Showing posts with label clogging up the basepaths. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clogging up the basepaths. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Back to the Bread and Butter

Hey folks, it's been awhile, but I got a bit riled up reading a post by John Fay, a Reds' beat writer, entitled "Statheads Love to Hate Dusty", and I had to come back.  The namesake of this blog made its money hammering at stupid things said involving statistics, journalism and baseball, so this one's a hearkening back to the old days.  

Everything in baseball these days seems to come down to a Sabermetrics vs. Old School debate. That’s what the Aroldis Chapman argument revolved around. That was the whole basis for the Miguel Cabrera vs. Mike Trout MVP debate.

Did I miss something about Sabermetrics involving Aroldis Chapman?  I think he's not a very provocative player to cite in this debate, seeing as Sabermetric fans are probably amazed at, say, his incredible ability to acculumate 3.6 WAR while playing in only 71 innings or his 15.3 K/9... while Old School fans are probably amazed at, say, his incredible ability to throw a ball one billion miles an hour for strikes.

The thing that continues to amaze me is neither side ever seems to find any merit in the other side’s argument.

This line is Fay's attempt to position himself as an objective party in this debate.  Unfortunately he will consistently undermine this position.

Covering the Reds is debate central. The Saber crowd loves to scream about Dusty Baker. Baker is Public Enemy No. 1 to Sabermetric enthusiasts.

It's not a good idea, when trying to position yourself as objective, to characterize one side by calling them a "crowd", characterizing their arguments as "screams", and overdramatizing their point of view.

Baker definitely manages by the book that was written before WAR meant anything other than a conflict between nations. But so does just about every other manager in baseball.

Wow, that's a Simmonsesque joke. What about the book that war written before WAR meant anything other than a card game of pure chance involving two eight-year-olds?

So why is Baker such a lightning rod? I think there are two reasons Baker comes to the forefront of the debate: a) he doesn’t back down when asked about things like RBI vs. on-base percentage. His quote about walks clogging the bases is Exhibit A; b) I think some of the Sabermetrics crowd has a hard time accepting that an old baseball guy might know something about the game that they don’t.

Now I remember why I hate people.  

Most recently, Baker has infuriated Sabers by batting Zack Cozart second in the lineup. I inadvertently got pulled into the debate via Twitter. Keith Law of had a “Baker rant” on his podcast.

I dismissed it in a tweet with something along the lines of: Saber guy disagreeing with Dusty, I’m shocked.

That sure was nice of Fay to be honest about how he dismissed Law's point  without discussing its merits.  I'm glad Fay didn't decide to be a police officer.  

I stirred it up with that.

“Anyone who knows math would disagree with Dusty,” a follower tweeted.

“So Albert Einstein would be the ideal manager?” I replied with a tinge of snark.

I'm pretty sure this whole blog is about snark, as Larry B famously noted back in January 2008 when he introduced the famous Reader Participation Fridays.  I took Jeff Pearlman to task for it in a classic March 2008 masterpiece.  Either way, Fay's comment is stupid.  Everyone knows Albert Einstein would be a shitty manager.  He didn't even understand baseball.

I ended up listening to Law’s podcast (or at least the rant portion). 

I'm glad he did that after tweeting about it, and I'm glad he didn't even listen to the whole podcast.  I don't have a critical opinion of Fay as a whole (I'm too far out of sports journalism these days to offer sensible generalizations), but this very sentence just about makes me feel like I just got really bad news from my doctor.

It was about Cozart and the No. 2 spot. I agree that Cozart is better suited to hit down in the lineup. I completely disagree with Law’s contention that Joey Votto should hit second.

Watch that second sentence.  He's going to agree with Law here, and then contradict his own point later.

Law’s rant said Baker’s “willful ignorance” led him to make out his lineup without using the data on on-base percentage. Law cited “Moneyball” and the Red Sox as proof the theory works. (Anyone who thinks the A’s won because of Billy Beane’s grasp of on-base percentage and not starting pitching may be willfully ignorant, but that’s not the point here.)

I wonder if it's possible that the A's won because of both of those things.  Or is that just too hard to imagine?  Is this just a binary world where everything is either completely caused by one thing or another?  Is every person a Democrat or a Republican?  Can every number just be a zero or a one?  Can every bathroom just be gentlemen or ladies? 

Also, reducing Moneyball to "Billy Beane's grasp of on-base percentage" is shallow and miserable thinking.  It reminds me of the Book-a-Minute spoofs which reduce classic literature, except those are done for humor, and John Fay ostensibly gets paid real live American dollars to offer sensible and serious opinions about baseball.

Baker is batting Cozart second because he thinks it will work, not because he doesn’t know about on-base percentage.

Well of course.  But John Fay doesn't think it will work, as he's already said, but will for some unknown reason attempt (and fail) to refute himself in the next sentence.

It worked last year. Cozart hit .324 with a .378 on-base percentage and a .491 slugging percentage in the No. 2 spot compared to .246/.288/.399 overall.

Why does Fay even mention this?  He just said he disagreed with Dusty in batting Cozart #2!  I wonder if it would be relevant to put that, last year, Cozart's .324 average came in just over 100 at bats, and at the time of this writing, Cozart was hitting .198/.221/.363 in just under 100 at bats.  Given the sample size of his whole career (748 PA), his line is .245/.282/.398, I think it's safe to say that last year's performance in the #2 spot is likely to be something of an aberration.  Why would he even mention that statistic? That makes like negative sense, for anyone who knows math about negative numbers. Who would want Cozart hitting second in any lineup? It only undermines his point about Dusty and skjcnsecjnsejvnsdkjvnkdsjvnk. I can't even go on any more about how stupid this is.

I hate people.  Go Reds.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Three ESPN Analysts, Three Blithering Idiots

All you have to do if you want to run a shitty blog just like this one is watch ESPN for about an hour a day. I guarantee you at least one of their esteemed employees will cook up a bubbling cauldron of stupid right before your very eyes within that timeframe. To wit, here's what I've collected from some of the highest paid sports analysts in the business in approximately the last 48 hours:

Joe Morgan, on Sunday Night Baseball, after someone goes from first to third on a single:

A few years back we were just sitting around waiting for a three run homer. Now every aspect of the game is important- speed, power, pitching.

Yes, that's right, fans. In case you haven't noticed, baseball has undergone a dramatic shift in strategy since earlier in the decade. In fact it might have been so gradual that you didn't notice. Remember way back when pitching didn't really matter? Teams didn't use it to try to win games, general managers didn't try to acquire it, and hell, fans didn't even talk about it. And yet, here we are in 2009, and I don't think anyone will disagree with what Joe says here: pitching is finally important. Well played, you chubby little mustachioed fool. Well played. You are truly a scholar of the game. Bonus points to Joe for using the lamest "negative thing you can say about the strategy some power-focused teams like to use if you're a purist who likes stolen bases and bunting a lot" available. Indeed, that proverbial three run homer never does show up when teams refuse to "move runners" or "be aggressive on the basepaths," does it? Unless it does, in which case those teams are awarded with three runs; three more than they would have earned by asking Adam Dunn to steal a bag or Manny Ramirez to lay down a bunt.

Also, the glorification of going from first to third might be the stupidest link in a long stupid chain made up of things that are pointlessly celebrated by dumbshits like Joe. You know those scrappy little Angels! When they have a guy on first, and someone singles into the RCF gap, if that guy on first happens to be fast, he often ends up on third. As if this were a risky and innovative baseball strategy that certain teams refuse to employ.

Now we're going to see baseball the way it was meant to be played.

As opposed to 2005 and 2006, during which an iteration of baseball was being played that probably made Abner Doubleday (or whoever the fuck invented it, I don't care what the real story is) roll over in his grave.

Mike Golic, a few hours later on NFL Tonight, talking about some irrelevant topic because it's early July and no one in the league is doing diddley shit for the next two weeks:

What did our coaches say to us back in Little League? I'm going to put the best 11 guys on the field.

Your Little League coach was a real cheater if he tried to employ that strategy. Maybe you're thinking of Pop Warner. Also, the statement itself seems to be substantively wrong. What coach of a young sports team is that cutthroat? I suppose there are teams of 10 year olds out there, run by guys who think they're Bill Cowher and like to tell their kids that only the guys who can make a fucking tackle occasionally are going to fucking get into the goddamn motherfucking game, but they're probably the extreme exception rather than the rule. Mike Golic is a dope. Both Mark Schlereth and him should be permanently assigned to ESPN's national spelling bee coverage team.

Finally, my new favorite ESPN punching bag (aka the Country Fried Emptyscrote), John Kruk, had this to say about an umpire's blown call on a Derek Jeter stolen base attempt (in which Jeter was safe but the ump called him out):


All caps used to demonstrate his level of frustration with this grave injustice. An umpire making a mistake on a bang-bang slide/tag play? What is the world coming to! Next you'll tell me that the strike zone changes from game to game and even batter to batter. I say if an ump makes a mistake, he should be publicly shamed by being hung in a pillory on top of the home dugout for the rest of the game. That's the only way to keep those fuckers accountable. As things are, they're running amok- blowing a safe/out call at least every twenty or thirty games. What a disaster. Maybe umpires need to take a cue from the teams that are breaking new ground by considering pitching as something important and actually try to get all of their calls right. That's the way baseball was meant to be officiated, right?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ironic Irony

I'm sure a lot of you out there were already familiar with this, but I just stumbled across it this weekend. Why, look at that... who's that handsome, mustachioed devil on the cover of "Baseball For Dummies?" I think I'm going to label this as a punchline that writes itself. In fact, it falls so deeply into that category that I'm not even going to let the damn thing write itself. Nothing at all needs to be said about the following image.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Gibbons and Ricciardi Are Two Ignorant Fuckheads

But sadly, it's not my job to make fun of them. It's my job to make fun of people who support them and give really awful reasons. We're talking Richard Griffin here, friends. Griff thinks that Frank Thomas was the recipient of the worst Blue Jays contract of all time.

Of 82 major-league free-agent signings in the Jays' 32-year history, the contract given to Frank Thomas on November 17, 2006, now ranks as the team's worst free-agent signing ever. Rounding out the Top-5 free-agent disasters are Erik Hanson (1996), Randy Myers (1999), Corey Koskie (2004) and A.J. Burnett (2005).

You're talking about bad Blue Jays contracts and avoiding talking about Vernon Wells's 7 year, $126M fiasco? The dude has a .268 career EqA, a solid 20 ticks below what Frank Thomas did last year. Granted, Wells signed an extension, so he wasn't technically a free agent, but come on.

With yesterday's release of Thomas, the Jays effectively gave him $18.12 million (all figures U.S.) for 696 plate appearances that produced 157 hits, 29 homers and 106 RBIs, with a .266 average.

What's wrong with that kind of production? Solid power....that batting average is a little sketchy, so you may have a point there unless Frank Thomas is really, really good at drawing walks or something....

Yes, he reached base 100 times on walks and hit-by-pitch,

See, but that's useful! You can't just shrug stuff like that off! That more than makes up for his low batting average! Oh no....unless.....

but most times that was just clogging the basepaths.

...which caused the Blue Jays to call their local basepath plumber, Humperdink McBuggins, who watched a tape of every time Frank Thomas was on base last year and came up with a estimate and told the Blue Jays, "Yo, J.P. I can fix this shiz, but it's gonna cost you 4.2 runs over the course of the season". And J.P. Ricciardi agreed in a second, because he takes his advice from Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, who estimated the unclogging cost at about 10 times that much, rendering every walk (but not single, hey why aren't singles "clogging up the basepaths" too?) pretty much useless.

And lo, McBuggins brought over his gigantic baseplunger and baseplunged away the cloggity cloggage, reduced Thomas's WARP by a mere 0.4, and then everyone lived happily ever after. The End.

The question was always where to bat the Hurt. With Thomas in the five-hole, that was a fifth right-handed bat in a row.

Oh NO! Now the opposition has a slightly easier time using situational relievers against the Blue Jays! Hey, isn't there a such thing as pinch-hitting anyone on your bench? Oh right, my bad, not everyone in baseball has the defensive skill to be a DH. I've really gotta think these things through in advance.

Plus, he forever clogged the bases with his lack of mobility ... and that is not something that has changed since GM J.P. Ricciardi reached agreement with Thomas just three days into the '06 free-agent signing period. Another thing: in that abbreviated negotiating time frame, whom was he bidding against?

Are you telling me that paying someone $9M a year to hit .277/.377/.480 is stupid?

With Thomas gone, flexibility has returned to the batting order. With Lind on his way back, there is now room for him and Stairs to both play.

Yay! We get to play a disappointing young player and a dinosaur that had a mysterious breakout at age 39!

Plus, when they go on the road for interleague games with no DH, they have 13 men that can play a position.

You hear that, White Sox? Dump Jim Thome while you still can!

Wait, there's more. Griffin wrote something on this just before Thomas was released too.

A revised DH combo of Stairs and either Rod Barajas or Marco Scutaro could be easier to slot into the batting order than was the slumping one-man roadblock that is the Hurt.

How is that "easier"? Barajas and Scutaro are way tougher to spell correctly than "Thomas". meant better for the team. Yes, lets have a backup catcher who's career line is .239/.288/.409 be our designated hitter. No about the most .257/.321/.381 utility infielder in the history of baseball, that would be real EASY to slot into the batting order at a position DESIGNATED for the player to only be able to contribute to the team by HITTING.

Caveat: The utility infielder has the ability to make the entire crowd chant "MARCO!! ::clap clap:: SCUTARO!!" as seen in the 2006 ALCS, thereby firing up the team with his having-the-same-first-name-as-some-explorer-after-whom-a-really-annoying-childrens-pool-game-was-named-ness.

And where do you get off calling Frank Thomas a roadblock??? A "roadblock" in a lineup is someone who doesn't keep the line moving by making outs. A man who just OBPed .377 and has a career .420 OBP does NOT fall in that category.

Last season, his first with the Jays, Thomas also stumbled out of the gate. After 60 at-bats in 2007, he had 12 hits (a .200 average), two homers and five RBIs. Yet, further to his point, Frank remained in the lineup until finally righting the ship and finding his groove. This year, with three homers and 11 RBIs, he will not receive that same chance.

Let me rephrase that.

Here's a recent and insanely relevant example of a long term trend that Frank Thomas starts slow then gets his act together later. Frank Thomas started off slow this year. Therefore, cut him. Logic is great. I'm Richard Griffin. I get blazed and fornicate with donkeys every night and can no longer think clearly.

There is a bigger picture here for the Jays.

Really? Well they aren't paying any attention to it. They are taking a 10 game sample size and saying, "Our DH can't hit anymore! He sucks! He's a backup! Bench him! Don't like it? FINE! GET OUTTA MY OFFICE! GET ROD BARAJAS IN THE STARTING LINEUP ASAP!"

What's best for the team, in this case, is also best for the organization. A $10 million Thomas deal in '09 would become untradeable, the worst-case scenario for a largest-ever Toronto payroll that has scraped the $100 million mark.

Paying $10M for a pretty useful player? Horrendous! Hey, isn't this the team that wants to start Shannon Stewart in LF every day and release Reed Johnson? Vernon Wells is worth 7 years, right? B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett....they have awesome health records....don't they? But ZOMG! WHAT IF WE CAN'T TRADE FRANK THOMAS????

Thomas as a bench player can't play a position.

He can't do that as a starter either.

I can't wait for you to print your mailbag. I want to discuss how retarded this decision is some more. I didn't think the Blue Jays offense could get worse this year, but wow....just wow. Congratulations Toronto. Way to completely waste the success of a very promising pitching staff by sinking your offensive production into a wide, wide, Barajas-shaped hole. Watch out, David Ortiz.....your team might suddenly decide that Sean Casey and Kevin Cash need at-bats more than you do.

(I want to clarify the source of my -4.2 runs for Thomas's baserunning. The stat is Equivalent Baserunning Runs, which are calculated by Dan Fox in his excellent essay in Baseball Prospectus 2008 entitled "The Tortoise, The Hare, and Juan Pierre." The calculations are easy to follow and make a ton of sense. As it turns out, in a typical year like 2007, the difference between the best baserunner in the league (Juan Pierre, +11.6 EqBRR) and the worst (Ryan Garko, -8.8 EqBRR) is about two wins. And yet Pierre still isn't better than Garko. When taken in a team sense, the best baserunning team in baseball (Phillies) was between 3 and 3.5 wins better than the worst (Astros). So yeah. Baserunning. Not that big a deal. Just thought I'd was a pretty interesting analysis.)

Monday, March 3, 2008

How Long Until Dusty Baker Benches Adam Dunn For You-Know-Whatting Up The You-Know-Whatpaths

I promise this post is not being made just to antagonize local Reds fan Dan-Bob. But after hearing what I just heard, I couldn't not write about it. Rob Dibble (always known to be a real Ivy Leaguer, of course) on XM's "The Show", hyping up the alleged depth of the NL Central by listing a reason every team in it has a chance to be good:

Dusty Baker is now in Cincinnati- and we all know what he can do.

Ummmm... what can he do? Not understand how teams in baseball maximize their chances of scoring runs? Ruin young pitching staffs? Put his son in harm's way? Don't get me wrong, as shitty as that division is, the Reds could easily make a run at its crown. But let's just be clear that if that happens Dusty had little or nothing to do with it.

Fun fact of the day- as much as he loves unclogging the basepaths as a manager, Dusty only had 27 sacrifice bunts and 137 steals in his 19 year playing career. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

We Have A Label For This

CBSSportsline's Scott Miller doesn't seem to understand what causes baseball teams to win and lose.

Ah, spring. Time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to rev up for another season.

Which, you know, means they can practice overthrowing first base, missing the strike zone, failing to move runners over and maybe even devote time to tossing rainbows over a few cutoff men.

He then goes on to spend most of the piece talking about the Pirates' problems and 15 year streak of finishing under .500. But here's a little list I prepared which should shed light on some facts that Scott might not be familiar with.

Not reasons the Pirates were bad in 2007:
-overthrowing first base (fourth fewest errors in MLB)
-missing the strike zone (13th fewest walks)
-missing the cutoff man (not statistically measurable, but impossible to affect team's record by more than a couple games)
-failing to move runners over (see "missing the cutoff man")

Reasons the Pirates were bad in 2007, have been bad since 1993, and probably will continue to be bad for the foreseeable future:
-not employing enough good baseball players


The Pirates are packing treasures from their past -- spring instructors Mazeroski, Manny Sanguillen, Bill Virdon and Kent Tekulve -- as proof that this organization once was more than sunken treasure.

"We're starting to go back to the basics," said Sanguillen, who has spent much of his spring tutoring catchers Ryan Doumit and Ronny Paulino. "Vocal communication. Motivation. Try to bring passion back to the game, and belief. Make them believe we're going to win."

I hate to sound like a broken record, but you might want to also work on employing more good baseball players.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Reader Extra Participation Friday: Keeping It Simple

Lately there's been, well, not much participation in Reader Extra Participation Fridays. Part of me wants to attribute this to the fact that we only have nine readers. But a small sliver of brain keeps insisting it's because I choose topics that are too complex and don't lend themselves easily enough to comedy. So let's ignore bad journalism for this week's installment and just talk about something everyone has an opinion about: What are the best and worst professional sports ever created? We'll keep a broad definition of "professional sport"- anything people do for recreation that requires them to move and is televised. So after some careful consideration, let me make my personal nominations:

Best- Bowling, because any fat pasty guy/blogger could conceivably practice enough to go pro in it.
Worst- Baseball, because it's impossible to play in a basement. Fucking sun.

Don't think you have to try to be clever or anything. This is an environment of welcoming. If you just want to straight up say that football is awesome and womens' basketball is a joke, nobody's stopping you. I'm changing the format of this in hopes that more than three people will throw their hats in the ring. Go on, make me look like a desperate, pandering genius.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

In Order To Be a Sportswriter Who Covers a Team From New York, You Must Be At Least This Lazy

It's a tough winter to be Omar Minaya. His team is coming off an epic collapse. But they're also not getting any younger, and have several holes that need to be filled before opening day. You can guess exactly how the always idiotic New York sports media is going to react to pretty much anything he does. Let's just say he probably won't be getting a whole lot of slack.

Exhibit A: The New York Post's Joel Sherman (via weighs in on Minaya's somewhat risky, but extremely likely to make the team better in 2008, swap of Lastings Milledge for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider.

In fact, the Mets sound now about Church as they did about Victor Zambrano at the time of the Kazmir deal — as if they have the magic to tap abilities not shown previously. For Church, that means hitting lefties and being a base stealer.

You want Ryan Church. To steal bases. Here's an idea- maybe instead, you should just rely on Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, and David Wright to steal like 350 between them, and let Church keep his career totals of 12 steals in 17 attempts pretty much exactly where they are. I love this fallback criticism of players, which pretty much betrays any sportswriter who uses it as an idiot. "Sure, [player] is alright. But can he steal bases?" As if everyone on a team needs to be capable of swiping 2nd and 3rd on consecutive pitches at any time.

But Church is 29. He probably is what he is, a 'tweener, too good for the bench, not good enough to start.

Anyone who OPSes .813 in 500+ plate appearances while playing half his games in RFK can start for my team. Is he an All-Star? No. Is he a starter? As long as he sits against lefties from time to time (making him a platoon starter, I guess, but still a most-of-the-time starter), yes. Meanwhile, the Mets' 2007 starter in right, the 35 year old Shawn Green, managed to OPS 30 points lower than Church in roughly the same number of PAs.

Schneider, 31, was only available because the Minaya administration horribly lost Jesus Flores to Washington for nothing in last year's Rule 5 draft.

So that's a knock on Schneider? Brian Schneider: so shitty, his team was only willing to trade him because they somehow stumbled onto a better alternative in the Rule 5. Had this unlikely event not happened, they would probably still be holding onto him. That's how much he sucks. What about the guy the Mets gave up for these two scrubs?

Milledge is fearless. He was not afraid of the majors or New York.

I would venture a guess that 95% of the highly touted prospects in baseball history who haven't lived up to their potential did not fail because of fear. They failed because they were not as good at baseball as everyone expected them to be.

He tends to give too many at-bats away.

At least he's not pissing himself with anxiety while doing so.

But not in pressure spots. He loved the big stage. As a former teammate of Milledge said, "he'll win games for you. The better the pitcher, the bigger the moment, the better the player."

This is all tiny tiny sample size stuff. But still,

Milledge's career: .257/.326/.414
"Close/late" situations: .275/.315/.431
During innings 7-9: .238/.293/.385
vs. Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, Brad Penny, Josh Beckett, John Smoltz, Erik Bedard, Aaron Harang, Roy Halladay, and Dontrelle Willis (not in the class of these other guys, but let me cherry pick every once in a while, would ya?): .108/.195/.220

So yeah. Pretty huge cherry pick. And he's faced most of them for no more than 6 PAs. And he's had good games against other good pitchers like Cole Hamels. And he's only 22. I'm just saying... so far, in about 400 PAs, he hasn't exactly stepped up and dominated. Particularly in "big moments" against "big pitchers." Does this mean he never will? Of course not. It means that Minaya, who has a team that needs to win now, was not stupid to trade him and his questionable ability to contribute in 2008 (plus attitude problems, for what that's worth) for two guys who definitely are ready to contribute in 2008.

That is the biggest problem with this deal by Minaya. In 2007, Milledge was beset by injury and more bad behavior that the NL talent evaluator said has "turned people off since high school." So Minaya sold Milledge at a low value. My gut says that even if Milledge had another dubious year in 2008, he would still fetch a Schneider/Church level deal.

My brain says that if this happened, it would hurt the Mets in 2008 compared to what they can expect now. And Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, and Billy Wagner would all be a year older.

But what if he were entrusted with 500-600 plate appearances and was the .300 hitter with extra-base punch and complete comfort in the clutch that his talent suggests?

That would be really nice, wouldn't it? It's also very unlikely to happen in 2008, given what he's done in the majors so far. 2009 or 2010? Maybe. But Minaya doesn't want to wait to see if this happens. I'm not saying I know that's the right thing to do, but can you blame him for taking his team in this direction? Is it a stupid move? Definitely not. Church and Schneider are unspectacularly solid. Together they will do more for the Mets next year than Milledge would have, it's a near certainty. This doesn't rule out the possibility that Milledge will eventually turn into Alfonso Soriano. But the Mets were a game away from the World Series in 2006. They were on pace to win 95 games in 2007 until mid September. The window is closing. It it worth trying to make something big happen in 2008 by trading one volatile player for two relatively known quantities? The answer is definitely not "no." (That is the worst sentence I've ever written.) In fact, it's probably "yes."

I've taken forever to get to my point, but now seems like a good time to do so. Articles like this are the ultimate in lazy journalism. "Hey, [team] better be right about [trade involving a prospect]! They'd better hope [prospect] doesn't become a hall of famer somewhere else!" Or as Sherman puts it in the first paragraph of the article,

The Mets better be right about Lastings Milledge. They better know that he will max out, at best, as a good player and not a star because he has character issues — not just immaturity — and those character issues are going to blunt his full talent from blossoming.

No shit. Really? You think? Writers pen this kind of stuff because it's a no-lose for them. If the trade ends up bombing and turns into the second coming of that infamous "Jeff Bagwell for a pack of Upper Deck baseball cards" deal between the Red Sox and Astros, they can tell everyone they saw it coming. If it works out, and the low risk/low ceiling guys the team acquires become part of a World Series winner while the prospect goes on to be a 4th outfielder, they can tell everyone that they just wanted to point out it was risky. Of course it's risky! That's what happens when you trade things (such as people) that change over time. I hope Joel Sherman talks to his financial planner in the same tone in which this article is written.

You'd better be right about that stock you're buying for me. *pause* You'd better be right. *pause* I'm just saying is all.

That would be awesome.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Barry Bonds Doesn't Run Fast, So He's Bad At Baseball

Isn't that right, Scott Miller?

Saying bye to Bonds shows that Giants finally mean business

When the premise of an article is that a team giving away the only offensive force in their lineup is a sign of "meaning business", you know you've got a winner. But I mean, Barry is an asshole, right? And that means that his homers actually count as negative runs for the team.

What San Francisco's split with Barry Bonds means is that the baseball people are back in charge of the Giants.

There are about a hundred different threads running through this story, many of them with soap opera twists and controversial turns, but the most important thing for the organization and its fans is that baseball people again will be making baseball decisions.

Keeping the guy with the highest EqA in the world: not a baseball decision.
Cutting ties with aforementioned man: baseball decision.

Thank you, baseball people, for re-taking charge of this baseball team, and letting one of the best baseball hitters hit the baseball free agent market. Baseball.

That sounds patently simple. It isn't. Last winter, general manager Brian Sabean and his people wanted to cut ties with Bonds and begin fixing what they viewed as a flawed roster. The business department, headed by president Larry Baer, wanted Bonds back.

Made sense from the standpoint that Bonds was going to set baseball's all-time home run record this summer. The turnstiles would be clicking and the money would be flowing in.

That was the main reason. The other reason (and the one more relevant to your article) is that he doesn't make an out nearly half the time he comes to the plate.

Didn't make sense from the standpoint of, what are the Giants attempting to do, win or stage a circus?

Is this a sentence?

Everyone knew Bonds, at 43, couldn't play the outfield and was brittle as a saltine. With him, the Giants were going to be older, slower, less athletic and far more one-dimensional.

Mr. Slow, Unathletic, One-Dimensional and Circus-y: 7.4 WARP3
Mr. Multi-Dimensional, Winning, and Athletic: 3.4 WARP3

For the record, saying that keeping Barry Bonds would make the Giants more one-dimensional is bogus and retarded-vagina-ish. Barry Bonds is good primarily at two things: 1) getting on base, and 2) hitting home runs. The Giants are 27th in MLB in HR and 29th in MLB in OBP. How the fuck does losing Barry Bonds make them less one-dimensional? Nay, my friends, nay! Keeping him would INCREASE the quantity of dimensions that this team has!

Scott Miller, you are a moron.

The business people carried the day. This was, as predicted, good news for the bean counters as the Giants played to packed houses both at home and on the road for most of the summer until Bonds hit No. 756. It also was, as predicted, bad news for Sabean, new manager Bruce Bochy and anybody who cared more about Giants W's than individual records.

Find me a left fielder available to the Giants this season that would contribute to more wins than Barry Bonds. I dare you. It certainly isn't fucking Fred Lewis, if that's what you think (man, his life sucks!).

Bonds is batting .279 with 28 home runs and 66 RBI over 125 games and, in his website farewell, writes that the Giants told him that he's "far exceeded" any expectations they had for him this season.

Because he played well and contributed to winning.

That's all well and good, but what's notable is where the expectations were to begin with this spring. At their camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., all you heard was how well Bonds was moving around. He was -- compared to the Willie Mays statue outside of AT&T Park. And almost as if to prove it, Bonds stole a base on opening day. It was almost as if he was staging a public viewing of his quest for the Fountain of Youth.

The Giants would lose that day, 7-0 -- a precursor of many days to come. And as for Bonds' theft, what we now know is this: San Diego couldn't throw out the corpse of Ty Cobb. Of those attempting to steal bases against them this season, the Padres have thrown out only 10 percent. They're about to set a major league record for most stolen bases allowed.

That's pretty valid, but in large part due to Chris Young being absolutely awful at keeping runners on, and he wasn't pitching that day. Also, does anybody know if the Padres have added any bad defensive catchers since the beginning of the season that may have contributed to that stat?

No, Bonds still barely covered any ground in left field and he still was more a threat to clog the base paths than he was to steal 30 bags.

Yeah, and the asshole clogged them 48.3% of the time, because that jerk decided to be an ASSHOLE and clog the bases by getting on base that often. What a cloggy cloghead. Very few people steal 30 bags. I want to literally write a 3-page essay full of shitty metaphors and comparisons about how bad that sentence is. Who cares if he's slow and doesn't steal bases? If he leads THE FUCKING UNIVERSE IN EqA THAT MEANS HE'S STILL THE MOST PRODUCTIVE CARBON-BASED LIFE FORM PER PLATE APPEARANCE.

His power numbers are solid, but they're no longer stratospheric enough to carry a team into the upper division of the standings.

Really? A 1.053 OPS isn't that great? I wasn't aware.

At the time of Friday's news conference to announce the divorce with one of the greatest players in club history, the Giants were 67-86, last in the NL West. Only Florida (66-87) and Pittsburgh (66-88) had worse records in the NL.

This is 100% Barry Bonds's fault. Fuck you, Barry Bonds, for being a terrible baseball player. I can't think of any other reasons why the Giants have such an unproductive offense that doesn't get on base very much other than that Barry Bonds is terrible.

Fuck, there's another page of this crap and I don't really have the time. So one last fun blip.

Third baseman Pedro Feliz has been a middle-of-the-order hitter too often this season. He's Bochy's kind of player, but he's also a No. 6 or 7 hitter in a winning lineup.

Pedro Feliz has a .287 OBP and is a bad offensive player. He's a 6 or 7 hitter in a winning lineup when the team has Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Don Drysdale, and Johan Santana in their primes as the starting rotation.

Want to change your mind, maybe, Scott? I expect a full apology for this trashpiece tomorrow.