FIRE JOE MORGAN: 09.05

FIRE JOE MORGAN

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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Friday, September 30, 2005

 

Randy Watch!

Going into his last start of the season, Randy Johnson nees to win 14 of the 2 remaining Yankees games to reach his John Kruk-predicted 30 win mark.

Whaddaya say, Randy? Let's prove Krukie right!

posted by Murbles  # 10:58 PM
Comments:
Kruk, and Harold Reynolds, who predicted the same thing, can still be correct. Check it out: RJ wins tomorrow for number 17. The Yankees end up in a tie with Cleveland and RJ wins the playoff of 2 days' rest. 18. Then, a clerical error comes to light that reveals that the Yankees have actually only played the DRays 8 times this year, so they play a ten-game series (five double-headers over five days) and start RJ in every game, and sweep. That's 28. Then, the Yankees, with HR and Krukie's help, petition the league to let them play two exhibition kickball games against the Harlem Globetrotters (Game One) and the staff of MOMA (Game Two), and RJ "pitches" both games and wins. 30. No sweat.
 
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JOE! JOE! JOE! JOE!

The ShowGirl: Welcome to The Show! Joe Morgan is on the way. Send in those baseball questions now!

Joe Morgan: Good morning.

Ken Tremendous: Good Morning, Joe. How are you? Do you mind if I take a few hours and ridicule you on the internet?

Joe Morgan: [in Ken's head] Not at all, Ken!

KT: Great!

Jim, Boston: Now that Chicago has clinched the AL central, do you expect them to play with less intensity, (or maybe rest players) while NY, Boston and the Tribe are fighting for their lives. Does this give Cleveland an advantage for the wild card race since the White Sox have nothing to loose and both the Red Sox and Yanks will be fighting tooth and nail?

Joe Morgan: It's been a long grind for Chicago to win and now they have to prepare themselves for the playoffs. It's unfortunate for Boston and New York that Chicago clinched before they got to Cleveland. They are going to be saving their energy against the Indians this weekend.

KT: Jim just asked you two questions, and you kind of answered half of one. FYI, Ozzie Guillen just announced he is sitting SIX starters tonight. So, I'll answer Jim's question: yes, they will rest players. And yes, this does give Cleveland an advantage.

John (Cambride, MA): In my book, a player's value is best measured by the amount he adds above and beyond the perforamce of the average player for his position. (A 1B with 30HR is nice, a 2B with 30HR is nicer.) Put that way, the MVP race doesn't look all that close: there's no question that A-Rod is the best third baseman in the game, but Ortiz is not only the best DH, he's also much better than the average DH.

KT: Are you crazy, John? Don't ask Joe a question about VORP! His brain will explode. (For the record, Joe ignored this question, which raises the question: why did he print it at all?)

Joe (Washington, DC): How do you feel about the one-game playoff rule for breaking ties? Wouldn't it seem to make more sense to go by the head-to-head regular season record?

Joe Morgan: No. I don't think what happened in the regular season should determin that. Head to head record, well, one could have been playing well and the other not playing well. What happened in the past doesn't matter at this point. I wish there was a better way to judge than a 1-game playoff, but there just isn't time for anything else. You don't have enought time to play 2 of 3. But, I think you should always determine things on the field at this time. Not by previous records or a piece of paper.

KT: So, these matters should be decided on the field. But the 18 times the Sox and Yankees, for example, faced each other on the field somehow shouldn't matter. And why not? Because they happened in the past, and because one of those teams might not have been playing well at the time the other team beat them. Think about that for a second, Joe. One team shouldn't be rewarded for beating another team on the field, because the losing team wasn't playing well when they played. Does that make sense to you, Joe? Is your brain broken?

For the record, the NFL, which is far and away the best-run league in America, uses multiple tie-breakers to determine playoff spots. Granted, it is not as easy to have a theoretical "one game playoff" in the NFL as in MLB, but still.

Ryan Olmsted Falls, Ohio: Joe, In your honest opinoin, if the indians clinch the wild card, do you think they have just as good of a shot to make it to the fall classic.

Joe Morgan: I always give an honest opinion, Ryan.

KT: Don't get snippy, Joe. Just...calm down, and answer the question. You can do this.

Joe Morgan: Anybody who gets in to the playoffs can win the World Series. The last three champions were a Wild Card team. Cleveland might be the most complete team in the American League with good pitching, good hitting and good speed. The Yankees and Boston have experience, though, and I do believe that goes a long way in the playoffs

KT: Let me make sure I understand you. The last three champions were WC teams. The Red Sox, Marlins, and Angels. Yet, somehow, experience goes a long way in the playoffs. Did any of those teams have a lot of experience in the playoffs? No, they didn't. You might as well have said, "I like tuna subs. However, I hate tuna subs."

Schuyler (Boston, MA): Do you trust Mussina to pitch well this weekend? He had that great 76 pitch outing where he was ridiculously efficient, but then blew up the other day (If he had pitched decently the Yankees may have been two games up at this point). Also, is Chacon good enough for the big game, if they go to a one-game-playoff? It's hard to get big game experience when you're playing for Colorado.

Joe Morgan: Well, it's ot a matter of me trusting Mussina. Joe Torre put him in that position so he must trust him...

KT: Joe, just for the record, nobody really thought it was a matter of you trusting Mussina. I think you have a mental disorder where you take everything literally.

Joe Morgan: Alright. I don't know if I'll be able to do another chat next week. I'll be traveling with the playoffs, but I want to say, in case this is the last chat, that it's been a pleasure. I really appreciate you folks logging on and writing in. And, hopefully, we'll see some great playoff baseball in the next few weeks. Take care.

KT: Honestly, it's been my pleasure.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 5:47 PM
Comments:
I love "What happened in the past doesn't matter at this point.... I think you should always determine things on the field at this time. Not by previous records or a piece of paper."

What? Everyone gets into the playoffs based on their win-loss record -- in games that happened (gasp) in the past. These records may even be written on pieces of paper.

I can't even tell what he might mean by this.
 
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Thursday, September 29, 2005

 

Insight

That's what makes Joe Morgan so good.

Just one example. In this article about this weekend's Sox-Yankees series, he lays down this little gem:

Besides the pitching, the other X-factor is the hitting.

And that, my friends, is why he earns the big money.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 4:25 PM
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I Totally Nailed Another One!

I promise this is the last one:

In 1986 (!) I totally said this to my friend Zach:

The Red Sox are going to win the World Series [someday]!

So, um, yeah, I guess I got that right. Remember last October anyone?

I'm the best.

(Prediction was made by analyzing pitching staff's team WHIP, Bob Stanley's VORP, and Marty Barrett's EQA.)

posted by Ken Tremendous  # 12:54 PM
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As Long As I'm Tooting...

...here's another post, from May 18 (this is an excerpt). It was in response to a truly dumb Joe Morgan post about the Yankees. Joe's text is in bold, my original response follows, in regular typeface:

Back to the Yankees: Torre is facing a dilemma with the DH position. Since a lineup shakeup moved Matsui to center field, the Yanks have three hitters for one DH spot: Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams (the usual CF) and Ruben Sierra (when he comes off the disabled list)... I'm just trying to figure out how he and Williams (and later Sierra) will get at-bats.

Remember, Williams was part of four Yankee world championships, whereas Giambi has yet to help the Yankees win a World Series. So I don't see how the Yankees can push Bernie aside by focusing on getting at-bats for Giambi. Yes, Giambi has won an MVP, but this decision must been based on current performance.

If you want to base it on current performance, what does Williams winning World Series rings, or Giambi not winning World Series rings, have to do with anything? Seriously, does he even read these things before he posts them?

But, fine, okay. Let's base it on current performance.

Williams: .246/.315/.333/.648
Giambi: .227/.390/.371/.761

There is no question who should be the Yankee DH right now. Williams is done. Giambi is almost done, but he's 120 OPS points less done than Williams.

Hi. Up-to-date Ken Tremendous again. Now, I was wrong about Giambi being "almost done." I cop to that. But come on. Joe was arguing for Ruben Sierra and Bernie Williams over Jason Giambi. My question is, when does Joe ever admit he was wrong? Does anyone hold this guy accountable? Does he hold himself accountable?

Anyway, I guess we kind of nailed this one, too. Just luck, I guess. Or else -- and this could be crazy -- it could be the result of statistical analysis.

For the record, most of this bluster and arrogance is intended to be self-aware and jokey.

Most.

posted by Ken Tremendous  # 2:14 AM
Comments:
I can't wait for the post that takes a look back and discusses how dead-on this post was.
 
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Please Indulge Me

...while I toot my own horn.

Here is a post I made on this blog on May 14 of this year (check the archives if you don't believe me):

"Why Is Everyone Infatuated With the Diamondbacks?"

Another Tim Kurkjian misfire (and I'm as surprised as Coach was -- I normally like this guy):

"The Arizona lineup is filled with former All-Stars, led by Luis Gonzalez, who missed most of last season after having surgery on his right elbow. He is healthy. So is Glaus. So is new right fielder Shawn Green, whose shoulder finally healed the last two months of 2004. With those three in the middle of the order, the Diamondbacks have a lineup that is better than any that they used last year. Still, they haven't hit much, but that is certain to change."

"Certain to change?" Why? Because Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green are former all-stars? And that fact will help them compensate for being old and not that good? This is insane. The D-Backs have been OUTSCORED by 23 runs heading into tonight's game. They have overperformed in a small sample size of games. They are not going to win the admittedly terrible NL West, unless you can win the division with a 79-83 record.

Everyone just cool out in re: the Diamondbacks, please.

The Pads clinched the division tonight with a record of 79-79. They can lose their last four games and finish 79-83. The DBacks are tied for second, at 74-84. They have been outscored 847 to 683.

So, I think I kind of nailed it. Just luck, I guess. Or else -- and this could be crazy -- it could be the result of statistical analysis.

posted by Ken Tremendous  # 2:01 AM
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

 

Really, Define "Aces"

Buster Olney, who's been suspiciously inoffensive all season long, tells us which pitching "aces" to look out for in the postseason.

What is an ace? I defy anyone to give me a concrete, reasonable definition of "ace" that is based strictly on performance while playing the game of baseball.

Olney, apparently, thinks almost everyone is an ace. Included on his list ("Here's a rundown of aces whose teams are still in contention"):

Tim Hudson (WHIP of 1.35)
Mark Mulder (WHIP of 1.36)
Jon Lieber (ERA of 4.22)
Freddy Garcia (ERA of 3.91)
Mike Mussina (ERA of 4.41, WHIP of 1.37)
David Wells (ERA of 4.47, WHIP of 1.32)
C.C. Sabathia (ERA of 4.20)
Cliff Lee (ERA of 3.90)

Yes, I'm cherry-picking the most egregious stats. Yes, ERA and WHIP are imperfect measures of a pitcher's performance. But the league-average ERA is 4.30. The league-average WHIP is 1.37. Some of these guys are as bad as or worse than average.

In the spirit of Olney's generosity, I'm going to give you a list of FJM's staff aces:

Ken Tremendous
dak
Matthew Murbles
Junior
Coach
Anthony Baseball
Mark Bellhorn
America's Sweetheart
Spinoza
Board Administrator

Also, Buster ignored AL ERA leader (in a statistical dead heat with Johan Santana) Kevin Millwood while including two other pitchers from the Cleveland staff. Whatever Millwood is, HE'S NOT AN ACE.

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posted by Junior  # 3:49 PM
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Roy S. Johnson Continues to Embarrass Himself

SI.com's worst writer (with the possible exception of Jay Mohr) strikes again. An avalanche of readers sent this link in.

To give you an idea of where the article's headed, it's titled "No ordinary Joe: Torre deserves credit for the Yankees' success."

Amazingly, Johnson never explains why that's true. Let's take a look at what he does offer.

With a lifetime managerial record of 978-631 (.607), it's hard to accept that Torre's mark once stood a Bad News Bears-like 135 games below .500, before the skipper finally lifted his head above water during the Yankees' 1998 season.

It's not at all hard to accept. The number one most important factor that determines how good a baseball team: THE PLAYERS. Are they good? Then they'll win a lot of games. Do they stink, like Torre's teams before 1998? Then they'll lose like crazy.

How many additional wins does an excellent manager provide for a team? I'm not going to pretend to know an exact number, but I would wager that it's far lower than most sportswriters seem to think.

This is the season Torre wasn't supposed to win.

Are you insane? Everyone was talking about how good the Yankees were going to be this year. They have one of the best offenses in baseball. They added Randy Johnson, not to mention Carl Pavano and a healthy (?) Jason Giambi.

No one -- absolutely no one -- was predicting that the Yankees would be bad in 2005.

But wait, Roy S. Johnson wants to tell us why people might have done just that:

His team was coming off that stunning pratfall against the Red Sox in last year's American League Championship Series. Jason Giambi was in post-steroid testimony funk. The pitching was in tatters. And everyone knew that Bernie Williams couldn't throw out your grandmother anymore. Sure, there was early promise, buoyed by the signings of free-agent pitchers Randy Johnson, Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano. But it seemed only about a week before the trio, stymied by injuries and stifled by expectations, began to embody the Yankees' new mantra: Mediocrity in Pinstripes.

Yes, the Yankees choked last year. They were still one of the four best teams in baseball (if not the two best). Jason Giambi couldn't be worse than he was in 2004. The pitching was not in tatters (at least before the season) because Cashman added three more starters, including Randy f-ing Johnson. Bernie Williams is stunningly bad in the field, but Joe Torre -- the very man you're genuflecting before, Roy -- insisted on sending him out ther in centerfield for half the year.

The team faltered and flopped, stumbled and staggered -- so much so that it looked as if Torre just might be fired. For real -- or as my daughter says, Frreeel -- this time.

Torre was managing while the team stank. Shouldn't he be held accountable for that?

But there was Torre, though it all, in his familiar place, stoic and unbowed, behind darkened glasses. I'm sure his stomach was often twisted as Dontrelle Willis' arms-knees-elbows-and-legs-everywhere windup, but we never knew it. He never let on and now, well, who doesn't know that Joe's got skills?

Oh, Joe Torre looks so calm! His sunglasses alone are worth 15 wins, right?

Frankly, it's creepy how fetishistic some guys get about sports figures' appearances.

This just may be his finest season. No, this is his finest season.

No, in 1998 his team won 114 games. That was his finest season. This year is like his seventh finest.

There is no logical reason why these Yankees should be in first place.

For God's sakes, yes there is. Have you seen their lineup? It's unbelievable. They rank second in the majors in runs scored. There is nothing more logical than the fact that a team that scores a lot of runs can be good.

Also, obviously, their payroll is enormous. Historically so.

So that's a reason.

No explanation for the quiet way they plugged through the second half of the season on unknown wings and prayers to find themselves not only in the thick of the wild-card race, but also tied with the Red Sox for a division title absolutely no one not on the Yankees' payroll thought they could win.

The explanation was runs scored. Also, the mysterious competence of Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon. That's it. That's the explanation.

No logic nor explanation other than Torre.

No. It was hitting and pitching.

Seven games this week in Baltimore and Boston will determine whether the Bombers accomplish the improbable (division title), achieve the acceptable (wild-card playoff berth) or endure abject failure (no postseason for the first time on Torre's watch).

But those seven games should not determine whether Torre is named Manager of the Year for the third time. He's already earned it.

I disagree.



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posted by Junior  # 3:15 PM
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

 

More from Bruce Jenkins

See Junior's post below for the real boneheadedness, but here's more:

"And on the year, he's got a solid ERA of 4.29."

Nope. There's nothing solid about an ERA over 4.00, no matter what the league or the circumstances. Just because we're passing through a period of inflated offensive numbers and lousy pitching, 4.29 is not impressive. You want solid? Try Dazzy Vance's 2.61 for Brooklyn in 1930, when the league hit .303. Try Steve Carlton's 1.97 for a 1972 Phillies team that won 59 games. Or Roger Clemens' ERA last week.

Um, okay. There's a difference between "solid," which is the word you used in the made-up quotation, and "impressive," which is the word you then use to critique your own made-up quotation-er. 4.29 is, I think "solid. It would put you 63rd in MLB out of the 90 or so pitchers who have qualified for the ERA title. Which isn't great, but it's not terrible. Here are some pitchers between 3.80 and 4.29: Danny Haren, Scott Kazmir, Brad Radke, Jason Marquis, Noah Lowry, Cliff Lee, Brad Penny, C.C. Sabathia, Bronson Arroyo, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Jon Lieber, Jason Schmidt, Freddy Garcia, Livan Hernandez, and Matt Morris.

Jake Westbrook and Scott Elarton, from the vaunted Cleveland Indians staff, are both above 4.29.

The point is, 4.29 isn't great, but your fictional "dumb person" didn't say it was "great," (s)he said it was "solid." And it's pretty solid. And the more important point is, 4.29 is one or two good outings from being really quite good. Which is why ERA is a stupid stat by which to measure pitchers. (Although, admittedly, it is better when applied to starters. But it's still very raw and unreliable.) And it's also why WHIP and K/BB ratio are better, but we know how you feel about those, you dummy.

Also, no one would ever claim that Dazzy Vance's 2.61 was "solid." We would say it was "great." You changed the rules in the middle of your rant, silly!

"I've got Mike Matheny as the catcher on my all-overrated team, because he doesn't hit. Catcher defense is not really important."

Unbelievable. When I think about great teams, I think about Jason Varitek's absolute command of a game; Pudge Rodriguez defiantly holding the series-winning baseball after his collision with J.T. Snow; Thurman Munson defining a team's spirit as he summons one more throw from a bum shoulder; Mike Scioscia taking hits amounting to a Ray Lewis tackle at full speed. Whether it's shoddy pitch calling, the inability to "frame" pitches or a general lack of toughness, a poor defensive catcher exposes a team's vulnerability.

I agree with you -- I think catching defense is very important. My question is, who the hell says catching defense isn't important? Is that a commonly heard thing? I've never heard anyone say that. What I have heard, is people talking about how having a catcher who's good offensively is a HUGE bonus. And when people say that, the people they cite are often: Jason Varitek, Pudge Rodriguez, and sometimes Thurman Munson.

"Wow, check it out: Home runs are down. Must be the steroid testing."

Wait a minute: Would you even know they're down without the statistics? Does it feel like they're down? Don't ignore the elements of tiny ballparks, juiced balls, magic bats and pitchers (not just hitters) getting off the juice, but balls are flying out of the yard. Middle infielders continue to hit absurd home runs (I saw Frank Menechino put one over the center-field fence in Toronto with a one-armed swing on a low-and-outside pitch). Everyone was curious to watch the All-Star home run contest in this alleged new era, and balls left the park as if the hitters were setting up golf balls on a tee.

You have to be kidding me. First of all, yes, it does seem like HR are down, and I feel that without looking at stats. You know how you judge things like this? By looking at the extremes of the bell curve. Remember in the late 1990's and early '00's, when everybody and his brother hit 50+ HR? Remember Brady Anderson? Remember Sammy Sosa hitting 60+ three years in a row, many of them flat-footed the other way, and then steroid testing started and he's hit like 12 and looks lost at the plate? Isn't it interesting that Giambi fell apart and took a full year to come back and now everyone is saying he's back on HGH? Don't you find it interesting that Andruw Jones is the only guy in MLB with 50+ this year, when 18 of the 36 50+ seasons in BASEBALL HISTORY happened between 1996 and 2004? And six of the eight 60+ seasons happened in the same time period? Even without looking that stuff up, if you're an observer of baseball, even a casual one, you must have noted that at the extreme end of the spectrum, things are very very different, which in turn suggests that HR are, overall, down, which they indeed are.

And, as far as your last sentence goes, if you think that the results of a HR Derby say anything -- ANYTHING -- about steroids or HR or anything involving actual baseball, you are a complete moron.

When you check the actual numbers (this is from mid-August), the homers-per-game average is down to 2.08 from last year's 2.25. Is this some kind of joke? Scan this statistic for the past 10 years, and it always rounds off to two homers per game. Sound the alarm when it goes from 5.8 to 1.6.

Careful -- those sound like statistics. You don't want to become a stat geek, Bruce. But, as long as you have dipped your toe in an ocean that you don't understand, let me say this: the sentence "it always rounds off to two homers per game" is stupid beyond belief. Considering there are 2430 games played a year, the difference between a HR/game ratio of, say 2.49 and 1.51 (not that that really exists, but for the sake of argument), both of which would round off to "2", would mean a difference of 2381 HR/year. Even a difference of 2.49 and 2.00 means 1190 more/less HR per year. Which seems significant to me.

The drop-off from 2.25 to 2.08, at which you scoff, is a difference of more than 400 HR hit. That's a lot of HR.

For the record, if it ever went from 5.8 to 1.6, that would mean a drop-off of more than 10,000 HR/year, which would either mean that baseball's rules had changed to force 6 year-old children to play all OF positions, or that an alien invasion had killed 80% of major leaguers.

"Well, at least we know that guys like Brian Roberts, Adam Dunn and Todd Helton are clean."

Listen, that's probably true. There isn't one bit of evidence to the contrary. But clean living, or a simple lifestyle, offers no clues about steroid use. This isn't about robbing a drug store; it's a procession of the dim-witted, lining up like sheep to stay up with a trend. Don't say you're certain that someone is clean, because you don't know that -- just as you don't know if any alleged steroid abuser is clean this season.

Fantastic. Let's assume every single MLBer is on steroids. Great plan. That will make baseball really fun. Let's also assume all former NFL running backs are potential murderers. Can they prove they are not? And just for the hell of it, I will also go ahead and assume that since you are a complete idiot, all baseball writers are idiots, until they can prove otherwise.

Also, Junior already dealt with this, but it makes me so angry I have to chime in (see below for full quote):

But no matter how modern-day statisticians try to downplay traditional numbers, there's a volume of meaning in .178, .230, .289 and .337, at least when based over a long period of time.

The reason we "stat geeks" hate BA is because people think a guy who hits .306 is way better than a guy who hits .285, when in actuality, that represents like nine additional bleeders through the infield over the course of a year. Obviously, Bruce, you ignoramus, there is a great deal of difference between .178 and .337. Because that's a lot of hits. But ten points (or even 20) of BA over the course of a year can be attributed almost entirely to luck and situational karma for a hitter. In order to measure a batter's worth, you simply cannot use BA. End of story.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 1:05 AM
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Monday, September 26, 2005

 

Dumbest Man of the Last Fifty Years?

Bruce Jenkins is vying for the title. Hat tip to about twenty different readers for this article, ironically titled "Stupid comments are up."

Keep in mind, in this column, Jenkins is taking others to task for their stupid comments. And now I'm calling him out for his stupid comments on those supposedly stupid comments. Still with me?

Didn't think so. Here we go:

"Interesting team. They've got one guy leading the league in WHIP and another in VORP."

For heaven's sake, speak English. This is the new cool trend in baseball, quoting esoteric statistics as if they've been part of the game's fabric for 50 years. Go ahead, disappear into a basement somewhere and play around with numbers. Be sure to remember HEEP, SKANK and VLZSKS, while you're at it. We'll be out in the sun, discussing a little thing we like to call "runs batted in."

Jorge Cantu has more RBI than Derrek Lee. If that's the statistic you want to hitch your wagon to, enjoy.

Also, since he's pretty much calling everyone who cites statistics nerds, I did a search for "Bruce Jenkins" on baseballreference.com.

The results? "Found 0 hits for your search."

Bruce Jenkins: never a professional baseball player.

"These old white-haired scouts are kidding themselves. I can tell everything I need to know from a detailed set of numbers."

Hopelessly wrong. Numbers won't tell you if a hitter becomes especially tough after a pitch under his chin, if a slow baserunner steals third on the sheer logic of the situation, if a guy has about three vodkas too many after a bad game, or if a pitcher walks off the mound, exuding command, instead of running off like a scared jackrabbit. Check the stats, absolutely, but look at the face. Inspect the body language. See if your prospect acts the part, or if he just might be a mirage.

I don't care if a pitcher calmly walks off the mound or transforms into a giant hovercraft and levitates back to the dugout. I just want him to have a good WHIP. Yes, "WHIP."

Look at the face? Have you seen Julian Tavarez's face? Any face scout worth his salt wouldn't have let him within a hundred yards of a baseball diamond.

"Forget batting average. That's irrelevant."

Right, like a player's eyesight is irrelevant. Team batting average can be highly misleading, because it doesn't deal with specifics. But no matter how modern-day statisticians try to downplay traditional numbers, there's a volume of meaning in .178, .230, .289 and .337, at least when based over a long period of time. That's a wonderful little taste of truth.

Adam Dunn's career batting average is .249. Shea Hillenbrand's career batting average is .289. One of these players is extremely valuable.

"I'd get him out of there right now. I know he's pitching a one-hitter, but he's thrown 105 pitches."

Take a cue from Leo Mazzone, the Braves' pitching coach, and watch the game, not the numbers. Without question, certain pitchers need to be protected, but in the decade of the '90s, there were remarkable pitch counts by David Cone (166), Clemens (165, 164 and 159), Randy Johnson (157, 159 and two at 160) and Curt Schilling (148 in his 1993 World Series shutout for the Phillies). Earlier this season, Livan Hernandez had a 150-pitch start for Washington. Combined long-term damage: None.

So according to Bruce Jenkins, it's worth taking the risk of permanently harming your young pitchers to get that extra inning or two in because Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Roger Clemens are still going strong. How are you supposed to know if your young stud is one of those guys or one of the fragile Cubs guys?

Eh, just throw 'em out there for 150 pitches.

There's a lot more here, but I'm too angry to type without destroying this keyboard.





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posted by Junior  # 6:49 PM
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This is the most amazing article we've ever attacked. I just chimed in with analysis of the rest. We might need to rename the blog. I'm serious.
 
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Quick one from Gary Gillette

Here Gillette previews the Angels-A's series, and he makes a curious claim:

Neither team is debilitated by any serious injuries, though the usual late-season bumps and bruises are evident.

Really? James Richard Harden would be your AL ERA leader if he had enough innings to qualify (he's about 30 short). And he hasn't started a game since August 19.

That sounds pretty debilitating to me, but maybe I don't know what that word means. Yeah, that must be it.

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posted by Junior  # 2:43 PM
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Saturday, September 24, 2005

 

Skip Bayless Is An Angry, Bitter, Mean Dummy

Why does ESPN, or anyone for that matter, continue to employ Skip Bayless?

Bayless, known best for losing barely-watched morning arguments to the borderline-retarded Woody Paige, weighs in on every old white guy's favorite target: Barry Bonds. Guess what? He doesn't like him.

This is how he begins his article:

If possible, he's even better and worse than ever. He continues to astonish, with his bat and his mouth. At 41, Barry Bonds is again proving to be the greatest hitter and biggest jerk in baseball history.

Really? Bigger than Ty Cobb, an avowed racist who once jumped into the stands to attack a fan for suggesting that Cobb might not totally hate black people? Bigger than Bob Gibson, who blatantly talked about throwing at batters' heads?

No athlete I've been around has mixed my emotions the way this guy has. Mixed 'em like a Molotov cocktail.

Pure poetry, Skippy. Those Pulitzer queers call you yet?

More than ever, I'd rather watch a Bonds at-bat than any other moment in sports. Yet his recent words and deeds have finally made it impossible for even me -- a Barry fan -- to separate the hitter from the jerk.

Okay, wait. So your argument is that Barry Bonds is bad for baseball, but also the most exciting thing about baseball? Do I have that right? That's like being a NASCAR fan and complaining that the cars go too fast.

I used to rationalize that he was a much better teammate than most fans thought -- Jeff Kent was just jealous -- and that Bonds was THE reason the Giants were always in contention.

But now that he has let down his team and let down parents everywhere, I finally find myself rooting against this big, uh, jerk.

If you're going to measure how much of a jerk a baseball player is by how well he gets along with Jeff "I've been in altercations with players on every team I've ever been on" Kent, then there are going to be a lot of jerks in the league, dude.

I'm not sure which offends me more: that Bonds damaged (if not wrecked) his team's chance to win the mild, mild West by delaying his return, or that, upon his first visit to Washington to play the Nationals, he scoffed that Congress has been wasting its time with the steroids issue.

Two points here. 1) Barry Bonds did not delay his return. He is 41 years old, coming off three knee surgeries and a serious infection. Do you honestly think he would sabotage what might be his last chance to get to the World Series so he could prove how important he is? 2) Barry Bonds made that comment about Congress at a time when our government, through negligence and mismanagement, totally blew the Katrina situation. His argument was "I think Congress has better things to do right now," which I agree with.

But yes, his comeback has been even better than James Bond in "You Only Live Twice." After missing the first 143 games with what he said was a bad knee, Bonds waltzed back into the lineup on Sept. 13, and in his first at-bat, battled San Diego's Adam Eaton for 11 pitches before hitting a tailing laser to left center that came within a foot of leaving SBC Park.

Superhuman.

So, wait. You're back on board? And also, "what he said was a bad knee?" The guy had THREE SURGERIES AND AN INFECTION. Skip, why don't you attack Brian Roberts for sitting out with "what he says is a gruesomely dislocated elbow?"

And that's what makes me -- and others inside the organization and close to the Giants -- suspicious.

You assume Bonds had off-season arthroscopic surgery on his knee ... but with this guy, you never know. In the past, he told reporters with a chuckle that he sometimes misleads them just to get even for all the "negative stuff" they write about him.

You're right. Let's ignore what those surgeons and doctors were saying about Bonds' knee. And who are these "others?" Are they Woody Paige and Bill Plaschke? Scoop Jackson? That girl from Cold Pizza?

Remember the kill-the-messenger soliloquy he delivered to the media in spring training? The one in which he used his crutches and his son as sympathy-seeking props and blamed the media for reporting his leaked BALCO grand jury testimony and the claims of his former mistress, who also testified to the grand jury?

You know why Bonds hates the media? BECAUSE OF ARTICLES LIKE THIS. Articles that attack him for sitting out with a knee injury. Articles that publish what is supposed to be sealed grand jury testimony for the purposes of smearing Bonds. Articles that single Bonds out for having, of all things, a mistress. Bayless, I've got a newsflash for you. I've met more than my fair share of major leaguers, probably way fewer than you have, and guess what? THEY ALL HAVE MISTRESSES. Many of them have several. If women lined up outside Cold Pizza with the hopes of screwing a weird-faced bitter old man, you'd have one too.

It's possible that Bonds' knee had very little to do with his absence for most of the season. It's quite possible he simply decided to take his home-run balls and go home.

You're right. He probably got those surgeries and that infection for fun. And he probably risked his chances of passing Babe Ruth so he could pout. Makes sense to me.

And yes, it's also possible that a relatively minor cartilage cleanup procedure -- usually a month-long recovery, at most -- turned into a six-month rehab.

He is 41 years old. He had three surgeries and an infection.

Yes, the Giants had won eight of nine before he rejoined them in Los Angeles. But in the seven games he was with the team before he actually played, San Francisco went 2-5.

Do you honestly believe Barry's mere presence in the clubhouse bums his teammates out so hard that they're too sad to go out there and play, even though they have a shot at the playoffs? Why do sportswriters think of athletes like they're 5 year old girls?

And you're still sitting out day games after night games when you're only in uniform for the final two and a half weeks of the season?

He is 41 years old. He had three surgeries and an infection.

It also was no coincidence that Bonds waited to make his mind-blowing remarks about the steroid issue until his first visit to Washington. He wanted to rub Congress' nose in it right under Congress' nose.

Remember, the biggest reason Bonds avoided having to testify before the congressional steroid hearings in March was that he was still involved in the ongoing BALCO investigation.

1) Barry made his remarks (which were not at all mind-blowing) because he was asked a question and it happened to be in Washington. So yes, it kind of was a coincidence. 2) Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield also did not have to testify, because they were part of the same investigation. Why aren't you criticizing them? Oh, that's right. They didn't have three knee surgeries and an infection.

Tuesday at RFK, Bonds set another major-league record for audacity.

Asked whether Congress has wasted its time trying to clean up the steroid problem in sports, Bonds said: "Pretty much, I think so. Yeah."

Though he acknowledged the problem, Bonds said: "There are still other issues that are more important. Right now, people are losing lives and don't have homes. I think that's a little more serious. A lot more serious ...

"We're the United States. We have a crisis here that everybody needs to start contributing to. Not pointing fingers. Contributing to."

How audacious! He actually said what every single American is probably thinking: that Congress should probably be working on helping tens of thousands of disenfranchised citizens who are in serious trouble (a lot of it due to the government's own lapses in leadership), and not, at least for the moment, worrying about a bunch of millionaires who may or may not be taking drugs to make their muscles bigger.

The nerve of this guy using the Gulf Coast disaster to trivialize the seriousness of the steroid epidemic facing this country. Obviously, the Katrina tragedy is far more pressing, but does that mean we should forget about all the teenagers abusing steroids?

What? WHAT? Read that first sentence again. "Using the Gulf Coast disaster to trivialize the seriousness of the steroid epidemic facing this country?" Are you fucking serious? HURRICANE KATRINA BY DEFINITION TRIVIALIZES THE STEROID ISSUE. It was one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the country. Hundreds are dead. Thousands are homeless. And our government was asleep at the wheel. To say that we should be treating the hurricane and steroids with equal seriousness TRIVIALIZES THE HURRICANE. Do you see anyone donating money to set up a fund to stop overprivileged high-schoolers from purchasing steroids?

Apparently, Bonds didn't watch the March testimony of the parents who lost children because of steroid abuse.

No real tragedy there. Right, Barry?

It is sad that those kids died. But the link between their deaths and their abuse of steroids is tenuous at best. And it certainly pales in comparison to A FUCKING HURRICANE.

Sorry this post was so long, but Skippy's article was just so wonderfully filled with aggressive stupidity. I should say that I believe that Barry Bonds did knowingly take steroids, and I do believe that he's probably not the best teammate in the world. But to act like either of these things is unprecedented, and to be so angry about it, is just a waste of time. But then again, so is writing a 1600 word critique of someone for doing just that.

I need a hobby. I'm thinking model trains.


posted by Murbles  # 11:31 AM
Comments:
Murbles: your post trivializes the serious problem of overlong Skip Bayless commentary on the internet. Also, there are hurricanes.
 
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Friday, September 23, 2005

 

Hyperbole of the Week Award

...goes to Mike Celizic, of MSNBC.

He wrote this article about Raffy Palmeiro. I agree with the general sentiment -- that Palmeiro is a little bit slimy for ratting on Tejada. I would add, if I were reporting on the story, that Palmeiro was probably asked, under oath, about everything that he had injected into his body, and if he had injected Tejada's B-12 shot into his body, he should probably have told them about it. Whatever. The point is, here's how Celizic ends his article:

They say you don’t know a person’s true character until he faces adversity. Well, Palmiero has faced adversity, and he’s come up lacking in every way possible. Once known as a nice guy, he’s proved to be a rat and a slimeball, a guy who would try to smear an innocent teammate to save his own worthless butt.

Sing it, Mike! Now, take us home!

Get out of the game now, Raffy, and stay out. And good luck finding something to do with the rest of your life. I hear O.J. Simpson needs golf partners.

That, my friends, is the definition of hyperbole. Mike Celizic is equating, essentially, taking steroids and murdering two people. Congratulations, Mike. Stay tuned for next week's article, when he compares stealing signs to African genocide.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 5:40 PM
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Joe Is BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cue the band! Call a press conference! After two terrifying weeks, Joe's kidnappers have released him, and he is now free to do his chats the way he always has -- with a minimal amount of coherence and reason!!!! Let's take a look!

Buzzmaster: Hellooooooooo! Joe Morgan will be here shortly. Happy Friday!

Joe Morgan: Good morning and welcome to the chat!

Ken Tremendous: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Joe Morgan (Chicago): Hi Joe, are the White Sox choking?

Joe Morgan: I don't use the word choke. Everybody reacts differently to pressure situations. Once things start going poorly, there are no breaks in terms of luck. You can make it worse by trying too hard. They are just trying too hard right now and aren't getting any breaks.

KT: I'm not so sure that their problems are due to bad luck, but I admire that you don't use the word "choke." I don't think it's choking, either. I think it's regression to the mean. So, good job not using the word "choke." What's that? You have more to add? Go ahead.

Joe Morgan: It looks like they are choking, but I don't think in those terms.

KT: Fantastic. Thanks for not using the word "choke."

Vagner, Columbia MO: Hey Joe, a friend of mine tried to claim that Garrett Anderson is not a good hitter because he only has a .330 on base...i tried telling him that as a #5 man its his job to drive in runs, not walk...what are youre feelings on this?

Joe Morgan: I agree with both of you. Your job is to drive in runs. But your job as a team player is to get on base so others can drive in runs. I have to laugh at anyone who thinks Garrett Anderson isn't a good hitter. It doesn't always equate to OBP.

KT: How about SLG? GA's is .430 this year. How about BB/K ratio? GA's is 23/79. Also, his OBP is .312, which is horrific. His numbers are only slightly better than Edgar Renteria's. he has had good years in the past, but like all hitters with no plate discipline, his numbers are in a freefall now that he's on the wrong side of 32 or so.

Sir Sidney (Baltimore): Should I buy my one-way plane tickets to Japan yet?

Joe Morgan: Japan has rules over there, too! I guess the point is if you can't play here because of off-field problems, I think they are less-tolerable than we are.

KT: I think you meant "tolerant." Or, maybe you are a racist and hate Japanese people.

Joey (Cleveland, OH): Hello, Mr, Morgan. I'm a big fan. There's a little talk around here of Eric Wedge getting the manager of the year. Who do you think is the frontrunner for it?

Joe Morgan: I think he is a serious candidate. I've thought all along it was Ozzie Guillen's. I still feel that way. But obviously if the Indians catch the White Sox and win the division, that would change.

KT: Why? Don't you think what Eric Wedge has done is as good, if not better, than what Ozzie did? Especially since Ozzie's whole philosophy is backwards and self-defeating? What if the Indians, with a six-dollar payroll and a ton of young no-names, finish a game out? Ozzie is better, even though his lead has shrunk from 15 games down to 1? What kind of sense does that make?

Joe (OKC): Do you think Robinson Cano's recent hot stretch has gotten him back into the ROY debate, or is this thing already going to Oakland?

Joe Morgan: Cano is a candidate for sure but he will have to continue to play this well in the remaining games. I'm more for an everyday player winning these types of awards than pitchers, closers, etc. I'm prejudiced because I played every day.

KT: "Prejudiced" is a good word. With pitching in such short supply, I'd say that, for example, what Houston Street has done in stabilizing the A's bullpen as a rookie is far more impressive than putting up a .760 OPS sandwiched between Derek Jeter and ARod in the Yankees' line-up. Also, "...he will have to continue to play this well in the remaining games?" There are like 11 games left. Is he really going to do something, or not do something, in the next 11 games that will win or lose him the award?

Goose (Chicago): Joe, do you find it odd that with these great races coming to an end, people are worried about post=season awards? Priorities.....

Joe Morgan: That's part of the game! The awards will go along with the postseason winners. To the victors go the spoils! If the Yankees win the division, ARod probably has the edge. If it's the Red Sox, it might swing to Ortiz. I'm sure we'll talk about awards on Sunday night .. so I can fudge on it!

KT: What if, in the final series of the sason, Ortiz goes 11-17 with six HR, and ARod goes 0-20. But the Yankees take 2 of 3 and win the division. ARod still the MVP? Why do you insist on having the MVP and Cy Young be team-dependent awards? It should maybe be a factor, but not THE factor.

Tyrone (LA): Watched any college football this year, Joe? My Trojans are on fire!

Joe Morgan: I saw the Texas-Ohio State game. That's the only one I've watched. I'm always traveling on Saturday's. The Trojans, in my opinion, are heads and shoulders above everyone else. I picked them to win it all last year and they were awesome .. and they're awesome again! They have ARod at QB and Ortiz at RB!

KT: Wha?

Steve Jobs (Cupertino, CA): Joe: do you have an iPod? What's on it?

Joe Morgan: I own one but I don't use it! I have a computer also that I don't use.

KT: Yeah, we know. Try using it.

Isaac (Peoria): Can I buy your Ipod off you? I've wanted one forever!:-)

Joe Morgan: I'm not selling it! I have a few songs on it so I'm saving it.

KT: Why are we talking about this?

Chris (Tampa): Joe, an off the wall question here, but have you ever used a question you've been asked here during an interview or with a manager/player or owner? Basically, are we asking interview caliber questions. . .

Joe Morgan: I've used it in my broadcast for sure. I've also mentioned things to managers and players that you guys have said. I've said to managers ''Someone in my ESPN.com chat asked why this happened ..'' What would you like me to ask Buck Schowalter or Ken Macha this weekend?

KT: Ask them if you should sell your iPod to that guy.

Jim (Cleveland): Will Dontrelle WIllis' bat get him additional votes for the Cy Young. He batted 7th last night. 7TH!!! That is just plain silly. He has been even better on the mound.

Joe Morgan: I don't think that will help him get Cy Young votes. It goes to the best PITCHER. A pitcher that can't hit shouldn't be hurt by that. So I don't see it helping Dontrelle.

KT: Cool. Good answer. I just, real quick, want to print an answer you made to a similar question in last week's chat:

Stephen Smith, East Greenbush, NY: Joe, I can't understand why Dontrelle Willis isn't even getting mentioned in the talk for the Cy Young...

Lucas (Chicago): D-Train is only the 3rd pitcher to ever have 20 wins and 20 hits in the same season!!!

Joe Morgan: That's right. And you have to take EVERYTHING into consideration when you are voting for the Cy Young award. Best pitcher must take all things into consideration. Sure pitching statistics come first, and Carpenter is leading those categories ... partly because his Cardinals score runs.

So, to sum up. Last week: you should absolutely take D-Train's hitting stats into consideration when voting for the Cy Young. This week: you should under no circumstances take D-Train's hitting stats into consideration when voting for the Cy Young.

Matt (Boston, MA): Joe, if Bonds comes back at full strength next year, tests negative for steroids, and winds up hitting 50 hrs, is his reputation restored at all? or is always going to be linked to this whole thing?

Joe Morgan: I don't think his reputation will ever completely be restored, no matter how many times he tests negative. He will never test positive again. IF he ever used before, there is no way he's using them now...

KT: He used them before. He admitted it.

Danny (Silver Spring, MD): Any chance of a comeback, Joe? You could still bat better than Christian Guzman, can't you?

Joe Morgan: We laugh sometimes in the booth because I"ll say ''I could hit that guy!'' But I'm only fooling myself. Guzman was one of my favorite players to watch. But it has been a disatrous season for them.

KT: The fact that an historically terrible player was one of your favorite players to watch validates everything we are doing on this blog. Also, it has not been a "disastrous" season for "them," the Nats. Did you mean "him?"

Arvind (Tacoma): Do you think the media just piles on Bonds now, whatever he says? Would they pile on him if he said nothing? I think he's in a lose-lose situation.

Joe Morgan: Yes. I don't quite understand why this is the case. Maybe it's the Palmeiro case and the impending suspicion. But yes, there is a pile-on effect without any proof. We have our suspicions, but no proof. People think Barry said he used steroids unwittingly but that's not what he said. He never said he used steroids in any capacity. It's misinformation. Maybe that's why they keep piling on. But you either have to accept what he's done or condemn it. You can't have it both ways. That seems to be where we are. One day they are hyping his HRs, the next day they are talking about steroids.

KT: This is so tortured. He did use steroids. He admitted he used steroids -- under oath. Why do you keep insisting he didn't use steroids? Why do you keep insisting that he never said he used steroids? Also, you say we have no proof, that he never said he used steroids. Then you say "...you either have to accept what he's done or condemn it." What are you talking about? If he never used steroids, what do we have to accept, that he's done? Also, frankly, we can have it both ways. We can condemn his acts but still follow his play with great interest.

Welcome back, Joe, you lovable little dunderhead. We missed you.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 3:23 PM
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

 

More on Phillips

A few problems with this part of Phillips' article:

Mark Mulder, St. Louis Cardinals: Mulder has not quite lived up to the status he earned in Oakland, but he still has been quite good. He adds great depth and balance to the Cardinals' rotation. He also adds postseason experience. The Cards gave up quite a bit to get him, but it was worth it for his ability on the field and the fact that his acquisition removed the one major stigma that hurt the Cards last year -- the lack of a No. 1 starter.

>> "Depth and balance" are not things you look for in a number one starter. You look for near-guaranteed wins. You look for awesomeness. This year, you'd take Kevin Millwood before Mark Mulder. There's nothing at all "No. 1" about what Mulder has done this year. The ERA looks pretty good, but 105/62 K/BB sure ain't great. I wouldn't want my game 1 NLDS starter to have a WHIP of 1.33 -- would you?

Of course, Mulder won't be starting game 1 of the NLDS, because he's not their #1 starter. Chris Carpenter is their #1 starter, and one of the best pitchers in the league. I'm not saying that the Cards should have had the foresight to know that Carpenter would somehow be borderline magical this year. But given that they now have their #1 starter, why would anyone claim that the trade for Mulder was the move that eliminated that "one major stigma" from last year?

Over in the AL, Danny Haren, who was one of three players (Calero, Barton) the Cards gave up for Mulder, is putting up these numbers this year for Oakland, albeit in a pitcher-friendly park: 3.86 ERA; 1.25 WHIP; 153/52 K/BB. (Danny Haren, by the way, also has "postseason experience" -- he didn't give up a run against the Sox in 4 2/3 WS innings.)

They gave up too much for him. He hasn't been that great. They overpaid to get a "#1" starter and -- if only in hindsight -- that was unnecessary because Carpenter is better this year than Mulder's ever been.

End of story.

posted by dak  # 4:48 PM
Comments:
Basically, Mark Mulder IS Joe Blanton.

Mulder: 3.43 ERA, 105 K, 62 BB, 1.33 WHIP.

Blanton: 3.60 ERA, 107 K, 66 BB, 1.24 WHIP.

Eerily similar.
 
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The Worst G.M. Ever, Steve Phillips

...has an opinion on the ten best moves of the 2005 off-season. Here's one:

6. Carlos Lee, Milwaukee Brewers for 7. Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox: These two are linked together forever now. This trade was one of those great baseball trades. It satisfied obvious needs for both teams and made both teams better. Lee is coming into his own. If he commits himself to getting in better shape, I think there is another level in his production.

Podsednik gave the White Sox their personality and style. He defined them for the first half of the season. What really proves his importance to the Sox is the fact that his leg issues have reduced his impact on the game and has, in turn, changed Chicago's approach as evidenced by their second-half swoon.

I thought we were done with this.

Scott Podsednik and his .699 OPS and his 0 HR did not help the White Sox win very many games. What did help them win games, in the first half, was extraordinary starting pitching and a very good bullpen. Scott Podsednik's injury coincided with a natural regression to the mean for their pitchers.

Carlos Lee has 32 HR this year. He has an .836 OPS and 40 doubles. He even has -- for those of you who care -- 12 SB and has only been caught 4 times. Does anybody really think that the White Sox offense would be worse if Carlos Lee were still on the team? Still?

Labels: ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 3:59 PM
Comments:
Yes, their second-half swoon has really proved his importance.

Mark Buehrle Pre-ASB ERA / Post-ASB ERA: 2.58 / 4.40
Jon Garland Pre-ASB ERA / Post-ASB ERA: 3.38 / 3.70
Freddy Garcia Pre-ASB ERA / Post-ASB ERA: 3.53 / 4.70
Orlando Hernandez Pre-ASB ERA / Post-ASB ERA: 4.88 / 5.60

Without Scotty on the field, these guys just can't pitch.
 
Thanks for doing my research for me.
 
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 

Great News!

I have found Joe Morgan! He is writing for MSNBC.com under the name "Ted Robinson."

Here's an article Ted-Joe has written about how the Yankees will beat the Red Sox for the A.L. East crown:

Midway through September it's the Yankees who have the momentum, and it's the Red Sox who are floundering.

The Yankees have had a terrific second half of the season, which in part is a testament to Joe Torre's managing. This season Torre has probably done the best job of managing in his career.

What is that based on? The 325 ABs Torre gave Tony Womack and his .550 OPS? Or, Torre's decision to keep Cano in the 2-hole for three months so he and his .319 OBP could kill potential rallies? Or maybe it was playing Womack in CF? The reason the Yankees are even close to the division title is that they have six mashers in their line-up, Aaron Small is 9-0, and Shawn Chacon is pitching to forget Denver.

A new curse begins?
By winning the World Series last year, the Red Sox put to rest all the talk of the Curse of the Bambino. But it seems like this season, the baseball gods have gone back to crushing the hopes of BoSox fans.

The Red Sox are in first place.

I don't sense there's been any complacency among the Red Sox. Rather, Boston has been hurt by several factors. Curt Schilling had ankle surgery last winter, and thus he has been able to pitch for about only half a season, and just recently returned to the rotation.

Right -- it was an injury. Not a "curse." Also, the Red Sox are in first place.

David Wells, who was brought in to help make up for the loss of Pedro Martinez to free agency, had a rough start to the season, and he has been inconsistent. Closer Keith Foulke has missed time due to injury, and hasn't been able to pitch at the level he did last season.

Actually, Wells has been quite consistent. He's giving the Red Sox exactly what they thought they would get out of him. 13-15 wins, an ERA around 4.00, a lot of innings, good control numbers. Also, right, Foulke's problem is an injury, not a "curse." Also, despite all of this, the Red Sox are in first place.

And the Red Sox offense isn't what it was last season. Last year the Red Sox had a relentless lineup -- one that had no holes in it. But if you look at Boston now the bottom third of its lineup is not terribly imposing.

Last year: Boston led the league in runs, and had a line of .282/.360/.472/.832. This year: Boston leads the league in runs, and has a line of: .281/.356/.455/.811. So, "not what it was last year" I guess means four fewer guys every thousand at-bats reach base safely, and they achieve a .017 lower extra-base ratio. Also, they still lead the league in runs and OPS. Also, they are in first place.

Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz up at the top of the lineup have really carried the Red Sox. But once past these hitters there's a little bit of breather for opposing pitchers -- something they don't get in the Yankees' lineup.

The final three hitters in Boston's line-up, usually, are some combination of John Olerud, Bill Mueller, and Alex Cora/Tony Graffanino. The final three hitters in the Yankees' line-up are usually some combination of Robby Cano, Bernie Williams, and (these days) Bubba Crosby. I won't take the time to list their respective numbers, but I think you an guess which three you'd rather face this year. (Hint: Bernie Williams is terrible.)

The Yankees have become the Red Sox in the sense that it's New York's lineup that is pounding out the runs, while Boston's lacks the pop it's had in the past. The Yankees have spent an awful lot of money on players known for their big bats, and they are delivering.

The Red Sox have scored more runs than the Yankees. I don't know how much more simply to put it. The Red Sox' offense is better than the Yankees'. Maybe this will help: the Red Sox have scored 853 runs, the Yankees have scored 818 runs. Clear? No? Okay, how about: the Red Sox have an .813 OPS, the Yankees have a .804 OPS. The Red Sox have a higher team OBP and SLG. The Red Sox have more hits. The Red Sox have more total bases. The Red Sox have more RBI. The Red Sox have a higher team BA. The Red Sox even have more triples. Now, the Yankees do have more home runs -- 209 to 185. But the Red Sox have more doubles -- 321 to 248. 73 more doubles. So, you need to be very very quiet, Ted Robinson/Joe Morgan.

A tale of two staffs
What has helped [the Yankees' pitchers] is the productivity of the New York offense, which definitely relieves some of the pressure on the team's starting pitchers. Small, Chacon, Wang, and all the Yankees' starters take the mound with a pretty good feeling that their team is going to give them at least a respectable number of runs to work with. Boston hasn't had such a luxury as often.

Oh my God. Please read the notes above about runs scored; specifically, please read the part about how the Red Sox have scored more runs than the Yankees. Then please remove your head from your ass, wash yourself up, and take a nap.

[Boston] also hasn't had the quality starting pitching it had a year ago. And now there is even more cause for concern as 13-game winner Matt Clement has hit a late-season slump that no one is sure he can end before the season does.

Finally, a decent point. This whole thing is about pitching. That's all. Just pitching. The Red Sox' pitching is terrible, and the Yankees' pitching is very slightly better than terrible. You should have started the article here. But you didn't. And for that, we at FJM salute you!

Labels: , ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 2:31 PM
Comments:
Aaargh. I was just in the middle of writing about this very article.

What's awesome about many of his arguments is that if you switch "Boston" and "New York," it still makes about as much sense.

An example of this:

"What has helped [the Yankees' pitchers] is the productivity of the New York offense, which definitely relieves some of the pressure on the team's starting pitchers. Small, Chacon, Wang, and all the Yankees' starters take the mound with a pretty good feeling that their team is going to give them at least a respectable number of runs to work with. Boston hasn't had such a luxury as often"

...becomes...

"What has helped [the Red Sox's pitchers] is the productivity of the [Boston] offense, which definitely relieves some of the pressure on the team's starting pitchers. [Schilling, Wells, Clement] and all the [Red Sox] starters take the mound with a pretty good feeling that their team is going to give them at least a respectable number of runs to work with. [New York] hasn't had such a luxury as often.")
 
Also, since we're talking "curses," why didn't he metion that Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Mike Mussina, Chien Ming Wang, and Randy Johnson have all been "cursed" for some or most of this season?
 
Gentlemen: now that the Sox are in second place, will you concede that they are cursed?
 
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Saturday, September 17, 2005

 

I Am Sad To Announce:

Joe Morgan has not yet been released by his kidnappers, who continue to answer his chat questions with entirely un-Morgan-like reason and coherence. This is extremely sad for everyone who enjoys nonsense.

The Friday chat is pretty boring. There are two things I thought were a little funky -- perhaps Joe's ramblings while tied up in the kidnappers' basement has started to wear off on them. Look at their answer to these two questions about the NL Cy Young race:

Stephen Smith, East Greenbush, NY: Joe, I can't understand why Dontrelle Willis isn't even getting mentioned in the talk for the Cy Young. Keeping his Marlins in contention, 21 wins already, an ERA under 2.50 . . . although Carpenter also has 21 wins, an ERA even lower, and 60 more strikeouts. So I guess I answered my own question!

Lucas (Chicago): D-Train is only the 3rd pitcher to ever have 20 wins and 20 hits in the same season!!!

Joe Morgan: That's right. And you have to take EVERYTHING into consideration when you are voting for the Cy Young award. Best pitcher must take all things into consideration. Sure pitching statistics come first, and Carpenter is leading those categories ... partly because his Cardinals score runs.

The idea that one should consider a pitcher's offensive stats when voting for the Cy Young Award is miserably off-base. The MVP Award is the one that has vague criteria. The Cy Young Award is for the best pitching performance. It makes no more sense to consider a pitcher's hitting stats when deciding the Cy than it does to consider a hitter's fielding stats when considering the Henry Aaron Award, or an actor's producing skills when choosing the Oscars. One wonders what Joe's kidnappers would suggest we do in the American league, where pitchers, last I checked, do not hit. Should we consider their charitable contributions? Or perhaps their krumping* skills? Yes, that's it. We'll have Buerhle, Garland, and Colon clash in a krump-off. Or perhaps a slam poetry battle? Should I keep going with this? No? Okay.

It should also be noted that, although the kidnappers did a good job of imitating Joe's crazy brain when answering the first part of this question, they blew it when they wrote that Carpenter is being helped in some of his stat categories by the offensive performance of his team. That is far too logical and reasonable and correct a point for the real Joe ever to have made.

There's only one more time the kidnappers do a really good job of imitating Joe's voice. Check out this rambling bunch of randomly-spliced-together words:

Lucas (Chicago): I think that it is not a problem with a dh winning an MVP, even though I think A-Rod wins it. What is your stance on a DH getting the MVP?

Joe Morgan: Well, first of all, I'm not a fan of the DH, but I am a fan of David Ortiz. If I was voting, I would have to give it to A-Rod because he plays everyday -- and I mean everyday. The one difference is, if you are a DH, by your fourth atbat, you are just as fresh as you were your first atbat. That's not true of someone who plays the field. Miguel Tejada and David Ortiz are my two favorite guys. They have fun playing the game -- not that others guys do not -- but I think these two are pretty special in the way they play the game and all that they give to their team in and out of the clubhouse. All that said, a DH is just that -- a designated hitter.

(a) David Ortiz also plays every day. (b) the fact that he is still "fresh" should not count against him (or any other DH), even if the fact that he does not play in the field should (and I do think it should). (c) Miguel Tejada? Who the hell asked about Miguel Tejada? He is neither a DH nor an A-Rod. (d) why does it matter that you like Miguel Tejada and David Ortiz? The question is about the DH winning the MVP. (e) The last sentence, though I know what you mean, I guess, is unhelpful.

There are a couple of other answers like this, but overall, I find it to be light years more advanced than the average, pre-kidnapping Joe Morgan chat. Let us all pray for the safe return of Joe Morgan, so that we may once again laugh at and enjoy how bad he is at his job.

*krump: (n.) the dance non-phenomenon documented in the movie Rize. Krump is often confused with "Crunk," a style of music popularized by Lil' Jon, the Ying Yang Twins, etc. "Crunk" is also an adjective used to describe things that are, for lack of a better phrase, "off the heezy."

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 5:20 PM
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KT-

I'm going to assume you meant "krumping," the dance non-phenomenon documented in the movie Rize. "Crunk" is a style of music popularized by Lil' Jon, the Ying Yang Twins, etc. It is also an adjective used to describe things that are, for lack of a better phrase, "off the heezy."

You're welcome.
 
Murbles--

You must have stopped reading my post before you got all the way to the end, because I totally knew all of that. Read it again. See?
 
Curse you and your retroactive editing!
 
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Friday, September 16, 2005

 

Rob's Dibbles

Here are some bits and pieces from Rob Dibble's recent columns on foxsports.com. I call them Dibbles.

How can teams that have so much trouble scoring runs still be in the playoff hunt? That's simple. It's pitching, my friend.

You have a talent for stating the gut-wrenchingly obvious, my friend.

The Nationals are the worst offensive team in baseball, dead last, 30th. They've only scored 542 runs this year. Yet because of their pitching, they still have a chance with 24 games remaining because they can get people out.

The Houston Astros have the best pitching staff in the game while boasting the 26th-best offense in baseball ... The Marlins have the 19th-best offense in the Majors, yet they have the sixth-best pitching staff in the NL ...

So you see, it's not about $200 million offenses; it's about pitching and defense.

That's what gets you a ring.

Washington Nationals: 76-71
Houston Astros: 78-68
Florida Marlins: 78-69
New York Yankees ($200 million offense): 83-62

The Nationals are going to have a hard time winning a ring while they're watching the playoffs on TV.

This excerpt is kind of long, but it's worth it:

Baseball is a very complicated, yet very simple sport, all at the same time. 15 years ago when I was a part of a World Championship team, we didn't get a big name guy at the trade deadline, in July or August, and I can honestly say we didn't need one, either. It may have done more harm than good.

You see, there is a very delicate balance in a major-league clubhouse, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that you trust each other and love each other. That started back in the minor leagues for some of us, back in spring training for others, but sometimes bringing in that NEW guy may just send you in the wrong direction.

Just look at the moves the Red Sox made last year. Before the 2004 season they picked up Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke, then later that season picked up a couple small, but important pickups like Dave Roberts, Orlando Cabrera, and Doug Mientkiewicz. All of which are great guys.

Okay, so your argument is there is a delicate balance in major-league clubhouses, so teams shouldn't have to bring in big name guys midseason, or even one "NEW" guy at all. What's your example? A team that brought in a bunch of new guys.

It's a bad, pointless argument, but an even worse piece of evidence. Then again, baseball is a very complicated, yet very simple sport.

It's a simple plan, but every team has a different way of looking at it. You have your own jokes, your own teammates who keep things loose, make things fun. Sometimes when you change just the smallest thing, the team goes down the drain.

Unlike the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the only team you chose to mention in your column.

And finally:

Barry made himself into a hitting machine by what he has done off the field. You may want to cut him some slack, because if you don't know greatness when you see it and you want to keep saying he cheated or something stupid like that ... well then, I can't help you. But if you are like me, and you know players do work hard and can make themselves better, then just enjoy his greatness and don't question things that don't matter.

I want to keep saying he might have cheated because he might have cheated.

Also, "don't question things that don't matter"? A) Who the hell are you to tell me not to question things and B) steroids don't matter?

This is the same guy who wrote of the Palmeiro case, "I'm physically sick and disgusted that this has happened."

Dibble, that shit don't matter!

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posted by Junior  # 8:11 PM
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Thursday, September 15, 2005

 

Give This Guy Manager Of The Year Right Now

Pay attention, managers. This is how you play Smartball, Ozzie-style!

From msnbc.com:

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen questions whether Damaso Marte is really hurt and criticized the reliever for showing up late for a game last weekend.“If Marte’s not ready to help this team, he can have a nice trip to the Dominican Republic by himself,” Guillen said

posted by Murbles  # 4:02 PM
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

 

A Sad Day

Looks like we're getting another 8 years of Joe.

posted by dak  # 2:59 PM
Comments:
This site is having the exact opposite effect it's intended to have.
 
Right. If you buy into that weird mathematical theory that there is in fact an opposite of nothing. (Tanner's Theory of Antimony, I think it's called.)
 
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My Mind Has Just Been BLOWN!

Attention baseball fans! Prepare to have your beans completely and totally freaked! Intrepid caricature of a 1940s sportswriter Mike Celizic has arrived at a shocking, almost blasphemous hypothesis about the basbeall postseason. If you're not ready to question everything you have ever known to be true and good about the universe, please stop reading now.

Ready? Here goes.

Wild Card teams have a chance of succeeding in the playoffs.

I imagine you're pretty shaken up right now; I'll allow you a few moments to compose yourselves.

Seriously, where has this guy been for the last ten years that he thinks it is in any way revolutionary to suggest, as he does in his opening sentence, "Winning a division is no guarantee of winning the World Series or even getting to it."

Writing that sentence is about as controversial as saying "Just because you swing at a baseball doesn't mean you'll hit it." Or, perhaps more appropriately, "Wearing a ridiculous fedora in your MSNBC.com photograph is no guarantee you'll be able to write coherent baseball commentary."

It's mind boggling to me that a person who covers baseball for a living felt is was necessary to make this claim. What's more, he waits until the 8th paragraph to mention that THE LAST THREE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS HAVE BEEN WILD CARDS.

Back to the article:

He talks about how the Marlins and Astros could be scary in the playoffs due to their pitching. Fair enough. I agree, I guess. But why did he have to include this gem: "It doesn’t really matter who the fourth starter is; he’ll be going against the other team’s No. 4 man and doesn’t have to be great."

I would love to see Mike Celizic manage a baseball team. "Well, we'll throw Dontrelle, Burnett, and Beckett out there, and then I think I might wanna pitch game 4. I mean, I've always wanted to, and it doesn't really matter anyway, since I'll probably be pitching against Jason Marquis."

He continues: "What’s more, wild card playoff teams have won the last three World Series, and two of those — the 2002 Angels and 2003 Marlins — did it with pitching. The other team — the 2004 Red Sox — had two great starters in Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez, a couple others who rose to the occasion, and a lot of great hitting."

Umm, did you watch the 2004 World Series? Aside from the Game 1 slugfest, the Red Sox allowed 2, 1, and 0 runs. Do you mean they got to the World Series with great hitting? Because that's not what you said. Also, they had two great starters. You just said you only need three. Does your patented Crazyball system only work with three starters? I'm confused.

"But the wild card wasn’t a threat to win it all, not in the beginning. Until 2002, only one wild card team — the 1997 Marlins — ever won the World Series and only one other — the 2000 Mets — made it to the season’s final best-of-seven."

Wow! It took a whole TWO YEARS for a Wild Card team to win the World Series. I'm surprised they didn't just cancel the whole experiment after 1996, when the Wild Card Orioles lost to the Yankees in the ALCS in a series where they lost Game 1 to Jeffrey Maier.

Here are the facts. In the ten years since the WC was introduced, it has produced 4 WS champions, 6 league champions, and 12 teams that advanced to the LCS. I'd say WC teams have done okay.

Stay tuned for Mike Celizic's next column: "World Series Winner Will Likely Be a Professional Baseball Team."

posted by Murbles  # 12:41 PM
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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 

Let's Not Get Hysterical: Hurricane Katrina Edition

Owner Tom Benson, on this year's New Orleans Saints: "Us winning football games is going to mean more to the Gulf South relief effort — more than money or anything else can do. The one thing they have got is the Saints winning football games."

>> It's football, people. Let's not get hysterical.

posted by dak  # 4:10 PM
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Victims are requesting that all relief money be diverted to Deuce McAllister.
 
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Randy Johnson, Thirty Game Winner Watch!

Randy must win 16 of the Yankees' 20 remaining games to reach 30 victories on the year!

Go Randy go!

Stay tuned for updates!

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posted by Junior  # 3:45 PM
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Sabathia vs. Millwood

Sean McAdam typically does a fine job, but this paragraph in a recent article for ESPN.com struck me as unsubstantiated:

Cleveland has a deep rotation, with as many as four pitchers capable of quality starts: C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook and Kevin Millwood. But only Sabathia, with exactly one postseason start on his resume, is capable of taking charge of a playoff series.

Why is Sabathia the only one who can "take charge" of a playoff series? Because he throws the hardest? Shouldn't we be looking at who's the best pitcher?

Kevin Millwood and Cliff Lee have better ERAs and WHIPs than Sabathia. In fact, Millwood's ERA this year is lower than Sabathia's career low.

Maybe Sabathia's been particularly good against teams the Indians might face in the playoffs. Let me check ... nope. A nifty 17.36 ERA against Boston, 9.72 against Oakland, and mediocrities in the 4 and 5 range for the Angels and the White Sox. Millwood, meanwhile, has been average against the Red Sox, bad against the Yankees, and excellent against the Angels and the White Sox (ERAs of 2.03 and 1.29, respectively).

Not that those sample sizes are especially meaningful.

What about experience, a factor I'm not entirely convinced is even important? McAdam himself points out that Sabathia has only one postseason start. Millwood checks in with seven playoff starts and nine total appearances. In those starts, he recorded a decent enough 3.92 ERA while striking out 38 and walking 6. His WHIP, believe it or not, was below 1.

It's time to stop categorizing guys as aces because of "stuff" and start looking at performance.

My point is, I have a huge crush on Kevin Millwood.

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posted by Junior  # 3:17 PM
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Monday, September 12, 2005

 

I Know What He Meant, But Still.

From Steve Phillips' ESPN chat:

Casey (Memphis): Any chance of the Red Sox catching up to the White Sox for the best AL record?

Steve Phillips: No. I think the Sox will have the best AL record overall. They will gain homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

"The Sox" is the one thing he could have written that would confuse people when answering this question.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 1:32 PM
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Friday, September 09, 2005

 

SOMEONE HAS KIDNAPPED JOE MORGAN

I'm not kidding. His chat today is remarkably level-headed, straight-forward, and well-reasoned. He is concise, occasionally uses facts to back up his points, and generally does a good job. In other words, someone has clearly kidnapped him and taken his place.

Exhibit A: The chats usually begin with crazy sentences followed by exclamation points, such as (these are real examples):

Joe Morgan: Hello! The races are heating up and they change from day to day! I'm ready for your questions!

Joe Morgan: Good morning, let's get going!

or my personal favorite:

Joe Morgan: I'm looking forward to today's chat! I'm in San Antonio for a friend's wedding!

Today's chat begins:

Joe Morgan: Good morning. Let's chat.

A crucial error by the kidnapper. Gives it away immediately. Now, take a look at the first three Q/As:

Mike (North Miami Beach (FL)): Joe...Marlins chances vs. the pack? You had to like what Beckett did last night...but the next week and a half stretch (6 vs. philly and 4 at houston) will determine their fate no question.

Joe Morgan: Well, at this point, Houston seems to have the edge, but that can change in the next three days. It's been back and forth all year and I think it will come right down to the last week of the season.

I mean, come on. This is not Joe Morgan. This is, like, Jerry Crasnick. It's...it's just an answer. No craziness, no mention of how all teams are mediocre. Just a regular chat answer. Incredibly suspicious.

Bill, Ruston, LA: Do you think Jeff Bagwell's return will help jumpstart the Astros bats and give a little run support to Roger Clemens?

Joe Morgan: Roger definitely needs run support, but Bagwell has been out a LONG time and it will take him a while before he can really help. I think itn's more of a mental lift than anything else at this point.

Except for the typo, this could be anyone. Anyone but Joe Morgan.

Joe (Billings, MT): Joe, do you believe what the garbage that other analysts are saying that the NL West champion shouldn't make the playoffs if they don't finish above .500?

Joe Morgan: No, I don't agree with that. The system is set up so that the division winner is in the playoffs. Whether they have 100 wins ... or 80 ... or whatever, they are in the playoffs. You can't go changing the system just because you don't like the results.

Now, if you're like me, you spend 5-10 hours every week reading (and writing about) Joe Morgan's crazy comments during on-line chats. (What? You're not like me? Fair enough.) And this, without question, is the least Joe-Morgan-like opening to a chat that I can ever remember.

Really, the whole chat unfolds this way. There are only a few minor Joe-like missteps. To wit:

Steve (Scranton, PA): Joe, what do you think October would be like without the Yankees if in fact they did not make it?

Joe Morgan: I don't think it would be good for baseball. The Yankees are still the Yankees. The Yankees are the traditional playoff team. The Yankees have a special place in baseball because they've won 26 championships. I think that always adds a mystique to the playoffs -- the Yankees being in the mix. I don't think it would be good for baseball if New York was out of it. There is always more publicity and always more interest when the Yankees are involved.

That's more like it. Read: that's crazy. Yankee postseasons have led to several of the lowest-rated WS in TV history. Also, the thing that everyone in the world says is great about football right now is that every single NFL team seems to have a legit shot at a title. That is good for the sport, not bad. Also, shut up. Why wouldn't it be good for baseball if the Yankees weren't there? Because a few other cities might care about baseball for a while? Because people like Jake Peavy, or Dontrelle Willis, or Paul Konerko, or Coco Crisp might get to introduce themselves to the larger sports-watching community, instead of us having to listen to ramblings from Tim McCarver about how elegant Bernie Williams is? That would be bad?!

There's also this exchange:

Kevin (Columbus): Piazza better than Fisk? I think I agree with you, but Fisk was darn good and won the triple crown in an era with less offense.

Joe Morgan: Piazza has played a long time. ... Carlton Fisk played for a long, long time. His numbers are accumulated over many seasons. Fisk is definitely in the upper eschelon of catchers. I respect the difference in the era -- it's easier to obtain numbers today b/c the ball is livlier, the overall pitching is not as good and the parks are smaller - but I still will maintain my opinion that Piazza was the best hitting catcher.

...which is absolutely fine. He's right. The thing that bothers me is that Joe clearly did not read the question, because anyone who thinks Fisk won a triple crown is a moron. As proven by the following follow-ups...

Mike (Morgantown, WV): Fisk NEVER won the Triple Crown...come on! Joe, if you want to compare Piazza to a great hitting catcher try Josh Gibson, he is the only catcher even close when it comes to pure hitting!

Kevin (Columbus): I made a mistake and look like a dummy. I said Fisk won the Triple Crown, but it was Yaz that won it. Big mistake!

Aaron (NY): Fisk never won a triple crown. He never even led the league in any triple crown category in any year. I think Berra was a pretty good hitting catcher, and all around player. His three MVP awards and 10 (!) rings speak to this...

...and the fact that Joe never acknowledges it. But really, I am quibbling. The rest is very disappointingly good. Can someone call the FBI and report this kidnapping? I am too depressed. Even the way he logs out is unnoteworthy:

Joe Morgan: Alright everybody, I've got to run for today. Thanks for logging on. Good questions. I'll see you next week.

Sigh.

Hey, something just occurred to me. Is it possible that he has read our critiques? Is it possible that we are actually making a difference? Is it possible that Joe Morgan has bought a computer, and has logged on to the internet, and-- oh, right. No. He must have been kidnapped.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 4:59 PM
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I'm not pointing any fingers, but when Junior walked in to the office today, he looked really tired and had, like, weird splotches of what looked like dirt and blood on the side of his neck.

Then he came over to my office and was like "Hey dak, what's up. I totally didn't kidnap Joe Morgan last night."

Then he just stood there and drank an enormous glass of water.
 
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Thursday, September 08, 2005

 

Mike Celizic Takes It All Back, Is Still Wrong

Oh, how two weeks can magically change a man.

I'm now convinced that Mike Celizic might be the worst non-former-athlete baseball writer I've ever read. Seemingly forgetting the haughty, dismissive hack-job he did on the pennant chase a mere 15 days ago, he has just published an article entitled "Thank Goodness For Wild Card Races." This opposed to his August 23rd piece "Baseball's Stretch Run Is Going To Be Boring."

Today:
It’s season No. 11 for Major League Baseball’s wild card, and anyone who still thinks the addition of one more team to the playoffs isn’t the best thing to happen to the game since beer vendors needs to find another sport to watch.

Two weeks ago:
This year is proof that the system has introduced the game to a new sort of competition, one in which there are no clear-cut favorites. That should make it more exciting, not less so.

Today:
What makes the Yankees compelling is not the $200 million payroll with which they started the season, but the sight of so many players picked off various scrap heaps.

Two weeks ago:
They’re not a good team anymore, and still they dominate the way we view 30 teams and six months of competition. These are good races we’re watching. But without the damn Yankees leading the way, it’s hard to see them that way. If the Yankees aren’t great, nobody’s great.

Today:
The fact that the Yankees are chasing Boston and not the other way around just makes it better.

Two weeks ago:
Even the wild-card race is tainted by the Yankees. They’re not supposed to be fighting to just slip into the playoffs. And they’re definitely not supposed to be worried about being passed by Oakland and Cleveland.
It’s guilt by association. If the Yankees aren’t great, then nobody else can be, either.

What is wrong with this guy? The only explanation I can possibly come up with is that he just assumes nobody reads his columns and won't notice a complete about face in the span of 15 days. Either that or he's a complete retard.

He also includes this nugget:
When Bud Selig slipped the wild card past the owners 10 years ago, a lot of people said it was an abomination and proof that the game was going to perdition in a hand basket.

From USA Today 10/4/2004:
Major League Baseball's decision in 1993 to realign its leagues into three divisions and include the team with the next-best record in the playoffs was considered heresy by the purists, particularly because it copied a concept from football, of all things.

The only baseball owner to vote against the change, which took effect in 1994 before the postseason was canceled by labor strife, was from Texas.

Boy, he sure slipped it by those thickheaded owners!

I give up.




posted by Murbles  # 7:04 PM
Comments:
Just...wonderful. That's all. Wonderful. What a bonehead.
 
Who are all these reclamation projects he is speaking of? Outside of the baffling (yes, in both senses) performances by Small and Chacon, nearly all other acquisitions made by Cashman since last year have been horrendous or overvalued or both. Embree and Bellhorn were petty, reactionary moves motivated more by spite than any desire to improve, and they have not made the Yanks any better. It makes them arguably more compelling, now that the Yankees seem to be more concerned with the Red Sox than ever in recent history, but that is a separate issue. Basically every bullpen arm added this year has failed for them. Wang and Cano have been good at times, but they are the Yanks top prospects, and even in this day and age it is out of line to refer to Columbus as a "scrap heap," isn't it? Maybe not.

Anyway, point is, it's not as though the Yanks are the 2001 Patriots or anything.
 
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Tommy Lasorda Has a Blog

Amazing, amazing post from Tommy Lasorda's blog:

I Hate the Phillie Phanatic

I hate the Phillie Phanatic.

In fact, I am not very happy about mascots in general. I think they take away from the game on the field.

One of the worst incidents was perpetrated by the Phillie Phanatic. The Dodgers were in town to play the Phillies and somehow, it got ahold of one of my jerseys. It took the jersey, put it on a dummy and ran over the dummy again and again.

That type of a display should not be shown in ballparks, especially in front of children. It exhibits violence and disrespect.

I pulled the Phanatic aside and said, “Why don’t you run over a dummy with a Phillies jersey?”

I called the front office of the Phillies and told them how I felt. They can play with kids in the stands, but running over the dummy was simply wrong, and that kids would get the wrong impression. Apparently, they didn’t care.

The next time we were in Philadelphia, I confronted the Phanatic. I told it not to use my jersey anymore, and so the next time he did, I was forced to act. I went right up to it and body slammed it to the turf.

I often wondered how it got my jersey, and then I found out how. Steve Sax would give it the jerseys because my players thought it was a funny thing to do.



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posted by Junior  # 3:34 PM
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

 

The Kind of Thing That Drives Me Crazy

John Rolfe of CNNSI.com has this to say about Joe Torre.

Torre's coaching job one for the record books

If the Yankees somehow reach the postseason for the 11th year in a row, Joe Torre should be handed the AL Manager of the Year Award on a nice silver platter.

Right off the bat, I have to say: no. I don't think you can reward the guy who is handling a $200 million payroll for just making the playoffs. I don't care how many injuries and squabbles and whatever he has had to deal with. I would vote for Ozzie Guillen over Tore, and Guillen is the most overrated manager in baseball right now.

Torre is in his 10th year at the helm -- the longest run in the Bronx since some guy named Casey Stengel hung around for twelve (1949-60).

Is this somehow a point in his favor? Just...that he's been there?

Torre last won the award in 1996, when he shared it with Johnny Oates of Texas. The echoes from that season -- the dawn of the most recent Yankee dynasty -- can be found in the way Torre has masterfully held his team together through a relentless onslaught of injury, slumps and pressure.

Okay, so, there's the argument: that Torre has "held his team together." To which I will respond immediately: any team that has the veterans that he has -- Jeter, Posada, Williams, ARod, Tino, etc., and still needs a manager to "hold the team together," is a sad team.

Right off the proverbial bat, these Yankees were engulfed by the Jason Giambi mess.

Poor babies. The guy who cheated for them made their lives difficult.

Then came their unsightly 11-19 start that plunked them into the basement of the A.L. East.

Who was managing the team during that run? Not Torre? How is this a point in Torre's favor? He did a shitty job, then later, he did a decent job?

There was a 1-9 skid in late May and early June that included a three-game sweep at the hands of the woeful K.C. Royals, and a 2-6 slide into July. A pack of wild card contenders has surrounded New York, and as soon as the picture brightens, the hoo-doo continues. Witness Jaret Wright getting knocked out by a line drive and Mike Mussina developing a sore elbow.

So, here's how I understand the argument so far: Torre's team stunk out of the gate. At various times during the year, Torre's team again stunk, against terrible teams. Lots of other teams are better than they are. Jaret Wright got hit by a batted ball and missed a start. Mike Mussina is old. The Yankees are still in the Wild Card hunt. So, Joe Torre is great.

New York's beefy offense has fueled some impressive hot streaks, but these Yankees are prone to playing flatter than a flounder fillet in the middle of I-95, especially against teams such as K.C. and Tampa Bay. Torre has probably conducted more team meetings than at any time during his tenure. He most recently gathered his squad in Oakland after they opened a key three-game series with a 0-12 eyesore Friday. The Yankees came out and won the next two, patiently wearing out Barry Zito in a 7-3 win on Sunday.

There's a lot going on in this paragraph, including terrible and weird analogies. If their offense is so good -- which it is -- then, what influence does Torre have over their wins? The murder the ball. They've got Sheffield, ARod, Matsui, Jeter, and Giambi batting 1-5 in their line-up. What kind of brilliant coaching is necessary to make their offense go?

Torre has been called a push-button manager, but he's had some funky buttons to push this season. The roster, particularly the pitching staff, resembles a contraption cobbled together by the Little Rascals out of wobbly baby buggy wheels, fruit crates, a bulb horn, cats on exercise wheels under the hood and a goose on a string attached to the front bumper. I don't think I've ever seen a team enter so many series without knowing who their starting pitcher will be in every game.

Wowie wow wow. Ignoring that descriptive flair, I will simply say: yes, they have had a ton of injuries. But they also signed Randy Johnson. They signed Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, who have both been injured, and whose injuries were the best thing that happened to the team all year, because they both stunk up the joint. And please don't give any credit to Joe Torre for Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon piching way above their heads. Torre just plugged them in, and they've made him look good. Credit, if any is deserved, and I'm not entirely sure it is because it seems so flukey, goes to Cashman.

As usual, Torre has remained as placid as a cow on thorazine. He's kept the glass over the panic button intact, as he did in '96 when New York's 12-game lead dwindled to three in late August and September, and in 2000 when the Yankees backed into the playoffs on a 3-15 roll and still won the Series. Never a small achievement when a team plays under a win-it-all-or-go-home-in-disgrace edict.

Torre is indeed very calm. You'd be calm too if you had a 3 year, 18-million dollar guaranteed contract and had already won four WS titles, and had also clearly decided years ago that you weren't going to let Steinbrenner's nonsense get to you.

Clearly, the sun is setting on the dynasty, but I fully expected this to be the season when it all fell apart in a steaming heap. Yet here I am astounded to see Torre's gizmo approaching the finish line, tattered but intact.

I'm sorry. Torre is a very good manager, but I just don't get "astounded" when a $200 million team is only within shouting distance of the playoffs in early September. They've got too much talent.

As one Little Rascal said, "Reee-mark-uh-ble."

Shut up.

Labels: , ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 1:09 PM
Comments:
You know, I posted this quickly, and it occurs to me that I should have added: any manager who gave Tony Womack 350 AB, and who continued to hit Robby Cano in the 2-hole (of that line-up) long after he had come back down to Earth,, deserves to have his head examined.
 
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