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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Dig the 1950s. Steve Treder: "The image we're often given of baseball in the 50s is one of static conservatism; we may be led to believe it was a dreary and monotonous time of stolid teams in baggy gray uniforms, relying upon tried-and-true formulas. The truth is entirely different: the 1950s in baseball was almost certainly the decade involving the most fundamental, startling, and dynamic change of any in modern baseball history." (The Hardball Times)

Rapping With Mudcat And Scoop. Bruce Markusen interviews Mudcat Grant and Al Oliver.
[Grant:] "At the age of 14, I was one of the ten best baseball players in the state of Florida. At the age of 15, I was the best baseball player in the state of Florida—in the Negro league schools. Of course, we weren’t allowed to go to white schools back in those days. But I kept it up and got better, much better. Reflecting on it now, I know I was better, but then, you don’t think that way [at the time]. I remember at the end of a game when they brought me in to pitch—I was the third baseman—I threw so hard that the opposing high schoolers would not come to bat; the coaches had to kick them out of the dugout. I used to wonder, ‘Why don’t they want to come up and hit against me?’ It wasn’t until I was like 30 years old that I realized that I could play!"
(Baseball Primer)

Looking Forward to 2004: St. Louis Cardinals. Brock Hanke: "Tony La Russa wins when he has three solid veteran starters, two or more of whom are having good years, and does not win when he doesn't have them, almost no matter what his offense looks like. This is one of the strangest observations I have ever made about a manager, but it's been true since Tony's days in Oakland, and even going back to the White Sox, although his pitching staffs there were much less stable than in Oakland." (Baseball Primer)

Prospectus Triple Play: Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics. "Committing to [Eric] Chavez is a good decision--he's one of best defenders in the game, he routinely hits the snot out of the ball, and he's young--but without substantial changes in payroll philosophy from ownership, keeping Chavez will force the A's to break up the Big Three in a few years." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays. "Josh Phelps has shown promise and even brilliance at times--yet he hasn't quite put it together for a full season at the major league level. After getting his knee scoped in the off-season, he's healthy and ready to go. Phelps has been nagged by his knees before--as long as he's healthy, expect him to start going ape on the league, perhaps sending Elvis out of the building 30-40 times (or more)." (Baseball Prospectus)

Derek Zumsteg: "Some people don't take spring training seriously enough...And some people take spring training far, far too seriously. I call these people 'Ozzie Guillen.'" (Baseball Prospectus)

Not That Anyone Cares: A Plan for the Expos. Travis Nelson proposes that the Expos' ownership group (the other 29 teams) put some money into building a winner. (Boy of Summer)

Time for a diversion into basketball...

NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT / Sweet win for Stanford: Cardinal KO Oklahoma. Damn. If the Sooners had won, they'd be heading home to host the Midwest regionals. (Well, they are heading home, and they are hosting the regional; they're just not playing in it.) Would have been nice to see them crash the Final 4 by knocking out Tennessee in Norman, but oh well. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Sweet 16 berth day: Ohio St. can't hold a candle to BC women. It'll be nice to see the Eagles crash the Final 4 by knocking off Duke in Norfolk. (Boston Globe)

March Madness has taken over football-crazy Alabama. "[UAB Coach Mike] Anderson, a Birmingham native, spent 20 seasons alongside former Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson. His Blazers play the same frantic '40 minutes of hell' style that Richardson's Razorbacks did. It's a style that is winning fans in strange places. For example, Arkansas fans have adopted UAB as their team, with the Arkansas Internet fan board being converted to UAB green and gold." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

King Kaufman: "I was unable to fully enjoy UAB's wildly entertaining effort against Kentucky (Sunday) because I had Kentucky going all the way, so their losing would have sunk me. It was awful. I wanted to root for the Blazers. In fact, I did root for the Blazers. But there was still one little part of me hoping Kentucky would pull it out, make me look good. Sure, it's a big part of my schtick that I couldn't predict where the sun will set tomorrow, but I was thinking it sure would look cool to beat all those Sports Illustrated guys in my pool. I couldn't enjoy one of the best moments of the Tournament -- for non-Kentucky fans, that is. (I had no such problem watching Stanford lose Saturday. My bracket be damned when Stanford plays.)" Yeah, I'm not so crazy about Stanford myself right now. (Salon)

I've converted to Saint Joseph's. Bob Kravitz: "I give up. There's simply no use looking for Indiana schools or Indiana connections in what's left of this NCAA tournament...I'm rooting for Saint Joseph's, the first No. 1-seeded Cinderella in NCAA tournament history. After watching the Hawks make a mockery of Texas Tech's perimeter defense Saturday, after watching the way they play and the joy with which they play, I am both a believer and a fan. And who knows? They win the whole thing, maybe I'll become a Jesuit. (Or not.)" (Indianapolis Star)

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