FIRE JOE MORGAN: They're Not Saying "Bruuuuuce." They're Booing.


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Saturday, July 07, 2007


They're Not Saying "Bruuuuuce." They're Booing.

Drop knowledge bombs, Brucie:

The Great American Ballpark is a bandbox, a home-run haven, an almost impossible place to build a pitching staff.

True 'dat. According to ESPN's Park Factors Page, the GAP is the #1 easiest place to hit HR, and is #2 in runs. So far you have argued using reason and knowledge.

Look elsewhere: Philadelphia, Texas, Colorado or Boston, where the Curse of the Bambino lasted a million years.

And now you have ceased to do so.

Philly: #2 in HR, but only #10 in runs, and #18 in hits.
Arlington: #10 in HR, #15 in runs, #13 in hits

Coors is 4th in hits, 2nd in runs, and 8th in HR even with the humidor. Fenway is 1st in runs and 1st in hits -- but 24th in HR. Fenway is a relatively hard park to hit HR in, and has been for a few years.

Oh, and one more thing: there is no such thing as curses. And hyperbole or no -- a million years?

Hitters can't wait to step to the plate in those places. They're crowding the on-deck circle, digging hard into the batter's box, rudely leaning into every pitch. And after three innings, the home team trails, 8-5.

Well, except for Arlington, yes, you are pretty much right. These parks do all favor hitters.

Houston (reached the 2005 World Series) and Minnesota are conspicuous exceptions, but you get the point: It's not a good thing when opponents mark the calendar for a really good time in your ballpark.

Houston is an exception? To what? Enron/Minute Maid Park strongly favors pitchers in every single statistical category -- H, R, HR, 2B, 3B, BB. It is a solid pitchers' park. In 2005 it skewed towards hitters for HR, but was a pitchers' park in every other category. How is this an exception?

Admit it. You just look at it and think it's small and don't do any research, don't you? Don't you, you saucy little minx?

The Metrodome, too -- except for walks, which is 1.001 (essentially dead average in the category) -- favors pitchers in every category. So if you really want to look for an exception to your imaginary rule, how about citing...



... the 2004 Boston Red Sox? Who won the World Series? And play in Fenway? Which? You? Cited? Earlier?

This may sound crazy,

Can't wait.

but I'm saying the Giants would have a better record right now if they hadn't re-signed Bonds. Not first-place better, but a better winning percentage, and I'll guarantee you some of the players in the clubhouse feel the same way. Why? Because it would be about a team, not a home-run record. About the hint of change, not the same one-act play. Bonds' at-bats remain magical, no doubt about that, and it might be decades before we see another hitter so compelling -- but the burden of his presence makes the rest of the players wonder if they even matter.

There might -- might, I say -- be something to this. But mostly because the guy costs a lot of money, and they might have been able to sign other, better players with that money. Bonds is going to be worth 9.6 wins to his team this year, so you'd have to get 10 wins of improvement over what you have now in order to have a better winning percentage than you have with him. That's a lot of wins. Granted, the Giants have some terrible players. Roberts-Winn-Durham is a pretty sad 123. But you can't just say that they'd be better on psychological grounds only, without offering possibilities for whom they might have signed with the extra $$$.

Then later, in the random notes section, we get...

Out-of-nowhere prediction: Jose Valverde, Arizona's flighty reliever, gives up a costly late-inning homer and turns into Atlee Hammaker, never quite the same ...

You think that's novel? Please. I've been predicting Valverde-becomes-Hammaker for months.

Here's a handy summer reminder for all the managers and pitching coaches so lamely obsessed with pitch counts ("I know he's pitching a two-hitter, but hold on just a minute here -- 103 pitches!"): In the 1968 season, the Cardinals' Bob Gibson was never removed from the mound. Made 34 starts, completed 28. The other six times, he was removed for a pinch-hitter (twice in the seventh inning, three times in the eighth and once in the 11th, notes Bill Arnold of Sports Features Group). Not once did he make that walk to the dugout, usually a humbling and discouraging experience.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to visit this page, and poke around the web and read the scientific/medical basis for pitch counts. If you don't want to, I will coarsely summarize: it is not the amount of rest between outings that matters most to a player's arm's health. It is the number of pitches per individual outing above a certain benchmark -- roughly 100. Granted, science and reason cannot hold a candle to good ol' fashioned horse sense, the like of which you are demonstrating here.

Try to imagine this as you recall Tony La Russa crafting relief for the seventh, eighth and ninth innings before the game even starts, or Felipe Alou making six changes in five minutes. It's a different game today (the pitching-dominated '68 season forced a lowering of the mound), but Gibson's feat could be repeated. Same ball, same human arm. All it takes is a little integrity and common sense.

Integrity. And common sense. That's what it takes to make a guy throw 28 complete games.

Seriously. "Integrity." And "common sense."

Integrity, to me, and to the dictionary, means something along the lines of: adherence to an ethic, or a set of moral principles. It can also mean honesty. It escapes me how any of this has anything to do with MLB pitch counts.

I suppose he could be using "integrity" in the sense of "maintenance of a whole." Like in Star Trek when a Klingon laser destroys the Enterprise's hull's integrity. That would make sense -- all it would take for someone to replicate Gibson's 300+ IP and 28 CG in 1968 would be, by definition, the maintenance of his physical integrity. But I don't think he meant that.

Let me also add here that he is actually arguing, seemingly, for a CG qua a CG -- like, it doesn't matter what the game situation is. People should just throw more complete games. Bud Black should send Peavy out there and have him toss 145 pitches no matter if he's up by 9 or down by 6. Because that would be better...for...someone?

And as for the "it could happen today" argument. Well, maybe it could. But why would you want to try? Gibson was a freak -- a once-in-a-generation pitcher with a killer arm. Saying you could have someone replicate his longevity feat today is like the child's argument that he shouldn't study because "Einstein dropped out of school in 8th grade," or "Bill Gates dropped out of college!" The antecedent in question is not the norm, thus the results of the experiment in question should not be counted on to be repeated.

But what do I know? Have Barry Zito throw 307 innings this year. Maybe that will help your Giants turn things around.

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posted by Unknown  # 12:12 PM
Next time you get upset when a sportswriter paints a picture of bloggers as big fat nerdy nerds who sit in front of their computers all day in their mom's basement, remember that you just referenced the Starship Enterprise's hull integrity.

If people didn't know better, they'd think we were frakkin' losers!
That was kind of the point. I like to play into the stereotype whenever possible. I'm like the Ferengi that way.
The best FJM correction ever just came from James:

KT --

I'm a bigger loser than you, because I noticed your error in the Star Trek shout-out...

Klingon vessels are equipped with disruptors, not lasers. (And, Starfleet ships pack phasers, not lasers.)

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