Thursday, July 8, 2010

Something's Got To Give

  • All-out leads to a blowout:

Anyone with a basic knowledge of human anatomy and pitching mechanics could've seen that this was eventually going to happen to Jake Peavy. The one thing that surprises me is that it took this long.

White Sox starter Peavy tore the latissimus dorsi muscle right off the bone and is expected to miss the rest of the season----ESPN Story.

Every year, I've said that Peavy is an arm injury waiting to happen; and every year----while he's had a few problems that have led to stays on the disabled list, many not related to his pitching arm----he's gotten himself out to the mound with a consistent durability. But it's finally happened and it should come as a shock to no one.

Peavy's motion can only be described as borderline catastrophic. It's all arm; all everything; all the time. The human arm is not meant to coil and whip the way it does with a pitcher using perfect mechanics; and when a pitcher is exhibiting such violence 120 times every fifth day, something's got to give. In this case, it was Peavy's back.

There's a certain amount of respect to be given to one who goes all out, all the time and has no fear of consequences or injury; Peavy did it while still pitching 200+ innings a year in three straight years from 2005-2007; he made at least 27 starts from 2003 through 2008. He's taken the ball whenever asked, sometimes when he probably shouldn't have done so, as was the case with this injury; he felt pain in his shoulder going back weeks.

The muscle was being stretched to its limit and it was only a matter of time before it finally ripped.

Criticism can be doled out on the contract that the Padres gave Peavy considering his motion (after this season, he's owed a guaranteed $37 million); and that the White Sox traded for him last season while he was already on the disabled list with an ankle injury knowing he had that money coming to him.

It's all 20/20 hindsight.

Just as a pitcher using proper mechanics cannot be guaranteed to stay healthy, a pitcher with poor mechanics isn't guaranteed to get hurt. For every Nolan Ryan who lasted forever with textbook cleanliness of motion, there's a Steve Karsay who was always hurt. For every Peavy or Sam Militello (a former Yankees ├╝ber-prospect), there's a Sid Fernandez, whose motion was grotesque and had problems with his waistline and not his arm.

I can't sit here and say, "I was right" because I said something all the time and eventually it happened. Peavy had proven me wrong time-and-time again.

His body couldn't take the pounding anymore and it finally gave way.

  • ZOMBIES!!!!!!

My posting from a couple of days ago----Marketing Genius Is Still Genius----comparing Oakland A's boss Billy Beane with Kevin Trudeau was linked on Baseball Think Factory.

The amount of traffic generated from the link to BBTF is great; and the comment section? Well, it's nowhere near as vicious toward me as it was when I was first linked, but it's always the same story. There are a few reactions to the posting itself; then the discussion delves into subjects that had nothing to do with what I said in the first place; sprinkled in are attacks perpetrated on the person who posted the link; then they go after each other.

Like I said----ZOMBIES!!!!

I'm not quite sure why they even bother to veer the conversation into those directions on a site dedicated to baseball. Isn't randomness what Twitter is for?

Be that as it may, I'll make this clear once and for all:


I....DO....NOT....HAVE....A....PERSONAL....VENDETTA....AGAINST....BILLY.....BEANE!!!


I...DO....NOT....HAVE....A....PROBLEM...WITH....STATISTICS!!!!


The hard core stat zombies denigrate anyone who dares disagree with them; argues with them; or has a position and the audacity and ability to express it cogently and publicly. They don't realize that stifling debate is not the same as winning a so-called revolution. In fact, it only makes things worse as fewer people take them seriously and listen when they have something valuable to contribute.

People read and follow me because they know they're getting the truth as I see it; a truth whose agenda is the end unto itself. What I mean by that is I have no interest in winning any "revolution". I don't want to see every baseball front office inhabited by refugees from a Star Trek convention; nor do I want it to consist of a load of elderly men who look and act like Bob Feller stomping around and grousing about the "destruction" of the game through use of stats.

The absurdity of the first comment on the BBTF site, basically saying that Beane didn't write the book, is indicative of the way the stat zombie twists the argument to suit his purposes trying to save his disintegrating strategy.

No, Billy Beane didn't write Moneyball.

Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball.

But the idea behind the book was to tell the story of a well-thought-out and brilliantly executed attempt to make the most of limited dollars and take the overt lack of interest fans in Oakland have in the Athletics to try a new tack and put into practice the ideas that Bill James and his brethren formulated by calculating and discovering underappreciated attributes through use of stats.

Expertly crafted and assisted by impeccable timing and circumstances, the book was a massive success; but that doesn't mean it's real. Beane had an ownership that was willing to let him do what he wanted; a fan base that was barely paying attention and didn't care if it worked or not; the information to implement his plan; and the practical success to lead to a lovestruck and opportunistic writer who had the skills and talent to morph the story into fantasy on a level with The Hobbit.

What stuns me is that there's still talk about a Moneyball movie. A movie based on what?!?! How's the thing going to end? Do they just conclude it in 2006 when Beane's "magic" was still working? Or are they going to discuss the years since in which the A's have never won more than 76 games?

If Beane didn't catch on to what Lewis was doing while the writer was skulking around the A's operation, then you can forget the idea that he's a genius, he's an absolute moron.

In a new twist on the way Beane's recent failures are justified, it's said that his mining for undervalued talent was exhausted as more-and-more teams gathered the same information and used similar techniques----backed up by money----to beat Beane at his own game. That may be true. But a genius----as Beane was repeatedly called----figures out how to be ahead of the curve.

He hasn't done that.

Instead of finding creative ways to maintain competitiveness, he's living off his reputation from Moneyball. It's a vicious circle that is contracting rapidly and the only survivors are those who have an investment in the "revolution" continuing.

"Billy Beane" in quotes is a brand rather than Billy Beane, the human being who's a moderately competent baseball executive. That book and the need to have it "work" is now shielding him from justifiable blame. It was the lack of funds and intelligent spending that made Beane; it's the lack of funds that are giving him a pass as his team is, at best, mediocre; as he's made a series of decisions in recent years that would likely have gotten another GM fired or warranted savagery from stat zombies and old-school thinkers alike.

The absence of money is a reason for failure, but that doesn't excuse desperate stupidity. Coco Crisp was desperate stupidity; Ben Sheets was desperate stupidity, and these were just two of the "big" moves he made in this past off-season. In recent years, he's been as guilty as the decried Royals GM Dayton Moore in flinging things at the wall trying to save his reputation and job. And they're not working.

The haphazardness is amazing. When he dumped both Art Howe and Ken Macha as manager, it was as if they were the ones at fault for the A's post-season meltdowns; but Bob Geren----Beane's "best" friend----has survived under the specious and subjective protection of being Beane's friend. Any other manager would've been fired just because; and that's not to blame Geren for the way the A's have struggled under his stewardship----the team's not very good----but why the ambiguity?

The zombies who refuse to confront me directly and prefer to comment on other sites are showing their true colors. More interested in hitting and running----the operative word being "running"----they refuse to engage in a substantive debate for fear of losing; of not having a response; of dealing with someone who has the conviction to stand up to them without fear of monolithic ridicule. It's as if they know they can't win, so they stay safe and use tactics that can only be described as gutless.

Self-important enough to portray themselves as "experts" because they can read a stat sheet and are gaining some measure of revenge for their inability to physically play a game, the same detriments that hindered them as they failed to achieve any on-field success (if they tried to play at all) are evident in the way they conduct themselves in a back-and-forth discussion----they run. With neither the in-the-trenches experience to have a breadth of knowledge about the game, nor do they possess the interpretive proficiency to judge anything other than a formula.

They hope to stifle debate through piling on; safe within the cocoon of like-minded individuals, they say whatever they want and refuse to get into the muck. I'll discuss anything with anyone, but they refuse to come at me directly and this is a more telling aspect of their failures than anything I could say.

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and Noble.com. 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.

Anyone wants to scrap, I'm here and I'm ready to rock.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

The look on Peavy's face when the muscle tore made me wince. That couldn't have felt good.

I also wanted to -- S#@*()_F_#$@)*_F&&Q) -- sorry, I'll have to finish this comment later.

Gotta take care of some zombies.

Brooklyn Trolley Blogger said...

The problem with the stat zombies is that you're talking English. It does not compute with them. Break your page down into algorithms or a series of zeroes and ones and then they may start to understand the genius.

Peavy ~ sheesh! There goes our best pitcher in the Baseball Classic.