Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dice K

The agony is over and I can get to sleep again. Dice K is now signed with the Red Sox.



I don't update this blog too much anymore (not like I ever did) but OH MAN. Schilling, Wakefield, Beckett, Lester, Papelbon and Dice. This is a killer rotation. Manny, Ortiz and Drew. This hitting combination is killer. Lots of maybes: Coco could get hot, Willy Mo is hot and could learn to field worth a damn, the rest of the supporting cast just has to get on base every once in a while.

We find a closer and this is the best team ever. Wh0000t! I literally can't sleep. I may move up to Boston just to see games more often.

M

Monday, May 22, 2006

Leather Devils

I am clueless when it comes to how defensive stats are compiled. People have tried explaining it to me over and over again and it never makes sense. There are so many ways these plays can come down, so many possibilities and probabilites, I never know how you can measure when the difference between success and failure can be cut thinner than that of hitting a 98 mph fastball. The ball comes off the bat at 100s of miles an hour and an infielder's reaction time has to be faster than instantaneous, it has to be predictive.

Anyways, the Sox defense this year is one of those things that makes you wonder. Loretta, Youkilis, Gonzalez and Loretta are amazing to watch, you just can't do anything in the infield when these guys are there. They don't make mistakes, they move the incredibly well, and they get people out. And I love the looks on their faces when they bat, each and every one of them looks like a devil coming to destroy the other team.

This team will be remembered, regardless of whether or not they make the world series. I love watching the defense stifle the other team's offense, I love watching them smack amazing hits. I love this team.

M

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Life Imitates Baseball

So I am a political consultant and I own a technology company that is focused on social networking. It's hard to find people who can operate effectively in both areas. My senior developer tells me today that he is quitting, the company is getting bigger and he's just not into the kind of commitment we are looking for from him. He wants to do other things and just is not too into having this be his career.

First off, this guy is a high performer who has pulled off some miracles for my company over the last year. There were times when things were way too busy for me to personally deal with some client and he came through with fascinating solutions. When we started hiring all these new developers, he was there to manage people and help the team come together. When things get too serious, this is the person who cracks a joke to take the tone back to where it needs to be. This guy has been my right hand, and I don't know how we would have gotten where we are without him. And he's leaving.

Doug Mirabelli came back to help the Sox beat the Yankees tonight, and he addressed a very serious issue: catching the Knuckler. Without him, the Sox were on track to have the most number of past balls in a season just with Wakefield pitching. With him, and regardless of what he does offensively, the Sox have a chance to win.

Life imitates baseball. I do not know where I am going to get someone else to catch the Knucklers, and we get a lot of them everyday. The only thing is, I can't trade to get this guy back, nor can I deal with too many past balls.

M

Friday, April 28, 2006

Wily Mo Pena is My Hero

Life is not a straight line to happiness and success. Some of us are blessed with physical and mental characteristics that set us apart from those around us. Some of us are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Some of us just have great things thrust upon us... and then there's Wily.

(I think Sir Francis Bacon said something to this affect).

Wily Mo Pena has passed through the routes of all 3 paths to greatness. He is a huge man who towers over those around him, granted a physique that would pretty much let him go into a pickup game with any professional athelete in any sport with the reasonable expectation of not sucking. He had the good fortune to be in the same place as a talent scout one day in his mid teens, which resulted in him entering the world of professional baseball before he could drive. He had greatness thrust upon him in the form of wearing a big B on his head like so many other greats who have come before.

And you know what? He's hit a couple of homers, he's struck out a lot, and this is probably how it's going to stay. Somebody get Manny's hitting coach from Cleveland in here to work with the kid. I am not going to put up with someone so lucky underperforming for long, and I know you people are not going to either. Hit the ball, dominate the ball like we know you should, or admit your life was a confluence of fortune without achievement and your presence on the field of play disrupts the natural order of things. Without admitting to being jealous, no one should be so lucky.

M

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Being J.T. Snow

Alright, alright, all you statheads. Yeah, I am talking to you, the people who know what RISP is and are frightened by it. You have been arguing about whether April really represents a decent enough sample size to determine the propects of this team, and it looks abysmal either way you cut it.

Put yourselves in J.T. Snow's shoes for a minute. The guy has had 2 or 3 decent hitting seasons in a long career, he's 38, and now we are talking about him being the albatross for an offense that is lukewarm at best atm.

He sits there on the bench, watching the other batters go up, knowing he's not the guy who's going to turn it around. He's thinking he wants to be a contributing member of the offence, he needs to be a contributing member of the offence, there's just this thing about hitting and he doesn't have it. He's thinking about a late career surge, wishing whoever it is that supplies Giambi with undetectable 'suppliments' will come out of the ether and pump him up to where he needs to be. He's thinking about Bonds and wondering why he didn't go with the flow in the 90s.

You gotta leave the man out of the conversations about the offence. We know what he's going to do, within a std dev of +/-0.0005%. It's about the faith, the hope, the optimism that he's going to contibute somehow to this team and the sting of losing Bill Mueller is going to go away.

Leave J.T. Snow alone you statheaded nerds before you crush the man's spirit. Words may never hurt, but math is a surgeon's knife in your eyeball on a roller coaster to the bottom of the soul.

M

Sunday, April 09, 2006

5-1

5 and 1 baby! Yeah! All hail Theo, that guy really does seem to make some good calls after all.

The retooled Boston Red Sox are now 5 and 1 for the season. Coco Crisp appears to be working out, stubbed finger aside. Adam Stern's looking pretty good in his absence, and seems to have a real cannon for an arm. Schilling is back in black and you know I'm happy to see him back. Foulke is... uh... healthy enough to be there, and Papelbon is not looking too shabby even if he only pitches at the top of the strike zone.

Something interesting: The Sox are allowing fewer runs and scoring fewer runs at this point than most other teams in the league. Would have expected the offense to be higher, but maybe Manny and Papi just to get into the zone for that to happen.

The real test comes next week when the Sox face the Blue Jays. Bring 'em on.

M

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Roid Rage

Finally got my thoughts together about Barry Bonds and the whole matter of steroids. Have been thinking about it for a long time now.

Barry Bonds probably did do steroids, and I never thought anything different. But is it right to call him out on it and not other players? For that matter, what about the record setting late 90s, with McGuire and Sosa and their home run quests? That was a big deal in getting people back into the stands in baseball, and that was probably fueled by steroids as well. As much as I hate his attitude and think he's a low-class player of the worst sort, calling Bonds out without calling out the rest of baseball is hypocritical on the part of the fans and the media. If people are calling him out and not going after the other bruisers who made names for themselves off chemical enhancements, it really is a witch hunt and maybe he is right to just ignore his critics.

Baseball was going into the toilet in the early 90s. I was living in Baltimore at the time and had never seen so many empty seats before when I went to games. I was in college at the time, and was able to buy a bleacher seat for $5 and walk right up and take a front row seat every time I went to the park. No one cared, and people seemed scared about what was going to happen with MLB.

Then the Orioles made it to the playoffs with a strong team, lead by Brady Anderson and his attempt to pass Maris in the recordbooks. Brady was a former Sox player who could hit for power but never seemed capable of hitting more than 30 home runs in a season. Suddenly, he was huge, and he was hitting balls all over the ballpark. Who is looking into whether Brady's stats were enhanced by chemicals? Nobody. Old news, even though it was huge in the media at the time.

Then McGuire and Sosa started on their home run quests the next year, and records started coming down. Boom, boom, boom. There was talk about Androsterone at the time, and people were curious about where this late-career surge was coming from with McGuire. I had McGuire's rookie card at the time, and it was like 2 different players - he was skinny as a kid and had a pretty average build. The McGuire that was on that home run quest looked like he had trouble standing up from all the physical development above the waist, and I can't imagine how he could have gotten there without some serious steroids. Who is making a stink about McGuire though? Has anyone seen a full-body picture of him since he retired? He's looking a lot more like that skinny kid, only a lot more ragged and worn down.

The point of this is not that other people did steroids, but that other people went out to break down records and used steroids to do so. At the time, it was good for baseball in that it generated a lot of interest and blew people minds to see it happen. I was one of those people, and the heightened level of interest never really wore off. If anything, Bonds followed the same program as these other guys and is guilty of doing what a lot of other people did as well. To call him out without calling out all the others is wrong. He was certainly not the only player accused in the BALCO testimony and reporters should be looking at everyone involved, if the problem really was with steroids. Thinking about a former league MVP who currently plays for the Yankees along with his foul-mouthed outfield companion here.

The problem, again, is with the culture not the player. If people are in competition and one side knows what the other side is doing to increase performance, it is the nature of groups to remove that advantage through emulation. Steroids were a competitive tool with a lot of stigma attached, and they have wrecked the historical aspects of the game. If anyone really believes in the integrity of the people on the field, they would be calling for a complete cleansing and for players to be thrown out for their misdeeds. Instead, everyone is focusing on one player, who happened to be the best amongst all the enhanced players, and trying to make him out to be the bad guy for all that is wrong with that time in baseball.

It stinks. Either give everyone a pass or no one a pass, but don't tell me Bonds is an especially awful person for just doing what all the stars of that time were doing. The problem was with baseball itself, not with one player.

M