Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay

Nothing says “good morning” like a healthy dose of tersely written, clenched teeth Commish For A Day goodies. Many readers from here (and from ShysterBall) will recognize Mark Smith (aka tHeMARksMiTh) and his new site Way Back and Gone. Lifted from his site, Mark describes his new blog: Way Back and Gone is intended to be a blog dedicated to baseball history, but it will be occasionally transported to the present when the author, who is obnoxiously referring to himself in the third person, feels the need to rant about the Braves or another preposterous event in modern baseball.

Let’s just say that Mark isn’t a fan of Instant Replay (even though I am):

If I could change one thing, it would be instant replay.

One, we’ve gotten by without it for 100+ years, so there’s no reason to get it now. Sure, we have the technology, but just because we have an atom bomb, it doesn’t mean we should use it (a bit extreme, yes).

Two, the slippery slope applies. I doubt Selig will let it happen, but what about after him? Are we that obsessed about getting every call “right” that we have to move to having all calls be made electronically? Yes, home runs are more important than strikes and balls and safes and outs, but I guarantee many more mistakes are made on the latter to more than make up for the value discrepancy. If you argue for using IR because of the value of home runs, then you need it for the rest because they add up, too. It may not be used a lot now to make a difference, but it won’t be too long before it becomes more ubiquitous. What happens when a Red Sox/Yankee/Met/Cub (or now that IR has begun, any team) is involved in a Holliday-like slide in the playoffs?

Three, we just overreacted. Delgado and ARod had their home runs taken away, and we got upset. I bet they’ve gotten a few lucky bounces that padded their stat sheets, so I’m not too worried. We talk about all the nooks and crannies in stadiums, but what about when the fences were pushed back farther, making it harder to see? I bet they missed a few then as well. If the umps get it all right, then we’re left to blame our team when they lose.Four, it may not always work out. The NFL has IR, and they still screwed up calls (see Ed Hochuli). You’re telling me that all plays will be conclusive when we look at it? So far so good, but will it always stay that way? There will be problems and missed calls regardless. It’s part of the game.

Five, over 162 games, does that one moment really count? It may make a difference in that game, but your team has 161 other games to make up for it. If your team loses by one game, you can blame that one moment, but they had an entire season (not to mention the rest of the game) to have taken advantage of opportunities they should have. That one game didn’t kill them.

Six, remember a couple years ago when Brian Jordan hit a home run in Philadelphia that didn’t count? I didn’t think so. He hit the bottom of the foul pole and would have tied the game, but the umpires didn’t count it. I got over it and moved on. Everyone else will too.

I realize we want to get everything right and have everyone get their due, but Pettitte didn’t deserve his bad ERA and Dice-K didn’t deserve his good ERA. Life isn’t fair. Maybe I’m too traditionalist, but I do like Interleague Play and the Wild Card. I can even tolerate the DH. This, though, bothers me.

Of course, the ever-wacky Jayson Stark actually called that slippery slope progress.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
  3. Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites

Continue reading Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay

Suckiest pitcher of the 00's

Gotta love Jayson Stark. He’s got a posting about the dubious achievements of the Aughts. What jumped out at me is how many times Livan Hernandez’s name appears:

MOST LOSSES: Livan Hernandez (112), but Javier Vazquez is six back if Livan doesn’t find work.

MOST HITS ALLOWED: Livan Hernandez (2,230), meaning Livan has given up 500 more hits in the ’00s than Derek Jeter has gotten.

MOST RUNS ALLOWED: Livan again (1,053), which means the only player in baseball who has scored more runs in the ’00s than Hernandez has allowed is A-Rod (1,112).

Oh yeah, Livan’s earned over $50 million during his career, $45.8m of that was “earned” during the 00’s. Professional ballclubs saw fit to lavish Livan with millions to pitch well below league average.

No, really.

At least Fat Sidney Ponson only “earned” about $23m over that same time frame. Wow, I guess I would rather have had Fat Sid for half the price of Livan. Who woulda thunk THAT?

[And if you look at both Ponson’s and Livan’s B-R profiles, you will see that the player they each most closely resemble during their age 26 and 27 years is… EACH OTHER! Priceless!] Continue reading Suckiest pitcher of the 00's

Law ranks organizations' farm systems

From Keith Law, via ESPN, his rankings of MLB teams’ farm systems. Yanks are middle of the pack, #15, with good reason:

15. New York Yankees: For the first time in several years, the Yankees’ system is light on impact talent, with major question marks on each of the top four prospects. The 2008 draft class doesn’t offer much hope — the Yankees’ first pick reversed course on them midsummer and decided to go to college; their third pick had a medical issue and didn’t agree to terms; and the resulting crop of players doesn’t offer much upside.

At least they gave up their first, second and third rounders next year as compensation for Teix, CC and Burnett. If you can’t grow it, buy it. Continue reading Law ranks organizations' farm systems

Brotherly Love?

Guess someone’s not getting invited to Thanksgiving:

“Shortly after I won the Contra Costa Bodybuilding Championships in May of 1994, Mark took the plunge. I accompanied him to Sacramento where we met with my supplier and trainer, who explained to him how the different drugs would work on his body and answered a myriad of questions from Mark. Given Mark’s curiosity and lack of knowledge about steroids I saw from Mark, I would be shocked if Mark did something like what Jose Canseco claimed happened back in the early years….[M]ark began to use, but in low dosages so he wouldn’t lift his way out of baseball. Deca-Durabolin helped with his joint problems and recovery, while growth hormone helped his strength, making him leaner in the process. I became the first person to inject him, like most first-timers he couldn’t plunge in the needle himself. Later a girlfriend injected him.”

Looks like there is a McGwire who’s here to talk about the past. Not that Big Mac really cares:

“…I’ve heard speculation that Mark will never get into the Hall of Fame. To some that might really get to them. Take Pete Rose. I think he would cut off his left arm to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Not Mark. I don’t think being in the Hall of Fame matters a lick to him.”


As for that picture, it looks like lil Mac’s head is on the wrong body like a bad photoshoped picture. Yeesh!

Also, I haven’t seen this book anywhere else (or even hints of its existence), so maybe Deadspin’s pulling a funny… Continue reading Brotherly Love?

Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites

For today’s second Commish For A Day installment, I’m turning the platform over to Zach Sanders of MLB Notebook, a veritable smorgasboard of baseball goodies. Zach’s “About Me” section reads as follows: MLB Notebook is run by Zach Sanders. Zach has also done work for KFFL, and was the managing editor of the now defunct 24/7 Sports Stop. Zach is a member of SABR, and a part of the Business of Baseball and Statistical Analysis committees.


If I were Commissioner for a day, I would get rid of the “Winner takes Home Field” aspect of the All-Star game. I would do this within my first 30 seconds in office.

The seriousness the All-Star game takes away from the purpose of it – to have fun! Think of the rest of All-Star weekend, it’s all about the players having fun. The homer run derby, and the softball game is fun for the fans and players alike, because there is nothing on the line to worry about. Think about the NBA. Basketball’s All-Star game is fun to watch, because it is a high flying event with a focus on
entertainment.

Another problem is the lack of control the teams in the World Series tend to have over the outcome. If a team has 1-3 players on the roster, can the team really help if the All-Star team loses? Next stop is a solution. Best record in the regular season sounds like a fairly reasonable solution, but it’s not the best one. The MLB should do what the NFL does: Neutral sites. We all witnessed the problems with big games in cold weather cities in this past World Series. Cities in the southern half of the county and teams with closed room stadiums (or retractable ones) should be allowed to host.

Of course, this would need more specifictions to deal with revenue sharing between the host team and the two World Series participants, but that’s a whole different issue.

Personally, I think the “this game counts” idea for the ASG is crap, and that’s being kind. I’m not in Zach’s camp on neutral sites, as you might remember, but I do think regular season records would be the way to go.

In fact, I was yelling kinda loudly against the “we need a neutral site NOW” crowd this past October.

I understand how it works for football (one game, early February dates, etc.) but it can’t work for baseball.

It’s not just taking the game from the local fans, it’s the essential stealing of money from the local economies that participate in the game. Remember, it IS about the money, stupid. Why reward a neutral site city, one that doesn’t have its own team and little chance of landing one?

We can cry about the fans who won’t get to go see the games in person, but we all know that most of the tickets are snapped up by the corporates or are priced out of reach for mere mortals. Besides, the games start so damn late that the kids aren’t there anyways. But the real reason this can’t (and won’t) happen is CASH.

The City of Philadelphia boosted their budget by an estimated $20million from this playoff run alone. Think they would willingly let that money flow to Nashville? Me either.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS

Continue reading Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites

Arb process explained

Thanks to the exceedingly open/accessible/forthright Paul DePodesta:

  1. The Player and the Club submit filing numbers, which are then exchanged a few weeks in advance of a hearing.
  2. The player and the Club may continue to negotiate (in fact, they can strike a deal all the way up to and even AFTER the hearing if it’s before the decision).
  3. If no agreement is reached, the parties will go into a hearing in front of a panel of three arbitrators.
  4. Both sides present their case to the panel and follow up with a round of rebuttals and a round of surrebuttals.
  5. The panel deliberates for up to 24 hours before rendering a decision.
  6. The panel has two choices – the Player’s number or the Club’s numbers – there is no middle ground.

Continue reading Arb process explained

Phillips joins booth, ponders name change

The beloved oft-ridiculed Steve Phillips will move from the ESPN studios to become the third wheel in the Jon Miller/Joe Morgan Sunday night baseball booth.

Rumors that Phillips is pondering a name change (insiders say he is leaning towards Antonio Banderas Phillips):

Phillips is an anomaly, an ex-general manager (with the New York Mets) amidst the former players and coaches who fill the chorus line of TV talking heads. “I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to make a career of this,” says Phillips, who joined ESPN in 2004 and expected he’d be replaced by a more “sexy name.”

We didn’t either Steve Antonio. Continue reading Phillips joins booth, ponders name change

Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS

Today’s first Commish For A Day entry comes from Jay at the blog Fack Youk. Jay and his buddies are baseball guys with a distinct nod towards football, Syracuse hoops, black-and-white photos and profanity, though not necessarily in that order. There are now six of them pumping out a healthy dose of reading material daily after coming online in December. What you see here is verbatim, including the italics (with his permission):

Okay… I’m really hungover at the moment and I honestly tried to research this. The thing I’m having trouble with is that the regular season record doesn’t always represent who the favorite was going into the series, because of strength of division and “hotness” at the time. The Yankees and Tigers won 97 and 95 games respectively in ’05 but common knowledge had the Yanks over the Tigers all the way. I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the game so I have to rely on looking things up. Due to my current lack of mental acquity (laziness), I tried to circumvent this, and here is my revised version. I hope its okay if it’s more than “a few sentences”:

Were I to change places with Allan Huber Selig for just one day, he would probably think my apartment sucks and hate my job. However, I would certainly enjoy sitting in an actual office, and it would be there, that I would make the LDS seven games. (evil cackle)

Basketball did it in 2003, and their sport is far less probabilistic than baseball. There is no position in basketball comparable to a starting pitcher, who can single-handedly sabotage a game with a bad performance. You get the feeling that the better team in basketball is likely to win in a single game let alone a 5 or even a 7 game series. Yes, the NBA playoffs are too long, but that’s because they take so many days off, not because of the potential of an extra two games in the first round. I’m sure someone smarter than me at the MLB offices could optimize the programming schedule and take advantage of the extra games this change would produce.

Our Yankees lost three ALDSes in a row, as did the Oakland A’s (who had a better regular season record than their opponent in each of them). Statistically, a seven game series is more likely to determine the better team and helps negate the random nature of baseball to some extent.

If you don’t want more postseason baseball, you probably don’t like the game that much to begin with. More games means more views, cumulatively. It would mean better ratings and more money for the league and more baseball for us. What’s not to like?“Waaah, but then the postseason would last longer and some of the games would be played in colder weather”. Suck it up or start the season earlier (I don’t think fewer days off is an option). I know the Twins new park isn’t going to have a roof, but that’s their fault, and they aren’t going to make the playoffs anyway (kidding). Throw one of these on.

If Tom Coughlin can stand on the sidelines in Green Bay when the temperature is eight degrees Kelvin and the windchill is absolute zero, I think Cano and Jeter can turn a double play when its 30.

Big Willie Style is laid out on my couch right now and Cliff also helped with the submission, so it would be appreciated if you could give them a shout in the post as well.

Thanks Jay (and Big Willie & Cliff).

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights

Continue reading Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS