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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Organizational Meeting: Yankees. Alex Belth and Larry Mahnken talk about the team. (Wait 'Til Next Year)

Little's Firing a Big Mistake. So says Adrian Wojnarowski. (

Ben Jacobs does a great job of refuting Wojnarowski's column, item by item. (Universal Baseball Blog, Inc.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Aaron Gleeman on Derek Jeter's postseason clutch hitting.
I imagine if the numbers I just showed had been put up by any number of other players, some form of media would have picked up on it. If Barry Bonds was hitting .214 with runners in scoring position over the course of four post-seasons, I suspect you'd have heard about it by now. And if Manny Ramirez was batting just .176/.263/.323 in "close and late" playoff situations over four years, I can almost guarantee Tim McCarver would be talking about it every time Manny came to the plate.
(Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Free Agents like crazy. Bryan looks at this year's class. (Wait 'Til Next Year)

New weblogs:

     JK's Yankee Flow
     Dick Allen's Baseball Blog
     Aisle 528 (Cubs)
     West 116th Street

Monday, October 27, 2003
Beckett pitches Marlins to Series title. Fish Fry, Week 30. (Yahoo!)

Alex Belth: "I feel more resigned and wistful than enraged or bitter. Had the Yankees played better and then lost, that would have been something different. But they didn't deserve to win, so what can you do but shrug your shoulders, and appreciate what the Marlins have accomplished?" (Bronx Banter)

Mike: "This is the third in a string of meaningless teams winning meaningless titles." (Mike's Baseball Rants)

Hello Goodbye. Rich Lederer compares Roger Clemens and Josh Beckett. (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)

Internet Baseball Awards: The 2003 Results.
NL MVP - Bonds, SF
AL MVP - A. Rodriguez, TEX
NY Cy Young - Prior, CHC
AL Cy Young - Halladay, TOR
NL Rookie - Webb, AZ
AL Rookie - Berroa, KC
NL Manager - McKeon, FLA
AL Manager - Pena, KC
(Baseball Prospectus)

Potential free agents. The hot stove season starts now. (

Niles takes "a look at the short list of clubs that might be spending big this off-season." (Some Calzone for Derek)

Friday, October 24, 2003
Marlins move within one win of title. They took a 6-2 lead into the ninth and went on to win 6-4. (Yahoo!)

Larry Mahnken: "If you're going to focus on one reason the Yankees are one game away from losing the World Series to a vastly inferior team, look at the offense. They've failed to come through with clutch hits time and again this series, failed to score nearly as many runs as they reasonably should have expected to. There's been bad defense, and some poor managerial decisions, but if the Yankees were hitting anywhere near as well as they should be, it wouldn't matter." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

Down the Wells. Mike analyzes Game 5. (Mike's Baseball Rants)

King Kaufman: "This is just a hunch, but it feels like McKeon is leaning toward starting Beckett in Game 6. Managers get understandably enamored with their aces in the postseason, and keep running them out there on three days' rest despite overwhelming evidence that this is a bad idea. Simply put, Josh Beckett -- to use the example at hand -- on three days' rest isn't Josh Beckett. He's a guy in Beckett's uniform who doesn't pitch as well. Especially with a game in hand, McKeon should take his chances with the struggling Willis, who has pitched well in relief in the World Series, and have a rested Beckett available if Game 7 becomes necessary." (

Prospectus Triple Play: Orioles, Rockies, Mets. "Last time, we acknowledged that Colorado is stuck in a bit of rut, not being quite bad enough to tear down and rebuild, but not being quite good enough to make a few small changes to get back into contention. Perhaps, however, Colorado really is closer to contention than we gave them credit for last time." (Baseball Prospectus)

Cubs' season over, but scams go on and on. Season ticket holders who paid for World Series ticket won't get their money back - it'll be applied to next year's ticket purchase. A nice interest-free loan from the fans to the team. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Building an Ass-kicking Cubs team. Part I: Sustainability. "Before we start handicapping 2004, let's get one thing straight. The 2003 Cubs were fun and exciting, and they nearly made it to the World Series. But they did not kick ass. And whatever success that roster had, it was not sustainable." (The Cub Reporter)

Building an Ass-kicking Cubs team. Part II: The Starting Pitching. "The NLCS is now officially spilt milk, but we are left to wonder what the long-term effects are going to be on these guys. The Cubs had four starters throw over 200 IP for the first time since 1975, and the two youngest (Prior and Zambrano) far exceeded their career highs while the other two (Wood and Matt Clement) came very close. The question now is whether this will this carry over, in terms of injury or loss of effectiveness, into 2004." (The Cub Reporter)

Building an Ass-kicking Cubs team. Part III: The Bullpen. "I think Hendry has an opportunity to save about $5 million on next year's bullpen, and at the same time actually improve it, but I expect him to waste money on shiny baubles that would be better spent on the offense or on a fifth starter. Overall, bullpens are very hard to handicap, but I see the Cubs fielding a bullpen in 2004 that is no worse than this year's, and perhaps significantly improved." (The Cub Reporter)

Thursday, October 23, 2003
These fish can play: Marlins even it up. The Yankees got two runs with two out in the ninth to tie it, but the Marlins won it in the 12th on Alex Gonzalez's homer. (Yahoo!)

Joe gambles & loses with call for Weaver. John Harper: "Torre must have been feeling bulletproof. If he were playing blackjack, he'd have asked for a hit on 19." (NY Daily News)

Diary of a Madman (World Series, Game Four).
"The New Mr. October" is off to a rough start tonight. Alfonso Soriano singles to lead things off and then Jeter (who will hereby be referred to as "Jetes" and/or "Mr. Clutch") hits a weak little pop up in the infield. The ball drops, but Jeter just stands at home plate, allowing Luis Castillo and Alex Gonzalez to turn the double-play.

Tim McCarver, who I believe is in love with Jetes in the same manner little girls are in love with Justin Timberlake, has the following reaction to the double-play: "It is weird to see Jeter not running on that play."

Wow Tim, thanks. For a minute there I thought you would be afraid to criticize Mr. Clutch. Can you imagine if Manny Ramirez had done something like this during the ALCS? McCarver would have spent the entire game ripping him a new one.

Now, as if that weren't enough, McCarver is giving Mr. Clutch credit for keeping Roger Clemens under control during the whole mess during Game Four of the ALCS. I wonder sometimes if McCarver stalks Jetes during the off-season, and if Mr. Clutch has ever had to get a restraining order against him. At some point in this game I fully expect to hear McCarver say that "Derek Jeter sure is dreamy."
(Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Series shows why steals overrated. Rob Neyer: "Early during Game 3 Tuesday night, someone asked me, 'Hey Neyer, what are you going to say if the Marlins win 1-0 because Pierre went all the way to second on that blooper in the first?' I would have said, 1) 'Lucky hit, but nice running,' and 2) 'Wow, great pitching, Marlins!' It was funny, wasn't it, how the stories about Game 1 centered on Pierre's leadoff bunt single, and treated the Marlins' pitching -- which limited the Yankees' great lineup to just two runs -- as if it were just sort of ... there?" (

I don't know what this has to do with baseball, but I thought I'd mention it anyway:

Blogosmear - Gregg Easterbrook and the perils of writing before you think. Since the typical discussion of movie violence contains no mention of studio executives' religious beliefs, all Easterbrook had to do was play it straight and the odds would have been in his favor. Instead, it's a gaffe! Several sentences cross the line. Result: sack. (Slate)

Disney has not only fired Easterbrook, they've also erased all of his past columns from the archive. But they can't erase Google's cache! As a public service, here are links to the googlecached copies of Easterbrook's columns (two missing):
One more non-baseball note...

Aurora, Pinnacle Merge. "Aurora Foods Inc., which makes Duncan Hines cake mixes, will merge with Pinnacle Foods Corp., which sells Vlasic pickles, as part of Aurora's plan to file for bankruptcy to cut debt." Cake and pickles? Ewwwww. (Prepared Foods)

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Mussina pitches Yankees to Game 3 win. (Yahoo!)

Larry Mahnken: "If the Marlins had won last night, I might see them as having a chance to win this series, but I still think the Yankees would have won. Now, they have to rely on two hittable righties and a lefty who doesn't scare the Yankees to do what they couldn't do tonight, and win two of three just to get the series back into Josh Beckett's hands. I just can't see that happening. Really, I think they'd be lucky just to get this back to New York." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

Prospectus Triple Play: Red Sox, Reds, Padres. "The 2003 Red Sox were a team with no significant down seasons among the starting lineup, and four out of nine having career or fluke years. While the offense will still be a strength in 2004, it can not be expected to carry the team the way it did in 2003, and Theo Epstein should give some careful consideration to who may be at the peak of their trade value (or more accurately, the peak of their gap between their perceived value and actual value)." (Baseball Prospectus)

Bruce Markusen's Cooperstown Confidential for October 21. A look back at Orlando Cepeda's rookie season. (Baseball Primer)

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
OK, Game Seven was tough, but it's been five days now, and I've stopped feeling sorry for myself and my fellow Red Sox fans. I've always been a glass-is-half-full guy, and in this case, the glass is at least 90% full. Unlike Mariners, White Sox, Royals, Cardinals, Astros, Expos, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Phillies fans, I got to see my team play excellent baseball in the final month-and-a-half and make the postseason. Unlike A's, Giants, Braves and Twins fans, I got to see my team win a series - an extremely thrilling series against an excellent team - and then go to the wire against an even better team. And unlike [long list of teams] fans, my team has a solid revenue stream, a smart GM, and an ownership group that's actually trying hard to win. We'll be back.

As for the whole 1918 thing - who cares? I'm not 95. I don't give a f--- what happened in the 20s, 30s, or any time before 1968, when I became a fan. Since then, the Red Sox have been good almost every year, sometimes much better than good. I've only had to endure six losing seasons, and only one season of more than 84 losses. No World Championships since 1968 - yeah, that's a bummer, but we do have the Cubs, White Sox, Astros, Rangers, Padres, Expos, Brewers, Mariners, Indians and Giants for company. The Red Sox have been better, during my life as a fan, than any of those teams, and better than many of the teams that did win a World Series or two in that time. It's been a great ride, and it just keeps on going.

Monday, October 20, 2003
Yankees even World Series with 6-1 win. (Yahoo!)

Two Baseball Nuts on the World Series. Allen Barra: "With all due respect to Derek Jeter, [Mariano] Rivera is the glue that has held these six World Series teams together. Replace him with an average or even good-to-average closer, and I'm not sure the Yankees win any of those championships. Maybe not even 1998." (Slate)

Jon Weisman: "[Shawn] Green is likely to need more shoulder surgery in his career, and even more likely to have to contend with pain in the shoulder. If playing with pain is the reason for his performance decline in 2003, then the home run hitter of previous years is probably gone for good." (Dodger Thoughts)

Friday, October 17, 2003
Boone's HR sends Yankees to World Series. (Yahoo!)

Joe Sheehan: "It can't be repeated enough. The Red Sox outplayed the Yankees in this series. There was little they didn't do as well or better than their rivals. It just came down to a poor decision by a man who won't get the opportunity to make the same mistake a third time." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Marlins, Yankees, Pirates. "Beckett and Cabrera, who were not even part of the team in June, are now, respectively, the best pitcher and the cleanup hitter for the National League champions. Even better, they have the good fortune of playing for a manager that continues to actually manage the team, someone not afraid of moving his young third baseman to right field in the middle of the NLCS or to let his ace pitcher toss four innings of relief in Game Seven. In a season full of wonderful surprises, Miguel Cabrera and Josh Beckett are two of the biggest and best." (Baseball Prospectus)

Friday, October 10, 2003
Yankees strike back behind Pettitte. Series tied, 1-1. (Yahoo!)

Alex Belth: "Unable to contain themselves, the Yankee Stadium crowd chanted 'We want Pedro,' at the end of the game. Be careful what you wish for: the Yanks are going to get him. (Surely, Red Sox fans remember Game Three of the 1999 ALCS: it was the one raucous highlight of that series for them.) Martinez, the ultimate villain, was smiling in the dugout. (Cue cliffhanger music.) Pedro is an archtype---the baddy who ties the girl to the train track. He will pitch the pivotal Game Three against another archtype bad guy---Rocket Clemens, the 400 lb gorilla. Game Three is essential for Boston; Game Four (Hello, John Burkett) is crucial for the Yanks. Should be a thrilling weekend." (Bronx Banter)

Dave Barry: "I'm a huge Marlins fan. I've been following this plucky team ever since they beat the San Francisco Giants, which was, what, nearly a week ago. I live and die by this team! When they win, I drink champagne and dance all night. This is also what I do when they lose, because there is no point in wasting champagne. But I dance in a more subdued manner." (Miami Herald)

Jeff Shain on the differences between Wrigley Field and Joe Robbie. (Miami Herald)

Brian: "I know I'm biased, but seriously, does anyone honestly love the Cubs unis? They're not terrible (we gave our picks for the worst uniforms last June) -- in fact, those blue pinstripes are even pretty snazzy. But that Cubs logo looks like an '80s-era merit badge, and those royal blue tops reek of batting practice jerseys worn by Ivan DeJesus and Tim Blackwell. I'll take the classic birds on the bat anyday." (Redbird Nation)

Twins skipper Gardenhire rewarded with two-year extension. And I don't mean Alexander Graham Bell's invention. (CBS Sportsline)

Reviewing 2003: the Painful Memories. Shawn Weaver looks back on the Reds' season, focusing on the offense. (Cincinnati Reds Blog)

Reviewing 2003: the Painful Memories Part II. Pitching. (Cincinnati Reds Blog)

Reviewing 2003: the Painful Memories Part III. Defense. (Cincinnati Reds Blog)

Prospectus Q&A: Kevin Towers, Part I. Jonah Keri interviews the Padres GM.
BP: Has the new park influenced some of the personnel moves you've made this season, in particular acquiring Brian Giles?

Towers: I mentioned that the park is going to favor left-handed hitters. I'm a big believer that you can never have enough left-handed hitters or left-handed pitchers. Players with pull power should get the biggest advantage out of the new park; somebody like Kotsay with gap power may struggle a bit more. But Giles and Klesko, it should favor them because they have pull-type power. I'm a little concerned with moving Klesko to a corner spot though because of how difficult we expect it to be to play outfield defense in left and right. What we'd like to do is get into the park in December, see which outfield position is more difficult, put Giles in that corner, Klesko in the other.

Overall I think we've improved our outfield defense with Kotsay and Giles out there, but with Klesko, left field or right will be tough--it'll be a struggle for him defensively. An option would be to trade someone like Klesko, but we don't want to give up that offense from our lineup. With Giles-Kotsay-Greene-Burroughs we're a much-improved ballclub (defensively). With Loretta-Nevin-Klesko we're below-average there, so hopefully our pitchers will try to prevent opposing hitters from pushing the ball to the right side.
(Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Q&A: Kevin Towers, Part II. (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Diamondbacks, Royals, Phillies. "The heady days of a September pennant race in Kansas City are already receding into memory, leaving the Royals with their most difficult task yet: defying the Plexiglass Principle after their 21-game jump this season to show even more improvement in 2004." (Baseball Prospectus)

New weblogs:

     Clifford's Big Red Blog (Yankees)
     The Raindrops (Mets)

Next scheduled post: October 17.

Thursday, October 09, 2003
Red Sox beat Yankees in Game 1 of ALCS. Tim Wakefield and three relievers combined on a three-hitter. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 seven times. Final score, 5-2. (Yahoo!)

Larry Mahnken: "Frankly, there's nothing I can fault the Yankees for in this game. Mussina didn't pitch well, but he didn't exactly pitch horribly, either. The Yankees didn't get hits off of Wakefield, but his knuckleball was moving all over the plate. It was a lost opportunity for the Yankees, but it was really something that the Red Sox took. And that's something that's important to understand. The Red Sox TOOK this game. Hey, news flash, '1918' crowd--they can actually do that. The Yankees haven't won by divine intervention, they've won by earning it. Boston is 25% of the way towards earning the pennant." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

Jeff compares the Red Sox and Yankees to the Deltas and Omegas. (The House That Dewey Built, October 8)

Thomas Boswell: "The baseball world thinks the subtext of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees is the exhausted conceit of 'The Curse of the Bambino.' Please, give it a rest. What we have here, thanks to the Red Sox, is quite a different script. The Boston club, called 'renegades' by their own manager, are doing their own personal remake of 'Animal House' with George Steinbrenner as Dean Wormer." (Washington Post, October 9)

Prior, Sosa help Cubs get even. The Cubs led 8-0 after 3; 11-0 after 5; final score, 12-3. (Yahoo!)

Al Yellon: "It was the first blowout win for the Cubs since the 9-2 pasting they gave to the Brewers back on September 7, and they needed this one big-time after last night's tough loss. This is a way not only for the team to prove to itself that losing a heartbreaker doesn't break them, but to show their opponents that they have no fear." (and another thing!, October 8)

Aaron Gleeman:
If Dusty Baker pulls Prior after 5 innings, with the score 11-0 Cubs, Prior ends the night throwing just 73 pitches. At worst, that gives him a nice break from the heavy-workload he's had over the last several months. At best, it means he might be able to start on short-rest later in the series, if needed.

Instead, Baker let Prior throw another 43 pitches, during which time Prior gave up 2 homers, a single and a walk, before getting yanked in the 8th inning. Prior left the mound shaking his head, which is exactly what I was doing too.

I am desperately hoping that Mark Prior is just a special pitcher who can avoid any serious injuries, despite whatever massive pitch-counts he accumulates, but if his arm becomes completely detached from his body on a pitch at some point during the next couple years or simply explodes, no one should be surprised. Well, no one except for Dusty Baker, of course.
(Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Derek: "This will not stand, man. The Cub Chop must stop!...If you're guilty of performing this heinous act, in front of a national television audience no less, please stop now. If it's the guy/girl sitting next to you, please ask him/her politely to stop. If that doesn't work, please politely punch him/her in the face. Please. Please. Please. I am begging you." (Let's Play Two)

Derek Milhous Zumsteg:
"Bud Selig here."
"Fox calling. Bud, we want you to schedule both games Wednesday at eight o'clock Eastern."
"Both of them? But that doesn't make any sense."
"Do it!"
"Yes, master."
"And stand on one leg."
"You're not doing it, we're watching from the other building. Do it! And hop up and down."
"Good. Continue hopping for at least one hour. We'll be watching."
(U.S.S. Mariner)

Playoff Preview - American League Championship Series. "I have very little faith in White, Nelson and Heredia’s abilities to get the game to Rivera. Nelson has been ineffective much of the time and neither White nor Heredia are particularly good at getting lefties out. It’s just my hunch, but the Yankees are going to need to get Ortiz or Nixon out in some crucial 7th inning situation and I wouldn’t feel comfortable having Heredia do that job." (Baseball Primer)

New weblog: One Hundred Sixteen (Mariners).

Kevin looks back on "the double that saved baseball in Seattle, on the night when baseball non-fans became converts, casual fans became serious, and serious fans smiled or wept." (One Hundred Sixteen)

Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Marlins win Game 1 in 11 on Lowell's HR. Fish Fry, Week 27.
FLA 005 001 002 01 - 9
CHC 400 002 002 00 - 8

Al Yellon on last night's game.
The biggest problem I think the Cubs are going to face in this series is that they are basically down to a three-man bullpen: Farnsworth, Remlinger and Borowski. JoeBo can be excused for yesterday, because the Marlins' closer Ugueth Urbina had just about as bad an outing as he did, so that's a wash, and any closer can be forgiven one of these.

But frankly, I would not let Dave Veres or Mark Guthrie near a close game again in this series; Antonio Alfonseca actually threw pretty well. I'm almost willing to forgive Guthrie, because even though he did hang a breaking pitch to Mike Lowell, the almost-Cub, Lowell's game-winning HR was wind-blown and barely made the basket. The security guard who retrieved it threw it on the field.
(and another thing!, October 8)

King Kaufman: "[I]n the course of five minutes [Al] Leiter said more informative things than I've heard any other Fox announcer say in all of the years the network has been broadcasting baseball." ( (You'll need to click through an ad first, which is slightly irritating, but much less so than pop-ups or registration)

Playoff Preview - National League Championship Series. "The Cubs should send at least a half-postseason share to Dave Littlefield for donating Lofton, Ramirez, and Simon at the cost of very little (Bobby Hill). I seriously doubt that the Cubs would have made the postseason without them; they added just enough offense to supplement Sammy and Moises. It's still not a great offense." (Baseball Primer)

Sam Hutcheson breaks down the NLCS, position by position.
1B: Eric Karros vs. Derrek Lee: Derrek Lee is a semi-talented baseball player. Eric Karros is only entertaining when Robert Fick is attacking him. Lee is better offensively, defensively, and he doesn’t have the stupid haircut either. The Cubs might even the position out if they played Hee Seop Choi, but they won’t do that because Dusty Baker is an idiot. Prediction: Karros hits two game winning homeruns, because actual talent doesn’t really matter in these situations and God hates me.
If you guessed that Hutcheson is either a Braves fan or a Giants fan, you get a gold star. (Braves.) (Baseball Primer)

Baseball Prospectus Chat: Doug Pappas.
Brad Harris (Springfield, Missouri): What happened to the Marlins this year? Has Loria/Samson turned a new leaf or did the team get lucky? Can we expect the '04 Marlins to look more like the Expos teams Loria presided over, or did he just need the right set of circumstances in which to run a successful club?

Doug Pappas: I think the team got lucky AND it gave Loria the right circumstances in which to run a successful club. Any team that develops a nucleus of good, young, cheap players can afford to keep them around for a few years.

The Marlins' biggest obstacle is their stadium. Pro Player is huge, but it's basically a football stadium, it's not near anything, and the lease is controlled by former owner Wayne Huizenga. There's an article in today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel which quotes Marlins president David Samson as saying that Florida would make only about half as much as other clubs from reaching the 7th game of the World Series -- Huizenga would get the rest.
(Baseball Prospectus)

2003 Playoff Preview: Red Sox - Yankees. "Of course, this isn't your typical underdog situation. It's not exactly a case of a school bully picking on some scrawny, helpless kid. It's more like the school bully picking on a slightly smaller and slightly less hated school bully. Like if David took a vacation and Goliath fought Goliath's little brother. It's like a fight between the Crips and the Bloods, except one is wearing pinstripes and the other hasn't won a World Series since 1918." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

King Kaufman on the Johnny Damon/Damian Jackson collision play, which ended with Nomar Garciaparra throwing Jermaine Dye out at second, with third baseman Bill Mueller covering.
And how could Garciaparra and Mueller have prepared for that play? They couldn't have. There's no telling yourself before the pitch, "OK, if the center fielder and the second baseman collide on a popup to shallow center, my job is ..." It was simply smart ballplayers reacting quickly.

Derek Jeter of the Yankees has been dining out for two years on his heads-up relay throw to nail Jeremy Giambi of the A's at home in a pivotal moment in Game 3 of the 2001 Division Series, when the Yankees also came from 2-0 down to sweep the A's into oblivion. And rightly so. It was a splendid play. But this one was just as good. Really. The replay of Jackson and Damon colliding, a brutal shot, will become familiar, but keep watching on those rare occasions someone lets the clip run on. The rest of that play bought the Red Sox a ticket to New York.

How the Red Sox have fared since 1967 when facing elimination from the postseason:

1967 World Series, Game 5: W
1967 World Series, Game 6: W
1967 World Series, Game 7: L
1975 World Series, Game 6: W
1975 World Series, Game 7: L
1986 ALCS, Game 5: W
1986 ALCS, Game 6: W
1986 ALCS, Game 7: W
1986 World Series, Game 7: L
1988 ALCS, Game 4: L
1990 ALCS, Game 4: L
1995 ALDS, Game 3: L
1998 ALDS, Game 4: L
1999 ALDS, Game 3: W
1999 ALDS, Game 4: W
1999 ALDS, Game 5: W
1999 ALCS, Game 5: L
2003 ALDS, Game 3: W
2003 ALDS, Game 4: W
2003 ALDS, Game 5: W

Total: 12 wins, 8 losses. Not bad.
New weblog: SaberMets Blog.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Red Sox complete comeback, win Game 5. Derek Lowe struck out Adam Melhuse and Terrence Long with the tying and winning runs on second and third in the 9th. (Yahoo!)

Crummyball. We keep hearing that the A's have lost 9 straight games that could have clinched a series, but has anyone mentioned that the Red Sox have won 6 of their last 7 when facing elimination? They won Games 3, 4, and 5 of the 1999 ALDS against Cleveland, lost Game 5 of the 1999 ALCS against the Yankees, and won Games 3, 4, and 5 of the 2003 ALDS against Oakland. (

Gregg Rosenthal: "It was just enough. There was that terrible feeling that they sat on the lead, that they somehow let up offensively. One of many amazing stats from the series: The Red Sox won the damn thing with a total of four hits with runners in scoring position all series!! Just can’t happen against the Yankees- we need 2 run cushions and more to win." (Gregg's Baseball, etc.)

Bill Simmons: "Ever spend four hours doing the 'Let's break up/let's get back together' dance, then ultimately get back together in the end (at least for a couple more weeks)? That's what this A's-Sox series felt like. My team won three straight 'do-or-die' games -- each by the skin of its teeth, each in crazier fashion than the last, and each while being managed by somebody who almost appears to be crying out for help (we'll get to him in a second) -- and now we must regroup for a seven-game series with the Yankees, the most evil franchise in the history of sports." (

Damon hospitalized after on-field collision. "Damon was on the ground for nine minutes before being taken off the field in an ambulance. He had a 'significant concussion,' but was alert and awake when he was taken to Highland Hospital, Red Sox team doctor William Morgan said. Damon waved with his right hand as he entered the ambulance, which had driven onto the field. Fans responded with cheers for the former Oakland player." (

Playoff Health Report. "The Sox starters are also a bit strained. Pedro Martinez has gone deep in two starts while Derek Lowe was taxed as a reliever in two games as well as his start. Byung-Hyun Kim's shoulder continues to be a problem, but his middle finger and Grady Little's thumb will keep that from being a concern, but it may even come to Kim being left off the ALCS roster. The rest of the pen may be spotty, leaving Little to turn once again to Derek Lowe, something that doesn't play as well in a seven game series as it did in the A's series." (Baseball Prospectus)

2003 Playoff Preview: Marlins - Cubs. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Tom previews the ALCS and NLCS. "As for the Marlins, I am so over them already. They knocked my team, the Phillies, out of playoff contention last month, and they had no business at all beating the Giants...Ivan Rodriguez is the only Marlin I'd pay to watch play. And I absolutely love that the Fish are the only underdog in sports history that nearly everyone hopes loses." (Shallow Center)

Jon Weisman:
The Marlins are the most disturbing organization in baseball today. Florida is the dumb oaf who gets all the girls - in high school and college. Florida is the Quick Pick lotto winner who got to retire at age 30. Florida the guy who sold his first screenplay.

If you take any pleasure in the Marlins' success, even at the expense of the Giants, then you're endorsing a world in which it doesn't matter who plays for your team. Just tell us what the score is. The end justifies the means.

Perhaps the proximity of the Giants in our state and in our psyche makes it too hard for some to root for them in anything. And sure, the Chicago Cubs have written their own legend with mistakes on the field and off.

But the Cubs have suffered for their sins like no other. If there is anyone outside Miami-Dade County rooting for the Marlins against the Cubs this week, they need a flogging lobotomy.
(Dodger Thoughts)

New weblog: The Book of Mike.
The intent of this blog was to cover my interests in baseball, but for the short term, the focus here will be the Florida Marlins. In terms of teams, the Marlins rank a distant third in my heart, behind the Chicago White Sox and University of Miami Hurricanes, but at this time, only the Marlins are playing.

Plus, there isn't a lot of Marlins coverage out there, so I'll try to do my share.

But against my normal tendencies, I think this site will be more qualitative than quantitative, at least until well into the offseason, but I'll provide plenty of links for you stat geeks, and I'm counting on Gleeman to give us a good, well thought out preview of the NLCS tomorrow. Plus we'll have plenty of links to Cubs sites (and hopefully those good fellows will drive some traffic to this site). :-) Hi Cubs! Please read! Send your friends.

Monday, October 06, 2003
Two home plate collisions go Marlins' way. Ivan Rodriguez knocked the ball loose from Yorvit Torrealba to score the go-ahead run in the 8th. In the 9th, on the final play of the game, J.T. Snow couldn't do the same to Rodriguez. Marlins defeat Giants, 3 games to 1. (

Wood dominates Braves again. Cubs defeat Braves, 3 games to 2. (

Yanks move on as Wells shuts down Twins. After the first game, it was like 1998 and 1999 versus Texas. Yankees win series, 3 games to 1. (Yahoo!)

O is for Ortiz: Big hit saves season. The Red Sox have come back to tie the A's, 2 games apiece. Tonight: Pedro Martinez (four days rest) versus Barry Zito (three days rest). Pitchers going on three days' rest in the playoffs are 5-14 since 1998. (

This series closely parallels the 1999 Boston-Cleveland ALDS. In Game 1, on the road, the Red Sox lost a close one behind Pedro. In Game 2, the Sox lost again, and it wasn't close. In Game 3, back in Fenway, the Sox won a game that was close most of the way. In Game 4, the opponents brought back their Game 1 starter on three days rest, and he didn't last; the Sox won again to tie the series. In Game 5, the opponents went with their Game 2 starter on three days rest. A's fans hope Barry Zito fares better than Charles Nagy.

Joe Sheehan on Saturday's games.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this series was the way in which two veteran managers with no postseason experience handled their first trip. Jack McKeon adapted to his environment, from his refusal to allow Barry Bonds opportunities to beat him to his use of only his best pitchers. Three members of McKeon's rotation came out of the bullpen in this series, and while Carl Pavano was actually designated a reliever, McKeon's use of Willis and Brad Penny showed that he "gets it" in the postseason: the rules are different, and all that matters is winning today's game.

Felipe Alou did very little right, and his persistent failures were a contributing factor to the Giants' collapse. The decision to start Sidney Ponson and Kirk Rueter in that order, rather than the reverse, turned out to be minor concern when weighed against his decision to carry 12 pitchers for five games. Not only do you not need that many arms in a Division Series, you don't want that many. You don't want the 11th- and 12th- best pitchers in your organization anywhere near a mound in these games.
(Baseball Prospectus)

Friday, October 03, 2003
Pettitte, Giambi rescue Yankees. Series tied, 1-1. (Yahoo!)

Zito helps A's take command in Game 2. A's lead series, 2-0. (Boo!)

High cost of free passes. Rob Neyer: "It seems to me that the 'We won't let Barry Bonds beat us' strategy has two effects, one obvious and one not so obvious (or provable). The first effect is that Bonds is on base all the time, and scores a bunch of runs because 1) it's not easy pitching with runners all over the place, and 2) the players batting behind Bonds are, after all, major-league hitters. The second -- maybe -- is that the other team's pitchers get all screwed up. Tony Gwynn brought this up recently, and I agree with him. Brad Penny's a good pitcher pitching a good game, and suddenly his manager essentially says to him, 'Son, I don't think you're good enough to get this guy out.' And Penny blows up." (

Prospectus Triple Play: White Sox, Cardinals, Rangers. "The principal reason that the Sox have consistently finished in second is because they've consistently been the second best team. Management's strategy has been to make one or two significant off-season moves that improve the team's chances, but do not place the Sox in a position to dominate a division that, at least since the demise of the Ramirez-Thome Indians, could easily be dominated. Some of those moves (Jose Valentin and Bartolo Colon) have worked out fine on their own merits, others (David Wells and Royce Clayton) haven't, but with each 80something win season, it hardly seems to matter." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Braves, Twins, Devil Rays. "The argument for naming Shannon Stewart the American League's Most Valuable Player is about as weak as they come--a complete media concoction which has absolutely no basis in reality, or regard for what 'valuable' means in any other context. It's a flawed argument made by individuals who would rather reward a mildly intriguing story than impressive play. In other words, it makes the argument for selecting Ichiro Suzuki over Alex Rodriguez back in 2001 look like a pinnacle of rational thought." (Baseball Prospectus)

American League "Quad" Leaders. "The way to win baseball games is to score runs when at bat and prevent runs when in the field. With respect to the offensive end of the game, the four components of 'The Quad' (times on base, on base percentage, total bases, and slugging average) are the true determinants of run production. The traditional Triple Crown stats are OK, but they have become a lazier way of determining value in this day and age of more sophisticated analysis encompassed in the study of sabermetrics." (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)

Thursday, October 02, 2003
Marlins get split in San Francisco. Sidney Ponson couldn't hold a 4-1 lead. Juan Pierre went 4-for-5. Series tied, 1-1. (Yahoo!)

DeRosa bails out Braves in Game 2. He won the game with a two-run, two-out double in the 8th. Series tied, 1-1. (Yahoo!)

A's top Red Sox in 12th with bunt. The Red Sox bullpen couldn't preserve a 9th-inning lead. (Yahoo!)

John Wiebe explains why Dodger fans ought to root for the Yankees if they play the Giants in the World Series.
For seven consecutive seasons, the Giants have finished with a better record than the Dodgers. The Giants have appeared in the postseason three times in that span, the Dodgers none. The Giants have made better trades, signed better free agents, and built a ballpark almost as perfect as Dodger Stadium. Giants fans have gone from shivering in the freezing winds at Candlestick with 10,000 other brave souls to basking in the cool breeze at Pac Bell with 40,000 of their closest friends, all the while watching Barry Bonds hit home runs into bodies of water.

They have more knowledgeable fans. They have one of the best training staffs in baseball, at least according to Baseball Prospectus' Will Carroll and others. Every ex-Dodger they acqurie hits a home run to beat the Dodgers that very same year.

Dodger Stadium is a better place for baseball, in my opinion, than Pac Bell. But other than that, there are few things the Dodgers have done consistently better than the Giants over the past seven years, from an organizational point of view.

But the one thing the Dodgers have over the Giants--and we have to thank Dusty Baker for taking out Russ Ortiz in Game Six of last year's World Series--is that the San Francisco Giants still haven't won a World Series. If the Yankees beat the Giants in the World Series, it would be remembered as just another Yankee championship. But if the Giants won, it would mean the end to an era of Dodger fans at least being able to hang their hat on something when arguing with Giant fans.
(John's Dodger Blog)

Prospectus Triple Play: Astros, Brewers, Athletics. "While there are rumblings that the Brewers might move Richie Sexson, Geoff Jenkins, or Ben Sheets, it will be tough in this offseason to get the value necessary for taking away players that have greater perceived value to the fans than they have on the field. Finding players like Danny Kolb, Doug Davis, and Scott Podsednik shows that Melvin and his staff can find good players in the legions of Quad-A available talent. Now Melvin needs to prove that he remembers just how easy it is to find and not waste precious payroll on big contracts for players based on one good year. Every time Doug Melvin thinks about re-signing Podsednik to a long term deal, he should shuffle over to his predecessors files and look up the contract for 'Hammonds, Jeffrey.'" (Baseball Prospectus)

Derek Zumsteg says goodbye to Edgar Martinez. "I didn't understand the hype around Cal Ripken. I didn't get to see him that often, and I looked at the Streak and I wasn't impressed. When I was at the All-Star Game and saw how much people enjoyed seeing him, had come out to the game to see his last appearance at the Mid-Summer Classic, I understood that my not understanding didn't make their love for him any less real, and the fans from Baltimore found something in watching him play for their team for so long that maybe I wasn't ever going to understand it. Edgar has not been as durable, even as a designated hitter, but for Mariner fans, long-time or newly recruited, it's almost impossible to remember baseball in Seattle without him." (Baseball Prospectus)

Baseball Prospectus Chat: Joe Sheehan.
R.C. Cook (Dallas TX): Given that the Rangers' payroll is expected to be around $75-80 million next season, giving them very little financial flexibility this winter, what can John Hart do this off-season in order to make the team better in 2004?

Joe Sheehan: Make sure all the people whose contracts have expired have one-way tickets home.

The Rangers are better than people realize. They're stuck in a division with excellent teams, which makes them look worse than they are. If Hart can fill out the rotation with 400 innings of Steve Trachsel and his ilk, they might win 92 games.
(Baseball Prospectus)

Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Cubs beat Braves behind Wood's arm, bat. (Yahoo!)

Cubs fans invade Atlanta.
What Cubs fans would give for the Braves' postseason record, let alone that many postseason appearances. When Cubs fans learned that tickets were selling slowly in Atlanta, they jumped at the chance to watch the Cubs in the playoffs. Heck, plane fare to Atlanta, a couple of tickets to a game and a night in a hotel could be had for around $350 a person -- far less than the price ticket scalpers are asking for playoff games at Wrigley Field.

"Cubs fans are here, they're everywhere,'' said Braves reliever Ray King, who played briefly for the Cubs in 1999. "It's the lovable Cubs.''

Notice, he did not say "lovable losers.''
(Chicago Sun-Times)

Giants' Schmidt shuts out Marlins 2-0. (Yahoo!)

Crasnick: Schmidt simply splendid.
Schmidt, 30, doesn't project the swashbuckling, staff ace-air of a Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez -- or, going back in time, a Tom Seaver or Jim Palmer. Schmidt is a native of that baseball bastion, Lewiston, Idaho, for goodness' sake. He's balding, gangly, and sort of mumbles more than he talks.

But the picture looks different on game day, when you're standing behind him with a glove or 60 feet, 6 inches away holding a bat. Schmidt has always been perceived as a pitcher with the talent to develop into a staff ace. Now he's officially embraced his No. 1 status, to the point that teammates expect him to be dominant. You watched him against Florida and saw October power pitching in the mold of a Jack Morris or Curt Schilling or a younger John Smoltz.

Twins beat Yankees 3-1 in ALDS opener. (Yahoo!)

Alex Belth: "Shannon Stewart made the catch of the game, robbing Godzilla of a double, but probably saving the Yankees from a lot of embarassement. Directly behind Stewart, in the first row of the left field seats, was a shmuck fan, leaning onto the field with his glove, ready to catch a ball that was in play---the photo is splashed all over the papers today. If Stewart doesn't come up with the ball, this dumb ass probably does. But he wasn't sly like J. Maier. It wasn't a night game, it was the middle of the afternoon. No way he would have gotten away with it. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if this putz cost the Yankees an out?" (Bronx Banter)

Playoff Prospectus: Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics. "Oakland's chances rest with Boston's righty-filled rotation, and a defense that has the potential to implode. If Boston makes some miscues, gets a poor performance in Game 1 from Pedro, and Macha can spot his bench guys perfectly, Oakland has a chance. But more likely, the A's suffer another first-round exit. To some extent, this is a showdown of great hitting versus great pitching. Unfortunately for Oakland, the team with great hitting also has Pedro." (Baseball Prospectus)

High five. Gordon Edes on Bill Mueller, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar and Trot Nixon. (Boston Globe)

Art Martone:
Score one for the stat geeks.

They caught a lot of grief in the offseason. "You've got to re-sign Cliff Floyd!" "How can you not even offer a contract to Brian Daubach?" "Rey Sanchez hit .286, for goodness sakes; whaddya mean he stinks?" "You better not even think of trading Shea Hillenbrand!!" Remember?

And the players they brought in!

"Kevin Millar? He hit 16 home runs last year. Let him go to Japan!" "This Bill Mueller character has never hit more than 10 home runs a year in his life!" "David Ortiz?? The Twins don't want him!!"

Seems kind of quaint now, doesn't it?
(Providence Journal) (free reg. req.)

Mariners GM Pat Gillick resigns. (Yahoo!)

Derek Milhous Zumsteg: "Kim Ng is my number one choice [to replace Gillick]. It's a gutsy, sharp move, which means the M's won't even think about it. She's way smarter than Gillick, she's worked with M's-style budgets, we're after Matsui, she's handled large contract negotiations for foreign players, she's a geek about exactly the stuff Gillick sucks at and have crippled the team the last couple of years." (U.S.S. Mariner)

David Cameron: "My number one choice is Chris Antonetti, currently the Assistant General Manager for the Cleveland Indians, having been promoted from director of player development last year...He is a well spoken man who can articulate his thoughts, avoiding the worry of a Dan Duquette-like mutiny. The Indians have built a player development machine under the Shapiro/Antonetti/Huntington regime, and it is only a matter of time before the trainees of Mark Shapiro begin to branch out much like the underlings of John Hart have made their way across baseball." (U.S.S. Mariner)

Joe Sheehan previews the playoffs. "I might be overthinking this, but coming into this series, the Braves sure look like an updated version of the recent Houston Astros to me. The '98 Astros led the league in runs scored (in the Astrodome!), but got victimized by Kevin Brown (who started Games One and Three of the extended series) and the last good start of Sterling Hitchcock's career. They scored one run in each of their three NLDS losses. In '99, the same team returned to be shut down by Greg Maddux, Kevin Millwood, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. (The Astros scored 15 runs in the four games, but eight of those came at the end of games off the Braves' pen or in blowouts.) In 2001, the Astros scored six runs in three games and were swept out of the playoffs, again by the Braves." (Baseball Prospectus)

Playoff Preview - National League Divisional Series. "It’s brutally obvious that the Cubs have far better pitching, and I always like to to say that, while over a season, performance is judged widely, but when you hit the short series, it becomes about matchups – Ace against Ace and whatnot. In this series, the Cubs simply have more guns than the Braves – and they are big guns. The Cub starters have gone and can go deep into games. They are conditioned to throw more pitches than the Braves starters, and the Braves bullpen, with the exception of John Smoltz, isn’t good, Will Cunnane notwithstanding." (Baseball Primer) Best Sports Blogs. "Sports blogs, i.e., Weblogs--Internet journals that give their creators and visitors a soapbox to air ideas--are few and meager." Congratulations to Replacement Level Yankees Weblog and Off Wing Opinion for making the top 5.

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