May 25, 2013
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009
The Blue Jays have released B.J. Ryan. He probably has about $14-15 million left on that $47 million deal they gave him. That's on top of the $99 million or so they owe Vernon Wells through 2014, the $61 million or so they owe Alex Rios through 2014, and the combined $26.5 million or so they owe Scott Rolen and Lyle Overbay through next year. As a result, the Jays have to trade Roy Halladay to save money. Those other dudes will still be hanging around.
As Pete mentioned in the comments yesterday, attendance in Toronto stinks. As he wrote last winter, the future of baseball in Toronto is rather ugly as well.
What a mess. Toronto is something like the fifth largest market in baseball, which probably makes them the second or third largest single-team market. They're certainly the only team that has a whole country to itself in many important respects. They used to outdraw everyone. They used to win all of the time. Yesterday Pete said that he "wouldn’t be surprised if there is no MLB in Toronto in a handful or several years." I don't know if I'm that pessimistic, but it's certainly beyond depressing.
What, or who, killed baseball in Toronto?
No, not me. I mean, sure, he's on my Scoresheet team because I'm the worst fantasy baseball player in the history of history, but I can't really defend the guy. Jorge Costales takes a stab at it, however. His Brian Roberts comparison is interesting:
Even my late night cursory look at other 2B revealed that Brian Roberts had a similar poor start to his career -- perhaps not coincidentally when Roberts was 23 & 24 years old -- check out their stats at the beginning of their careers:
Keeping in mind that I like Jorge's work and writing quite a lot, and keeping in mind that this is really Rob Neyer's territory not mine, I'll offer at least a partial retort:
My suspicion is that someone who knows more than me can dig into the Roberts comp a little better, but as it stands now, I won't be convinced that Bonifacio can be a contributing Major Leaguer until I actually see him contribute for more than a few days here and there.
All that said, don't dismiss Jorge's post, as he does have some comments about the tone of sabermetric debate worth considering.
(thanks to Pete Toms for the link)
It's like a family secret around here, the embarrassing aunt who wets her pants in public that nobody will talk about.
-- Longtime commenter and A's fan, APBA Guy, on the curious silence of the Bay Area sporting press regarding Jason Giambi's slide into .195/.331/.371
You all know my "Bull Durham" fixation, so of course you know that I'm going to find a story about the renovation of the old Durham Athletic Park interesting.
Sadly, nothing in there about the guy who donated the scoreboard. Or his daughter.
This morning in the recaps, I said this about Ichiro refusing MLB's request that he participate in the Home Run Derby:
The guy hits six homers a year. The only reason they'd want him in there is as a cynical ratings ploy for the Japanese market, which I'm assuming gets the All-Star broadcast. Good for him for not wanting to be used like that.
I'll admit that those are some cynical words. And maybe I'm wrong about that. Just seems plausible to me, because really, why else are you gonna ask Ichiro to be in the Home Run Derby?
In response, commenter Jack Marshall (and some others) made reference to a famous old story about Ty Cobb, and mentioned Wade Boggs' alleged batting practice home run power -- and anomalous 1987 season -- as well:
The intriguing aspect is that, at least according to the last Ty Cobb biography, some players in Ichiro’s general category have really been like that: the book says that late in his career Cobb told everyone he was going for homers that day just to prove hitting them was no great accomplishment, hit a couple, and then pronounced distaste for that kind of brute game and never swung for the fences again. I would have loved to see Wade Boggs, who had the rep of being a batting practice slugger, in a home run contest.
What Jack is referring to is the story in which Cobb claimed to have told reporters before a game sometime in the 1920s that he simply preferred not to hit home runs because they were inartful or crude or supported racial equality or something. As proof, Cobb set out one day with the intention of hitting home runs to show them that he could do it if he wanted to, but he simply didn't want to. And by gum, he did! Next day, of course, and for the rest of his career, he returned to being the ball-sprayin' Georgia Peach everyone knew and loathed.
Except I seem to remember that Ty Cobb story being debunked a couple of years ago by Neyer or someone. I couldn't find the link immediately, so if anyone can find it, please let me know. Even if I'm wrong about that, however, I find it implausible. Why? Because Cobb was a lot of things, but chief among those things were that he was (a) very, very smart; and (b) very, very greedy, and each of those things cuts against that story having any veracity.
As for being smart: there is no way Cobb didn't know and appreciate the inherent value of a home run vs. a triple, double or single. Sure, he may have had a big home run day once upon a time, but if he could hit home runs at will like he claimed, he certainly would have because it would have simply been smarter baseball in the 1920s, which is when that story took place, and Cobb was all about smart baseball.
As for greedy: Cobb was as good a money maker as he was a hitter, and I'd wager that he, more than anyone, knew the kind of money Babe Ruth was making in the 1920s. As such, Cobb knew that if he could have been reborn as a home run hitter after years of being a batting champion, he'd have been richer than Croesus (as it stood, he had to content himself with being slightly less rich than Coesus).
All of which is to say that while it's possible that Ty Cobb was capable of a bit more power than he showed in his career, he was no home run hitter and he knew it. I suspect Ichiro knows it too, and for that reason, he wisely doesn't want any part of the Home Run Derby.
Things to read when you realize just how rough it is out there in the big, big world:
Not that he knew what was happening or anything, but check out the kid on the far right of this picture laughing at Ryan Dempster breaking a bone.
Dodgers 8, Mets 0: Somewhere on Long Island there's a guy who went to last night's game for the express purpose of booing Manny and holding up a sign with a syringe on it or something. And, yes, Manny was booed and was even ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes! Dude from Long Island was probably loving it! Too bad, then, that Manny also knocked in three runs and then, after his ejection, watched the Dodgers complete a pretty damn dominant performance from the clubhouse while eating candy and drinking soda or whatever it is Manny does.
Rays 3, Blue Jays 1: Phun Pfact: Map makers will sometimes slip in phantom streets or towns or something so that they can tell if a competing map maker is really just copying their work. I suspect that the people who put together box scores do the same thing. Evidence: the "pitcher" named Marc Rzepczynski. He doesn't really exist. He's a copyright protection device. He was created by the NBC Sports people so that they can tell if Yahoo! is ripping off the scores. At least I'm pretty sure that's the case.
Tigers 8, Royals 5: Verlander wasn't particularly sharp, but he strikes out 11 because the Royals aren't particularly sharp either. According to the game story, Verlander's 141 strikeouts are the most by a Detroit pitcher before the All-Star Game in 37 years. Of course that was Mickey Lolich, and Mickey Lolich used to pitch approximately 598 innings a year back in the early 70s, so Verlander's feat is far more impressive.
Pirates 6, Astros 3: I can't think of a single thing to say about this game, so I'll say this: my son, Carlo, recently discovered the book Where the Wild Things Are. He loves it. I loved it when I was a kid, and I love reading it to him. I think our love of it is based on the fact that, deep down, we both have anger issues. Nothing crazy -- neither of us are violent or bombastic -- but both he and I are easily frustrated and often stomp around a bit in something not unlike the book's wild rumpus when things don't go just the way we planned. The book, you see, is really about anger, and how it's natural and follows a predictable but necessary arc before resolving itself and how ultimately it's OK. But the thing is, the beauty of the book has a lot to do with the fact that it's only ten sentences long and can be read in a couple of minutes, even if you linger on the pictures a bit. It follows that anger arc and resolves itself pretty quickly, resulting in an almost therapeutic effect. Which makes me wonder how in the hell they're going to make a movie out of it. And why they felt the need to in the first place. I hope my son never gets wind of the movie, because I don't want the wonderful few minutes we spend with the book each night to be sullied in any way.
Sorry Pirates and Astros fans. I'll try to pay more attention tomorrow night.
White Sox 10, Indians 6: I'm struggling to think of a trade that was as disastrous for both teams involved as the Perez-DeRosa trade has been this far for Cleveland and St. Louis. Paul Konerko drove in seven. Why is it, despite the fact that he's 33 years-old and has been in the league for 12 years, that I still think of him as a Dodgers' prospect? Same thing happened to me with Robin Ventura for his whole career. No matter how old he got, I pictured him playing for Oklahoma State in the 1987 College World Series. Maybe the White Sox uniforms have some sort of time warping effect or something.
Cardinals 5, Brewers 0: Both Brewers' bench coach Willie Randolph and hitting coach Dale Sveum were ejected. I said at the beginning of the year that it may be awkward for both of these former managers to be in subordinate roles this year. I'd like to think, then, that their ejections were really auditions for any managerial openings that pop up the rest of the year.
Braves 2, Cubs 1: Javier Vazquez continues to get no run support, but he didn't need much last night, as he gave a single run in seven innings. His ERA is down to 2.95, but because his record is only 6-7, he doesn't make the All-Star Game. Total ripoff.
Red Sox 5, A's 2: Round numbers galore: Beckett's 10th win, Bay's 20th home run, Giambi's 0 for 4. I guess what I'm saying is that nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Reds 4, Phillies 3: Way to bounce back after getting slaughtered. A couple of homers for Brandon Phillips and a single off of Brad Lidge carried the day.
Yankees 10, Twins 2: Production from all over the Yankees' order in this one, as Cano, Gardner and Cervelli combine to go 7-14 with 6 RBI.
Rockies 5, Nationals 4: Defensive breakdowns killed the Nats, with the last being a potentially inning-ending comebacker that Joe Beimel threw to the wrong guy down at second.
Rangers 8, Angels 5: And we're tied again, as Andruw Jones -- on an unexpected hot streak -- blasts a three-run homer in the course of a big fifth inning. In addition to the game, the Angels lose Vlad to a knee injury that, while maybe not terribly serious, has to be enough to keep him from ever playing the field again, right? I mean, he has to be a DH at this point, doesn't he?
Orioles 12, Mariners 4: Luke Scott was a one-man wrecking crew (3-4, HR, 3B, 7 RBI). From the game story: "Ichiro Suzuki has turned down MLB's request to participate in the Home Run Derby." Wait, what? The guy hits six homers a year. The only reason they'd want him in there is as a cynical rating ploy for the Japanese market, which I'm assuming gets the All-Star broadcast. Good for him for not wanting to be used like that.
Diamondbacks 4, Padres 3: Four in a row for Arizona, all coming after Mark Reynolds yelled at everyone on his team. Coincidence? Well, yes, it most like is a coincidence, actually.
Giants 3, Marlins 0: It's probably against the rules for Tim Lincecum to have dressed up in Barry Zito's uniform and pitch last night, but he apparently did it anyway (8.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).