Warning: Boring game coming

I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing, be decide for yourself:

As Bill James wrote in his Historical Baseball Abstract: “Fans like hitting. Fans have always liked hitting, and they always will like hitting. Throughout the history of the game, almost every significant increase in offense has been accompanied by an increase in attendance, and almost every decrease in offense has been accompanied by a decrease in attendance.” So you can sort of see why the players might be wondering what they did wrong. Sure, they violated a rule, but it was a rule that had never been seriously enforced. And unlike gambling or cocaine use, which detract from the quality of the game, steroids turned baseball into a hitters’ paradise. Steroid-enhanced baseball gave fans what they wanted. If we go back to a juice-free game, we might wind up with a situation like we had in the early ’90s, when 30 home runs was a good season and .280 was a high batting average. With steroids out of the game, it might get a bit boring.

I believe that even before we saw the HR rate tick north, there were plenty of players hitting with high batting averages. I don’t think BA and PED use has a strong correlation, but if you know otherwise, please let me know. I seem to remember George Brett hitting .390 in the 80’s (I had a Brett .390 model glove for some time) and Tony Gwynn hitting over .325 seemingly every year of the 90’s.

Does fewer HR’s make the game boring? Maybe moreso for the casual fan. HR’s are exciting, no question, but so are steals and extra base hits. I’m quite OK with fewer HR’s to see a nice game at a quick pace. Perhaps the other side effect of a power outage is that the games will proceed more briskly with fewer pitching changes and mound visits. If the biggest three or four HR guys are “only” hitting 40 or so, we can still have a great game. I will still love the game.

As for the attendance issue, we’re going to have a double-barrelled impact: less offense and less disposable income. I, for one, won’t be going to many games at the new Yankee Stadium due to the sheer cost of the tickets. We hung a great big flatscreen at home last year and that was a better investment than three games in-person for the family of four at the Stadium (and not in the “good” seats). I’m also postulating that I am not alone. Many of you will either buy an MLB TV package or watch games on your computer rather than peeling off bills to see your team in person.

Bottom line, I will still watch and still love the game. I will still root for my hometown nine, just as you will. I will respect your right to boo my guys as I boo yours. Afterwards, I’m happy to debate it over a beer. And I won’t fret if HR’s are down a bit. Continue reading Warning: Boring game coming

ARod to meet with investigators

I won’t harp on this, but it’s worth noting:

Major League Baseball’s investigations team intends to meet with Alex Rodriguez between tomorrow and Friday to discuss his recent confessions of illegal performance-enhancing drug use…

For all of Bud Selig’s threats of discipline against the Yankees’ third baseman, there’s virtually no chance of that happening. A-Rod likely will bring both a personal attorney – he just hired Jay Reisinger, who has represented Andy Pettitte and Sammy Sosa – and a players association lawyer with him, and the only questions Rodriguez will be compelled to answer are whether he procured illegal PEDs on MLB grounds – the clubhouse, for instance, or the team plane.

Since Sports Illustrated reported his positive result from the 2003 survey testing, Rodriguez has offered one story to ESPN’s Peter Gammons and a second to a group of media. He won’t have to offer a third version, as long as he is properly represented.

So assuming he didn’t buy/use this stuff on MLB grounds, Selig has no recourse with regards to fines or suspensions. Another investigation where the investigators have dull, gray baby teeth. Continue reading ARod to meet with investigators

Baseball America Releases Top-100 Prospects

BA released their annual presitigious list of the top-100 prospects in baseball. Its a very good list, although I think that they overrate a few guys (Colby Rasmus at #3), and underrate some others (Matt LaPorta at #27, Josh Vitters at #51). The Yankees prospects were rated very fairly – Austin Jackson was at #36 and Jesus Montero at #38, while Andrew Brackman made the list at #92. BA makes a great point about Austin Jackson that I hadn’t thought of – he’s been exceptionally healthy in the minors, averaging 131 games per season over 3 years. More on Brackman Continue reading Baseball America Releases Top-100 Prospects

Hitting Second

Earlier this week, I suggested that the Yankees flip Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter in the batting order. My suggestion was based on the idea that you want your batter who makes more contact and hits fewer grounders batting second rather than first, if the two players are similarly skilled at reaching base. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs has an article up now that challenges the traditional notion of the #2 hitter as a high contact hitter: So, since leadoff hitters are going to be stealing far more than any other line-up spot, we can infer that the #2 hitter will Continue reading Hitting Second

Playing To Your Park (i.e. Pedroia and the Monster)

The Baseball Analysts has a fascinating post up about batted ball stats and fields of play. The writer has three lists showing the most productive hitters of 2008 when pulling the ball, going up the middle, or going opposite field. Two of the eight most successful players when pulling the ball were Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. As the author points out, this is hardly a surprising finding: Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, on the other hand, are given a bit of an extra push, as both are clearly aided by the green monster. Pedroia might be the perfectly suited Continue reading Playing To Your Park (i.e. Pedroia and the Monster)

Cashman’s hidden legacy

Pete Abraham (LoHud) has an excellent read out on the pro scouting department that Brian Cashman built and bolstered back in 2005, which was the year Cash reportedly gained autonomy over the organization’s baseball operations. Basically, the department focuses on scouting pro players in order to inform future trades, waiver claims and other various moves. Cashman furthered the pro scouting agenda last year, bringing Bill Livesey back in late October. To be perfectly honest, it’s sort of stunning to read this piece and realize that the Yankees — the richest team in baseball — didn’t try to have a leg Continue reading Cashman’s hidden legacy