Category: MLB

November 15, 2010

Kevin Love’s ridiculous 31 and 31 game, missing Kirk Gibson’s ’88 World Series home run ball

Pardon My French: November 11, 2010

Cannot read source file or disk, Seinfeld’s take on Jay Leno, David Letterman’s Hershey bars, MLB extra wildcard, baby foreskin for sale.

Pardon My French: November 10, 2010

Complaining about Google buzz, most popular sneaker brands worn by NBA players, Miami Heat’s point guard problems, Indiana Pacers score 54 in one quarter against Denver Nuggets, Spark Anderson’s real age.

Pardon My French: November 9, 2010

Adventures in google reader, Wally Backman, Derek Jeter, CFL, Gold Glove, Williamsburg Bridge, Beach Brooklyn, Tapi, Wooden NYC phone booths.

Mike Shanahan’s Right to Bench McNabb

Lost in the ongoing diatribe against Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench QB Donovan McNabb at the end of a loss to the Lions, is Shanahan’s right as a Head Football Coach to substitute any player at any time.

NFL Head Coaches, NBA Coaches, MLB Managers typically make decisions that are safe and easy for the public to digest. Shanahan was widely criticized for benching McNabb because the alternative was Rex Grossman, an aging ineffective QB clinging to an NFL roster spot. But what if Rex Grossman, instead of turning it over, threw for a TD and helped the Redskins pull off an unlikely upset?

Sure, its easy to say with 20/20 hindsight that Shanahan’s decision proved futile. With the score 31-25 in Detroit’s favor with 1:45 left in the game, Redskins were headed towards a loss. McNabb has not been a great QB by any measure this entire season. Somehow, Shanahan is taking the entire brunt of the decision, while McNabb’s ineffective QB play is a major reason for the Redskins season long miseries.

There are certain traditions in sports that continue year after year, despite any rules regulating its behavior. In the NBA, a player is immediately yanked out by his Coach after picking up his second foul in the 1st quarter. Every NBA fan knows that a player gets yanked if he commits two fouls in the 1st quarter, three fouls in the 2nd, and four fouls in the 3rd. Of course, there’s no rule that dictates a player must be removed in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd quarters based on the number of fouls at that particular moment in the game. It is just a scenario that plays out in 99% of the basketball games that I’ve seen. In the Hack-Shaq era, it was not uncommon to see a random scrub player pick up four fouls in one quarter. These scrubs were inserted into the game with the sole intention of fouling Shaq because he was utter shit from the line.

Why is it that every single NBA Head Coach adhere to this foul substitution patter year after year, despite any solid evidence that it is really the best way to run a basketball team? Even if there were strong evidence supporting a particular substitution pattern theory, I still would find it really strange that every single game would follow the same pattern on a daily basis without variation.

Another NBA tradition that all Head Coaches like to do is to bring back the exact same opening starting lineup for the start of the 2nd Half. How is it possible that in the thousands of NBA games played in the last thirty years, nearly every single game featured the same Starting Lineup for the 1st Half as in the 2nd Half. Dream Team Head Coach Chuck Daly had a different Starting Lineup for every single Olympics Basketball game in 1992, but it was done out of boredom, I suppose. Because as an NBA Head Coach, Daly pretty much had a set Starting Lineup for the entire season, and played the same Lineups for 1st and 2nd Halves.

I think a big reason that Coaches adhere to such strict though not mandatory guidelines is fear of mockery. Mike Shanahan is being described by many as being dumb or just being Anti-McNabb. I’ve even heard that it was Shanahan’s fault for not teaching McNabb how to play the two minute drill.

We’ve all seen huge upsets happen in sports. Heck, SF Giants Cody Ross was a hero in the postseason and nobody could have ever predicted that. The Seattle Seahawks have dominated at home this season, even though they have mediocre talent. The Bills have been in most of their games this season, but are sitting at 0-7.

If sports was all about making calculated decisions based on the computer, we would have computers coach the players. But the truth of the matter is that no computer could ever accurately predict the outcome of sporting events.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony Larussa was widely ridiculed when he placed the pitcher in the 8th spot of the batting order. In the case of baseball, there are many statheads who would argue that the batting order is a bit overrated. Does it really matter that Teixeira bats 3rd and A-Rod protects him by batting 4th? Yeah, sure you want to maximize at bats, but those are seasonal goals. It seems reasonable to design a specific type of lineup against that day’s opposing starting pitcher. Drudging out the same exact lineup game in game out is just too boneheaded for me.

I mean, I think having the same baseball lineup day in, day out, is like having sex the same way over and over again for six months. I mean, sure you’re getting laid, but do you really want to have the same routine with the same significant other every single day? Sure, you’re getting laid, but after a while, it’s just like taking a hot shower. It feels good, but lacks the proper stimulation.

Possibility of a Yankees Collapse

The Yankees are seven games ahead of Boston, with 17 games left to play. The Yanks are eerily in the exact same situation as Mets were in 2007, when the Mets were up seven with 17 left to play.

The Yanks have a tough road ahead of them. After tonight’s rubber game against the Rays, they got 3 @ O’s, 4 vs. Rays, 3 vs Sox, 3 @ Jays, and 3 @ Bos. Not an easy road.

The O’s will make the old veteran Yankees work hard and stretch their old bones to beat them, and that’s if the Yankees could win two out of three. The seven in a row against the Rays and Sox will be war. Then to finish in TO, and fly to Boston? Wow, it’s going to get ugly.

Every game out will be hotly contested because all of their opponents have the weapons and the motivation. The O’s will be three ugly, hard fought contests either way. I’m betting the O’s take at least two games, if not more.

Their last home stand of the season will make or break them. If the Yanks do something ugly like 1-6, it’s very likely that they won’t even make the post season after such a stellar start.

The Red Sox have six more games with the Yanks and Boston sure could sweep all of them. The three games at the TO Skydome will most definitely be high scoring games. The Blue Jays can bomb and the Yankee staff is comprised mainly of fastball pitchers. Yummy.

Derek Jeter’s Preferential Treatment

Derek Jeter’s future contract with the Yankees has been speculated by some to be 50-60 million around 3-4 years. The Yankees have cash and it sounds like their are going to open up their vaults to Number Two, Derek Jeter.

I’ve seen Jeter’s entire career, starting from 1995, and he has gotten the most preferential treatment of any baseball player in history. Now mind you, Jeter’s career stats are significantly south of truly great Yankees like Ruth, Gehrig, and Mantle, just to name a few. Yet, Jeter’s been treated like he is greater than all three of them combined.

When Alex Rodriguez came to the Yankees, he was the reigning AL MVP, and reigning Gold Glove at SS. Yet, A-Roid was forced to move to 3B to play an entirely new position. This strange arrangement was done to accommodate Jeter, as a sign of respect to the Yankee captain if you want to think of it like that.

Getting the greatest (steroid) player of its generation to change positions is not really the normal thing that happens in pro sports. Usually, merit trumps loyalty. When the NY Mets got Mike Piazza, they didn’t ask him to change positions because they already had a catcher in Todd Hundley. But when it involved the almighty great Jeter, the same merit based standards were not applied to him. Perhaps Jeter is so sensitive, that the Yankees knew it would be a massive ego hit to Jeter if they asked him to move to another position. You would think that if Jeter was such a great leader and cared so much about winning, he would consider moving over to 3B to accommodate A-Roid, who was clearly a much better player than he was.

Jeter’s entire resume is built on the fact that he has multiple championships and that he is a great leader. Yet his offensive numbers are not all that exciting to look at. I’ll give him a ton of credit for consistently putting up .300 BA / 100 R per season. I mean sure he’s consistent, but so was Craig Biggio.

Jeter’s statistical achievements are largely team based. His teams have won a ton of games, but wins are totally a team stat. Jeter has also scored a ton of runs in his career, yet runs are another kind of team stat. The way I look at runs is that I split the credit 50/50. 50% goes to the runner, the other 50% goes to its teammates. It’s that simple. Do you really think Jeter would have scored as many runs on the Mets, playing for a shitty franchise, in a pitcher’s park? Not likely.

Its assumed by many that Jeter deserves a fat new contract just because he is a lifelong Yankee. Bernie Williams was also a lifelong Yankee, yet when his skills were diminishing, Cashman couldn’t wait to get rid of Bernie. All Bernie wanted was a roster spot, the 25th man on the team. All Bernie got was an invitation to the Minor Leagues. Bernie’s impact on the Yankees in the 1990s was significantly more important than Jeter’s, yet Bernie never got any preferential treatment whatsoever.

Last season, Damon was 36 and wanted to stay as a Yankee. Sure, Damon didn’t have Jeter’s seniority, but Damon was an important key cog of the 2009 championship team, especially in the postseason. Yet, Cashman determined that Damon was too old and his offensive production would decline significantly. Cashman dangled a shitty one year deal to Damon, and then soon moved on to his favorite Nick Johnson, an often injured player who again is out for the season.

Now Jeter is also 36 and he is having his worse season at the plate in 2010. Yet with Jeter, nothing is made about his ridiculously overpaid 22.6 million deal with the Yankees in 2010. According to Cashman, Jeter’s crappy offensive production should be blamed on his age (same as Damon). Since Jeter is only seven months younger than Damon, a tidy ten million for one year sounds about right.

Pittsburgh Pirates win by losing, financial documents show – ESPN

What’s wrong with making money? That’s the American Dream right?

The Pirates stink, but not simply because they don’t spend money. They spend money on the wrong prospects, wrong free agents, wrong GMs, just wrong everything. Ask Tampa Bay how they became one of the top AL clubs despite being in an even more dire situation than Pittsburgh. I’m sure the Rays would kill for a brand new spanking ballpark as nice as PNC Park.

The Pirates made nearly $29.4 million in 2007 and 2008, according to team financial documents, years that were part of a streak of futility that has now reached 18 straight losing seasons. The team’s ownership also paid its partners $20.4 million in 2008.

The documents offer a rare peek inside a team that made money by getting slightly less than half its income (about $70 million) from MLB sources — including revenue sharing, network TV, major league merchandise sales and MLB’s website. The team also held down costs, keeping player salaries near the bottom of the National League, shedding pricier talent and hoping that untested prospects would blossom.

Pirates’ bounty

Highlights of the Pirates’ 2007-08 financial statements, as obtained by The Associated Press:

2008 2007

Gate receipts $32,129,368 $34,422,355

Revenue sharing $39,046,312 $30,302,652

Total club-gen. income $76,017,669 $74,990,600

MLB

revenue $69,975,768 $63,645,726

Total income $145,993,437 $138,636,326

Player

salaries $51,040,233 $50,871,186

Total expend. $124,203,035 $122,438,772

Profit (after taxes) $14,408,249 $15,008,032

The club’s earnings were included in nearly 40 pages of statements that the Pirates submitted to Major League Baseball and were recently obtained by The Associated Press. Team officials briefed local reporters on portions of the material Sunday. The AP wasn’t invited to the session, which owner Bob Nutting said was “aimed at the recent leak.”

“The numbers indicate why people are suspecting they’re taking money from baseball and keeping it — they don’t spend it on the players,” said David Berri, president of the North American Association of Sports Economists and the author of two books detailing the relationship between finances and winning. “Teams have a choice. They can seek to maximize winning, what the Yankees do, or you can be the Pirates and make as much money as you can in your market. The Pirates aren’t trying to win.”

via Pittsburgh Pirates win by losing, financial documents show – ESPN.

Joe Girardi will manage the Cubs in 2011

Current Yankees manager Joe Girardi is most likely managing his final season in the Bronx. Although everything right now points to Girardi returning as the Yankees manager in 2011, and changing his uniform number to 29 after they presumably win the World Series title in 2010, I don’t see that scenario happening. The Yankees seem like an unstoppable force on the surface, but upon closer examination, they are an old team. C.C. has pitched a ton of innings since 2006. A.J. Burnett’s K rate is down, a sign that his stellar but inconsistent no-hit stuff is fading. Pettitte’s elbow has been injured since 1995, and his left elbow has logged a ton of innings over its career. Andy may come back this season, but clearly at a limited capacity.

And while Yankee fans don’t want to hear this, even Mariano is going to falter in the big moment sometime soon. If the Yanks reach the postseason, all those long seasons and innings are going to catch up to Mo, and it’ll be like 2001 Game 7 World Series all over again.

Jeter, Posada and Rodriguez are old and breaking down. Even their newly acquired DH, Lance Berkman is old and breaking down.

The problem with all this is that when the Yankees lose this year, all the blame will be put squarely on Joe Girardi. Heck, I predict that with just a little bad luck, the Yanks could find themselves completely out of the AL postseason race after game 162. The Rays are dangerous, and the Red Sox are going to stay consistent.

And when Joe Girardi looks at the big picture, he’ll want to bolt out of the Bronx because the Yankees roster will gradually resemble the 1965 Yankees. How much does Jeter have left in his tank? Will Jeter’s massive contract next season and beyond hinder the Yankees’ roster flexibility? If you’re going to pay Jeter big dollars, you gotta play him. Jeter won’t be good enough to be an everyday player at any position in 2012, but the Yank will be paying him twenty plus million dollars. Ouch.

On DL, Cabrera passes time as Reds’ batboy | reds.com: News

CINCINNATI — For a few innings on Sunday, the Reds’ Orlando Cabrera was the highest-paid batboy in baseball history.

Cabrera, usually the Reds’ shortstop, has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 3, with a strained oblique muscle. When his team played the Marlins at Great American Ball Park on Sunday, and won by a 2-0 score, he put some of his idle time to use by helping out as the club’s batboy.

“I didn’t know,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “When he was taking balls out to the umpire, I said, ‘I know that guy.’”

But at 35 years old and earning $770,000 this season, with a $1.5 million signing bonus, Cabrera seemed to qualify more as a “bat-man.” Although he didn’t seem to take the new job lightly.

Cabrera wore a batboy’s uniform with “BB” on the back, instead of his last name and familiar No. 2. Like all batboys, he wore a helmet in the dugout and when he stepped onto the field.

via On DL, Cabrera passes time as Reds’ batboy | reds.com: News.