the crazy Ted Williams shift when he comes up. He is a dead pull hitter, with occasional power to center and even more occasional power to left center. Everyone in the universe who watches baseball knows this.

So, maybe the problem is that Kruk doesn't know the difference between a hitter "giving himself up" and a hitter "hitting the ball like he always, always, always does every time he is ever playing baseball." In other words, Kruk cannot discern between deliberate intention and mere coincidence.

Another problem is that he is a fat idiot who eats a plate of his own turds every night right before BBTN.


posted by Unknown  # 7:20 PM
I was watching that game, and was amazed not only by Ortiz brilliantly and selflessly "giving himself up," but by his seemingly amazing ability to decide to have his bat shatter on the play, thereby deadening the ball.

The ol' "Shatter the Bat" play. The perfect way to manufacture a productive out.
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Krukmeister General

Let's begin this beautiful Sunday morning by saying that Randy Johnson, before his start today, is a dominating 7-5, which means he only has to go 23-0 in his final 19 starts in order to win the 30 games that John Kruk and Harold Reynolds, on separate occasions, predicted he would. Good luck, Randy!

Now, to get our juices flowing this morning, here's a little bon mot from Krukie. Today he has chosen to focus his marshmallow-sharp analysis on his alma mater, the Phillies. He begins by saying this:

"It's becoming clear the Phillies are starting to become the Colorado Rockies of the NL East."

I'm starting to feel like I'm beginning to think that it's possible that John Kruk might be about to begin to start to become a moron.

There's a lot more nonsense in the article. I'll try to post later, unless someone else beats me to it.


posted by Unknown  # 12:18 PM
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Saturday, June 25, 2005


No, Tim

Tim McCarver just said Kevin Youkilis and Shea Hillenbrand were very similar players.

I repeat, Tim McCarver just said Kevin Youkilis and Shea Hillenbrand were very similar players.

For the uninitiated, Kevin Youkilis is famous (or at least he's famous to me) for his plate discipline -- he's known in Moneyball as the Greek God of Walks.

Shea Hillenbrand, meanwhile, absolutely hates to walk.

The numbers:

In his first season in the bigs, with the Red Sox, Shea Hillenbrand walked 13 times. The whole year. 468 at-bats. 13 walks.

That's exactly once every 36 at-bats.

In his first season in the bigs, with the Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis walked 33 times. In only 208 at-bats.

That's once every 6.3 at-bats.

He's been even better this year, walking once every 4.4 at-bats.

Over the course of his very short major league career, Kevin Youkilis' OBP is 106 points higher than his batting average. Shea Hillenbrand's career OBP is 37 points higher than his BA.

And hey, it turns out that Youkilis' batting average through these first few hundred at-bats is higher than Hillenbrand's for his first season.

So no, Tim, they're not actually very similar.

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posted by Junior  # 4:31 PM
I love it when McCarver, for example, not only gets something wrong, but says something that is the exact opposite of true. That's when it's really special.
Really blew me away. It was a case of Timmy saying something that you would make a joke about -- "The next thing you know, he's going to say Youkilis and Hillenbrand are exactly the same!"

Then, apropos of nothing, he actually says it.

I believe McCarver also mentioned that the Red Sox traded Hillenbrand away for nothing and that a lot of teams want Shea now.

Actually, the Red Sox traded Hillenbrand for Byung-Hyun Kim, who we all know is a disaster now, but at the time was a 24-year-old pitcher with a 3.26 ERA and 380 strikeouts in 323 innings.

And they really needed bullpen help.

Can't wait for McCarver to work the World Series again.

Let's not forget that Hillenbrand later called Theo Epstein a faggot.
I missed the initial comment by McCarver but I did hear Buck late in the game say something like, "You know Tim, you made a good point earlier about Youkilis being similar to Hillenbrand." I was hoping that the comment was made in a very specific way that actually made some sort of sense--maybe something about them both being white right-handed third basemen without tons of power--but I guess not. As little as I expect from McCarver it's still disheartening to know that he compared Youkilis to Hillenbrand in any general way, because as already stated that's pretty much the polar opposite of accurate.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I think the closest McCarver got to substantiating his claim in any way was saying that both Hillenbrand and Youkilis were third basemen.

So in that respect, Rich Garces and Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown are virtually twins, since they both pitch(ed) the baseball.
Tom Brady, Colin Powell, and Flo from TV's "Alice" are eerily similar, because they all wear uniforms.
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no more young pitchers

Another interesting line from Joe's article about the decline in power numbers:

Other factors have helped to reduce power numbers.

One theory is younger pitchers who were knocked around the past few years have matured and are now major-league ready.

I guess now that those pitchers have matured, there are no new, young guys to knock around. Someone should tell Seth McClung.

posted by anthony baseball  # 1:24 PM
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Interesting. But why would they be there in the first place?

From ESPN's power rankings:

5. Los Angeles Angels: The next time Mike Scioscia and Frank Robinson exchange lineup cards might be this October in the World Series.

I'd just like to say to everyone who reads this blog, that I will give each and every one of you $100 if the Nats and the Angels meet in the World Series.


posted by Unknown  # 1:59 AM
It almost certainly won't happen, and if it did everything I know about baseball would clearly evaporate, but... I think I might hold you to that.
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Thursday, June 23, 2005


Looking for More Sports Criticism Criticism? Read the Following Hastily Generated Words

In his latest column/comedy piece, Steve Phillips names ten players who could win the Triple Crown.

The worst of the worst:

Essentially, it takes an MVP performance all year long to win the Triple Crown.

The hell it does. This sentence is total nonsense. There's an MVP every year, and plenty of them are nowhere near Triple Crown numbers. You can't just play at an MVP level to win the Triple Crown. You have to be way, way better than the average MVP.

The biggest challenge for Rodriguez would be handling the New York media circus that a Triple Crown run would inevitably bring.

Are you kidding me? The biggest challenge would be leading the league in average, home runs, and RBI. That's incredibly, almost impossibly hard to do. No one's done it for a long time, and it has absolutely nothing to do with media pressure. If Jeter were actually good enough to be in this conversation, do you think Steve Phillips would be questioning whether he could handle the media during his historic Triple Crown run? That's such a miniscule factor it's insane to even bring it up.

As a former GM, I'll say this: I'd take any one of these 10 players on my team.


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posted by Junior  # 6:29 PM
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A Quick One

Don't have enough time to review the entire piece, but I would like to quote the first sentence of the last paragraph of Joe Morgan's most recent column. Keep in mind, this is a column that is ostensibly about the league-wide decline in power numbers, and even more ostensibly, is about the sport of baseball.

The American Express commercial featuring Duke's Mike Krzyzewski has been played a lot, but its message is on target.

posted by Murbles  # 2:26 PM
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Truly Weird

From Kevin Kennedy's Mailbag:

"If you were the GM of a smaller market team that could not afford to go out and sign a bunch of free agents how would you build your team? Would you go with position players or pitchers in the draft and try to develop them? Also, do you think small market teams are doing all they can to win or trying to make a profit? — Colin Adams

"I would definitely start with pitching. If you don't have pitching you won't be able to out slug anyone no matter how good your hitters are. Look at the Yankees for the first couple of months of the season. The pitchers dug a hole and the hitters couldn't get them out of it. The Dodgers in the 1960s and 1970s became a pitching-oriented organization and made drafting and signing pitchers a premium — and it won for them. In 1964, the Dodgers traded their top slugger, Frank Howard, and five other players to Washington for pitcher Claude Osteen and a utility infielder. They wanted Osteen to be their number three starter behind Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Pitching was so important to them that they traded six players for a number three starter! But Claude was a very good one."

Why would anyone, answering a question about low-revenue teams, which is clearly a 1990's/00's issue, cite the 1964 Dodgers? Are you kidding me? That's like being asked about the future of indie rock and citing The Cyrkle.

Yeah. You heard me. The Cyrkle.

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posted by Unknown  # 9:15 PM
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That's Just Hard to Justify

From the Boston-Cleveland game, June 22nd ...

Mark McLemore: Alex Cora is a very valuable player. Any manager would love a guy they can just plug in at short or second, and they know he's not going to boot too many balls out there. A plus defender.

No matter how brilliant Alex Cora is defensively, can you really say he's a very valuable player? That's just hard to justify.

He has a .660 career OPS. He had one outstanding year, 2002, when he had an OPS+ of 120, which is very good for a middle infielder.

But Jesus, he's an enormous hole in the lineup. Sure, he might not "boot too many balls out there," but he's hitting .222 with a .568 OPS this year.

Why do former ballplayer analysts glorify defense and intangibles time and time again? I have a convoluted theory that doesn't make any sense. Former players want to point things out that viewers can attribute to some secret inside knowledge that only ballplayers have. Any knucklehead can say, wow, A-Rod is a good player. It takes Mark McLemore to reveal that Alex Cora -- Alex Cora! -- is actually quite valuable. Hey, you Joe Fans out there might not be attuned to notice it, but these guys who do the little things -- your David Ecksteins, your Chone Figginses -- they're the real MVPs.

Actually, this theory doesn't even have to be limited to retired players. All analysts need to justify their own existences by revealing new insights that the average person wouldn't pick up on. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these insights tend to fall in the boring, often completely wrong category of conventional baseball wisdom.

In conclusion, I hate Joe Morgan.

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posted by Junior  # 9:00 PM
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Monday, June 20, 2005



Dave O'Brien and Rick Sutcliffe: Matt Clement says Jason Varitek and Derek Jeter are in a class of their own as far as being captains and leaders of their respective ballclubs ... But really, Derek Jeter is all by himself because of all those championships.

10 minutes later ...

ESPN Update:
Derek Jeter with the throwing error, allowing two Devil Ray runs to score.

Dave O'Brien and Rick Sutcliffe: ...

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posted by Junior  # 7:58 PM
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I'm really sorry about this, but I was re-reading old posts on this (delightful) compendium of insanity, and I came across this sequence from a previous Joe Morgan chat:

Sean (Washington DC): Joe, you mention "intangibles" Do you think that most players understand and believe in them (such things as clubhouse chemistry, baseball IQ, etc. because I do and I think a lot of fans do but there seem to be quite a few analysts and reporters who think they are overrated. What's your take?

Joe Morgan: Well, Sean, I agree with YOU. Those intangibles ARE important. To hear people downplay them, means to me that they don't understand them. The computer age that we are in does not look for intangibles or reward them or recognize them. It's a definite plus when a guy brings more than a batting average to the table. Derek Jeter is the best example that you can get of a guy that helps you win championships with his intangibles. I've played the game for a long time and I've been an analyst and I know just how important those intangibles are. I couldn't agree with you more

Now, look. I don't want to beat a dead horse. But everyone who is stupid talks all the time about how undervalued "intangibles" are, and how there are guys who do things that "don't show up in the box scores" and all that stuff, and they argue, these idiots, that these "intangibles" are just as valuable to a team as actual baseball skills, and that no one rewards these people for their "intangibles."

But the thought just hit me: first of all, contrary to what Joe says here, EVERYBODY recognizes Derek Jeter's intangibles. People can't fucking shut up about Derek Jeter's intangibles. Ironically, there are dozens of sportscasters and -writers who talk incessantly about how nobody talks about Derek Jeter's intangibles. This, then, nullifies one part of Joe's "point." And second, in re: Joe saying that nobody rewards Derek Jeter's intangibles: Derek Jeter makes $18 million a year. Think about that. A guy who is, by any measure, a less-than-average shortstop, and who every year has like an .825 OPS or whatever (I don't have the energy to look it up) makes more than Bobby Abreu, and Adam Dunn, and Vlad Guererro, and even Pujols, and a whole lot of guys who are flat-out better players. So, what is he being paid for, if not "intangibles?"

In fact, if you decide to be crazy and take the approach that "intangibles" are a quantifiable aspect of baseball, like OPS or RC27 or anything else, then you would have to say that "intangibles" are among the most *over-appreciated" and *over-valued* of all skills. Because Derek Jeter is wildly overpaid, and everyone who is insane agrees that Derek Jeter does the most "intangible" things to help his team win.

And there are other guys, who don't make nearly as much money, but who are nonetheless overpaid, seemingly because they provide their team with intangibles. Jason Varitek is the best catcher in baseball right now, but will he be when he is 37? Because he'll be making like $10 million when he's 37, and a big part of the reason is his "intangibles."

It seems to me that if you want to make a lot of money as a baseball player, you should stop working out and taking extra BP and stuff, and work on your intangibles.

And also, since it's late and I am riled up, let me add the oft-made point that if Derek Jeter played for the Tigers, and had put up the exact same numbers and said and done the exact same things on and off the field, no one in the fucking world would ever have mentioned his name and the word "intangible" in the same sentence. And if Carlos Guillen had patrolled SS in the Bronx from 1996-2000, Joe Morgan would lie awake at night screaming at the ceiling that nobody recognizes how many intangibles he brings to the table.

In conclusion, I'd like to thank everybody here at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Preaching to the Converted.

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posted by Unknown  # 2:51 AM

when JM finally does publish everyone in the league's "intangibles" stats in the Joe Morgan Anecdotal Abstract, i'd be interested to see how they break down along racial lines. it seems to me that baseball's "intangibles" stat is analagous to basketball's "heart" stat of the bird/magic era.

it's amusing to me that JM believes he has special privy to the world of "things that don't show up in the box score." well, sabrmetrics was invented to fix shortcomings in box scores and traditional statistics -- to invent more accurate and more useful stats than batting average, wins, etc. yet JM will reject sabrmetrics for traditional stats and box scores -- the very things he routinely calls into question whenever the intangibles debate comes up. it's almost as if he senses that the inaccuracy of batting average and wins are what allow him to speculate stupidly that the gaps are filled in not by quantifiable numbers, but by derek jeter's nutsack, which he hopes to grasp tightly and fondle some day.

-jimmy ballgame
Good points, Jimmy. I would also add that the term "throwback" is almost always applied to white guys. Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Paul Molitor, Trot Nixon, Roger Clemens, etc. Right now, I'd say guys like Juan Pierre, Dontrelle WIllis, and even, say, Mike Cameron, are all throwback players, yet you never hear them referred to as such. Why is that?


Hey, when are you going to get a blogger account and start posting here? Or are you worried that if you use your real blogger ID, we'll find your Warcraft III slash fiction blog?
mr. murbles-

ya. it would make everybody too horny.

but you can get a taste of it here:

or will i get a taste of you? aha. ahahaha. A HA HAH HAH HAH HAaaaaaaaa!

-jimmy ballgame
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Sunday, June 19, 2005


Does Robinson Cano Have a Fragile Ego?

Because Ken Singleton talks about him like he needs constant validation. Today, after a third-inning 50-hopper through the infield, Singleton, his voice dripping with awe, remarked:

"It's starting to look like he's going to get a hit every time he goes up there."

Cano, through today: .277/.307/.447


posted by Unknown  # 1:50 PM
you guys have seen this?

-jimmy ballgame
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Saturday, June 18, 2005


Trade Everybody!

Some of my favorite moments from the June 14 chat with terrible ex-GM Steve Phillips.

Chip (New York City):
Steve, this morning on Mike and Mike in stating why the Yankees should trade Matsui, Womack, Bernie and Sheffield you not only neglected to mention that trading Matsui and Bernie will be difficult because Matsui has a no trade and Bernie is a 10/5 player but you also stated something that was completely untrue. You said all of the players were in the last year of their deals, Womack signed a two year deal this winter and Sheffield signed a three year deal last offseason meaning next year is the last on their current deals.

Steve Phillips: The Yankees have to really start considering being sellers at the trade deadline instead of buyers. I would expect Sheffield, Matsuie, Bernie Williams and Womack. This seems obvious to me, but Mike and Mike acted as though this was earthshattering. You're right about Womack, Chip. I didn't get that detail into my short clip on the radio. Sheffield has next year, as well, not two years. I do think that Matsui may be open to a trade somewhere else. The Yankees need to try to get younger. They'll have money freed up in the outfield to do it. They're not going to trade Jeter or A-Rod. I think that if they CAN move Womack -- they WILL. Bernie's deal is up at the end of the year, and if he can go to a team that's contending, he would wave his no-trade, I'm sure.

First of all, let's hear it for Chip from New York City for calling Steve out on his typical wrongness. I love how Phillips then tries to play it off like "I didn't get that detail into my short clip on the radio," So wait. You only had enough time to say the incorrect fact that Womack and Sheffield were in the last year of their deals?

Then there's the issue of the Yankees trading FOUR OUTFIELDERS. (I'm counting Womack as an outfielder since that's what he's playing in that retarded system they have). I think Mike and Mike might have been right to act a little skeptical. Especially since we're talking about two players (Matsui and Sheffield) who have relatively enormous contracts and two players (Womack and Williams) who are bad at baseball. What "contender" is going to trade anything of value for three months of Bernie Williams or Tony Womack?

Also, Steve, have you looked at the free agent outfielders next season? Where are the Yankees going to get players to replace these guys?

But good work pointing out that the Yankees won't trade Jeter or A-Rod.

Todd (Reading Pa):
Are my por Pirates going to do their annaul purge before the deadline or are they actually going to hold on to veterans. I could see trading Lawton if they are still below 500 but I think they have an option on Redman for around 4 mill which even for them is a steal.

Steve Phillips:
The Pirates have to keep building for the future. IF they have vets who aren't going to be part of the future, but can help bring back talent that WILL be a part of that. I suspect Lawton, REdman and Mesa could bring back some talent to either play for the Pirates in the future, or help them trade to get future talents.

English, Steve!

Jamie (NYC):
FYI, no one is going to take the 6 mil remaining on Bernie's contract this year, and although Sheff and Matsui would be wanted by other teams, who can even afford Sheff? The Angels? The Dodgers?

Yeah! Keep pouring it on, guys!

Steve Phillips: You'd be surprised for how many teams would find money for Sheff and Matsui for the last two months of their season. The Yanks would probably have to pickup some amount of Bernie's contract, but if they could pick up a prospect or two for it, they would have to consider. It's so odd that NY as a team is playing so poorly, but their individual pieces provide some significant trade value. The Yankees problems are mental, it's not a lack of talent.

Steve. For the last time. NOBODY is going to trade for Bernie Williams unless they essentially get him for free. They are not going to get any worthwhile prospects for him, and they'll have to pay all of his salary. This will not solve the Yankees problems. And also, their problems are not mental. Their problem is that they are a team full of 40 year old players making so much money that almost no team can trade for them.

mike (boston): steve u are crazy if u think the yanks wil trade matsui, bernie williams, gary sheffield and womack. i think they will trade tino martinez for a relief pitcher. I think they will also trade wright. do u agree?

This is awesome! He's being ambushed!

Steve Phillips: If they trade Tino, it means that Giambi would have to play first base. Last Friday night proves that that is not a real good plan. I"m not sure I believe that they Yankees will trade the players I suggest, but if they find themselves 10 games out of first place in July, they SHOULD absolutely do it for the good of the organization. They would have to work around money and no-trades, but if they can aquire efficient young prospects, they have to consider the benefits. I'm not suggesting that they go into a 3-year rebuilding phase, I think they should get right back this offseason, and they can do just that, b/c they have what it takes to trade for the prospects.

I love this. He just will not back off this crazy idea. It's almost like he's auditioning for the Yankees GM job by displaying all of the bad decision making that got him fired from his last GM job. I can just imagine Steinbrenner saying "Trade away 4 outfielders for prospects? That's exactly what the Yankee organization is all about! This Phillips guy is a genius! Cashman! You're gone!"

Also, if you're "not suggesting that they go into a 3-year rebuilding phase," what do you call it when you trade your entire veteran outfield platoon for "young prospects?" Unless those prospects are Miguel Cabrera and Juan Pierre, I think that's pretty much the definition of a "rebuilding phase."

posted by Murbles  # 7:24 PM
This is just fantastic. Good work, Murbles. Forget that No one wants Bernie -- the fact is that the Yankees would NEVER trade him anyway. New York loves that guitar-playing, .700 OPS grandfather way too much to even consider it. Also, Sheffield is just about the only guy on their team who's worth the money they pay him. (Not quite, but moreso than Jeter, and way more than Bernie, et al.) But forget all of this. The point is, the guy has advocated trading four outfielders at once. Unreal.
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John Kruk fails to research his claims

John Kruk wants all you guys to know that he's bored of all the talk about Red Sox and Yankees in his latest column, the apparent point of which is to equate mediocrity with being "under the radar." Unfortunately, other things that tend to bore John Kruk are accuracy and research. He begins:

East Coast fans don't hear about certain players because they don't play for an East Coast team.
How big do you think a guy like Albert Pujols would be if he was playing for either of those clubs and putting up those numbers? Jim Edmonds plays a sick center field, hits 30-40 homers every year and drives in 100 runs, but he's not on the East Coast so you don't hear about him. If he did play on the East Coast, they'd be getting his plaque ready for the Hall of Fame.

It's a nice day, and Kevin Millar's hitting again, so I will charitably chalk this up to hyperbole. To suggest that Albert Pujols is underrated by any knowledgable baseball fan is of course crazy, but Jim Edmonds probably should get more due. Anyway, he moves on to talk about how no one is talking about the D'Backs chances of finishing atop the NL West.

So far most of the talk out of the NL West has been of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants if Barry Bonds comes back.

So he conveniently tosses out every other team in the divison, provided that team is playing over .400 baseball. A strong rhetorical technique to help illustrate a dubious point.

People better watch this D-Backs team because it is pretty good. Right now their bullpen is horrible, but if the D-Backs get a reliever, they'll be right there in the middle of the race.

At the time of publication, the D'Backs were second in the division, 1.5 behind the Pads, 1 game over the Dodgers, and 5.5 over the Giants. Here's hoping they land that reliever and claw their way back into the middle of that race.

The D-Backs are legit and are going to be in this for the long haul once they get their offense going.

Arizona has outscored every team in their division. Every one. In fact, they are fourth in the league in runs scored, behind only the Phils, Cards and Reds. An improved offense is not the solution. Only the Rockies and Reds have given up more runs in the NL. If only you had stuck to your guns, JK. It gets interesting:

I've heard some people ask how Kirk Gibson won the MVP in 1988 when he only hit .290 and drove in 76 runs, but he made that Dodgers team win.

This basically sums up the John Kruk-as-baseball-analyst experience. Doing JK's actual job as a recreational pursuit, I discovered that the leading hitter in the NL that year, Tony Gwynn, hit .313. The two top HR hitters that year were Strawberry with a robust 39 and Glenn Davis with 30, compared to Gibson's 25, and the league leader in RsBI, Will Clark, had 109. 1988, it turns out, was an incredibly anemic year offensively, perhaps resulting from some unexplained factor compensating for the relatively nuclear scoring outburst occurring the previous season. I cannot back any of that up, so I leave it to speculation. But what I can say is that Gibby's only credible competition for MVP that year came from Strawberry, who finished 36 points behind Gibson. Darryl had a great year, batting .269-39-101 for a 100-win team. Unfortunately, he was probably hurt by the fact that his vote was split with Kevin McReynolds, who had a similarly impressive year, and also by the fact that, as those who were fans in the 1980s can attest, Darryl was most certainly a black baseball player. Again, speculation, but isn't this a better answer than "he made that Dodgers team win?"

If the D-Backs win the NL West, some people better start talking about Counsell for MVP because he's going to be the reason they win.

Bad reasoning, but Counsell just might be their MVP. Or maybe it's Troy Glaus. All I do know is that this reminded me of Kruk naming Chone Figgins his 2004 AL MVP basically because he played 8 positions for Anaheim, all with moderate aptitude. On to more "unfairly ignored" teams:

The only team in the AL East that you could say is flying under the radar is the Toronto Blue Jays. They are so young – with guys like Aaron Hill (23), Alex Rios (24), Russ Adams (24) and Gustavo Chacin (24) – that I'm not sure how good they are, and I just don't know how long they are going to last in the division race with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox playing better.

I love any paragraph by a baseball analyst that includes both "I'm not sure" and "I don't know." At least some candor from JK. He then takes this opportunity in a column stating his aversion to the prevalent discussion of east coast teams like the Yankees to address why the Yankees are playing better recently. Turns out they were playing the Pirates, and JK felt like taking the lay-up.

Players Under the Radar

This is getting long, so I'll sum up by saying he talks about three average players who are seldom talked about because they are mediocre.

posted by Coach  # 5:06 PM
"by the fact that, as those who were fans in the 1980s can attest, Darryl was most certainly a black baseball player."

As a 1980's era fan I've got to call you out a little here. I agree Kruk is an idiot, but I get a little touchy when race gets inserted into places it probably doesn't need to. Why was race an issue in the MVP voting of the 1980's?

Yes, he was black, as were the 1985, 1987,1989,1990-1993 National League MVPS's and the 1984,1987, and 1990 AL MVP's; and Joe Morgan, George Foster, Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, Don Baylor, Jim Rice, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Dick Allen and Vida Blue all won in the even more racist 1970's and going back to the '60's you've got McCovey, Gibson, Cepeda, Clemente, Mays, Frank Robinson, and Maury Wills.
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Friday, June 17, 2005


Joe Morgan Wants to Put Ichiro Suzuki in an Internment Camp

The title of this post is not true. But it's less egregious than this paragraph written by Joe Morgan:

If Ichiro ends up in the neighborhood of 2,200 hits, what would distinguish him from Maury Wills? The talented shortstop had 2,134 hits, stole 586 bases, won two Gold Gloves and was the National League MVP in '62 with the Dodgers … but he isn't in the Hall of Fame.

What would distinguish Ichiro from Maury Wills? Let's see:

In fourteen seasons as a major league ball player, how many times did Maury Wills finish with an OPS+ above 100 -- that is, how many times was he merely better than the average major league hitter?


Ichiro has been above 100 in each of his four seasons in the league.

Enjoy conventional statistics for some reason? Fine. Maury Wills' career high in hits in a single season was 208. That's Ichiro's career low. Wills never passed 186 hits in any other season. Ichiro, meanwhile, if you don't recall, holds the record for hits in a season. That's right. More than anybody ever.

Let's look at batting average, even though that statistic is bad. Maury Wills' career average is .281. He hit over .300 twice over the course of his career. Ichiro's career average is .339.

Oh yeah, if you put any stock into Gold Gloves at all, Ichiro has four, one for each season he's played.

Granted, these stats don't include any sort of decline phase for Ichiro, but Ichiro's also missed out on some prime years of his career by playing in Japan for so long.

By the way, I can't for the life of me see how Maury Wills' 1962 NL MVP wasn't some sort of horrible travesty. He stole 104 bases, which is truly incredible, but his OPS+ was 99. Even discounting the fact that he wasn't a power hitter at all (6 HR), he only got on base at a .347 clip. Second place in the NL MVP voting that year? Willie Mays. His OPS+ that year was 166, he hit 49 home runs and he accumulated 141 RBI. To me, that's like handing an award to Scott Podsednik over Albert Pujols.

Ichiro Suzuki is probably a little overvalued by most baseball writers and fans, and his own MVP award is dubious, but his best years are way better than Maury Wills'. And that' s not even counting anything whatsoever he did in Japan.

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posted by Junior  # 3:36 PM
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Thursday, June 16, 2005


Goddammit Kevin Kennedy

I had two straight hitters bunt, a pair of suicide squeeze plays one after another on back-to-back fastballs. And both worked! We won the game, 2-1, beating a pitcher who was almost unhittable with speed and execution. I remember it well because Wilson and his teammates couldn't believe what we had done. We actually made it look easy. Believe me, as a manager, you love to win games like that. It's better than the walk-off home run. By a country mile.

Who cares in what manner you as a manager enjoy winning? Kennedy stops just short of saying "I will bunt and sacrifice and steal bases because I personally like those things, not because I have any evidence that they're helpful to winning."

Of course, Kennedy does believe they do help teams win -- that's the whole point of his article. His evidence? Two anecdotes.

Kevin, in my fairly limited (certainly compared to you) experience watching baseball, I have seen home runs win over 100 games.


posted by Junior  # 12:38 PM
I just came across your site and you guys are my newfound best friends. I hope you don't mind. This is great!
Right on. Just don't eat anything in the fridge.
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Okay, I know it's not all about sports, but this is just too wonderful to pass up.


Chicago White Sox designated hitter Carl Everett, infamous for his run-in with umpire Ron Kulpa in 2000 while playing for the Boston Red Sox, sounds off on a number of issues in the July edition of Maxim magazine. Some of the highlights, as reported by The Chicago Tribune.

• Everett has had gay teammates, whom he has accepted, but: "Gays being gay is wrong. Two women can't produce a baby, two men can't produce a baby, so it's not how it's supposed to be. ... I don't believe in gay marriages. I don't believe in being gay."

I'll refrain from commenting about this specific subject matter, and Carl's antediluvian attitudes, and just say that I really wish he had added something about dinosaurs.

• Most baseball fans don't know diddly: "Fan is short for fanatic -- he's crazy about something he really doesn't know about. And it's proven that 99 percent of baseball fans have no idea what they're watching."

I like the insanity of saying that it is "proven" that "99% of baseball fans have no idea what they're watching." Because by using the classically hyperbolic figure of 99%, Carl is demonstrating that he himself has no idea what he is talking about. It's like when people say things like, "Dude, I was so hungry last night I LITERALLY ate a thousand hamburgers."

• The congressional hearings examining steroid use were a waste: "We have a war going on -- I have family in that war -- yet we're talking about steroids. ... If everybody in the world got on steroids, we'll still lose more kids to a war than we will from steroids."

One would have to do a fair amount of research, and devise a sophisticated method of evaluation of steroids qua mortal force, in order to prove or disprove this statement. I'm guessing Carl has done neither. In any case, I enjoy this comment because he essentially argues that no topic is worth our time and attention if it is not at least as life-threatening as war, which, ipso facto, is the most life-threatening thing that there is. Also, considering Carl's problems with rage, and his massive frame, and his propensity to injure, it's probably in his best interests to remain silent on the whole steroid issue.

Awww, hell. As long as we're at it, let's take a trip down crazy memory lane, shall we?

"God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve," Everett said last Friday, before the Red Sox lost two of three in Atlanta. "The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex."

What about dinosaur bones?

"Made by man," he says.

Everett has trouble, too, with the idea of man actually walking on the moon. After first rejecting the notion, he concedes, "Yeah, that could have happened. It's possible. That is something you could prove. You can't prove dinosaurs ever existed. I feel it's far-fetched."


posted by Unknown  # 2:46 AM
Borderline, but I'll allow it.

New FJM rule:
Everyone's allowed one diversion a month. Enjoy.

This is kind of embarrassing, but here goes.

As a baseball fan, I've seen hundreds, maybe thousands of baseball games. And to this day, I have had no idea what I've been watching. In fact, now that I think about it, some of those things I watched may not have even been baseball games, but reruns of Trading Spaces.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005



FoxSports' Kevin Kennedy adds his name to the list of idiot former players who are attributing the success of the Chicago White Sox to their ability to "manufacture runs." And, like so many Joe Morgans before him, he chooses to go on and on about their "aggressive" "small ball" approach, while pretty much disregarding the fact that their pitchers are all playing way over their heads. Some highlights:

First off, he cites the Carlos Lee-Scott Podsednik trade as one of the main reasons for the White Sox great start. Let's examine their stats, shall we?

Runs: Podsednik 36, Lee 34
Hits: Lee 72, Podsednik 61
Doubles: Lee 20, Podsednik 9
Triples: Tied at 0
Home Runs: Lee 16, Podsednik 0
RBI: Lee 56, Podsednik 14
OBP: Podsednik .364, Lee .343
SLG: Lee .551, Podsednik .335
OPS: Lee .894, Podsednik .699
SB: Podsednik 31, Lee 7

Sure, Podsednik can steal a base, but do you really want a guy with 9 extra base hits? I don't know about you, but I'd take Carlos Lee at this point.

But let's look at the White Sox as a team and see if this "small ball" thing is actually working.

The White Sox are currently seventh in the AL in runs scored. They project to score 749 runs. Last year, they were third in the AL with 865 runs scored. So, let me get this straight. Small ball is better because you score fewer runs?

There's more. And I quote:

"Then there are the Boston Red Sox. You would think the Sox would have learned a lesson last year when speed kept them from being eliminated in four games by the Yankees in the ALCS. Dave Roberts pinch ran in the ninth inning of the fourth game and stole second to set up the tying run, paving the way for the Sox great comeback and eventual World Series win. So what happened? They didn't re-sign Roberts, let him go to San Diego where he's now making a difference and setting the table for the resurgent Padres because you need a speed guy in a big ballpark like PETCO. And the Sox? They have underachieved so far this year despite their heavy hitters, and are dead last in the majors with 13 stolen bases. How soon some forget."

What? What?!?!?! You honestly think the Red Sox are struggling becaue they didn't resign Dave Roberts!?!?! You're right, Kevin. Because of one (albeit pivotal) play, the Red Sox should have redesigned a team that led the ML in runs, total bases, OBP, SLG, OPS, XBH, and oh yeah, won the fucking World Series? You really think the Red Sox are struggling because they're last in the MLB in stolen bases. Really? Think about that. Keep in mind that the Red Sox are once again leading the majors in runs scored.

So Kevin, let's think about this real hard. If the Red Sox are leading the majors in runs, and the White Sox are seventh in the AL, 13th in MLB...why do the White Sox have a better record?


Ahem. Sorry. Let's look at the White Sox team pitching compared to last year.

Right now, the White Sox are 3rd in the AL in WHIP, 3rd in OBP, 3rd in OPS, 3rd in ERA, and 1st in saves. Last year, they were 6th, 7th, 13th, 12th, and 10th respectively.

Compare that to the Red Sox, who are currently 10th, 11th, 12th, 12th, and 10th. (Last year, they were 1st, 1st, 1st, 3rd, and 6th).

When is someone going to say that the White Sox are playing great, but it's almost entirely because they have great pitching, and they'd be even better if they stopped playing like they're the 1986 St. Louis Fucking Cardinals?

I realize I've gone on a lttle long here, so anyone's welcome to comment on the 100 other retarded things Kennedy says in this column. Good luck.

posted by Murbles  # 3:56 PM
Plus there's the fact that the Red Sox didn't "let him go to San Diego." They traded him for Jay Payton, Ramon Vazquez and Dave Pauley. The Sox weren't going to play him full-time so they honored his request for a trade to a team that would. Why is it so hard for these baseball guys, whose entire job it is to think, write and talk about nothing but baseball, to keep transactions straight? And for god's sake, before you publish a column for the world to see CHECK YOUR FACTS if you can't remember everything.

By the way, I just found out about this blog the other day and I just want to thank you. I can't tell you how happy I am to see someone calling out these clowns.
Awesome. A lurker. Welcome.
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Thanks. Someone put up the link the other day at Sons of Sam Horn. They all hate Joe Morgan too.
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Monday, June 13, 2005


FJM Classic

From a chat on May 23, 2003:

Jeff (Los Altos): Joe, what is the most over rated statistic in baseball?

Joe Morgan: Batting average.

Ken Tremendous: Oh my God! He's right!

Joe Morgan (ctd): If you hit .300 they say you are a great hitter. That means you are making 7 outs out of 10 and if you make those outs with runners in scoring position, you are not a good hitter.

KT: Oh boy. Why couldn't you just have stopped typing? You were off to such a good start. So, you're saying that the way to measure a good hitter is if you get hits with runners in scoring position. Well, what if you're on the Royals, and there are never RISP? What if you're slugging .600 and walking 100 times a year, but your team sucks and you don't have a lot of RsBI? You are a bad hitter? Joe? Are you there? Oh -- right. It's 2003, and he can't hear me. Let's continue.

wayne (new yawk): Joe, I understand that players sometimes pick which team they want to go into the HoF for greedy reasons, but I think players should really be able to at least speak to a committee or something about the reasons they want the team they want to be picked. On that note, I think Roger has earned the right to choose whichever team he wants to go into the HoF. It doesn't hurt for me that he wants to go in as a New York Yankee! What are your thoughts?

Joe Morgan: The HOF is a museum which chronologically follows a players career. Wade Boggs reportedly signed a contract with the Devil Rays to go in as a Devil Ray and he should be allowed to do that. There has to be some rhyme or reason and at this point, the HOF, which is a museum, does it without any emotion. If you get mad at an organization and decide to not honor them, then what? The point is, it is being done properly.

KT: Joe, do you sometimes black out in the middle of your posts and then forget what you have said? I'm serious. You might have some kind of neurological disorder. You say this: "Wade Boggs reportedly signed a contract with the Devil Rays to go in as a Devil Ray and he should be allowed to do that." And then you say this, two sentences later: "The point is, it [i.e., the HOF deciding these matters impartially] is being done properly." Do you not see how there's a problem here? Joe? 2003 Joe? Can you--? Oh well. Next.

CBeatty (Denver): Joe, when your commentating a game, are you watching the field or the t.v, or both? Did the pitch calls look as "off" to you Wed. night (Sox-Yanks) as they did from my livingroom? Thanks, chief.

Joe Morgan: I watch the field most of the time, but I do sometimes watch both. I don't get into pitch calls. One of my pet peeves is announcers saying curveball away. He is supposed to say ball or strike. It's the analysts job to say those things.

KT: So, this is how Joe Morgan would have it:

Jon Miller: The pitcher steps back, steps forward, moves his arm, and throws a baseball. The baseball does not cross the plate in the designated zone, and as such has been labeled a "ball" by the home plate umpire.
Joe Morgan: That was a curveball.
Jon Miller: The pitcher steps back, steps forward, moves his arm, and throws a baseball. The baseball *does* cross the plate in the designated zone, and as such has been labeled a "strike" by the home plate umpire.
Joe Morgan: That was a fastball.
Jon Miller: The pitcher steps back, steps forward, moves his arm, and throws a baseball...

Maria (Wimberley, TX): Joe, enjoy your work. Have you read the new book "Moneyball" about Billy Beane? What do "insiders" such as yourself think about what the book says?

Joe Morgan: I read an excerpt in the NY Times. It's typical if you write a book, you want to be the hero. That is apparently what Beane has done. According to what I read in the Times, Beane is smarter than anyone else. I don't think it will make him popular with the other GMs or the other people in baseball.

KT: This blows my mind. Remember this? Joe Morgan repeatedly, insanely, talked about how 1) "Moneyball" was wrong, and then 2) said that Billy Beane SHOULDN'T HAVE WRITTEN THE BOOK. Remember this? He insisted, over and over again, on national TV broadasts, in on-line chats, and elsewhere, that Billy Beane had written "Moneyball." I honestly believe that no one corrected him just to see how long it would be until he figured it out. But seriously, the nerve of this guy to attack the book without ever, obviously, having read it.

Joe Morgan is bad at his job, and someone should fire him. Someone should, at the very least, create a web log, or "blog," to keep track of all of the silly things he says, as well as silly things other sports announcers say. Can someone get on this?

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posted by Unknown  # 1:16 PM
Ah, the sweet, oak-y scent of vintage Morgan.
In the final part, it's worth mentioning that, even in a parallel universe where Billy Beane writes Moneyball about himself as a heroic figure, Morgan still doesn't attempt to answer the question.
Why weren't people in 2003 smart enough to ask Joe Morgan questions about breakfast and steak?
Have you guys seen this?

If you read the last paragraph, in the main part, it seems we have a kindred spirit.

-Josef Moebbels
This is the worst thing ever:
Interesting that whenever someone tells me something is "the worst thing ever," it immediately moves to top priority on my incredibly extensive internet reading list.
just saw derek lee chugging a red bull during the fourth inning after he struck out. get on it.

-jimmy ballgame
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Welcome to the FJM Team, Brian Cashman!

From the New York Times;

"There's a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes, a lot of things we're dealing with," Cashman said. "There are a lot of brushfires that we're attacking with the plan of getting this thing right."

Say again?


posted by Unknown  # 3:02 AM
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Sunday, June 12, 2005


Joe Morgan Chat Continued

Still more from the 6/10 chat:

Craig Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Joe, need your opinion here please! I am shocked the Yankees are playing such boring baseball, and that they are 29-30. Do things get turned around anytime soon? Will Torre and Tino being ejected the other night, will that light the fire for them? At this point, we can't even hope for the playoffs.

Joe Morgan: I'm also shocked they are struggling. I've said for two years they have one of the best lineups.

I cut Joe's answer short. I just enjoy how he spins it so it seems like for two years, he's been crying out to the uncaring universe that the YANKEES have one of the best lineups. Why won't people listen to Joe and acknowledge that the Yankees have a good offense -- maybe even one of the best?

Anyway, he didn't answer the question of whether they'll turn it around. Let's move on.

Steve (Dallas): Joe, how many wins will the D-Train get this year? Possibly twenty?

Joe Morgan: The unfortunate part about pitching, as you get more innings, you lost a little bit. Remember he started of [sic] like this his rookie year before tiring. But I think he is building arm strength so he should be able to go deeper. 20 game winners just arent' that common anymore. It will depend on what kind of run support he can get. But I expect a great second half.

That first sentence is quite a mess. But at least he said how many wins he thinks Dontrelle will get!

No, he did not.

Heath (Dyersville, IA): Mr. Morgan, Any thoughts on this weekend's historical matchup between the Red Sox and Cubs?

Joe Morgan: I don't believe in all that historical stuff. I wasn't around when it first started ; ) but I do think it will be great for baseball fans and great to see the teams. I'm not so sure about the history. I hate to be that way.. but 1918 has no bearing for me. But I'm sure it does for the two cities.

Somehow I doubt 1918 means all that much for Chicagoans. Come to think of it, it doesn't mean all that much to Boston anymore, either. Hip use of the winking emoticon, though, Joe.

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posted by Junior  # 10:43 PM
"Joe Morgan: I don't believe in all that historical stuff. I wasn't around when it first started."

Finally, we learn the source of Carl Everett's ignorance. He grew up watching Joe Morgan.
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One More...

David (San Jose): Joe- any Frank Robinson as a player story you can tell us? I think we Bay Area fans forget that this great athlete is one of us.

Joe Morgan: Frank was my manager in San Fransisco for two years. I learned a lot about winning and losing. I always remember how he wouldn't let us get comfortable losing. Some teams are allowed to lose, as long as they don't get embarrased. One night after we won, we chewed us out because we had played horribly. He told us we didn't deserve to win. I didn't agree with him but I still remember that. He simply isn't getting enough credit for what he is doing with the Nationals.

Listen, Joe -- that story, about how once after you had won a game your manager said he was upset because the team hadn't played well, is really, really, really, really, really, really, really exciting. But maybe read the question again.


posted by Unknown  # 5:28 PM
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Saturday, June 11, 2005


I Want In On This

More from the latest JM chat:

DAVE(PHILADELPHIA): What is your opinion on the close race in the NL east. Who do you think will actually end up on top? Do you think the wild card team will merge from the east also?

 Joe Morgan: I'm surprised that all the teams are above .500 and in a tight race. Anyone can win. No one is head and shoulders above. The Nationals have a good shot. The longer they stay on top the more confidence they will build up.

>> So you're opinion is you're surprised. Okay. That's not a good answer at all, but it's an answer.

Now, you think anyone can win. That's great -- I'm glad ESPN pays you a lot of money to make that call. But the question was: who do you think will actually end up on top?

Oh, okay -- the Nationals have a good shot. Nevermind. I guess that settles it.

posted by dak  # 5:06 PM
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JM Quickie

Eerily, I was just about to post about that same Joe Morgan answer. Dude really hates Billy Beane.

Looking forward to the full-length critique, KT, but in the meantime let me poach one question.

Robby (chicago): Hey Joe. Just wondering your take on the Chicago White Sox finally posting a high run total the other night at Colorado (15). Do you think that their bats are finally waking up to match their incredible pitching thus far? Do you think this is finally the year you will see them back in the World Series for the first time since '59?

Joe Morgan: Everything in baseball goes in cycles. It doesn't matter as long as you are winning. They are winning so I wouldn't be concerned about the hitting.

Hey, Robby, here's Joe's "take": everything goes in cycles. Furthermore, it doesn't matter if Chicago can score runs in the future even though their pitchers have been performing way, way above their true abilities thus far. Funny, Joe didn't seem to take such a laissez-faire attitude about Oakland's inability to score.

True, the White Sox are doing very well in the win column, but if you're running a team, shouldn't you always be trying to improve it? How can you say you aren't concerned about one half of how your baseball team is performing (the hitters)?

Also, Joe, you didn't answer Robby's last question at all. At all.

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posted by Junior  # 4:45 PM
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Joe Morgan Chat Teaser

I'll post more later today or tomorrow, unless someone beats me to it. Here's a sample (all spelling errors and typos are [sic]):

John (Chattanooga, TN): Joe, a question about draft philosophy: What do you think about the A's drafting three high-schoolers in their first six picks?

Joe Morgan: It's obviously a change from what they have done in the past. They used to only draft college players. They need a change in philosophya about a lot of things. Without Tejada, Giambi, Mulder, Hudson, etc. they need a new philosphy. I don't know how they can score runs consistently without manufacturing some runs.

So, he starts off answering the question. Then he mentions four players that they drafted using their patented system, and uses their departure to announce that they need a new system, ignoring the fact that they could only depart because they were there in the first place because of their system. Then -- and this is the part that gets me -- he launches an ad hominem attack on their organization-wide offensive game plan, which, let's remember, got a tiny-market team to the playoffs for like seventy straight years.

So, just to recap:

1. No one asked how they'd be able to score runs.
2. He gave a stupid and ill-conceived answer to the question nobody asked.
3. He still thinks, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that "manufacturing runs" is something teams should try to do.

I'm serious. Joe Morgan is the worst analyst I have ever seen.

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posted by Unknown  # 1:52 PM
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Jim Belushis in Glass Houses...

From the New York Times:

"Watching the Red Sox win was a very weird experience," said Jim Belushi, an actor and a lifelong Cubs fan. "It was like having a neighbor win the lottery. At first you're really happy for them because it couldn't happen to a better guy. And then you realize that he'll move into a bigger house in another neighborhood and you never had anything in common with him in the first place and he was really a big jerk. I mean the Red Sox' celebrity mascot is Ben Affleck. Doesn't that tell you enough?"


posted by Unknown  # 9:57 PM
In Belushi's undefendable defense, the celebrity mascot for the Cubs, as far as I'm concerned, is John Cusack, not Jim Belushi. And I'm kind of charmed by Cusack, whereas Belushi is Jim Belushi.
I would say Bill Murray.

And I would say the Red Sox celebrity mascot is David Ortiz.
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Does Anybody Fact Check These Things?

This is a couple weeks old, but nobody has commented on it so here goes.

In Joe Morgan's May 25 Insider column, Joe Morgan discusses the proposed World Baseball Classic. He writes:

For most of Major League Baseball's history, players have come predominantly from America, and before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947, all were Caucasian. In the latter part of the 20th century, the number of Latino players has increased dramatically.

Now, I think we're past the point of asking Joe Morgan to do even a modicum of research when making retarded arguments, but honestly. Does anybody at ESPN read his columns before they are printed? A three second-long Google search would tell you that Major League baseball has featured Latino players since 1911. By 1939 there had been players from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.

He continues:

Besides being talented, Latino players have shown that they have a true love for the game and a true passion for playing the game.

That's a pretty provocative statement there, Joe. And I'm not even sure it's true. Watch players like Albert Pujols, Sammy Sosa, and Pedro Martinez, and it's quite obvious they hate baseball, hate playing baseball, and would rather be doing literally anything else.

He then uses this platform to yet again repeat his retarded argument against pitch counts:

The problem with pitch counts in general is 85 pitches for one guy might be the same as 100 for another. Pitchers have different tolerance levels, so who will decide the number of pitches that is too many for each pitcher?

Joe, I'm going to take a wild stab at this one and say...maybe...the coaches?

Later, Joe Morgan proves he is one step ahead of us with this insightful question, which hopefully someone (a lawyer, hopefully!) will figure out a way around.

Another issue: It will be interesting to see how the teams are formed. Will a player compete for his birth nation or for the nation where he lives?

The prohibitive favorite in the 2006 World Baseball Classic has to be the US, with a devastating roster featuring EVERY major league baseball player.

posted by Murbles  # 9:17 AM
Not to mire your almost entirely spot-on commentary with pedantry, but many MLB players could be said to live and work out of Canada. If you call that living. (!)

Also of note is the fact that there exists a sporting competition somewhat like the imagined World Baseball Classic, the World Cup, to whose example I might advise Mr. Morgan for an answer to his final question, assuming, correctly, that he has been put in charge of seeting up the WBC.

Also, FIFA is the Federation something something Association - isn't that a bad name?
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Rick Sutcliffe, no thank you

I apologize for the lack of exact quoting on this, but I am new to the world and unlike the rest of you, don't carry a notebook yet.

Last night, Sutcliffe went through a very long explanation about how the ALCS ended a game ealier than the NLCS and that the Red Sox had the advantage of an extra day at home. The he blamed the All-Star game. Then he explained to America how that was no small advantage for the Red Sox.

Then, IN HIS NEXT BREATH, he said "Tony LaRussa's teams are always prepared."

Shut up.

posted by America's Sweetheart  # 8:16 PM
Yeah. All game long he was diminishing the Sox and praising the Cards. The history remains the same, the Sox won in 4 games.
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Let's Chat With Steve Phillips!

Steve Phillips: Good afternoon! The most amazing thing about baseball is what a difference a week can make! The Cubs and Yankees of this week are not the Cubs and Yankees of last week! That's why they play the games! Let's go!

Ken Tremendous: Take it down about a thousand levels, friend. It's going to be a long day.

Jason: The Nationals? Are they overachieving?

Steve Phillips: Frank Robinson has this team competing every night. When you break down their club, other than Livan Hernandez, it is hard to predict anybody can't maintain this high level.

KT: Did Steve Phillips just have a stroke? What does that mean?

MORGAN -boston, ma: STEVE-- you do good work on ESPN...if you were the GM of the Yankees what would you do to right the present situation... would they consider releasing KEVIN BROWN? Is Mel Stot (pitching coach) job on the line?? what about don mattingly's??

Steve Phillips: I would go back to the original plan with Tony Womack back to 2B, Matsui back to LF and Bernie in CF. Cano is not the answer to help win more games. He may be a good player, but to win games today he is not the answer. I would split 1B/DH between Sierra, Tino and Giambi with Tino and Sierra getting the majority of the ABs...The Yanks shouldn't make any knee jerk moves right now. They went with veteran players, they will have to die with veterans.

KT: Okay. Fine. The Yankees should stick with their veterans. Next question?

Steve (NYC): Steve, if you were Brian Sabean, would you be looking to move vets?

Steve Phillips: Yes, I would.

KT: Um...the Giants should trade their veterans? just said the Yankees *shouldn't* do that. Right? Is there a reason one team should and the other shouldn't? I'm confused...

Steve Phillips: ...I thought [Sabean's] plan was a good one coming in...The Giants have to be careful not to make trades simply to make trades. You make bad trades that way. They need to ride out the storm and regroup when necessary. That could mean waiting till next year.

KT: Okay, so, wait -- so you were right the first time. Teams should NOT move their veterans. I think that's what you're saying...

JT (Lynchburg, Va): Are the Astros at least heading in the right direction by moving Berkman to first and giving top prospect Burke a shot to play regularly?

Steve Phillips: I think anytime you are losing with veteran players, you have to make a shift and lose with young players. At least then you are building to the future. Why waste ABs on vets who won't help the team a couple years down the line?

KT: Oh boy, Steve, I'm confused. The Yankees shouldn't move veterans. The Giants should move veterans, except that they shouldn't move veterans. The Astros should move veterans. In fact, from this last post, ANY TEAM that is losing with veterans should move them and then lose with young players...?...?...? Did you have another stroke?

Adam(Bellmore, NY): Hey Steve: David Wright Continues to shine. He has the special presence around him like a jeter. I think hes going to be the Mets Derek Jeter except with better numbers. What do you think?

Steve Phillips: That is very high praise, comparing anybody to Jeter. But David Wright is going to be a tremendous player for a long time for the Mets. He has physical abilities as well as tremendous make-up. I think he will become Scott Rolen with more personality and charisma. Wright has that special twinkle in his eye that star players have. He has an uncommon humility about his starpower. I love him.

KT: Good analysis. Wright is third in MLB in personality and fourth in charisma. His Special Eye Twinkle (SET) is second only to Pat Burrell (who knew!), and his Uncommon Humility About His Starpower (UHAHS) is a Thome-like 4.488! Right on the money with this one, Steve! You fucking moron!

Vincent (Washington, DC): How good can Daniel Cabrera be? He's inconsistent, but when he's good, he's REALLY good.

Steve Phillips: I love his stuff and the passion with which he performs. That passion or emotion can at times work for you but at times can also work against you. As Cabrera gains experience and starts to mature, I expect he will be able to corral some of that emotion and harness it in a positive direction. He is just 24 years old but he has a chance to be an absolute stud.

KT: Steve, sorry -- just a quick note. Remember that you are evaluating a MLB pitcher, not a potential country music star. Thanks.

Edmundo (Mexico): As a former GM, what would you do with Kaz Matsui?

Steve Phillips: Very difficult situation in NY right now with Matsui...the Mets have a major investment in him for a couple years. They need some return on that investment. If they can trade him, I think they should do it to get out from under the money. If they are stuck with him, try to fix him.

KT: You're a goddamn genius, Steve.


posted by Unknown  # 2:40 AM
Forget it, dak -- too late.
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Monday, June 06, 2005


Steve Phillips: Professional Moron

So former Worst GM in history Steve Phillips has posted a mock draft in which he selects players "if teams actually had a crystal ball." Teams would select players "with the idea that they wanted to be successful using a five-year plan."

An interesting concept. Let's see how he fucks it up.

The first few picks, I don't really have a problem with (A Rod, Pujols, Tejada, Santana). All good, young players, and if you're operating with a 5 year plan in mind, a wise investment. Unless you have the number 5 pick and you draft...

5) Pedro Martinez.

Does ANYBODY believe Pedro has 5 Pedro caliber seasons left? It was here I started to question whether this 5 year plan meant from the beginning of their career or five seasons from now. More on that later.

His next pick, Miguel Cabrera would suggest that we're talking about five years starting now. Especially since I have yet to see the name Bonds anywhere in this article. So maybe Phillips just believes Pedro has five years left.

Until you get to pick 24.

Gary Fucking Sheffield?!?!?

Now I think Steve Phillips is just nuts, because if you're going to draft a 36 year old outfielder with a history of back, shoulder, and brain problems, you should probably be fired from your job as a GM and hired by ESPN right now.

And this not even mentioning the retardedness Phillips displays when playing by his own rules. Bobby Abreu, Chipper Jones, and Derrek Lee, yes Derrek Lee, over Manny? Beltran and Ichiro at 20 and 21 behind Roy Halladay and Jake Peavy? Aramis Ramirez at 25, but Mark Teixera at 28?!?! No Scott Rolen, Juan Pierre, J.D. Drew, Carl Crawford, Dontrelle Willis, AJ Burnett, or Ben Sheets?

I don't have the time or patience to point out even half of the inane non-sense-making arguments he makes for the players he does pick, but I'm now going to tell you something you probably don't know.

Steve Phillips is dumb.

posted by Murbles  # 5:52 PM
Other faves from this column:
Bobby Abreu (#8) "is in the midst of a what will be a Hall of Fame career." Maybe he'll devise a flying car someday and make the inventor's hall of fame, but averaging 24 homers and 95 risbies with a .307 average ain't going to get him to cooperstown.

Tim Hudson (#12) Would anyone take this guy over Roy Halladay at this stage in their careers, even considering their injuries? Maybe I'm alone on this.

Jeter (#13) Come on. Over Jorge Cantu???

Brad Lidge (#16) This is a reach even if this were a fantasy draft, which Phillips states it is not. Can you imagine being a Marlins fan on the eve of this momentous draft, awaiting what player your team will build its franchise around for the next five years, and that player ends up being Brad Lidge?

Roy Oswalt (#26) A fair pick, but Phillips' take is that "He just shows up and has that trait you want in a pitcher: he pitches well enough to win." Among the many traits a pitcher could have, Phillips definitely isolates a very good one. Good work, sir.
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Sunday, June 05, 2005


No, John Kruk, You Are Wrong

Remember this game?

From BBTN, tonight, in re: the Astros winning after Clemens gave up 3 runs in the first inning: "And the Astros are saying 'maybe this is what we need. Maybe we need Clemens to give up a few runs, get behind a little, so our bats wake up."

>> For serious? For fucking serious dude?

"Hi Craig Biggio."
"Hi Lance Berkman. How are you?"
"I'm okay. I just haven't been hitting well."
"That's weird, what do you think the problem is?"
"Eh, my bats just a little sleepy."
"Really? It's not that off-season surgery?"
"Nah. It's just..."
"What is it, Lance? Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, it's just that...[leans in close to whisper to Craig Biggio] bat just doesn't wake up unless Clemens gives up a few runs in the first."
"Dude. I'm so glad you said that. I didn't want to say anything, but my bats are like the exact same way."
"Should we tell anyone?"
"NO! No one can know."
"No one? Not even --"
"Kruk? Well, I guess we could tell John Kruk."

No, John Kruk, you are wrong.

posted by dak  # 7:06 PM
dak, dude -- did you read my post? I mean, come on. Let me have some of the glory.
you beat me by a minute.
and i was too busy typing away -- missed the kruk / ravech exchange.
but sure, you can have like 40% of the glory.
Nice CSS, Dorothies.
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John Kruk

...just posited, on BBTN, that maybe the reason the Astros actually scored some runs for Clemens today is because Clemens gave up three runs in the first inning, which, Kruk proposed, using science and intelligence, caused the Astros hitters to try harder to come back and score runs for him. Karl Ravech then said, "Yeah. That's it. Clemens needs to pitch *badly.*" At which Kruk giggled like a drunk turd.


posted by Unknown  # 7:05 PM
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Thursday, June 02, 2005


Was the Question Hypothetical, John?

John Sterling, during the radio broadcast of a Yankees-Royals game:

"My goodness. Is there nothing Robby Cano cannot do?"

Cano, so far, in 87 AB: .253/.272/.402/.674, 3BB and 13K.

He has no stolen bases, and has made four errors in 24 games.

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posted by Unknown  # 8:44 PM
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You heard it here first:

Mariano Rivera = Most ineffective post-season closer of ALL TIME.

Sure, you can make the argument that Rivera has historically been a good closer in the post-season. You might even say he has been the best in history. I'll even go so far as to say that you might be right on both counts. HOWEVER, these statements do not necessarily contradict what I am saying. More on that later. Anyway, Joe Morgan raises a few eyebrows today with a shockingly enlightened column about the use of closers. Nothing Bill James hasn't been saying for like two decades now, but decent progress for Joseph. Unfortunately, he has to go and say this:

"And I've always felt that closers are the most essential in the playoffs. That's why, to me, Mariano Rivera is the best pressure closer I've ever seen."

I don't know about you, but I can't think of a more "pressure"-filled scenario than protecting a lead in the seventh game of the World Series. Well, Rivera blew that one pretty famously, giving up four hits and committing a panicked throwing error in the process. Add to that the famous pair of blown saves in the 2004 ALCS, and, with apologies to Jose Mesa and BH Kim, Rivera owns the three highest-profile post-season blown saves in recent memory. Dennis Eckersley.

Yes, perhaps Rivera is the most effective post-season closer of all time. But mightn't he be the most ineffective as well? Well, probably not. But who knows....

(And if you think I will be swayed, deterred or silenced by his career post-season record of 8-1 or his 0.75 era, then you, my friend, are in fact the crazy one.)

posted by Coach  # 5:19 PM
I hate to argue here, Coach, but one of the biggest reasons those blown saves were high profile is because Rivera had been so lights out for so long. Very few people talk about Charles Nagy against the Marlins in 1997, because who the fuck cares about Charles Nagy. (I know, I know -- that wasn't a save situation. You get my point.) Assuming you don't count Game 5 in Boston as a blown save, which I don't, really, then Rivera is on the hook for Game 4 against the Sox and Game 7 against the DBacks, versus like 30+ other 1-2-3 innings where he broke six bats and nobody got the ball out of the infield. Remember Rivera pitching to Damon Buford with two outs and two on in the ninth inning of Game 2 in 1999? Well, I do. He threw him four straight high fastballs and made him look like an old woman. Only in Game 7 against the DBacks did Rivera really crack in any real way. So, sorry, I can't go with you on this crazy ride, since I am of the belief that if you take Rivera away from the '96 to '01 Yankees, they maybe win the Series twice, but probably only once. The guy is insane.


Ken Tremendous,
Crazy Person
You're right, Ken. Maybe there are two sides to this issue.

-jimmy ballgame
Excellent use of hypertext, though.
My favorite aspect of these comments is that even if you disagree with the post, you must refer to its author with the honorific term "Coach."
it seems a Coach apologist beat me to the punch. do visit

-jimmy ballgame
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This Post Has No Analysis

I just wanted to be the first to post this quote from the latest Tim Kurkjian article on

"Jeter has a nice face, a rugged face, a handsome face ... "

Next week in Kurkjian: a discussion of Jon Lieber's abs.

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posted by Junior  # 1:41 PM
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005


The Kenny Williams Decision Making Process Revealed!

From Phil Rogers' ESPN column:

Kenny Williams on Dustin Hermanson:

"His mentality is perfect for the eighth and ninth inning ... Look at his facial hair. Is that the hair of a closer or what? It's not the hair of a starter.''

FYI: Dustin Hermanson's facial hair is a standard goatee and sideburns.

posted by Murbles  # 3:17 PM
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