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Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Posada, Matsui power Yankees past Rays. (Yahoo!)

Ode to Strat-o-Matic. Steve Treder: "I still have every Strat-o-Matic card my brother and I ever bought, packed away in various boxes somewhere in my house. I hardly ever haul them out and look at them any more, but when I do it's a guaranteed great time. I have countless folders filled with scoresheets and stat summaries from the various teams and seasons I played in Strat. They are of no use or value to anyone except me, but the sentimental significance they hold for me is truly impossible to describe. It's essentially my boyhood and adolescence, in #2 pencil." (The Hardball Times)

A Paean to APBA. Studes: "APBA cards are the essence of baseball; they are baseball logic made explicit, there for the eye to see and the mind to comprehend. No computer simulation game, with its hidden code and logic, can impart so much understanding." (The Hardball Times)

The New Bleacher Bums. A good article about sabermetrically-inclined fans and writers. (Seattle Weekly)

2004 Toronto Blue Jays Preview - Part One, Part Two, Part Three. Beyond Gleeman-length. (Batter's Box)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Devil Rays 8, Yankees 3. It was the Yankees' fourth straight loss. (Yahoo!)

Joe Sheehan: "Batting Matsui second would work if the player he was in Japan shows up this year, the one who walked a lot and hit the ball in the air. Groundzilla, the 2003 version of Matsui, would be an unmitigated disaster in the #2 slot, a kinder, gentler Jim Rice." (Baseball Prospectus)

Teams: A Critical Guide (Preseason Edition). PICK HIT: Boston Red Sox. MUST TO AVOID: Detroit Tigers. (Baseball Prospectus)

Friday, March 26, 2004
"Live" with TAE: Bill James. Kansas historian Tim Rives interviewed him. (The American Enterprise)

Jim Bouton: Iconoclast. Dave Hollander interviewed him.
JB: My comment on the Alex Rodriguez thing is that I don't really have much respect for Alex Rodriguez. And, I don't think it presents a good picture to the kids. Forget about whether it's good or bad for baseball. I don't think it's good for the youth of America. Because they're seeing a guy who is a quitter and a front runner. He went to Texas on a big contract with the idea of trying to help lift up a last place team. And when he wasn't able to do that in a few years, he quit. He wanted to play for another team, and (laughing) he listed two teams that were perennial play-off teams so that he could get into a World Series. He didn't want to struggle with another last place team. He wanted to be with playoff contender so he could get a World Series ring. Not earn one mind you but get one. This makes him a front runner. So I don't know what this says for Alex Rodriguez but if he's a quitter and a front runner he may not have as great an ending to his career.
(NY Sports Express)

In like a lion, out like a Lamb. "The Yankees have traded Mike Lamb to the Astros for 23-year-old A-ball reliever Juan DeLeon. Scott at YM&tR, gets the scoop there. Impressive that the Yankees were able to trade Lamb rather than simply release him. Also good news for Lamb, as I'm sure Jimy Williams is dying to give some of Morgan Ensberg's at-bats away, which makes this bad fantasy news for some folks." (Clifford's Big Red Blog)

Many Twins fans may miss watching their team due to cable dispute. "Cable operators...won't pay Victory's per-subscriber asking price of $2.20 to $2.30. They say that's too much for a cable outlet with such limited programming. And, in fact, they propose putting the Twins telecast on a digital tier where viewers would have to choose to buy Victory's programming. Otherwise, they argue, rates will have to be raised." (Duluth News Tribune)

Another detour into basketball...

Take that, Billy: Saint Joseph's knocks off Wake Forest to reach Elite Eight. (

Dethroned: Alabama ends Syracuse's reign with easy 80-71 win. (

Closer Look: Alabama-Syracuse. "Syracuse's long-armed forward, Hakim Warrick, was the most entertaining player on the floor. It's true that Alabama did a better defensive job on him in the second half, but by that time Warrick had already done enough to stand out. It wasn't just that he scored 15 points in the first 13 minutes, it was the way he scored them. On one play he got the ball far enough away from the basket that everyone expected him to take a short jumper, and he simply elevated up and in for a dunk. 'Bama's plan to front him in the second half limited his touches, but if Syracuse had gone to him more often late in the game, the outcome might have been different." (

Vandy vanquished: Connecticut conquers Commodores to reach Elite Eight. (

Closer Look: Connecticut-Vanderbilt. "The Huskies have the stuff to win the title -- but not if they play the way they did against Vanderbilt. UConn was plagued by turnovers throughout the game, and a lot of them had nothing to do with the Vandy defense. The Commodores closed within seven points in the second half, thanks to some sloppy UConn ballhandling: passes that went through hands, bad passes, stupid passes." (

The Cowboy way: Oklahoma St. uses late run to win physical battle with Pittsburgh 63-51. (

Closer Look: Oklahoma State-Pittsburgh. "Pitt's reputation for being a vintage, chuck-and-duck Big East squad is well-earned. The Panthers shot 36 percent for the game, including a ghastly 3 of 17 from 3-point range, and this was by no means a case of 'iron unkind.' From inside the paint the Panthers were fairly efficient, but anything from the perimeter made them look positively Doug Gottlieb-like, and anything from 3-point range was a akin to a shot in the dark. In fact, this would make a great pre-1987 club; if the 3-point line didn't exist, this would be your hands-down national champion." (

UAB making life 'Hell' in NCAAs. "There's no Corliss Williamson on this team -- not even a Scotty Thurman, Clint McDaniel or Corey Beck, either. But the style is pure Hell. They press from opening tip to closing horn -- off made shots or off misses. They double-team the ball whenever possible. They slap at it relentlessly. They have been known to apply a hand check. They ride the hips of dribblers more relentlessly than a nagging wife. They run 10 bodies in and out to make sure fatigue is only a factor for the opposition." The Blazers face Kansas tonight. (

Thursday, March 25, 2004
Uni Watch: Baseball's spring wardrobe blowout. (Slate)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Know Your Enemy - Part III - The Brewers. "[Geoff] Jenkins is an excellent source of left-handed power who does well getting on base, plays fine defense in left field, and has a blistering cannon for an arm. He will be 29 this year, and appears to be solidly at his peak. Under normal circumstances, his three-year, $23M contract would be a steal, but these are not normal circumstances...Jenkins gets hurt. A lot." (The Big Red C)

Know Your Enemy - Part IV A - The Cardinals. "Once Barry Bonds retires or, God forbid, starts to show himself to be human, I can think of no wager more likely to net coin than a bet on the MVP future of Albert Pujols. This may sound hyperbolic, but I would be shocked to see him win any fewer than three of the awards over the life of his new seven year contract with the Cardinals, and wouldn't be surprised if he picked up a couple more. He is, quite simply, the most dangerous hitter in the National League not playing left field for the Giants, and is quickly approaching the time when there will be no need for even that small hedge. Franchises are built around players like Pujols, and the Cardinals have done well to make him their foundation for the future." (The Big Red C)

Know Your Enemy - Part IV B - The Cardinals. "So much of the team's production is concentrated in so few bodies, if one of them falters, the entire season falls with them. If those great players were all good injury risks that would be one thing, but there are several members of the group who have a decent chance to break." (The Big Red C)

2004 Boston Red Sox Preview.
In short, this is one deeply, historically messed-up franchise. But it’s 2004, and a powerful new front office has assembled an even more powerful on-field squadron. The Red Sox have revamped their staff to produce an excellent starting rotation and a solid bullpen, and they’re returning one of the best offensive lineups to hit the AL in decades. This is, by almost any measure, a championship-calibre club, and even with Alex Rodriguez a Yankee, they’re still just a bit better than the Bronx Bombers. In fact, there’s only one thing that can stop the Red Sox this year – but of course, you’ll have to read through to the end to find out what that is.
(Batter's Box)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time for a diversion into basketball...

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 11, 2004
Prospectus Triple Play: Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "While he's still a top shortstop, [Rafael] Furcal isn't the same player he was as a rookie. Back then, Furcal was an on-base machine, hitting a lot of singles and earning a lot of walks. The new Furcal can put a charge into a lot of the pitches he used to take, so his hacks at them have produced a surprising amount of extra-base pop. He also doesn't try to leg out as many infield hits as before, as more than 40% more of his balls in play were hit in the air in 2004 as in 2000. PECOTA predicts that the new Furcal will retain most of the progress he made in 2003, with a .287/.345/.416 projected line." (Baseball Prospectus)

Looking Forward to 2004: Texas Rangers. "[Alfonso] Soriano is a very good offensive player. Sure we’d all like players to draw 80 walks a year, but history is replete with excellent players who swung at nearly everything thrown in their general direction. And it says something pretty special about Soriano that you could take his last two years, stick them in the middle of the careers of Orlando Cepeda or Roberto Clemente or Rico Carty, and you’d never know the difference. If he were still 26 you could feel fairly certain that he’d make a run at the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, he’s suddenly 28 and he still can’t field a lick." (Baseball Primer)

Philadelphia Phillies 2004 Team Preview. "The Philadelphia Phillies are like a guy who sprints across a minefield at top speed. He's choosing a simple, direct way to reach his goal - and, well, if he gets blown up along the way, he gets blown up. In an era of caution - both fiscal and otherwise - you've got to admire this, if only from a discreet distance." (Batter's Box)

Anaheim Angels 2004 Team Preview. "Even though the injury bug bit last season, Vladimir Guerrero seems to be a can't-miss superstar in the American League. Guerrero's herniated disc seemed to be a yellow flag for his near-term future, but he absolutely raked when he came off the DL last summer. Anecdotally, I used to believe that Nomar hit line drives the hardest of any hitter I had seen in person, but that was before I saw Vladdy at the Dome. The ball rockets off his bat, whether the pitch is eye-high, on his shoetops, or basically anyplace else -- and he's not above taking a pitch when he recognizes that the opposition is pitching around him." (Batter's Box)

The NL West. A roundtable discussion. (

The AL West. Another one. (

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Looking forward to 2004: Cincinnati Reds. "It is hard to imagine a scenario in which the 2004 Cincinnati Reds are competitive. If absolutely everything breaks right for this team, they’re an offensively solid squad whose offensive pitching relegates them to a 'tough division' fourth place finish. If even the slightest thing goes wrong, Cincinnati is looking at a team so abysmally bad as to give the ’62 Mets and ’03 Tigers some company in the Hall of Modern Suck." (Baseball Primer)

2004 St. Louis Cardinals Preview. An excellent piece, beginning with the author's memories of growing up a Cardinals fan in the 1960s. (Batter's Box)

Prospectus Triple Play: Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers. "Who compares most favorably to Hank Blalock? Who else is a young stud, a bright star that swings a big stick, mans the hot corner, had some initial performance issues in the Big Show but otherwise possesses an ability that arouses the envy of men everywhere? Dirk Diggler? No. Well, maybe. But not in the baseball context." (Baseball Prospectus)

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Schott wants new stadium soon.
Oakland Athletics owner Steve Schott said Saturday that his team needs a new stadium if it's going to keep winning.

"We need a new stadium to continue being competitive," Schott said during his annual "State of the A's" spring address. "We're lagging behind the other teams that don't have new stadiums, like Minnesota and Florida. We feel we can't compete if we don't have one."

Schott said the team has looked at other locations in the East Bay, but is most interested in building a facility in the South Bay, in or near San Jose.

But the San Francisco Giants consider the South Bay their territory and have complained to Schott and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig about any stadium proposal in that area.

"If we ever talk about a stadium down there, they just go berserk," the A's owner said. "They like crying about it a lot."
(SF Gate)

Prospectus Triple Play: Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics. "The ideal scenario for the Brew Crew would be to fall out of the race early and have the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners, Angels, Phillies, Astros, Cubs and Cardinals playing one-upsmanship, tripping over one another to pick up puzzle pieces from the Brewers. They'd have a chance to get (near) maximum value for Spivey, Helms and the like, adding to an already promising farm system." (Baseball Prospectus)

Looking forward to 2004: Detroit Tigers. (Baseball Primer)

Looking forward to 2004: Tampa Bay Devil Rays. (Baseball Primer)

Looking Forward to 2004: San Diego Padres. (Baseball Primer)

Looking Forward to 2004: Cleveland Indians. (Baseball Primer)

Looking Forward to 2004: Milwaukee Brewers. (Baseball Primer)

Looking Forward to 2004: New York Mets. (Baseball Primer)

Looking Forward to 2004: Baltimore Orioles. (Baseball Primer)

Monday, March 08, 2004
Prospectus Triple Play: Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays. "With Vlad gone, the Expos will need Jose Vidro to keep producing. The second baseman suffered through a series of nagging injuries last season, curtailing his production slightly. After a rigorous off-season training regimen, the Expos hope to get 150+ games out of Vidro this year, a feat he's managed in just two of his last five seasons as a regular." (Baseball Prospectus)

David Cameron hopes the Mariners don't trade for Ken Griffey Jr. (U.S.S. Mariner)

Friday, March 05, 2004
Know Your Enemy - Part II - The Pirates. (The Big Red C)

2004 Oakland Athletics Preview. (Batter's Box)

Chicago White Sox Preview. (Batter's Box)

The Art of Catching a Fly: Playing the Angles. Interesting analysis of how Mike Cameron does it. (New York Times)

Derek Milhous Zumsteg: "The M's don't have a plan, and Bavasi doesn't have a plan. They didn't sit down this winter and say 'where are we as a team, and how can we best put together a team for next year?' They said 'Man, let's fix left field while we're hiring a GM. Hey Bavasi, finish up this Ibanez signing. Um, let's see... let's dump Cirillo and... wait, that didn't quite... no, let's.. whoops (bang bang) ow, I hit my thumb with the hammer. Jeez that hurts. Uh, we need a backup shortstop now. Let's... oof...'" (U.S.S. Mariner)

Prospectus Triple Play: Anaheim Angels, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers. "Although Corey Patterson's PECOTA card shows a slight upward trend for 2004, Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa both appear to be heading for the shady side of the slope. Hendry's off-season effort to attack the team's offensive deficiencies started out well, as evidenced by the trade for Derrek Lee last November (though one wonders what would have happened had the Cubs simply left Hee Seop Choi alone and let him play first base on a regular basis). But Hendry rapidly contracted amnesia and signed a couple of league-average stop-gaps rather than go after needed offensive help. Why? It could be Chewbacca again, we may never know." (Baseball Prospectus)

Check out Mike's Baseball Rants and Only Baseball Matters for ongoing coverage and commentary on the steroid scandal.

Thursday, March 04, 2004
I Got Ya Expos Right Here! An in-depth study of the effects that moving the Expos to New Jersey might have on Yankees and Mets attendance. (Boy of Summer)

Prospectus Triple Play: Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, New York Mets. "If you believe the trade rumors, Alfonso Soriano could be headed back to New York. Texas wants Jose Reyes or Scott Kazmir, and the Mets don't want to give them up. Should they?" (Baseball Prospectus)

Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Prospectus Triple Play: Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres. "The big board above the ticket windows in the Fenway Park box office lists every game of the season, with open white spaces where tickets are available and big black Xs where they're sold out. Sadly for Joe Sixpack, as of March 1 the board shows more Xs than the tag on John Daly's TrimSpa polo shirt." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Triple Play: Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates. "While former Expos and current Marlins owner Jeff Loria is being bled as MLB stands by and whistles is probably sweet for Expos fans who watched him destroy their team while MLB stood by and whistled, it's bad for baseball and Marlins fans. Until something's done, it won't matter how fast the turnstiles spin--the Marlins operate at a severe economic disadvantage to other teams." (Baseball Prospectus)

One Tough Colombian. "Does [Edgar] Renteria belong in a company with the best shortstops in the game? Or does he rank among the best by default, the beneficiary of a shallow talent pool among NL shortstops?" (Redbird Nation)

2004 Houston Astros Preview. "The Houston Astros might be the best franchise never to win a World Series. That should change this year." (Batter's Box)

The sweetest breakout season. Is Jon Garland poised for one? (Exile in Wrigleyville)

Jon Garland Statistics. Check out his stat lines for 2002 and 2003. They are almost exactly the same. Cool. (

Mike Hunssinger on the Marlins' contract renewals (Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis). (The Book of Mike)

Soccer Team Tops Yankees On Richest Sports Teams List. Top five in the world: Manchester United, Yankees, Juventus (soccer), AC Milan (soccer), Washington Redskins. Top five in the U.S.: Yankees, Redskins, Red Sox, Mariners, Dallas Cowboys. (

Mike Thompson: "And the Mariners couldn't afford to make a deal at the deadline the last two years or splurge a bit in free agency?" ( Mariners blog)

The Gang's All Here. "I've said this before, here and elsewhere: The Yankees have six plus hitters. Hideki Matsui is not one of them (nor is Kenny Lofton). Those six should fill the top six spots in the order in order to maximize their plate appearances. Joe Torre should have this tattooed on his forehead backwards." (Clifford's Big Red Blog)

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