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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Sunday, July 31, 2005


John Kruk Will Not Stand For This!

John Kruk, who is a MENSA-level genius, has this to say about Manny Ramirez:

When is this guy going to be held responsible for his actions? I understand that sometimes a star player gets special treatment, but this is supposed to be a team game in which every player is responsible for his team and he doesn't seem to understand or care. He just goes about his business without any fear of reprisal from management or his teammates and that's not right. When I played, there was no way I could have gotten away with this type of behavior, and neither could anyone else on the team.

John Kruk has mounted his horse, and he is going to ride it all the way to Indignationville! Because Manny Ramirez is not being a professional, and John Kruk has some words for him, by gum! This would have never stood in John Kruk's day. For example, John Kruk played on the 1993 Phillies. If Manny Ramirez tried any of this nonsense on the 1993 Phillies, someone would have held his feet to the fire. If Manny tried this B.S. on the 1993 Phillies, Lenny Dykstra would have taken the hypodermic needle out of his ass and marched right over to Manny and said, "Hey! Be a professional!" Dykstra's words might have carried some respect, since -- totally coincidentally -- he was in the midst of a year where he set statistically improbable personal highs in every major offensive category. (He was working really hard in the weight room, I guess.) Also, Dykstra's words may have carried respect because his sheer physical size had exploded so much in so short a time that one of the Phillies announcers took to calling him "Lenny Kruk" when he came to the plate.

But if Dykstra had approached Manny, things might have gotten heated. So heated, that maybe Jeff Scott, the convicted felon who, in a sworn affidavit, said that he "hug out with about half" of the 1993 Phillies, providing them with drugs, would have had to come over and break things up. Maybe Kruk could have pulled Dykstra aside and given him a cigarette, since the two of them used to smoke cigarettes on the bench -- in full view of the fans -- during games. Or maybe they could have just done a line of coke, as dozens of whispered reports suggested they did all the time.

Or maybe Pete Incaviglia, who hit 11 HR in 1991 and 1992, but who hit a mysterious 24 in 1993, would have stepped in and restored some professionalism to the clubhouse. Or Danny Jackson, the pitcher (pitcher!) who was nicknamed "The Incredible Hulk" because of how muscular he was, could have knocked some professionalism into Manny. If not, surely Dutch Daulton, who had 105 RBI in 1993 but never played in more than 98 games in any subsequent season due to a series of injuries (he was only 31 in 1993; maybe the injuries were the result of eating too many Froot Loops?), and who was beloved for what amounted to erratic and bizarre behavior, would have gone up to Manny and said, "Settle down. Act properly."

Or, wait -- I know what would have happened if Manny had acted unprofessionally in John Kruk's era. Lenny Dykstra's best friend, who allegedly helped him bet on baseball games, including those of the self-same 1993 Phillies, could have talked some sense into Manny over the phone, after taking Dykstra's wager on that afternoon's Twins-Brewers game. That would have worked. Maybe Dykstra, the notorious high-stakes gambler, who was linked to a gambling probe in Mississippi in 1991, could have helped matters by telling Manny that he, Dykstra, would bet heavily on Ramirez for the rest of the year in order to give Manny an incentive to play. And Kruk could have backed him up. After all, Kruk probably felt like he owed Dykstra some support, since a few months after Dykstra was linked to gambling on baseball, Dykstra broke his collarbone in a car wreck after John Kruk's bachelor party and missed several months of the season.

So, go get 'em, Krukie! Don't let these modern-day weirdos sully the reputation of your straight-arrow, play-the-right-way 1993 Phillies. You guys were the model for baseball player behavior. Is it possible that all of this is simply conjecture? That everyone on your team, more or less, had statistically improbably great years? That no one on the Phillies was using steroids or gambling on baseball or doing drugs or anything? Absolutely. And I will bet everything I own in the world that some of you were doing some combination of using steroids and drugs and gambling on baseball.

Think I'm being unfair? Think it's wrong to bring all this stuff up when you are accusing Manny of a different crime? Well, you did say, and I quote, "this is supposed to be a team game in which every player is responsible for his team. He just goes about his business without any fear of reprisal from management or his teammates and that's not right." So, way to call out your guys for everything they did back in the day. Let's see how you did that: (from

“Let me tell you, we partied hard on that team."

But what about Jeff Scott?

“I never heard of the guy, never saw anybody like that,” Kruk said.

Does Habeeb’s claim [that Scott "hug out with half the team"] bother Kruk?

“Not at all,” the former first baseman said. “If you listened to everything people said about us, you’d think we were all alcoholics, drug addicts and steroid users. I wish we had that much fun.”

Didn't you just talk about how hard you partied?

“One year [Dykstra] weighed next to nothing and the next he was all bulked up,” Kruk said. “I heard reporters wondering what he was on, so I asked him. I said, ‘What did you do?’ He said, ‘I just worked hard.’ I believed him. I had no reason not to believe him. He’d never lied to me before, and I knew he was big into weight lifting.

“You know, so many guys were getting big at that time from weights. When I first came in the league, I thought Jack Clark and Steve Garvey were big. Then all of sudden it seemed like everyone was that big. To me, Lenny was no different.”

Good work, Krukie. You're a goddamn hero. And for the record, you dunderhead, several of Manny's teammates, including Curt Schilling, David Wells, and Tim Wakefield, publicly or privately called Manny on his behavior. And as for management, well, they tried to get rid of him. So really, when you think about it, what the fuck are you complaining about?

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posted by Anonymous  # 8:17 PM
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Steve Physioc

After Randy Johnson struck out Macier Izturis in the second:

Randy gets his first strike out of the game, as he continues to chase the great Nolan Ryan for strikeouts.

Coming into today: Nolan Ryan: 5714 K's. Randy Johnson: 4303 K's. Nolan Ryan has roughly a third again as many K's. And Randy Johnson is almost 42. To say Randy Johnson is "chasing" Nolan Ryan is like saying that I, Ken Tremendous, with zero lifetime no-hitters, am chasing Nolan Ryan's career record of seven no-hitters.


posted by Anonymous  # 1:35 PM
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Saturday, July 30, 2005


Tim McCarver Utters Indecipherable Nonsense I

On pitcher Jake Woods:

"First year as a relief pitcher in the Angel chain, Woods made 97 out of 98 starts, did Woods, as a starter."


posted by Anonymous  # 4:43 PM
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Tim McCarver Uses Small, Wrong Words II; Has Temporal Breakdown I

As Torre comes to get Gordon out of the game:

"You look at that tacky seventh inning, and that kind of opened the gates for the Angels here in the eighth."

To be fair, the Angels were being incredibly tacky in the seventh, flaunting their new jewelry and donning various garishly-colored hats. And to be fair again, the seventh and eighth innings of today's game, somewhat untraditionally, were played concurrently.


posted by Anonymous  # 4:28 PM
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Tim McCarver Uses Small, Wrong Words

After Juan Rivera hit a two-run homer in the eighth:

"...the ex-Yankee puts another nail in the package today."


posted by Anonymous  # 4:26 PM
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Tim McCarver Uses Big Words II

After an inning in which the Angels scored four runs thanks to an error, a balk, and some hits.

"For a team to have exhibited the proficiency that the Yankees have over the last ten years, this is one of those collapsable innings that is indicative of the team this year."

If I were checking this sentence for grammar and syntax, it would read thus:

"For a team to have exhibited the proficiency that the Yankees have over the last ten years (sic), this (sic) is one of those collapsable (sic) innings that is indicative of the team (sic) this year (sic)."


posted by Anonymous  # 4:10 PM
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Tim McCarver Uses Big Words

Darin Erstad got jammed in the first and flared an infield single to short. How did Tim McCarver call it during the replay?

"Erstad placing this ball properly over the head of Chacon and in front of Jeter."

"Placing?" "Properly?" Like, he tried to do it, and executed it the way he wanted to?

McCarver is like a nine year-old who hears his mom use big words and then tries to use them himself.


posted by Anonymous  # 1:35 PM
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Thursday, July 28, 2005


Steve Phillips Has Some Ideas

...about Manny Ramirez trades.

Kevin (Waltham, MA): What are the chances of Manny being moved? What about the Dodgers, will Perez or Lowe have a new home come Monday?

Steve Phillips: I think the Dodgers, Mets, Orioles and ... yes ... maybe even the Yankees would be a fit for Manny Ramirez. The trade would be a complex one and is more likely to happen in the offseason than at the tradedeadline. On Cold Pizza yesterday morning, I made three trade proposals for Manny. 1) Manny to the Yankees for Sheffield and Tom Gordon. Sox replace the bat and get a potential closer to ride out the end of the season with.

The idea that the Sox would deal Manny Ramirez to the Yankees is so insane I can barely breathe. Ditto the idea that the Yankees would trade Sheffield and one of their only two reliable bullpen guys to the Red Sox. Ditto the idea that the Sox would trade for Gary Sheffield, who has publicly stated his plan to have a complete 3rd-grade shitfit if he is traded anywhere. When did Steve Phillips become a "Mike and the Mad Dog" caller?

2) Manny and Mark Bellhorn to the Dodgers for Jeff Kent, Jason Worth (sic) and Odalis Perez. This gives the Red Sox a RHbat to replace Manny, a young OFer who pulls the ball and can take advantage of the green monster, and pitching depth which would still allow them to make an Arroyo or Burnett deal or possibly allow them to acquire Edgardo Alfonzo to play third base. Then they could trade Bill Mueller to the Twins for Romero.

A 36 year-old (albeit good) second baseman, a not good outfielder (.397 SLG this year) , and an injured pitcher for a guy with a 1.000 lifetime OPS, so that the Sox can then trade Bronson Arroyo for AJ Burnett and pick up Edgardo Alfonzo to play third so they can trade Bill Mueller to the Twins for JC Romero. I know the Sox have problems, but you want to replace your left fielder, second baseman, two starters, third baseman, and lefty set-up guy? That seems...I'll say "risky" to do mid-season. How about something simpler, Steve?

3) The last trade proposal I have is for the Mets. ... AS Mets fans choke on their coffee and say, ''Oh no! Not Phillips making Mets trades again! No!'' ... Bear with me, try to follow ....

At least he's self-aware. What's the proposal?

Victor Zambrano to the Giants for Alphonzo. Cliff Floyd to the Cubs for Corey Patterson and Glendon Rush. Then, the Mets spin Patterson to the Devil Rays for Danys Baez. The Mets THEN take Mike Cameron, Edgardo Alfonzo, Danys Baez and Glendon Rush and trade them to the Red Sox for Manny Ramirez.

Why don't the Cubs, Giants, Mets, DRays, and Sox just all switch uniforms? It'll be easier.

Also, I guarantee the Red Sox would never trade the 2004 World Series MVP for Mike Cameron, Edgardo Alfonzo, Danys Baez and Glendon Rusch. That's trading one great player with a huge salary for four average players with medium salaries. What good does that do? Hey, I've got an idea. The Yankees should do a nine-way trade where they get rid of ARod and get Pat Borders, Geoff Jenkins, Ray Durham, Matt Stairs, Frank Menechino, Jose Cruz, Jr., David Weathers, Lou Pinella, and a dozen sweatshirts with Pete LaForest's face on them.

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posted by Anonymous  # 5:04 PM
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Irrelevant to our normal topics of discussion, but still.

Am I really going to have to hear "Open Road" by Bryan Adams 8 times per Sportscenter for the next 45 days or whatever?

posted by Murbles  # 11:40 AM
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005



I have taken some shit, from both home and abroad, about the Elliot Kalb post below, in which I compare Japan to Chicago rec softball leagues. Perhaps that was a bit strident. But this is a blog, and where can one be strident if not in a blog?

The fact is, if one puts together one's list of the fifteen greatest first basemen, and one obnoxiously and purposefully does not include Rafael Palmeiro, but obnoxiously and purposefully does include a guy who played in another country, I am going to take issue with one.

I think it is fair to say that putting up Raffy's numbers against the hands-down best league in the world, featuring all the best international talent, is far more impresive (like, by a factor of five) than putting up silly numbers in Japan against only Japanese talent in a league where Bob Horner was revered as a megastar. Agreed?

Saying that Oh is the ninth best first baseman of all-time is insane. He hit 55 HR in 1964, which is the single-season record in Japan. Or, it was, until Tuffy Rhodes, who had a career OPS+ of 79 in MLB, tied it a few years ago.

Tuffy Rhodes.

And Kalb still takes Oh over Palmeiro.

And I'm the crazy one?

"Apologia" means "defense," not "apology."

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posted by Anonymous  # 2:40 PM
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


"Baseball For Dummies," Indeed (Part IV): The Sweet Lowdown

From page 289 of "Baseball for Dummies", by Joe Morgan (with Richard Lally):

"The Lowdown on Statistics" -- Everyone believes that a .300 hitter is a good player and that a pitcher with a low ERA is a good pitcher. That belief is not necessarily the case. . . A .300 hitter makes seven outs for every ten at-bats, and if his seven outs come with men on base and his three hits come with no one on base, these hits are not very productive. . . Likewise, many pitchers pitch just good enough to lose. . .Run production is how you measure hitters. Wins and losses are how you measure pitchers. Batting averages and ERAs are personal stats."

>>Again, where to begin?

Let's take the case of the .300 hitter who makes all his outs with runners on base, and all his hits with men on. Either he's talking about (a) just ten at-bats or (b) a guy who does this sort of thing over the long haul.

If we're talking about 10 at-bats...who cares? Remember, the law of small numbers is: there is no law of small numbers. If we're talking about a guy who does this over the course of the season, well, I'd like to see that guy. I'd like Joe Morgan to show me anybody who -- over the course of his career -- had a markedly different average with runners on base as opposed to with the bases empty. Maybe they exist. But let's be reasonable: over the course of time, most players are about the same with bases empty or with dudes on base. On top of all this, of course, Morgan's chosen a terrible metric to measure players (batting average).

Now for the really crazy stuff. "Run production is how you measure hitters." He's talking about runs and runs batted in (or so he says in another part of this little sidebar). Two of the most team-dependent stats you could pick. Wins and losses, even more so. It's the year 2005, and we're still measuring how good a pitcher is by his won-loss record? Tell that to Roger Clemens. Tell that to Ken Tremendous, and he'll go to your house and murder your dog.

The best line, of course: "Batting averages and ERAs are personal stats."
I'm sorry. What? You mean personal, like, they're just for that hitter or pitcher -- like a sentimental photo? Or you mean personal, as in, they are the opposite of team-dependent, and therefore much better at measuring players' abilities than fucking wins and losses and run production (again, ignoring that batting average is a terrible hitters' metric)?

Imagine using this standard for any other line of work. Let's say I'm the manager of the factory where they manufacture and ship Joe Morgan Punching Bags (they come with a picture of Joe Morgan on them). I want to know how good John Kruk is at packaging up these bad Larries. Kruk works down on assembly line C. If I want to know how good he is at packaging up JMPBs, should I count how many boxes he "personally" packages, or how many everybody on assembly line C puts together?

Joe Morgan says: the bottom line is, if you want to know how good a player is, forget any information about the player alone. Ignore all data that tell you what the guy does, holding the team he plays for as a variable. Look at the team-related numbers. See how many wins a pitcher has, without even looking at his run support. See how many runs a guy scores, without looking at the guys hitting below him, or the player's on base percentage.

I'm just saying, if Joe Morgan's dog is dead tomorrow, you know who did it. Sorry, Ken.

posted by dak  # 7:02 PM
Hey Joe Morgan,
Only in the case of Shea Hillenbrand does a .300 hitter make 7 outs per 10 at-bats. The stat with which you begin your argument is called On-Base Percentage (OBP), which was either invented by a baseball-hating coterie including Billy Beane, a computer and SF Weekly columnist Tommy Cragg.

Aside from that minor point, what the Hell are you talking about??? Are you saying that Mike Maroth is without question or debate the worst pitcher of the last 30 years? Yes. You are.

Someone needs to create a toy stat called something like RsBI/PA with men on base. We'll call it the "Hitter's metric" and allow Joe Morgan to quietly ignore it because it's too hard for him to tabulate in his tiny brain.
For my money, the best line here is: "Likewise, many pitchers pitch just good enough to lose..." followed immediately by the line "Wins and losses are how you measure pitchers." How in the name of Roger Clemens can you still believe that W/L are how you measure pitchers, especially right after you note that sometimes a pitcher pitches good (sic) enough to lose?
Fine. Argue that a .300 hitter is not necessarily a good player, but not at all for the reason you give. A .300 singles hitter who never walks is statistically a below-average major leager. How are you going to convince me that a pitcher with a low ERA is not necessarily a good pitcher? Give me one example! Ok, Armando Benitez. I stand down.
Just so we're clear, pitchers with a relatively low ERA over a significant amount of innings have pitched well.
Coach --
I don't think he's talking about OBP, since he's using ABs and not PAs. Of course, if you're counting "outs," that could include sacrifices and other complications that aren't strictly "batting average" (errors, etc). Amazing how confusing Joe Morgan can make things by trying to be simple.
A fair point. I will accept the mea culpa for confusing AB's and PA's and hereby retract my Shea Hillenbrand-related comments.
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Ryne Sandberg: Brief But Idiotic

Really amazing. It's his list of the 10 players he respects the most. It's an amazing combination of the most obvious statements, coupled with some really bizarre choices with virtually no back-up. I guess it's the guys he respects the most, and I don't really know how to disprove him. Still though, just try to read through without shaking your head.

Let's start with the first sentence:
"I can't believe the Hall of Fame inductions are less than a week away."

>>Huh. I can.
I know that it's a popular phrase of exaggeration to use, but it's still funny to me that he'd choose to write that. I like to picture him waking up, checking his calendar, seeing a big ol' red circle around Sunday (when he's being inducted into the HOF) and thinking to himself: "Wha? That can't be right..." Then shouting: "Honey?! Did you mess with my calendar? I'm getting Punk'd, aren't I."

Okay, onto the list. It's mostly contemporaries of his, but then he goes back for some oldies:

Willie Mays – He probably was the best defensive outfielder ever. I loved how he combined speed with power.

Joe DiMaggio – Obviously I never saw him play, but I always have respected the way he was a true professional. He was a great player and an American idol.

>>He never saw Dimaggio play. But he respected how he was a true professional. Why? He doesn't say. It seems to me that this happens quite often: players put up huge numbers, get elected into the Hall, and the best thing someone can say about them is how professional they were. Stand-up guy. Always gave his all. Put his pants on one leg at a time. Great teammate. And on and on.

In reality, their professionalism is probably the thing they shared in common with their peers the most. They all showed up to play the game. They all had the same job. Very few players are "bad seeds," or total dickheads, or show up late for games or lack "professionalism" in some serious way. Even if Ryno had reasons for why Joltin' Joe was a true professional, I'd probably respond by saying: "aren't most players like that?" Fortunately for us, Ryno doesn't even try to support his claim.

Now, he never saw Willie Mays play neither, but that doesn't stop him from proclaiming him the best defensive outfielder ever. Probably.

Back to the list:

Andre Dawson – Another teammate of mine who was a great professional. He hit 49 home runs in 1987, and it seemed like he was going deep every other day.

>>What the hell was so great about Andre Dawson that made him more professional than any of Ryno's other teammates? Was Keith Moreland kind of a jerk? Did Leon Durham complain about having to play baseball? Was Jody Davis some kind of amateur? Did Steve Trout bang Ryno's wife?

Also: "It seemed like he was going deep every other day." Well, he wasn't. It only seemed that way. He hit a lot of homers, yes, but let's not give the Hawk extra credit just because in your (Ryno's) brain, it seemed like he was hitting 90. I'm about 2/3 of the way through your article, and it seems like you're an idiot. But I'll wait for the results of your Stanford-Binet intelligence test to come back. Unless you put someone crazy on your list, like, I dunno, Larry Bowa or something. Then I'd be pretty sure that you're an idiot. That would never happen though, right?

(Side note: In 1987, when Dawson hit 49 taters, his OBP was 328, 16 points below league average. He had a great year, no doubt. But it wasn't that great.)

Back to the list:

Larry Bowa – We were traded together from the Phillies, and when I came over to the Chicago Cubs, he was at short and I was at third base. He showed me how to prepare for a game – from taking ground balls before the game to the mental preparation of facing a pitcher.

>>I mean, I guess I know what he's talking about. But I still like to think that Ryno had absolutely no idea how to take ground balls before the game until he got to the Cubs. Then, say, one night in May before a game in San Diego, a young Larry Bowa pulled him aside. "Hey kid. When the first baseman throws the ball to you, on the ground, field it the way you would if it were a game. And then throw it back to him. 'Kay kid?" Bowa then walked back to his place at short, and would eventually find his place in immortality, on Ryne Sandberg's list of 10 players he respects the most.

A list that includes Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth.
No, wait! I'm sorry -- did I say Babe Ruth? I meant LARRY BOWA. Babe Ruth is not on the list. Larry Bowa is.

posted by dak  # 4:09 AM
I'm going to stick up for Rhino here. The list is players he respected, not players he considered great. If he wants to throw freakin' Todd Benzinger on that list, God Bless. Personal opinion; not necessarily stat-based at all.
I only sort of agree with you. As I said, you can't disprove that these aren't the players he most respects. He can pick whatever players he wants.

I just think the reasons he gave were either so obvious as to be not worth mentioning, or weird, baseless impressions about how "professional" some players were as opposed to others.

And in that respect, I maintain that it's terrible sports journalism
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Saturday, July 23, 2005


Ozzie Guillen

Technically this is not about anyone's sports commentary. But, since the whole world is ball-washing Ozzie Guillen this year, here's some Smartball:

ChiSox down 2-0 in the ninth. Guillen has Bobby Jenks, who got two K's on nine pitches yesterday, and who throws like 130 MPH with a 102 MPH 12-6 curve that literally made Kevin Millar forget how to play baseball, in the pen. Instead, he left Damaso Marte in to pitch to Varitek, who has a 1.117 OPS against lefties and an .803 OPS against righties. Varitek promptly homered to give the Sox a 3-0 lead.

The ChiSox knocked the crap out of the ball in the bottom of the inning, but didn't score. However, the first two guys singled, and if not for Varitek, the tying run would have been on first with nobody out. Ironically, Guillen probably would have had Aaron Rowand bunt to get them over, and if he'd been successful...who knows?

The point is, what exactly does "Smartball" mean, especially when applied to the pitching staff? And how is it smart? Wouldn't it have been smarter to look at a piece of paper that told you never to have Jason Varitek hit right handed, if you can avoid it?

But maybe I'm wrong. I've been reading Buzz Blunderson's shitty book all day, and have come to realize that just a numbers-cruncher who hates baseball.

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posted by Anonymous  # 9:44 PM
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Elliott Kalb: Welcome

Elliott Kalb, normally pretty rational, has this to say about Raffy Palmeiro's place on the Top 15 List of All-Time First Baseman: he's not on it. (I'm almost, but not quite, sick of this argument.) Here are some people who are on Kalb's 15:

9. Eddie Murray

Steady Eddie was similar to Palmeiro, only better. Murray led the major leagues in RBI in the 1980s. Murray had twice as many All-Star game appearances. Murray went to the World Series. Murray deserved his three Gold Gloves at first base.

Murray may have been better than Raffy. It's close. But the reasons for this are not, for the last fucking time, that Murray appeared in more all-star games, nor that he appeared in the World Series. How in the world can anyone, let alone, apparently, EVERYONE, keep using these things as measuring sticks?

11. Sadaharu Oh

Unlike the Negro Leaguers, Oh's numbers in Japan are well-documented. He swatted 868 home runs. He was the Japanese MVP nine times. His Giants won the pennant nine times between 1965-1973. He was a terrific fielding first baseman, who won the Japanese Gold Glove the first nine years it was awarded (1972-1980).

Interesting. Those are some big numbers. THAT HE PUT UP IN JAPAN. Japan. In the 60's and 70's. Are you seriously telling me that Sadaharu Oh belongs on this list above Rafael Palmeiro? There are probably some guys in Chicago softball leagues who have like 1500 career home runs. Let's put them on this list.

14. (Tie) Keith Hernandez and Don Mattingly

Hernandez was the best throwing first baseman I've ever seen. He had the ability to lead a team, as well. Mattingly had the flipside of Rafael Palmeiro's career. He had a short period where he was the best player in the game, but a back injury derailed his chance to accumulate big career numbers.

Right. And see, that's the thing -- Mattingly got injured, so he didn't have that great a career. This is not a list of potentially better first basemen, you dolt. I also think that saying that even at Mattingly's zenith he was "the best player in the game" is downright silly. And as for Keith Hernandez, he was a great fielder. His "ability to lead a team" is a soft plus. And Palmeiro absolutely blows him out of the water in every meaningful statistic you can find. Plus, Raffy is no slouch as a fielder. If you would seriously take Hernandez over Raffy, I will gladly let you have him. My all-time team will blow yours out of the water.

Here's how Kalb finishes up his argument:

If you want to argue that Musial was a left fielder, and Killebrew a third baseman; I can accept that. If you want to toss out Buck Leonard and Sadaharu Oh, I have more problems with that. Even without those four players, Palmeiro doesn't rank in the top 10. He's about even with Jeff Bagwell. And Albert Pujols is going to quickly eclipse some (many) of the names on this list.

'Who's on First?' Not Rafael Palmeiro. This is one time when 3,000 hits and 500 home runs are nothing to get excited about.

Even if Raffy is the eleventh best first baseman in history -- or, crazily, the sixteenth -- isn't that something to get excited about? And it's not 3,000 hits and 500 HR. It's 3,000 hits and 568 HR. And counting. If he plays next year he'll probably get to 3,150 and 600. Will people finally stop whining about him then?

Also, and this is shooting fish in a barrel now, you don't think 3000 hits and 500 (568) home runs are anything to get excited about? How abut 2182 and 162? That's what Keith Hernandez had. Does that excite you, dummy?

Finally, saying that Pujols is going to pass him is meaningless. Pujols is going to pass everyone.

(EDITED to add Hernandez's lifetime H and HR totals. And for you SABR purists, fear not, Raffy has him at every turn there, too, as you probably guessed.)

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posted by Anonymous  # 4:48 PM
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Buzz Bissinger Thinks We Can't Love Baseball

From the preface to "Three Nights in August":

"In this new wave of baseball, managers are less 'managers' than 'middle managers,' functionaries whose strategic options during a game require muzzlement, there only to effect the marching orders coldly calculated and passed down by upper management. It is wrong to say that the new breed doesn't care abut baseball. But it's not wrong to say that there is no way they could possibly 'love' it, and so much of baseball is about love. They don't have the sense of history, which to the thirtysomethings is largely bunk. They don't have the bus trips or the plane trips. They don't carry along the tradition, because they couldn't care less about the tradition. They have no use for the lore of the game -- the poetry of its stories -- because it can't be broken down and crunched into a computer. Just as they have no interest in the human ingredients that make a player a player and make a game a game: heart, desire, passion, reactions to pressure. After all, these are emotions, and what point are emotions if they can't be quantified?"

Of all of the stupid things I have read about baseball, and which we have discussed on this board, this makes me the angriest.

I know he's talking about managers, (although at times he seems mid-sentence to shift to talking about GMs), but extrapolating just a tiny bit, he means people like us, too.

I promise you, Buzz, I love baseball. So does Tito Francona. So does Ken Macha. So do Theo Epstein, JP Riccardi, and Billy Beane.

Saying that the "new breed" doesn't care about things like heart, desire, passion, and reactions to pressure is stupid. The entire Theo Epstein era in Boston has been about finding (a) good players who are (b) loose enough to handle the Boston press. Would Kevin Millar be on this team if Epstein didn't care at all about things like "human ingredients?"

The "new breed" loves baseball as much as the "old breed." They're just smarter about putting winning teams together. If they didn't care about baseball, they'd go to Wall Street or run a hedge fund and make about fifty times as much money.

I've read four pages of your book and already hate you.


posted by Anonymous  # 2:53 PM
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Friday, July 22, 2005


Liveblogging the Joe Morgan LiveChat V

Josh (San Francisco): Hi Joe. Who do you think has the best top of the rotation in baseball? Astros (Clemens, Oswalt, Petitte), Cubs (Prior, Zambrano, Maddux), ChiSox (Buehrle, Garland, Garcia), A's (Harden, Zito, Haren) or the Cards (Carpenter, Mulder, Morris)? Did I forget anyone?

Joe Morgan: (1:52 PM ET ) That's a very difficult question. Because of Clemens age ... it's tough, but I don't think you can get any better than Clemens, Petitte and Oswalt. The Cards and the White Sox, they are some of the best in the game. I'd be happy with any of those you mention, but I guess I'd have to say Houston.

Why is it tough because of Clemens's age? Was the question "Who will have the best rotation in 2007?"

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posted by Anonymous  # 2:36 PM
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Liveblogging the Joe Morgan LiveChat III

Joe is on a roll:

Ricky (Santa Monica, CA): As a second baseman, i think you can make as accurate a judgement as anyone. What is Jeff Kent's place in the history of second baseman? He is so consistent with everything he does, and although he gets a bad rap with the media (self create or not), his play on the field is undeniable.

I have to break this nonsense answer up into constituent parts:

Joe Morgan: (1:49 PM ET ) I think Jeff Kent, obviously, during this era where numbers are easier to come by, has done a fantastic job.


My point is, he has been such a consistant offensive player at his position and he is a proven RBI guy.

How is that your point, after that first sentence? You seemed to be a Jeff Kent detractor (do you know what that word means? See post below) by saying that he plays in this "era where numbers are easier to come by." Then you say that he is fantastic and a consistent offensive player. Which is it?

I really think he is an excellent player, but I don't look at number to say that, I just think he is an excellent player, but I don't know about history and all that suff.

You don't look at number (sic) to say that? You just think he is an excellent player? But....isn't your belief that he is an excellent player based on numbers? Or what? How do you not base that on numbers? Also, you don't know about history "and all that suff (sic)"? Aren't you a historically important second baseman? Didn't Ricky in Santa Monica in fact start this by saying: "As a second baseman, i think you can make as accurate a judgment as anyone"? (Dangling participle is [sic].) Joe, you talk all the time about history, and how players who are rookies can't be compared to great players of the past, and so on. Since when do you shy away from historical analysis? (Well, not "analysis, per se, but "historical ramblings")

I will say that without him, the Dodgers would probably be in last place.

The Dodgers have scored three fewer runs than last-place Colorado. The Rockies have given up 84 more runs. I think that Jeff Kent's absence would not put the Dodgers into last place. But hey, that's just my opinion -- armed with logic, reason, and research. I trust Joe.

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posted by Anonymous  # 2:02 PM
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Liveblogging the Joe Morgan LiveChat II

Adam (Chicago): Hey Joe, love your work on Sunday night baseball. I have a question about my White Sox. What move do you see them making (if any) before the trading deadline? Are they good enough to do it without making any acquisitions?

Joe Morgan: (1:45 PM ET ) I say that that there are no great teams today, and because of that, everybody is looking for help, including the White Sox. We'll see what happens as far as trades are concerned, but I think the Sox are certainly looking to add some pitching if they could.

Again, with the "there are no great teams" thing. Enough.

Also, the very very very very very very very very very very very very last thing the White Sox need is pitching. That is an unbelievably stupid claim to make. They have the best pitching staff in the AL, and a great bullpen. They have no hitting, at all, and Frank Thomas is about to go back on the DL. Unreal.

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posted by Anonymous  # 1:59 PM
You're gonna hate me for this, Ken.

But it does sound like the ChiSox are in fact looking for more pitching. They may be more in need of offense, but all Joe's saying is that they're looking to add pitching if they could. If we're to believe the rumor mill, Ken Williams is sincerely trying to pry a frontline starter away (e.g. Clemens, Schmidt, Burnett). May not happen, but still.

That said, I doubt this is what Joe Morgan meant.
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Liveblogging the Joe Morgan LiveChat

Brendan (Cleveland, OH): Joe, Does it bother you that the A's are playing so well? It seems the Billy Beane detractors were waiting for a poor season with 2/3 of the Big 3 gone. Alas, it isn't going to happen. Haren has been a steal. Harden looks like an ace. It's only going to get better from here. Billy Beane truly looks like a maestro. What are your thoughts?

Joe Morgan: (1:41 PM ET ) I think Harden can be an ace, he is excellent, and they stole Thomas from Atlanta by giving up Hudson. The A's are playing great right now, the young pitching is their key, but, I would think that if Mulder, Hudson and Zito were still there, they'd be doing the same thing. For the record, I don't know why you would call me a Billy Beane detractor ... I just disagree with his philosophy. Are you a Joe Morgan detractor because you disagree with my philosophy? I don't think so.

Testy, testy! Sounds like somebody has been reading FJM. (Or, perhaps he is just testy, and ignorant. Who knows.) In any case, I have two things to say about this exchange.

1. The sentence "...they stole Thomas from Atlanta by giving up Hudson" is ipso facto ridiculous. Where I come from, which is earth, "stealing" means getting something for nothing. You don't steal money from a bank by depositing a check and then making a withdrawal.

2. If Mulder and Hudson were there, they might still be a good team but the freaking point is that they traded those guys because they had to, because they have no money. They were brilliant trades, because, as you admit, Joe, they are performing as well as anyone could have imagined them performing if those other, higher-priced players, who were going to be free agents at the end of the year, were still there. See how it's better that they have younger, cheaper players who aren't going to be free agents? Do you get it? Hello? Joe?

3. Turns out I have three things to say about this exchange. Look at this section again:

"For the record, I don't know why you would call me a Billy Beane detractor ... I just disagree with his philosophy. Are you a Joe Morgan detractor because you disagree with my philosophy? I don't think so."

First of all, he didn't even call you a "Billy Beane detractor." What he said was: "It seems the Billy Beane detractors were waiting for a poor season with 2/3 of the Big 3 gone." He did not name you, or attack you, despite having every reason to do so.

Second of all...Joe. Friend. Where I come from, which is, again, earth, a "detractor" is exactly defined as someone who disagrees with someone else's philosophy. So, the reason he called you a Billy Beane detractor is because you disagree with his philosophy. And, also, yes, I certainly am a Joe Morgan detractor because I disagree with your philosophy.

What do you think a "detractor" is? I'm serious. What could a "detractor" possibly be, if not someone who disagrees with someone else's philosophy -- i.e., someone who thinks that someone else is wrong about stuff, and thus thinks/speaks ill of him? Joe Morgan is the very definition of "Billy Beane detractor."


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posted by Anonymous  # 1:45 PM
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Retraction?! Never!!

Joe Morgan has written an article for ESPN called like "Flawed Teams Eye Trade Deadline." I would excerpt it here, except that it is utterly boring and content-less. He essentially goes through each of the teams that has a chance to make the playoffs and says that they either (a) need another bat or (b) could use some pitching. It's amazing.

However, I would like to print one part of it. But first, I'd like to reprint a comment he made in a chat not three weeks ago:

"Ryan (Atl): Hey Joe, I have been saying this for a month now and nobody has listened to me. The A's will win the West. Pitching wins games, and behind Harden, Zito, Blanton, and Haren I beleive that the A's have the best staff in the A.L. The offense has is waking up too with Crosby back. Any thoughts on this???"

"Joe Morgan: Well, nobody is listening to you, Ryan, and I'm not going to listen to you either. I don't even think the A's are going to make the playoffs. They started off 7-20, and they've been playing much better, I'll give them that, but they are not nearly as good as the California Angels are, and their offense is not nearly as good as you think it is. I will agree with you that their good young pitching staff is impressive. Their test will come in the next six games when they play the White Sox."

Okay. Now, a comment from today's column:

AL: Oakland Athletics
After a slow start, due in part to injuries, the A's are now one of the hottest teams in baseball and are within 2½ games of the AL wild-card leaders (Minnesota and New York). In the AL West, the A's trail the first-place Angels by 6½ games.

Oakland is led by veterans like Eric Chavez, who has plenty of postseason experience. But I don't necessarily expect the A's to win the AL wild card, because their rotation features young pitchers like Rich Harden, Danny Haren and Joe Blanton (none is older than 24). Young pitchers tend to run out of gas after they've logged about 150 innings. I believe this is why Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis ran out of gas last year.

The typical major-league starter logs 200-plus innings in a season, but younger pitchers are used to lesser workloads in college or the minor leagues. So young guys need to build up arm strength.

I expect the A's starters to pitch well for another month, at least, and Oakland has a chance to make a run in that time.

What the hell is this? Why should we watch them if they aren't going to win? But wait -- they might win. But their ptchers are...young? So they will pitch well for another month, and then stink? So they might not win the WC? What are you saying?

I think you are saying that the A's have a chance to win the WC, and if that is true, you should lambaste yourself for saying the exact opposite like 16 days ago.

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posted by Anonymous  # 12:39 PM
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Real Quick:

Loyal readers of FJM will remember that John Kruk predicted Randy Johnson would win 30 games this year. And that Harold Reynolds seconded that prediction a month later.

After tonght, Randy Johnson: 10-6, 4.21 ERA, .266 BAA, 21 HR allowed. On pace for a 17-10 season.

Rubbing it in? They deserve it, those idiots.

Also, completely inappropriately for this board:

Jason Giambi's OPS in 2003: .939. Jason Giambi's OPS in 2004: .721. Jason Giambi's OPS in April 2005: .768. May: .664. June: .905. July: 1.541.

More significantly, his SLG: April: .373. May: an Alex Cora-esque .315. June: .431. July: 1.000.

Somebody give me one reason not to think that he is back on the Juice, effective June 1, 2005.

One reason.

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posted by Anonymous  # 2:08 AM
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Thursday, July 21, 2005


As a GM, Dennis Tuttle makes Steve Phillips look like a genius.

Let's take a look at Dennis Tuttle's lineup for his All-Grunt Team, which he hilariously has christened "The G-r-r-r-unts!"

Catcher - Pat Borders MVP of the 1992 World Series for the Blue Jays, vagabond Borders has played for nine big-league teams and spent all or parts of the past seven seasons in the minors. At 42, he's now the Mariners' starting catcher.

Pat Borders this year: 35 games .219/.252/.295/.547 1 HR 7 RBI
Career numbers: .254/.289/.376/.665
Surely there are better examples of "grunts" at the catching posistion. Perhaps some who aren't terrible?

First Base - Julio Franco He will be 47 in August, and no one in baseball has a better body. He can still run, play adequate defense and, yes, he batted .309 last year in 320 at-bats. In his 21st big-league season, why should he stop?

I don't really have a problem with this. It is pretty amazing what Franco is doing this year. But let's check ourselves before we wreck ourselves by claiming that nobody in baseball has a better body than Julio Franco. Unless "better" means that Dennis Tuttle has done some epidemiological studies and proven that Franco's body ages differently than other humans. In which case I would use the word "scientifically anomolous."

Second Base - Craig Counsell He does absolutely nothing skillwise above average -- except win. A major component of the '97 Marlins and '01 Diamondbacks championship teams, he's smart, gritty and does all the little non-stat stuff that wins games.

Do you realize that you're saying that Craig Counsell is bad at baseball but since he was lucky enough to be on two very good (and very lucky) teams, he's all of a sudden awesome? Can we stop using the number of championships a guy has won to argue how good he is? Because if we don't, get ready for my upcoming treatise on why Lenny DiNardo is the greatest pitcher ever.

Shortstop - Guess The Fuck Who? At a generous 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Eckstein has used work ethic, desire and heart to defy the, uh, sizable odds of starting in the big leagues. All he does is hustle, get on base, make the plays and get the "big" hits.

I have nothing more to say about David Eckstein. But excellent plays on words, Dennis. Nice touch.

Third Base - Ryan Freel A player of many positions, Freel is so insistent on playing somewhere that he carries 10 different gloves, including Ruben Mateo's outfield model and Brandon Larson's third-base mitt. And where are those guys?

There are a maximum of nine positions on a baseball field. What's more, there are only really 5 different types of gloves. I'm thinking Freel might just be nuts. Anyway, this gives me absolutely no idea why Freel is good at baseball. You know what does? His .407 OBP. How 'bout mentioning that?

Outfield - Guess the Fuck Who? (Part II) A speedy leadoff guy plagued by injuries, Podsednik bounced among three organizations in the minors before sticking with the Brewers in 2003 and winning NL Rookie of the Year. Traded to the White Sox in the offseason, he has been their catalyst atop the AL Central.

I have nothing more to say about Scott Podsednik. (He's wildly overrated.)

Outfield - Brady Clark One of the hardest-working players in the game, at age 32, Clark doesn't take a day in the majors for granted after being undrafted, released twice and traded once while in the minors. "Whenever my career is over, I don't want to have any regrets. I just want to know that every time I stepped on the field, I did my best."

This I have no problem with. Brady Clark is actually putting up decent numbers for a guy who, by his mere presence on this list, is a mediocre player.

Outfield - Jason Bay Called a grinder by scouts, Bay, the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year, was a 22nd-round pick and part of the deal that sent Brian Giles to San Diego. All he does is hit, get on base and drive in runs.

C'mon, Dennis. the guy was a ROY and an all-star. This may actually be talent we're seeing here. I don't care how scrappy and Canadian he is.

Starting Pitcher - Livan Hernandez A true throwback who refuses to look at pitch counts or innings, Hernandez also refuses to be pinch hit for and hates coming out of the game with a lead. Go ahead, try situational pitching changes with him. Frank Robinson stands down.

Wow. Touching on a subject we've already tackled here on FJM, Dennis Tuttle actually refers to a non-white player as a "throwback." Kudos. That said, this is the only other non-caucasoid player on this list, so we can all see that the scrappiness racism that pervades baseball commentary is alive and well.

Relief Pitcher - Terry Mulholland Spot starter, long reliever, one batter -- you name it, and this 42-year-old bulldog will take the ball any time. No questions. More than 650 appearances over 19 seasons for nine teams.

Whoa, there Dennis. Just because he'll take the ball doesn't mean you should give it to him. Since 1994, do you know how many years he posted a sub 4.00 ERA? One. His career K/BB is less than 2. Hang on to that ball, Dennis.

DH - Kevin Millar Always eager to play and a royal pain when he doesn't, Millar carries mitts for third and first and two models for the outfield, saying, "If they need me to play somewhere, I have a glove."

What is it about Tuttle and gloves? They say Willie Mays was the greatest player ever, not because of his hitting or fielding, but for the fact that he brought well over 3,800 gloves to every game. And another thing, Dennis. In your fantasyland of "grunty" players, is it actually a good thing when players bitch about playing time? Because in real baseball world it's frowned upon.

His final two players are Placido Polanco and Orlando Palmeiro, and he doesn't really say anything dumb about them. Perhaps he was sleepy. Like I am now.

Maybe we have more in common than we think, Dennis Tuttle.

Your New Best Friend,

posted by Murbles  # 10:12 PM
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"Baseball For Dummies," Indeed (Part III): Joe Morgan Defines "Outstanding"

From page 287 of "Baseball For Dummies," by Joe Morgan (with Richard Lally):

This stat (WHIP) tells you how many base runners a pitcher surrenders for every inning pitched...A WHIP below 1.50 is outstanding in these heavy-hitting days.

>> This book was published in February of 2005. I'm guessing that most of you reading this are pretty familiar with what constitutes a good WHIP, but indulge me with just a few fish-in-a-barrell stats to point out how way, way off Joe Morgan is.

The major league average WHIP for pitchers so far this year is 1.38. Meaning that the average pitcher is "outstanding" by a comfortable margin.

There are currently 94 starting pitchers eligible for the ERA title who have WHIPs at or below 1.50. That's 85% of all eligible starters.

The following pitchers have WHIPs of below 1.50: Runelvys Hernandez; Carl Pavano; Zach Greinke; Jeff Suppan; Brandon Backe; Victors Zambrano and Santos; Nate Bump; and of course, the incomparable Doug Waechter.


posted by dak  # 12:11 AM
Amazing. That is literally like saying that 500 yards receiving in a year is outstanding. Or that averaging 9 PPG in the NBA is outstanding. Or that hitting .248 is outstanding. A WHIP of 1.50 is the very definition of "not outstanding."
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005


FJM Looks Back

From Joe Morgan's Chat of May 23, excerpted in our archives.

Mike: (Howell,NJ): Joe, How do you think Giambi looked at the plate over the West Coast trip? Is he coming around or is he never going to be that intimidating force at the plate again?

Joe Morgan: I think the problem is still how will he get his ABs? What about Bernie Williams? Ruben Sierra? Both gave the Yankees more than Giambi last season. The problem I have is watching Bernie hit a GS to win the game and then he doesn't play the next day but Giambi does and goes 1-4? Bernie is just as important is Giambi. He helped them win 4 WS titles.

Ken Tremendous: Okay, I really didn't want to interrupt here, but this has multiple problems. 1) You didn't answer the guy's question. At all. 2) Ruben Sierra is injured. 3) Bernie Williams sucks. 4) Giambi's numbers are better than both Ruben Sierra's and Bernie Wiliams's. And it is fabulously, wonderfully irrelevant that Bernie Williams helped the Yankees win 4 World Series titles. I dealt with this in a previous post, which you clearly have not read. 5) Are you serious when you are angry because Giambi went 1-4 in a game after Bernie hit a grand slam to win a game? Do you know what a small sample size is? Do you know what anything is? Have you seen a baseball game, ever? Please. Just try to answer people's questions.

Just a quick check-in: Giambi currently: .937 OPS. Bernie: the worst centerfielder in baseball. Joe Morgan: has yet to admit his mistake.

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posted by Anonymous  # 8:49 PM
Sometimes it seems like Joe Morgan isn't even reading this site anymore.
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"Baseball For Dummies," Indeed (Part II): Joe Morgan Wants Your Team To Lose

Also from page 94 of "Baseball For Dummies," by Joe Morgan with Richard Lally, in a section called "The Dying Art of Bunting" (need you read more?):

"There comes a time in every baseball season when anyone - even hulking sluggers like Sammy Sosa or Carlos Delgado - should bunt. For example, say you're playing a game that decides whether you or your opponent clinches a championship. You come to bat with the winning run on first and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth inning. I don't care how many home runs you hit all season, your job is to bunt that runner to second base."

>> I know that it seems unlikely that anyone will ever convince Joe Morgan and his bunt-happy dinosaur friends that bunting is often a bad idea. But just so we're all on the same page, let's just take a quick look at the numbers one more time (based on the enormous sample size of all data from 1999-2002).

SITUATION A: With a guy on first and nobody out, the average number of runs your team will score is: .953
SIUTATION B: With a guy on second and one out, the average number of runs your team will score is: .725

Perhaps most importantly, your chances of losing the game in the example that Joe Morgan's outlined are higher in situation B.
Chances of scoring zero runs in situation A (and losing): 56.3%
Chances of scoring zero runs in situation B (and losing): 59.4%

The only way that successfully bunting gives your team an advantage is if your only goal is to score just one run, and presumably send the game to extras. In situation A, your team has a 17.6% chance of scoring one run. In situation B, your team has a 23.0% chance of scoring one run. (If you're trying to score 2 or more runs, and actually win the game, not bunting gives you a distinct advantage ceteris paribus.)

Of course, Joe Morgan doesn't care who's batting. He doesn't care if you're Barry Bonds and you've hit 73 home runs already. He wants you to lay one down.

To say that bunting occasionally helps your chances of winning is a difficult, but reasonable argument to make (pitcher up; terrible fielding pitcher; speedy guy at the plate with no power and a decent chance of bunting for a hit -- these are all things that might make bunting more viable) . To say that bunting is always the right thing to do in the example Joe Morgan writes about is to insist on living in a pre-Francis Bacon age.

posted by dak  # 7:40 PM
To be fair, Joe is talking about the run on first being the winning run. So, scoring zero runs doesn't mean you lose. It means you go to extras. The point is the same, however, since the chances you will score zero runs with a runner on second and one out is greater than the chance you will score zero runs with a runner on first and no one out. Your last paragraph is the best, I think, since there are certainly scenarios in which you might want a bunt. Christian Guzman is up, ninth inning, 1-1 game, Game Seven of the WS, with a speedy runner on first and Bartolo Colon pitching (in the Angels-Nats World Series that ESPN predicted a while ago), you want that guy bunting, because when he swings he makes outs like 75% of the time. get him over, and let Nick Johnson get him in, or get on base himself, and wear out the pitcher. But to say that like David Ortiz or someone, who never ever practices bunting, and who has an OPS of .960+ should EVER bunt, is straight insane.
Eh, you're right, Ken.

Looks like I'm the dummy. Who's with me?
I'm with you, friend.
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"Baseball For Dummies," Indeed (Part I): A Thing I've Never Seen

From page 94 of "Baseball for Dummies" by Joe Morgan (with Richard Lally):

"Analyzing the Pitcher -- JOE SAYS: I usually watched the opposing pitcher warm up in the bullpen to see what pitches he was throwing for strikes. Generally, if a pitcher can't control his slider or curve in the bullpen, he won't be able to control them in the game for at least an inning or two."

>>Keep in mind, Joe's talking about his days as a ballplayer. Does anyone believe that he actually watched pitchers warm up in the bullpen when he was about to start a baseball game? (Or, even more ridiculously, during the game as a reliever warmed up in the bullpen?) Has anyone ever seen an opposing player somehow find the time before the game, during warmups, to go to the opposing team's bullpen, and not only take a look at the opposing pitcher, but monitor which pitches he was throwing for strikes?

I might be wrong. Maybe they did things differently in Joe Morgan's day. Or maybe Joe Morgan did things differently. But I'm going to remain skeptical that this ever happened, mostly because Joe Morgan is a giant idiot. Somebody tell me if I'm wrong.

posted by dak  # 7:29 PM
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I love Peter Gammons...

because he, unlike many of his colleagues, has never taken himself too seriously. From his last chat:

Jason Johnson (Detroit, MI): If the Burnett to Baltimore rumors prove to be false, could I end up back in Baltimore by August 1st?

SportsNation Peter Gammons: It's possible. The Orioles would like either you, Jason, or Mark Redman in addition to A.J. Burnett.

Without missing a beat, he even goes so far as to indicate he's in on the joke by tossing in the name. Congrats on the Hall of Fame, PG. I now return you to our regular slate of sports journalism critiques.

posted by Coach  # 5:16 PM
No Kay Hanley reference?
Peter Gammons wrote me to mention that, if he had to choose a song that best summarizes his career, it would be "Freedom Overspill" by Steve Winwood. What does that even mean? He also went out of his way to compliment Jody Gerut's skill at auto repair and predicted that one day Chris Snopek will be one of the game's great hitters.
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Overreaction of the Year Award

...goes to Rob Dibble:

While other teams in the AL East sit and watch the transaction wire, the New York Yankees make moves and release dead weight in a New York minute.

Before we even get started, the Red Sox made three roster moves a few days ago, and the Orioles are about to get A.J. Burnett. So, nice start here, Rob.

Al Leiter is just the latest example. Whether it be getting rid of Steve Karsay, Mike Stanton or Paul Quantrill, or making a trade for Leiter, GM Brian Cashman will waste no time in changing the face of this $200 million team. Time is money, and wasting time is losing ground to the competition.

First, that is a brilliantly mixed metaphor, there, at the end. Good work. Second, so, just to be clear, you are praising Brian Cashman for releasing three guys who were GROSSLY overpaid by, um, Brian Cashman. And then you are praising Brian Cashman for scooping up Al Leiter off the scrap heap, which might not be a bad move, but which was made for the simple reason that the Yankees LITERALLY DID NOT HAVE ANYONE TO START on Sunday against the Red Sox. Way to keep the nonsense going, Dibs! Let's see what's next...

While the Orioles try to get A.J. Burnett, and the Red Sox trade for light-hitting Alex Cora and miss out on Bret Boone, Cashman picked up Leiter for a player to be named later and some cash.

Alex Cora is a utility infielder who plays good defense and costs nothing. Bret Boone has a .656 OPS (lower than Mark Bellhorn's sub-par .689) and costs four million dollars for the rest of the year. Bret Boone is also 36 years old. Bret Boone would have been a terrible pick-up -- or at least a terrible risk -- for any team.

This may not sound like much now, but it's little moves you make like Theo Epstein did last year that can win you a championship. No one knows that better then the Yankees. It was the Dave Roberts stolen base in Game 4 of The ALCS that broke the Yanks' back last year.

No it wasn't. That was the first of like four thousand subsequent events that broke the Yanks' back. How can the very first thing that went right for the Red Sox that entire series be the thing that "broke the Yanks' back?" Bill Mueller's single, Leskanic's four big outs, Ortiz's home run, Ortiz's single, ARod striking out with a runner on third and one out in a close game, Rivera's two blown saves, Gordon imploding, Schilling's 7 innings of one-run ball, Bellhorn's home run, ARod's swiping of Arroyo's arm, Foulke striking out Tony Clark with the tying runs on base in the ninth of Game Six, Derek Lowe's six innings in Game 7, Ortiz's home run after Damon was thrown out at the plate, Damon's Grand Slam, Damon's 2-run shot, and Bellhorn's solo job after Pedro had given up two runs, are all better examples of things that "broke the Yanks' back."

And it was Leiter who beat the Sox this past weekend to help the Bombers take three out of four in Boston.

This is factually correct. Nice job.

Getting Al Leiter could wind up being season-turning move for New York. You may ask, why Al Leiter? He's old and wasn't pitching worth a damn in Florida. But I say it's a great move.

Okay. Back that up.

Leiter started his career in New York when he was 21 back in 1987 and made 22 starts over two-plus seasons before going to Toronto. Then he pitched in New York with the Mets from 1998-2004, so he is well aware of the pressure and circumstance of being in a New York uniform.

You are failing to back that up. Does anyone think that "pressure" is really make or break for any of these people? Did Tim Redding shit the bed in New York because of the Pressure? Or because he isn't that good?

Plus, he's won world championships with Toronto and Florida and tried to get one with the Mets, so he's postseason ready for sure.

This is fantastic. Dibble is doing one of my favorite Joe Morgan-esque things, which is praising players for winning championships in the distant past. And, he is going one step further, which is praising Al Leiter for TRYING to get a championship. Is there any player in history who has not, at some point, tried to get a championship? "You know who should be in the Hall of Fame? Ron Roenicke. That guy tried to get so many championships."

What I also like about the 39-year-old (we played together in Florida in 1996 when I was hurt all year, my last in the big leagues) is that this is a shot in the arm, a chance at one last shot at glory, and there are few players I respect more then Al. He's always prepared, always attacking the hitter with every pitch, and one of the proudest players I've been around, so if he doesn't have his stuff some nights, you can bet he'll try and beat you with his heart.

Al Leiter's heart on the year: 2.90 ERA, 49 IP, 44 H, 18 BB, 31 K. His heart has been pretty good, I guess.

He's a tough son of a b---- and there's no better player to have around when you need someone to lead.

First, thank you for not swearing in print. Second, the Yankees need someone to lead? With Jeter, Posada, Williams, ARod, Sheffield, Rivera...they need a leader?

One last thing, along with Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, and when Carl Pavano comes back, Leiter's addition will give the Yankees four pitchers in their rotation who have won championships. And I like those odds when the postseason starts.

Wow. Kevin Brown is valuable because he has won championships? How valuable was that last year, when he started Game Seven against Boston and didn't make it out of the second inning, you fucking moron? Randy Johnson is 42. Kevin Brown is 39 and has CHRONIC BACK TROUBLE. Carl Pavano, before getting injured, had given up MORE HITS THAN ANYONE IN BASEBALL. Al Leiter is 39 and terrible.

But don't worry. They've won championships. And in the Manure-Brain Universe Rob Dibble lives in, that means more than whether they are good.

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posted by Anonymous  # 2:05 PM
EDIT: I guess you could argue that Stanton was grossly overpaid by somebody else (Minaya? Who gave that guy his Mets contract?).
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Why do "chat wraps" exist?

To my knowledge, no one has ever received any exclusive insider news, provocative insight or commentary that was bolstered by anything other than anecdotal observation. It seems that they exist as an exercise to keep this site on its toes. Enter Steve Phillips

SP: What a Red Sox-Yankees weekend! It seems like most of the good teams keep playing good baseball after the break. What's on your mind today?

>>There is no reason to believe that good teams would play bad baseball after the break, is there? And FYI, with the exception of the final game, the Sox-Yanks series featured about thirty abysmal individual pitching performances, mostly by generally good starters. The Yanks weren't good and could easily have lost as won three of four.

Darren (Baltimore, Maryland): Whats the latest with Burnett? There is talk that the deal with Baltimore is all but done.

SP: I like AJ as a kid. We had him with the Mets and traded him for Leiter. He has No. 1 stuff but pitches like a No. 4 starter. He's 42-44 in his career.

>>But you still like him as a friend, right? What about that deal to Baltimore...?

If the Red Sox think they are getting a front-end starter, they really are not.

>>Wait, we weren't talking about the Red Sox.

Mike Lowell has struggled significantly this year. I'm not sure he would be a great upgrade over what they have.

>>So? Yeah, he might be packaged in a proposed deal to BALTIMORE, but we were supposed to focus on your good bud AJ, right?

The Red Sox should just play Olerud a little more.


Burroughs has struggled to hit for power of any sort and the Padres are so frustrated they are willing to give him up.


Arroyo is not a far cy from Burnett. At least in their records.

>>A Freudian slip from Arroyophile Steve Phillips perhaps? No, just careless.

The Marlins are freeing up a lot of payroll in the deal that they could possibly improve themselves this year with some high priced players. The Sox might be looking at this as a solution but the Marlins would still need some bullpen help to make a run in the NL East.

>>So Phillips believes that Marlins GM Larry Beinfest might be looking to trade a decent starter (ok, in his walk year) to free up money for high-priced bullpen help. Glad it all makes sense now. By the way, the above was not excerpted or abridged. That sequence of thoughts passed through his head and onto his computer after a person asked him to discuss rumors of Burnett to the O's.

posted by Coach  # 1:01 PM
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I acknowledge that the subject of this post straddles the borderline of "sports commentary."

I think we can all agree by now that sports commentators (and journalists) love saying and writing things that are flat-out wrong, or misinformed, or unsubstantiated. Then there are times when someone says something so obvious, so not worthy of spending the energy on speaking, that it's worth noting. And now, a far-too-long story about one such event.

I'm watching the Outdoor games or whatever thing it is on ABC / ESPN that has dogs and lumberjacks. (By the way, did I catch Bill Clement announcing this garbage? Sure sounded like him.) One event called "Hot Zone" features a handler throwing a frisbee to his or her dog, who is supposed to catch the frisbee in 5 different zones. In the middle of these zones is a "hot zone," a bad place. If the dog catches a frisbee in the "hot zone," all of the team's points are reset to zero. By team, I mean dog and human together.

So one team is just kicking ass at this event. Three zones in 30 seconds. Then the handler tosses a frisbee, and it just barely drifts into the "hot zone," where -- of course -- the dog catches it in his mouth. And it is at this point that the color commentator, whose name I unfortunately never caught, offers up the most obvious, self-evident "analysis" I've ever heard. I wish I could recreate for all of you how earnest and self-important he sounded when he said:

"In this case, you just have to blame the handler. Because the dog's just going to catch any frisbee you throw out there."

It sounded as if he felt the mighty burden of disabusing us humans of the notion that sometimes -- sometimes! -- it's not the dog's fault.

Okay, somebody please get us back to stupid things people say and write about baseball.

EDIT: Typo that Junior pointed out.
Meta-EDIT: Typo that Murbles pointed out.

posted by dak  # 9:22 AM
In your edit, you probably meant to write "EDIT," not "EIDT."
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Monday, July 18, 2005


Rob Dibble's Back! And He's Got Nothing To Say!

Rob Dibble thinks the World Baseball Classic is a bad idea, and he simply will not let his 6th grade-level writing skills prevent him from telling you why.

The 16 team, 18 day World Baseball Classic is great in theory but will have many problems as MLB tries to make it work. Cuba has come out and said, that if this competition is a capitalization of baseball it will not participate. The Japanese Major Leagues has accepted, but their players association has not. Alex Rodriguez said he would love to play for the Dominican Republic, but minutes later was told by Commissioner Bud Selig, it's not his decision to make. These are just a few of the early problems getting these games off the ground.

The Major League Baseball Players association has said, they will require pitch counts. Here's my take.

First of all, look at that paragraph structure. Look at those last two "sentences." I know it's pretty easy to nitpick a former athlete's grammar, but c'mon, Fox Sports. You must have proofreaders. Jeez.

Moving on, let's see why Dibble thinks the WBC is such a bad idea.

Having a tournament in the middle of spring training is going to cause many players to decline and many teams to hold their breath while their players, which they pay millions of dollars to, participate in an event that holds NO rewards for them.

I actually don't entirely disagree with Dibble here. Yes, many players will decline, and yes, these games will pose an injury risk. But it's not like these games are mandatory. And the risk of injury is about the same as it would be in a spring training game, which is what they'd normally be doing at the time. The bottom line is if a player, or that player's team, thinks it's a bad idea for that player to play, then guess what? They don't have to play. Easy.

As for the "NO rewards" comment, I have to disagree with our erstwhile Nasty Boy. Did you see those guys during the Home Run Derby? They were going nuts. Wouldn't you rather see the DR take on Venezuela than an early spring training Jays-Phillies split-squad game? I would.

Just like winter baseball in many countries, once players have achieved some success in our Major Leagues, their teams ask them to stop playing, 1) because they don't want the player to risk injury and 2) teams want their players to have enough off-season as possible, and to save their best baseball for the MLB Championship Season.

These will be some of the major problems facing MLB as they ask players, 1) who are not in tip-top shape and 2) could be coming off season-ending surgery or some injury that hurt their production the year before.

When writing a baseball column, 1) try not to use the same enumarative literary trope twice and 2) don't use it two paragraphs in a row.

When you do this, 1) you look like a moron, and 2) you look like an idiot.

Sorry. I couldn't resist. Anyway, this doesn't really make any sense because these players would otherwise be playing in spring training anyway. Dibble also seems to think that players are going to be forced to play in this thing at the expense of any mitigating factors.
"Sorry, Kerry Wood. I know you're coming off your 17th Tommy John surgery, but the US just needs you to start against South Africa. You're just going to have to put your career on the back burner. Your country needs you."

I agree with Dibble that these games are essentially meaningless. You know which other games are meaningless? Spring training games.

And this might be the biggest reason — we are trying to get ready for a long, 185 day, 162 game season and possible playoff games. Some of our team is playing in this tournament, and some of us are playing spring training games, and all of us are not together for 18 days, and possibly longer depending on if you go to the final rounds?

"We?" "Our team?" "some of us?" Oh dear, the poor man thinks he's still in the league. Rob. You haven't pitched in the majors in 10 years because you fucked up your arm so bad your career was over at age 31. You must have pitched in a lot of World Baseball Classics to mess up your arm that bad!

If I'm a player and or an owner, I say no thanks, if you won't stop the season for the Olympics, then don't stop spring training for The World Baseball Classic.

Wait. Those are two entirely different things. In one, baseball is essentially replacing some meaningless games with other, more interesting meaningless games. In the other, we're interrupting a season for an event which is no longer in the Olympics. I'd say that's a pretty major difference.

posted by Murbles  # 9:30 PM
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Skip Bayless continues to insist he's an idiot.

Today on Cold Pizza. The question was: "Who is the best athlete in sports today? Is it Tiger Woods?"
Skip's response: Nope. The best athlete in sports today is...Deion Sanders.

He was not joking.

posted by dak  # 3:37 PM
"Sports Today" is the name of the sporting goods retail chain Bayless happened to be shopping in when Deion Sanders posed this question to him, right?
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JM LiveBlogging

Watched the game on JetBlue, and was 104% sure that when I got home and read this blog, someone (my money was on Murbles) was going to have liveblogged this comment from Joe Morgan:

"The thing about Giambi is that he's always done things to help his teams. He gets on base, he walks -- things that don't show up in the box scores."

Albert Pujols is the same way -- he walks, he hits homeruns, he hits singles, he knocks in runs, he hits sac flies, he makes errors, and he plays 1B -- you know, things that don't show up in the box scores.

(Apologies if quote is inexact; however, Morgan definitely said "...he walks -- things that don't show up in the box scores.")

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posted by Anonymous  # 2:34 AM
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Skippy Bayless: Addendum

Murbles beat me to attacking Bayless's article, which should literally get him (Bayless, not Murbles) banned from sportswriting, but I have to chime in.

Bayless's argument is essentially that when approaching the question of whether or not a player belongs in the Hall, instead of using a combination of: (a) the numbers that a player generates, and (b) a healthy, well-reasoned debate about this player's abilities (compared with others' abilities) and the era in which he played, we should instead use the fool-proof, rock-solid HOF litmus test consisting of whether or not Skip Bayless's gut instinct is that this player is a Hall of Famer. That, and whether or not the millions of idiots who do things like vote David Bell as the starting third baseman for the AL decided to vote for Raffy more than whomever.

Someone explain that.

Can we stop with the all-star game bullshit? This is simply not a valid argument, in any way, shape or form? And how is it that the people who bitch that Raffy never started an all-star game so he shouldn't be in the hall are often the same idiots who complain that the voters are moronic for not voting in Derek Jeter? Either the voters are infallible geniuses whose thoughtful and incisive voting patterns should decide whether or not players receive immortality, or they are drunk USC frat guys who, after loading up on Bud right before the 7th inning stretch beer deadline at the Big A, realize that Adam Kennedy looks EXACTLY like their buddy Snooze from Delta Sig so they call their other buddy Todd "Shitface" Morgan and have him organize an all-night beer pong/on-line vote-a-thon to vote for Adam Kennedy for the All-Star Game and rack up 102,000 votes overnight and force him onto the team while more deserving players sit at home.

And yes, I know Adam Kennedy wasn't an all-star.

The point is, since when does the fan vote determine anything about how good a player was?

And, just because there happen to have been several future hall of famers playing first base at the same time Raffy played first base, does that mean Raffy shouldn't be a hall of famer too? And, I might add, since when did playing at an incredibly high level for 19 years become a BAD thing? Why does Bayless want to punish longevity and consistency?

On a side note, I think that there is a certain kind of sportswriter who really enjoys saying the words "It's not the 'Hall of Very Good.'" This is the sportswriter equivalent of the guy who still thinks it is funny and interesting to point out that none of the things that Alanis Morisette labels "ironic" in her song "Isn't It Ironic" is actually ironic.

Skip Bayless's article, which I highly recommend reading in full, contains not one single good shred of argument for why Rafael Palmeiro should be denied entrance to the Hall of Fame. Murbles has already covered the reasons why, but it needs to be said a thousand times until we actually get one of these people fired.

(EDITED for clarity. Probably not well enough.)

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posted by Anonymous  # 2:01 AM
Didn't think this was worthy of its own post, but I just saw Ozzie Smith on Cold Pizza do a bracket elimination of the greatest shortstops playing today. In Ozzie Smith's opinion, Jeter doesn't make it out of the first round, losing to Omar Vizuel.

It was awesome.
I meant "Vizquel."

Omar Vizuel is a Latin superhero with x-ray vision.
Ken and I have talked about this, but regardless...

In re: The "It's not the Hall of Very Good" argument. It's also not "the Hall of Awesome," "The Hall of the Excellent," "The Hall of the Best," or "The Hall of Whatever Is Substantially Better Than Very Good."

It's the Hall of Fame. They have their own guidelines for voting somebody in. And doing anything other than following those rules is ridiculous, especially if you're actually going to go ahead and point out what the Hall of Fame isn't.

Skip Bayless...that guy...grrRR!
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Sunday, July 17, 2005


Why Do They Let Skip Bayless Write About Baseball?

Skip Bayless, formerly known as the guy who actually made Cold Pizza worse, chooses the occasion of Rafael Palmeiro's 3,000th hit to make the case that he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame.

This is a topic much loved among idiots, and the reasons they continue to provide in support of Raffy's exclusion are always wonderfully dumb.

Bayless begins his argument in an interesting way. By pointing out the fact that he is now one of four players to amass 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, two numbers which individually are usually seen as automatic Hall entrance coupons. Then, as if to erase any doubt of his hatred of statistics, he argues that Eddie Murray (one of the other three 3,000/500 guys) shouldn't be in the Hall either.

He then repeats every classic argument in the idiot arsenal:

1. Thinking is bad!
"Most baseball writers will also tell you he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But is he? If you had to stop and think about it for even a moment, he isn't."

Is this how the Hall of Fame elections go? "Duke Snider! In or out?! Three seconds! Go! No time to think!" Take your time, Skip. Take a look at Palmeiro's numbers. Take a look at that career 132 OPS+. Or if those nerdy statistics are too much for you, take a look at those 566 home runs. You know how many people have hit more than 566 home runs? Eight. You know where he ranks on the all time RBI list? 16th. Above such "no-brainers" as Honus Wagner, Reggie Jackson and Cal Ripken.

2. He Plays Baseball
Too many seam-headed voters are too imprisoned by milestone numbers. For them, 3,000 plus 500 equals first ballot. I realize I'm thinking way too right-brain for a baseball argument, but just listen to your instinct when I ask: "Is Rafael Palmeiro a game-changing player?"

Change the game to what? Stan Musial was a great player because sometimes just out of nowhere he would start playing lawn darts in the outfield. Totally changed the game to lawn darts. I'm not looking at all the individual game results right now, but I have a feeling those 566 home runs and 1700+ RsBI may have changed a few of the outcomes of those games. But then again, I'm not ingnoring half of my brain.

3. He Doesn't Have The Ability To Change How Others Play Or Vote On Their All-Star Ballots
Palmeiro has made only four All-Star teams -- half of Murray's. Not once has Palmeiro been voted a starter. His highest MVP finish is fifth. Not once has he led the league in home runs, RBI or batting average.

Fine. He never led his league in the triple crown categories. He just had terrible years like 1999, when he hit 47 homers and knocked in 148 runs. And also, if All-Star game selections are going to be a criterion of election, better get Scott Cooper's plaque ready.

4. Arguments Are Easy When You Don't Do The Requisite Research!
Palmeiro is nothing more than a very good player who has benefited from being a left-handed hitter in bandbox ballparks, Camden Yards and Ameriquest Field in Arlington, featuring right-field jet streams. Not counting the strike year of 1994, Palmeiro played five seasons in Baltimore and five in Arlington during 1995-2004. He averaged a little more than 36 homers a year in Baltimore, counting last season's 23, and almost 45 a year in Arlington.

This sounds pretty damning, until you realize that it's not really true. From 1994-2004, Palmeiro hit 234 homeruns at home and 188 on the road. An average difference of about 5 a year. Not a crazy difference, I would say.

5. Small Sample Sizes Make Dumb Arguments Fun!
Reggie Jackson made 14 All-Star teams and won two World Series MVPs, as well as the 1973 regular-season MVP. In 27 World Series games, Reggie batted .357 with 24 RBI and 10 homers -- including, of course, three in 1977's deciding Game 6 against the Dodgers. Palmeiro hasn't played in a World Series. In 22 postseason games, he has only four homers and eight RBI, with a .244 average.

So Palmeiro should suffer because he was on teams that didn't make it to the World Series? You know who sucks? Ernie Banks. That guy never did shit in the postseason either.

6. Use Unsubstantiated Rumors To Impugn The Guy's Character
Though Jose Canseco goes into detail in his book about how he educated Palmeiro about (and injected him with) steroids, Palmeiro heatedly denied ever using steroids when he testified before Congress. Canseco joined Palmeiro in Texas for the final two months of the '92 season. That season, Palmeiro hit 22 homers. The next, he hit 37 and turned into a legitimate 40-homer threat.

Did Palmeiro screw Skip Bayless's wife or something? Why does he have it out for the guy? I mean, you say Mark McGwire should be in with or without steroids, and his overall numbers are mostly similar to Palmeiro's. Oh, that's right. You're using the vaunted All-Star Selection/World Series defense. Bulletproof.

So who should be in the Hall? According to Skip Bayless...

Wade Boggs (OPS+ lower than Palmeiro's, 400 fewer homeruns)
Andre Dawson (lower OPS+, 100 fewer home runs, lower AVG, SLG, and OBP [.323!])
Dale Murphy (lower OPS+, 150 fewer home runs, lower AVG, SLG, and OBP [.346!])
Curt Schilling! (unremarkable 184-123 record, 131 ERA+, two notable postseason appearances, nine losing seasons)

He concludes with a list of players who are also no brainers:

Give me Aaron, Banks, Bench, Brock, Carew, Carlton, Clemente, Cobb, Dizzy Dean, DiMaggio, Drysdale, Eckersley, Feller, Whitey Ford, Gehrig, Gibson, Grove, Hornsby, Hubbell, Walter Johnson, Kaline, Killebrew, Koufax, Mantle, Marichal, Mathewson, Mays, McCovey …

Mize, Morgan, Musial, Ott, Paige, Palmer, Reese, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Ruth, Nolan Ryan, Schmidt, Seaver, Sisler, Ozzie Smith, Snider, Spahn, Speaker, Stargell, Honus Wagner, Ted Williams, Yastrzemski, Cy Young and Robin Yount.

I don't have the energy to go through all of these, but there are a few suspect choices. I'm looking at you, Pee Wee Reese and your un-Palmeiro-like career batting line. (.269, .366, .377, .743 128 HR, 2,170 hits).

In closing, I can't wait to watch Bayless on Cold Pizza tomorrow. Do you think he'll do "Old School-Nu-Skool with Stephen A. Smith? God, I hope so.

posted by Murbles  # 9:41 PM
I think he meant Pokey Reese, who is, you have to admit, a total no-brainer for the HOF.
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Saturday, July 16, 2005


Not exactly about baseball, but still wrong.

Sox - Yanks broadcast.
McCarver notes that with all the stars missing from the Yankees starting rotation, going to see the Yankees these days is like going to a broadway show and seeing nothing but understudies.
Then, Joe Buck jumps in, trying to get his piece of the hilarity pie:

"Tonight, playing the part of Matthew Broderick...Skippy Johnson."

I don't know. Maybe there is a Broadway show with a character called Matthew Broderick. Maybe?

Bonus Round! This is about baseball. McCarver and Buck both kept talking about how middle relief (especially in a game where one team goes ahead early, such as today's Sox - Yanks game) is never fully appreciated. This went on for quite some time. Then, as if to prove these 2 professional idiots wrong, the Sox fans gave Jeremi Gonzalez a standing ovation after pitching 3 1/3 innings of middle relief.

posted by dak  # 3:59 PM
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Thursday, July 14, 2005


Jim Bowden does everything he can to ruin his team. (Part VII)

Jim Bowden has just traded for Preston Wilson. PRESTON WILSON.

I don't know why every GM in the bigs isn't trying to fleece this guy once a week. He's putting together a team of players other teams don't want. Remember how Billy Beane was said to trade for undervalued players with "warts"? This is like the opposite of that. Jim Bowden is trading (and overpaying) for players with leprosy.

Last year, Preston Wilson had an OPS+ of 69. His OPS on the road is 691; his road OBP is 280. That's 17/1000ths better than Horacio Ramirez this year.

posted by dak  # 9:39 PM
Hey dak. Get out of the bathroom and edit your post to include the word "is." Thanks.
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A Modest Proposal

Can we please call an end to this kind of comment?

The scene: Yankees-Red Sox, top of the first. One out, nobody on. Robinson Cano hits a blooper to left, which Manny misplays. Cano stupidly tries to stretch it to third, and is gunned down for Manny's league leading 11th outfield assist.

Michael Kay:

"As strange as it may sound, if you're going to gamble to try to stretch it to third, you can do it with one out. You can make the second out at third, because you're gaining an advantage if you get there."

Michael Kay, in all of your infinite baseball wisdom, please explain why it is just as good to have nobody on with two outs as it is to have a man on second with one out. Especially when your next three batters are Sheffield, A-Rod, and Hideki Matsui (who is hitting .477 in his last 11 games). How is that okay?

Postscript: Sheffield walks, A-Rod singles him to third, Matsui flies out. The Yankees should be winning 1-0.

posted by Murbles  # 7:21 PM
This is what they call "conventional baseball wisdom," and it is always accompanied by the mantra that you never make the first or third out of an inning at third. But the thing that drives me nuts is that people just say that it's okay that you made the second out at third, since that's the CBW, without taking into account whether it was stupid baserunning or not. When Paul O'Neill got thrown out trying for three with one out in the first inning against the DBacks in the 2001 WS, he was almost praised for it -- for being aggressive and all that nonsense. It was a stupid play when you are 38 (or whatever) year-old Paul O'Neill, and you're in a World Series. But at least they were facing Schilling, and trying for a run early wasn't a terrible idea. In this situation, however, Cano flared a ball to left that Manny slid and missed by fifteen feet -- but it's still LEFT FIELD at FENWAY and SHEFFIELD, AROD, and MATSUI are coming up, and to get thrown out at third with one out on THAT PLAY was insanely dumb. You were given a free double. Take it, and let Sheff knock you in. The point of all of this being, just because it is CBW that you are "allowed" to make the second out of an inning at third base, does not mean that making the second out of an inning at third base is always okay. It's about context, people.
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Mercury plummets in Hell!

Someone gets it right about the 2005 Chicago South Side White Sox!

But that's not the best part--you'll never guess who said the following:

"We have a lot of work to do before anyone says we're in the playoffs -- we haven't won anything yet. A lot of things can go wrong. Our strong point has been our pitching. Our starters have kept us in the game, and our bullpen has been tremendous. The offense has been scoring just enough runs to win. Our record in one-run games has been pretty good."

This quote was given by none other than AL All-Star Scott Podsednik. Podsednik being the lone beacon willing at long last to credit the White Sox's success on its pitching is surprising, given he is as much a part of the smallball approach Ozzie Guillen has theoretically adopted as anyone. Kudos, 2005 AL All-Star Scott Podsednik!

posted by Coach  # 5:32 PM
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Some quick words from William Randolph

From today's NY Post:

"When I react, when I do things during the game or before the game, it's because I've thought about it...I'm about winning. I'm a winner. I'm about winning...I don't ego trip."

>> "I got into Weezer when I was in high school...I have three copies of the "Blue" album. Rivers Cuomo might be one of the best songwriters of our time. I have three copies of the "Blue" album...I'll tell you who I'm not such a fan of: Weezer."

posted by dak  # 5:09 PM
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Okay, Now I'm Excited.

An excerpt from Kevin Kennedy's new book, "Twice Around the Bases."

"Age is just one of many ways players, teams, managers, scouts -- everyone involved in baseball -- try to get that little extra edge that will help them succeed and win, even though the rationale behind these decisions doesn't always make sense. Let's face it, a great player who comes up to the majors at twenty-five will produce more in a shorter time than a mediocre player who makes his big-league debut at nineteen or twenty."

True. I'd say that a great player who comes up at any age will produce more in a shorter time than a mediocre player who comes up at any age. (By the way, this excerpt is from Chapter One. So, this is his opening "grab the audience" salvo. Pretty compelling stuff.)

"While it doesn't take a genius to understand that, most teams still look for youth. That's why so many Latin American players coming in have changed their ages over the years. It's much easier to change or create a new birth certificate in a third world country, where records are not kept so closely. However, 9/11 has changed all that."

First of all, Kevin, how did you sit down and write a book about your life in baseball, and find yourself droning on about birth certificates in the very first chapter? And, moreover, though this has nothing to do with baseball: how in the world do you just drop a "9/11" reference like that and then just drop the subject completely? (He doesn't go back to it in the rest of the excerpt, at least.)

I am now officially excited to read this book, which I imagine to be 288 pages of the most boring and wrong-headed dreck ever bound in cloth.

I am going away until Sunday, FJM. Keep the homefires burning.


posted by Anonymous  # 2:11 AM
"That's why so many Latin American players coming in have changed their ages over the years."

i like that the syntax of this setence. as if anyone's age doesn't change over the years. KK writes with the precision of a fenway park urinal trough. which troughs i hear have been removed from the stadium. and no, i have yet to see them appear on ebay.

haha, check out my grammar! who am i to question another man's composition?

-jimmy ballgame
I can't believe you're actually going to read that. Bravo.

So it doesn't involve Joe Morgan, sadly, but it's worth checking out this site. A NCAA-style elimination tournament to determine "which ESPN broadcasting personality is the most totally loathsome and most deserves to suffer permanent paralysis of the vocal cords". Vote early; vote often; include reasons for your vote.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Harold Reynolds, You Wonderful Idiot

Harold Reynolds, on why the AL's lineup is favored over the NL.

"Their offense is so versatile. They can bunt. They can steal..."

What kind of All Star Game do baseball analysts want to see, anyway? It's bad enough we have to deal with all this David Eckstein ball-washing, but do you really want to see David Ortiz lay one down so A-Rod gets into scoring position? If anyone on the AL tries to bunt, I will give Harold Reynolds 1,000 dollars. That even goes for you, Scott Podsednik.

*Bonus John Kruk Coverage!*

Matchup John Kruk is most looking forward to seeing:

Vladimir Guerrero vs. Billy Wagner

Has John Kruk ever seen an All Star game? Is he aware that by the time Billy Wagner gets into the game, Guerrero will be long gone? I mean, maybe Francona keeps him in till the seventh, but that seems highly unlikely. Although...I hear that this time the All Star Game does count.

posted by Murbles  # 11:46 AM
I laughed out loud when Krukie said that. He said something like he likes that matchup because it was the fastest fastball vs. the most violent swing and when the ball meets the bat who knows what will happen.
And as he said this the bottom of the screen read something like "lifetime Guerero vs. Wagner 1-14, 11K"
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Monday, July 11, 2005


Well, At Least These Guys Will Be Calling The All-Star Game

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver answer questions about the All-Star Game. Do you think they'll say anything stupid?

On the "This Time It Counts" format:

McCarver: "I detect a bit more excitement this year it seems, and an example of that is Bobby Abreu, who led the outfielders in the National League in votes and is just so excited because of that. Last year, he was the last guy voted in on the online process. I just feel that this year from a fan's standpoint and from a player's standpoint, things are a little bit more exciting than they've been in past years.

Okay, what is it with former-players-turned-analysts and their baffling inability to answer a simple question? The question was about the winner's league getting home field advantage in the World Series and he chose to talk about a guy on a fourth place team who is excited that he got more votes this year than he did last year. Is this what it is like to talk to this guy in person?

Me: "Hey, Tim. Are you going to finish your french fries?"
Tim: "For my money, I've gotta say Aja is the best Steely Dan album."

Buck: "I think the first year we did it (under the current format), Dusty Baker was the manager for the National League and Mike Scioscia was for the American League. Scioscia kind of bought into the idea, and I don't think Dusty Baker did really at all. I think he was more into the ‘everybody get into the game and give a wave to their family in the stands and the fans back at home,' and Scioscia was really game-planning. He was trying to keep (Hank) Blalock back for the right spot against the right hander. He got him in the game against (Eric) Gagne, and he hit the game-winning home run and the American League hosted the World Series that year.

Okay, maybe Scioscia kept Blalock in for the righty-lefty matchup. Fine. But exactly how much strategy can be used against a guy who at the time had converted like 5,000 save chances in a row? Are we supposed to believe that Scioscia stayed up late cosulting graphs and charts and concluded that Blalock should stay in the game just in case they bring in Gagne? I would think the smarter strategic move in that situation would be to have Gagne on the mound pitching to close the game. But what do I know?

On whether Barry Bonds will be missed:

Buck: "Yes, I'll miss the countless conversations we'd have around the batting cage, the long walks we'd take in the outfield prior to the game, the moments where he'd confide in me his deepest darkest secrets.

"I'll miss him from a baseball standpoint but as far as his interaction with the media and specifically the two of us, you can't really miss something that was never there. He'd make a few overtures and when you get rebuffed enough you just finally forget it, so from that standpoint ... it's not gonna be a big difference."

Okay, first of all, that's just mean. And secondly, who cares that he makes your job as a baseball announcer slightly more difficult? I thought we were talking about the All-Star game and the guy who has posted the greatest offensive seasons in the history of the game. The only way I would care that Barry Bonds makes your job harder, is if he were somehow able to make it so hard that you would quit.

On whether the game will be missing something with the absence of players like Bonds and Jeter:

McCarver: "There's a new (breed) of players to become accustomed to — like Derek Lee, who has a chance to win the triple crown, a guy like David Eckstein. What's refreshing is the guys who have plodded their (way) — I say plodded, but was actually on a World Championship in 2002 — but a guy who if you look at the shortstops around the league, there are probably ten guys with more talent but nobody has more heart than David Eckstein."

Tim McCarver has just argued that the All-Star Game will be better because there will be worse players there.

Buck: [F]rom our perspective in the game, sometimes you get worn out with the same guys time after time after time. There's nothing wrong with getting new blood in there and being able to highlight and celebrate new guys, and like Tim mentioned, Eckstein is a perfect example that somebody plays the game hard.

Can we all please jump off David Eckstein's dick please? And again, Joe Buck, nobody on earth cares that your job, which is to talk about baseball, will be more interesting with new players in the game.

McCarver: "I think if Norman Rockwell were alive the guy that he would paint more than anyone else would be David Eckstein."

posted by Murbles  # 1:01 PM
This is actually a fun game.

I think if Gauguin were alive the guy he would paint more than anyone else would be Seo Taguchi.

I think if Wassily Kandinsky were alive the guy he would paint more than anyone else would be Jeromy Burnitz.

I think if Alberto Giacometti were alive the guy he would sculpt more than anyone else would be Neifi Perez.
If Vernon Wells Sr. were alive, the player he would paint more than anyone else is Robb Quinlan.
Also, I was just looking at this again. In McCarver's second to last posted answer, exactly what word did he use such that the editor replaced it with "breed?" I am honestly baffled.
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Colin Cowherd

If you can't listen to his morning show on ESPN radio...congratulations.

This morning he said that Raffy Palmeiro should not be in the HOF. Why?

In part, because Palmeiro "...hit for himself. Not for his team."

"Just like Ted Williams."

When Cowherd insisted that "many people" felt this way about Ted Williams, The Duke, who does Sportscenter updates every 20 minutes, responded by saying, "I don't know what that means."

(Quotes might not be verbatim, but they're damn close.)


posted by Anonymous  # 12:57 PM
I listened to the show again on webradio, and technically he didn't say Raffy should not be in the HOF. He said that he probably will make it, but that he, Cowherd, wondered why he's "automatic," since he never dominated his position, and also only got to four all-star games, which is so...well, never mind.
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Mike Celizic

...of MSNBC, is a weirdo.

But also, he is a dummy.

The headline of his most recent column:

"Selig has Turned Home Run Derby into Joke."

Because it used to be so...serious? Important?

He argues that the competition's new format has watered down the field. For example, and this is a verbatim quotation:

Of the top five home run hitters in each league, just four are in the derby — Jones, Ortiz, Carlos Lee and Mark Teixeira.

Only FOUR out of the top FIVE?!? The madness!

Here's more:

The top four sluggers in each league have a combined 189 home runs at the break. The eight players picked by MLB to contend for the Home Run Derby title have 144. This is not the best sluggers in the game swinging for bragging rights. This is a joke.

You tell 'em, Mikey! This is the kind of hard-hitting investigative journalism that will earn you a brand new "PRESS" card to stick in your fedora!

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posted by Anonymous  # 11:12 AM
Actually his "only four are in the derby" comment isn't so silly. What he actually said was four of the top five in EACH league. That's not four out of five, that's four out of ten. (Actually four out of twelve since there's a logjam at 22 homers in the NL).

Only having four of the top twelve sluggers in the home run derby is a legitimate gripe...

Still not the best gripe about the new derby format, but it's not as stupid as it sounded...
I stand corrected. I thought that was a pretty asinine comment, so I'm happy (?) to see that I blew it. (My apologies, Mr. Celzic. I will personally block your hat for you, at my own expense.) However, I stand by my comment that complaining about the HR derby so earnestly is silly.
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Sunday, July 10, 2005


John Kruk Can Not Stop Himself From Saying Dumb Things

On SportsCenter tonight, Krukie says that the White Sox are the biggest surprise of the year. "Coming into this year, you couldn't figure the White Sox would finish any higher than 4th in the AL Central."

>>Remember, folks, the Royals, Tigers, and Indians are all in the AL Central. Rob Neyer (among many others) picked the White Sox to win the division. But John Kruk believes it was impossible for anyone to pick the White Sox higher than FOURTH in the AL Central going into the year.

posted by dak  # 11:30 PM
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You Tell 'Em, Krukie!

"This entire Kenny Rogers fiasco has gotten completely out of hand. I'm not condoning what he did because obviously it was flat out wrong, but can we all just let it go? I'm tired of seeing the darn thing every time I turn on the news."

Man. If only John Kruk had access to a major sports news outlet, so he could do something about this.

Oh, sorry -- didn't cite the origin of the comment. It was in Krukie's regular column on


posted by Anonymous  # 9:49 PM
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Jeff Brantley

...on BBTN just praised Ozzie Guillen. Why? Because in the ninth inning, with his team down by one, AJ Pierzynski struck out looking and flipped his bat in disgust, and was tossed, and Ozzie came flying out of the dugout like some kind of crazed bat and argued with the home plate ump for like three minutes. He should have been thrown out, but for some reason, was not.

But the point is, Brantley praised this "great managerial move," because, Brantley claimed, it "left Huston Street standing out there [on the mound]" for a long time, and then Street "left a pitch out over the plate" that Timo Perez drove into left center to tie the game. (The ChiSox lost in extras.)

The cult of Ozzie and "Smart Ball" (read: dumb ball) has gone so far that analysts are now claiming that when Ozzie goes berzerk and screams at umps, he is doing so because he is calmly and calculatedly trying to "ice" a relief pitcher. As if that would work. And as if Ozzie Guillen, who is an emotionally high-strung wind-up toy, would ever, EVER, have a psychologically complex motive like that in the heat of battle.

Can everybody please, please shut up about how brilliant Ozzie Guillen is?


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posted by Anonymous  # 7:27 PM
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