Saturday, August 2, 2008

Paul DePodesta's Pretentious, Self-Serving Blog And Other Stories

  • The best laid plans of the pompous and inept:
I've just about given up trying to understand how even the most ardent and determined Moneyball advocates can still defend Paul DePodesta and the Padres. No one has provided
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any explanation----and it doesn't even have to be a good one, something would be welcome no matter how absurd----for his on paper and in practice ineptitude in not only working for the Padres, but in his time as the GM of the Dodgers. I'm not going to get into any conspiracy theories, but for Moneyball believers, who put so much emphasis on results over appearances, there has to be an agenda in defending the likes of DePodesta whose main attribute as an executive seems to be that he's one of them.
I was looking at his blog and besides the fact that it's pompous, condescending and simply boring (to quote Ball Four, his writing would "gag a maggot"), it's also delusional and self-serving. If I were team chairman John Moores, I would tell DePodesta to shitcan the blog and get to work and making the team that he helped formulate less of a laughingstock. I honestly believe that on the day he started the blog----May 9th----and the Padres were sitting at 12-23, he truly believed that the team, as constructed, was going to experience a "market correction" and end up at the top of the NL West standings and have a great shot at winning a championship.
I'm not throwing stones here because I too fell, in part, for the press coverage of how "smart" the Padres were; how they built an economical and structured team formulated to not only win but to make money, by looking past their drastically flawed roster and barren minor league system to pick them to finish at
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79-83. There were credible people who picked them to win the World Series, so it's not a narrowly made mistake. Now, as the team has stumbled into a worst-case-scenario, there's little left for DePodesta and his defenders to do but repeatedly attempt to extol his virtues as an executive and try to find ways to promulgate the myth that the team is "building for the future".
They're building for the future with Greg Maddux. They're building for the future with Brian Giles. They're building for the future with Trevor Hoffman (who blew another game last night). They're building for the future with journeymen like Scott Hairston, Jody Gerut, Michael "The Right Hook" Barrett. They're building for the future alright----if it's the decaying wasteland from The Terminator films and the post-apocalyptic scenario.
His blog is agenda-driven and without any firm concept of reality. It would be refreshing if he openly said the words, "Y'know what? It took awhile for me to wake up to the reality, but this team's crud." Instead, we get reports on the minor league system and the Latin American free agent signees; we get professorial primers on the post-trading deadline ability to make deals by getting players through waivers; we get delusions and defense of the indefensible; and we get DePodesta increasingly functioning as the Padres front man which, mark my words, will result in current GM Kevin Towers being allowed to leave and DePodesta taking over as GM after the season. And I'm still waiting for a realistic defense of the Padres front office, but one doesn't appear to be forthcoming. Perhaps it's because no one could come up with one----even one that's patently absurd and unbelievable to even the most intense sabermetricians----because the results are on paper and in practice for all to see on a daily basis.
  • Angels 1-Yankees 0:
The Angels were hot before they got Mark Teixeira and now they look even more
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energized. That's one of the aspects of making a bold and somewhat risky move like the Angels made in getting a player like Teixeira that the sabermetricians don't appreciate and account for when they say that Teixeira's acquisition is only for the post-season because they've already won the division; it's a signal to the team that the organization is serious about going for it NOW!!! That they're jolting the roster with electricity because they believe in what they have and needed that one piece to win a championship.
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Now, it may not work; there's every possibility that the Angels run into a hot pitcher like a Joba Chambelain or Jon Lester; or a young team that doesn't know any better and jumps into the playoffs fearless and unconcerned about pressure like the Rays and the Angels get bounced in the first round before they know what happened; but the signal was sent that the organization is in it to win it this year and that adds a spark like the Angels are experiencing since the trade.
On the Yankees side, they've run into that hot team and are getting caught in the crossfire, but it must be frustrating to get such a good performance from a guy like Sidney Ponson only to see it wasted. He has only so many good games in him and they have to win them when they get them.
  • Rangers fire two coaches:
I'm starting to like Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels. First he impressed me by dumping the aforementioned Ponson while he was pitching well for them because he was causing trouble within the team and now he dumps pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Dom Chiti
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to get a head start on next season when the Rangers might have a chance to contend if their pitching improves.
These moves may have come from the notoriously deliberate and ruthless Nolan Ryan, but it makes sense for the Rangers to do this now to give the new coaches----Andy Hawkins and Jim Colborn----a head start to look at what's there and what can be salvaged before deciding whom to keep and whom to dump. They're playing well and may finish over .500, but if their intent is to be in a genuine playoff race next year, they're going to have to straighten out or improve their pitching and letting the new coaches evaluate makes plenty of sense.
On another note, here's the clip taken verbatim from the Associated Press report on the firings on ESPN:

Rangers manager Ron Washington called the firings "the toughest thing I've ever had to be a part of. But sometimes you've got to go in a different direction."vf cbhngvfbnvcfvbhnm,vg

It makes perfect sense until the last----words? prayers? spells? chants?----I don't know what that last thing means. Is it some kind of code? Was Washington so broken up that he started muttering incoherently? Or did the reporter's cat walk across the keyboard and accidentally press "SUBMIT" before the story was done? Is it a way to send the fired coaches to another dimension so no one can hear their story? Any ideas? Anyone?
  • More on the Brett Fav...ruh saga:
Brett Fav..ruh clearly has no motivation to preserve his legacy as the ultimate gamer (which was pretty absurd to begin with and more of a media creation than objective reality) if he's really thinking about taking the Packers offer of $20 million to stay away from camp and to stay retired----ESPN Story.
First, he has to have enough money to live like a king for the rest of his life with or without the $20 million that the Packers are offering. Second, either he wants to play or he doesn't; is
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that money going to replace his desire to play football somewhere? Anywhere? Part of Fav...ruh's appeal to the masses was that he always looked like he'd be just as happy playing on a sandlot with four spectators as he would in front of 50,000 maniacs who wanted to coronate him at home, or kill him on the road. Now the desire to play is absorbed by money?
If he has any interest in retaining some shred of his reputation, he has to come back and play be it with the Jets, Bucs, Vikings, Packers or whoever; if he doesn't, he'll have tarnished his well-crafted image, perhaps beyond all repair if he hasn't already by considering the offer to begin with. So much for the simple, country guy who just wants to play football for the joy it brings him and his fans, who are probably becoming more and more disenchanted with their hero every time this story takes another embarrassing turn. And I don't need to see any weepy press conferences when he receives the check to stay away either.

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