December 7, 2013
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Wednesday, April 01, 2009
You know it's getting down to the wire when the THT editors are racing to jam in as many team previews as we have today. Mmmmm . . . regular seasonlicious . . .
I can almost smell the grass, babies.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:49am
The Phillies are said to be interested in Gary Sheffield and/or Andruw Jones. Signing either of those guys would likely require the release of postseason hero Matt Stairs. Which is something you only do if the player coming in actually has a good shot at bringing something more to the table. Signing Sheffield (bad shoulder, bad wheels, bad attitude) or Jones (bad everything) however, would be an exercise in applied pipe dream studies.
Thankfully the fans in Philadelphia are an understanding, passive and oblivious lot and would never take issue with such a move.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 7:00am
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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 7:30am
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)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:25am
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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:00am
. . . 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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:30am
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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:08am
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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:41am
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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:31pm
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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:12pm