Thursday, September 30, 2010


  • We could be witnessing history:

Since Curt Flood's decision to openly challenge baseball's reserve clause, the players have won every major battle with the owners. Despite Flood losing his battle, the massive guaranteed contracts players receive today is a direct result of Flood's actions. In 1975 both Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally----having played the 1975 seasons with unsigned contracts----were declared free agents. (You can read about McNally and Messersmith here.)

This was after Catfish Hunter was essentially the first free agent in that his contract had been voided following the 1974 season and he signed a humongous (at the time) contract with the Yankees worth a guaranteed $3.5 million.

The owners' collective ships were leaking and there was little they could do to stop it. In the subsequent years, they tried various schemes to keep salaries down from caps to collusion to revenue sharing to using stats to assess a true "value" on players; but there's always that one stupid or desperate owner to toss money at the player for whom a massive contract wasn't forthcoming from another club.

We've seen it with the Mets bidding against themselves for Oliver Perez; the Giants desperately tossing a load of money at Aaron Rowand; and the Yankees with A.J. Burnett. There are a multitude of players who are overpaid based on having their career year at the right time or the clubs deciding that they had to do something drastic.

The owners' shortsightedness has been unitary as well; the decision to use replacement players in 1995 after the 1994 lockout was reminiscent of the NFL owners using replacement players in 1987. The NFL union----and any other union for that matter----is not, nor will it ever be as powerful and unified as the MLB Players Association.

It seems that the players always win.


But that could be changing. It could be changing starting today.

Francisco Rodriguez vs the Mets may wind up being that case that gives some of the power in the relationship back to the owners. It's not a power that would preclude players from getting their massive paychecks and long-term contracts, but it would give the employer some semblance of control over whether or not they have to pay a player whose behavior in any other sector would void his contract.

Originally scoffed at, Rodriguez's actions are so egregious that he could possibly have endangered the sanctity and safety of a contract for everyone----a safety in which the players could do nearly anything and still get their money.

The first meeting between the union and MLB lawyers regarding the Mets attempt to "unguarantee" Rodriguez's contract will take place today----ESPN Story via AP----and, as a layman, I'd say the Mets are going to have a legitimate chance to win. If you look at the list of transgressions the Mets can check off in presenting their case, they've got a serious amount of ammunition to "fire" Rodriguez.

Rodriguez committed a misdemeanor assault on his common-law father-in-law by repeatedly punching him in the face in the team family room; he did this in front of women and children .

He tore a ligament in his thumb during the altercation and admitted as such.

He sent text messages to his common-law wife, violated a restraining order, and was again arrested on charges of contempt of court.

The Mets were under .500 at the time, but stood 9.5 games out of first place in the NL East; and 8 games back in the Wild Card. It would've been an unlikely event for them to suddenly storm back into legitimate contention, but Rodriguez's absence ruined any chance of that with his injury.

Every contract has a "morals" clause, but they're rarely exercised and when a team tries to do so, they generally lose. We saw it with Latrell Sprewell choking his coach P.J. Carlesimo in the NBA; we even saw it with the Mets trying to "fire" Vince Coleman in 1993.

The players got their money and even wound up in better situations than the ones they were with their former clubs.

But eventually, a player is going to commit an act so repugnant----an act that so negatively affects his team on and off the field----that the club is going to win their case.

Is it realistic to think the Mets are going to be able to get out from under the Rodriguez contract? The contract guarantees the pitcher $15 million through 2011, plus the $3,142,076 million from when he got injured that they don't want to pay. Then there's the $17.5 million option for 2012 that's based on appearances and health----he was going to reach the incentives unless some catastrophic injury occurred.

Considering the owners' history of losing to the union since Curt Flood, no one believes the Mets have a chance of winning; but what do they have to lose really? Worst case scenario, they'll have to pay Rodriguez what they'd already agreed to pay him to begin with. If they truly want to be rid of him, they can try to trade him (good luck); or they can keep his appearances under the required number to guarantee the 2012 contract. This depends on whether they're in contention or not in 2011; if they are, my guess is they'll bite the bullet and use Rodriguez to try and win; if he's pitching well and behaves, what's the difference?

In the best case scenario, as the linked story says, they'll get rid of Rodriguez by cutting him in the spring, have money to spend for other players and every MLB owner will owe the Mets a debt of gratitude for drawing a line and saying "enough's enough" with players having the freedom to act any way they please safe in the cocoon of their contracts.

I honestly believe the Mets have a shot to win this.

Then all hell is gonna break loose.

  • Viewer Mail 9.30.2010:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the Red Sox:

No, the Red Sox certainly didn't need offense, so I don't know what Joe Morgan was talking about. The fact that they hung around as long as they did, given their injuries, is a testament to their offense. And while Lackey wasn't as lights out as expected, Buchholz really stepped up.

Joe Morgan says about 30 things about the same subject----all new, all different----so by process of elimination, he'll be right once in a while. It's the "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" school of thought. Unfortunately for him, people remember some of the things he says, which eliminates his veneer of "expertise".

Gabriel (Capo) writes RE the Red Sox:

I find it amusing that, given the focus of the season for Boston was "pitching and defense", the pitching faltered. I wonder if they're engineering offers for Lee...

I said all along that the "pitching-and-defense" thing was a cover for what they really wanted to do----get rid of Jason Bay because they didn't want to pay him; sign Mike Cameron because he's a stat zombie's dream player (for whatever reason)----but the pitching-and-defense template wasn't why the Red Sox are missing the playoffs.

I think they're stealthily stalking Lee (and this is my own speculation) because: A) they'd like some payback on the Yankees for swiping Mark Teixeira from them; and B) the rotation would be devastating if they added Lee.

Anonymous writes RE the Red Sox:

Yes, it's me, the real "Annonymous". Anyhow, I'm here to let you know that your analysis is missing some details:

The offense was affected. Look at the runs per game from April through July, then compare it to the runs per game in August and September (when they started to fade). I'm pretty sure there was a big decrease. And when you were losing as many 1-2 run games at the Red Sox were, that could mean many wins in the standings.

Or really, just look at these OBP's (I won't list some very awful SLG from various players - in the name of space):

Lowell - .295
Kalish - .300
Patterson - .309
Reddick - .228
Navarro - .189

I was reading someone yesterday that showed what an eye-pooping amount of 1-2 run games the Red Sox played in. Like I said, the offense became an issue.

The other issue that everyone forgets is that they never got the defense part of "pitching and defense". Which, in turn, affects the pitching. A healthy Red Sox team would have had an excellent defense (minus let's say catcher), where this banged-up Red Sox team was very poor defensively. How many extra pitches did they have to throw? Or how many extra outs did the Lackeys and the Beckett's or the bullpen have to get?

The biggest things, for me, were the injuries and that god-awful bullpen. And in regards to the bullpen, when do we start looking at the pitching coach? Was there one guy, except Bard, who you would say had a good to great year? Everyone seemed worse than their career norms. But, like I said, some small percentage of that came from that poor defense.

I've had enough of this "anonymous" garbage. Leave a name. Even if it's "Red Sox fan in blah" or "Chronic Masturbator in Sweden" (AKA Mr. Foer--the baseball-ignorant clown who takes offense when I point out the fact that he's in so far over his head debating baseball with me that my abusing him has begun to bore even me).

I'm not publishing any more anonymous comments regardless of content.

As far as the comment, it's an excellent point.

How much did the injuries to Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia affect the results of the pitching staff? I'm not checking to that degree, but it's safe to assume having Bill Hall and Jeremy Hermida playing a significant number of games in lieu of the regulars did have an influence on the defense. Their defense was compromised; it had to have been.

The posting about Joe Morgan wasn't about the Red Sox, per se; it was about his assertion that they should've done something drastic to bolster the offense. Apart from gutting the system for Prince Fielder, what could they have done? Nothing.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Jon Miller:

Thanks for reiterating what I thought to be true in regards to Jon Miller's call of that Cano non-HR.

I used to like Miller, but he's going down the same path so many other broadcasters have gone: HACK Alley. Whatever happened to just calling it as you see it? The pre-written lines, the gimmicks (John Sterling), all that... enough.

Ernie and Jack are rolling over in their graves hearing this crap.

It's more about supposed personality than broadcasting skills. One has to wonder whether Miller has been told by ESPN to jazz up his performance and that's the only way he knows how to do it; before he took over as ESPN's play-by-play man and jumped the shark, I remember Miller being a very good broadcaster.

What makes it worse with Jack Buck is that his own fame is directly responsible for Joe Buck being as prominent as he is; as I've said before, if Joe Buck was "Joe Smith", he'd be working for the WWE.

Anonymous writes RE Ichiro Suzuki:

Can you keep your responses to me down to 10,000 words or less? [insert smiley face].

To clarify:

No, I do not believe Ichiro meant that he'd literally hit .220 if he tried to hit 40 homers. Hitting 40 HR's is tough for most baseball players, so I'm not sure if he'd ever achieve those numbers. But, I do believe that quote represents the point I've been trying to make all along: YOU -- meaning you the baseball blogger, I'm not sure how much clearer I can get -- need to show us how Ichiro's game would be affected by trying to hit more HR's than he hits now.

You seem to think that he can pick a situation or two (e.g. 2-0 count with nobody out) and "swing for the downs". Therefore, a situation here, a situation there, and whoola! we've got the same Ichiro but with 25-30 homers.

Are you saying it's as simple as that for Ichiro?

How do you even know that he doesn't do this currently? Explain to me Ichiro's current approach now. You know, with actual quotes or actual data to back it up. Not a straw-man argument: "On 2-0 he should do this! But he only goes for singles!".

In regards to Mike Jacobs, remember, it was you that used Ichiro's quote in your favor. You felt that because Ichiro said he could hit 40 HR's (with it affecting the rest of his game), it was proof in your mind that he could hit 25-30 HR's. And since you still haven't, to this day, given an ANALYSIS on how trying to hit 25-30 HR's would affect the rest of his game, I in turn did the same thing as you - used the quote in my favor? See, as a joke, I did the same thing as you. Do you get that? And since the quote mentioned .220 as his average, in turn, the OBP would be less than .300 (because its not like Ichiro walks 100 times a year).

Again, just do some type of analysis, with any types of facts. That's it, that's all I ask. This writing is just shooting from the hip assumption making.

You consider it to be "shooting from the hip assumption making" because you disagree with me----no other reason. You don't like what I'm saying; that I'm refusing to acquiesce to your argument, so you're saying it's a "straw man".

Ichiro's results on favorable counts clearly indicate that he doesn't give the pitcher a chance to fall behind because he swings so early in the count; and when he does, he prefers to hit singles----career numbers corresponding to pitch counts.

Looking at this year alone, he rarely even gets to a favorable count; when he does, he predominately hits singles. Pitchers don't fall behind Ichiro, I think, because he's always ready to hack; and they're not afraid to pitch to him because he doesn't hit for power. Why not pitch to him? Then if you add in the fact that for much of this season there was no one behind him to drive him in, let him get on base, who cares? He's not scoring anyway.

His increase in power by hitting more homers would raise his value because he'd be batting in the middle of the lineup; driving in more runs; seeing more pitches because the pitchers would be more cautious with him; this would lead to more walks and a negligible change in his OBP----maybe even an increase.

The Chronic Masturbator in Sweden actually linked a useful article comparing Ichiro to Rod Carew----link.

Rod Carew, in his prime, batted in the middle of the lineup. Ichiro doesn't. Carew's on base percentage and corresponding OPS dwarfs Ichiro's. I'd take Carew any day over Ichiro.

The assertions in the article of infield hits vs outfield hits are irrelevant to me. The line drive percentage comparison to that of Albert Pujols is more of a reason for Ichiro to try and lift the ball out of the park; his coordination is such that he has the ability to do it! He doesn't get into favorable counts; he doesn't try to hit the ball out of the park because it deprives him of his precious hit records.

And lose the attitude. You've yet to come to a defense for what it is Ichiro does do help the team. All you're doing is attacking me without any basis aside from trying----and failing----to toss my words back and me and get me to give; it's not happening.

Max Stevens at The Lonely One writes RE the Chronic Masturbator in Sweden:

Anybody who refers to you as "kiddo" and uses emoticons, like some 12-yr-old girl, is not worth your time. Most of the feedback you get here is thoughtful and well articulated, but this Mr. Foer, or whatever its name is, is just a bottom feeder. As is the case with most dumb people, he's so damn dumb that he doesn't even realize how damn dumb he sounds.

He can comment if he wants; he's rapidly becoming my "number 1 fan" like Annie Wilkes in Stephen King's Misery. Let him make a fool of himself. He's reading me and trying desperately trying to get my attention because he's unable to formulate a cogent argument to rebut me, so he's resorting to this.

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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Joe Morgan Syndrome

  • The Joe Morgan Syndrome (j môrgn sndrm ), adj.---The principles under which a former great player transfers said accomplishments into a long-standing career in broadcasting while exhibiting little of the skills and ferocious self-belief that led to his Hall of Fame status. Symptoms include a thickheaded and impregnable absence of forward-thinking; ability to contradict oneself an infinite number of times in a finite time-frame; and rampant dunderheadedness.

We've gone over Joe Morgan's faults as a broadcaster before. He was a wonderful player and is a rotten broadcaster. Not due to any personality issues, Morgan's content is the problem. Unlike Michael Kay, Joe Buck and Chris Berman, he's not disliked because he's obnoxious; it's the stupid things he says that grate on fans who have little choice but to tune into ESPN baseball coverage.

With Morgan, I don't sense any vitriol in that which he says; he simply refuses to maintain any sense of consistency or acknowledge the fact that different strategies hold a place in baseball. There are various ways to build a team; to strategize, organize and win from the top of an organization on down.

On Sunday night (in between Jon Miller's atrocious and pre-planned call of "Somebody call a cop---Cano got robbed!!!), Morgan went into a diatribe about the Red Sox in which he suggested that----once the injuries began to mount----they should have made a drastic trade to improve their offense at mid-season.

Is he right in theory? In practice? Does he have any ground to stand on when considering the way the Red Sox run their operation and the actual reasons for their fall from contention?

No on all counts.

The fact that the Red Sox have been able to maintain some semblance of status as a contender at all is a testimony to the way they run their organization; that they've done it in a division with two powerhouses in the Yankees and Rays makes their accomplishment even more amazing.

Implying that scoring was the Red Sox problem after Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia went down is horribly inaccurate, but that's what Morgan suggests. Scoring hasn't been the problem this season despite a patchwork quilt outfield; reliance on the likes of journeymen Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald; youngsters like Ryan Kalish; and foundlings like Daniel Nava.

The Red Sox are missing the playoffs because of (in no particular order): the Yankees and Rays; inconsistency in the starting rotation; shakiness in the bullpen; a mediocre record against the Indians, Royals, Athletics and Orioles.

What could've been done about this? Could they have acquired someone to bolster the pitching staff? And would it have been worth it?

The Red Sox have the prospects to go after a Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt, but two things preclude this suggestion.

One, under Theo Epstein, the Red Sox rarely if ever gut their system for any player----Epstein still laments the trade of Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell even after a 2007 championship; the trade was consummated while Epstein was in "time-out" from his job as Red Sox GM during a power struggle with Larry Lucchino.

Two, they haven't added immense amounts of money for rentals at mid-season. Every big deal the Red Sox have made----specifically the ones that got Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez out of Boston----have brought back players who were either locked up contractually (Jason Bay) or pending free agents they weren't going to pressured to keep (Orlando Cabrera). When they have made moves that were designed to bolster the bullpen, they've been hit or miss. They didn't give up much for Billy Wagner, but they got bounced in the playoffs through no fault of Wagner; they did give up some useful pieces (though nothing earth-shattering) for Eric Gagne and Gagne was awful.

You can understand their reluctance to do anything drastic and compromise the future to fill a hole that shouldn't have been so gaping. They had the personnel to pitch well enough to win; these pitchers----specifically Jonathan Papelbon, John Lackey and Josh Beckett----didn't come through. The bigger failures lie with the pitchers in between the starters and Papelbon. Changing on the fly and dispatching the struggling Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen didn't help.

What could they have done? The offensive pieces available----Prince Fielder for example----would have helped, but he wouldn't have addressed the fundamental problems elucidated above. It would've been splashy and expensive; while a big name acquisition does have more of an affect on a team in a myriad of ways not limited to on-field performance, the Red Sox are not such a team that would've been jolted in a meaningful way by getting Fielder.

The one bat that was available who might have been palatable for the Red Sox on all fronts----financials/prospect cost and game attributes----was Jayson Werth. Shane Victorino's injury and the Phillies' need for Werth to stay and play center field took him off the market, but the Red Sox might have made a move on Werth with an eye on "now and the future" (in Epstein terms) because Boston is a landing spot for him as a free agent this winter; plus he wouldn't have been that costly in terms of prospects. But Victorino got hurt and the Phillies kept Werth----good thing for them as it turned out.

Trading for Lee or Oswalt would've helped, but the cost was heavy. There's no guarantee that Oswalt would've okayed a deal to Boston and front office machinations between the Astros and Phillies steered him to Philadelphia; trading for Lee would've essentially forced the Red Sox to shell out the money to keep him----they're loathe to have their hands forced into doing things they don't want to do.

The point is that acquiring pitching wasn't what Morgan was suggesting! He wanted them to go for offense when offense was not the problem. With someone like Buck, Kay or Tim McCarver, I'd say this was a matter of parachuting in and saying "stuff" without doing the required research; with Morgan, even if he did the research he probably wouldn't have understood what he was reading, nor would he have cared. He'd have said it anyway. Just because.

Another symptom of the Joe Morgan Syndrome----the penchant for saying "stuff" without basis or background knowledge and then rapidly contradicting it as if the patient never said it in the first place.

Unfortunately, it's incurable.

  • Viewer Mail 9.29.2010:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Ichiro Suzuki:

Wow. All this about Ichiro. I bet he'd be flattered.

I get the idea he's a bit of an egomaniac, so he'd probably be angry that anyone dare question his hitting style----again, part of the problem.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Ichiro:


Looks like Anonymousville is BURNING! Bwahahahahahaha!

And don't worry. Ichiro's English is good enough. ;-)

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I told you he speaks English!!!

Anonymous (AKA Mr. Foer) writes three separate comments RE me:

This is Mr. "Foer" writing to you, oh silly spelling cop. Yes, one's fingers fly across the keyboard and-oooo, so sorry!-one makes an error! (I thought proving one's superiority in thought because one noticed a spelling error went out long ago.)

But I digress.

Here, kiddo, let's make comparisons you-yes, even you-should understand. Ichiro is far better at baseball than you are at baseball analysis, indeed, far better than you are at THINKING IN GENERAL. Got that, kiddo?

One thing more: You have never even played baseball in the major leagues. What the hell do you know about baseball other than some history and basic rules? Nothing. Nada. I spit on your book and banish your blog from my sight.

You wrote: "Two, I've been----benevolently----editing typographical mistakes (which are understandable); and misuse of words such as "your/you're" (which are not understandable); I'm not doing that anymore."

Replace "not understandable" with "unacceptable". Why so? Because you certainly understood that which was "not understandable".

See? You play Mr. Smarty Pants and you wind up getting taught a lesson in clarity of thought and expression. ;-P

You need to use the word "hopefully" correctly. You wrote, "The thing we can all agree on (hopefully) is that no matter what approach Ichrio takes...". Check with an English professor on the correct use of the word.

I hope we can agree that proper use of language is important if one wishes to clearly convey one's thoughts in writing to someone else...Mr. Smarty Pants!

I'm no kid, so lose the "kiddo". You can take that to whichever other blog you grace with your presence.

You can read my writing; not read my writing; scour every utterance ever emitted by yours truly; buy my books; not buy my books----here's a flash that may not have registered yet: I don't care!!!!

Based on your profound (il)logic, almost every GM in baseball is unqualified to do his job because they never played in the big leagues; this includes the best and worst since----apart from Billy Beane, Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ken Williams----none played in the big leagues. Your specious pre-requisite for the job would eliminate 27 of the 30 GMs in baseball. In addition to that any and all analysts/essayists from Bill James to Bill Madden to Roger Angell would also have been tossed from your template for credibility.

On that basis, there'd be nobody left!!!!

I re-read and edit my postings before publishing for both content, errors and aesthetics; even I miss something occasionally. I take suggestions from credible people----which you are not----under protest. I'm fine with my product as it is.

I published your comments and am responding because you were amusing for a short while. Anonymous or not, hopefully you realize how complete a job you're doing at embarrassing yourself.

Your story has become tiresome.

Comment on my postings if you have something to say and I'll respond; but my entertaining your egotistical attempts to drag me into your idiocy are ended.

Jeff and Mike: if this guy starts in again, he's yours. Go to town.

The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger (Brooklyn Capo) writes RE Anonymous:

Anonymous, your slip is showing.

That may be more true than any of us know. Or want to know.

Kimberly writes RE me:

First of all, it's a testament to your unbiased writing that one of the posters assumed you were a Red Sox fan. It is what I have always loved the most about you--you are fair and even-handed with all of your analysis of teams.

Secondly, it is offensive that you were accused of some anti-Japanese sentiment but not particularly unexpected. The amount of comments about your Ichiro post (and the fact that these posters have clearly not read your excellent rebuttals) had me expecting the prejudice accusation long ago. Even so, it is ridiculous that you cannot make a reasoned argument about player without being called racist.

Actually, I think you may be discriminatory against big naked white fellas because you brutalize Michael Kay every single day. Yep, I'm mad now.

If you check the Twitter lists I'm on, a vast number of people think I'm a Yankee fan as well.

You hit it right on the button Kimberly: they're responding in anger without reading what I actually wrote. They can't beat me with facts; nor can they compete with me in writing ability, so they resort to absurd accusations.

And yes, men make me sick in general----especially naked white fellas who would be well-advised to steer clear of me.

Matt writes RE Ted Williams:

Yesterday being the 50th anniversary of Ted Williams' last game, I was, of course, rereading Updike's classic essay and saw this passage which reminded me of this Ichiro thing going on here. Thought I'd pass it along.
"...the Williams Shift—the maneuver, custom-built by
Lou Boudreau, of the Cleveland Indians, whereby three infielders were concentrated on the right side of the infield, where a left-handed pull hitter like Williams generally hits the ball. Williams could easily have learned to punch singles through the vacancy on his left and fattened his average hugely. This was what Ty Cobb, the Einstein of average, told him to do. But the game had changed since Cobb; Williams believed that his value to the club and to the game was as a slugger, so he went on pulling the ball, trying to blast it through three men, and paid the price of perhaps fifteen points of lifetime average. Like Ruth before him, he bought the occasional home run at the cost of many directed singles—a calculated sacrifice certainly not, in the case of a hitter as average-minded as Williams, entirely selfish.

Matt is a good man.

John Seal (West Coast Spiritual Advisor) writes RE Ichiro and me:

I thought people in Seattle were cosmopolitan and well-educated? All the anonimouse Ichiro defenders suggest this stereotype is false. As for your well-known anti-Asian bias, well, that's been obvious for years. Oh by the way...thanks for pointing out how good Hisanori Takahashi was BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED. I drafted him in my fantasy league to guffaws, and I'm now sitting in 2nd place with less than a week to go. I drafted Andrew McCutchen, too. Prince, you're a prince!

I think these individuals are popping up from all across the world. Another epidemic.

My prejudices are coming to light after so many years of hiding them, John. I need a re-education program as to the dangers of such biased views. Help me please.

I nail some of my picks and miss on others----Jake Peavy, anyone?----but I do nail 'em once in awhile.

Given my control of the Dark Side, I'm dangerous enough as a single entity; when you add my troops from above? I'm unstoppable.

  • The Prince on the Podcast:

I'm scheduled to appear with Sal at SportsFan Buzz on Monday talking about the playoffs and, presumably, Ichiro; among other things.

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.

I will cease promoting it on Sunday!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ichiro Is MY MVP....Sort Of

  • I'm getting my "anonymouses" confused:

You'd never think that my honest appraisal of Ichiro Suzuki would've elicited such a reaction, but it has.

Two things: One, I'm getting my anonymous commenters confused, so it's hard to go back into previous comments to get a full gauge of the debate if I'm not exactly sure to whom I'm speaking now and was speaking to then. Two, I've been----benevolently----editing typographical mistakes (which are understandable); and misuse of words such as "your/you're" (which are not understandable); I'm not doing that anymore. Since I'm cutting and pasting the comments, the mistakes are not mine.

That said, I'll quote the unsaid credo of the 1986 Mets of Davey Johnson, Keith Hernandez, Ray Knight and Kevin Mitchell: You wanna go? Let's go.

  • Viewer Mail 9.28.2010:

Anonymous writes RE Ichiro:

[quote]Never mind the "debate" (about which I'm right)[/quote]

Just to clarify, you are not "right".

What was the Ichiro quote? "I could hit 40 hr's if I batted .220". That's the thing, the .330 hitter who hits 10 hr's may be better than the .220 hitter that hits 40 hr's. So, the quote you attributed to proving your point, actually is a strike against you.

Sure, you skipped through my posts and cherry-picked, we get that. I guess it was all in the name of "being right" as opposed to actually learning something.

Like I said (and what you conveniently skipped), if you truly believe he can hit 20-30 HR's, you need to evaluate how that would affect the rest of his game. As Ichiro said himself, you might not like the "new" Ichrio that's batting .220. Which, in turn, would mean that his OBP is less than .300. Meaning that the new Ichiro just became Mike Jacobs, who stinks.

What is the point of this blog? To stroke your own ego?

I'm pretty sure that this is "Anonymous #1" again from Sunday.

According to your original comment----steeped in the existential philosophical questions to the tune of, "how do we know we know?"----we don't "know" anything. Much like a Biblical, baseball-centric chimera has yet to appear and anoint me as the "God of what-if" as you so explicitly pointed out that I was not, we're safe in the knowledge that you are among us as the 21st Century's first great thinker to form the basis for college philosophy courses in the year 2175. In fact, perhaps we could perform a Monty Python-style skit based on the baseball "what-ifs"; a 2 out of 3 falls wrestling match to determine whether or not the God of "what-if" exists.

I now understand why you choose to comment anonymously; the pressure of being so immersed in the depths of said existential questions and understanding that which people of the limited intellect such as myself could never know, you're right to stay hidden; underground; and protected by the cloak of anonymity.

For that reason, henceforth, I will refer to you as "Descartes".

Like Greg Brady, you've become so paralyzed by life under the onus of "exact words" that you're unable to grasp even the simplest concepts of extrapolation of individual results vs ability. For someone who's taking my words so literally I'm beginning to see why you have no fundamental clue of reality.

I'm not quite sure where my "cherry-picking" took place----it'd be nice if you pointed them out----but you're definitely cherry-picking abstractions of the game of baseball. Are you a stat zombie who thinks reading 3 stats makes you a sudden expert? Have I gotten you so worked up that that you're unable to craft and organize a coherent refutation----with the proof you so desperately seek (in something tangible; not "Who are you!?!" or the Dom Irrera comedy routine of "Who died and left you boss?!?") and are just haphazardly flinging things against the wall hoping to be deemed "right"?

The pompous arrogance inherent with your fragmentary goal of "teaching" me something is a statement in and of itself; to maintain such self-importance and still be unable to complete the task makes you look even more ridiculous.

Let's put into into concrete terms, Greg Descartes Monty Python Anonymous Brady. Do you know the difference between a hitter doing what needs to be done to help his team and a self-aggrandizing attempt to accumulate numbers----essentially fiddling while Rome burns?

Apparently not.

Let's look at a player comparable to Ichiro in ability----Carl Crawford.

Who's more valuable? Crawford can bat anywhere in the Rays batting order from first to fourth and would do his job regardless of where he's placed. No, Crawford doesn't have the lofty batting average, nor the number of hits that Ichiro does; but he steals the same number of bases; he strikes out more....and has between 50 and 60 extra base hits a year. Could Ichiro do that? And would that help the Mariners?

Do you really think that Ichiro meant that he'd hit .230 if he tried to hit 40 homers? Or was he exaggerating on both counts to justify his game----which does little to help his team win in their current state? Could Ichiro hit 40 homers? I don't know, it's doubtful; but he could absolutely hit 25-30. Would this be more helpful to his team than doing what he does now as a stat-compiler? Considering the hideousness of the Mariners on the whole, they wouldn't be a contender with a pure basher like Albert Pujols in the lineup, so Ichiro's increased power output wouldn't make that great a difference with the overall state of the club, but they would be better.

Do you truly think that if Ichiro swung for more homers based on the game situation, his on base percentage would dip to Mike Jacobs levels?


First, if he's batting with 2 outs and nobody on base and the pitcher falls behind 2-0, he can and should pick a zone and swing for the downs to try and hit the ball out of the park. This is especially true considering the weakness of the hitters behind him. Instead, he tries to hit a single to bolster his own stats. This is not a winning, situational player. The increased power output would predicate pitchers being more careful with him and lead to more walks, so while he wouldn't hit .350, his on base percentage would be similar and he'd produce more runs with homers.

You cannot fathom the concept of situational hitting; of making a conscious decision to alter his approach depending on the score; the baserunners; the ballpark; the pitcher; a multitude of other factors that can and should affect a hitter's process. Until you dispatch these transcendental (and idiotic) theories----for which you have neither the comprehension nor baseball knowledge to substantiate----I can't help you.

What you're clearly too obtuse to learn yourself is the essence of Ichiro in his current state is: "I got mine!"; "I got paid!"; "I survived!"

The point of this blog is to express myself. Some like it; some don't; and I don't care one way or the other. Read it or don't. Like it or not. This is what I got; this is what I think; I'll debate with anyone, anywhere, anytime about anything relating to what I've written. A writer does write to stroke his own ego; he must write to stroke his own ego if he hopes to be any good at all. Since you're so embedded in your own ego that you feel qualified to come at me without any argument other than scattershot accusations which you have yet to substantiate, I'll direct you to Ayn Rand and objectivist theory.

Quote from the foreword of We The Living:

The Naturalist school of writing consists of substituting statistics for one's standard of value(...)

The Naturalist school records the choices which men happened to have made; the Romantic school projects the choices which men can and ought to make. I am a Romantic Realist(...)

I can't possibly expect you to get what I'm saying and I'm waiting for another self-immolating and pointless response from you, presumably even angrier since when one doesn't have a formidable argument they resort to other means to "win". These----threats, ridicule, name-calling----don't work on me, but you're welcome to try (and fail) again.

Anonymous writes RE Ichiro and me:

your a red sox fan?

you have my condolences.

but i digress.

all this hating on ichiro.

can't we just appreciate his feat and marvel at his athletic ability.

i mean the guy is a class act, he plays hard, you can forgive him for being a little disheartened considering he has been on such a horrible team for years.

stay solid ichiro, it will come full circle when you play for the yankees next year!

A Red Sox fan? If you'd like to dole out sympathy, do it for the right reason (and far more applicable)----I'm a Mets fan!!!

In return, I offer my condolences for your lack of punctuation and knowledge of which version of "your/you're" to use when writing. (Hint: sentences begin with capitalized words.)

Did I say anything derogatory about Ichiro to imply a personal animus towards him? In fact, much like the coach, teacher, leader is harder on the underling/student he feels has more to give than his less gifted counterparts, my entreaty to Ichiro is to do what everyone aside from these anonymous commenters seem to know he can do----help his team by hitting for more power.

I can forgive a player being upset that his circumstances are dire in a teamwide sense; but when his own manipulation of the team and his own station are a major part of said team issues, it's unforgivable because if he decided to sacrifice his own precious hit records, the team would be better and there wouldn't be this controversy.

Thomas No"nickname"vikoff writes RE Ichiro and Albert Pujols:

"If Albert Pujols decided one year that he wanted to hit .400, he could do it."

This alone is one of the worst assumptions any supposed "baseball writer" has ever made. Ted Williams' frozen head is rolling on the floor right now...

Let's look at this statistically.

Pujols's career average is .332 so we'll use that as a baseline with a season in which he hit close to that number. In 2006, Pujols hit .332 in a lineup surrounded by limited protection Scott Rolen, Juan Encarnacion and Jim Edmonds----none of whom had more than 22 homers. Pujols hit 49 homers and drove in 137 runs; he walked 92 times; struck out 50 times; and had an on base percentage of .431.

Let's say Pujols, instead of hitting pitches that may have been a shade out of the strike zone----to help his team by hitting instead of walking----he took the walks as Barry Bonds used to. Do you really think that Pujols would only have walked 92 times? Or would his total have approached 200? How would the increase in walks have increased his batting average if he was a selfish player looking to have a high batting average rather than to hit for power?

Then, if Pujols decided to do as Ichiro does and take a favorable hitters' count and, rather than try to hammer, poked the ball the other way to hit a single. How high would his average be then?

The example I cited the other day of Dave Winfield is a prime case of a hitter going for a higher average at the expense of power----and Winfield was not a selfish player. From 1983-1984, Winfield's homers declined by 13; his hits increased from 169-193; his OBP went from .345 to .393. We can debate whether or not Winfield was more useful to the Yankees with 30+ homers or with the increased OPS stemming from the increased number of hits, but he proved it's possible to adjust one's game based on the desire to do a specific thing.

How about Joe Mauer?

Could Mauer hit more homers if he decided to try and pull the ball rather than going to all fields as he currently does? If he lifted the ball; sacrificed some contact; and eschewed his back-up-the-middle style for an increase in homers, the 6'5", 230 pound Mauer could absolutely do such a thing----but that's not what the Twins need from him!! If Mauer did what Ichiro does, he too could probably hit close to .400.

How does that do their teams any good?

It doesn't.

I love it when commenters make statements to the tune of, "you're wrong", but provide absolutely nothing aside from snarky witticisms like references to Ted Williams's frozen head (that went out of style five years ago) rather than offer fact.

Anonymous writes RE Ichiro:

Do you work foer Pete Rose? Trying to preserve "The American Way"? Here's the news: Ichiro is a great hitter. He's a great baseball player. He will be in the Hall of Fame (unlike Mr. Rose) and he is better for baseball than ALL the steroid bums of the last few years ( yes, that includes A[nal]-Rod). Ichiro is a once-in-100-years player.

I suspect there is anti-Japanese sentiment or, at least, "Americans are the best at baseball 'cause it's OUR damn game" sentiment behind your comments. Well, one day America's World Series Champion needs to play Japan's champion baseball team. We'll see if America can claim to be best. You might be surprised when the Japanese whip the American team.

Ichiro's "problem" is that while doing his job, his American-born teamates are not good enough to match his skills. Get that? His American-born teamates "ain't got da goods!"

Yes. I work "foer" Pete Rose and my analysis is based on anti-Japanese sentiment. How I kept my stereotypes and prejudices hidden for so long is a mystery even to me.

Thank you for exposing me. Now I'm free.

The fact is that I'm not, under any circumstances, a defender of Rose; nor am I convinced that he should be allowed in the Hall of Fame considering his transgressions; I can be swayed either way on the Rose argument. While he undoubtedly deserves enshrinement for his on-field accomplishments, there's something so against the fabric of the game itself in betting on one's own team that the hardliners saying he never gets in period have a logical basis for their feelings on the matter.

This comment is so calamitous in content and execution that I'm not wasting space tearing it apart.

Anonymous writes RE Ichiro:

You didn't do much valuable research to back up your theory.

First, you obviously haven't seen how teams pitch to Ichiro or how he approaches that pitching. If you'd done any research, you would have noticed that while many commentators feel he could hit homeruns, his only home runs are to right or right center. That means either he doesn't have the power or its how he's pitched. Second, you'd notice, if you watched him that he swings at EVERYTHING. He was once quoted that he feels like a failure if he doesn't get a hit while at the plate. Walking isn't much of a goal for him. His style to swing and jump out of the box adds to this. Those two things have lead many teams to pitch him down and away to make him lean over the plate or give him complete garbage. He can foul off those pitches all day long but they don't lead to easy pitches he could park either. Often times the only thing he can do with those pitches is weakly ground them to the shortstop and go for an infield hit - which he does suprisingly often. They've learned after a couple huge seasons that he can hit anything, so nobody pitches to him - they figure if they throw him garbage and he'll swing at it, the worst he can do is an infield single. With he being in the leadoff spot with weak hitters behind him and at #8 or #9, there's no danger to pitching to him with garbage. The real weakness is he needs better guys behind him.

Besides you mention Rose and Gwynn adjusting their style to fit their team needs. That's crap too. Neither of them hit more than more than 16-17 home runs and often they were hitting 0-1 a year, on a full season. Notice Rose hit ZERO while playing 151 games for Philly. Gwynn recorded a few SINGLE homerun seasons as well. Both of them averaged between 5-10 most years. Rose had double figures in HRs in 8 seasons of his first 14 and averaged just 12 in those 8 seasons. Rose had his last 200 plus hit year in his 17th season in 1979. In that time he averaged 6.7 homeruns a year. Neither averaged 20-25 much less ever made it past 17 a year. Neither adjusted their game that much.

They did what every other great hitter does - hey went to the plate and hit they way they knew how. Maybe the situation changes, but if you've ever heard Ichiro speak, you'll know his situational awareness and that he has an idea of what he wants to do is as acute as any Hall of Famer.

You're theory that he could hit more homers and just doesn't want to is bogus.

Pitchers pitch Ichiro as if he's nothing to worry about in terms of game-breaking ability because he has no desire to be a game-breaker. As I said earlier, there's a time to take everything into account and adjust the approach. Any good hitter who's playing for his team can and should----if he has the ability----try to hit for power when the situation calls for it. If Ichiro did such a thing, he'd bat in the middle of the lineup and try to hit homers----as he and others have said he has the ability to do----and be a more valuable asset to his team and earn more of the lofty paycheck he receives.

How is my "theory" bogus when the player himself has said he could do it if he chose to?

This nonsense of "feeling like a failure" could be cultural, but it's a losing attitude because the template of selfishness is part of why Ichiro isn't all he could be. Who cares about how Ichiro feels as long as he helps the team win apart from Ichiro himself? Because he can foul pitches off all day makes it more of a travesty that he chooses to hit singles rather than wait for a pitch he can drive and try to do so.

Tony Gwynn and Rose did have the power to hit homers if they----as Ichiro could----sacrifice some strikeouts, walks and hit totals to increase their power numbers. Hitting the way they "knew how" is irrelevant in the team sense. If Rose or Gwynn were required to hit for more power, they could have done so. As with Mauer, it would require trying to pull the ball more and altering their level swings to lift the ball with greater authority.

Any great hitter will tell you that when he pulls a homer, it was either a mistake on the part of the pitcher or that the hitter missed what he was trying to do----what every great hitter does----hit the ball back up the middle. Pujols and Mauer hit so many balls back up the middle because their coordination is such that they can hit the ball consistently with perfection. That's why they're the best at what they do. Ichiro's bat control and flexibility you mention actually bolsters my argument that he could manipulate his bat control to hit for more power.

Ichiro's not even the MVP of his own team, but he's been of infinite value to me. His selfishness is my reward.

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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time To Move On

  • Players and teams who would benefit from parting ways:

This isn't about players who have absurdly expensive contracts and the teams that loathe them. It's about players who have either overstayed their welcome of become cases in which a parting of the ways would benefit all involved. It may have something to do with money, but it's not the overt reason as in the case of Oliver Perez with the Mets.

Let's take a look:

Jonathan Papelbon--Boston Red Sox:

Peter Gammons mentioned something to the tune of if John Lackey and Josh Beckett's records were five or so games better in total, the Red Sox would be right near the top of the division and in the middle of the Wild Card race. They're 15-16 in games started by Lackey; 11-9 for Beckett.

But what about Papelbon? He's blown eight games this season and if he'd gotten the job done in half of those, where would the Red Sox be? To put things in perspective, he's been reliable for the most part with a few terrible games bloating his ERA to its current level of 4.02. ERA is a poor way to judge a reliever anyway. This year's overall numbers are nearly identical to last year in which he posted a 1.85 ERA and was judged to have pitched brilliantly.

To put things into an even greater context, last night Papelbon was being squeezed in the strike zone by umpire Phil Cuzzi, but so was Mariano Rivera----it's no excuse.

I'd be shocked if Papelbon is a Red Sox next year.

First, I get the idea they're tired of him and he's tired of them. The Red Sox hate to pay their closers big money and have appear entirely uninterested in a long-term deal with Papelbon; they paid him $9.35 million this year and he's a free agent after 2011. Could they keep him for one more year and get the draft pick(s) for his departure? Yes. But he's still got value on the market and they can pay Daniel Bard a fraction of what they're paying Papelbon. The Red Sox are big market but still save money where they can and one of those places in in the role of closer.

They've annually diminished the role by trying different variations such as the closer-by-committee and refusing to spend massive amounts of money for someone proven. They've done it and it worked with Keith Foulke for a year, but he got hurt----they wound up paying essentially for one year of Foulke at full strength; I doubt anyone was complaining when they won the World Series. Papelbon's salary will be north of $10 million next year----too much for the Red Sox blood.

Papelbon's stuff is still there; he's durable; and is still a top 5 closer. It's better for all parties if he's doing it in a different uniform next year.

B.J. Upton--Tampa Bay Rays:

He's played better since the dugout confrontation with Evan Longoria in June for Upton's lack of hustle, but he's still one of the more aggravating players in baseball. Like Papelbon, the Rays have not shown much interest in locking him up long term and I don't blame them. His frequent lapses and tantrums make him a risk if he's guaranteed a large paycheck.

Would he behave himself and play the game correctly in another venue? Would he listen to a different, more strident manager and veteran team? How about a likable sort like Don Mattingly with the Dodgers? I've often said that I don't blame Rays manager Joe Maddon for Upton because Upton would act the exact same way if he was playing for Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox or anyone you could name.

With MVP talent, he should be far better than he is; he's arbitration eligible and with the Rays slashing payroll after this season, he's a prime candidate to be dealt. Whether he'd mature elsewhere on and off the field is the question.

Joakim Soria--Kansas CityRoyals:

Apart from Papelbon's post-season pedigree, Soria's been better than Papelbon since he took over as Royals closer in 2007 and he's four years younger. He's also signed through 2014. Would the Red Sox move Papelbon and make a move to get Soria if they want someone established and cheap rather than to entrust Bard? Maybe.

The Royals are in perpetual rebuild mode and have a lot of good young players on their current roster and moving through their system; Soria would bring back a lot of talent because of his performance and favorable contract. Interestingly, Soria has a no-trade clause in which he can block trades to the following teams: Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals and Cubs. An eclectic group. One would assume that the no-trade clause is in place so the big market teams that can pay him won't acquire him for the exact reasons I suggested----because he's good and cheap.

A couple of options are available to the Royals: they can trade Soria for a chunk of youngsters; or they can attach him to a Gil Meche to get rid of Meche's contract and take less return. If they're going to trade him, I'd suggest that they pursue the former and try to accrue more young players. In their current state, it doesn't do much good for the Royals to have a great closer when there aren't very many games to close.

Scott Kazmir--Los Angeles Angels:

He's guaranteed $14.5 million through next year, is not going to make it as a starter and needs to go to a team that will have the courage to put him where he belongs----the bullpen.

After all the criticism the Mets took for Rick Peterson's assessment of Kazmir that he was: A) going to need a lot of minor league seasoning; and B) might not have the size to make it as a durable, top of the rotation starter----he turned out to be right. That's not to defend trading him for Victor Zambrano----they could conceivably have packaged Kazmir for Tim Hudson after the 2004 season, but trading him wasn't the mistake; it was what they got for him that was the problem.

There are some darkly comedic places to trade him----the Mets could use him in a salary exchange and as a set-up man/closer; the Brewers because Peterson's there (that's if he's still there after the season)----and there are teams who have similar salaried players for whom to deal.

The Angels would love to be rid of him and perhaps after the way his career has spiraled, Kazmir might be agreeable to a move to the bullpen.

Ichiro Suzuki--Seattle Mariners:

Never mind the "debate" (about which I'm right) that he does nothing to help the Mariners with his lust for singles and hit records. He's making $34 million through 2012 and it's hard to see the Mariners in any kind of contention before 2013. The front office loves the fans Ichiro brings to the park, but if they're interested in a team-concept, they should explore moving him. Would he waive his no-trade clause? Who knows with him? But the clause is limited to ten teams. (I don't know which teams they are.)

For all the mistakes GM Jack Zduriencik has made, I believe ownership has interfered with him and what he wanted to do. Do you really think Zduriencik wanted to bring Ken Griffey Jr. back? I can't imagine he wants to keep Ichiro either. Zduriencik's capital for doing what he wants in other areas is just about exhausted after the Josh Lueke affair; he's already seen his loyalist and director of professional scouting Carmen Fusco fired in what appeared to be an organizational sacrifice different to the "blame-firing" of former manager Don Wakamatsu.

I'll guess that Zduriencik will survive and stay as GM, but Ichiro's not going anywhere.

Ryan Doumit--Pittsburgh Pirates:

Doumit could be a consistent All Star if he was playing for a team other than the Pirates and stayed healthy.

He's signed to a team-friendly contract ($5.5 million in 2011; team options at $7.25 million in 2012 and $8.25 million in 2013); many teams can use a catcher who can hit. His throwing has been awful this year----he's only thrown out 12% of basestealers, but he's been good in the past which tells me it's not a lack of ability that's causing the problem. Maybe the pitchers are bad at holding runners on; maybe he's having injury issues----he had a concussion earlier this year.

He's a switch-hitting catcher with pop----who couldn't use that?

Carlos Beltran--New York Mets:

Beltran's a free agent after 2011 and the consensus is----considering his recent solid play and that he's going to want to have a big year to get another contract----that the Mets should hang onto him. He's making $18.5 million next year and has a full no-trade clause. He's said he'd consider waiving it to get away from the Mets.

Of course it's going to depend on who's running the show for the Mets before any decision is made, but they'd be remiss in their duties to shun a team that approaches them about Beltran. If anything, the hot streak should make it easier to trade him. Judging Beltran on a small sample is part of the reason the Mets are in the trouble they're in to start with. I'd listen and seriously consider trading him if a team is willing to offer anything decent and absorb his whole salary. In fact, I'd pursue it avidly.

Jonathan Broxton--Los Angeles Dodgers:

He's lost his closer's job and pitched poorly. His confidence appears shot. If I were the Cardinals or Mets----teams with questions in the bullpen, I'd go hard after Broxton. This is a similar situation as that which got Armando Benitez for the Mets. Benitez, despite contrary assertions, was a solid closer for years. The Orioles front office was in disarray and they wanted to get rid of Benitez; the Mets got him for essentially nothing.

Broxton is due $7 million next year and if the McCourts still own the team, they're going to be dumping payroll. I think he's going to get traded either way.

  • Viewer Mail 9.27.2010:

Anonymous writes RE Ichiro:

Really, you are full of it. Ichiro is one of the greatest baseball players of all time in two countries and the pitching in Japan is just as good or even better than the USA. YOU go and collect 200+ hits for 10 years straight and then talk. Otherwise, shut your mouth, idiot! You don't understand baseball, you silly little blogger/keyboard warrior!

In the film Donnie Darko, the following phrase was uttered: "This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that Cellar Door is the most beautiful."

I never understood what that meant....until now.

The above comment is the most poignant and beautiful I have ever received.

I'm taking the advice to heart. I'm gonna do it.

Ted Williams book on hitting? Check.

Map of Japan? Check.

Bats, batting gloves, cannister of dip, eye-black, jockstrap, cup? Check.

Blank notebook to detail my travels and inevitable adventures? Check.

Ready to rock. I'll see you and respond after year 5 or hit 1000----whichever comes first.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the Mets and Phillies:

So I'm anticipating a brawl between the Mets and Phillies today? If the Mets read your post, that is.

Alas, no. But the Mets showed something foreign to them in recent years----pride. Maybe it'll carry over. Then again, this is the Mets; they seem to think that a small accomplishment is an end unto itself rather than part of a larger goal. Are they going to be self-satisfied after playing hard and defending one another (to the point that they did anyway)? Again, this is the Mets. But maybe it was a long-needed wakeup call.

Gabriel (Capo) writes RE Jorge Cantu:

Did you see Cantu's homerun? It was as you said:

Cantu's the type of player who people forget about until he's hitting a clutch homer in extra innings in a big, late-season game or the playoffs. The Rangers are going for it and while the acquisition of Cliff Lee was flashy, getting Cantu may end up being more important.

It was the 8th inning, however. And he has been awful, but he will wake up in the playoffs.

The Rangers had their playoff spot locked up and Cantu's done nothing at the plate since joining them. He's still got pop in his bat and has hit in the clutch before. Teams ignoring him in the playoffs do so at their own risk.

The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger (Brooklyn Capo) also writes RE the Mets:

What immediately comes to mind is Pedro Martinez plunking TWO Yankees to start a game; one of which was Jeter who got plunked on the wrist. "Meek; the Mets"

By the way Jane, a few years ago the Wilpons forbade the reading of negative news about themselves in the clubhouse. No newspapers allowed. I would imagine that goes for blogs too. *sigh*

That's nothing. Brady Anderson of the Orioles stood frozen as a Tim Wakefield knuckleball fluttered toward him, let it hit him and went to first base. When Pedro got the chance to pitch to Anderson, it looked as if he said silently, "Okay, you wanna get on base via hit-by-pitch? Here you go!" and drilled him the back with a 95 mph fastball.

As for the forbidding of negative Wilpon news, how would they enforce such a thing? If they couldn't prevent Johan Santana from committing an alleged sexual assault and Francisco Rodriguez from beating his common-law father-in-law senseless in the team family room, how are they stopping web surfing, TV watching and newspaper reading? If they are, they need to re-prioritize, adjust their belief-system on what constitutes a club offense and implementation of security measures.

Max Stevens at The Lonely One writes RE the Mets:

You are so right, the Mets are a doormat. They get knocked down so often at the plate, and they never do anything about it. This is why Wally Backman is exactly what they need.

That's not the sole reason to hire Backman, but his teams would take out second basemen and catchers and would retaliate when called upon or else they wouldn't play.

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.