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Tag: "baseball"

Half Empty

[ 0 ] November 20, 2008 |

To follow up on Kaufman and Lookout Landing, maybe it would help if the BBWAA would just release the winners. It’s sort of amazing that a group of voters that all other evidence suggests are wholly inept and unqualified managed to get both of the awards right (or at least reach reasonable answers for both.) I probably would have voted for Mauer over Pedroia, but I admit that this is for not better reason than that if it’s a close question you should never vote for the Scrappy White Guy who will be a media darling for the next decade+l; Pedroia was a fair choice.

But the rest of the ballots, oy. About the best you can say about the AL is that at least Morneau was closer to being as good as Mauer than in the year when he actually won the award. And it’s not just that the #2 guy in the NL plays the same position at the MVP and is far worse offensively and defensively, but that he was at best the third best player on his own team (and a lot closer in value to Burrell than Utley, grated that it’s partly about the Bat being very underrated.) I think Bill James wrote in one of the first Abstracts, the bias framework of the 50s (up-the-middle player on championship team) was at least better than the still-current “Juan Gonzalez” bias framework (guy who drives in the most runs irrespective of defensive value, how many guys were on in front of him, etc.) I just can’t explain how a tremendous offensive defensive player like Utley — whose peak at the position is exceeded in NL history only by Hornsby and Morgan — can’t even break the top 10 in a year in which his team won the division. But it certainly reflects horribly on the alleged professionals who do the voting.

Oh, yes, and in other baseball news it’s not clear to me that the rest of baseball has to pitch in and help the Yankees get back to the postseason; seems to be they have plenty of resources already. I think the negotiations went something like this.


Things that Please Me About the Phillies Win

[ 9 ] October 30, 2008 |

I am pleased that Jamie Moyer will receive a World Series ring. I have no idea how many games I watched Moyer start at Safeco and the Kingdome, but it’s not a small number. I wish it could have happened in 2001, but congrats nevertheless.

I am also pleased that Geoff Jenkins will receive a World Series ring. There’s just something kind of cool about a guy you knew in 3rd grade winning the World Series. Congrats, Jaffo.

No Phutility Here

[ 0 ] October 30, 2008 |

Congrats to Philadelphia’s local athletic club for winning their professional sports competition. A few notes:

  • The Rays seemed to spend the series proving my egregiously misplaced skepticism retroactively correct. They played like a talented but inexperienced team, symbolized for me by Upton lunging at the first pitch with the (extremely fast) tying run on first in the top of the 8th. They had a lot of terrible ABs against wily but (the marvelous Hamels aside) hittable pitchers. And defensively they seemed to think it was 2007 again.
  • Another addition to my voluminous “people I was wrong about” file is Charlie Manuel. And it will be interesting to see how Amaro does as GM. Gillick has done a terrific job filling out his formidable talent core with a lot of quality spare parts (and also deserves credit for not dealing the underrated Burrell.) It may seem like when a GM arrives with three MVP-calibre players in his lineup his job is easy, but as a fan whose formative sports experience was the early 80s Expos and most recent is the Mets teams the Phillies have humiliated for two straight years and have to be considered the favorites to do so again, it ain’t easy. If the Phillies keep finding Werths and Victorinos while the Mets keep finding Castillos, Chavezes, and Decomposed Corpse of Alouses, they’ll keep beating them. (Of course, this makes it all the more annoying that he conspicuously failed — speaking of teams with formidable talent cores who win much less than they should, although most of that was Woodward — to do this with the Mariners.)
  • It will, of course, to be interesting what happens to Tampa. The bad news is that the only miracle team to have accomplished much of anything else is the 1991 Braves; the good news is that it’s probably the best comparison (although ironically I think you can also make a good case for the Whiz Kid Phillies.) You have to worry about a team with so much young pitching in a division that will leave little margin for error, but they have a lot of impressive talent on both sides of the ball and a seemingly good organization. It will be interesting to watch.

Spackerman is Making Sense

[ 24 ] October 28, 2008 |

Right. Selig was unequivocally right not to want to have the World Series determined by a 5 1/2 inning game, and I can’t believe that any serious Phillies fan would want to win the World Series that way.

Does anybody here know how to play this game?

[ 29 ] October 28, 2008 |

Bizarre situation in Philadelphia, where the fifth game of the World Series has been suspended after six innings and the game tied (it will resume tomorrow night). Apparently the ownership of both clubs agreed with the commissioner’s office that no game would be less than nine innings. This is a basic modification of the rules of the game, which consider any game official after five innings. The really bizarre part is that it doesn’t appear the managers or the players were aware of this agreement until it was just enforced. This is pretty amazing, given that all kinds of tactical decisions turn on whether a game can be called after less than nine innings.

On the other hand, the regular rule for inclement weather is one that makes no sense in the context of a potentially championship-deciding game. So I can see the argument for making an ad hoc modification in the official rules. But it would be nice if they had told the people actually playing the game what the rules were.

Safe! Safe!

[ 0 ] October 20, 2008 |

Apparently there’s some kind of game going on tonight. Consider this a Rays-Red Sox open thread.

…congrats to the Rays!!

…[from davenoon] Though a Sox fan, I’m nevertheless glad to see the Rays prevail. Spread the wealth, I say. And if I’m not mistaken, Rocco Baldelli got the game-winning RBI, which is really cool given the fact that he started the year with some sort of weird-ass metabolic disorder. One additional point should be made: this is clearly bad news for McCain.

Amateur Night

[ 24 ] October 19, 2008 |

Fox’s MLB coverage is so abysmal that it inclines me to some charity towards TBS — fewer nose hair and E-list celebrity shots, less Tim McCarver, you have to give them that — but what a dog and pony show. Pre-empting the first inning for “Dick Clark’s Funniest Home Celebrity Bloopers” probably isn’t going to help them get the ratings they need to attract a second outside advertiser to permit them to cut the anti-smoking and mediocre impression ads show down to 80 a game or so.

Tonight’s game will be fascinating if TBS will deign to show it.

Deep Thought

[ 25 ] October 17, 2008 |

If, after blowing a 7-0, 7th inning lead in a potential elimination game the Devil Rays come back and win Game 6, there will still be dozens of sportswriters who will adduce the importance of “momentum” in the subsequent month.


[ 0 ] October 16, 2008 |

Congrats to the Phillies. That’s four pennants in 29 years, which is a pretty good run for a franchise that won only two in its first 97 years of existence.

Today’s Marketing Tip

[ 4 ] October 5, 2008 |

I don’t have much invested in the outcome of the NL playoffs, though I suppose if pressed I’d have to root for the Phillies. And while the Phils appear to have a comfortable lead in today’s game, I can’t help but think it’s somewhat of a bad idea to have AIG as a “proud sponsor” of their radio broadcast.

Cubs Lose! Cubs Lose!

[ 214 ] October 5, 2008 |

Oh, this takes some of the sting out of the drubbing that USC applied to my beloved Ducks:

It wasn’t a collapse. “Collapse” is too nice of a word. A collapse would mean the Chicago Cubs actually showed up for the NLDS.

It wasn’t a choke. A choke is what happened in 2003, when the Cubs were exactly five outs away from their first World Series in seven decades. A choke is when you blame someone sitting in Section 4, Row 8, Seat 113 of Wrigley Field.

No, in some ways this latest Cubs’ playoff zombie film is worse than 2003, and definitely worse than last year’s October three-and-out.

Indeed. At such a time I have mixed emotions; on the one hand I do like to see the agony drawn out, as the pain of Cubs fans amuses me. Also, I had a good anti-Harry Caray screed prepared in case the Cubs had won the NLDS. I guess I’ll have to save that one for next year.

On the other hand, how many times in this one hundred year history of hilariously pathetic failure have the Cubs actually been the best team in the NL? Twice? Three times, maybe? That the Cubs had one of the strongest squads in their history makes their inept performance against a mediocre Dodgers team all the more satisfying. The Cubs weren’t scrappy underdogs who just couldn’t finish the deal; they were clearly the better team, a team that should have been in the World Series, and they could barely be bothered to show up. Oh, it’s sweeeeeet…..

Wait till next year, Cubbies. Root, root, root etc.

LGM Baseball Challenge Final Standings

[ 0 ] September 29, 2008 |

After a long, bitter fight, the LGM Baseball Challenge Challenge has been decided. The lead changed numerous times this week, including several times yesterday; finally, the Yankees pitching staff produced enough points in the second half of the doubleheader to deliver the championship to the Lexington Bearded Ducks by three points. Better luck at the track, Hickey.

Rank Team & Owner 1st Half 2nd Half Total
1 Lexington Bearded Ducks, R. Farley 4700 3254 7954
2 Headless Thompson Gunners, S. Hickey 4325 3626 7951
3 Sluggy McSlugs, C. Moore 4525 3262 7787
4 The Rev. Josh Fields, A. Katz 4374 3153 7527
5 kodos423, k. crockett 4274 3215 7489
6 JacobyRules, P. Smith 4231 3189 7420
7 KY Colonels, R. Payne 4200 3195 7395
8 Theibault Moor Orioles, J. Theibault 3926 3057 6983
9 Austin Electric Chairs, E. Loomis 4080 2763 6843
10 Sprained Mitochondria, P. McLeod 3783 2869 6652
11 Wild Loose Comma, C. S 4015 2591 6606
12 MutiliatedLittleLady, K. Houghton 3823 2721 6544
13 Lungless Wonders, E. Udall 3907 2550 6457
14 Robertson, E. Robertson 3593 2684 6277
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