Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scolding Michael Kay

  • Bad Michael Kay!!! Bad!!! Into time-out you go!!!

Running the risk of inviting the ire of Michael Kay in a similar fashion as Phil Mushnick did a couple of weeks ago when he "scolded" the Yankees broadcaster and ESPN host----Michael Kay's Meltdown, 6/6/10----I have to let truth win out without concern for repercussions. So fearless am I in my quest for profundity that the potential for an explosive "I'll punch you in the face" response from Kay will not dissuade me from saying what needs to be said.

All kidding aside, does Michael Kay----baseball "expert"; former sportswriter; nationally syndicated radio host; and longtime Yankees broadcaster----know anything at all about baseball? At all? If he does, he's fooling me with his blockheaded and inexcusable idiocy. Does he bother to do the barest amount of research before making statements that aren't just wrong, but are easily fact-checked and should be part of the compulsory research a play-by-play man should've done beforehand?

While Dontrelle Willis was struggling his way through his start against the Yankees last night, the all-knowing Michael Kay said (I'm paraphrasing) that the reason Willis was traded from the Marlins to the Tigers in the Miguel Cabrera deal was because if the Tigers wanted Cabrera, they had to take Willis as if he was in the middle of a long-term contract that could only be moved in such a deal. Without choice in the matter, the Tigers were backed into the proverbial corner and agreed to the condition to take Willis's contract.

Said assertion was presented in such a way to imply that Kay was informing the audience of a strategy that clubs undertake as a means to an end. You want player A? You have to take player B along with him so we can get out from under his contract.

Two problems: One, the Tigers wanted Dontrelle Willis along with Cabrera (they signed him to a 3-year, $29 million deal to avoid arbitration); and two, since Willis was not signed to a long-term contract with the Marlins at the time, there was no salary to dump. In fact, had they simply wanted to rid themselves of Willis, they could've non-tendered him----he was arbitration-eligible.

Willis's problems with control began while he was with the Marlins after his superlative 2005 season in which he won 22 games and finished second in the NL Cy Young voting. In 2006, he went 12-12; in 2007, 10-15 with increasing walks and hits allowed. But he still made 35 starts in 2007 and gobbled innings; there was no reason to believe he wasn't salvageable----the control issues hadn't manifested themselves to their current disastrous degree.

It didn't work out. Willis's herky-jerky mechanics plus a lack of confidence sowed the seeds of his downward spiral. The dismantling of Willis didn't reach these catastrophic proportions until he was already with the Tigers.

As for the idea that a team has to take one bad contract of a declining player to get the player they want, it's an accurate portrayal of the cost of doing business and it happens all the time. The very same Marlins did such a thing when they sent Josh Beckett to the Red Sox for Hanley Ramirez as they told the Red Sox that if they wanted Beckett, they had to take Mike Lowell's contract as well. At the time, Lowell was due a guaranteed $18 million for 2006-2007----they were desperate to get rid of him after a 2005 in which he hit .236 with 8 homers. It turned into a windfall for the Red Sox as Lowell rebounded from his bad year and was a leader on and off the field and won the World Series MVP in 2007. But the Red Sox wanted Beckett, not Lowell and were forced to take him to get the player they wanted.

Eerily similar to Kay's "I know stuff you don't know" condescension that reared its head after Joe Torre's ouster as Yankees manager (according to Kay, he'd spent years protecting Torre----don't ask me why or how), the professorial education goes on and on. Banal and idiotic, Kay says things that not only are inaccurate in spirit, they're wrong on every level, both contractually and practically!

Michael Kay knows nothing about baseball----nothing----and what makes the transgression more egregious is the dual-sided gaffe of saying something so inextricably wrong and that he didn't bother to do the research before saying it to begin with.

Self-serving, lazy, ignorant and arrogant----the perfect combination to be a radio talk show host and play-by-play man in today's game; and Kay's got the results to show for it.

  • You will not be permanently damaged----quick blasts of Force Lightning 6.24.2010:

Let's take a look at a few interesting nuggets for the day.

The Diamondbacks might lose 100 games.

This team is rancid.

They can hit, but can't pitch or play defense and in a difficult division we see what's happened to them----17 games under .500 and shriveling like a raisin in the desert sun.

As their world collapses and they clean house, they're going to be left with a bare bones roster and organization embarking on the arduous task of a drastic rebuild; with that comes an exponential number of losses that could get to 100 and beyond.

Speaking of the Diamondbacks...

Here's a question: why are the stat zombies so in love with Mark Reynolds, but have an almost irrational personal hatred for Jeff Francoeur?

You repeatedly hear things like: "Jeff Francoeur is not a good baseball player"; but is Mark Reynolds a good baseball player?

Reynolds does nothing other than hit home runs. He has 17 compared to Francoeur's 7, but Reynolds is guaranteed to strike out over 200 times (200!!!!); and he's atrocious defensively at third base. Francoeur, for all his faults, is a weapon in right field with his range and arm; he's prone to blazing hot streaks when his penchant for swinging at everything is dampened and he is quite productive for a seventh place hitter.

You see flashes of the Mets' attempts to rein in Francoeur coming to fruition in wide swaths. He's a work-in-progress. In my eyes, Francoeur's potential is far greater than that of Reynolds. Without getting into any stat zombie calculations of player value, my question is why do they love Reynolds and hate Francoeur? Given the scope of what both players do, I'd rather have Francoeur because Reynolds is in fact more of a detriment to his team than Francoeur could ever be given what their respective teams need from each player and what they provide.

Yeah, he gets credit for a save.

Here's what Brian Fuentes did for the Angels last night.

Brought in to hold a 2-1 ninth inning lead against the crosstown Dodgers, Fuentes allowed Matt Kemp to hit a grounder in the hole between short and third in which Brandon Wood's throw pulled Robb Quinlan off the base for an error; he gave up a Ronnie Belliard single to center; Casey Blake struck out; he picked Kemp off second for the second out; he walked Russell Martin; and gave up a single to pinch hitter Jamey Carroll which should've tied the game----but Martin ran too far around second base and got tagged out before pinch-runner Reed Johnson could score the tying run, ending the game for the Angels and getting Fuentes a save.

A "save".

For that performance.

I don't know how the Angels think they can contend for a championship with Fuentes as the closer.

I don't know how.

I said weeks ago that loyalty is fine, but eventually there has to be some accountability and realism. The other players know it and while they appreciate the way the Angels run their club without panicking and demoting players for a few bad games, it's enough already. They're winning in spite of Fuentes, not because of him; they're going to have to make a change if they have any serious aspirations to contend this year.

As for the Dodgers, I have one word for their baserunning----inexplicable.

Listen to my appearance with Sal at SportsFan Buzz from last week. Click on the site link or click here.2010BaseballGuideCover.gif

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.

Accept the inevitable. It's for your own good.


Jeff said...

The thing that bothered me about the Dodgers baserunning gaffe last night wasn't so much Martin getting tagged off the bag, but that Johnson wasn't running very hard... he let up at the end only to realize "oh shit, I better run!"... too late.

Torre must've been livid.


She-Fan said...

The Yankees made a bunch of base running blunders last night too, so the Yanks-Dodgers series this weekend should be full of gaffes. Can't wait!