Monthly archives: September 2003
This is as close as a baseball fan gets to the orgy of sports that is the Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tourney. I'm watching two games in HD and only Rupert's illegal failure to convert (where's Mike Powell when you need him ... oh) keeps me from seeing the Cubs-Braves game tonight in the same format.
My rotation predictions look pretty solid considering when I did them, so I'm happy with that. I won't go into more detail because BP has them covered, especially Joe Sheehan's great piece. Joe is one of few writers that with one column can complerely change my opinion and once again, he did it.
If you're not following the White House's criminal actions - and they aren't - you should be reading www.talkingpointsmemo.com. (Yeah, I still need to do links, but I'm lazy and don't you think it looks 'retro?') Karl Rove is done, but I also dislike the talk that Novak was wrong. He reported a story and is protecting sources. I know a little about that - nothing on the lines of Novak, but I guess I'm a journalist now, like it or not.
Man, we're going to tell our grandchildren about watching Bonds. I can't imagine seeing a better player in my lifetime.
Who Watches The Watchmen?
It's fun to watch the Bush White House burn down in the face of its own hypocrisy.
I do have to go on record with something here, but I have said it before. This is merely making sure that someone who I respect does not get caught up in the web that MLB wants to lay for me.
In no uncertain terms: Brad Kullman, Assistant General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds, is not my source for the Pete Rose story I published (with Derek Zumsteg) on August 12th. I have never discussed the story or my sources with Mr. Kullman.
During his BP chat today, Kullman was asked if he was the source and he denied being such. I would like to confirm this denial and say once again that he was in no way involved in the story, both before and after the publication.
I continue to stand by the story and feel that my sources, both inside and outside of baseball, will be proven to be accurate.
If anyone's looking for a dog, especially a Siberian Husky, my aunt is fostering one. Good looking dog and as anyone that knows me knows, all dogs deserve a home. Spay and neuter, people.
Sure, of all places, I was in SkyDome when the Cubs clinched the division. Keith Law came by and dropped the good ol' "Manila Folders" joke on the Astros. To everyone in section 205, I must have seemed like a fool, jumping up and screaming in the midst of the fourth inning with Doc Halladay on the hill. It felt pretty good even that far away.
Cubs rotation looks good. More on this in my NL Playoff Health Report tomorrow on BP.
New Jays hat is cool. I'll be wearing that one a lot.
More later ...
A doubleheader tomorrow worries me. As the Cubs go with Prior on a day's rest and Clement on a day's rest, it sounds good. I mean, two solid pitchers facing the Buccos, what's not to like? First, Prior's likely to get stretched. Dusty (and everyone) will know that Clement's dealing with that bad stick and might come out early. Coming off two high-stress starts, it's a massive problem for Prior to go another 120 set.
Saturday could be it, one way or the other. Seriously, there's a better than 50% chance that by the end of that double shot, the playoffs will be set. The pressure falls squarely on Jeriome Robertson tonight. If the Brewers can win, the Astros have Ron Villone and Wade "Rag Arm" Miller to pick them up. Even that half-game could be a psychological monster, win or lose, for the Astros.
Assuming that either team can avoid a tiebreaker (which would likely be Oswalt vs. Estes, maybe Wood), both are significantly weakened. Somewhere, Leo Mazzone is rocking slower and Bobby Cox isn't smacking his wife as hard.
Come home from a speaking engagement to find my Cubs losing and the Astros winning ... can't say I care for that. Missed the Presidential debate, but hear Clark was adequate. At least I got Survivor and SCI on the Tivo, giving me something to do when I can't sleep.
New Jeter commercial ... that's good. I haven't seen the "I Live For This" ads yet, but hope they're good ... baseball needs that.
Anyone have suggestions for what I should do in Toronto? Subjects for the Feed?
Damn ... I need to get to Vegas. CSI always makes me want to go, especially when they show my home away from home, Mandalay Bay. Someone organize a Vegas Feed!
Prior tomorrow, so there's hope. Go Brewers!
I'm notoriously bad at predictions, so I don't know why I'm once again doing it. I'm near the bottom of the list on Lee Sinins' public prediction contest and despite offers of significant amounts of money and cases of General Foods International Coffees, Lee won't expurgate me from that. I'm also in a contest run by Jim Baker and while I was in the lead for about half an hour in May, I'm now down near the bottom.
So, I need to be a bit more scientific with my playoff predictions. Last year, I think I had the Yankees and Cardinals ... sigh.
Here's how I'm looking at them:
Cubs vs. Braves
Ok, these look good for the Cubbies, but the Braves offense could negate the matchups in a hurry. For the Cubs to win, they'll need to be lots of 2-1 games rather than 8-6. Its a stark reversal for the normally slugging Cubbies and pitching rich Braves. I'm surprised with Hampton getting the 2 slot over Maddux, but Maddux IS notoriously iffy in the postseason. I'll take the Cubs in four.
Giants vs. Marlins
This is guesswork on the Marlins, but both teams could go four-man in the post-season, adding in Reuter for the Gints and Redman for the Fish. With Ponson not being as good as expected (wouldn't they like Javier Vazquez instead?) and the Fish rotation looking pretty nasty, the Fish are a team no one really wants to face. Hard throwing, emotional, deceptive and a deep pen? That's not what you want to see. I'll never go against the idea that Barry Bonds won't again put this team on his back and will them to a ring, but this is the playoff series that I think could recall the Mariners-Yankees series of (i think) 95. Very close, with the Giants winning in five.
Yankees vs. Twins
A's vs Red Sox
Sorry to the teams I just cursed. Some year, I'll do some Costanza backward picks or something.
I could give a crap about the California political system. Its broken and is only going to get worse. If they elect Ahhnuld, there's sure to be a vast right-wing conspiracy to recall him (or McClintock or Coleman or anyone). What worries me is the big-ass out of control California economy. What I think most people are missing is that Indiana's in a pretty big economic hole as well, as is most every state except maybe Nevada.
That makes the problem national. It's not a recall issue for most of us, it's an election issue in 2004.
All I learned by watching this debate is that Cruz Bustamante kinda looks and sounds like James Earl Jones if you squint and that Ahhhnuld needs better debate prep - he was clearly built around getting to one liners and catchphrases.
Your attention please:
Please be on the lookout for Shawn Estes. Shawn is 6'2, 200 pounds with blonde hair. He was last seen wearing a Cubs uniform and is left-handed. He was seen near Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
Shawn was kidnapped sometime before 7pm EST and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Please do not be confused with the impostor that took the mound tonight in Cincinnati. It is clear by his eight innings and three hits allowed that this is not the real Shawn Estes. That has to be a cleverly disguised Mark Prior pitching on short rest or perhaps some cyborg sent from the future to rescue the Cubs from the Dustinator.
If you have information regarding Shawn Estes, please contact the Cubs at 773 CUBS WIN.
Damned Astros. It was a gutty win that snaps their streak. With Estes on the mound, the Cubs know the bats have to be working tonight.
Great set of interviews today for BPR. Hope everyone takes some time to check those out once they get archived or listen on line Sat morning.
My book has a title now: "Saving The Pitcher" - what do you think?
I've gotta learn how to do links and cool bloggy stuff on here. It's so much easier at BP. Maybe I can just say I'm "retro" without all the bells and whistles. Or not.
Cubs Win! Cubs Win!
I was frighteningly sure that Wood was going to come back out in the eighth at 121 pitches, but Dusty went to his pen and they held true against Chattanooga ... I mean, Cincinnati. If the Giants can take down battlin' Roy Oswalt, things are looking good.
Ok, I'm doing a load of BPR interviews tomorrow and since there's that comment button down there and people are actually reading this thing since links are just flying up ... can't stay secret long, I guess ... if you have suggestions, let me know.
And if you're in the Toronto area, the Feed sounds AWESOME.
Watching Little Boxes
Note to self: double check dates before entering them into iCal. Kokomo speech is Thursday, not Tuesday. I think I'm dyslexic in very odd ways.
So I'm sitting here multitasking. I'm writing about Mark Prior for a future article, watching a Tivo show (Las Vegas - nice scenery, nothing great, but gotta like Mandalay getting good pub), and watching two tiny boxes on my screen. Not like boxes you put something in, but the ones I can watch MLB games on. With the Cubbies up 5 in Cincy and the Astros down 6 at home, add in dancing a bad dance that's some combination of Riverdance, the Joe Boxer guy, and .. well, I don't have another bad pop culture reference. I have to give credit to MLB for putting together a package that lets me watch any game, any time, and those condensed games rule once you get used to the rhythm.
How a company can get one thing so right and so much else completely wrong is beyond me. If there's someone who's in charge of the one good side of the company, he should get a promotion asap.
Before the NFL grabs him.
Here in Indiana, Wesley Clark was in town for a pre-scheduled speech. He's as impressive in person as he is on TV and I feel better about him now. Bush is hosed if the Democrats don't tear themselves down.
Quick Notes at 3:18am
* Minority Report is a pretty crappy movie, but it looks great in HD.
* Alex Rodriguez is the MVP and I wish people would stop arguing about it. There's very few things I disagree with Jayson Stark about, but this is one of them. I sense that Lee Sinins is going to lecture Jayson on RCAA pretty soon.
* Is there a Madden Anonymous group?
* It's September, right? Late September? And the Cubs are in first?
* Every once in a while, my new cell phone crashes. Just stops, like its Windows or something. It's not horrible, just annoying and makes me wonder if we've reached that complexity tipping point for a device we rely on. I'm reasonably sure my TRS-80 Model III never crashed. Sure, the cassette drive would jam up, but it was a CASSETTE drive!
* I need some new coffee recommendations. The latest one I tried, a Yerba Mate mix, is pretty weak. I hear Jamaican's cheap in Canada.
* He's good, but I fail to see many comparisons between Cy Young and Greg Maddux. Pitching before 1920 is just a completely different animal. I'd have loved to seen the pitch counts on Young though. Bet he didn't go 120 very often.
*Wood, Estes, Zambrano, Clement, Prior, Wood fills out the rest of the season and, if no ties, puts Zambrano, Prior, and Wood as the playoff three-man. Clement could factor in there too. Why Estes on Wednesday? I just don't grasp that one. I guess Dusty realizes he can't pitch Zambrano (who needs a nickname) on short rest after 130 pitches, but it's a bad excuse.
* Carlos "The Bull" Zambrano. I like that one. I also still like "Digital" Prior.
* I should get more sleep.
It will be way cool to head up to Indiana University at Kokomo to speak. One of the weirder things that has happened since starting UTK is getting asked to speak. My first gig was at Wabash, an all-male college. All males. Figures. Great school though and one my family has a long history with. If there's any place I could have been comfortable with, that's it. So now, IU. That should be interesting, more so because I'll be talking about being a journalist, something that still doesn't sound quite right to me. The Pete Rose story really thrust it on me.
If you read my story "Kid in a Candystore" about my first time with a press pass, I kept expecting security to come tap me on the shoulder and escort me in a not-so-polite fashion to the nearest exit. Now, I get jaded when I have to sit in the cheap seats at a football game near obnoxious fans. Rough life, I know. Still, I think all new journalists go though the "imposter stage" where you just don't feel like you belong, like the pass was issued in error.
When you're on Sportscenter with your livelihood on the line, things change quickly. You'd better damn well know you belong or you can pick your ass up at the door as you leave.
Tomorrow, I'll talk some about Pete. Rather, the story about Pete than became a story in and of itself. MLB, I'm told, is sending someone. I know that Leroy's been watching me since mid-August when I cracked their case and I don't think it's that I did it that has them pissed off - it's that they're not sure who the hell I am and why they have no hold over me.
They won't find out tomorrow, but you, my friends, already know.
Details on my appearance on BP or at www.iuk.edu
Okay the title is a bit misleading. Google didn't fail; the information did.
Go ahead - google in "pitching injuries" and see what you come up with. A bunch of junk. The best thing you see is a couple interviews that Jonah Keri did for BP with Frank Jobe and Mike Marshall. No offense to Jonah - he's a great interviewer - but he has no medical background. That he's the best out there is pretty sad.
Of course, Google didn't pick up on the work on Mike Marshall's web site or the work at the National Pitching Association. There's probably more out there, but if no one can find it, what use is it? Where's AAOS or NATA on this?
More reason to write my book.
More reason to try to save the next Mark Prior.
I talk alot about a concept of cascades when it comes to injuries; one thing breaks and then in trying to compensate, other things break. Ken Griffey Jr is a great example of this. His hammy tears and then he gets all sorts of problems, maybe loses a step and has to dive, popping his shoulder out.
Cascades happen all over. I got the word for the concept from a book, Linked, about network architecture. We're seeing one now in Montreal. A team that's ready to move is facing a cascade that I think will lead them to the desert.
First, I've been loud about my support for an MLB team in Vegas. I love the town and think it will succeed there. But that support has nothing to do with why I think a team will end up there - good result for all the wrong reasons.
The Expos simply can't stay in Montreal for much longer. It's a big debate as to whether baseball can succeed there, but MLB has pissed in that well, salted the earth, and Bud's all but said as much when pranked by a DJ. With that as a given, there are several markets after the team with Vegas being a late contender that's actually been in stealth mode for most of the year.
Each other contender for the team has major warts - no owner in Portland, no stadium in NoVa, and Peter Angelos screwing up the best choice in DC. Vegas has money, corporate support, and - best of all - a Friend of Bud leading the group. I don't think this deal gets done for 2004. I just don't think there's enough time and Cashman Field at 9500 seats probably can't handle a major league team, while I dont see any other alternatives.
So with the Expos players rejecting a split-schedule, that means whoever takes over for Omar Minaya will need to shed payroll. Javier Vazquez becomes this year's Bartolo Colon, traded off for hopefully more than Omar got last year. Vlad Guerrero might resign - he doesn't like media, giving some the idea that he wouldn't like Vegas. Look, he might become more anonymous in Vegas than in Montreal. While I think they could get support on a Phoenix level there, the team isn't ever going to be the biggest story in town. Ben Affleck will drop cash in the Hard Rock or Celine Dion's husband will do something stupid and the Vegas 7-11's will get pushed to the back page. Fine with me and probably fine with Vlad. He'll sign as some show of MLB largesse, when he's in fact below market value and only at the $11.5m he's at this year. I guess everyone's happy except the true Expos fans.
It's another example of Bud cronyism. It's worked out okay in Boston, I guess, and you could make an argument that it's working in Florida, but that doesn't mean I have to give it my stamp of approval either. Bud's determined to have every tradition of baseball come from his administration. Wild Card? All-Star Game? New publicly-financed stadiums? Luxury tax? All him. All affecting baseball for years to come. Just ask George Will.
I'm no George Will - and thank god for that - so I can see the truth. Bud answers to money and if he thinks the money is in Vegas, there's no power on earth that will stop him.
Pete and Vegas as the big off-season stories? I don't like it one bit, but Bud doesn't ask me or any other fan. In fact, he doesn't give us one thought.
If you're here, you probably already know who I am and I won't risk being called more arrogant than I already am by calling myself the leading expert on baseball injuries or something like that. I write at Baseball Prospectus and I consider myself lucky to do so. Why then do I need an additional outlet for my writing? There's probably no good answer to that other than vanity. Over at BP, my work is almost strictly injury related and I like to think that I can write more than that, tho many disagree with me. I write pieces about things like my favorite players, things I find interesting, and some of the things I get to do, like walk around Wrigley Field with an all-access pass or do Pizza Feeds and meet great people.
I'm also very active politically and BP is not really the place to air those views. Derek Zumsteg does it pretty regularly, but I'll confine my pieces to injuries and porn. I'm currently active with two campaigns - nationally, I believe that Wesley Clark is the best choice for America in 2004 and here in Indiana, I support Joe Andrews for governor.
So, what you won't find here is injury news (tho I'll occasionally discuss it since it's such a big part of my life), but you will find a little bit of everything else that is Will. (Be afraid, be very afraid.) If it's injury news you want, check me out at BP Premium. If it's the best baseball analysis, check out BP Premium. If you just want to tag along for an interesting ride on a non-regular basis, stick around. It should be interesting.
Finally, I'd like to thank Christian Ruzich for helping me set this up. I think he's one of the best baseball writers not currently employed at BP. Tell him we need to do another "C&C" soon.
Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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