Monthly archives: November 2003
And I found the article here from our friends at Gawker and Fleshbot.
40 Man Rosters are still a bit of an awkward beast - there are trades, signings, all sorts of shenanigans that can happen between now and the time I stumble into the Rule 5 (not in roman numerals, thank you) draft in fifteen days. The rules are vague, but important, and there are as many loopholes as rules.
But look at the Brewers current roster and make any semblance of a winning team out of it. By winning, I don't mean contending, I mean "not going into 2004 looking to knock off the 62 Mets and making people pine for the 03 Tigers." They have one catcher and he hit under the Mendoza ... in Huntsville! Yet they have six guys in Triple-A? The pitching staff is Sheets and well, you find not just four more starters, but a reasonable #2 guy. You option your closer back to Triple-A because you can. You have Sexson who you'll lose and Counsell, who will come in and fill in whatever slot fails in the infield battle of those that aren't or never will be ready.
Nice job, Bud. Oh, that's right, I wouldn't want to be involved in this mess either.
No Rose This Summer
At least in Cooperstown ... the HoF ballot was released today and to no one's surprise, Rose was not included. This was the plan from the beginning, I believe, since Rose retains one more year of normal voting eligibility. I say normal because there's nothing really normal in this and there's nothing stopping Clark and Petrovsky from changing the rules, especially with Joe Morgan and Bud Selig on the Hall's board. Great museum, bad organization.
As for the actual candidates, I think we'll see a small class. Paul Molitor is a likely inductee, but he's not a slam dunk. Dennis Eckersley is going to be an interesting case, but I think he gets in. The weakness of the class gives Ryne Sandberg a pretty good chance and the focus on relievers should give Lee Smith a look. The rest of the class is pretty worthless, with only Joe Carter likely to recieve any serious votes (but then again, the reason I think he'll get votes didn't work for Kirk Gibson so ...). My prediction? Eck and Sandberg, with Molitor very close if not in.
Ok, so this is probably the first and last time you'll ever see me talk about soccer on here, but this story interests me. Malcolm Glazer tried to buy the Dodgers, but was shot down by the NFL - not because of money, but because of ownership rules and a perception that Glazer wanted to 'claim' the LA market for himself. (As we all know, Al Davis owns LA ...) Anyway, now Glazer is buying more of perhaps the biggest sports franchise in the world outside of the Yankees ... and doesn't Man Utd show some games on YES? Just interesting ...
While I'm on the tangential topic of the Dodgers, someone "very close to" Jeff Smulyan said he's out of the picture for the Dodgers, but is still hoping to get the broadcast franchises encased in the deal, which is what he wanted anyway. I know jack about the McCourt bid, but baseball and Murdoch will be in a world of hurt if the bid falls apart ... sadder still considering it's next to impossible to sell one of the top teams in the sport. How does baseball expect to get something close for the Expos?
Here's one for you to comment on ... if everyone, Windows and Mac, has access to iTunes, would it bother anyone if we archived BPR in AAC format instead of MP3?
Let's see ... Ed Cossette is happy, Alex Belth is going to be Broadway-worthy drama sometime tonight, and Curt Schilling wants to be the savior of Beantown.
I'm curious to see the final version of the trade. I'm hearing both two and four minor leaguers in the deal with Fossum.
What's Theo up to next? Wonder if his flight home stops off in DFW?
Not Safe For Work
If you're looking for thoughtful analysis of Lee for Choi, this isn't the place. This is the place where I'll say "fuck" a lot and bemoan a trade that makes me reconsider Larry Beinfest more than anything he did last year.
Choi will be a perfect fit in Florida. Arguably, he'll platoon with Conine, but a lot depends on how the Fish roster plays out over the next couple months. Taking money into account, the Fish made out like bandits. I like Lee. I like him more than the other options hinted about in the media, like JT Snow, but not at the cost of Choi.
So, all in all, fuck.
RIP Warren Spahn.
Lots of trades working. Schilling's just the first.
I'm reading Ball Talk and Alex Ciepley is looking at Akvash Patel's Attrition rate work. Still hate the name, but we'll go with it for now. Here's the thing ... I don't know what any of this tells us because we don't have room for comparison. Alex says that the Cubs are letting pitchers work too far into games. Is this true? There are game logs out there, waiting to be checked. Do teams with high rates actually chase pitchers any quicker? There's some serious variables to be looked at here, more than I've mentioned, before we see if Patel's new stat has much value.
So who's gonna do it? I'm busy and you don't want me doing stat work. :)
Sorry for the lack of updates, but there's been ... well ... nothing interesting going on. I'm hard at work on STP, putting together one of the coolest concepts at BP, and prepping the "Stats Class" article series that will begin after Thanksgiving, also at BP.
If you're in Chicago, DC (maybe), NoCal or SoCal, watch for Pizza Feed announcements. They'll all be "Mock Winter Meetings" where we'll give everyone a chance to be Beane-for-a-day ... or Lamar, Littlefield, or Hendry. Should be a blast.
A little bit of the story that never ends ... Lots of Rose watching. Last week was the first where the announcement might have happened, but obviously, it didn't. This week? Doubt it. When? I'm honestly not sure. I've said that I expected it to be in late November, but it's never been something I've seen or heard a date on.
The best explanation is in John Erardi's Cincy Enquirer article . It's a bit of timing, a bit of negotiation, and a bit of arrogance. But no one says it's NOT happening or that it's scuttled or even that what Derek and I published back in August is ... what was the phrase? Oh yeah, "irresponsible."
Note some language here ... in Peter's latest , we have this phrase: "Now these questions, raised by taxpayers who paid for Selig's park and legislators that he lobbied and it is necessary for all questions to be cleared up posthaste for it not to taint the man who is bringing Pete Rose back into the game." (Emphasis mine.) Does that sounds like anyone's questioning it? Jayson Stark also has some of his patented Rumblings on the subject of Pete.
Enough of Bowlhead ... Phil Rogers has ... wait. Phil Rogers? Yeah, he has an interesting look at non-tenders. Looper? Durazo? Burnett? Ummm ... interesting about does it. Does it strike anyone as odd that every GM is saying stuff about non-tenders? "Record number" and "good bunch" keep coming up in conversations ... eh, Frank?
My iPod is delayed a week. Dammit. I'll try to make it through somehow.
Oh, and check out Joss Stone.
I'll leave you with this important concept. Believe me, you'll be seeing this soon.
It's an eight thousand word day for me ... and a new gadget. Maybe even two if you consider a $20 piece of plastic a gadet. I got a Coolpad for the iBook, a little tilting piece of PVC that will hopefully keep the iBook from melting the motherboard (very rare, probably my fault, and service - a complete motherboard replacement) was done under warranty in 48 hours.
The real gadget is on it's way. The same great dude that hooked me up with the iBook is now hooking me up with this year's hottest holiday gift , the iPod! I'll be using it a good bit for BPR, taking it full digital and giving me a chance to do the whole show from an iBook. Awesome power in these cheap technologies.
Hard at work on STP. I'll cross my first milestone and let the first batch out to editor/readers. I'm excited.
Kotsay deal? Doing a piece that will run on BP tomorrow, but I like the deal. I think the A's get more ... or rather, rid of TLong, but the Pads can afford him. I think the Pads are punting defense completely, which could be interesting.
More later, if I'm awake ... which of course, I always am.
Some of you have probably not clicked the "Strong Bad" link in my shiny new links section (where I added a couple that I grievously left out), but today's your lucky day. Check out the newest and perhaps funniest Strong Bad Email in quite some time ... and don't forget to click on the Trogdor arm at the end. :)
Now THAT'S funny.
Random Friday Thoughts
This job would be much easier from somewhere warm.
MLB.com has a really good stable of writers, but seldom does much with them. Steven Goldman of YES had a piece up and when I asked him about it, he gave me the whole scoop ... including that he didn't get paid for it. That's crap. MLB.com and their Advanced Media Group is really the jewel of that whole operation.
Brian Sabean made a great deal.
Jennifer Lopez has a lingerie line called "Sweetface." Yeah, that's what we're looking at Jen, your face.
I'm trying to ignore the whole steroid story, but I'll end up doing a BP article early next week.
Alex Rodriguez isn't going anywhere this year.
If you gave me a list of "famous people you could see naked," Paris Hilton wouldn't be one of the ones I'd select.
There are a lot of blogs. There are some good blogs. There are few great blogs. There are no good blogs about porn.
Did I mention it's cold as hell and I have to cover high school football tonight?
The most interesting thing I read about the drug scandal is Jayson Stark's tidbit in this week's column about the Olympic testing.
This place rules. Nothing's better than fresh beer, so support your local microbrewery ... but this may be a close second.
Blog O' The Day is Waiting For Boof . See, this is why you should never name a blog after a player ...
Damn. It's still cold.
Many of you will be happy to see that Christian Ruzich finally taught my techno-illiterate unfrozen caveman self to do the links on the side, like every good blog has. I was being contrary and retro for a while, but that's just an excuse for not knowing how to do something. Kind of like algebra.
But they're there. It's FAR, FAR, FAR from complete and I doubt it ever will be. There's always more sites worth linking to and far better ways to find them. I'll have things on there that I read regularly and when I find something new, I'll likely link to it in the blog, like I did with this blog when it did something interesting. Who knows, it could become a regular.
Blogs come and go, like relievers. What's good is consistency. The ones I read regularly are the ones that give me a good voice, interesting information, and are there. No one can do this every day forever - or very few. There's very few people that can write in an interesting fashion more than once or twice a week. Very few. If you think differently, try it yourself.
I also do something that is different. I don't like names of blogs and seldom use them. To me, the writer is the important thing. I don't read "Bronx Banter", but I do read Alex Belth. That's how I think of it, so that's how I'll list them.
Anyway, feel free to point out good links, but don't beg, please. I get too much of that already. Do good work and you'll get recognized, trust me. Being a link on this blog is no award and gives you no slack. My regulars now are different than my regulars at the start of the season.
Many of you that know me or my writing know about Jim Rushford. If anyone in baseball deserves a break, it's Jim. He's the one living the dream that so many of us have. The Brewers - for the second year in a row - have misjudged their own needs and allowed Jim to sign with another organization. Jim's signed with the Phillies and has an invite to spring training. Great move for him, since the Phillies are barren in the OF at the top levels (and pretty much all over, according to David Cameron of BP.)
I'll be following Jim and once I'm done with STP, I'll be back at work on the JRB (Jim Rushford Biography).
If you don't know about Jim, try this article.
I'm venturing into Doug Pappas territory here, with a side order of Art Bell ...
With the Brewers under orders to cut payroll to $30m OR LESS, Ulice Payne is negotiating a graceful exit. Now, with this payroll, the team is dooming itself .. or is it? Is it so bad to go from a bad team to a REALLY bad team if the focus remains the same - a winning team a couple years down the line? The Brewers have a lot of good prospects like Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, and JJ Hardy. Other than Ben Sheets, I dont see a guy on that roster that I'd really want to keep around and I wouldn't hesitate to see what Sheets might bring me from a team that could use him.
But what if contending isn't really the plan? Baseball has hesitated so much on the Expos question that many think MLB is just waiting for the CBA to lapse so they can contract the Expos without challenge ... along with one other team. Concurrent with the Expos, Bud Selig is saying he'll leave his position as commissioner. I have it stuck in my head that he's said he wants to teach somewhere, but I couldn't find anything on that. Wouldn't the Brewers be the perfect contraction partner? Both are NL teams making it even nicer. The Selig family would get some nice estate planning done, Bud moves to Arizona to retire, and ...
... I still doubt this will happen. Bud's intent on leaving his mark on every phase of the game. I don't think his last act will be to piss on the town he brought baseball to back in the day. But it's possible ...
If you're already waiting til next year ... here's hope.
This may be one of the cooler things ever. The idea that this little space is important enough to be ... well, cadmium (which I looked up and is listed as "an insidious neurotoxin that helps facilitate the absorption of other harmful chemicals) ... wait, should I be ... ok, I'll stick with thinking it's a cool thing.
Score Bard rules for many reasons, but this puts him up even another notch. I'm honored to be on the same page with those people.
Ok, the Pete Rose interview is up. I'm not going to waste my time discussing it - it pretty much stands on its own and is available here.
GM Meetings will be a quiet affair and I don't think it will be as quiet this year at the Winter Meetings.
Lots of Alex Rodriguez rumors. None true, so far, but he's becoming Theo's 'white whale' much like Beane going after Durazo. Just remember it took Beane a couple years to make that work.
Berroa and Willis? Could be worse. Winning that award is nice, but it's no indication on which player will be the best in the future.
The book is coming along. I have this new strategy of writing for a full charge of battery. Each one runs about four hours and I take breaks for email. I'm going to try a couple other theories for enforcing my writing. I guess self-discipline would be nice, but that's not going to happen overnight, if at all. I'm also open to suggestion.
Quick but important
Keep your eyes open over the next couple weeks. While baseball will do almost nothing over that period that appears to have anything to do with on-the-field things, there's important stuff happening behind the scenes. Tim Marchman's article, reprinted on Bronx Banter, was the opening shot against MLB's wrongheaded moves that purport to be in secret. There's more coming and while I'm dismissive of most of the collusion talk - it happens both ways - there's actions being taken that, if they can be brought to light, will shock, then change things.
Bud is becoming like Bush. I'm sure they have their good points, are personally charming, and have good intentions at the heart of their actions. However, arrogance, secrecy, and money will, in the end, topple both.
Without comment, here .
Two Interesting Articles
So I understand this whole blog thing is supposed to be about commenting on what I'm reading around the net. I'm usually more of a columnist, even here, but there's very interesting stuff floating around. While baseball is shut down, more or less, it gives everyone a chance to work on bigger projects, away from the day to day beautiful grind of a baseball season. I know some guys at BP are working on great things; recently, James Click has done some neat work on defense at BP while David Pinto has also been working the defensive side of the ledger at BaseballMusings.
Now, Avkash Patel (I think that's his name, going from email), is doing some interesting stuff at his blog involving something he's calling attrition rate. It's nothing like Nate Silver's PECOTA attrition and just for clarity's sake, I hope Mr. Patel will change the name to something like "batter workrate" or "Patel number." Definitely worth checking out and discussing. I'm not sure yet what it tells us, but the work definitely gets us asking new and interesting questions
Patel also has a link to a 2001 Malcolm Gladwell piece that is still great reading in the wake of all the recent PED talk.
This NY Post article has set many hearts a flutter and printers to printing in the stathead world. At almost every discussion board I've seen, people are debating and putting their resumes together, all too often in full public view. I've had three calls from people wanting to know if I could help them get in touch with Jim Duquette and only one was in the least bit qualified, though all three are nice people.
I'll paraphrase Sen. Bentsen here. I've met Keith Law. Most statheads are no Keith Law. There are people with names you've never heard of that are exceptionally qualified and people like Nate Silver or Keith Woolner that are probably overqualified. Few have Keith Law's skills with numbers, people, and have a strong enough personality to stand up to scouts. Sure, I'm biased - I know and like the guy, but the fact remains that posting on a forum isn't something you put on a resume.
People often ask me if I want to get hired by a team. Heck yeah, who of us doesn't dream of that, years past the point that I dreamed of playing. It doesn't make me any more qualified. I like to think I could contribute, I know I can communicate, but if a team hired me, their fans should sue for incompetence. I saw a guy last year passing out resumes during the Winter Meetings and I won't fault anyone their dreams. I just won't give them more hope than they should have.
Shouldn't I Be Writing?
This blog might have to go in the lockdown with "Ghost Recon" if I don't get busting on the writing ... I'm going to have writeapalooza next week and not leave Starbucks until I'm up near 20k words.
Anyway, iTunes has some more of my money and I have two great albums I'll share with you. Uncle Tupelo's "Anodyne" and Whiskeytown's "Pneumonia" are both classics of the poorly named alt.country movement ... and parting shots from both bands. UT split and became Son Volt (now Jay Farrar solo) and one of the best bands in the world, Wilco. Ryan Adams of Whiskeytown has been the "hot prospect" of music for a couple years now, especially after his fluky success with "New York New York". Still, well worth checking out on iTunes.
Until my moronic self can figure out how to set up the links on the side in blogorific fashion, I'll stick with my retro look here with the occasional link. Dammit.
Alex Ciepley is a name you'll probably recognize from the comments here and at some of the other All-Baseball sites. He's joined the blogosphere with his "Ball Talk" which is worth checking out. He'll get attention because he's gay, but you should read him because he looks like he'll have something good to say. As I said in my post about Alex Belth, writing isn't easy ... and I should actually link to this, but I'm lazy and I know you already read Alex ... and Alex B. himself had CLASSIC posts about writing styles over at Bronx Banter. (Shocker, I'm not a practicer.)
Anyway, there's a new Alex in town and I hope he keeps up the quality. I also hope that he can be front and center on what I think may be one of the more important stories in 2004. There are gay players in baseball and there have been hints from one or two that it may be time to come out. I've spoken with the agent of one about the topic. I hope it happens, but I think it's almost Jackie Robinson all over again. While I don't doubt that there's a player out there that can play the role of Jackie, I'm not sure there's a Pee Wee Reese that will walk over and put his arm around him. I hope there is.
As Seinfeld says, "not that there's anything wrong with it." There's not. Moreover, there's a lot of kids that need to learn that lesson. We all know how important Jackie Robinson was not only to baseball, but America. America needs the help again, one of you.
Writing every day is hard.
Being good every day is near impossible.
Finding your voice in writing is incredibly hard.
Alex Belth has done all of this and more. Today's one year anniversary column is great. He's one of the all-too few consistently good writers out there. Honestly, there are about ten GOOD blogs.
More over, Alex is exactly right - it's the connections we make that make this job amazing. No one does interviews better than Alex (ok, Jonah Keri's right there - call it 1 and 1a) and there are few people I'm prouder to call a pal.
Anyone in my small but cool and smart reading audience read Japanese?
Tim Marchman is a class act and he's not scared of taking people on, especially those morons in the MLB offices. Alex Belth got some serious scoop with a reprint of Tim's latest must-read effort.
We need more guys like Tim and Alex. A lot more.
Did someone say odds?
Pete's talking again ... more and more openly, more and more often. As everyone knows, this is both the biggest story I've ever been part of and to me, one of the least interesting. I just want it over with, honestly, and that day if very close. I can't say you'll hear it here first ... you won't ... but you'll certainly hear about it. There was a great interview with Mike Schmidt recently done by boy-wonder Graham Bensinger and now this ... only Joe Morgan isn't talking.
Oh, and Bud doesn't seem to be talking a lot either. When do you remember THAT happening? Calm before the storm? Darkest before the dawn? Something cliched, I'm sure, is appropriate.
Heard from Christian Ruzich and all is as good as it could be with him. Keep sending him good karma or vibes or whatever it is you could send. He misses his CDs ... maybe we should all send him one or just get him on iTunes :)
Helton's interesting. Dan O'Dowd's been pretty creative, if not getting back great stuff. I'm hearing some interesting things, but nothing solid enough to report yet.
Skin is cancelled already? Shocker.
My wrist hurts. Too much typing.
Vina: Good fit for the Cubs at a reasonable price.
Cubs pen: The Cubs seem to be way more concerned about it than I think they should be.
Houston: Nice deal, but only if they get Pettitte. Otherwise, the Cubs OWN this division for the next two years.
Sexson: He'll be in Arizona before the Winter Meetings.
More later, maybe.
A Hero Rants
It's a new classic Gammons column . I make no secret of my hero worship towards Peter, so take this with a suitably sized grain(s) of salt, but Peter might just be better when he writes about the Red Sox. Like me towards the Cubs, I have a hard time keeping emotion out of the equation. Say what you want about what he writes sometimes but NO ONE (including me) has better sources. If I didn't know better, I'd be convinced that he goes all Mission:Impossible on a couple front offices ... but I don't know a front office that doesn't do bug sweeps.
I wonder if this is original: Derek Zumsteg pointed out that the columns he writes and thinks he'll get email about are inverse to the actual results. Very true. The ones I am proudest of seldom get the responses. Of course, I could do a Pete Rose story and ...
Oh, I was on the Graham Bensinger Show today and the media equivalent of Theo Epstein had some soundbites from another recent amazing 'get' of his. I got to hear some clips from a sit-down he had with Mike Schmidt. Very, very interesting stuff that you'll be hearing a lot more about in the very near future.
Finally, I'm just leaving the name of this thing "Will Carroll Weblog", even though I don't like the word 'weblog' and like 'blog' even less.
Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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