December 8, 2013
Who is Shyster?
Or you can search by:
Most Recent Comments
Mike Hargrove Interview (13)
Can they be the California Angels again? (9)
Another great moment in mass transit? (7)
Just another ten-percenter (his mind is like an ocean) (7)
Great Moments in Half-Baked Populism (8)
Shyster's Daily Circuit
Joe Posnanski Blog
Cot's Baseball Contracts
It IS About the Money
Baseball Think Factory
MLB Trade Rumors
Way Back and Gone
Bats -- NYT Baseball Blog
The Biz of Baseball
The Daily Fungo
The Common Man
Jorge Says No!
Baseball Over Here
Baseball. Blogging. Whenever.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
I lied, THIS is my last post.
Rob Neyer suckers you with that polite Midwestern charm of his, but he's capable of firing missles when he feels the need:
One of baseball's dirty little secrets is that umpiring is not that hard. Oh, it would be exceptionally difficult for you or me or your mailman. But thousands of men and women do good work in high school, college and minor league games, and I suspect that hundreds of them -- with a bit of training and experience -- could step right into the majors and perform as well, or nearly as well, as most of the current major league arbiters.
He backs down to maybe "dozens" in the next paragraph, but the point remains.
We often hear about how hard an umpire's life and job is, and I'm sure it's not easy. I don't recall anyone taking Rob's tack before, however, and I'd be curious to hear what the umps think of it.
There's a fun, albeit somewhat uncomfortable conversation going on among some political blogs I read, and it's about how much blogging is too much. It started with this:
I’m privileged to have a job that I really enjoy. But at the same time, I would prefer to write somewhat less—this pace is stressful and doesn’t leave me as much time to pursue other projects and interests. But though I would prefer to write somewhat less, I have a stronger second-order preference to produce a blog that’s competitive with other major offerings on the internet. And over the years competition between bloggers has led to escalating word-counts. The resulting situation isn’t terrible, there are lots of people you should cry for before you get to me, but basically we bloggers are engaged in a red queen’s race where we all need to keep trying harder and harder just to maintain our positions.
Then it went to this:
The blogosphere would be a better place if everyone took a deep breath and decided that quality was more important than boosting traffic by simply having a post — any post — on every news event of the day. Slow down and think instead!
And today we get this:
Picking up from the Kevin Drum-Matt Yglesias exchange on the Red-Queen race of contemporary pro-blogging, I will name names of people who blog too much among the folks I read. Some of the people are folks whose writing I’ve long enjoyed but whom I’ve practically given up on reading because, when faced with a count of 30 items in Google Reader – since breakfast – the heart sinks and the mind quails . . . It’s much easier to just click the “Mark All Read” button and resolve to catch the next batch. . . . Kevin Drum himself is kind of on the edge. He’s been known to top ten posts a day, and my rule of thumb is, once you hit double digits you’re just wanking . . . In the spirit of this age of economic restructuring, I will simply declare how often people may blog. Most of you should average four to six posts a day. If you’re a group blog, you may post once an hour.
Hurm. This is post eleven for the day. Thirteen yesterday. I suppose that's pretty wankeriffic. In my defense, a lot of them are short posts and, hey, it's baseball, which beats the heck out of dense wordiness about the budget and deterring Iran or what have you.
Still, I've been wondering lately if less is more. Anyone have any thoughts on that? And I promise, this is my last post of the day.
Courtesy of Buster, two of the more unlikely guys in the game are about to break camp with their big clubs. First in Milwaukee:
After toiling 11 years in the minors before finally getting his chance to pitch in the big leagues, Mark DiFelice isn't about to start taking things for granted. "I'll believe I've made the team when I'm on the flight to San Francisco," said DiFelice, referring to the Milwaukee Brewers' opening series of the season. DiFelice's reluctance is understandable. When you have 263 minor-league games on your résumé and only 15 appearances in the majors, this breaking-camp-with-the-team stuff is a bit difficult to grasp.
Then in Seattle:
Calming his nerves before the biggest start of his life wasn't all that tough for Chris Jakubauskas. After all, he'd toiled 4 ½ years in the independent leagues before somebody gave him a shot at pitching professionally. So, another few days of putting off thoughts of a possible major-league career with the Mariners didn't seem that long to a 30-year-old living out one of those storybook dreams.
It's tempting to turn guys like these into Cinderella stories, but my guess is that there isn't as big a difference as we often assume between guys like DiFelice and Jakubauskas on the one hand and any number of 11th or 12th guys on a staff on the other. Like St. Crash said, "one extra flare a week, a gork, a ground ball, you get a ground ball WITH EYES, you get a dying quail. Just one more dying quail a week and you’re in Yankee Stadium." Or in a pitcher's case, out of Yankee Stadium.
Anyone who raises even as high as the mid-minors was once the best pitcher in his city and maybe even his state, and it's no doubt the case that some bad luck and subtle biases prevented DiFelice and Jakubauskas from making it sooner than they have. Now that they're up they have just as good a shot as anyone to stick and be effective. That part of me that pours a big tall scotch and watches "Bull Durham" once a year -- this time of year -- hopes that that's the case.
Via Jason, news that nobility, appropriately enough, is joining the Royals rotation:
It doesn’t matter, it seems, that veteran right-hander Sidney Ponson gave up seven runs in five innings Tuesday in a 7-2 loss to the Oakland A’s. The Royals seem ready, regardless, to anoint him as the fourth member of their rotation — albeit not officially. Manager Trey Hillman would go no further Tuesday than to say Ponson is “still in the mix” with Horacio Ramirez and Brian Bannister for the two rotation spots behind Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies.
I've watched a lot of baseball over the years, but I never thought I'd see the day when there was room in a Major League rotation behind a guy like Kyle Davies. Indeed, if you would have told me before now that there would come a day when both he and Horacio Ramirez were on the same team and neither of them figured to be that team's worst pitcher, I would have told you that you were nuts. Then Sir Sidney comes to town. Shows you what I know.
I think this is a Posnanski plot. By bringing in all of this subpar staff filler together, there's no reasonable way they can get rid of his personal favorite, Brian Bannister.
The Tigers have handed the fifth starter's job to Rick Porcello:
The Tigers told rookie right-handed pitcher Rick Porcello on Wednesday that he has earned a spot in the starting rotation. The news follows an impressive outing Tuesday by Porcello, 20, who allowed two hits over five innings in a 7-2 loss to Washington.
By my reckoning, that makes a rotation of Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Armando Gallaraga, Porcello and hmmm. Zach Miner? Nate Robertson? If it's not Robertson -- and we're really talking about choices among some really bad options here -- do the Tigers have the guts to cut another guy owed multiple millions, or do they keep him around? I'd have to guess they hold on to him because you never know when someone's arm is going to fall off, but wouldn't it be something if the Tigers dumped two guys owed a collective $31 million in the space of a few days?
UPDATE: Looks like that question has been answered.
I like the way Aubrey Huff thinks:
Huff did very little over the winter to get ready for the 2009 season, but that wasn't necessarily because he was tending to [his newborn] Jayce. Actually, Huff was following an offseason regimen he stumbled upon a year ago after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Bob Horner, David Wells and Dimitri Young fully endorse this approach.
. . . hello Zone Evaluation:
Major League Baseball had been using QuesTec since 2001 to try to standardize the functional size of the strike zone, which often varies from umpire to umpire, despite the rulebook definition. But QuesTec cameras were installed in only about a third of major league stadiums, raising the suspicion among players and fans that umpires called games differently depending on whether QuesTec was watching. Umpires also questioned if the system was sufficiently accurate to gauge their performance.
You won't be surprised to hear that umpires are not happy about this:
Umpires may not necessarily welcome this much assistance. Port said the umpires union, the World Umpires Association, had approved the change, but a union spokesman, Lamell McMorris, declined to comment on that or any aspects of the Zone Evaluation system.
I don't think much will come of this. For one thing, studies have shown that even the guys commonly thought of as the least consistent umpires are pretty damn consistent, suggesting that no one's feathers will be ruffled by the new technology. For another thing, even if the umpires want to take offense, they have no hope of winning a fight against technology in this arena. The players and the fans want accuracy when it comes to the zone. Everything out there suggests that Ques-Tec has been a positive to that end and neutral in terms of aggravation. If the umpire's union decided to pick a fight about this, you can bet that we'd soon find ourselves with a new set of umpires who, while stationed behind home plate so as not to upset the aesthetics of it all, are mandated to call whatever the little Zone Evaluation-connected voice in their earpieces tells them to call.
Ron Rollins -- writer of the most excellent Baseball Over Here -- has found a whale of a pitching line from the Italian leagues. Even better:
UPDATE: OK, that may not be Melvin Mora. At least unless he has rented a decommissioned Concorde jet and is moonlighting. My guess: Marco Mora. Or maybe Massimo Mora.
Just when you think things couldn't get worse for Jose Canseco, they do:
The Golden Baseball League (GBL) announced today that the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles has officially rendered a judgment in favor of the Golden Baseball League and the Long Beach Armada in their lawsuit versus defendant Jose Canseco for an amount of $258,750 . . .
As if Canseco ever had the temperament to be a knuckleballer anyway. Knuckleballers represent all that is Right and True in the universe. Canseco, in terms of intellect, savvy, guile, and anything else you can name, is basically the anti-knuckleballer.
Not that any of this matters. There's a term in the law for people like Canseco, and that term is "judgment-proof." $250K? It may as well be ten dollars or ten million dollars, because Canseco doesn't have it, and even if he did, he probably wouldn't pay it.
(thanks to Ron Rollins -- chief of the ShysterBall expatriate news bureau -- for the heads up)
The promise of the new stadium craze -- at least from the fan's perspective -- was that it meant the end of seats behind I-beams and other viewing obstructions. In New York, well, not so much.