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Monday, July 06, 2009
I've been beating the Eric Wedge and Mark Shapiro drum quite a bit lately, including this morning, when I wondered why in the heck one or both of them haven't been fired yet.
Cleveland Frowns, however, says that the problems lie elsewhere:
But before becoming too shaken up by the prospect of either of these men hanging on to their jobs here in Cleveland, we recommend considering just how much we should expect from them and our baseball team that plays on the low end of what is unquestionably an uneven playing field . . .
There's more to it than that -- some numbers talking about market size, mostly -- but the gist is that it's market size rather than Wedge and Shapiro that lies at the root of the Indians' losing ways.
I guess I'd be more willing to buy that if (a) the Indians' biggest problem was losing its superstars as opposed to not even having their less-than-star-studded club play up to its potential; and (b) if the Indians' didn't field multiple enormously successful clubs since 1994 or so, with all of those teams playing under the same basic business dynamic as today's club.
More generally, the Frowns' article makes a big effort to explain away much of the success of smaller market teams in the past couple of decades, discounting the Rays because they had so many high picks, discounting the Cardinals because they play in "the best baseball town in America" (never mind that it's a smaller town than Cleveland), both the Cardinals and Blue Jays because of new stadiums just prior to winning their titles and removing the Marlins and their two titles from consideration altogether because they were "unquestionably weird." Frowns doesn't explain how those titles were "weird" apart from the fact that their example cuts against their argument.
I think the final nail in the coffin of that argument is the resort to football and basketball:
Or, you might also protect yourself from such bad feelings the way we do here at Frowns, that is with a growing sense of apathy toward Major League Baseball as a whole, and especially in comparison to the NFL and NBA, leagues that understand that meaningful competition requires a level playing field.
Number of teams who have won the World Series since 1990: 12
Number of teams who have won the Super Bowl since 1990: 12
Number of teams who have won the NBA Finals since 1990: 7
Level playing field, indeed.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:33pm
Laugh if you want, but Sadowski's mom did better for him than Tommy Tanzer and Scott Boras did for Matt Harrington:
You think Scott Boras is a determined agent? Boras couldn't carry Elaine Sadowski's cell phone. Mrs. Sadowski is the mother of Ryan Sadowski, the Giants' only undefeated starting pitcher. He's 2-0 since being called up eight days ago, and he goes again Wednesday afternoon against the Marlins . . .
I wonder if Mrs. Sadowski took her 10% . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:19pm
Last week I suggested that the Indians should probably shut Grady Sizemore down, though I did offer the caveat that "I'll defer to Will Carroll or a doctor or something on this." I haven't heard from a doctor, but today Will Carroll weighs in (subscription only):
"There's no value in shutting Grady Sizemore down. The minor surgery he needs on the elbow has a short recovery period, and he can't do further damage by playing, though the symptoms could bother him in the interim. That's what Cleveland will focus on—function"
With one further caveat/question -- that being whether he's at increased risk of suffering some other injury due to compensating for discomfort in his elbow -- I stand corrected.
(thanks to Arun Gupta for the heads up)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:57pm
He's bounced around so much since 2004 that I just sort of assumed that this had already happened, but apparently tonight is Nomar Garciaparra's first trip back to Fenway since the 2004 trade.
One of the commenters to that story reminds us that Nomar turned down a four-year, $60 million contract that spring. I only vaguely remember that, but if that's even close to being accurate, talk about a dodged bullet for the Sox.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:19pm
This article -- which is so full of win that the rest of us will be on win-rationing for the next three days -- explores this issue in detail:
One possibility is to alternate the colors, creating a vast checkerboard effect that in long camera shots would create the illusion of occupancy. Another plan -- painstaking, but bold -- would be to paint on each seatback the likeness of a chubby youngster.
I'd probably go with a lighter, seafoamy green. At least if they couldn't make the chubby youngster option work.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:45pm
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Phillies 22, Reds 1. I'm not sure what's more impressive: the Phillies' offensive outburst, or that it was all said and done in 2:53. The only downside of this for Philadelphia is that it will skew Cole Hamels' run support numbers, thereby making his season look a little worse than it actually is. I'm guessing he'll take the win, however.
Athletics 6, Red Sox 0: Because Smoltz got beat and Nomar returned and this is the Red Sox and they're the most important thing in the world and everything, all of the stories this morning will likely focus on those things instead of the fact that 21 year-old Brett Anderson completely and utterly shut down one of the best offenses in baseball in what, by game score anyway, was the third best start by any pitcher in baseball this year (CG SHO 2 H, 9K).
Mariners 5, Orioles 0: Jarrod Washburn (CG SHO, 1 H 3K, 0 BB) was nearly as good as Anderson. Actually, by most measures we'd say he was better because a one-hitter > than a two hitter. Game score gives him a slight, slight deduction, however, because he didn't strike as many guys out. Which suggests to me that the game score stat is boring and fascist.
Cubs 4, Braves 2: Steve Phillips, sometime around the fourth inning or so: "You know, there's been a lot of talk around Atlanta about getting rid of Bobby Cox and getting someone with more fire." OK, I've heard enough idiotic sports radio in my time to know that, yes, there is probably someone in Atlanta saying that. Phillips' job, however, should be to do more than parrot crazy talk. No one I know of with a functioning brain stem is seriously talking about firing Bobby Cox, and even if they are, it's not to get someone "with more fire." I'm convinced that Phillips was just at a loss of something to say as the camera panned over to Cox, and started spewing things, attributing it to others so that it had a whiff of legitimacy to cover for the whiff of the place whence he pulled it. Nice save by Hershiser, however: a few seconds later, talking about Chipper Jones, Orel suggested making Chipper player-manager in the event Cox does step down for some reason. There are probably 57 things wrong with that, but I love the idea on a gut level. I think Jones is the oldest and grumpiest 37 year-old on the planet, which makes him just right to be a Major League manager. Kind of a Bobby Cox mini-me. In fact, I can totally picture that and now that the idea is in my head, I'm kind of wishing for it.
Royals 4, Tigers 3: Willie Bloomquist drove in three runs on a homer in the sixth inning and a two-run triple in the eighth. Bloomquist -- a thirtysomething utility guy -- must have felt pressured to perform given today's trade for Ryan Freel -- another thirtysomething utility guy.
Blue Jays 7, Yankees 6: Joe Girardi was ejected and Derek Jeter had to be restrained after Jetes was called out on a steal attempt at third despite the fact that he clearly reached around Scott Rolen's tag and grabbed the bag. Jeter: "I was told by the umpire that I didn't have to be tagged to be out." Crew Chief John Hirschbeck: "It would make his actions seem appropriate if that's what he was told. It used to be if the ball beat you, you were out, but it isn't that way anymore. It's not a reason to call someone out. You have to make a good tag." If what Jeter says is true, and third base umpire Marty Foster told Jeter that he was out because the ball beat him, Foster should clearly be suspended or demoted or even fired, shouldn't he? Isn't that proof positive that there's a guy out there calling his own game instead of enforcing the actual rules? In other news, why on Earth was Jeter stealing third with nobody out in the first inning of a 0-0 game with Swisher, Teixeira and Rodriguez coming to bat? Update: great minds think alike.
Astros 4, Pirates 1: Mike Hampton (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) broke into the bigs the same year the Pirates' current streak of losing seasons began. Other things that happened in 1993: Clinton began his first term, "Jurassic Park" ruled the box office, I turned 20, and "The Bridges of Madison County" made anyone with taste want to barf their guts out. None of this has anything to do with Mike Hampton, but he gets so much crap for being fragile, that I thought I'd write something that makes him seem steady and venerable and everything.
Rockies 1, Nationals 0: See, here's what happened: Jason Marquis (8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER) was tired of hearing you complain about him being selected to the All-Star Game and wanted to shut your know-it-all ass up. Got anything else to say, wise guy?
Angels 9, Rangers 4: Round 1 goes to the Angels, as Kevin Millwood gets beat up by the middle of LAA's order. Millwood didn't strike anyone out over five innings and, it would seem, his luck simply ran out.
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 5: Upton works a walk and steals second ahead of a Mark Reynolds' All-Star snub defying single to win it in the ninth. The Dbacks have won three in a row for the first time since the end of May.
Giants 5, Marlins 4: Pablo Sandoval likewise mocks your All-Star snub by hitting a grand slam to provide what proved to be the winning runs.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:42am
Headline: "St. Louis is perfect host for All-Star Game"
This is on MLB.com, of course, so it's not like it was gonna say "St. Louis: frankly, we coulda done a bit better."
Lots of great "St. Louis fans are the best in baseball" porn in that article if you're into that sort of thing.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:59am
Happy San Fermin, everyone. When you get done having fun, read some of this stuff:
And just remember: It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night is another thing.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:14pm
So bad that folks are actively wondering whether it would have been a good thing for the Mets to have signed Manny Ramirez last winter:
So before you stand up and boo Manny tonight, Mets fans, think twice. Remember how badly you wanted Manny during the off-season, and ask yourself this question: Would we take him right now, even with those PED scarlet letters painted all over his chest?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:05pm
You know you're not livin' right when your own brother sues you:
Former professional baseball player Lenny "Nails" Dykstra refused to pay his brother a 10 percent stake in car wash partnerships that the outfielder sold for more than $50 million, Kevin Dykstra claims in Superior Court.
I don't remember Kevin Dykstra ever actually making the Majors as an umpire, so I Googled him and all I could find were references to him as a minor league ump. Found this, though. Kevin's comments after Len Dykstra's DUI accident back in 1991:
"It's probably the worst I've ever seen him," Kevin, a 23-year-old minor league umpire, said from his home in Florida. "He's my favorite player, my hero. And I always thought, just like him, that nothing could happen to him. When I first saw him, I couldn't believe it. He was in so much pain."
Revenge is a dish best served cold, Kevin. You called your big brother "soft" eighteen years ago. You thought he wasn't paying attention, but now you know he was. I hope that comment was worth it to you, dear brother, for now it has cost you millions!! Bwahahahahah!!!
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:49pm