I'm telling you: The White Sox have a twinkle in their eye, a lot like the Red Sox had last year.
And I'm telling you that's a meaningless statement you are basing entirely on the fact that the Red Sox won it all last year and the White Sox are up 2-0 in the World Series.
Just throwing it out there to sidetrack the Baseball Crank's day, but after Brad Lidge's second demoralizing walkoff homer, is there any way to figure out the ratio of "Closer eventually bouncing back and becoming effective again" to "Closer who was never the same"? For instance, Calvin Schiraldi was probably the best pitching prospect in the Boston farm system before the '86 playoffs -- look at his regular-season stats in 1986 compared to everything that followed in his career. And what about Byung Hyun-Kim, Donnie Moore, Mitch Williams, Mark Wohlers, Tom Niedenfuer ... really, the only guy I can remember who kept chugging along was Dennis Eckersley after the '88 World Series. Anyway, let's see what the Crank can dig up on this.
This has been discussed ad nauseum on this thread on the Sons of Sam Horn message board (check out pages 5 through 12). I believe all of those names save Niedenfuer came up (and Jose Mesa was thrown in).
I'm just going to pick out one name in particular: SoSH flashpoint Byung-Hyun Kim. We all know he had a disastrous 2001 World Series. Psyche-crushing, right? Irreparable mental damage?
2001: ERA 2.94, ERA+ 156, 19 saves
2002: ERA 2.04, ERA+ 216, 36 saves
It wasn't until 2004 that BK fell off a cliff. We might never know why, but he lost velocity on his fastball.
What's that? You want one "Moore" piece of evidence? (Previous sentence written by New York Post headline writers).
1986: ERA 2.97, ERA+ 138
1987: ERA 2.70, ERA+ 161
I think he got injured midway through the '87 season and his career was pretty much over after that.
The point is, Simmons is calling these guys closers "who were never the same" after pitching poorly in the postseason.
Kim got better after his 2001 debacle. Moore, in a small sample, also improved after 1986's disaster.
I understand why people make these mistakes. Our memories are faulty and it's easier to believe that a guy stops being able to do his job correctly after suffering a devastating failure at work. But just because it's easy to believe doesn't mean it's true.
Thankfully, people have written down what happens in baseball games and we don't have to trust our memories. We can look at results. And we should.
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