William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

Author Archives: William Tasker

The Granderson problem

Granderson’s struggles are palpable. His second half had these putrid numbers: .212/.278/.480. The Orioles’ starter tonight is Joe Saunders, a left-handed pitcher. Granderson’s strikeout rate the entire season against left-handers is 31.9 percent. And again, Granderson has struck out six times in this series in twelve plate appearances. It seems that Granderson is always in an 0-2 or 1-2 hole. It seems that he cannot stop himself from swinging at a ball outside the strike zone for the third strike. It seems that at this point of the proceedings, a Russell Martin plate appearance is much more appealing.

So what should Joe Girardi do? Andruw Jones is not on the roster, nor should be. And even with his struggles, Granderson drove in 56 runs in the second half and led the Yankees in that category for the season. Without him in the lineup, the Yankees do not seem so circular or scary. But with him in the lineup, there has been a black hole where his name is penciled in.…

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Somebody has to win

One team has to win and one team has to lose. That is the nature of the beast. And perhaps many of you will think me soft for even caring what Orioles’ fans felt right then. Except I (we) have been where they are. I remember how it felt after Dave Roberts stole that base. I remember that Gonzalez bloop over a drawn in Yankees’ infield. It hurt, man. It hurt so bad that words cannot express the disappointment and shock. And so a moment of sympathy was felt for the fans of the Orioles and later, those of the Tigers. Getting to know so many people on Twitter and to see them dying a little bit inside at the results make those feelings stronger. The souls of fans in other cities become real people and not just nameless blobs of humanity.

Of course, there is no way I would trade places with them. That was a most satisfying win for someone who sips from his Yankees’ coffee mug every single morning.…

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Peeking inside the narrative

We live in an age of instant data. Numbers are at our fingertips in an instant. And we can often build a case for just about any narrative we want to make. Post season statistics, especially offensive ones, have to be taken with two very strong reminders. The first is that the offensive statistics are extremely small sample sizes. Orioles’ fans and writers could be blasting Adam Jones right now because he is batting .091 in this post season. But if you are reminded that Jones’ post season is only thirteen or fourteen plate appearances deep, what conclusions can you actually draw from that?

The second reminder is that batters have to hit against pitchers. That sound simplistic but it is amazing how much that simple fact is overlooked. The Jones in our example has had to face some of the best pitching in baseball. The teams that make the playoffs would not (in most cases) be there if they did not have strong pitching.…

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Alex Rodriguez is beyond redemption

The heading on this piece sounds harsh and it was not meant to be. A-Rod had his 2009. That was the last season that he was the former Alex Rodriguez, the superstar version. And he came up big in that post season. He performed in that post season the way you expected a superstar to perform. He is beyond being a superstar now. Now, Alex Rodriguez is just a better than good player. And that is all the Yankees need and expect him to be. And as such, the meaning of the heading is that he is beyond his capability to be the big bat that hoists the Yankees on his shoulders and leads the team to glory.

For those that focus on the money Alex Rodriguez makes, let it go. That money is a sunk cost and yes it is a problem because of 2014 and the hard cap that Boy Steinbrenner is dictating. But there is nothing the Yankees or Alex Rodriguez can do about that.…

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The 1962 World Series

Both teams were the offensive leaders in their respective leagues. The Giants had scored 878 runs that season and with the second best pitching staff in the National League, gave them a +188 run differential. The Yankees scored 817 runs in 1962 and had the fourth best pitching staff in the American League. They had a +137 run differential. Both teams featured eight players with double-digit homer totals.

And both teams had second year managers. Ralph Houk had been given the job in 1961 after Casey Stengel was fired after bringing the Yankees to seven world titles in his twelve years as the manager. And Houk couldn’t have had a better situation in 1961 when Mickey Mantle an Roger Maris had their famous home run battle as the Yankees cruised to the world title that season.

The Giants were under the leadership of Al Dark, their former star shortstop who was a part of their 1954 championship club. Dark finished his playing days in 1960 as a member of the Milwaukee Braves and became the Giants’ manager in 1961.  …

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