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Tag: "baseball"

Jim Bunning Embarrasses Kentucky Again…

[ 12 ] July 29, 2010 |

Thanks, Jim; you’re making the most of your twilight as a US Senator:

A reporter from Politico asked Bunning for his thoughts about Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg missing his start on Tuesday with shoulder soreness. Bunning grabbed his arm with a fake exclamation of pain and then decided to question Strasburg’s manhood.

“Five-hundred twenty starts, I never refused the ball,” Bunning said. “What a joke!”

“He was in the top one percentile,” Bunning said, pinching his thumb and forefinger together. Now, Bunning said, he’s closer to the 50th percentile.

Jim Bunning pitched 104.1 innings prior to his 25th birthday. Strasburg turned 22 last Thursday, and has already pitched 54.1. You’d think that ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans would satisfy Bunning, but apparently he’d also like to destroy the career of a promising young athlete.

I’d like to believe that Bunning’s retirement will open up the possibility of a non-embarrassing junior Senator. I’d like to believe that…

The Haren Heist

[ 20 ] July 27, 2010 |

Since I was accused in comments of “east coast bias” for thinking that the Mets considering a swap of expensive useless players for expensive useless players probably wasn’t going to solve anything because the Angels just got fleeced by giving away Joe Saunders, I should note that back here in the real world the Angels got one of the best starters in baseball for a below-average starter and three marginal prospects. This kind of deal is a good indication of why the Angels are what they are and the Snakes are what they are. And, yes, if the Mets were serious about winning they would have been thinking about putting together a package for the apparently very obtainable Haren rather than putting together a package for Gil Meche.

Really Undeserving Hall of Famers

[ 24 ] July 27, 2010 |

Bill Conlin’s article about undeserving Hall of Famers makes a lot of odd choices (if otherwise clearly qualified managers are to be excluded for using profanity, for example, the ranks are going to be pretty thin), considering the amount of low-hanging fruit out there. But it’s hard to get a better example of tendentious sportswriter logic than this:

We start with Adrian “Cap” Anson, whose “Get that n- off the field” order, directed at International League pitcher George Stovey in 1887, led to a league ban on black players the next day. The “Gentlemen’s Agreement” remained in force for 60 years. Anson played a variety of positions, most in the outfield. His 200 games at third base lead off the Least Deserving HOF nine plus manager.

THIRD BASE: Cap Anson

He was a big man for his time, a strapping 230-pounder regarded as baseball’s first superstar. Anson’s 27-year career began in 1871. In 22 seasons as the leader — and later manager — of the Chicago White Stockings, his batting average was .334. But in 221 games at third, his fielding percentage was .813. Yeech! … How much influence did Anson have on his game? Mainly those five words directed toward two black men (Fleet Walker was also on the field) that put baseball equality on hold for 60 years.

Evaluating a player based on unadjusted 19th-century fielding percentages at his non-primary position is pretty much the definition using statistics for support, not illumination. But the bigger problem here, as Bill James discussed a while ago, is the strange narrative that Cap Anson is singlehandedly responsible for segregation in baseball, because he had…pretty much the same white supremacist opinions most white men of his generation did, including those who had substantially more power within baseball than he did. I have particular inclination to defend Anson, but making baseball Jim Crow about one person is actually a comforting illusion that lets way too many people of the hook. And the idea that this Anson’s only influence over the game is utterly absurd.

Joe Posnanski offers a much better candidate for Cooperstown removal:

Tom Yawkey. Longtime owner of the Boston Red Sox who somehow managed in 44 years of ownership to never win a World Series and to be the last team in baseball to field a black player. He was, according to his plaque, the first man to have his team fly by plane. So he had that going for him.

While baseball almost certainly would have been segregated if Cap Anson had been an ahead-of-his-time civil rights crusader, Tom Yawkey kept the Red Sox segregated well after most of baseball had moved on from the apartheid era, and was comfortable having open bigots run his team into the 60s. And while Anson was a player of great accomplishment aside from his appalling views on race, while Yawkey did lift the Red Sox out the class of franchises who didn’t even try to compete he was otherwise an owner of no particular distinction in addition to having racist views that were much less common to his time. As long as he has a plaque in Cooperstown we shouldn’t even be discussing Anson.

My Crap For Your Manure

[ 24 ] July 26, 2010 |

Oh, goody:

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports , the Mets are talking to the Royals about a trade that could involve Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Jeff Francoeur, as well as Gil Meche, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jose Guillen.

I don’t know what the record is for “most useless players signed to inexplicably expensive contracts exchanged in one trade” is, but if it goes through this one would have to rank up there…

Putting the Best Face…

[ 3 ] July 25, 2010 |

At most ballparks the staff find creative ways to make crappy players look good; “Dan Wilson is hitting .307 in 16 of his last 24 games,” and so forth. Apparently, the Reds crew thought that they would try to do Wandy Rodriguez a favor, but it didn’t really work out:

Marty Brennaman: Wandy Rodriguez; the overall season numbers don’t look very good, Chris, but he has pitched much better over his last four starts.

Chris Welsh: Well he has, until the last couple starts in which he’s given up eight runs in his last three innings.

For the record, it appears that Rodriguez did have a decent string of four “quality starts”, before giving up five runs in six innings in his last appearance.

“Decent Attempt”?

[ 16 ] July 19, 2010 |

As any Mets or Giants fans among our readership are aware, Phil Cuzzi put on an umpiring display of the kind I haven’t seen since the late Charlie Williams left the game.   Well, actually, it was worse; it sort of combined Williams’ seemingly random strike zone and safe/out calls with Joe West’s even temper.     The culmination was a ludicrously blown call at the plate on what should have been the winning run for the Giants.    What makes it really special is the justification, which takes attempts to justify the de facto “every play is a force play” rule employed by lazy umpires to a whole new level:

Cuzzi said that he had not yet seen the replay. “I’ll look at it, but I figured I’d eat first,” he said, laughing.  “He made a decent attempt to put the tag on him. That’s what it looked to me, and that’s why I called him out.

What is this, a t-ball game?   “Well, OK, the runner was actually all the way across the plate by the time the tag went down, but Henry just tried so hard to rescue that awful throw!   I couldn’t let him down!”   Christ.
And, yes, Cuzzi is the same clown who made that ridiculous foul call in the Twins/Yankess ALDS game last year. I actually think there are good reasons (in terms of flow) to be skeptical about increased replay in baseball, but it would help if there was actually some accountability.   I really have no idea how Cuzzi keeps his job.

Geoff Jenkins Retires

[ 11 ] July 16, 2010 |

Now this is starting to make me feel old:

Former Brewers outfielder Geoff Jenkins will announce his retirement on Friday.

Jenkins has scheduled a press conference before Milwaukee’s game against Pittsburgh to officially end his 11-year career. Jenkins played 10 of his 11 seasons with Milwaukee and made the 2003 NL All-Star team. He won a World Series title his final year with Philadelphia in 2008 and finished his career hitting .275 with 221 homers and 733 RBIs in 1,349 games.

General manager Doug Melvin says they’re honored to let Jenkins retire as a Brewer after being drafted by the club, making his major league debut with the team and ranking among the franchise leaders in most offensive categories.

An entirely respectable career, cemented with a World Series ring. Nice work, Jaffo.

Steinbrenner

[ 1 ] July 13, 2010 |

The Yankees won eleven pennants and 7 world series championships during George Steinbrenner’s 37 year ownership tenure. That’s certainly more impressive than any other team since 1973, but is somewhat less sterling than the nineteen years of Topping, Webb, and MacPhail ownership, which resulted in fifteen pennants and 10 titles. Of course, that was a different era; no free agency, no amateur draft, eight team leagues, and so forth. I don’t particularly begrudge Steinbrenner any of those titles; he recognized the value of the Yankees and spent heavily to put them in position to win.

Embedding disabled, but still…

This Will End Badly…

[ 5 ] July 10, 2010 |

Kinda exciting. Wish the Reds could score a damn run so he doesn’t have to pitch 13 innings.

…C’mon guys.  1 run.

Sheehan asks whether it made sense to hit Wood in the eighth, given that the Reds are in a race.  First, Dusty has set a bad precedent by batting Mike Leake in crucial situations.  Second… just no.

…This would be a good time to be dramatic, Joey.

…Wood is obviously tiring.  Got hit hard last inning, but lucky.

… Yup.  Still, hell of a performance.  Tip of the cap to Travis Wood.

…They cannot seriously be considering letting him continue.  The last three hitters have crushed him.

Semi-Apology

[ 5 ] July 9, 2010 |

While pride prevents me from fully withdrawing my critique of Dusty Baker for letting Mike Leake hit last week while Scott Rolen sat on the bench, I will concede that Leake is rather on a hot streak with the bat.

That is all.

….oh, for crying out loud.

When the Evidence Confirms What You Always Kinda Knew…

[ 13 ] July 9, 2010 |

Huh. I guess I always suspected that Tony La Russa was evil:

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa on Tuesday said he’s a “supporter” of Arizona’s immigration law and welcomed local Tea Partiers who were inside the stadium to show Arizona solidarity — even though his team was facing off that night against the Diamondbacks.

La Russa, talking to reporters, addressed the subject because dozens of St. Louis Tea Party members were at Busch Stadium to demonstrate in support of the Arizona law.

The Cardinals manager, who attended Florida State University’s School of Law and is one of only five lawyers ever to manage a Major League Baseball team, said he thinks the Tea Partiers are “correct” on “a lot of things” and welcomed competing points of view into his team’s stadium.

“I’m actually a supporter of what Arizona’s doing. … The national government doesn’t fix your problem, and you’ve got a problem, they’ve got to take care of it themselves,” La Russa said.

Wonder what Albert Pujols thinks…

Let’s Make This Happen…

[ 5 ] July 7, 2010 |

Cliff Lee would sure look pretty in a Reds uniform…

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