Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I know the way to eliminate defensive shifts.

I won't even say it because it will insult your intelligence.

I mean, I'm sticking with the game I love no matter what, but this is truly ridiculous to even think about:

 " 'For example,'  Manfred volunteered, 'things like eliminating shifts, I would be open to those sorts of ideas.' When Ravech pressed, Manfred confirmed that yes, he was talking about defensive shifts — the practice of positioning fielders in places where ground balls are likely to go — and that yes, he was open to outlawing them for the good of the game."

Wee Willie Keeler just spun in his grave.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The New York Daily News is odd in its sports coverage.

Pro-Jets, pro-Mets, pro-Selig:

"All those who are still prosecuting Bud Selig for the 1990s in baseball must look back on that time and see themselves leading the crusade against steroids."

1) When Lupica relegates the steroids era to "the 1990s," he is part of the problem. Actually, it's impossible that Lupica is that stupid and that ignorant. It means he's a shill.

2) "Still prosecuting" implies that Selig was prosecuted in the first place. But he wasn't. Selig profited from the ongoing steroid era for decades. So did lots of people in leadership positions, some of whom are in the HOF.

3) To whom is Lupica directing his indignation? Other sportswriters? Fair enough. Most sportswriters don't care about steroid use. Most sportswriters (ahem) throw softballs at athlete-celebrities (cough cough) so they can maintain access.

At fans? Not our job. That's your job.

4) The current gripe with Selig is not so much that he failed to lead the crusade against steroids. It's that, in a last-ditch effort to save his own reputation, he went after Alex Rodriguez ... and only Alex Rodriguez.


"You tell me which commissioner, in any sport, did more good for that sport over the last 20 years than Selig did for Major League Baseball."

Easy answer: Tagliabue/Goodell.

During the last 20 years, the NFL went from the most popular sport in America to the most popular thing in America.


"You know what kind of drug testing baseball has without Selig, and if the Major League Players Association continued to have its way?

None."


Right.

As Marvin Miller said, no drug testing without a search warrant.

By the way, the difference would be non-existent. The difference between no drug testing and the current state of MLB drug testing.

But maybe the Daily News Investigative Yahoos could beat the pavement a little bit. Figure this out. It might be a good use of resources, preferable to an exciting exclusive about a non-meeting.

Great stuff right there. Alex Rodriguez did not meet with the Yankees.

What have we got in the entertainment section of this fine newspaper? Exclusive! Character Actor Jm J. Bullock did not meet the Pope yesterday.



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Max Scherzer's signing leads to existential crisis.

I always find it amusing when sports writers downplay guarantees that were never made.

Of course the Scherzer singing doesn't guarantee a World Series victory for the Nationals. Did anyone suggest it did? Is that the proper way to assess the value of a free agent signing?:

"We’ll all be stunned if the Nationals fail to win the National League East this year. They’ll dominate through the summer, embarrass the Marlins and Mets, and pour champagne on one another in late September. That’s what the Scherzer signing virtually guarantees them, barring horrible luck."

Sounds pretty good!


"But does a rotation packed with aces and near-aces assure greatness, success, improvement over what the team accomplished last year? Eh. None of us knows what’s going to happen, ever, with anything."

Dude.

What if we're all a computer program written by an advanced civilization?

What if your version of "red" is different than my version of "red"? Ever think of that?

What if there is no "Andy Martino." Two words "Andy Martino" representing an abstract idea and then the spaces between the atoms really mean the perceptions of solid space in the x-y-z coordinate is just an illusion and then the only reason Andy Martino even exists is because enough external people believe in the fictional idea of an "Andy Martino."

Oh, man, you're bumming me out. None of us knows what's going to happen, ever, with anything.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bernie Who-doff?

Bill Madden reports on Fred Wilpon's puzzling new role:

"Among those coming off the council are White Sox board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Red Sox owner John Henry and Reds owner Bob Castellini, all of whom — perhaps also not coincidentally — opposed Manfred last summer. In addition, two longtime Selig allies — Mets owner Fred Wilpon and Royals owner David Glass — came off the council but were appointed as chairmen of two important committees — Glass for business and Wilpon for finance."

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Edgar Martinez probably used steroids.

I can't prove it, of course, it's just more likely than not.

If "more likely than not" is not enough proof, I agree. Put them all in the HOF. But if steroid use is part of the discussion, then it should be part of the discussion for borderline HOFers, too:

"Despite a reputation as arguably the greatest designated hitter in history, Martinez is languishing on the Hall of Fame ballot. He peaked with 36.5 percent of the vote in 2012 and came in this year with 27.0 percent -- barely one-third of the way toward the 75 percent threshold required for induction.

Although Martinez made seven All-Star teams, won two AL batting titles and ranks 20th in MLB history with a .418 career on-base percentage, his 2,247 hits and limited contributions as a defender haven't helped his cause with voters.

The anti-Martinez arguments aren't going to sway Johnson during his self-professed campaign for his former teammate."


At the age of 37, Edgar Martinez hit .324 with 37 HRs and 145 RBIs.

C'mon, people.

Use your brain. Evolution's gift to you.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The voters don't care that he was on steroids.

I'm not feeling it.

There seems to be a large divide between baseball writers and baseball fans:

"Baseball’s transition from the super-team era reached a crescendo in 2014, when the World Series was masterfully hijacked by the wild-card Giants and Royals. And, no, we couldn’t muster a single argument against a postseason that bypassed big-money teams like the Dodgers and Yankees or ones that were top-heavy in pitching like the Tigers."


For accuracy's sake, the Giants had the second-highest payroll in the NL.

The Royals had a relatively low payroll, but the real small-payroll World Series amongst playoff teams would have been Oakland vs. Pittsburgh.

Also, I don't know why a pitching-heavy team like the Tigers would have been less enjoyable than the Royals.

Also, the biggest argument against the 2014 postseason is a simple one: Ratings.


"Welcome to a leaner, more intelligent game, a better-run industry and on-field athleticism that’s at an all-time high."

I guess Klapisch doesn't like HRs.


"It’s a good time to be a baseball fan — and that actually includes the Yankees and Mets. The Bombers are taking a huge risk with a shifting business plan, finally emphasizing youth over their 30-somethings. Whether it works remains to be seen, but it’s a revolution that was long overdue in the Bronx."

I agree that the Yankee strategy is outdated. Cashman got tricked by steroid users who were productive for a long time. So the long-term free agent contracts have come back to haunt him, even if the players didn't necessarily use steroids. Steroids warped the market.

I suppose I agree that it's a good time to be a baseball fan ... I know I'm not going anywhere.

I just don't buy into the notion that the Royals are the Beacon of Small Market Hope.


"The Mets are moving in the right direction, too, although we’ll issue the usual disclaimer up high: they need more money. Too bad there isn’t enough in the Wilpons’ coffers to afford Troy Tulowitzki, at which point you could say the Mets are ready to capture greater New York. If only."

Which contradicts everything you just said about old players and payrolls.

Whatever.

Small payrolls and athleticism are great for other teams. For my team, I'll take highly-paid sluggers ... as long as they're actually earning their money.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The release of ARod wouldn't shock me at this point.

"With every move they have made this offseason it’s clear the New York Yankees are preparing for the early jettison of Alex Rodriguez from their roster in 2015. The signing of Chase Headley to a four-year contract left him without a position in the field and the acquisition of lefty slugger Garrett Jones as a possible DH Friday further takes away potential at-bats for A-Rod.

It makes you wonder if the Yankees really expect – or want – Rodriguez, who’ll turn 40 in July, to play for them at all. It’s almost as if they are giving him a good-faith gesture in allowing him an opportunity to show he can still hit after a year-long suspension for PEDs. However, if he’s hitting .220 with a homer and 10 RBI in the middle of May, the real plan is to hand him his walking papers by Memorial Day and eat the remaining $60 million or so on his contract which runs through 2017. The surest bet in sports right now is that A-Rod will never play through the rest of that pact."


That may be overstating it, but I think the risk-reward analysis has tipped. $60 million is still a lot to throw away, but it's not really that much.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Scam

"Manager Buck Showalter told reporters Tuesday that Davis, who was diagnosed with ADHD while playing with the Texas Rangers and had previously obtained TUEs from the league for Adderall, will have the league’s permission to use it again in 2015.

Nearly 10% of Major Leaguers received TUEs for Adderall in 2014, a rate well higher than the 4.4% of adults affected by the disease nationally."


Ten percent that we know about.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Richard Justice really likes Chase Headley.

Of course, I don't think Richard Justice ever has an unkind word for anyone:

"Anyway, Headley re-upping with the Yankees for four years at a reported $52 million changes the divisional landscape yet again. The Yankees were prepared to move on without him, saying they'd shift Martin Prado from second to third and allow Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder to compete at second.

...

Meanwhile, the Yankees badly wanted Headley back. He probably surpassed all their expectations after being acquired from the Padres on July 22. His defense was outstanding. Offensively, his .381 on-base-percentage was fifth-best among all big league third basemen in that time. He was also fifth in walks, 13th in home runs and 11th in slugging.

These aren't All-Star numbers, but when his defense is factored into the mix, he was a solid contributor to a team that was in the playoff mix until the final few days of the season.

There was something else about him the Yankees appreciated, and it has become a pattern with general manager Brian Cashman's acquisitions. Headley fit in the clubhouse, too, in the overall culture of the Yankees."


No, I'm not sure what that means anymore, either.

aa
As for the Yankees, I must say, this guy is very optimistic:

"OK, back to the AL East, where the offseason has been punching and counter-punching.

I'd rate the Yankees and Red Sox in a dead heat for first place. How's that for copping out?"


I don't think it's copping out at all. It's a bold prediction for two teams that combined to be outscored by 112 runs last season.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Landed on their feet" is one way to put it.

"Of course, an underlying storyline here is that Cabrera is another in the line of players recently suspended for PEDs to cash in with a nice little contract. Cabrera's deal actually comes two full years after he was banned 50 games after he tested positive for testosterone. In wake of their 2013 suspensions during the Biogensis scandal, both Jhonny Peralta (four-years, $52 million with the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2014 season) and Nelson Cruz (four-years, $57 million with the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 1) landed on their feet despite the obvious baggage."

Sunday, December 07, 2014

The list goes on and on ...

"In their second major deal Friday, the Yankees landed prized reliever Andrew Miller, who agreed to a record four-year, $36 million deal.

 The $36 million guaranteed contract for a setup man broke Rafael Soriano's three-year, $35 million contract with Yankees signed in 2011."

So if the Yankees signed Soriano to a record setup man deal in 2011 ... and the Royals didn't make the playoffs until 2014 ... and the Miller signing is proof that the Yankees are mimicking the Royals ...

Oh, forget it.

Late '70s. The Yankees had Sparky Lyle and Goose Gossage in the same bullpen ...

I guess acquiring Gossage in 1978 because the Cy Young Award winner in the bullpen wasn't enough.

Ron Davis setting up Gossage. 131 innings in 1980.

Moving Rookie of the Year Dave Righetti to the bullpen.

Mariano setting up Wetteland.

The Mendoza-Stanton-Nelson "bridge" to Mariano.

Betances setting up Robertson:

"There has never been a single offseason that I can remember when the Yankees weren’t declared world beaters after they started making moves.

I like the signing of Andrew Miller, and it made perfect sense for them, especially not knowing whether or not David Robertson is coming back.

But I was a little confused, tracking the giddy reaction to Miller’s signing, as to how I could possibly have missed the obvious comparisons between him and Mariano Rivera.

Not so long after the Yanks were going to be world beaters because of the longball, now they are selling something new:

The first all-bullpen team in Yankee history!"


Nice addition of a setup man that no one is particularly excited about.

Zero people have compared Miller to Mariano and very few people think the Yankees are world beaters.

So, once again, Lupica is creating an imaginary, defenseless opponent and then intellectually defeating that opponent like a Big Man with a typewriter.

The Miller signing continues the Yankees' decade-long obsession with a strong bullpen. Every hack writer seems to have conveniently forgotten.



Saturday, December 06, 2014

A suggestion for John Sterling.

The proposed HR call: "This is the dawning of the Age of Gregorius."

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Two words: Rick Honeycutt.

This particular narrative is driving me crazy. The idea that the Yankees are copying the Royals:

"The Yankees are trying to navigate this difficult terrain: They want to position themselves to contend for a championship in 2015 without taking on onerous long-term contracts at a time when their roster is, at minimum, problematic.

This is why they are involved so deeply with Andrew Miller."

In his heyday with the Yankees, journeyman lefty reliever Mike Stanton appeared in 79 games in 2002. It's not quite the Yankee record. That would be Paul Quantrill with 86 appearances in 2004. It's not even the record for a Yankee lefty -- that's Boone Logan with 80 in 2012.

Remember when Sparky Lyle won the Cy Young Award? Me too.

Remember that year when Alan Embree pitched, like, 20 games in a row in anticipation of a playoff matchup with David Ortiz? The year was 2005 and here is the Torre Special Game Log.

What do all these workhorses have in common?

They pre-dated the 2014 Royals.


"The Royals showed last season that an indomitable late-game bullpen could be the key element in a team getting to the World Series. In conjunction with an elite defense, Kansas City used its powerhouse late-game trio of Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera to cover up for blemishes, namely, a good but not championship rotation and a middle-of-the-road offense.

The strategy is to win a disproportionate amount of toss-up games due to the strength of the pen, hope that is enough to push toward 90 wins or more and — should you get into the playoffs — have a proven October formula for success by reducing games to six innings."


Sounds like the Royals are copying the Yankees ... and the Red Sox ... and the Larussa A's ... and lots of other teams over the years.