Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cool Ball…

I have to admit, Cool Ball’s rant about THT had more legs than I thought it would. I was the one who came across it and passed it along to the rest of the staff. It may surprise a lot of folks that no one at THT was particularly offended by it. We've gotten ripped worse in our e-mail feedback (Whaddya mean nobody else has gotten blasted yet?)

We are baseball fans first and foremost and none of us has the time or energy to take ourselves overly seriously. Do not forget--Cool Ball is a blog. What THT consists of is a bunch of bloggers who decided to come together and form a larger, collective blog/site using our diversity to discuss and analyze the game we love from as many angles and facets as possible.

To paraphrase Pogo--he has seen the enemy and it is he.

The thing the caught my attention was the implication that we are a bunch of stat nerds and nothing could be farther from the truth. I, for one, reek at math and only the happy circumstance of being born male allow me to count past 20.

I guess that counts as having “TI-83's for dicks” although I’ve never attempted (or thought of) using it for anything beyond simple addition (including additions to my family).

THT is far from a statistical monolith--we’re a diverse bunch and don’t have a THT ‘mindset’ or dominant philosophy. It’s not uncommon for us to disagree with what someone else has written. However, we view that diversity as strength. Our slogan is simply “Baseball. Insight. Daily.” and there’s everything from history (Steve Treder), the business of baseball (Brian Borawski) and whatever the heck it is that I'm supposed to be doing--getting practice for the editing staff I guess.

The only thing about the post that I took issue with were the insults directed at Chris Jaffe and Sal Baxamusa (and by extension--the rest of our stat experts). This person doesn't know these people and I find it distasteful that he draws conclusions about folks of whom he has never met or interacted. He goes from Person does X (writes about stats) which means he is Y (has these characteristics).

This sort of prejudgment is where prejudice gets its very ugly name. Prejudice is drawing conclusions about the qualities somebody has based on one’s own preconceived notions. We’re familiar with the stereotypes foisted upon various groups based on ethnic, religious or economic backgrounds. If this person wishes for his point of view to be taken seriously and his criticisms evaluated he’d be better off limiting himself to dealing with specific complaints and realizing that a few pop culture references does not equal credibility--it just means they know how to use Google.

Sal and Chris are both decent people (despite their tendency to squeal during our sacred initiation rituals--don’t ask) and, while they’re more than capable of defending themselves, I don’t enjoy reading some random nitwit blasting my friends simply because he has issues with a web site--we should be better than that.

Regardless, I’ll be checking back to see what else he has to say. I hope he can be more specific in his critiques because we do welcome constructive feedback. If he does so, his blog will be an asset in cyberspace; if he’s just doing it to show off how ‘hip’ he is (or his mad Googling skillz) and is simply being an attention whore then chances are good the novelty of randomly flinging around feces and see what it hits will get old fairly fast.

At any rate ‘tingler’, welcome to the blogosphere and I hope “Cool Ball” will become a must-read for baseball fans. I'm adding a link to your site here at TPoSGD to show there are no hard feelings on our part.

How low can I go?

First, I would like to apologize to Drunk Jays Fans but I was desperate. It’s getting harder and harder to find folks who wish to handle my post's signoff. Well, somebody did step up but sadly, it was my old nemesis, Florida Marlins executive David Samson. He demanded (1) that I help with it and (2) I build a new stadium for his team. After some negotiation, we settled on a compromise. I would help with the sign off and in
(<---) exchange, I would post his picture on my blog.

O.K. David, do I have this straight--you’re going to sing it and when you point at me I’m supposed to chime in with what is written on this sheet of paper … right?

All right, (sigh) let’s get this over with…

(To the tune of “Gaston” from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”)

“Gosh it so thrills me to see you, Brattain
As your blog does down to the dumps
No one will read what you post, John Brattain
Best Regards makes you a chump.
No blogger at blogspot is despised much as you
It is noooobody’s favourite site
There’s no one reading what is written by you
And it's noooot verrrry hard to see whyyyy…

No one's lame as Brattain
Inflicts pain like Brattain
No one's posts are incredibly strange as Brattain's
For there's no guy 'round here half as verbose
Folks say that your mind is quite gone!
You can ask any Jon, Dust or Pete Rose
And they'll ask you just what the heck that you’rrre ooooon.

No one's been like Brattain
A pinhead like Brattain
No one's got a lamer sign off than Brattain…”

As a blogger, yes, I am irritating!

“My he is fried, that Brattain!
Give five "sign offs!" Give twelve "get losts!"
Brattain. Is. The. Worst
And the rest paaay the coooost.

No one gabs like Brattain
Loves to blab like Brattain
When it comes to blogs nobody’s bites like Brattain's!
For there's no one as squirrelly and yawny.”

As you see I've got bandwidth to spare…

“Not a bit of him's witty or funny…”

That's right! And ev'ry last post of mine--nobody cares.

“No blog hits for Brattain
No visits for Brattain
In a blogging post he’s a half-wit that Brattain…”

I'm especially gooood at pontificaaaating! YAAAWN!

“Still no hits for Brattain!”

When starting the blog, I wrote four dozen posts
Ev'ry morning to help it get large
And now that it's grown
I write five dozen posts
So it’s roughly the siiiiize of a barrrrrge!

“No one writes like Brattain
Makes posts trite like Brattain
Then goes blogging without being bright like Brattain…”

I use regards in any and all blog postings!

“My, he is friiiiied, Braaaaattaiiiiin!”

Are we done? No? What else is there? There’s still more?


Fine … go ahead.

“No one sucks like Brattain
Gets no yucks like Brattain
Likes inspiring folks to say “Oh [bleep]” like Brattain
Going offline weee’lllll soon be celebraaaating…

So now goooood-bye … Braaaattaiiiin!”

Geez …what a moron. What’s worse is that he forgot what he was supposed to do to begin with; so for the second post in a row I’ve got to handle it myself. At least when it was Jiminy Cricket I could stomp the little son of…

(light bulb goes on--brings up mental picture of Jiminy and Samson side by side and notes similarities in stature)



Best Regards


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Mike Gill Show: Santanism...

Once again, it’s time to prep for my weekly segment on ESPN 1450’s Mike Gill Show. Today, to absolutely nobody’s surprise, the Johan Santana-to-the-Mets deal looms large. Therefore, today we will discuss :
  • Santana-to-Mets: are the Metropolitans the favourite in the NL East, or for that matter the NL … period?
  • Does this give the Mets the best starting staff in the National League?
  • How did the Twins do in the deal?
  • What are your thoughts on Pedro Feliz coming to the City of Brotherly Love?
  • Tell us something you are looking forward to for this spring.
Santana-to-Mets: are the Metropolitans the favourite in the NL East, or for that matter the NL … period?

I would say it makes them favourites--on paper. As we know, the game isn’t played on paper but on the field. One thing we know about baseball is that we never know what will happen in baseball. A lot can happen over the course of 162 games. Don’t forget, the Phillies added a defacto solid No. 2 starter in the Brad Lidge deal moving Brett Myers back into the rotation. Pedro Feliz will solidify the infield defense and offer pop at the bottom the order and Geoff Jenkins--who should hit well at CitiBank--moves Shane Victorino to CF. I’d still give the Mets the edge in the East but I’m not willing to concede the division title just yet.

As to the rest of the NL--remember, the Diamondbacks added Danny Haren the Padres could catch lightning in a bottle with the low cost additions of Mark Prior, Randy Wolf and Jim Edmonds (he could be a bargain in he recaptures his health and some of his earlier form). The Dodgers added Andruw Jones and RHP Hiroki Kuroda. The NL West will be tough again in 2008.

Further, the Cubs added the much hyped Kosuke Fukudome and Jon Lieber has enjoyed terrific success at Wrigley Field (3.62 ERA, 1.54 BB/9 and 384 K in 474.2IP). The Brewers picked up Mike Cameron and retooled their bullpen with the additions of Eric Gagne and David Riske.

The Mets will have to work for the pennant.

Does this give the Mets the best starting staff in the National League?

No. With the addition of Haren, I think that designation goes to the Snakes. The Cubs should be solid 1-5 … not spectacular but should have five above league average starters with the addition of Lieber. The Padres rotation could surprise if Prior and Wolf contribute. Right now, the Mets have Santana, a question mark in Pedro Martinez and three young arms to round out the rotation in John Maine, Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey. It could be very good--it could be a nightmare.

How did the Twins do in the deal?

Lousy. I’m guessing that Santana decided to go to the Mets and told the Twins that he’d veto a deal to the Yankees or Red Sox. Both clubs offered better packages (including Philip Hughes) and the Twinkies didn’t even land the Mets best prospect (Fernando Martinez). I guess it’s karmic payback for the Nolan Ryan/Tom Seaver/Scott Kazmir trades. Once again, it demonstrates the idiocy of no-trade clauses. It really erodes a club’s leverage especially if they have a mega talent they wish to deal. Chances are, only a few teams can afford the required contract extension and those teams feel little obligation to really ante up since they know the club holding the player has to deal him.

What are your thoughts on Pedro Feliz coming to the City of Brotherly Love?

As I mentioned earlier, he’ll add a slick glove and might hit 30 HR in Citizens Bank Park (edit: thanks Mike!). He’s got a glove seeking laser in his right arm which will ‘help’ Ryan Howard’s defense since all he’ll have to do is stick his glove out and keep his foot on the bag when the ball is hit to Feliz.

Tell us something you are looking forward to for this spring.

I’m looking forward to see who claim two rotation slots: Who will step up and be the Phillies No. 3 starter and the Blue Jays No. 5 starter. As to the Phillies, I’m not talking about how the rotation will be set up come opening day--I’m talking about who will be the third best starting pitcher on the Phillies staff after Cole Hamels and Brett Myers. I’m discussing the pitcher who Charlie Manuel would put be behind them should they shorten their rotation come the post season (why not be optimistic?).

As to the Blue Jays, they’ve got Casey Janssen, Jesse Litsch, Gustavo Chacin or even a Josh Banks or Brian Wolfe that may surprise and fill the role. I’m rooting for Casey Janssen--he was superb as a starter in the minors and is better suited to the role. His status will be decided less by how he pitches as it will on how relievers Brandon League, Davis Romero and Jason Frasor look in the spring. If all struggle, then John Gibbons will insist of having his security blanket in Janssen handle most eighth inning duties.

“I do not think that word means what you think it means…”

I really hope my compatriots at Drunk Jays Fans appreciate this. I’m forced to use myself to handle the signoff since I didn’t have time to get anyone after my system got dinged by ransom ware.

What transpired is this: my blog got hijacked by TVT (AKA "The Vizzini Trojan" … inconceivable!) and it took some doing to get it back. When I tried to extract it I got a pop-up box stating: “If you wish it deleted, by all means, keep trying.”

I typed: “Let me explain …”

Another pop-up box from TVT read: “There's nothing to explain. You're trying to take back what I have rightfully hijacked.

I replied: "Perhaps an arrangement can be reached?"

TVT: “There will be no arrangement, and you're deleting your blog.

Well if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.

TVT: “I'm afraid so. I can't compete with you with verbosity, and you're no match for my brains.

You're that smart?

TVT: “Let me put it this way: have you ever heard of James, Neyer, Sheehan?


TVT: “Morons.

Really ... in that case, I challenge you to a battle of wits.

TVT: “For the blog?” (Yes) “To the death?” (Yes) “I accept.”

Good. Then write the post. Read this, but do not type.

TVT: “I see nothing.

What you do not see is called Best Regards. It is vapid, tasteless, dissolves instantly in bandwidth, and is among the more boring signatures known to man.

TVT: “Hmm.

(I type my regards into the each post and move them around by CTRL+X and CTRL+V)

All right. Where are the Best Regards? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both post, and find out who keeps the blog...and who dies of boredom.

TVT: “But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of blogger who would put the Best Regards into his own post or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the Best Regards into his own post, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the post in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the post in front of me.

You've made your decision then?

TVT: “Not remotely. Because Best Regards comes from TPoSGD, as everyone knows, and TPoSGD is entirely peopled with dullards and lackwits, and TPoSGDers are used to having people not find them interesting, as you are not interesting to me, so I can clearly not choose the post in front of you.

Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.



TVT: “Yes, TPoSGD. And you must have suspected I would have known the sign off’s origin, so I can clearly not choose the post in front of me.

You're just stalling now.

TVT: “You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? You've beaten my word limit, which means you're exceptionally verbose, so you could've put the Best Regards in your own post, trusting on your gabbiness to save you, so I can clearly not choose the post in front of you. But, you've also busted my server, which means you must have blogged, and in blogging you must have learned that bloggers are nerdy, so you would have put the Best Regards as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the post in front of me.

You're trying to trick me into giving away something. It won't work.


Then make your choice.

TVT: “I will, and I choose-- What in the world? Did I disconnect?

What? Where? You’re still logged in.

TVT: “Well, I- I could have sworn I disconnected. No matter.

What's so funny?

TVT: “I'll tell you in a minute. First, let's post. Me from my keyboard, and you from yours.

(We type.)

You guessed wrong.

TVT: “You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched keyboards when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a geek war on blogspot, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Trojan when a blog is on the line!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha... (thud)”

...and I finally got my blog back.

Epilogue: Both posts had Best Regards. I spent the last few years on the web reading my old articles building up an immunity to boredom.

(Yes, you just lost two minutes of your life reading that. My sincerest apologies.)

Best Regards


Sunday, January 27, 2008


I was thinking (it happens) about skunks. When you stop and think about it, calling somebody a skunk is still a wonderfully descriptive insult. After all, everybody knows what a skunk smells like--nobody ever mistakes a skunk for something else or vice versa.

Further, if you’ve spent anytime in the countryside and happen to be a canine aficionado chances are your fine furry companion(s) has decided to engage a skunk or two mano a mano. I was once walking my two dogs (both golden retrievers at the time) and noticed the smell of skunk but it wasn’t a strong smell at that point.

They ran away quite suddenly. A (low watt) light bulb went off and I took to pursuit. The smell suddenly got very powerful and sure enough, my pooches had fought the skunk and the skunk won. Their eyes were watery, they kept pawing at their noses and rubbing their faces on the ground and I set about the grim task of getting Ren and Stimpy home to have them de-scented.

Not five minutes later another skunk starting crossing the road about 30 yards away. Despite their unpleasant initial encounter, Beavis and Butthead were ready for a rematch. The final score:

Skunks 2
Dumb dogs 0

I learned a lot about skunks (as well as the average intellect of golden retrievers) that day. If you touch anything that a skunk has touched, you too will join the sacred order of unwilling stinkers. You simply cannot interact with a skunk and not come away … well, worse for the experience.

It got me thinking (twice in one day!) that MLB has their fair share of skunks. Guys who not only reek, but also can spread their stench around wherever they go. Like four-legged skunks, the two-legged variety leaves an unmistakable ‘scent’ in their wake that is unlike nothing else. For the most part, if they touch something, it’s going to stink as well.

To be a skunk, one has to be completely dishonourable. Sometimes an individual who, in the course of doing their job in an honourable fashion, might come away smelling badly on occasion. This person is not a skunk. To use an example--Don Fehr is not a skunk. He’s done some things that weren’t admirable, but he’s viewed as an honourable, honest guy who seldom acts in a duplicitous fashion. Yes, occasionally he has left a stench in his wake but that’s due to his style and not the substance of the man himself.

A skunk is a person whose very substance causes us to hold our noses.

Further, just because somebody is inept--it doesn’t mean he is a skunk. Don’t mistake mediocrity (in MLB terms) for being a skunk. Dave Littlefield is inept, not a skunk. Tom Hicks is inept, but not a skunk. Ed Wade is inept, but he too is not a skunk. To be a true skunk, one must deliberately choose to become one. There are no accidental or inadvertent skunks. If somebody makes a conscious choice to be a certain way--then he is a skunk.

Which brings me to today’s snark: Who are some of the biggest skunks in MLB?

Bud Selig The man has achieved a great many things. I even detailed his accomplishments in last week’s MSN Canada column. Nevertheless, the man has raped the taxpayers to the tune of close to $10 billion since he became commissioner. When you wonder where some of your tax dollars are going when you hear about cuts to healthcare, education etc., well part of it is from Bud Selig’s blackmailing your region for ballpark boondoggles. The total rises above $10 billion when you learn about some of the other goodies his cartel enjoys and exploits to the nth degree. He is the guy who attempted contraction, who allowed the steroid era to flourish for profit. He is the guy that the other skunks in MLB want to have lead them for the foreseeable future.

Carl Pohlad Many people strive to be rich. I am not among them. Oh, I like money well enough however; I’d hate to be in the same circles as the likes of Carl Pohlad. This octogenarian septic tank is one of the wealthiest men in America. His hand is always extended in search of handouts be it from revenue sharing or corporate welfare. He offered up his team for contraction. He tried to move the Twins anywhere the handouts were more generous. Even though he is the primary financial beneficiary of the Twins new ballpark, he said, “[Public money] is where it should come from.” He wants Johan Santana to take less so he can keep more and questions Santana’s loyalty for not being willing to subsidize one of America’s wealthiest men. It’ll be easy to tell when Pohlad’s been dead for a week--his smell will improve.

Scott Boras I prefer that the players get their fair share of baseball’s revenues. As we’ve detailed (and will yet detail) it’s better than seeing the skunks of Selig’s cartel get it. However, this man is so fundamentally dishonest in his approach that sometimes his players end up picking up some of his stench. Boras uses many high-minded phrases that are frankly his recipe for deception. An example is this: "Any discussions as to contract terms (are) between the teams and ourselves. It's clear for all of us that we're at that point now where we've got to do a lot of work with the teams involved, and we're going to keep the information and dialogues with the clubs private and confidential as we go forward."

This ‘private and confidential dialogue’ allows Boras to say “That’s an interesting offer, but I have to let you know that there’s a team with a package on the table that is right up there with yours that I’ve been speaking with recently.” Of course, the team with the similar package is the one he owns. If pressed on knowing the identity of the bidding club Boras simply states that all dialogue is, of course, ‘private and confidential.’

If a club has the highest bid but you want more, you tell them that. You just say that his client would prefer to play elsewhere so if the team wants him--they have to dig a little deeper. Finally, Alex Rodriguez has been bathing in P.R. tomato juice to get the skunk smell off of him.

Jeffrey Loria and David Samson

I can’t say it better than this: Two cities, two major league franchises, two wastelands courtesy of the two asses required to spell “assassin.” This is the scorched earth policy employed by these two skunks--the 'rule or ruin' Mongol Hordes of corporate welfare.

Got wood?

Since I’ve been going buggy of late, I thought it might be good to have someone, shall we say … insectoid related to handle the sign off. I tried Adam Ant--nope, The Tick declined as did The Human Fly, Atom Ant, and Spiderman (technically he’s an arachnid--which is also the word peanut in French if memory serves--but I was getting desperate). I didn’t even try any of the not-yet-deceased Beatles though Yoko Ono shrilly volunteered. I had to explain that I was looking for bugs--not vermin.

Sadly, the best I could come up with was Jiminy Cricket. You remember Jiminy--right? He’s the guy that kept telling Pinocchio to let his conscience be his guide, to always tell the truth (even when the Blue Fairy asks if the dress she's wearing makes her butt look fat and she turns him into a spastic colon for his honesty) but neglected to mention that mashing up Viagra tablets and using it as acne cream will have side effects.

Therefore, having little recourse, I have reluctantly allowed the bug to do the sign off and have acquiesced to his request to sing--and not write or say it. I hope that the decent chaps at Drunk Jays Fans are living up to their name--it’ll make this much less painful. O.K. O.K. a teensy weensy little tiny bit (anybody else havin' a Freudian moment right now?) less painful.

(To the tune of: “When You Wish Upon A Star”)

"When you give your best regards,
Makes folks want to hit the bar,
Anything that’s on your blog will make them spew.

If your regards, at the end, causes hate mail to be sent.
Since you gave your best regards as retards do.

Like a dolt in cyberspace, words pile up to cause headaches
When you give your be…

(checks bottom of shoe)

I’ve waited a long time to do that. When your kids are 5 and 3 years old and they play that movie 33 times in a row--it changes a guy y'know?

Best Regards


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dis dat and d’udder t'ing…

Rod Barajas? Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley (be sure to check out his take on The Ryan Howard Situation) assesses the Jays inking Barajas thusly:

“Hah! You got Barajas! His unremarkable tenure in Philly aside, he was part of the reason why our catching corps was even close to league-average offensively. But I'm expecting more out of our Ruiz/Coste tandem in '08.”

I think that qualifies as an endorsement of sorts. The good news is that he had a career high in OBP in 2007 at .352; the bad news is that (1) it brings his career OBP up to a lofty .288 and (2) guys who bat in the No. 8 hole in a NL lineup are walked quite frequently. Barajas has enjoyed one other season of a .300 plus OBP but I think it’s still safe to expect that he’ll be a bit of an upgrade on Sal Fasano.


What he lacks in on base skills he makes up for somewhat in power. Barajas hit 47 HR over 1112 AB over three seasons with the Texas Rangers. It wasn’t a fluke of the home park either as he clubbed 26 of them on the road. He’s solid defensively with a decent arm but stolen bases against the Blue Jays are more due to the pitching staff. Benji Molina threw out over 30% of potential base thieves the year before and after his tenure in Canada where he fell below 20% in that regard.

I like it a lot better than Jason Phillips and Sal Fasano at any rate (or so I keep telling myself ... serenity now). Heck, hopefully Robinzon Diaz will make the Fasano/Barajas point moot.

I’m giving J.P. Ricciardi (a half) thumbs up in addressing the Jays depth problem. I can’t see the Jays giving over 1300 AB to players hitting around replacement level or worse. I didn’t mind seeing Adam Lind as part of that because if you’re going to stick that level of talent into the lineup, do it with those who will get something good from it--such as major league experience for a promising prospect.

Once again, I find myself becoming cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season. I’ll have more to say about that in the coming months on THT, MSN and here.

No way Jose…

I do not know if Magglio Ordonez did or did not use anabolic steroids or human growth hormone. Jose Canseco’s second book “Vindicated” means very little. Yes, he was correct more often than not in his original book but his attempted blackmail of Ordonez is low--even by Canseco’s tawdry standards. Canseco is stooping to David Samson-level low. It is one thing to try to vindicate slights you felt you received while in the game, quite another to try to extort someone in MLB while doing so.

Sadly, Ordonez’s refusing to sue this skunk of a human being will cause some to wonder if he is afraid of what might come out over the course of investigating the matter. His first co-author/ghostwriter/guy-to-spell-the-big-words for him opted out of this book project since Canseco will be tabbing Alex Rodriguez but lacking any hard evidence regarding that particular claim. I liked the line in Jon Heyman's article on the subject: "One former associate of Canseco's insisted he's not that smart, saying of him, 'He's a moron of the highest order. If he could have majored in moronics, he would have gone to college'.''


Folks should appreciate that Jose Canseco’s efforts led to more stringent testing in MLB. (I don’t like any situation where somebody has to choose between using potentially toxic black market drugs manufactured under less-than-sterile conditions and giving up their dream.) Nevertheless, he’s undermining all the positive things he did with this male bovine biological by-product.

Catching up (again)…

I haven’t posted my last few THT and MSN columns of late. Here is what you missed (lucky you):

  • Striped Delight: more whining about the Hall of Fame vote by the BBWAA with a focus on the lack of love among the 1980’s Tigers--especially Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker.
    Grumpy Old Men: again, more whining about the HOF vote. I compare the careers of Jim Rice and Albert Belle. I will be re-visiting this next Friday at THT.
  • The Pujols Awards: week 2: The second instalment of the new THT reader-interactive feature honouring the heroes and zeros of a given week. Among the honourees are Pat Gillick, J.P. Ricciardi, John Gibbons, Elijah Dukes and others.
  • The Pujols Awards: week 3: Nominations are starting to come in--I haven’t closed the ‘polls’ for this Wednesday’s edition so if you want to nominate someone for an “Albert” or a “Luis” drop me a line. This edition saw both the U.S. Government and Roger Clemens take some blasts from readers.
  • Myth-busting: Here I discuss why Bud Selig was given yet another contract extension. Believe it or not, Bud earns far more than most players in MLB. As I mention in the piece, maybe it is time for a salary cap on major league executives.
  • If you’re wondering about yesterday’s THT column (or lack thereof) it got tangled up in the machinery and was a no-go on the site. However, the post just below this one is what it was supposed to be--a comparison between Bobby Doerr and Joe Gordon based on one article in a series of them by Ben Feldman of The Bleacher Report that dealt with The Best 11 Second Basemen of All Time.

Family Values...

Since we’re goin’ all retro today the good folks at “Déjà View” requested an opportunity to do a classic sign off on behalf of my good friends at Drunk Jays Fans. I guess they (DV not DJF) know that I’m a big fan of the original Addams Family (with John Astin and Carolyn Jones) since they told me there would be an Addams Family theme to the festivities.

So, here we go …

Da Da Da Dum (snap snap)
Da Da Da Dum (snap snap)
Da Da Da Dum
Da Da Da Dum
Da Da Da Dum (snap snap)

He’s geeky and he’s hokey,
Far too verbose--not okay.
Knows dick-all 'bout the Blue Jays.
But he’ll give his best regards.

His blog’s a mausoleum.
His posts--nobody reads 'em.
It makes him want to screa-um.
But he’ll give his best regards.

Da Da Da Dum (snap snap) … weak
Da Da Da Dum (snap snap) … geek
Da Da Da Dum
Da Da Da Dum
Da Da Da Dum (snap snap) … he reeks

So take your mouse and backspace.
Thank God he’s not on MySpace.
His whole blog is in bad taste.
But. He’ll. Give. His. Best. Regards. (snap snap)

Errr … did Dustin send you?

Best Regards


In defense of Joe Gordon...

(With thanks to Joe Distelheim for tidying it up.)

Ben Feldman of The Bleacher Report wrote an excellent article entitled The Best 11 Second Basemen of All Time last week (it's part of a series he's doing dealing with "The Best" at each—be sure to click the link here and check them all out—I highly recommend it).

Since I obviously did not write a column to tell you that, it’s safe to assume there are points of disagreement. Ben wrote:
“When looking at these players, what is most striking is how similar in value they all were. Unfortunately, I have to cut Joe Gordon first. With players grouped this tightly, I can't quite give him full credit for the unknown production of the war years.”

The two issues I have are:

1. If Bobby Doerr ranks eighth, then I cannot see the justification of Gordon missing the cut.

2. Using WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player). I have never liked using “replacement level” as a baseline for assessment. It’s based on an assumed criterion ("this is replacement level production"). I find league average preferable since it is a more tangible baseline and compares major leaguers to major leaguers rather than "the best Triple-A player available."

League average is easy to determine. There are some variations in calculating replacement level.

For myself, I cannot see how you can place Bobby Doerr and Joe Gordon side by side and say that Doerr was a better second baseman. They were contemporary players who allow us to examine their careers side by side. I will concede that Doerr was the better defender, but, according to eyewitness accounts, Gordon too was excellent defensively.

Robert Creamer (excerpted from Baseball In 1941) wrote, "It seems incredible to me now ... that the Yankees would consider mucking about with their great second baseman. I cannot fathom why McCarthy ever considered moving a fielder as good as Gordon out of a position as vitally important as second base."

It was often written back then that Gordon was “peerless” defensively at second. I think it’s safe to say that Gordon could flash some serious leather.

Let’s do a comparison based on both traditional and sabermetric measures. We'll use black type to indicate when Doerr was better that Gordon in a given category in each season when both played (hence 1944-45 aren't used):

From 1938-50:
                Joe Gordon (5707 AB)                 
.268 .357 .466 83 24 7 25 97 108 -1 2.8
.284 .370 .506 92 32 5 28 111 123 28 18.5
.281 .340 .511 112 32 10 30 103 121 15 16.0
.276 .358 .466 104 26 7 24 87 117 13 13.7
.322 .409 .491 88 29 4 18 103 155 43 41.0
.249 .365 .413 82 28 5 17 69 126 21 21.0
Did not play
Did not play
.210 .308 .338 35 15 0 11 47 79 -15 -10.3
.272 .346 .496 89 27 6 29 93 135 27 23.7
.280 .371 .507 96 21 4 32 124 134 30 24.7
.251 .355 .407 74 18 3 20 84 103 1 1.7
.236 .340 .429 59 12 1 19 57 98 -1 -1.8
.268 .357 .466 914 264 52 253 975 120 161 151.1

Now, let's see how many times Doerr bettered him:

                  Bobby Doerr (6544 AB)
.289 .363 .397 70 26 7 5 80 86 -17 -11.4
.318 .365 .448 75 28 2 12 73 103 -12 1.6
.291 .353 .497 87 37 10 22 105 114 9 10.5
.282 .339 .450 74 28 4 16 93 105 2 2.0
.290 .369 .455 71 35 5 15 102 128 21 20.7
.270 .339 .412 78 32 3 16 75 117 10 12.4
.325 .399 .528 95 30 10 15 81 165 51 39.2
Did not play
.271 .346 .453 95 34 9 18 116 116 0 11.8
.258 .329 .426 79 23 10 17 95 103 -11 -0.4
.285 .386 .505 94 23 6 27 111 131 31 22.8
.309 .393 .497 91 30 9 18 109 128 16 21.1
.294 .367 .519 103 29 11 27 120 116 -1 10.5
.289 .362 .465 1012 355 86 208 1160 113 99 141.0

Of the 121 black ink opportunities, Doerr garnered 52--11 from 1946 when Gordon was shaking off two years of rust. Doerr captured 16 of the available 33 black ink in BA/OBP/SLG. Despite the differences in hitting environments, Doerr led in slugging only three times, one of which was 1946. During the years when both were active and Gordon was playing half his games in Yankee Stadium (1938-43, 1946), Doerr hit 104 homers while Gordon homered 153 times (despite having almost 250 fewer at-bats than Doerr).

In the adjusted stats section, Doerr could generate black ink in only 10 of 33 categories. In the seasons between 1938-48 when both were active, Gordon posted superior numbers in 23 of the 27 categories … three of the four times Doerr finished higher occurred in 1946.

Now Doerr is a legit Hall of Famer, but was helped immeasurably as a hitter by Fenway Park. When examining the above numbers (especially power), understand that being a right-handed hitter in Yankee Stadium/Municipal Stadium was a great deal different from being a right-handed hitter in Fenway Park. A right-handed hitter in Gordon's day was aiming at a target whimsically referred to as "Death Valley," where the dimensions were 402 feet to left center, 457 to deep left center, and 461 to straightaway center.

On the other hand, Doerr had the Green Monster to shoot at, the same wall that is making Jim Rice a popular Cooperstown candidate. The aggregate park factor for Gordon's career was 98 (ranging from 96-101); Doerr's was 104 (ranging from 99-110). In short, Gordon was shooting at the most difficult part of "The House That Ruth Built" during his time in pinstripes whereas Doerr had a career full of at bats aiming at the Monster.

A few years ago I wrote a comparison among Gordon, Doerr and contemporary second sackers using an Olympic format (I originally wrote it in an Olympic year). Put another way, in each year I noted when either player finished first (gold), second (silver) and third (bronze) in five events: OPS, OPS+, Offensive Winning Percentage (OWP), Runs Created against Position (RCAP) and Runs Created Per 27 outs (RC/27). Since Gordon played in 11 seasons and there were five categories, that made 55 “events” in my dweebish Olympiad.

Then I broke it down using four comparisons—Gordon vs. the AL, Doerr vs. the AL; Gordon vs. MLB and Doerr vs. MLB (again, I used only other second basemen).

Here were the results (I'll spare you the cheesy charts):

Joe Gordon vs. all major league second basemen: Over the course of Gordon’s career, out of 55 possible categories (11 years x five statistical evaluations), Gordon has 15 first place entries, including sweeps in 1941 and 1942 (he won the AL MVP in 1942). He had 17 second place finishes and four third place finishes. So, in 55 dweebish Olympic events, Gordon copped 15 gold medals, 17 silver, four bronze, for a total of 36 medals out of a possible 55 "events." So, how did Bobby Doerr do in this round?

Bobby Doerr vs. all major league second basemen: Bobby Doerr, in a possible 55 "events" won a total of 26 medals (six gold, 13 silver, seven bronze). Now let us narrow our focus and put Gordon and Doerr head-to-head by tossing the National Leaguers out of the equation …

Joe Gordon vs. all AL second basemen: Therefore, competing strictly against his AL counterparts, Gordon (out of 55 "events") copped 21 gold, 14 silver, and four bronze--for a total of 39. He almost swept the year before he went into the service (four gold, one silver), and in 1947 (four gold, one silver). His struggles in 1946 could be easily dismissed as simple rustiness. How did Doerr fare?

Bobby Doerr vs. all AL second basemen: Doerr finished with 10 gold medals, 22 silver, 10 bronze--for a total of 42. Interestingly, over the course of Gordon's career (excluding 1944 and 1945 when he was in the service), the only year in which Doerr was a superior offensive player was 1948.

During the time Doerr and Gordon were active, contemporaneous accounts viewed Gordon as superior. He was selected to The Sporting News all star team six out of a possible seven times, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting five times to Doerr’s two (top 10 finishes). Gordon was an All-Star in nine of his 11 seasons, Doerr nine of his 14 seasons.

What a great many people didn't know was that Joe Gordon, for decades, was the greatest home run-hitting second baseman in baseball history. Despite playing half of his games in good pitchers' parks, Gordon enjoyed the greatest home run percentage (6,000 plate appearance qualifier) of any second baseman of any era (4.43). He is fifth all time in total homers from the position (with just 5,707 AB) behind Rogers Hornsby (8,173 AB), Ryne Sandberg (8,385 AB), Joe Morgan (9,277 AB) and Jeff Kent (8,058 AB). Nevertheless, nobody popped them out more frequently than Joe Gordon.

Doerr may have played longer, but I don't think he played better than Joe Gordon. Gordon's teams went to six World Series, winning five. Doerr's copped a single flag, but fell in the Fall Classic. It's a minor point, but it does count.

If I had to pick a second baseman and my choices were Gordon and Doerr, I'd take Gordon.

Totally radical compadre...

I realize that I’m a fair bit older than the guys at Drunk Jays Fans. I thought it would be nice to give them a real taste of the 1980’s (dons mullet wig, pushes up sleeves on sports jacket and removes socks and puts shoes back on … checks mirror to insure that there’s enough scruff on the ol’ visage).

Perfect … Geez, I look like an idiot. [space reserved for wisecracks--once again, please be creative]

Now, let’s get totally retro gnarly dudes and dudettes and without further ado, to handle the sign off I have pop duo Milli Vanilli. Take ‘er away guys…

D'oh!!! (smacks palm to forehead)


I'd forgotten about that. That's the worst thing about middle age--your memory starts to go. At least Britney had a tape recorder; these idiots didn't even do that. Oh well...

Best Regards


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Mike Gill Show: Dinner at Arby's (as in arbitration)...

It’s (checks calendar) Wednesday and that means ... tomorrow’s Thursday.

No--that’s not it. I mean it is but it’s not what it’s about at least not…

Ahhhh screw it, I have the program for today’s ESPN 1450’s Mike Gill Show segment. Today we discuss:

  • Ryan Howard wants $10 million and the Phillies are offering $7 million ... who wins if it goes to arbitration?
  • Should the Phillies offer him a long-term deal and lock him up or take their chances when he is eligible for free agency in 2011 risking making him feel unhappy and unappreciated?
  • Does Ryan Howard deserve Albert Pujols/A-Rod money, something less or something in-between?
  • What is something you’re looking forward to as we approach spring training? (This will be a weekly question.)
Ryan Howard wants $10 million and the Phillies are offering $7 million ... who wins if it goes to arbitration?

Let’s see, he has a RotY award, an MVP, hit 105 HR the last two seasons and has a career line of .291/.397/.610. When you consider the mediocre talent that have been signing contracts that average $10 million a year--I can’t see an arbitrator saying that he’s worth only $7 million. Technically, a player can only compare himself to players of like tenure but there have always been exceptions made (Doug Drabek, Bruce Sutter, Fernando Valenzuela etc.) for players that have “star power.”

Should the Phillies offer him a long-term deal and lock him up or take their chances when he is eligible for free agency in 2011 risking making him feel unhappy and unappreciated?

If this kid is going to be part of the future, then lock him up now. Buy up his arbitration and a couple of his free agent years. When that contract is over he’ll be in his early 30’s and the team will have a better idea about how he’ll age.

Guarantee themselves that they will have this guy for his peak years. It’ll be cheaper than waiting for free agency judging by how revenues are growing. A team doesn’t have to pay free agent wages when offering a long-term deal at this point in his career. He trades some money for security and being set financially for life while the team will pay a little more now--by the time the contract is done (assuming no catastrophic injuries) they’ll have saved some money.

Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels and to a lesser extent--Brett Myers are the core that a club builds around. Making sure all of them are under contract for the next few years almost guarantees that a franchise is in a position to contend for the foreseeable future.

Does Ryan Howard deserve Albert Pujols/A-Rod money, something less or something in-between?

Here is where the Phillies have to be careful. Don’t forget, they have got Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley sewn up so the Phillies cannot blow the doors off when locking up Howard. If they do, the team may put themselves in a position where there are unhappy players that they may have to renegotiate with to keep content. If Howard has filed for $10 million--then chances are he’ll be willing to take a bit less than that in exchange for long-term security.

Albert Pujols could fall over dead tomorrow and the Hall of Fame might make him eligible simply because he’s been historically great. Alex Rodriguez is heir to the home run crown. Both offer their club’s more than a booming bat. Howard is more limited--he can knock the crap out of the ball but he’s got little value defensively and none on the bases. Howard cannot realistically expect the levels of compensation that guys who are already (or close to being) Hall of Famers.

What is something you’re looking forward to as we approach spring training?

This is the year of second basemen. The Phillies have Utley, the Jays, Aaron Hill (I refer to Hill as ‘Utley-lite’), I’m expecting huge years out of both of them and hopefully an MVP will be coming Mr. Utley’s way in 2008. The Jays have this kid named Travis Snider who absolutely beats the snot out of the ball. He was all of 19 last year and hit 35 doubles, 7 triples, 16 HR and slugged .525 in 457 AB. In 2006, at the age of 18 he slugged .567 with 11 HR in less than 200 AB. I’ve seen some clips of him on YouTube and I’m hoping they bring him to Spring Training just to get a look at him. His hitting reminds me a lot of Ryan Howard (including the strikeouts) but he’s a corner OF (although I doubt he’ll be playing there by the time he reaches Toronto). If he comes to camp, I hope I’ll get to see him play some spring training games.

Let’s try this again shall we…?

Well, I’ve still got Frank Grimes laying on my floor with his tongue stuck in the CD drive. I’ve been told that I cannot move him until the coroner confirms he's deceased and next of kin are contacted. It would be a lot less disgusting if my dogs wouldn’t insist on rolling in him.


However, the show must go on and the fine earthlings over at Drunk Jays Fans need to know that my post is over. Against my better judgement (which is pretty much how I’ve lived my life to this point in time) I will again be employing an animated guest to handle festivities.

Any guesses on who it is and why he’s volunteered to do the signoff?

“Well you’re really asking two questions there. The first one takes me back to 1934. Admiral Burn had just reached the pole, only hours ahead of the Three Stooges ... and I guess he won the argument, but I walked away with the turnips. The following morning I resigned my commission with the coastguard. The next thing I knew there was civil war in Spain and, that’s everything which happened in my life right up to the time you asked me to do this…”

And I appreciate your coming here toda…

“Now, my story begins in 19-dikkity-2. We had to say dikkity ‘cause the Kaiser had stolen our word twenty. I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dikkity-six miles …

Thanks, but we…

… three wars back we called Sauerkraut "liberty cabbage" and we called liberty cabbage "super slaw" and back then a suitcase was known as a "Swedish lunch box." Of course, nobody knew that but me. Anyway, long story short... is a phrase whose origins are complicated and rambling, kinda like…”


… where you write posts that don't go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe. So, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. 'Give me five bees for a quarter', you'd say. Now, where were we? Oh, yeah...the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war; the only thing you could get was those big yel…”



Sorry, that’s just Frank Gri…

… then after World War Two, it got kinda quiet, 'till Superman challenged FDR to a race around the world. FDR beat him by a furlong, or so the comic books would have you believe. The truth lies somewhere in betweeeezzzzzZZZZZZZ"

(whispering) BestRegardsJohnbye!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pat Hentgen…

There is an interesting post over at Drunk Jays Fans about choosing your favourite player. Over the years, I have had several favourite Jays. One guy I fell in love with at the get-go was Pat Hentgen and Bergkamp’s post at DJF quickly caused me to recall him.

When I first saw him pitch in the big leagues on a semi-regular basis back in 1992 I knew he’d be good (and yes, I have multiple witnesses regarding my very rare successful prognostication). As a kid, Hentgen idolized Jack Morris and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Morris should be very flattered.

They had differing styles but had one thing in common--they wanted the ball and they went into the game with the thought that the bullpen was getting the night off whether they liked it or not. I have two very distinct Hentgen memories that cropped up after a moment’s reflection. The first one was the year of the strike. The Jays were defending back-to-back World Series championships.

The Jays opened the season strong, so optimism was running high.

Back in the 1990’s, one pitcher had some serious ‘ownage’ on the Jays--Kevin Appier. Despite a .500 record against Toronto, he posted a career ERA of 2.84 in 171.1 IP. When the Kansas City Royals (who felt they were contenders after signing David Cone after the 1992 season) came in for a series in early May. Appier was to pitch the opener and would face 19-game winner (in 1993) Hentgen.

Both were at the top of their game--going into the bottom of the fourth, the only guy to reach base was Jose Lind who had gotten a dribbler up the middle after Hentgen struck out five of the first seven outs he recorded. Devon White opened the bottom of the fourth with a single and quickly stole second. Roberto Alomar grounded out to the right side of the infield and White was on third. A two out infield single by Joe Carter got Devo home.

Both hurlers continued to put up zeros on the scoreboard. Base runners were few and far between. In the eighth Hentgen struck out the side for the second time matching Appier‘s feat of doing likewise. With the Jays hanging onto a one run lead and Duane Ward out with what would be pretty much a career-ending injury; manager Cito Gaston decided to let Hentgen finish what he started.

He got both Brian McRae and Wally Joyner to quickly pop up to the infield. Mike MacFarlane battled Hentgen before getting him to swing through strike three. Hentgen turned around and yelled in triumph to his teammates. The box score said it all:

Kansas City Royals IP H R ER BB SO HR
K Appier, L (2-3) 8 3 1 1 1 10 0
Totals 8 3 1 1 1 10 0

Toronto Blue Jays IP H R ER BB SO HR
P Hentgen, W (4-2) 9 2 0 0 2 14 0
Totals 9 2 0 0 2 14 0

The other memory was Hentgen’s run to the Cy Young from July 6, -Aug 28, 1996. Hentgen won 10 of 11 starts and the only real blemish on that stretch was on August 7, when Cito Gaston needed to rest his beleaguered bullpen and let Hentgen go the distance at Fenway Park giving up eight earned runs. He went the distance in his very next start at home against Boston but this time gave up a single run.

Despite the Fenway debacle, Hentgen posted 2.24 ERA over the 11 starts and tossed seven complete games including five in a row beginning with the bombing in Boston. Going into the July 6 start Hentgen was 7-6, 4.14 ERA and was on nobody’s Cy Young radar. By the end of August he was 17-7, 3.33 ERA and very much in the hunt, a hunt that would conclude successfully.

Jack Morris would’ve been proud.

Let‘s try again…

The nice thing about deceased cartoon characters is that they can be reanimated. So, after resurrecting Frank Grimes, I have asked him to handle today’s sign off for the good folks at Drunk Jays Fans.


Is there something wrong Mr. Grimes? You don’t look wel…

Oh, I, I can't stand it any longer. This whole blogosphere is insane. Insane, I tell you! Daahh! Aaah! I can be lazy too! Look at me, I am a worthless blogger, just like John Brattain! Give me a Pulitzer! Ooh, I write like a moron, but nobody minds! I'm peeing on the CPU. Give me a job at ESPN! Now I'm returning to typing without washing my hands. But it doesn't matter, because I'm John Brattain! I don't need to blog intelligently, 'cause someone else will do it for me. Best Regards! Best Regards! Best Regards! Best Regards! Oh, hi, Mr. Studeman. I'm the worst writer in the world. Time to go home to my office and blog incessantly. What's this? "CD Drive?" Well, I can stick my tongue in it because I'm John Bra…

Um errrrrr … should I call 911?

Gotta go.

Best Regards


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Making the blood boil...

You have got to be kidding me. If this isn’t Bud Selig’s favourite writer then as God is my witness, I don’t know who is--check this out

“Steroids and other performance enhancing drugs were used for one reason: Money. The better the numbers the players could post, the more money they could demand. The longer a career could be extended, the more cash went into the bank account.

Money, and only money, created the steroid era.

That means the decision to use or not is entirely a decision made by players, nobody else. MLB and owners may have buried their collective heads in the sand for as long as possible because they were making money off the steroid home run bombs, but only the players could decide to use or not use ... The players have taken to acting more like the Mafia then responsible citizens. They worry more about being called a "rat" by the miscreants who took the drugs then they worry about doing the right thing and caring about the game.”

Where do I start?

On the one hand, he says that MLB looked the other way because of profits, lavished large contracts on juicing players but says that players are entirely at fault for this? Has he considered that if owners refused to offer large contracts to steroid users it would have created a massive disincentive to use?

What he (I won’t name the writer to spare him the embarrassment) appears to be saying that when owners pay roiders ungodly amounts of money that it’s up to the players to say no. In any business, it’s management’s responsibility to set the parameters of employment. Even before drug testing came about, there was a ‘probable cause’ provision in the collective bargaining agreement where a team could--if it chose--make a case that an employee appeared to be abusing drugs and have him tested.

None did so.

If they took that step, they could offer contracts that reflected their disdain for performance-enhancing drug users.

None did so.

The New York Yankees agreed to strike every reference to steroids in Jason Giambi’s $120 million contract when it was being offered. They could have said to his agent Arn Tellem, “That request makes me suspicious that your client uses PED … the deal is off.”

They didn’t.

“The players have taken to acting more like the Mafia then responsible citizens. They worry more about being called a ‘rat’ by the miscreants who took the drugs then they worry about doing the right thing and caring about the game.”

Riiight, through all this ownership did nothing, the media said nothing, agents likewise and young men with little life experience are expected to be the ones responsible for ‘caring about the game.’ Ownership was taking a course of self-interest to protect profits. Agents took a course of self-interest to protect their level of commissions. The union executive took a course of self-interest to protect the salary bar. The media took a course of self-interest to protect access (so they could continue to earn money covering baseball) but when the players follow their example--they’re acting like the mafia?


The truly sad thing about this piece is the fact that, of the five groups mentioned, it’s the players that are the youngest (hence, least experienced and least savvy) of the lot but this guy thinks they’re the ones responsible for this mess.

To give you an idea of who is truly purulent in all this…

The public funding of stadiums in MLB has cost taxpayers probably close to $10 billion since 1990 when you factor in maintenance, amortization, interest on bond issues etc. That translates into a lot less money for schools, healthcare, infrastructure and essential services (police, fire dept., various services for women and children). Often teams, while threatening their regions claim that the area has to demonstrate that it wants MLB to be part of their community. Further, they receive tangible economic benefits for shelling out the money.

Item 1: During the contraction fiasco in the early part of the decade, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the Twins' lease required that the team play there in 2002 (therefore no contraction). It was here that Selig presented his brief, in which he said: “The Minnesota Twins are a private business; they are not owned by the people of Minnesota ... they are not a 'community asset' but a business …


On March 18, 2004 Governor Tim Pawlenty floated a proposal to have state and local governments pay for two-thirds of a new stadium for the Twins. Multi-billionaire Carl Pohlad said it wasn't enough: "[Public money] is where it should come from." (Read: from folks that aren't multi-billionaires like me) …

Item 2: From the Seattle Times: "The financial issue is simple, and the city's analysts agree, there will be no net economic loss if the Sonics leave Seattle. Entertainment dollars not spent on the Sonics will be spent on Seattle's many other sports and entertainment options. Seattleites will not reduce their entertainment budget simply because the Sonics leave…"

Any idea who said that? An economist? An anti-stadium lobby? Nope, the Sonics themselves. The team wants to leave Seattle, the city wishes to retain the club. The Sonics stated that a publicly financed new arena would be an economic plus for the region. Due to that, it should be the public that ponied up the cost of their current arena. Now that the Supersuckers want to graze in greener corporate welfare pastures they’re all but admitting that public financed sports venues are just one big boondoggle for the region building them.

There you have it. Bud Selig and his billionaire cartel have picked your pockets of untold billions of tax dollars and you get diddly-squat--no economic benefit, and the region has absolutely NO claim on your beloved team. It has always been about making the rich richer at the expense of those not rich.

These people are SLIME and the writer for USA Today wants to blame player avarice for the steroid era? I think he should be a proctopsychiatrist because he has one of the worst cases of inverse rectal-cranial syndrome that I have seen in a long, long time.

We have a very special guest star for today’s closing ceremonies…

In tribute to the good people of Drunk Jays Fans, I have enlisted the aid of the world renowned children’s author Dr. Suess to help with today’s sign-off. He has asked me to assist and I am honoured to do so. Here we go…

Dr. Suess: “I am Sam, John you are, will you give your best regards?”

I will not do it, Sam-you-are. I will not give my best regards.

Dr. Suess: “Would you do it here or there?”

I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere. I will not give my best regards. I will not do it Sam-you-are.

Dr. Suess: “Would you do it in your house? Would you do it with your mouse?”

I will not do it in my house I will not do it with my mouse. I will not do it here or there, I will not do it anywhere. I will not give my best regards. I will not do it Sam-you-are.

Dr. Suess: “Would you do it for Danny Cox would you do it for Jimmie Foxx?”

Not for D. Cox. Not for J. Foxx. Not in my house. Not with my mouse. I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere. I will not give my best regards. I will not do it Sam-you-are.

Dr. Suess: “Would you? Could you? For Chuck Carr? Do it do it here they are!

I would not, could not, for Chuck Carr.

Dr. Suess: "You do it. You will see. You may do it for Bill Lee.”

I would not, could not for Bill Lee. Nor for Chuck Carr, you let me be. Not for D. Cox. Not for J. Foxx. Not in my house. Not with my mouse. I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere. I will not give my best regards. I will not do it Sam-you-are.

Dr. Suess: “John Sain! John Sain! John Sain! John Sain! Could you, would you, for Johnny Sain?”

Not for John Sain! Not for Bill Lee! Not for Chuck Carr! Sam! Let me be! I would not could not for Danny Cox. I could not would not for Jimmie Foxx. Not in my house. Not with my mouse. I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere. I will not give my best regards. I will not do it Sam-you-are.

Dr. Suess: “Say! Alvin Dark. Alvin Dark. For Alvin Dark. Would you, could you, for Alvin Dark?”

I would not, could not, for Al Dark.

Dr. Suess: “Would you, could you, for Ferris Fain?”

I would not, could not, for Ferris Fain! Not for Al Dark or Johnny Sain. Not for Chuck Carr. Not for Bill Lee. I will not do it, Sam, you see. Not in my house. Not for Dan Cox. Not with my mouse. Not with J. Foxx. I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere!

Dr. Suess: “You do not give best regards?”

I will not do it Sam-You-Are.

Dr. Suess: “Could you, would you, for Dick Groat?”

I would not, could not, for Dick Groat!

Dr. Suess: “Would you, could you, for Jim Coates?”

I could not, would not, for Jim Coates. I will not, will not, for Dick Groat. I will not do it for John Sain. I will not do it for Ferris Fain. Not for Al Dark! Not for Bill Lee! Not Chuck Carr! You let me be! I will not do it for Danny Cox, I will not do it for Jimmie Foxx. I will not do it in my house. I will not do it with my mouse. I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere! I will not give my best regards, I will not do it Sam-You-Are.

Dr. Suess: “You will not do it, so you say. Do it! Do it! And you may. Do it and you may, I say! Try them and you may, I say.”

Sam! If you will let me be, I will do it. You will see.

Say! I will give my best regards. I will, I will Sam-You-Are. I will do it for Dick Groat, I will do it for Jim Coates, and I will do it for Johnny Sain, and I will do it for Ferris Fain, for Alvin Dark, and for Bill Lee, I will do it, type it you see!

I will do it for Danny Cox, I will do it for Jimmie Foxx, I will do it in my house, I will do it with my mouse, I will do it here and there, I will do it ANYWHERE! I will give my best regards, I will, I will Sam-You-Are!


Best Regards


Saturday, January 19, 2008

DH = Doubtlessly Historic...

As you will recall, last Monday we discussed Looking ahead to future BBWAA snafus.... There I wrote:

“The class of 2010 will have two slam-dunks and two with decent cases--I’m predicting all four fall short. They are Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff and Edgar Martinez (we’ll deal with the Crime Dog and Edgrr at a later date). Alomar and Larkin should be no-brainers--both were superb defensive middle infielders with terrific bats.”

Admittedly, I was selling Edgar Martinez a little short in that my personal assessment is much higher. I do think the BBWAA will swing and miss on Edgrr but I feel he has a rock solid case for induction into the Hall of Fame.

To begin with, the greatest first, second and third baseman, shortstop, left, right and centerfielder, the greatest pitcher and catcher are all in the Hall-of-Fame. So doesn’t it stand to reason that the greatest DH should be there as well? It may be tempting to ask whether this applies to setup men, LOOGY’s, pinch hitters etc. but it should be remembered that a DH sometimes plays every game of the season--the same cannot be said of the aforementioned role players.

How does he stack up against his peers? First, let’s look at his totals strictly as a DH (at least 6000 PA).

Stat Tot Rank
AVG .313 1
OBP .428 1
SLG .537 1
XBH 627 1
R 877 1
H 1593 4
2B 370 2
HR 251 2
RBI 1006 2
BB 995 1
RCAA 519 1
RCAP 422 1
TOB 2653 1
TB 2728 2

I think we can safely say he was best in the business. Now let’s see how his hitting stacks up historically (min 8500 PA):

Stat Tot Rank
AVG .313 30
OBP .428 12
SLG .537 22
XBH 839 72
R 1219 ++
H 2247 ++
2B 514 T35
HR 309 ++
RBI 1261 ++
BB 1283 38
RCAA 647 34
BR* 565.9 26
OPS+ 147 T41
TOB 3619 71
TB 3718 ++

*Adjusted Batting Runs
++Not in top 100

Now let’s see how he stacks up in his own era; we’ll define it as being since the season was extended to 162 games in 1961 until 2006--two years after his retirement.

Stat Tot Rank
AVG .313 4
OBP .428 3
SLG .537 11
XBH 839 44
R 1219 62
H 2247 71
2B 514 17
HR 309 84
RBI 1261 66
BB 1283 22
RCAA 647 10
BR* 565.9 12
OPS+ 147 T14
TOB 3619 32
TB 3718 62

*Adjusted Batting Runs
++Not in top 100

Due to his relatively short career his counting numbers don’t jump out at you, but his level of production has him among the elite. The thing is though, his particular set of counting numbers are actually very solid. One of the worst ways to argue about HOFers is using the “He’s in the group” where you set a number of standards where our candidate resides among some of the game’s greats. However, when you examine the group you see that the one you’ve included is a distant last in most of the categories.

Nevertheless, I’m going to do just that here. I’m not claiming that he’s in this group, but it will demonstrate the high level Martinez played at because it does take a special talent to be in this group--even if they’re away off from the rest.

Here’s the ‘group’--players with careers of at least 2000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 HR, 1000 runs/RBI/BB and batted better than .300/.400/.500 lifetime. The following are those who qualify: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Mel Ott and Edgar Martinez.

What makes Martinez’s career special is he had to be able to hit for average, for power, have a keen batting eye and sustaining it for a significant period of time to join the group. That’s why only seven players have accomplished the feat in major league history, it takes a tremendous hitter to accomplish it.

Some forgettable (in a HOF sense) players have high batting averages (Riggs Stephenson .336), OBP (Ferris Fain .424), SLG (Albert Belle .564), tons of hits (Harold Baines 2866), HR totals (Jose Canseco 462), doubles (Al Oliver with 529), RBI (Baines again 1628), walks (Eddie Yost 1614 BB), runs scored (Tom Brown 1521), but to excel in all the aforementioned categories is reserved for the truly great.

My point?

Edgar Martinez’s strength lay in his level of offensive production however, if you look at his counting stats as a set rather than in separate groups, it becomes obvious that there really isn’t anything wrong with those numbers.

The elephant in the room is Martinez’s time at DH. While he’s the greatest among that group, many feel that DH’s require an incredibly high standard to be considered for Cooperstown. Let’s address this: I’m going to resort to the “lowest common denominator” argument. We’ve already established that Martinez is a Hall-of-Fame hitter, but what about his lack of time in the field? Well, going to the opposite extreme, we need look no further than Bill Mazeroski; a Hall-of-Fame defender? There’s little doubt about that. What about his hitting?

Yes, he had over 2000 hits but that’s it. Did you know he never had a single season where he was league average or better? Not once. Every year, a league average hitter at second base would’ve been a better asset in the lineup than Maz. Yes, second base is a key defensive position, but how did Mazeroski fare against his contemporary second sackers? Over the course of his career, an average 2B created 834 runs. Maz created only 821 runs. In short, not only was he an offensive liability, he was an offensive liability for a second baseman!

Bad example? Fair enough--how about Ozzie Smith? All-time great glove, decent offensive player; what about defensive disasters such as Harmon Killebrew? Had he played today he’d likely be a DH--were that the case, is he no longer Hall-worthy? It’s good to remember that Killer isn’t in the Hall because he played in the field, it’s in spite of his defensive deficiencies.

I feel that Edgar Martinez’s career is deserving of a plaque in spite of his defensive deficiencies--in this case, his time at DH. Either way, he strikes me as worthy--the greatest DH in history or a player whose hitting was so amazing that he could be elected even though he spent most of his career as a designated hitter.

There's been a change...

I wanted to give the gang at Drunk Jays Fans a proper sig at the end of this but something came up.

The bubblegum pop-stars' guild (the Association of Immorally Retarded Ho’s Eagerly Awaiting Dough Songstresses) have requested that after the Hillary Duff fiasco back on January 16th (Miss Duff is worried that--and I quote--"it'll be a day that will live when I'm phlegmy"), that I allow another of their membership an opportunity to handle the sign-off. Reluctantly I have agreed and Britney Spears will be along shortly to do the honours.

There’s a knock on the door--that must be her now.

(gets up to answer door)

Um … hi guys.

(Geez, it’s the freakin’ Minnesota Vikings with a 20 gallon barrel.)

There’s seems to be some mistake gentlemen, I was led to believe Britney Spe… oh, she is here? So, did she hire you guys for security or something?

You’re. Her. Date.

I see… (shakes head).

(I don’t know and I don’t want to know.)

There she is now--holy flurping snit! I don’t believe this (rubs eyes) … I can’t believe this--honest to God folks, I’m not lying to you and I swear I’m telling the truth (rubs eyes). Britney Spears is fully clothed!

Whoa, somebody must have opened the seventh seal--the apocalypse is nigh. However, it will have to wait until we're done here.

Guys, that barrel looks awfully heavy, why don’t you set it down over… wow, I didn’t know Haagen Dazs sold Heavenly Hash in 20 gallon barrels. Well, there is a lot of you so I can see why… what? she doesn’t share?


Let’s just get this over with so you can get back to … whatever it is you're planning for tonight. Ready Ms. Spears? O.K. go…

(Are my ears clogged? I don’t hear anything.)

Uhh … Brit, a little louder please I don’t think that did it.

(quickly digs out ear with pinky) Nope, still nothing. Did you guys hear anything? Does she have laryngitis? She’s trying to say something but … what’s this? A tape recorder … O.K. what’s this for? Count backwards from three and hit play? Errrr … alright.

3 … 2 … 1 … (hits play button)

[britney’s voice] Best Regards

John [/britney’s voice]

xcdfzs qdfx mdsjk jlkuoi ,nmjkh \zAEW

(Sorry, I was banging my head on the keyboard.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tilting at windmills in my mind...

O.K. gits and shiggles time.

For those of you determined to inflict my writing on yourself you’re doubtlessly aware than I have chewed up considerable bandwidth (Best Regards DJF … Best Regards and expect an offer you can't refuse further on) on this year’s Hall of Fame vote, Jim Rice, Tim Raines etc. etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum. During my sojourn through the wilderness that passes for my normal semi-conscious state, I tripped over an epiphany.

Most people have epiphanies … not me, unless I trip over it for it bashes me over the head I tend to ignore them and carry on my semi-somnambulant way.

Anyway, after I picked myself up and dusted myself off I realized that after re-examining Montreal Expos’ history as it pertains to Raines I had spent considerable time thinking about his outfield mate--Andre Dawson. Yes, Dawson had a terrible career OBP but after sitting back and looking at his entire body of work, I realized it was just one blemish on a tremendous résumé. I found a kindred spirit for Dawson in the Hall of Fame in Richie Ashburn (who I felt was a long overdue induction). Ashburn had a below league average slugging percentage but since he batted leadoff it wasn’t a major issue. Like ‘Hawk’, it was one blemish on a remarkable career.

I believe OBP an important measurement, but Dawson viewed his job to get the OBP guys home--not be one himself.

Therefore, let’s compare Andre Dawson and Jim Rice.

Player AB AVG OBP SLG Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI RP RCaa BR* OPS+
Rice 8225 .298 .352 .502 1249 2452 373 79 382 1451 2318 270 294.7 128
Dawson 9927 .279 .323 .482 1373 2774 503 98 438 1591 2526 216 216.4 119
*Batting Runs

Dawson played a lot longer than Rice, which allowed for erosion into his percentages and stats like Rcaa and Batting Runs that can go into the negative. Of course a longer career also translates into better counting stats. Of note, both players’ major league careers began at age 21. Since Rice was done at 36, let’s see where Dawson was at that age:

Player AB AVG OBP SLG Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI RP RCaa BR* OPS+
Rice 8225 .298 .352 .502 1249 2452 373 79 382 1451 2318 270 294.7 128
Dawson 8348 .282 .327 .489 1199 2354 417 92 377 1335 2157 245 239.2 123
*Batting Runs

That tightens things up a bit. Overall, Rice has a slight edge although Dawson--despite worse power-hitting environments--had 50 more extra base hits.

Of course, there are other issues to be dealt with. Rice played left field, Dawson manned center and right field. Rice was unremarkable in left, Dawson’s defense was renowned and won Gold Gloves at both positions--eight in all. How did they fare against their positional peers? At age 36, Rice’s RCAP (runs created above position) was 155 while Dawson weighed in at 191. By the time Dawson retired in had fallen to 140.

We have to bear in mind however that Dawson has a huge edge defensively (at more crucial positions), in base running (314 SB, 74% success rate to 58 SB, 63%) and despite 1702 more AB, grounded into 98 fewer double plays. On top of this, Rice was aided massively by his home park batting .277/.330/.459 away from Fenway while Dawson was often hurt by his home park ("Hawk” batted .278/.316/.483 on the road). Interestingly Dawson had more AB away yet slugged slightly higher while his BA/OBP suffered somewhat away from home.

Throwing everything together, it’s hard to come away with the conclusion that Rice (despite being a better pure hitter) was a superior player to Dawson. It’s the reason that “Hawk” was ‘awarded’ 340 win shares (300-350 generally considered HOF territory) to Rice’s 282. Once Rice left the batters box, he was no longer an asset to his team while Dawson was a threat both on the base paths as well as in the field.

Suffice it to say, Andre Dawson should be the first to get a plaque in Cooperstown.

Limited time offer from Ronco*…

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

He Raines With Other Kings of the Diamond...

It’s hard to believe actually.

I simply cannot fathom the BBWAA’s voting habits in recent years. Generally they do a good job in assessing true Hall of Fame talent--most of the worst selections originated with the Veterans Committee and not the writers. I had the good fortune to witness the careers of the men that were under consideration for baseball’s highest honor in 2007-08. This allows for both objective and subjective data to be analyzed as well as having contemporary accounts of their careers available for perusal.

Most folks into sabermetrics understand what Cooperstown numbers look like; some players may look like HOFers using modern measures but not necessarily with traditional metrics--an example of this being Bobby Grich. It works the other way as well--Jack Morris’s totals look far more impressive using mainstream numbers but not so good when filtered through sabermetric matrixes.

Quite frankly, I have no idea what to say when the voters miss guys who look like Hall of Famers regardless of the statistical measurement used.

To begin with (before we get to the meat of today’s topic); let’s have a look at two teammates: The one on top is an eight time Gold glove winning right fielder--the other and unremarkable defensive left fielder:

.272 .370 .470 1470 2446 483 73 385 1384 2469 127 378 362.4 227
.298 .352 .502 1249 2452 373 79 382 1451 2318 128 270 294.7 315
*Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)
**Batting Runs

One is on the cusp of Hall of Fame induction, the other fell off the ballot in his third year of eligibility when he failed to garner the necessary five percent. As we see above, it doesn’t matter which metric you use it’s easy to tell who was the better player. For whatever reason, Jim Rice may well be elected next year while Dwight Evans has to wait for the Veterans Committee.

Which brings us to today's rant.

Here are a trio of first ballot Hall of Fame corner outfielders (and members of the 3000 hit club) that played between 1955-2001. Again, we’ll use a mix of traditional and sabermetric measures:

9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386
10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361
9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481
*Times On Base
**Batting Runs
***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

Any guesses as to the trio? Again, they’re all first ballot HOFers with 3000 or more hits.

Let’s add another player to the mix, another corner outfielder pretty much within the same time period mentioned at the outset. We’ll list him at the top …

8872 713 3977 123 516 332.8 808 84 2381
9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386
10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361
9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481
*Times On Base
**Batting Runs
***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

He doesn’t really stick out much--does he? While he’s last in extra base hits, third in runs produced and batting runs don’t forget that he’s dead last in at bats--by over 400 AB. Despite that, he’s first in reaching base, first in runs created above average (RCAA), and second best in stolen bases but tops in success rate. The simple fact is, he’s not ‘in the group’ in the sense that’s he’s at the bottom of it (and a good distance from the rest)--he’s right smack in the middle of them. No apologies are required for his entry in ‘the club.’

Let’s make still another addition to the group--once again, a corner outfielder (same time period) and we’ll add him in at the top as well:

8225 834 3186 128 270 294.7 58 34 2318
8872 713 3977 123 516 332.8 808 84 2381
9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386
10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361
9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481
*Times On Base
**Batting Runs
***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

He’s in the mix as well. His extra base hits are second in the group despite the lowest number of at bats. He’s dead last by a good margin in reaching base, a distant fourth in RCAA, and a notable distance out of third in batting runs. Defensively he’s probably dead last and close to that as a base runner. Now we’ll add one final wrinkle:

8225 834 3186 128 270 294.7 58 63 2318 315
8872 713 3977 123 516 332.8 808 84 2381 142
9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386 260
10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361 114
9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481 275
*Times On Base
**Batting Runs
***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

Oooo … despite having the fewest at bats of the group, he grounded into 40 more double plays than the rest. He’s one of the two worst in the grouping. So, now let’s see who our contestants are:

Jim Rice 8225 834 3186 128 270 294.7 58 63 2318 315
Tim Raines 8872 713 3977 123 516 332.8 808 84 2381 142
Tony Gwynn 9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386 260
Lou Brock 10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361 114
Roberto Clemente 9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481 275
*Times On Base
**Batting Runs
***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

Three first ballot Hall of Famers, three members of the 3000 hit club, a probable Hall of Famer in 2009 and Tim Raines--who didn’t even get 25% of the vote.

It doesn’t matter whether you use traditional or sabermetric statistics, Tim Raines deserves closer scrutiny by those entrusted with the vote. He is overqualified for the honor.

Best Re…


A public service announcement for the good citizens of Drunk Jays Fans

“Best-Regards is available by prescription only and is not for everyone. If you take high dosages of Labatts, often used for chest pain (from watching quality starts get wasted before you are) do not take Best-Regards. Such combinations could cause a sudden, unsafe rise in urges to go to the Rogers Centre to get felines intoxicated for potential pugilistic purposes. Don't drink alcohol in excess (no more than one two-four per hour) with Best-Regards. This combination may increase your chances of getting dizzy and insisting on productive outs. Best-Regards does not protect a man or his soon-to-be-pummelled random feline’s favourite team from nine game losing streaks.

The most common side effects with Best-Regards are rambling and an urge to blog excessively. Worn keyboards or overheating CPU’s were also reported, sometimes with delayed onset. Most men weren't bothered by the side effects enough to stop taking Best-Regards. As with any prescription BR tablet, in the rare event of an urge to bunt lasting more than 4 innings (smallballitis), seek immediate disconnection to avoid Run Expectancy lectures. Discuss your team affiliation and fandom, including any NL clubs, with your doctor to ensure Best-Regards is right for you and that you are healthy enough to watch the Blue Jays. If problems persist, consult with Mike Wilner on the FAN 590.”

Now we return you to our regularly scheduled Best Regards already in progress.



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Mike Gill Show: Lots of hot air....

It’s Wednesday and we all know that means!

Oh … I thought you knew so you could tell me. Well thank you very much for making me look stupid (this space reserved for wisecracks--please be creative). Ah well, since we’re here let’s look at the agenda for this week’s segment on ESPN 1450’s Mike Gill Show:

  • What did we learn from yesterday’s hearings--if anything.
  • Miguel Tejada was traded this offseason with all this going on--did the Astros get a lemon?
  • Let’s discuss a couple of players: Kyle Lohse is it common for players to back off their stance on deals at this stage? He wanted four years but now it’s being reported that he might accept a three-year deal to go back to the Phillies.
  • If you are the Phillies, do you sign Loshe to a three-year deal or a guy like Livan Hernandez, Josh Fogg or Jon Lieber to a one-year pact?
  • Octavio Dotel, Armando Benitez, Jeremy Affeldt etc.--can they still help a bullpen for a club like the Phillies?

What did we learn from yesterday’s hearings--if anything?

We learned that politicians really enjoy grandstanding and don’t do their homework. I mean, c’mon--‘The Blackhawk Scandal’? Bill Wirtz is dead--the scandal is over. Leaving that aside, there were some things we gleaned from the proceedings. To begin with, Don Fehr demonstrated that he’s lost touch with the MLBPA. His statement, "Did we or did I appreciate the depth of the problem? The answer is, no" is a pretty clear admission that his finger was off the pulse of the union.

One unnamed (naturally) former player said

"What I believe happened, is the union was totally blindsided by this. They operate with such arrogance that they think they're always right. So they figured Mitchell was just a boob for Bud who wouldn't come up with anything, especially if none of the players cooperated. Nothing to worry about. But when the feds gave Mitchell [Kirk] Radomski and [Brian] McNamee, the game changed. The union never saw it coming."

This sort of thing happens when an organization communes with itself exclusively and never looks for feedback from the outside. Their biases and misconceptions become gospel truth since nobody tells them otherwise and when the ground shifts under them, they’re caught unawares.

We also learned pretty conclusively that MLB cannot handle a drug testing/awareness program. John Tierney smoked that out rather nicely by insisting on the number of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) handed out by MLB for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall. In the first year amphetamines were banned TUE’s jumped from jumped from 28 in 2006 to 103 in 2007. It stretches credulity to think a group of world-class athletes have an ADD incidence that is eight times greater than the general adult population.

Getting back to Don Fehr for a moment, I thought he played one point rather well by pointing out the inconsistency of cracking down on baseball players for using substances allegedly controlled by the Dietary Supplement Act and freely advertised and available to the general public.

While he made a good point regarding his constituency being opposed strict testing in the past only because of their distrust of baseball management to administer testing fairly--it left another point unstated. That point being the MLBPA could have instituted its own guidelines and testing to ensure the players had a safe, fair working environment but simply chose not to do so.

Of course, there was some good old-fashioned dramatic hyperbole. This time Betty McCollum of Minnesota uttered a dilly: “Every fan who bought a ticket to see games for the past 20 years has been witness to a fraud — an industry promoted as honest that is in fact rooted in cheating for profit.” She called MLB an industry “filled with lawbreakers and co-conspirators who ignore the problem or actively fuel the problem.

She could have been talking about any industry in the world at any point in time. I have some news for Ms. McCollum--this has been the case in MLB for more than 120 and not 20 years. In scanning the media looking for comments on this and I came across a great line by Mike Imrem (yes, the same guy I blasted here). Imrem wrote: “So, please, explain to me why it's all right to punish players for cheating but not fire Selig and Fehr for permitting them to.”

Well said Mike.

You can read the whole column here, it’s entitled Simply no accountability.

Miguel Tejada was traded this offseason with all this going on--did the Astros get a lemon?

Not really, one thing we learned from the Mitchell Report is that steroid use was fairly regularly discussed when trades were being mulled. Tejada should hit well at “The Juice Box” however between losing his brother in a traffic accident and being investigated for perjury by Congress one could forgive him if he’s distracted for a while.

While we’re discussing Tejada--this may help Rafael Palmeiro’s Hall of Fame chances since Tejada clearly was using steroids when he injected Raffy. It’s possible that Palmeiro did receive a tainted shot. I’m not holding my breath however--he was tabbed as a juicer in Canseco’s book and he’s been proven right more often than not.

Let’s discuss a couple of players: Kyle Lohse is it common for players to back off their stance on deals at this stage? He wanted four years but now it’s being reported that he might accept a three-year deal to go back to the Phillies.

Sure it is--agents can paint beautiful pictures of the heaps of wealth awaiting their clients (remember Scott Boras’s $350 million just to get into the A-Rod sweepstakes?) but the simple fact of the matter is, long term deals with pitchers are generally a bad idea due to the risks involved. It’s one thing to take a risk with a Johan Santana type arm--quite another for a guy that’s only tossed 200 innings in a season once and has a career ERA that’s below league average. For guys like Lohse it’s a good idea to shoot high since you might find a pigeon but it’s good to remain pragmatic since nobody wants to make a long-term commitment to a league average starter who hasn’t tossed 200 IP in any of his last four seasons.

If you are the Phillies, do you sign Loshe to a three-year deal or a guy like Livan Hernandez, Josh Fogg or Jon Lieber to a one-year pact?

I think it depends on what you’re looking for. Cost certainty is nice and having a league average-ish starter that’s under 30 years old locked in for three years has an appeal. However, if you’re looking to plug a hole with the flexibility to upgrade should a better option arise, then a one-year pact with a low cost veteran starter might fit the bill better. Another consideration is what type of pitcher are you looking for? If a team is looking for a guy who can eat a lot of innings at the end of the rotation then Hernandez is your guy. He’s pitched at least 200 innings every season since 1998 (save for 1999 where he fell a third of an inning short). He’s the very definition of league average.

A guy like Lieber is somebody you gamble on--he’s in his upper 30’s and coming off surgery and looking to re-establish his market value. He has appeal to a dark horse team--a mid-to-low revenue club that has some decent talent that might contend if everything falls into place. If Lieber is healthy and effective, he could be a difference maker. If not, we’ll he’s not a long-term strain on the payroll. A guy like Fogg is best used if you’re simply looking for depth--a sixth starter/long reliever. He’s useful if a team has a potent offense, but a killer on a pitching-defense oriented team.

I think the Phillies would do well with either Lohse or Hernandez--if Hernandez is willing to take a one-year deal then I open the vault and get both--one for a World Series run in 2008, the other as an investment with a potential upside.

Octavio Dotel, Armando Benitez, Jeremy Affeldt etc.--can they still help a bullpen for a club like the Phillies?

Relievers are the most unpredictable commodity in baseball. For instance, who would have thought that the opening day starter, a washed up closer and somebody released from a contending club would be the core of a bullpen that would play a huge part in an unlikely run for the post season? Well, that’s what the Phillies had last year.

When you’re scouring the market looking for useful relievers, you want guys who can induce ground balls and have a putaway pitch. In the case of Dotel and Benitez--both have proven they cannot close on a contending team. While both have good strikeout rates, they also get far more fly ball than ground ball outs making them a bad fit in CitiBank Park. Affeldt is a terrific ground ball pitcher but doesn’t strike out many and has a scary BB/9 of 4.2.

Of the three, I’d probably pick Affeldt but only as a situational lefty. I suppose either Dotel and Benitez could help since 81 games are played on the road. I wouldn’t trust them in big spots at CitiBank.

Will this remove wrinkles from dusty parkas?

For the entertainment of my fellow Jays fans at Drunk Jays Fans--I have brought in Hillary Duff to handle tonight’s closing ceremonies. You go girl!


Um … Hillary--the sign off?


Is there a problem?

"Do you like my sweater? I got it on sale at Suzy Shier."

That’s nice, but…

"Did you know I’m a celebity?"

Not according to the tabloids.


Don’t you mean celebrity?

(giggle) "I think Justin Timberlake is soooooooo hot."

Uh, I’m not really quali…

"Do you think N‘Sync will get back together?"

(taps foot impatiently) Can we stay focuse…

"Have you met Derek Jeter? He’s soooooooooooooo dreamy." (giggle)

What does that have to do…

"I saw him on T.V. last night--do you know where he works?"

Where. He. Works.? Are you seriou….

(giggle titter)

(sigh) Look, this just isn’t working, I think I’ll handle…

"Did you know I've done 63 different made-for-TV movies with a Cinderella-type storyline for the Disney Chan…"

Best Re…

"Who do you think is hotter, Justin Timberlake or Derek…"

Please. Go. Away.


Please. Go. Away.

(giggle titter)

O.K. no more Mister Nice Blogger (brandishes crucifix) BEGONE!!!

"What’s with the guy on the 't'?"

(rummages around desk … finds a mallet and stake--don’t ask) BEGONE!!!

(giggle) "What’s with the hammer and the pointy stick?"

(light bulb goes on, reaches for his wallet and extracts library card) BEGONE!!!

(Screeches and runs away)


Well, that was a total bust. Sorry guys, just a normal run-of-the-mill sign off tonight.

Best Regards


(Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stick my library card on my front door for safety’s sake … sheeeesh!)