Mediocy: The A-Rod Book, The Joba "Story"

Anyone who reads this blog with any sort of regularity is aware of the fact that I am not a big fan of the media. There are exceptions, but for the most part I find that they manipulate stories and people to fit their own ends, which is to create controversy where there may be none and sell papers. This morning, two wonderful examples came to my attention. The first, about the changed release date on Selena Roberts’ book, comes via ESPN: Selena Roberts’ unauthorized “A-Rod” was originally planned for May, then was moved up to mid-April after Roberts, a Continue reading Mediocy: The A-Rod Book, The Joba "Story"

Wait ’til Next Year

In a season which began so promisingly with the signing of the top three free agents on the market, it was particularly sad to have the once mighty New York Yankees’ season hopes ended Monday by the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Despite record breaking seasons by Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter, who both hit for incredible averages of .677 and .600 respectively, the Yanks were ultimately undone by their two big signings of Mark Teixeira, who failed to get a single hit all season, and CC Sabathia (who could have possibly predicted a horrific 12.46 2009 ERA from the big lefty? Continue reading Wait ’til Next Year

Your 2009 YAE Nominees are….

Without further ado, Tom Verducci’s 2009 Year After Effect nominees are (I tried to make this larger but that’s the best I could do. Click on it to get a bigger view):

Says Verducci:

Last year I red-flagged seven pitchers: Jimenez, Gorzelanny, Ian Kennedy (Yankees), Dustin McGowan (Blue Jays), Chad Gaudin (Cubs), Yovani Gallardo (Brewers) and Fausto Carmona (Indians). Except for Jimenez all of them broke down with injuries — some of them serious, not all arm-related — and combined to go 29-32. None won 10 games. Previous blowouts that were red-flagged included Francisco Liriano, Gustavo Chacin, Anibal Sanchez, Adam Loewen and Scott Mathieson.

What does that mean for the 10 red flags for 2009? Don’t panic, though Cole Hamels, whose elbow was barking in spring training, isn’t completely out of the woods just yet. When I talked with Boston pitching coach John Farrell this spring about the Year After Effect on Lester, for instance, Farrell insisted that he has no worries whatsoever about the left-hander. Farrell said Lester is bigger, stronger and throwing harder than he did a year ago. “His progression has been everything you look for,” Farrell said.

Like Pelfrey, Lester has age (he turned 25 in January) and size (6-2, 200) on his side. The red flags seem riskier for pitchers such as Hamels (slight build, mild injury history), Tim Lincecum (famously slight build) and Clayton Kershaw (age 21). Indeed, the entire Los Angeles Dodgers season might be riding on this list, with the club counting heavily on Kershaw and Chad Billingsley.

Great stuff. I can’t wait to see this develop. Continue reading Your 2009 YAE Nominees are….

Dunn switches to ash from maple

Fearing the potential horror that would come from a shattered maple bat, Adam Dunn has switched back to ash, stats be damned. Good for him.

Maple is too dangerous . . . I switched last June,” Dunn said. “Those bats shatter. One of them is going to end up sticking out of somebody’s neck. Maybe [a fan] in the stands. I’m not being that guy that did it.”

With those words, Dunn may be the first player in baseball who has rejected the lethal maple bats that are a tragedy waiting to happen. The whole sport knows it. It’s being “studied.”

Using the ash probably does take away some homers, probably. If you don’t quite get it, miss it a little, it doesn’t go as far,” said Dunn. “I’ll take one, two, three less homers and not have my name on the barrel of the bat sticking in somebody. I saw a [shattered] bat go around an umpire’s head last year.”

In case you haven’t been paying attention, my thoughts on the maple bat “situation”:

Continue reading Dunn switches to ash from maple

Sobering reality facing beat writers

After reading this, one can only wonder how many people will be voting on the HOF a few years from now, before the online guys (Neyer, Law, etc.) are eligible:

I certainly recognize where things are going,” says Jack O’Connell, secretary of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the venerable 101-year-old membership organization for the profession. “I certainly see the dark clouds.
The changing world was on vivid display recently at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., the spring home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Opened in 1923 during the golden age of sportswriting, it held its first-ever night game last March — 20 years after the lights first went on over Chicago’s Wrigley Field. At a March 22 game between the Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds two writers from Pittsburgh papers were in attendance, along with two reporters from Major League Baseball’s Web site. The Pittsburgh chapter of the BBWAA is down to nine members, an all time low, from 20 in 1988.

Sad times, interesting times. Crises create opportunities. The internet has become the medium of choice, cheaper, faster, better (sometimes), worse (sometimes, too).

We’re witnessing a tectonic shift. Hell, friends of ours, like Craig from Shysterball (and his partner in crime Aaron Gleeman, as well as many others) have moved from the blogosphere like this, to a larger platform, and now writes for NBC. That’s pretty darned cool. Guys (and gals) with the talent and passion to perform will be elevated where once there was no entry into the “good old boys club” that was the BBWAA. Now, if we can only figure out the financial side of the model for the small fish…

I find this fascinating. Continue reading Sobering reality facing beat writers

Umpires Call Game Differently Based On Count?

The Baseball Analysts did a fascinating study on umpires and their pitch calling based on the count. The findings were fairly surprising: So the effect of count is indeed significant. In fact, all else equal, each strike in the count decreases the likelihood of a pitch being called a strike the same amount as a pitch being one inch further away from the center of the zone (roughly equal estimates). The number of balls is also significant but the effect is less than half of that of the number of strikes (you can see in the image of strike zone Continue reading Umpires Call Game Differently Based On Count?

Joba DUI Video Released

Well, he wasn’t nearly as bad as Tony LaRussa, who’s DUI video revealed the hammered Cardinals manager had fallen asleep at a traffic light with his foot on the brake and the car still in gear. The ensuing footage had LaRussa unable to complete the alphabet without singing like a proud three year-old. For Joba Chamberlain, however, the sobriety test was much less embarrassing as the 23 year-old nearly came off OK according to a video obtained by the Smoking Gun – OK, that is, until the “walk the line” test. I guess this is the type of stuff baseball Continue reading Joba DUI Video Released