Monday, October 30, 2006

This is what I have been trying to say...

I found this paragraph on this web article (It is about 2/3rds down the page). I think it is the best way to describe the Yankee situation.

"In 1996-2000, it wasn't just that they had great chemistry (which they did), they didn't have nearly as much offensive talent so they were forced to play true October baseball. The current Yankee lineup isn't built for the postseason. You just can't rely on three-run homers with the great pitching in the playoffs, while you can in much of the regular season (especially playing Tampa and Baltimore 38 times). With a great set of contact hitters and speed guys --Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Melky, Cano -- this team should be hit-and-running, stealing at every opportunity, taking extra bases, bunting, etc. However, with power hitters like Sheffield and A-Rod clogging up the end of the lineup (such as Game 4, when A-Rod hit eighth), they can't. There is actually TOO MUCH talent. Are you honestly going to bunt with runners on first and second and no one out with the 25-million-dollar man up? Of course not. But if former eighth-place-hitter Scott Brosius is up, it's a no-brainer. So it's not just their lack of chemistry but the fact that playoff teams thrive off role players. Even if you take a loaded team like the Mets, they still have guys like Endy Chavez, Jose Valentin and Paul Lo Duca. Baseball front offices, regardless of the payroll, should build their teams like baseball teams, not fantasy baseball teams."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Detroit is done

I don't care what history says about 3-1 series leads for the Cardinals in the World Series. This is a different time, with a completely different team…obviously. The Tigers in the World Series are the same Tigers we saw slump into the Wild Card position. Verlander is going tonight for Detroit. He needs to show the world that his last start was a fluke and he came to pitch. Of course, rain might also take a 2-0 series lead. The Tigers are a young team, and as long as the free agency flu does not hit that area in force, this team could be a contender for many years to come.

To "Bill", I only write out of jealously for my lack of a crackberry. However, if one was to ever come this way by force, I would avoid bathroom time with it.

The weekend in SLC should be a pleasant one, with temps somewhere around 60 degrees.

I hope that Zorn can show Seneca Wallace the proper way this weekend as the SeaChickens take on the Chiefs, an old AFC division foe.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Geek Fest

I recently returned from a geek fest in Florida. I was one of 5 people without a Blackberry or any other sort of email/phone device.

Funny bathroom story coming...I was in the bathroom where the urinals were against the wall that was in-front of the stalls. Of the six stalls, three were occupied. I was the lone occupant at the urinal section. The only sounds that could be heard were thumbs hitting blackberry keys with 60+ words per minute efficiency.

Observation #2. There was a common walking posture noted at the conference. Head down, looking at previous said device in hand (either typing or working a stylus) and running into those conference goers that were actually trying to pay attention to their walking path.

Overall, the conference was well attended and we learned a lot. Back to 40 degree days and snow on the mountains. We had a nice wet snow/ice mixture on the group when we arrived home last night.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Seahawks sucks....

...and so does my fantasy team. I should have followed my own rule, never draft players you like. I had to draft Hasselback, which directly led to his injury. My wife mentioned time and time again, anyone I draft will become injured.

Next year, no Seahawks!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

7-1

I guess this shows you what a week of rest does to a team. The Cards were on tonight, game 2 tomorrow. Sorry, Reyes pitched tonight for the cards, and out pitched Verlander.

No 20 game winners this year...

The last time this happened was in 1995. Looking at years past to 1980, this also occurred in 1994 and 1981. Stay tuned as we discuss how the average number of 20 game winners per season has gone down.

Tigers vs. Cards

I wanted the Mets to win. Of course, to win you have to at least swing at the ball when it is in the strike zone and you have 2 strikes against you in the bottom of the 9th. But that is now in the past.

Verlander goes up against Marquis. Not sure how I feel about game 1. The Tigers have had 1 week to rest all arms and injuries while the Cards are riding into Detroit on an emotional, well fought game 7 win. Jason Marquis has been less than optimal this season at pitching, while the rookie Verlander can impress the Cards with his 100 MPH fastball.

These teams did have an interleague series this past season, the Tigers swept them. I hope this is not another series where the Tigers barely have to play to win, but I will predict the Tigers in 6. Otherwise, the NL needs to let someone else win. The Cards and Astros have been swept in the past two World Series.

I see the Twins extended the contract of their manager, even though the A’s swept them. How did the A's reward manager Macha? He was fired. Still trying to get my head around this one. Next to the Twins, the A's were fairly hot this summer to win the AL West. I am sure Macha will find some decent work. I don't care what the A's do, I would imagine that Billy Beane had his eyes set on one of the many managers out there when he made this decision. I am going to with an early preseason pick of the M's in second place next year...maybe first.

Note to Parents

Dear Parents who read my post. If you choose to purchase a portable DVD player for you and/or your children to watch when traveling by car or plane...here is a hint. BUY HEADPHONES AND A SPLITTER. For the second plane ride over the past 18 months, two small children watched a Disney movie that all the rows around them had the horrible pleasure of listening to. Even requested to turn the movie down, you can still hear the sounds affects and kid-friendly music.

You spend $100 or more on these devices, I am sure you can afford the extra $20 for some cheap headset and a splitter so both kids can listen. When I first asked the parents to turn it down, they looked at me as if I was the one invading their personal audio space.

The movie on our plane ride was "The Lake House". My favorite character was the professionally trained mutt. If you watch the first 10 minutes of the movie you will know how the movie ends. Of course, I was on a plane, what else was I going to watch. Oh yeah, I could have watched "The Lion King 4: Simba, The Pawfather".

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Brawl joke continues...

Apparently, it is too late to suspend all 13 Miami players involved so the University of Miami has instated a "zero tolerance" policy effective about 42 minutes ago. Here is the ESPN article. They, Miami, use the word "appropriate" to describe this. I disagree. The Hurricanes are 4-2 and the coach’s ass is on the line for a decent bowl appearance this year and/or an ACC title. They have 12 one-game suspensions against that powerhouse Duke coming up, then in time for Boston College and other ACC rivals, they will be at full strength....minus one captain. Now they get to pat themselves on the back for creating this new, zero-tolerance policy. Not that I am attempting to condone Duke to start anything, but I want to see that policy tested. Let’s test a big time D1 football program to stand by its zero-tolerance policy. When push comes to shove, non-starters would be the ones punished, but that is just a hunch.

As I alluded to before, Miami is a thug school in my opinion. Always been at the forefront of taunting and down right stupid, selfish play. The school has had individuals get into it before on and off the field, but it took a brawl to institute a "zero tolerance" policy.

Here is the best part...the coach for Miami finds this punishment "fair". DUH! Please see my line about his job being on the line. Playing at full strength in two weeks lowers his chances of losing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Piniella is a Cub

I am not sure how I feel about this. I have always had a place in my baseball heart for sweet Lou since he did a lot to improve the M's from a yearly losing team to a team that competed in 3 ALCS series.

Don't be shocked if A-Rod goes to the NL as a Cubie. I don't think that A-Rod offensively will have the impact he has in the AL in his first season. I could be wrong, but a change of scenery from NYC to the pizza capital of America could be a good thing. Everyone loves the Cubs because they don't win, they find ways to lose. That sounds like the perfect place for A-Rod, no pressure at all. Of course, a player of his stature and ability will inherit a certain level of pressure, but still this team can only go up. Lou has a good history with A-Rod.

Oh, and the Cubs need to get rid of Prior and Woods. Theses two have more time on the DL than playing time the past two seasons. They are not bad pitchers, but need some help in the longevity department. Trade them while they are healthy, before the next illness or muscle soreness has time to settle in.

Miami vs. FIU...WTF?

This is a dark day for D1 football. While Florida International increased the initial suspension from 1 game to indefinite for all players involved in the brawl, the heralded football program of Miami did nothing. They did suspend the helmet wielding Reddick indefinitely, but that is all. Don't forget you "captain" that was stomping on defenseless players gets to play after the Duke game. This is a total disgrace, remove the football field and you have 31 players with assault charges.

The NCAA released a statement on Monday called the fight "wholly unacceptable" and said it hoped the added sanctions taken by Miami and FIU shows "that such behavior is not tolerated." If all players from Miami are not suspended indefinitely, then that behavior is tolerated. I have NEVER been a fan of Miami football, and this incident and their incident management is doing little to improve my viewpoint. If anyone thought the University of Miami was not a thug school, search any of the videos on youtube for this footage.

Pathetic

I have NEVER been a fan of taunting. My viewpoint is that you are put the field to play a sport/job (depending on your level). If a receiver catches a pass for a first down, go directly back to the huddle. Don't stand up and signal first down. If a cornerback makes a tackle or a hit, go directly back to your huddle. Don't stand over the guy like you and your 120 pound frame are the badest thing since sliced bread. Chances are you will be burned a later play anyway.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Nice work Tigers

They have played the AL East winner, the AL West winner only losing 1 game. Impressive. I feel the A's never looked like the A's that swept the Twins. I was hoping for a bit more in this series.

Bring on the Mets!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Things that have to go!

I walk my dog easily 6 nights a week. On our typical walking routes, I have noticed an increase in the amount of dog crap on the sidewalk. Not next to, not in the grass, but ON THE SIDEWALK. What moron lets his/her dog go poop on a sidewalk and NOT pick it up? This is just rude, period. I don't understand this. What can the owner possibly say "I didn't see it"? Unless your dog is crapping chips of cement, dark shit on a light surface tend to be obvious. It is like trying to say you didn't pee in the snow as you leave a spot with a huge yellow mark zipping up your pants. Dogs are not like horses, they have to actually stop and squat.

With the days becoming shorter and shorter, I fear for what the sole of my shoes may bring home.

Mariner withdrawls

Took some time over lunch to visit a website I have not visited since mid-September, I now feel up-to-date on Mariner news.

I was avoiding the M's site because the season seemed like a lost cause. What I have to remind myself of, baseball is a building sort of league. Because one season is bad, does not mean the next will be. Ibanez had the best hitting year of his career, Ichiro had over 200 hits again, we saw Woods and Baek appear as potential replacements in the starting rotation; J.J. Putz emerged as a great closer (something I requested in April). All in all, not a horrible year if you don't look at where they actually finished in the AL Worst. Of course, the Yankees are the exception to the "building" mentality.

The starting rotation next year only has 2 returnees, Washburn and King Felix. Woods and Baek could step in as #4 and #5, while Bavasi goes out and trades/signs a #2 or #3 starter. The M's were shutout 15 games last year, a stat that would be nice to erase in the '07 season. The M's were 17th in team ERA (4.60), but 4th in saves (47). I would attribute this discrepancy to a semi-strong pen. Going after a stronger starter has the ability to lower this ERA mark, along with keeping Soriano healthy in our Pen. I should have looked at ERA the first and second half of the season. I am willing to bet our second half ERA was lower than our first half. The Tigers had the best ERA in the league with a 3.84 ERA. (Have I mentioned how much of a fan of Verlander I am?)

Offensively, the M's were 11th in batting average (.272) but 18th in home runs (172). To put this in some perspective, the Twins were third to last in HR, but first in average, a tribute to how successful small ball can be. The M's were 27th in on-base percentage (OPB .325). They also hit into the 5th most double plays, 117. I think they lead the league in "hit into triple plays" with something like 6...ugh! Both the double and triple play stats need to be worked on.

Baseball news of a lame nature

who says corporate America is dead?

Random Baseball thoughts

Yankee's, you want to win? Trade A-Rod! The season after the M's lost A-Rod to Texas, they won 120+ games. Didn't do anything after winning that many games, but were successful. I, overall, like A-Rod. He is a good player, but is struggling with the size of market that NY is for Yankee baseball. His personality and mood make ESPN Sportcenter, this guy is under the largest microscope ever. Signing the largest contract in the history of baseball might have caused that, but still, he is cracking. A-Rod is a distraction. He would do wonders in a place like KC or even southern Florida where baseball is not the biggest topic. Just as long as the new team has someone to "protect" his place in the batting lineup. If NY comes to it senses and losses some of the star power distractions and it’s aging starting rotation and brings in young, good players they would probably win a World Series...not that I want them too, but A-Rod is a distraction.

When Torre's job was in question, (which is every year the Yanks don't win the World Series) Piniella'a name came to the forefront of King George's mind. I think that Lou is the only one that could help A-Rod given a somewhat successful relationship in Seattle. With Torre staying on, there is only one more option for the Yankees.

A's fans have to be disappointed. Your team looked lousy yesterday. On field blunders along with leaving runners stranded with no outs. To the Tigers credit, Robertson pitched well. In the 4th inning, with runners on 3rd and 2nd, Jim Leyland made a visit to the mound. Not to pull Nate, but to chat with him. What does he do next? Strikes out the next 3 batters, leaving the 2 runners stranded in prime scoring position...job well done.

I am big Leyland fan. I have not been a fan of his teams, but it does not get much better than Leyland the manager. He was the chief during the Bonds/Bonilla/Van Slyke era in Pittsburgh, also took the Marlins to their first World Series title. He has been around decent talent during his MLB tour of duty, but always seems to get the job done when other managers have failed.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Closer

This year, Trevor Hoffman became baseball's all-time save leader. Lets look a bit deeper at these stats compared those work horses from years past. So everyone is on the same page, here are the save leaders:

Player

SV

Hoffman*

482

L Smith

478

J Franco

424

M Rivera*

413

Eckersley

390

J Reardon

367

R Myers

347

R Fingers

341

Wetteland

330


I have left out a lot of other stats that I will include later. As I have stated before, I never played baseball, but love this sport. In this blog, I am going to show how the closer roll has changed even since the early 80's. My disclaimer is, I am not trying to take anything away from Hoffman and his accomplishments, just providing some food for thought.

Lee Smith was a bit more than just a closer during his time in MLB. He has 400 more innings than Hoffman and appeared in 200 more games. A lot of people will say that Hoffman was more efficient. I am under the argument that the role of closer has changed. Players like Smith, "the Goose" and Eckersley as well as most closers from the 70's and 80's did a lot of 2 inning saves. In a lot of ways, being their own "setup" man. Hoffman appears to be a 9th inning only sort of guy as his career continues.

Here is Lee’s career Games/IP:

Season

G

IP

SV

1980

18

21.2

0

1981

40

66.2

1

1982

72

117

17

1983

66

103.1

29

1984

69

101

33

1985

65

97.2

33

1986

66

90.1

31

1987

62

83.2

36

1988

64

83.2

29

1989

64

70.2

25

1990

11

14.1

4

1990

53

68.2

27

1991

67

73

47

1992

70

75

43

1993

8

8

3

1993

55

50

43

1994

41

38.1

33

1995

52

49.1

37

1996

11

11

0

1996

43

44.1

2

1997

25

21.2

5


Here is Hoffman's Games/IP:

Season

G

IP

SV

1993

28

35.2

2

1993

39

54.1

3

1994

47

56

20

1995

55

53.1

31

1996

70

88

42

1997

70

81.1

37

1998

66

73

53

1999

63

67.1

40

2000

70

72.1

43

2001

62

60.1

43

2002

61

59.1

38

2003

9

9

0

2004

55

54.2

41

2005

60

57.2

43

2006

65

63

46


As you can see, Hoffman's career high for innings in a season is 81, while Lee had a high of 117 in 1982. However, Lee and Hoffman have about the same average of innings per season 62ish innings. Towards the end of Lee's career, as the arm started to wear down a bit, he was a one inning closer sort. Hoffman started his one inning closer duties shortly after Lee retired. Now I am going to bring in a 3rd example, Mariano Rivera.

Season

G

IP

SV

1995

19

67

0

1996

61

107.2

5

1997

66

71.2

43

1998

54

61.1

36

1999

66

69

45

2000

66

75.2

36

2001

71

80.2

50

2002

45

46

28

2003

64

70.2

40

2004

74

78.2

53

2005

71

78.1

43

2006

63

75

34


It could be argued that Rivera played on teams that had a tendency to win with large margins, a place were a save would be impossible to achieve. During these times, he may have seen a batter or two in order to keep his arm in shape.

Basically this point of this blog has no point, but to give other baseball lovers something they like to look at...stats. As with any statistic, there is a lot more information behind them.