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Friday, May 30, 2003
Advance Scout: Red Sox, May 30-June 1. "Strange: Manny Ramirez's numbers are in line with his averages over his excellent career -- except for power ... He's slugging just .487, with only seven home runs ... He's always lit up the Jays with power, though ... But maybe not these Jays: Tanyon Sturtze is the only current Jays pitcher off of whom Manny has homered ..." (Batter's Box)

Kim Possible. Edward Cossette on the Hillenbrand/Kim trade. (Bambino's Curse)

David Eisenberg looks at the Hillenbrand/Kim trade.
This is a serious young thrower we have here, and the Sox know it. They're not worried about patching up the bullpen. They'll find other guys to do that. What they see is a rotation that for once, is not built around retreads:

Derek Lowe
Tim Wakefield
Casey Fossum
Byung Hyun Kim

If you had to deal this rotation for the Yankees rotation of Clemens, Mussina, Wells, Pettite, and Weaver, you wouldn't do it. The Yankees staff has accomplished a lot more, but I'll guarantee you the five Red Sox pitchers listed here will win more games in the next five years then those Yankees pitchers.

Clutch Hits thread on the Hillenbrand/Kim trade. Number of comments as of 9:23 am Eastern: 215. Usually when a Clutch Hits thread gets this long, people are talking about politics or They Might Be Giants or something. But they're still talking about the trade.

Aaron Gleeman gives his top 5 choices for American and National League MVP. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Don Malcolm saves some for the Fish: Fish Fry, Weeks 7-8, Part 1 and Part 2. (Big Bad Baseball)

Prospectus Triple Play: Indians, Dodgers, Mariners. "The Dodgers' offense has been one of the least productive units in the National League this season--currently second-to-last in the NL in Equivalent Average, six points ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates--while both their bullpen and their rotation have been among the best. Led by the irresistible force that is Eric Gagne (26 IP, 46 K, 5 BB, 2.42 ERA), the Dodgers have miraculously been able to maintain a winning record despite scoring fewer runs than any team in the majors save the Tigers." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Diamondbacks, Royals, Phillies. "One bright spot during the Royals' tailspin has been Angel Berroa, whose performance as a rookie more closely resembles his promising 2001 season than his disastrous 2002 campaign." (Baseball Prospectus)

Derek Zumsteg: "I've said this before, but baseball should seriously consider doing penance for their mistreatment of Montreal by building them a beautiful new stadium and setting them up with a quality ownership group, even if it doesn't come with the Selig Seal of Sycophancy. Revitalizing baseball in Montreal would be a huge victory for baseball's international aspirations, and would buy the league so much goodwill it'd be difficult to shake a stick at it." (Baseball Prospectus)

Wanted Man Busted by Baseball ‘Kiss Cam’. His parole officer was at the game, too. Oops. (

Thursday, May 29, 2003
Yankees beat Red Sox after losing 4-run lead in ninth. Bottom of the ninth, tie game, runner on third, one out. Grady Little orders two intentional walks to load the bases. Jorge Posada draws a walk to win the game. (

Deja Vu. July 20, 2002. Bottom of the ninth, Yankees batting against the Red Sox, tie game, runner on third, one out. Grady Little orders two intentional walks to load the bases. Jorge Posada draws a walk to win the game. Please stop doing this, Grady. (

Yanks refuse to lose. They extended their winning streak to two games, their longest since May 7-8. (Newark Star-Ledger)

Zimmer zaps The Boss.
"I got fed up reading all the things about our manager who has won four World Series in seven years," Zimmer said Wednesday. "That's a joke. Then again, he's the Boss."

Steinbrenner told newspapers earlier this week that he had given Torre everything he had asked for, so it was the manager's responsibility to make sure the team started playing better.

"For seven years here it was Tampa's team. That's all we heard. 'We'll pick the team, we'll pick the team,' " Zimmer said. "All of a sudden we're losing, and it's suddenly Joe's team? That's very unfair. I respect him. He's still the Boss. But that doesn't mean I can't say something."

Hillenbrand for Kim? Deal conditionally done. Shea to Arizona for Byung-Hyun, pending Jerry Colangelo's approval. (

Prospectus Triple Play: Braves, Twins, Devil Rays. "Five of the [Braves' last nine draft picks] were from Georgia itself, another from Virginia, another from Texas. One of Rob Neyer's best pieces suggested that teams are better off intensely scouting only a small fraction of the draft pool, as opposed to performing a superficial scan of all potential draftees. Certainly, the Athletics have discovered one effective way to accomplish this - focusing on college hitters and pitchers who control the strike zone. Have the Braves discovered another?" (Baseball Prospectus)

Aaron Gleeman on the Blue Jays.
In addition to ranking first in the AL in offensive production at first base and centerfield thus far, the Blue Jays also rank #1 in the AL in offense by their catchers, which is more than a little surprising. The Jays have accomplished that with perhaps the best platoon in all of baseball: Greg Myers (against righties) and Tom Wilson (against lefties). Now, neither of those guys are great defensively, but they aren't horrible. And boy do they make a perfect combo.

Greg Myers vs righties - .359/.451/.590
Tom Wilson vs lefties - .300/.390/.420
(Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Dave Till reports from Monday's Blue Jays - White Sox game at Skydome. "Paul Konerko's batting mannerisms would not have been tolerated a generation ago. When he comes up - with Carlos Lee on second and nobody out - he pinwheels his bat repeatedly, and then points it towards the mound until the pitcher goes into his set. Can you imagine what Bob Gibson would have done, had somebody indulged in such histrionics against him?" (Batter's Box)

Overpaid? Garcia has been one of baseball's best bargains for years. Defending Freddy. (King County Journal, via U.S.S. Mariner)

Mike Henderson: "[Annika] Sorenstam missed a cut at a golf tournament because she left a few putts short; Freddy is missing out on an otherwise-superb Seattle Mariners season by leaving his pitches long. In fairness, though, quite a few of those Freddy-generated home runs to right field would have been routine fly-ball outs if only Ichiro were 10-feet-five instead of five-feet-10." (Seattle Weekly)

Rob Neyer: "Nolan Ryan isn't the greatest pitcher since World War II, and in fact he's not one of the 10 greatest pitchers since World War II. After the five pitchers -- Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, Warren Spahn, Greg Maddux, and Bob Gibson -- I mentioned in the article about Clemens, I would list the following (in no particular order): Randy Johnson, Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, and Jim Palmer." (

The Score Bard Joe Morgan Chat Wrap. (Scroll down to May 27)
Joey, NJ: Do you think Jesse Orosco is going to be playing until he is 50 years old?

Fifty? Now, that might be tricky.
With old players, teams can get picky.
Although they can play,
Teams might shy away.
If you think that's not true, just ask Rickey.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003
John J Perricone on the Giants: "Let's not let the stunning 18-4 start blind us to the fact that this team is built on solid offense, solid defense, and solid pitching, nothing spectacular other than Superman (who appears to have been hit with some Kryptonite so far this season). They were never going to run away with the NL West, regardless." (Only Baseball Matters)

Zito's mistake allows Twins to rally past A's. The mistake was a three-run pinch-hit homer by Bobby Kielty in the 8th. (

Eric: "It really felt like the Twins were in the ALDS against Oakland again last night when he got up to the plate. Kielty has probably the best batting eye on the team. After getting down 0-2 in the count, he made Zito try to paint the corners, and got the count to 3-2. He then proceeded to jump on Zito's fastball like a pregant lady on a box of Krispy Kremes. It was definitely a 'play-off' moment, and I jumped off the couch yelling when he crushed that ball." (The Baseball Boys)

The Empire strikes back. "Listening to George Steinbrenner's mini-implosion, denying Roger Clemens his 300th win, and hearing the Yankees whine about their plight gave Red Sox fans a good laugh Monday, but it all came to a screeching halt last night in an 11-3 loss to the Yankees before 44,769 at Yankee Stadium that ended the Evil Empire's losing streak at five games." (Boston Globe)

Matthew Bolin: "Now, the Sox are perfectly set up to leave New York down 2-4 in the season series, with only a ½ game lead, as the fumbling Yankees seem to get their mojo back with their series against the Old Towne Team. Today, Mike "the Sox are my biznitch" Mussina is pitching against Derek Lowe, who this season has resembled that one epsiode of "Square Pegs" where Johnny was a home-run hitting dynamo on his home field, but literally lost the ability to play when at some other school. What do you expect, though--this is an odd-numbered year." (Boston Blog Sox, May 28 entry)

Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. East. "Okay, everybody that had the Expos with the second best record in baseball through May, take a step forward. Not all at once, people…" (Baseball Primer)

Moyer deal nothing to Bragg about for Boston. "As [Roger] Clemens nears his 300th victory, consider these comparisons. Since leaving the Red Sox as a free agent following the 1996 season, Clemens is 107-43 and has been paid $59 million. Since the Red Sox traded [Jamie] Moyer to the Mariners earlier that year, he is 105-50 and has been paid $31.5 million." (

Conversation with Vernon Wells.
Question: Torii Hunter has so much energy, he's always bouncing around. Are you as calm inside as you seem outside?

Wells: I keep a lot of things inside. I don't like showing too much emotion. Early in the minor leagues, they wanted me to show more emotion, but it wasn't me. Torii's a fun guy to watch. He always has a good time, always has a smile on his face. I love hanging out with Torii. We worked out together one offseason. We had a great time. We'll probably work out this winter. We're similar in a lot of aspects, but he likes to clown around more than I do.

Question: Who's a better defensive player?

Wells: I've seen him make some unbelievable plays. If we get the exact same ball, who's to say whether I'm gonna have to dive for it and he'll get it standing up, or vice versa? I'll let everybody else make that comparison.

David Pinto lists the major league leaders in Win Shares. Top 5: Delgado-Sheffield-Kearns-Furcal-Soriano. (Baseball Musings)

Dan McLaughlin: "Maybe you've noticed, maybe you haven't, but Robby Alomar's putting together a decent year; even after a fairly slow week, he's still sporting a .361 OBP and a slugging average near .400, he's leading the team in walks and runs scored, and he hasn't been caught stealing in 5 attempts. Lesson: sell. Alomar's still got a big name, and with just this year on his contract, a contending team should be willing to take a flyer." (Baseball Crank)

Mariners' Ichiro still focus of media horde. "'It's so boring,' says Kunitsugu Nishimura, a writer with The Hochi Shimbun newspaper. '"How about today's hit?" "How about today's hit?" Every day.... (But) the Japanese people are hungry for Ichiro.'" (Kansas City Star)

Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Larry Mahnken: "Hey, I have a great idea. Let's spend $170 million on a baseball team--but don't spend ANY money on depth. ANYWHERE." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

Alex Belth interviews Allen Barra on the state of the Yankees. "Have you seen Jeter out in the field? Do you see any sparks coming out of him? I’ve got to say that this is one of the worst defensive infields I’ve ever seen. Ventura can still catch balls hit at him, but he can’t move to either side. It’s just a terrible defensive infield." (Alex Belth's Bronx Banter)

Bad omens, good hitting keep Clemens at 299. He can still get his 300th win against the Red Sox - on the 4th of July! - if he fails to win in his next six starts. (

Prospectus Triple Play: White Sox, Astros, Brewers, A's, Cardinals, Rangers. "Publicly decrying sacrifice hits and stolen bases may have caused the most publicity, but the mainstay of the A's success is their pitching." (Baseball Prospectus)

Jays continue recent success with rout of ChiSox. Don't look now, but the Blue Jays are only 4 games out of first place. They're 18-6 in May. (

Manuel appears to be running out of time. The White Sox are 9-21 against teams with winning records. (

One Joe Morgan Chat Day at a Day. "Did you ever notice that a Joe Morgan chat session is like a trip back in time to the baseball age of jive, when commentators could promulgate stands like wins are all that matter in evaluating pitchers, that ballplayers today are inferior to those in the commentator's day, that RBI is the true measuring stick for a batter, etc. In other words their homespun hokum was the commerce of the day and since no one ever checked any of it out, their word was sacrosanct. Joe's more retro than a J.R. Richard jersey." (Mike's Baseball Rants, May 26 entry)

New weblogs:

     Why I Like Baseball
     Baseball Gal's Ramblings (A's)

Friday, May 23, 2003
The Ultra-Super-Closer. Robert Tagorda: "Many baseball observers, including Scott Miller of, have been puffing about John Smoltz's 72 consecutive appearances in team victories, pointing at the streak as a sign of dominance...Still, is Smoltz more dominant than, say, Eric Gagne? I'd say no." (Priorities and Frivolities)

Prospectus Triple Play: Expos, Giants, Blue Jays. "You can't beat Murphy's Law. Immediately after we sang the praises of the bullpen in our last Giants Triple Play, San Francisco relievers began a meltdown of Schiraldian proportions." (Baseball Prospectus)

Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. East. "I can spit eye-popping Blue Jays numbers at you all day long. The Jays are #1 in the majors in runs scored and runs per game. The Jays are #1 in the majors in OPS. The Jays are tied for #1 in the majors in OBP. The Jays are #1 in the majors in slugging percentage. The Jays are #1 in the majors in batting average. Vernon Wells is on pace for 155 RBI and 121 runs scored. Carlos Delgado leads the AL in OPS and in most runs-above-replacement metrics, and is on pace for 162 RBI himself. Shannon Stewart is on pace to score 117 runs; heck, Josh Phelps is on pace to score 100 runs." (Baseball Primer)

Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. West. "The Mariners have so far aptly answered doubts about how competitive they'll be (it seems so far that the Mariners should be rebuilding like Edgar Martinez should be retiring). Seattle currently owns the best record in the American League--second in the majors to the Atlanta Braves. But this is a team that was on top for much of 2002 before a late-season collapse kept them out of a playoffs. So the census of the chickens has been postponed until such time as they have been safely extricated from their eggs." (Baseball Primer)

Derek Milhous Zumsteg: "[Freddy] Garcia not only has only one good start to his credit since last July, he doesn't care. People boo him because he's not trying, because he's pouting on the mound, and if they wanted to see a toddler throw a tantrum, they'd have stayed home and saved on the babysitter." (U.S.S. Mariner, May 22 entry*)

Jonathan Leshanski is enjoying the Mets again, for now. "When you look at this team and see the NY Mets irregulars (C Vance Wilson, 1B Jason Phillips, SS Joel McEwing, 3B Ty Wigginton, OF Raul Gonzales and tonight’s hero Marco Scutaro) on the field it’s almost refreshing and it makes you believe that this team is beginning to head in the right direction. It even makes you forgive Roger Cedeno (who has been looking like a real ballplayer again) who is obviously trying in the outfield and making contact with the baseball at the plate." (At Home Plate)

Fan tackled by Romano, charged with trespassing. "'That's no place for people to be,' [Dodgers manager Jim] Tracy said. 'You don't belong out there. If I was sitting near someone who did that, I'd tell on them, because that's not right.'" Why would you need to tell on him? He's on the field! (

*Permalink points to the wrong post. Good ol' Blog*Spot.

Thursday, May 22, 2003
Derek: "'s Page 2 is establishing a Whiner's Hall of Fame. Yet neither Tony LaRussa nor Jim Edmonds is currently enshrined. Please help rectify this problem by nominating them for enshrinement. It's your duty as an American and a Cub fan." (Let's Play Two, May 20 entry)

Vina improving at the plate. He's starting to overcome his horrible start. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Matt: "Speaking of Fred Vine, he's been hot lately. I'd still be one of the happiest guys around if we got somebody good in a trade for him, but it's gotta be a pitcher's worst nightmare to face the Cardinals when Vina, Matheny, and Tino are all hot, because when Drew's playing right they'd have to face 8 and 1/2 great hitters. Then again, I think it's a near mathematical impossibility for Vina, Matheny, and Tino even to get on base in the same game. In fact, I'm willing to bet $500 that any time the 3 of those guys reach first base by hit or walk in the same game, it's a comfortable Cardinal victory." (Redbird Nation, May 22 entry)

Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. Central. "All of the strains and pulls and brokes noses have resulted in some funny looking Twins lineups, with Doug Mientkiewicz, a Gold Glove first baseman, and Denny Hocking, a light hitting utility man, both making several starts in right field." (Baseball Primer)

Kansas City 14, Seattle 5. Carlos Beltran hit two three-run homers. Freddy Garcia lost his third straight start. (

Derek Zumsteg on the Wrigley Field Premium scam. "[T]he Cubs went out of their way to create a system that utterly screws the fan so that few good tickets are available at face value. They then don't have to share the revenue they're making on the side, thus screwing the revenue sharing in the CBA they just voted for and creating a weird system so complicated they hope that the average fan would give up." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Angels, Cubs, Tigers. "At 6.5 games out of first place, the Angels desperately need to go on a run in order to keep themselves in the hunt. At this time last year, the Angels were 26-17, and 2.5 games out of first place behind the Mariners. Unlike last season, however, both the A's and Mariners are playing well this year, and are unlikely to give up much ground to the defending World Champs over the next few weeks." (Baseball Prospectus)

Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Rob Neyer takes a look around the majors. "Has anybody else noticed that the A's are relying on...dare we say it?...pitching and defense?" (

David Cameron gives us his AL MVP ballot as of May 20. "Three Mariners hitters in the top ten, and I think I could make a compelling case for Bret Boone ahead of Carlos Delgado. The next time someone tells you that the Mariners are winning with pitching and defense, punch them in the nose." (U.S.S. Mariner)

Mike on the head-first slide. (Mike's Baseball Rants)

Red Sox rally for win. Five runs in the seventh off Jose Contreras. Bruce Chen made a spot start in place of Pedro Martinez, who's day-to-day with a shoulder strain. (

Rock bottom: Mets might lose Piazza for season. Or at least six weeks. (

Prospectus Triple Play: Orioles, Rockies, Mets. "The [Colorado] offense's savior so far has been Preston Wilson, who leads the team in virtually every offensive category except walks and on-base percentage. Wilson came over from the Marlins in a trade over the winter, and he has prospered so far this year. His career in Florida had more or less treaded water over the last four years, possibly because of a preoccupation with his high strikeout totals, but so far this year he has been spectacular, both in and out of Coors." (Baseball Prospectus)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Michael: "OK, so you're not feeling well. What do you do? Why you go seek the heeling powers of The Church of Baseball. We went to 'The Joan' tonight (OK, this is a stretch - I'm calling TPFKAC™ 'The Joan' right now because Joan Cusack is the spokesperson for U.S. Cellular, and I still can't call TPFKAC™ U.S. Cellular Field, so calling it 'The Joan' seems twistedly appropriate.)" (My Mundane Mid-Life)

Ben Jacobs: "On the off chance that the New York papers are reading my blog, I'd like to say one more time: The Red Sox were never, ever even remotely interested in trading for Bartolo Colon. Got that? Never." (Universal Baseball Blog, Inc.)

Mike looks back at the Pine Tar Game. "Brett should have been out. The rule should have been changed to eradicate the inappropriate interpretation in the future. This may seem a logical inconsistency on my part, but I think that as with balls and strikes calls, the most important thing for an ump is consistency." (Mike's Baseball Rants)

Prospectus Triple Play: Red Sox, Reds, Padres. "Shea Hillenbrand continues to be the primary trade bait for the Sox, rumored at various times to be headed to the Mets in an Armando Benitez deal, or to the Cubs in a three-way with the Reds. But if the Sox aren't careful his market value could plummet soon. His batting average has dropped 40 points the past two weeks (he hit .338/.387/.495 in April, .231/.255/.328 so far in May), and he hasn't homered since April 25th." (Baseball Prospectus)

Aaron Gleeman reviews Moneyball. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Brad Zellar praises Ron Gardenhire. (Yard: The Blog)

Toronto hitters pound Chisox. The Blue Jays lead the majors in runs scored with 275 -- 15 more than the second-place Red Sox. (Toronto Star)

New weblogs:

     Buck (Rangers)
     Shea Daily (Mets)

(I mentioned the last one a while ago, but forgot to add it to the links. It's there now.)

Monday, May 19, 2003
A Bronx Tail-Off (Part I). Jay Jaffe assesses the Yankees' hitters at the one-quarter point of the season. (Futility Infielder)

Advance Scout: White Sox, May 19-21. "The message has been sent to Konerko, Thomas, Ordonez et al., and the Jays can't expect a cakewalk this week. A win tonight would set a good tone for the series for our .500 boys, but a breakout game for Chisox hitters might wake up their bats that won't stay slumbering forever. Who would have ever guessed that as of May 19, the White Sox would only be able to count on sending Esteban Loaiza to the All-Star Game in front of their home fans in July?" (Batter's Box)

Prospectus Triple Play: Marlins, Yankees, Pirates. "One of Lloyd McLendon's strengths as a manager is that he doesn't point fingers when his ball club is floundering. However, even he has a breaking point. Thursday, following the Corsairs' 11th loss in 13 tries, the skipper took the opportunity to blast one of his players in the press. The amusing aspect is that his target was Kris Benson, the number one starter in a pretty good Pirates' starting rotation. McLendon's misplaced grousing was not unlike blaming your car's brakes when the engine doesn't turn over in the morning." (Baseball Prospectus)

Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. West. "Los Angeles has had the best pitching in the league, and that’s after accounting for Dodger Stadium. The bullpen has been outstanding, but wear and tear and luck is starting to catch up with them." (Baseball Primer)

Bruce Markusen's Cooperstown Confidential for May 16. "As Kansas City’s manager in the early 1970s, [Jack] McKeon apparently lobbied for a trade that would have sent slugging first baseman John Mayberry and shortstop Freddie "The Flea" Patek to the Yankees for a package of four players. In return, the Royals would have received All-Star catcher Thurman Munson, standout center fielder Bobby Murcer, first baseman Chris Chambliss, and shortstop Jim Mason. Wow. If the deal had come to fruition, the course of American League history would have been altered significantly." (Baseball Primer)

Aaron Gleeman reports from Saturday night's Twins/White Sox game. "Besides seeing the Twins beat the White Sox, I also got a chance to the see the greatest catch I have ever witnessed in person. In that troublesome 7th inning for Mays, Carlos Lee hit a deeeep drive to centerfield. As soon as it left the bat, a couple of White Sox fans sitting by me yelled out: 'There it goes! Yeah baby!' It was high, it was deep and appeared to be heading way over the fence. Of course, I forgot we had Torii Hunter." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Morris shuts out Cubs on 4-hitter. The Cubs are now 4-23 at Busch Stadium over the last four years. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Friday, May 16, 2003
Chat wrap with Bill James. Lots of great stuff.
Jurgen (Toronto): Bill--What's your take on the explosive starts of Alfonzo Soriano and Rocco Baldelli? How do they manage to hit for average and power so well with such poor BB/K ratios? Are they both getting by on such raw talent that the usual rules for evalutating players don't apply?

Bill James: Baldelli's a lot of fun. In my office we were making fun of some scout who compared him to Joe DiMaggio, but when you see him play you realize what people are reacting to. Of course, he doesn't have DiMaggio's entire package, but he does have more than half of it.


Eric (Massachusetts): Bill, is infield defense overrated? I remember that in the offseason Red Sox beat writers and sports radio hosts were critical of them signing Todd Walker over Rey Sanchez. I think Walker brings much more to the table. I'd always take a good hitter/average fielder over a good fielder/average hitter.

Bill James: Well, Walker's been great...absolutely the best #2 hole hitter I ever saw, except that Sandberg hit second one year when he was having an MVP season. But part of the mix is, his defense is just far better than he is given credit for. People got an idea that he couldn't field, but he's been fine. And our infield defense has been fine, which frankly I was very worried about going into the season.


Bill James: Hey, guys, I'd better sign off. Thanks for all your questions...go Red Sox. I'm sorry that we didn't get more questions about Moneyball, and also that no one gave me a clear opportunity to point out that the Red Sox have a better bullpen ERA than the Yankees do, or that we are below the major league average in blown saves. Next time, I guess. Bill

John Gonzalez tells the story of Rangers phenom David Clyde, who was baseball's biggest attraction for a short time in 1973. (Dallas Observer)

Prospectus Triple Play: Diamondbacks, Royals, Phillies. "You read it here first: sometime in the next month, Jeremy Affeldt is going to have That Game. The game where he finally achieves national recognition--a two-hit shutout, a 13-K masterpiece, or maybe both." (Baseball Prospectus)

Thursday, May 15, 2003
Examining the art of evaluating. Rob Neyer interviews Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball.
...[O]nly a fool would buy a baseball team and hire to run it some baseball insider who disdains or misunderstands the Oakland model. Fools sometimes do get their hands on enough money to buy baseball teams, but the odds are against it. And if you step back from American society and ask "What kind of people are getting rich these days?" the answer is increasingly "People like John Henry." That is, people on the nerdly end of the spectrum, who have a comfort with both statistical analysis and decision-making in an uncertain environment. And these people, increasingly, will demand that their teams be run along rational lines. The price they will pay for this is that the pleasure of owning a team will be somewhat reduced, as there will be a lesser role for their whim, and they will be compelled to cede much of the decision-making to professional management.

Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. Central. "If Sammy [Sosa] returns to form and the Cubs get something closer to their previous norms from Moises Alou and Mark Bellhorn, I think they are still the most likely candidate to pull away from this division, with their front-line starting pitching." (Baseball Primer)

Rob Neyer: "Bottom line, it's easy to look at the Braves' record and think they're the same old Braves, here comes yet another division title, etc. But these are not your big brother's Braves, and they haven't won anything yet. So let's wait another month or two before we start printing the playoff tickets, OK?" (

Reed pushes Twins closer to first with shutout of Royals. KC's lead is down to 1 1/2 games. (

Ballpark Visits: Metrodome. Where to stay, where to park, what to do before and after the game, where to sit, what to eat, and more - a complete consumer guide. (BallParkWatch)

Prospectus Triple Play: Braves, Twins, Devil Rays. "Before the season began and the club started filling the fewest seats in the majors, Devil Rays' management made noise about boosting their miniscule payroll next year. Should they follow through on that threat, they might want to throw some money [Aubrey] Huff's way. At age 26, he has a few All-Star games in his future." (Baseball Prospectus)

Crowded Cincinnati outfield has Guillen talking trade. Ken Griffey Jr. is back, and Jose Guillen is the odd man out. (

Aaron Gleeman: "As for the Reds trading Guillen so he can 'go somewhere else where [he] can play every day' - I am pretty sure that place doesn't exist, at least not on the planet he and I both live on." Not even Detroit, Aaron? (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Mike and Yikes! II. Will Mike Maroth be the first 20-game loser in over 20 years? (Mike's Baseball Rants)

New weblogs:

     Remember '84 (Tigers)
     The New York Yankees Report

Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Loaiza Has O's Number: 0.
The Baltimore Orioles wanted veteran starting pitching this winter to give their prospects more time to develop in the minors, so they dished out $7.5 million to Omar Daal and another $1 million to Rick Helling; combined, they have given the Orioles four wins in 15 starts.

For $500,000 -- chump change in baseball's twisted economics -- the Orioles could have had Esteban Loaiza and made their own hitters happy in the process, for the simple reason that they would not have had to face him.
(Washington Post)

Charles Laquidara: "SO..... I sign up for MLB TV in order to get the games live here in Hawaii. I sign up to get all the Red Sox games, I pay through a credit card and -Voila! Right?? ....No...Not quite... The credit card I gave has a Massachusetts billing address, so guess what? I am frigging prevented from watching all the Red Sox home games (6000 miles away), because their computer flags me AS LIVING IN MASSACHUSETTS AND SUBJECT TO BLACKOUT OF ALL HOME GAMES!!!!" Of course, MLB customer service took care of the problem right away! (In the Mind of Laquidara)

Eddie Matz: "What's worse than losing a game to the worst team in the league? How about losing three games to the worst team in the league. In a row. At home." (Baltimore City Paper)

Where Have All The Jo-Jos, Bobos, And Mules Gone? In the 1929 World Series, there were Lefty, Mule, Bing, Homer, Rube, Footsie, Sheriff, Kiki, Woody, Gabby, Riggs, Zack, Chick, and Hack.. In the 1986 World Series, all we had were Mookie and Oil Can. "Now look at the boxscores from last year's Series. There's not a good, enduring nickname in the bunch, and if a guy like David Eckstein isn't ripe for a good moniker, who isn't? I say it's time we start tagging these modern players, pronto. Any ideas?" (Yard: The Blog)

The C & C Baseball Factory. Christian Ruzich and Will Carroll discuss pitching injuries and the Cubs. (The Cub Reporter)

Reds rip Cardinals again. "Someone inform Bill DeWitt Jr., Fred Hanser, Andrew Baur and the other members of the St. Louis Cardinals, LP. There has been a transfer of title. The local major league baseball team is now owned by the Cincinnati Reds, certified with a 7- 2 victory on Tuesday night." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Brian: "Groundhog Day continued for the Cardinals tonight. This was supposed to be a brand-new day in St. Louis -- the team back at home, sleeping in their comfy beds, dried out from the rains in Chicago and the thunder in Cincinnati. Instead we re-lived the same old same old: another early Reds lead, a couple more big Reds homers off of hanging breaking balls, another loss to a questionable Reds starter. Haven't we been here before?" (Redbird Nation, May 14 entry)

Everett can still get offensive: Carl bashes ball, Boston. "I don't like this town, Boston is not a fun town for a person like me." (Boston Herald)

Edward Cossette: "No, Carl the Troll, it isn't. How could a city that prides itself on having an erudite culture be a fun place for someone who doesn't believe in dinosaurs and thinks the moon landing was faked?" (Bambino's Curse)

Fearing Freddy's Fall. Derek Zumsteg on Garcia's struggles. (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: White Sox, Cardinals, Rangers. "There's no clearer sign that a guy is pressing than when he's swinging a lot early in the count, and that is exactly what is happening with the struggling Joe Crede, whose average of 3.19 pitches per plate appearance is among the lowest in the league. Crede's defense is an asset, and he has nothing more to prove at Triple-A, so the Sox are going to have to stick this one out, and work on getting his confidence back up, perhaps resting him against tough right-handed pitchers." (Baseball Prospectus)

Dan Werr presents maps of the US showing each team's territory, as defined by MLBTV. (Baseball Primer)

Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. East . "The NL East is looking to be the strongest division, where even the Mets and Marlins are playing the other divisions to a tie, while the Braves are smashing them, and the Expos are just better. What really makes that good is that the Braves, while in first by three games, have struggled within the division – that means one fantastic divisional race – wild card or not." (Baseball Primer)

Bright angle at hot corner. Gordon Edes on Bill Mueller. (Boston Globe)

Mussina merely mortal to Angels, loses first. Derek Jeter is back, though. (

New weblogs:

     94 Years and Counting (Cubs)
     Friends of Slugger & Wally (Red Sox)
     Yard: The Blog (Twins)
     The Flagrant Fan

Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Alan Schwarz interviews Hank Blalock, who's hitting .387. (

A View to a Thrill. "It's a lot of cash. But man, this is wicked sick. Anybody who's sitting anywhere else is a sucker." - Kevin Connor, a fan who flew from Miami to spend the day atop the Green Monster. (

Advance Scout: Devil Rays, May 13-15. "Tampa has a banged-up lineup that should be contained by the Jays' starters this week -- although all bets are off in Joe Kennedy starts, as far as the Jays are concerned. The cross-body-throwing lefty has been pure Kryptonite to the Blue Jays since he entered the league." (Batter's Box)

Prospectus Triple Play: Expos, Giants, Blue Jays. "The adroit snarfing of Doug Davis off the waiver wire has sent the winds of change blowing through the [Toronto] rotation. Davis, a soft-tossing former Ranger, is by no means a great pitcher, but he's a perfectly respectable bottom-of-the-rotation innings sponge. He's also 27 and he works cheap, so at this point, you make the move, hope for a performance spike, and worst-case you've got a replacement for Mark (Don't call him Lance) Hendrickson or Pete Walker in place." (Baseball Prospectus)

Allen St. John profiles Rickey Henderson of the Newark Bears. (Village Voice)

Art Martone on the Red Sox' greatest strength: depth.
It's counter to the way Sox teams traditionally have been built, and it's a little too esoteric for the average fan to grasp. Many of us, as kids, would compare the Red Sox to other teams -- usually the Yankees -- position-by-position, but it's a little hard to do these days. ("You have Jason Giambi at first base, and we have Kevin Millar and David Ortiz and Shea Hillenbrand. You have Alfonso Soriano at second, and we have Todd Walker and Bill Mueller and Damian Jackson. You have . . . ") Most fans don't like it, because most fans don't equate quantity with quality.

Epstein -- or the Sox' management team -- made the decision, though, that this team needed quantity. That's why they wouldn't pay Ugueth Urbina the $8 million it would have cost, via arbitration, to retain him. That's why they were delighted when Cliff Floyd rejected Boston's three-year, $22 million offer; they get the draft choices, and the Mets get an injury prone corner outfielder who's heading into his 30s. That's why they wouldn't trade for Bartolo Colon, he of the $8 million salary and impending free agency. (Anyone notice, by the way, that Colon is 2-3 with a 4.37 E.R.A. and Fossum is 3-1 with a 4.38 E.R.A.?) The $15-16 million the Sox would have had to have paid for any two of those players is about what they paying for Millar, Walker, Mendoza, Embree and Mueller combined. And it's not costing them a whole lot more for Giambi ($2 million), Mike Timlin ($1.85 million) and Ortiz ($1.25 million). Even more importantly: There's money left over to make a trading-deadline acquisition, and maybe even a big one, come July.
(Providence Journal)

Dan McLaughlin on the 1974 Dodgers, 1988 Mets and 1998 Astros, excellent teams that are now almost forgotten. (Providence Journal)

David Cameron: "There simply isn't a better hitter in the American League than Edgar Martinez right now. What Edgar Martinez is doing at the age of 40 is historic. Remarkably, no one is noticing, because we've all learned to take him for granted." (U.S.S. Mariner, May 13 entry)

Phillies enter new arena: Selling new ballpark's name.
In Phoenix, the executives of Bank One can't be too thrilled that virtually everyone calls the Diamondbacks' home the BOB, rather than Bank One Ballpark, a name for which they're paying $2.2 million a year...In Philadelphia, marketing experts say that if Citizens Bank turns out to be the buyer, the question will arise: Should the ballpark be labeled Citizens Park, which sounds civic-minded but could strike bank officials as too vague, or Citizens Bank Park, which could come across as too mercenary?
(Philadelphia Inquirer)

Fish Fry, Week 6. Don Malcolm on the Marlins. "[Josh] Beckett, an impetuous young man of 23, was concealing his arm problems from his manager and his pitching coach. This was a far more troubling problem than pitch counts. If a manager and pitching coach could not establish a forthcoming relationship with their pitchers, then they would be putting their pitchers at undue risk, simply due to the 'failure to communcate' (yes, that misspelling is intentional; and good night, Strother Martin, wherever your ectoplasm may be)." (Big Bad Baseball)

Blue Jays $2 Wednesdays with Expedite Plus. Wrigley Premium in reverse. (Toronto Blue Jays News)

Happy Mother's Joe Morgan Chat Day! (Mike's Baseball Rants)

Rob Neyer tries to assemble a competitive team out of the Tigers', Devil Rays', and Brewers' best players. Is it possible? (

Aaron Gleeman takes an in-depth look at Rafael Palmeiro's career. "He began as a sweet-swinging singles hitter whom many thought would never develop power and transformed himself into one of the most consistent power hitters of his era and one of only 19 players in major league history with 500+ career home runs. The end result is a remarkably productive and consistently good career that out-classes the careers of perhaps anyone that is not in the Hall of Fame and certainly compares to many of those in the Hall of Fame." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Prospectus Triple Play: Astros, Brewers, A's. "People will come to watch good baseball anywhere, but they'll only pay for bad baseball when the park is pleasant. Not many people outside of Wisconsin would have cause to know this, and not many within the organization would have the stomach to admit it, but Miller Park just isn't particularly nice. It's New Comiskey North." (Baseball Prospectus)

T.R. Sullivan on the disappointing White Sox, the resurgent Reds, and more, including possibly the worst limerick ever written. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Greg Cote on Jack McKeon, the third-oldest manager in baseball history (behind Connie Mack and Casey Stengel). (Miami Herald)

New weblogs:

     Angels News and Views
     Baseball by the Bay (Giants and A's)
     Tribe Tracker (Indians)
     Philling Station (Phillies)
     No Pepper (Braves)

Monday, May 12, 2003
Stephen on the Piazza-to-first-base mess: "I can't understand why this is such a friggin' problem. Why didn't Phillips and Howe sit down with Piazza and just lay out a scenario of the move to first base. It's not like he's being asked to go to Iraq to install a new government, he's being asked to do what Yogi Bera, Bill Dickey, and Johnny Bench had to do, move out from behind the dish." (The Eddie Kranepool Society, May 9 entry)

Derek Milhous Zumsteg reports from Safeco. "[Mark] McLemore's defense at short could only get worse if there was a large dog (an adult husky or malamute, say) attacking his ankle all game long." (U.S.S. Mariner)

Nate Silver: "Not since Wilford Brimley's turn in the movie Cocoon has there been such a popular matinee idol in Tampa. Rocco Baldelli looks great in a uniform, has a fantastic baseball name, and with his Rhode Island roots, keeps it real for Florida's large community of New England expats. Oh yeah, he's also hitting .355, in spite of making solid contact about as often as a Palm Beach County voter with a punchcard ballot." (

Will Giants chase Guerrero? John Shea: "Maybe it's time to start considering a successor [to Barry Bonds], and who better than Vladimir Guerrero, the five-tool marvel who's thriving in near obscurity in his seventh season in Montreal?" (San Francisco Chronicle)

Doug Pappas: "The new CBA renames the luxury tax the 'Competitive Balance Tax.' It really should be called the 'Yankee Tax, or Stupidity Surcharge For Anyone Else Dumb Enough to Owe It.'" (Baseball Prospectus)

New Diamondbacks blog: But it's a DRY heat.

Hall of Fame legend looks back on career that began in Billings. Interview with George Brett.
The designated hitter.

The DH I love. I think it's great. It gave people like me who put in their time a chance to maybe extend their careers a couple years, after playing on Astroturf.

And get that 3,000th hit.

Well, I mean, I would have got that regardless. But it would've probably taken me an extra year because I probably would've blown out my knee again playing on (bleeping) Astroturf. I blew it out five times, four times. I am not an Astroturf fan. It made me a better hitter, because I wasn't a home run hitter. But I wasn't a home run hitter because I played in the biggest park in the American League. You play 81 games in one ballpark, you'd better be well adept at playing in that ballpark.

So our theory was we always had guys who could run and had guys who hit it to all fields. Now if I came up playing in Tiger Stadium or in Yankee Stadium, I probably would've been a completely different hitter, you know? But I took advantage of what I had. And I had the biggest park in the American League and a fast field. So what do you do? You hit grounders and line drives and run like a bat out of hell.
(Billings Gazette)

Bittersweet breakout: Giambi's 4-for-4 game marred by error. He improved his line to .209/.346/.448. Higher OBP than Nomar, Damon, or Varitek. (Boston Herald)

All player records down the drain at Wrigley. The Cardinals led the Cubs 11-9 in the fifth inning at Wrigley. Then the game was called because of rain. (USA Today)

Friday, May 09, 2003
Dialed In. Chris Dial on early Cy Young favorites, Sammy Sosa's (beanball-related?) slump, and hope for the Mets. (Baseball Primer)

Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. East. "Nick Johnson continues to remind us all why we were so nuts about him in 1999 and now has hit his seasonal high OPS (so far!) of 1.029. 30 walks and counting." (Baseball Primer)

Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. Central. "One of the lone bright spots [for the Tigers] over the last couple weeks is that rookie pitcher Jeremy Bonderman has started to pitch pretty well. Bonderman had a 15.63 ERA after his first two major league starts, but has since pitched 25 2/3 innings with a 3.37 ERA in four starts...Of course, the bad news is that the Tigers let Bonderman throw 118 pitches in 5 2/3 innings on April 29th against the Orioles." (Baseball Primer)

Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. West. "Other than losing two of three to the Yankees, the Mariners have looked as good as a big plate of some kind of really good food on a table where the other food is bad and covered with mold and stuff." (Baseball Primer)

Over here! D.C. waving $338M plan to land Expos.
D.C. officials say they will raise the money three ways: a 10 percent tax at the stadium, an additional tax on baseball players' salaries and a "ballpark fee" to large district businesses. Any company earning more than $3 million a year would have to pay the fee, at rates that would vary according to company size.

The D.C. Council must approve the plan, and Council Chairman Linda Cropp has said she would reinstate the "ballpark fee" only it if the business community wants it. Congress also would have to approve some of the funding mechanisms, including city borrowing.

The Baltimore Orioles have vowed to fight a move of the Expos to the capital area, saying it would violate their franchise rights.

Doug Pappas: "If the D.C. Council approves this proposal, Oregon's bid is doomed, and Virginia may have to open its wallet again to stay in the running." (Doug's Business of Baseball Weblog)

Mike on LVMVP's (Least Valuable MVP's), players who followed MVP seasons with bad years. (Mike's Baseball Rants)

New weblogs: Diamondback Bites, Portland Sox Fan (Red Sox) and Westwood Blues (Giants).

Rivalries: The teams that we love to hate #1 Giants-Dodgers. "There is an inexplicable spirit and intensity at these games that you can actually feel; everyone finds themselves becoming a part of it. To the fans it doesn't even seem to matter if their team is having a bad season, as long as they beat the other - at all costs." (At Home Plate) (via The Southpaw)

Prospectus Triple Play: Angels, Cubs, Tigers. "Frankly, not too many teams would suffer a significant drop-off in production if they lost Darin Erstad for two to three weeks. Despite early indications that he would develop into a hitter with good speed, patience, and doubles power, Erstad has seemingly turned himself into a defensive specialist over the past few years, earning a number of Gold Gloves, but posting only one season in which he slugged above .400. Nevertheless, the Angels appear to be just one of those teams." (Baseball Prospectus)

Thursday, May 08, 2003
There are very few Wes Ferrells out there. Rob Neyer on pitchers who can hit. (

Homer-happy Reds get three more from Boone. They swept four from the Cardinals. (

Mike Kiley: "How about Antonio Alfonseca [for Shea Hillenbrand]?" (Chicago Sun-Times)

Christian Ruzich: "As far as getting Hillenbrand for Alfonseca, I'd say it worth more than talking over. It's a great trade for the Cubs. It will also never happen, because Theo Epstein isn't an idiot. Heck, might as well see if he's interested in trading Nomar. These sorts of trade 'suggestions' are why I don't read the MLB forums. I certainly don't expect to see them from a professional reporter." (The Cub Reporter)

Alex Belth interviews Rob Neyer, Part I. (Bronx Banter)

Alex Belth interviews Rob Neyer, Part II. (Bronx Banter)

Fish Fry, Week 5. "[A.J.] Burnett’s injury has brought new attention to the 'theories' behind pitch counts, but mostly in a 'sound bite' situation—which is mostly what the subject is good for, given the paucity of actual cause-and-effect evidence." (Big Bad Baseball)

Prospectus Triple Play: Mets, Rockies, Orioles.
It's time for the Mets to move on, to get someone with a player development background in the GM's seat and cut ties with the team that almost went all the way in 2000. The key is that the Mets must commit. They can't get caught up in the same cycle that the Madison Square Garden teams have in their sports, unable to rebuild for fear of alienating the fan base. The Mets have to sacrifice a year or two of relevance to be ready to take the city back in 2005, when the Yankees' backloaded contracts and own aging roster force them into a similar position.
(Baseball Prospectus)

From the Mailbag at Baseball Prospectus. Jonah Keri: "It's not like any one Angel suddenly hit 57 homers when the previous career high was six, but a huge number of them took significant steps up all at once. The team was also extraordinarily healthy all year long. While it's possible those two events could repeat themselves, it's highly unlikely that the breadth of improvements and health match or even approach what we saw in 2002."

Jim Mudcat Grant's Homepage. Twelve African American pitchers have won 20 games in a season. How many can you name? Click the "12 Black Aces" button for the answer. (I got 9, but I admit I wouldn't have remembered Grant if he hadn't been the one asking the question.)

Bobby's Sports and News Bloggy has been all baseball since at least April 25. Check it out.

New weblogs in the left-hand column:

     Out of Left Field Mariners Blog
     Replacement Level
     Thoughts from Diamond Mind
     bRING iT hOME

Wednesday, May 07, 2003
Young outruns cycle, Tigers clinch rare series win. Dmitri Young hit a single, two triples and two homers. It was the first two-triple, two-homer game since Willie Mays in 1958, as Baseball Musings points out. (

Beat 'em like they stole something (Part Two). Aaron Gleeman on the 1976 A's, who stole 341 bases. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Grudzielanek trade works out for Cubs. So far. (Rockford Register Star)

The Can't Miss Kid isn't missed. Mike Nadel on Bobby Hill, who wasn't in Chicago for Bobby Hill Bobblehead Day (he was in AAA). (Peoria Journal Star)

Getting a better read on balls and strikes. Rob Neyer likes Questec. (

Alan Schwarz interviews Eric Chavez.
Question: You told me last year that you hate playing third base (rather than shortstop) because the game looks goofy to you from that angle. The Gold Glove third baseman hates the position?

Chavez: [Laughs.] I don't dread it like I used to. It's still not my favorite position on the field. His [points to Miguel Tejada] is. But I'm definitely feeling better there now. It's the same thing as lefties -- me running out there and getting used to it.

Nen's season ends before it can begin.
The shoulder surgery on Giants closer Robb Nen today not only will end his season but also could end his career, a team official said Tuesday.

Nen, 33, has a partially torn right rotator cuff.

"Make no mistake about it, this is a serious surgery," trainer Stan Conte said. "There are no guarantees in any of this, and Robb knows that. Is it career-threatening? Absolutely."
(The Mercury News)

Brian Carstens went to see the Cubs® play the Rockies in Denver. "Anyway, I really was impressed with Coors Field. It's in downtown Denver, and unlike Minute Maid Park in Houston, it actually feels like it belongs downtown. We sat in the upper deck, but I felt much closer to the field than I do in the upper deck in Arlington." (The [Untitled] Cubs Page)

Advance Scout: Rangers, May 6-8. "So the Jays have turned things around with pitching and defence. It should be all too fresh in the Jay hurlers' minds, though, that the Rangers lineup can put up a lot of crooked numbers (sometimes, sadly, even with a straight number preceding it)." (Batter's Box Baseball Blog)

Jays jack five homers in romp past Rangers. The Blue Jays were the ones putting up most of the crooked numbers last night. (

Derek Zumsteg: "[Todd] Jones has the right to spout off and say whatever he wants. If he wants to join the International Flat Earth Society, more power to him. However, baseball is a business that depends on the goodwill of the general population, and baseball is right to take a strong stance against players who have these views, and if that includes running them out of the game, so be it." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Red Sox, Reds, Padres. "When Jeremy Giambi started the season hitting .158/.333/.368, the Red Sox front office could not have been happy, although they could take solace in the fact that he was still walking and hitting for power (when he did hit). However, since then Giambi has virtually disappeared, with the stathead fave hitting just .056/.190/.111 in limited playing time since then." (Baseball Prospectus)

Tuesday, May 06, 2003
Chat wrap with Rob Neyer. "No Yankee is indispensable, and I find the notion that Jeter's indispensable pretty silly, considering how well the Yanks have played without him. If there's an indispensable player in the majors, it's Barry Bonds, as he's the only player who turns a good team into a great team." (

The Southpaw reviews MVP Baseball 2003.

May Joe Morgan Chat Day from Mike's Baseball Rants.

Prospectus Triple Play: Yankees, Marlins, Pirates. "Nick Johnson's 16-game walk streak ended with a pinch-hit flyout against Keith Foulke on Sunday afternoon. Johnson fell just shy of Willie Randolph's [Yankee] record of 17 games, but more importantly, he may have cemented his role with the team during the run, in which he hit .321/.550/.509 and scored 17 runs." (Baseball Prospectus)

Valdes' return could give Rangers fresh start. "His return is important for a rotation that has had one consistent performer, veteran right-hander John Thomson. The rest of the rotation -- an assortment of potentially good young arms -- has not hit its stride, is taxing the bullpen and forcing the Rangers to make plans on the run." (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Scott: "I feel like the Rangers are in good hands, almost like if the game stays close, then Buck will find a way to bring the Rangers a win." (Buck and a 1/2, April 29 entry)

Bruce Jenkins has some advice for Bud Selig. "The home-field-advantage team in the World Series [should be] the one with the best regular-season record. After two comical years of letting the All-Star Game decide it, that experiment will be roundly rejected. It wouldn't be a whole lot less appropriate if you decided it with a pancake flip-off." (San Francisco Chronicle)

'Tattoo Night' to 'Mullet Night,' baseball stays fun. Minor league promotions from around the continent. (Florida Today, via BallParkWatch)

Strange days for strange team. Lonnie Wheeler on the Reds. (Cincinnati Post)

Time's up for Manuel. Jay Mariotti calls for the White Sox' manager's head. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Wrong guy is on Sox hot seat. The right guy, says Paul Ladewsky,, not Kenny Williams, not Jerry Reinsdorf, but hitting coach Gary Ward. (Daily Southtown)

TV blackouts in area drive A's fans mad.
"We're missing out on a golden age of A's baseball," said Tyler Bleszinski, a diehard A's fan living in Sacramento. "The people who want to watch the games most are being left out in the cold."

The problem is, Sacramento is close enough to Oakland to face A's blackout restrictions, yet far enough away that fewer than half of the team's broadcast games are available.
(Sacramento Bee)

Don Malcolm: "The Tigers are 1-4 this month (as of May 5), which projects out to six or seven wins; that'd be double what they managed in April, a month in which their hitters were historically anemic. The question is-did they, in fact, post the worst hitting month of all time?" (Baseball Primer)

Behind the Mask Q&A. Jason Grady interviews umpire Jim Evans. "The most controversial and abrasive managers were Billy Martin, Earl Weaver, and Dick Williams. Each of them used umpires to motivate their players and to entertain fans. Personally, I respected each of them as excellent managers. However, they were very unfair and totally disrespectful of the game at times." (Baseball Prospectus)

Beat 'em like they stole something. Aaron Gleeman on the Marlins' base stealing. They have 52 steals, twice as many as the second-in-the-majors Angels. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

As home runs rise, stolen bases fall. Rob Neyer:
These things -- home runs and stolen bases -- are not completely unrelated, for one oft-mentioned reason and one less-mentioned reason.

The oft-mentioned reason is that cited by Bobby Valentine: The greater the chance of the baserunner scoring on a subsequent home run, the less sense it makes for that baserunner to risk removing himself from the inning with an unsuccessful steal attempt.

The less-mentioned reason is that few players can both hit many home runs and steal many bases. And when there's a premium put on home runs, it's easier for the home-run hitter to find a place in the lineup.

3 Stadiums / 3 Days. The Baseball Boys report from Miller, U.S. Cellular and Wrigley.

Monday, May 05, 2003
Prospectus Triple Play: Indians, Dodgers, Mariners. "Did you hear that? That was the sound of the Dodger bullpen slamming the door and bolting it shut. I know this because it's a sound that's been heard quite often this past month--more often, even, than the sounds of a disappointed crowd begging the offense to manufacture some runs." (Baseball Prospectus)

Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. West. "Jose Cruz has been a world-beater. Simply let go by the Blue Jays because of his projected arbitration salary, his signing has been the biggest reason for the Giants' offensive success to date." (Baseball Primer)

Friday, May 02, 2003
Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. Central.
A sausage race can pack them in
But never brings them back.
A bobble head's allure is thin
Unless a fan's on crack.

A Brewers game all by itself
Just doesn't seem that groovy.
But fans will come if we can say,
"We'll put you in a movie."
(Baseball Primer)

Things I've Learned Watching Baseball on TiVo by Derek Zumsteg. "First, ties do not go to the runner. Ties go to the defense. The runner needs to clearly beat the throw to the glove to be safe at first." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Diamondbacks, Royals, Phillies. "[Mike MacDougal's] 10-for-10 start in save opportunities was built on a freakish collection of baserunning errors--no less than five opposing baserunners ran themselves into needless outs in his first 10 appearances. His two blown saves are testimony to the fact that MacDougal simply doesn't throw enough strikes to be a reliable ninth-inning option. For the season, his strike percentage is less than 54%, which is down in Mitch Williams territory." (Baseball Prospectus)

Marlins pitcher begins 12-to-18-month recovery. 26-year-old A.J. Burnett, who led the NL with 5 shutouts last year, underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. (

Aaron Gleeman: "There is just no way a reasonable person can look at how A.J. Burnett has been handled over the past 12-15 months and come to a conclusion that in any way suggests the Florida Marlins 'were trying to protect the kid from the first day.' Not only is Jeff Torborg an idiot that abuses his pitchers and then is confused when they come up injured, he is an idiot that then lies about it in such a way that is nothing if not blatant." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Mike Lupica on the mistakes Steve Phillips has made since the Mets played in the 2000 World Series. A long list. (New York Daily News)

Bruce Markusen's Cooperstown Confidential for May 2. How to fix the Mets; the Cubs®' third-base woes; and more. (Baseball Primer)

Thursday, May 01, 2003
Mike Wilkinson: "[Mark] Bellhorn has been struggling, but with the rumored Shea Hillenbrand trade on the back burner, I really think Bellhorn needs to be out there getting significant at-bats everyday. I believe the best way to cure a slump is to hit out of it, not to 'take four or five days off and get his head straight.'" (Out in the Bleachers, May 1 entry)

Dan Sheetz: "Hillenbrand has Cubs chump written all over him. Questionable in the field. Very impatient with a bad OBP. Little power to speak of. Sounds like Bellhorn without the versatility, power, and OBP. Trading Cruz for this guy would be a big mistake. What happened to Mike Lowell? Is he still available?" (Dan's Cublog)

Josh Schulz: "Albert Pujols is injured. He can't throw. But there he is, roaming left, a moment of intensity away from blowing his elbow out and missing signifigant time. Or derailing his career. Or ending it. All it took was a three game sweep by the Braves, to put La Russa into this state. A complete panic that has led to the Cardinals putting their young star on very very thin ice. Remember Rick Ankiel? Remember La Russa's stealth game one starter act? Remember how that turned out?" (Go Cardinals, April 29 entry)

Prospectus Triple Play: Braves, Twins, Devil Rays. "Neglecting to play Bobby Kielty full-time, as either an outfielder or a DH, is kind of like hiring David Mamet to adapt a screenplay but only putting him in charge of the copy-editing." (Baseball Prospectus)

Paul Lukas: "The recent incidents in which fans tossed cell phones at Texas outfielder Carl Everett and San Diego third baseman Sean Burroughs got Uni Watch wondering if Everett or Burroughs might choose to join a very exclusive fraternity: players who've worn batting helmets while playing the field." (Village Voice)

Thanks for visiting.