Friday, October 31, 2014

Bumgarner was remarkable and amazing, but ...

The simple fact is, if you're talking about the best of the best ... the best performances in the history of baseball ... you have to deduct points from Bumgarner's accomplishment because he was facing a relatively unimpressive lineup.

So lazy.

I know the best way to win the World Series.

Do what the Giants did.

Because the Giants won the World Series:

"A look at how San Francisco and Kansas City competed should give Brian Cashman and Sandy Alderson some ideas about how to tinker with their rosters. Young and fast is the way to go. While power is and always will remain important, it is better still to have consistent contact hitters. For all the fearsomeness Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez offered, four of the Series’ final five games concluded without a homer. And that one homer, by Moustakas, simply provided the meaningless final run in the Royals’ 10-0 rout in Game 6.

In fact, there were only five homers hit the entire series."


If the Royals had one more well-timed homerun, then they're World Series champs.

"Instead of collecting every 38-year-old still working, the Yanks should focus their attention on importing younger, faster talent and developing through the minors. Imagine the stir they’d cause if a fast-growing star like Joe Panik came out of their system — just as a good-looking shortstop named Derek Jeter did 20 years ago — and produced a play like that third-inning, glove-hand flip that turned a potential rally into a double play. Imagine if they had a fast, fleet outfielder like Lorenzo Cain, who ran down just about everything in the expansive Kaufman Stadium outfield."

The 2014 Yankee outfield was Gardner, Ellsbury, and Ichiro. That may not be a young outfield, but it's athletic.

I think we all know by now that a lot of high-priced Yankee players are depreciating at the same time. It is a problem that doesn't seem to have a quick fix.

But young isn't necessarily good, and athletic isn't necessarily good. The Yankees can send out Brendan Ryan and Zoilo Almonte and you've got athletic and young covered, as long as you're willing to endure a lot of combined 0-for-10s.

The good news, of course, is that you don't have to be a good team anymore to win the World Series. So maybe Tanaka stays healthy, Beltran and McCann rebound a bit, the 3-4-5 hitters learn how to get an occasional RBI, and the Yankees get hot in October after winning the second wild card with 86 wins.

"Suppose they stopped making an issue of 39-going-on-100-year-old Alex Rodriguez, left Chase Headley alone at third to excel there, and developed a younger talent who could offer hitting and defense in the style of the 28-year-old Sandoval."

Correct. If only Yangervis Solarte was better. But he isn't.

The Yankees should also develop Bumgarner while they're at it.

That's what they should totally do! Just develop lots of World Series MVPs in their minor leagues.

I wish Cashman had thought of that.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Did anybody notice, that in this era of supposed unlimited opportunities, the Red Sox and Giants keep winning the World Series?

I'm going to explore this comment from the Newsday article a little further:

"Selig recalled how he was told during the mid-90s that '25 teams couldn't win' because the sport's economics were stacked unfairly against franchises that didn't play in the most lucrative areas"

Let's explore the mid-'90s:
  • In 1993, the Blue Jays won their second title in a row. This was shortly after the 1980s -- ten different Champions in ten years.
  • In 1994, the Expos and the Yankees had the best records in baseball when the season was interrupted because of the strike.
  • The 1995 WS was Braves over Indians.
  • In 1996, the underdog Yankees beat the Braves in the WS.
So why would Selig think that 25 teams couldn't win?

Because he didn't think that. It's revisionist history.

All of this nonsense is an over-reaction to the success of the 1998 Yankees.

You got what you wanted. It totally works out if there's a one-run Game Seven, but I fail to see how that particular excitement is a function of the Wild Card playoff system.

I can prove, with actual data, the the "hope and faith" nonsense did not boost attendance in any wild card city ... not even KC was into it until the very end of the season.

I can also prove, with data, that the World Series was a ratings disaster. I can't prove that the ratings tanked because the teams were relatively lame -- the first sub-90-win teams to ever face each other in the WS. I can't prove it, but the numbers speak for themselves.

A weird shill for Selig,

Gimme a freaking break with this:

"That is why there has never been a better ending to the World Series than we got Wednesday night in Kansas City, an ending and a World Series to make fools out of all the critics who keep suggesting that the sport is dying or has been passed by, the people who don’t love baseball or follow it and somehow think they have a right to tell you how to fix it or change it."

So Mike Lupica was riveted to the 7th inning of Game Six, at 1:00 am, to see if Tim Lincecum (or a differnt Giants mop up guy) was going to come in out of the bullpen?

Was Lupica keeping score at home?

I don't even know how to begin attacking this one sentence:

1) The World Series was terrible. You already know why, I don't have to explain again.

If you can name more than five players on either team, then you get a cookie.

If any of these players end up in the top five in MVP/Cy Young for the 2014 season, I have no idea who that would be (on second thought, maybe Posey can pull it off).

Five out of seven games were blowouts.

2) Some of us actually prefer to see the best teams and the best players in the finals.

Not some of us, a lot of us.

That explains why the ratings were the worst ever.

3) Of course a one-run Game Seven is terrifically exciting.

Now imagine if if happened with two good teams: Anaheim vs. LA.

Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig at the plate instead of an anonymous Royal.

4) The best ending ever to a World Series?

Bill Mazeroski, Bobby Richardson, Joe Carter, Jack Morris, and Luis Gonzalez might have something to say about that ... and there are many others.

Lupica even goes on to list the superior WS endings, inadvertently subverting his own argument. Context is key, and every other WS in memory involved superior teams.

Randy Johnson and Luis Gonzalez slayed the beast. Bumgarner beat the KC Royals, an 88-win team with no power who had not made the playoffs in three decades. You can't separate the story from the context.

5) Guess who has every "right" to explain what is wrong with baseball? The people who don't watch it or follow it.

That's exactly who needs to be convinced to watch baseball.

MLB should beg these point-missers to complain about the game rather than ignore it entirely. If I were Microsoft, I'd beg the consumers to explain why the Windows Phone only has 2.5% market share.

6) All of this nonsense is Lupica's weird defense of Selig. Probably hoping to gain endless access, a la Torre and Showalter. Not a journalist, a butt-kisser.

Selig makes 20 million steroid dollars per year and makes his final official appearance in an off-the-rack Sears suit.

Cool, man. We get it. You ooze "aw shucks" authenticity. It's your brand, you big phony.

Selig passes the commissioner baton to another old white lawyer, or whatever. A real out-of-the-box choice whose name I can't remember.

None of them get it. Lupica doesn't get it. Stop blaming the customer.

"This was the ending that this Series deserved, and that baseball needed, at this time when point-missers keep telling us that the only way to measure the sport is by network television ratings in October, as if that is the only way to measure the enduring beauty and greatness of the sport. This was a Series to make the people who think that baseball needs home runs to flourish look like the worst point-missers of them all."

Again with the ratings.

Lupica has forfeited the ratings argument forever, but I know for a fact he's going to waste no time mocking the 2015 post-Jeter YES Network ratings.

I mean, ratings no longer matter! The Astros are a huge success ... critics who panned "Manhattan Love Story" were missing the point ... the XFL lives!

Lupica has the nerve to explain to fans why they are incorrect when they tune out the Wild Card World Series.

Sorry, pal. The fans vote with their eyes, and they can never be wrong in that regard.

See? I'm not crazy. It's all here. He did this on purpose.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

You keep using the word "confidential," but I do not think it means what you think it means.

"Bosch pleaded guilty last week to drug charges and is cooperating with investigators in hopes of getting a lenient prison sentence. In the DEA affidavit, he is identified as 'CS1,' short for 'confidential source 1,' and told DEA agents that Berejuk was his first source of testosterone beginning in 2007."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Just what I have been saying.

An 88-win team vs. an 89-win team in the World Series that is going to get terribly low ratings.

Two exciting pennant races rendered meaningless.

That's the result of Selig's Master Plan.

In exchange, he got KC fans jazzed up a little more than usual at the end of the season. Of course, they are coming out for the playoffs ... but that's going to happen in any city once you get past the pointless wild card game.

What does this even mean?

" 'I had a really bad season last year,'; he said.

So on Tuesday, he said, he charted his strength — and the results weren't thrilling.

'I was almost off-the-charts low on upper-body strength,' he said.

'I understood that I need to get stronger,' he added. 'I didn't realize how weak I was upper-body. I'm going to be working the weights a lot harder. That will be my adjustment for this year.' "

You didn't do a pushup for seven months?

So you just woke up one day and looked in the mirror and realized you didn't have any upper body strength?

How long did you let this drift?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Name five players on the Royals ... better yet, name the Yankees' starting staff.

Mike Lupica, King of the Fake Baseball Fans, calls out the amateurs:

"All the fake baseball fans who wring their hands constantly about the state of the game, and act as if the only way to quantify the sport’s appeal is through network TV ratings, if the stress of that is all too much, they should just skip watching the Royals trying to finish off one of the great and magical storybook runs in all of baseball history."

I'll make a deal with you regarding Fake Baseball Fans who worry about ratings. If TV ratings don't matter, then never bring up the post-Jeter YES Network ratings.

Very nice run on sentence, by the way, Fake Sportswriter. Read it out loud to yourself before you print it. That's a very basic rule.

Also, for what it's worth? There is absolutely zero stress involved in the decision to skip the World Series. It's the opposite of stress. It's disinterest. No team to root for and no team to root against.

"I think 10-year contracts for baseball players are dumber than Bruce Jenner, but if given the choice between 10 years for Cano or seven years for Ellsbury before the last offseason began, there’s no question that paying Cano would have made more sense."

First, some background: Lupica presumed the Yankees were going to sign Cano to a dumb ten-year contract. So Lupica pre-emptively ridiculed the contract. But the Yankees didn't sign Cano.

Then, Lupica insisted Ellsbury would get hurt. So Ellsbury played pretty good and stayed healthy. Ellsbury or Gardner were the best non-pitchers ... and Ellsbury was probably not worth $17.5 million ... but Ellsbury still undoubtedly proved Lupica wrong.

Lupica was wrong about the Yankees and wrong about Cano. Yankees are fools for signing Cano, Yankees are fools for not signing Cano. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

So how does Lupica try to wriggle out of it?

By comparing Ellsbury's contract to Cano's ... and not even considering the possibility that Cano wanted to leave ... and not even offering any basis for his conclusion. (I'd definitely take Ellsbury's ridiculous contract over Cano's impossibly ridiculous contract.)

But it doesn't even matter.

The entire "choice" is a red herring. It's a non-argument. Before the offseason began, if given the choice between a ham sandwich and flesh eating bacteria, the Yankees should have chosen art deco.

Everyone knows Cano is better than Ellsbury. The Yankees know this. Ellsbury knows this. That's why Cano makes about 50% more per year.

The Yankees did not want to pay Cano $241 million. Which is a smart decision, and the wisdom of that decision has nothing to do with Jacoby Ellsbury or Masahiro Tanaka or Brian McCann or anybody else.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stop with the Royals worship.

I admire the hitting approach of the Royals and the Giants (and the Cardinals, for that matter). The Yankees swing for the fences in all circumstances, as we all know.

But the Royals won 88 games this year, have not yet won a World Series, and missed the playoffs for the previous 29 years.

This is not a model for success that anyone needs to follow:

"This was after Game 2 of the ALCS in Baltimore, in which the resurgent Royals had just beaten the Orioles at their own game again, and a couple of scouts were discussing the way the series was going.

'Let me ask you something,' one of them said to me. 'If the Yankees, with all their over-30 guys and questionable defense at so many positions, had to play the Royals 162 times, how many games would they win?' ”

If Tanaka is healthy, then the Yankees probably win 90.

If Tanaka is not healthy, then the Yankees probably win 80.

The Yankees are not very good and neither are the Royals. Welcome to the Wild Card World Series. If two sub-90-win teams jazz you up, then good for you. Like most of America, I'll tune in from time to time, depending upon what happens to be playing on Comedy Central.

"The point he was making was that, in this post-steroid era of declining offense, especially home runs, it’s a greatly changing game, with the formula for winning having shifted to athleticism, defense and, most importantly, a shutdown, power-arm bullpen."

Sounds like the Yankees in 2014, at least two out of three.

"And, of course, the one thing that never changes is that there is no substitute for youth.

This is Brian Cashman’s challenge as he seeks to restore the Yankees to perennial World Series contenders. He’s got a three-year contract to do it. Unfortunately for him, it’s going to take at least that long for the Yankees to start getting younger and more athletic, with Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran locked in for two more years for $23 million and $15 million per, respectively, Brian McCann for four more years at $17 million per and Jacoby Ellsbury six more years — to age 36 — at $21 million per."

Did somebody really suggest Mark Teixeira is not athletic?

3-4-5 should be a lot better than they are. They're paid to produce and they don't produce.The Yankees could take a lesson from lots of teams who know how to drive in runs rather than constantly swing for the fences. I agree with that obvious observation for sure.

I just wouldn't use a Hot Team in October as a model for the next dynasty ... especially if the plan is to wait three decades.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I must say, I'm shocked to hear about the juice bars.

"He had his worst full big-league season in 2014, hitting just .216 with 22 homers and 62 RBI. Some of his struggles, however, could be partly attributed to the various injuries that limited him to just 123 games."


Maybe his injuries are partly attributable to the fact that his exercise bike is covered in spider webs.

As for the referenced story, Wallace Matthews claims that Mark Texeira "displayed a genuine flair for comedy in the 'Foul Territory' segments he did for the YES network, in which he played himself as a bumbling TV interviewer"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Maybe WAR isn't what you think it is.

In the ongoing battle between the old school baseball poets and the new wave sabermetricians (Bill James started publishing his Baseball Abstracts in 1977, so I don't now how new it is), WAR is one of the focal points of disagreement.

  • There was some general disagreement with WAR when it listed Alex Gordon so highly. Sixth in MLB for 2014. After watching the playoffs, maybe Gordon is undervalued and WAR reveals his true value.

  • The career WAR ranking of Yankees? Jeter is fifth, ahead of Berra. So maybe WAR is right, and maybe WAR doesn't really disagree with the old school.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apparently, Mike Lupica knows people who talk about the Yankees like it's the '90s.

"A better way is the Cardinals, who have become the model organization of the sport without buying their way here. They are now in the NLCS for the fourth consecutive year, have won two World Series over the past decade, lost two others to Boston. The Giants, who don’t buy their way to October, are looking to win a third World Series in five years."


The Yankees have not been as successful in recent years as the Cardinals or the Giants.

Thank you for your in-depth baseball observations.

As for the team payrolls for the Giants and the Cardinals, it's like $140 million and $110 million, respectively.

They're still buying their way to October.

"The Yankees, with general manager Brian Cashman getting a new three-year contract, basically say they aren’t going to change. It means they are going to keep spending like drunks. They have spent about $3 billion to win one World Series since 2000."


I verified this with exactly 1 second of research.

"But we still talk about them like it’s the ’90s, and they are just a couple of moves away. They’re not."


Who does this?

Who still talks about the Yankees like it's the '90s?

I don't know of any group -- players, coaches, writers, fans, announcers -- who talk about the Yankees like it's the '90s.

"We" isn't me or anyone I know.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Oh, boy. The Players' Tribune.

Dear Mark Teixeira,

Where do you get inspiration for Foul Territory?

Your biggest fan,

Monday, September 29, 2014

I hope ARod doesn't disrupt the chemistry of a team that has missed the playoffs two years in a row.

Let's say runners are in scoring position and the count is 3 balls and 2 strikes.

Don't think about ARod's press coverage. Think about getting a hit.

When the run scores, the team scores a run, and you get something called a "run batted in," commonly referred to as an "RBI" for short.

RBIs are good things.

RBIs are things that we like.

RBIs help the team and also help your personal statistics.

It's a win-win:

"When Rodriguez returns, Girardi doesn’t believe he will cause too much of a distraction, but remember Girardi’s glass is always half-full.

'I thought our guys handled it pretty well.' Girardi said of Rodriguez’s return from injury in 2013, when he continued to play while appealing his MLB suspension. 'Will there be a number of new guys in there? We will do everything we can so it’s not a distraction, but until we get into it we won’t really know. My personal opinion is that it won’t be one.'

The smart money differs."

Don't blame ARod for this mess. He wasn't even on the team.

The final ugly numbers.

Mark Teixeira's 2014: .216/.313/.398, 22 HRs, 62 RBIs, 56 runs.

It gets worse.
  • Fifteen solos HRs, six 2-run HRs, one 3-run HR, zero grand slams.
  • RISP: One HR in 113 at-bats.
  • Two outs and RISP: 7-for-45 (.156).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In 2015, the Mets will be better than the Yankees.

After proclaiming Mets superiority for a decade or two, Lupica is finally poised to win a Pyrrhic Victory.

What did Lupica lose in the war?

All credibility:

"Which New York baseball team do you think is set up better for next season, the Mets or the Yankees?"

The Orioles were better than the Yankees this year. The Orioles finally won the AL East.

Except it felt like the Orioles won the "AL East" and finally beat the "Yankees."

When the Mets win 81 games in 2015 and the Yankees win 77, it will be a big deal to Lupica and Mets fans?


"Now that the farewell tours have ended, which Yankee are you buying tickets to watch play next season, especially if Tanaka has to miss next season because of Tommy John surgery?"

Got it. This is undoubtedly true.

But you can't have it both ways.

If you ridiculed Jeter's $20 million annual salary... and ARod's $25 million annual salary ... then you should at least recognize what they were paid to do.

They moved the product, and you're a dumb hypocrite because you are the first person to criticize ARod's contract.

"Which contract do you think looks better now for our kids on 161st. St., incidentally, Teixeira’s or Sabathia’s?"

David Wright's.

 "Alex Rodriguez’s contract, as you know, is in a league of its own."

It's like a reflex.

He really can't see it, can he?

I think the party is over for ARod. The Yankees will get little return for the remaining $60 million, both in terms of on-field production and ticket sales.

But if you really question the return on ARod's overall contract, then count the number of times your newspaper put him on the back page over the past 10 years.

Then, look up the Yankee Stadium attendance numbers.

Yankee Stadium II: The House that ARod Built.

Bob Raissman is the downstream feed.

"In his final days as a Yankee, Derek Jeter gave the media what he had not been able to deliver during his 20 seasons in pinstripes — controversy.

The more precise way of describing Jeter’s gift is this: He provided the media with the motivation to create a controversy. Of course this enabled Valley of the Stupid Gasbags, and commentators from other media precincts, to verbally take out cans of whup-ass and spray paint the Captain.

Or passionately rally to his defense."

Valley of the Stupid Gasbags? Says the guy who regularly appears on SNY?

"It was all entertaining. It also begged the question: Was all the passion, with the extreme points of view, more about evoking the 'Wow, did you hear what that guy said about Jeter' moment than it was about the legitimacy of the critique itself?"

Oh no, they're stealing my shtick.

"Jeter’s been around for two decades, so why did Olbermann wait so long to go to the whip? If he felt Jeter’s skills were so inferior, why not put the verbal beatdown on him years ago? Gee, why wait until Jeter’s end is near? Oh shucks, this is so hard to figure out."

I don't know if this is accurate.

The anti-Jeter backlash is deserved and I wouldn't be surprised if Olbermann has rolled his eyes several times over the past 20 years. I know I have.

I don't even think it's so much tangible vs. abstract. At this point, Jeter's leadership qualities are clearly overrated to such a degree that his actual tangible baseball-playing abilities are overshadowed.
I heard one talk radio caller say Jeter is a bi-racial healer and our society will fall apart without him. I paraphrase in this particular case, but that was kind of the gist of many teary-eyed old men: "Jeter transcends baseball."

I heard another say that Jeter should run for mayor. No word if Ricky Ledee would be the deputy mayor.

"See, everybody’s a winner here.

So, thanks Derek Jeter. Thanks for leaving us all with something to peddle. Free of charge."

Unsure if that's a confession.

But if Raissman is ripping his content providers for providing controversy, then what does that say about his column?