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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Yankees pound Boston. ...for the second time this season. The Yankees are now in first place by 6½ games, but the Red Sox are still tied for first in the Wild Card race. (Yahoo!)

Sweet, Sweet Vengeance. "But the victory cinches nothing, nor would a sweep--devastating to Boston though it would be. Not with the immense talent on the Boston roster, and the potential for debilitating injuries on the Yankees'. A Red Sox fan friend of mine at work claimed the other day that Boston's just been toying with the Yankees for the past 85 years--just to make their ultimate victory that much more bitter for the Bombers. I pass that on for its humor, but there is a caution that comes with it: Boston will eventually beat the Yankees out, they will eventually win the World Series, some day. The Yankees rebounded in '78 later in the season from a larger deficit than Boston could possibly face entering July, and the circumstances that brought that Red Sox team down could happen to the Yankees. Celebrate the victories, rub it in--but don't ever allow yourself to believe it's over until the champagne bottles are uncorked." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

Jeff: "Nomar Garciaparra is the most frustrating great player in the majors. In 2001, he had surgery on his wrist. At the time of the surgery, he was a top 10 hitter in the majors. Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, and Nomar himself, the split wrist sapped him of his ability to drive almost any pitch thrown to him (if you missed it, he was like a line-drive version of Vlad Guerrero, only you couldn't get him out with off speed pitches up). He still tries to drive everything though. Because of that, the end result are popups to the outfield, and groundballs pulled." (The House that Dewey Built)

Cheney just got booed at the Yankees game. Awesome. (AMERICAblog)

Friday, June 25, 2004
Three-team deal sends Beltran to Astros.
The Houston Astros saw an opportunity to add Carlos Beltran and refused to let it slip away -- another sign they're going all out this year to try to win their first World Series.

Houston acquired the star center fielder from Kansas City on Thursday night in a three-way deal that also sent reliever Octavio Dotel to Oakland.

"When you have a chance to get an All-Star like Beltran, you do it, then you worry about filling in holes,'' Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker said. ``He significantly makes us better, he is an impact player."

The last-place Royals wound up with three prospects: highly touted third baseman Mark Teahen and right-hander Mike Wood from Oakland, and catcher John Buck from the Astros.

OH BEHBEH! The Astros got Beltran!!!! "Beltran should provide an obvious spark to the lineup. No telling where Jimy will put him in the lineup, but I would guess that he'll move into either the 2 slot (shifting Everett/Ensberg to the bottom of the lineup) or he'll hit 3rd and push Berkman/Kent/Bagwell each down a spot. I hope Beltran bats 2nd for the simple fact that Jimy cannot possibly have him sac bunt every time that Biggio gets on base. (Well, I won't put anything past Jimy at this point.)" (The Juice Box)

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Streaky Deaky. Christian Ruzich: "What does reeling off twelve wins in a row mean for Tampa for the rest of the season? To try to find out, I took a look at recent twelve-game winning streaks to try to determine if a streak of that length was any sort of indication of how the rest of the season was going to go." (

Rays back on track, beat Blue Jays 19-13.
TORONTO (AP) -- A day after their club-record 12 game winning streak ended, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays set team records for runs and hits in a 19-13 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Jose Cruz. Jr., Carl Crawford and Geoff Blum homered for the Devil Rays, who finished with 24 hits, three more than their previous mark, set at Boston last July 24. The old club record for runs was 15.

Julio Lugo went 5-for-7 to set a team record for hits, and Tampa Bay tied its record with 11 walks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Alfonzo leads Giants into first place. He drove in six runs. Giants 11, Dodgers 5. (Yahoo!)

Chat wrap: Rob Neyer.
Craig, Delaware: I was wondering if you think the Phillies are going to make any moves. They're right in the playoff hunt and underachieving. Will they get a starter?

Rob Neyer: (10:48 PM ET ) I'll be shocked if they don't make a big move or two. They were supposed to win, and they've got the new ballpark. The Phils obviously could use a starter, but why not get in the Beltran sweepstakes, too? I mean, I like Doug Glanville as much as the next guy, but there's this little problem with his "hitting"...

Smart Growth and MLB: A Virtual History.
There were many different scenarios under which Major League Baseball might have grown and captured all its new markets over the past 50 years. I suggest that without the application of franchise relocation, in any but the most dire circumstances, the past half-century of MLB would have been an entirely more acceptable and enjoyable enterprise for everyone involved (except for the few greedy soulless millionaires who actually profited, hugely, from what actually transpired -- and, most assuredly, none of us should care a whit about their selfish concerns).

I'd like to present a scenario which, while admittedly is best-case and in many ways fanciful, offers an alternative in which:

- All existing MLB markets (and then some) are served
- There was only one franchise relocation

Let's give this virtual history a whirl...
(The Hardball Times)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Giants pull closer to Dodgers in NL West. San Francisco 3, Los Angeles 2 in the first of a 4-game series in San Francisco. The Giants now trail the Dodgers by half a game. (Yahoo!)

Beat L.A. "So can we let Deivi stay at shortstop for now? Hard to believe, but his 2-for-3 sticks him at .289, 30 points higher than Neifi's on-base percentage. Perez, by the way, was the first pinch hitter off the bench tonight, which should tell you there's something horribly wrong with the Giants roster." (Across the Seams)

Guerrero lifts Angels over A's. Anaheim 10, Oakland 3 in the first of a 4-game series in Anaheim. The Angels now trail the Rangers and A's by half a game. (Yahoo!)

Angels 10, A's 3. "If you're like me, you love to read the constant bitch-fest that is Athletics Nation's 'open threads.' The one thing you'll notice when reading them (other then the fact that A's fans have no idea how good they have it) is the genuine hate A's fans feel toward the Angels. They love nothing more then to stick it to us, their prosperous neighbors to the south. I find this odd, because I really have no strong feelings about the A's either way. Sure, I want to beat them to a bloody pulp with a sock full of pennies, but that's how a feel about every team (with the exception the D-Rays- it's hard to hate something as helpless as the D-Rays. It's like yelling at a basket full of puppies.)." (Pearly Gates)

Tigers get Guillen through '07.
In a major victory, the Tigers have persuaded shortstop Carlos Guillen to stay instead of leaving as a free agent after this season.

The Tigers could announce as soon as today that they have signed Guillen to a three-year contract extension through 2007, the Free Press has learned.

Unlike with the free agents they recruited last off-season, the Tigers have not overpaid to keep Guillen, at least based on the star level at which he has performed. His new three-year deal is said to be worth about $4.5 million a year -- half of what the Tigers offered shortstop Miguel Tejada as a free agent last off-season.
(Detroit Free Press)

The Rashomon Project. A dozen writers look at the same Yankees-Dodgers game from different perspectives. Having never seen Rashômon, I prefer to think of it as the Go Project, or maybe the Trilogy of Error project. (

Monday, June 21, 2004
Devil Rays make it 11 in a row. They swept the Diamondbacks this weekend, 6-2, 11-4, 2-1. (Yahoo!)

Cooperstown Confidential. Bruce Markusen on Freddy Garcia, Denny Walling, uniforms and more. (

Friday, June 18, 2004
Astros' slide continues against Cubs. Chicago 5, Houston 4. A four-game sweep for the Cubs, who have won six straight. The Astros are now in fifth place. (Yahoo!)

Astros trade Hidalgo to Mets for Weathers, Griffiths.
HOUSTON (AP) -- Hoping to help their sagging offense, the New York Mets acquired right fielder Richard Hidalgo from the Houston Astros on Thursday for right-handers David Weathers and Jeremy Griffiths.

Hidalgo has put up big numbers in the past, but he was in the midst of a disappointing season with the Astros. He recently lost his starting job to Jason Lane, and soon after went to general manager Gerry Hunsicker and asked to be traded.


Weathers adds an experienced middle reliever to Houston's bullpen, which is in desperate need of help there. The Mets also get $4 million from the Astros as part of the deal to offset the difference in salaries.

The 28-year-old Hidalgo is batting .256 with four homers and 30 RBIs, a huge drop-off from last year's .309 average with 28 home runs and 88 RBIs. He was voted the Astros' MVP in 2003.

Weathers out, Hidalgo in. "I first heard this on WFAN and have since seen it reported on the ESPN bottom line, and I say right on. No one wants to see the Mets mortgage their future to make a run at the playoffs this year, and this is exactly the kind of trade they should be making, improving the team this year without affecting next year’s team in any significant way. There’s some speculation that management getting rid of Art Howe’s favorite reliever just days after getting rid of his buddy the hitting coach is yet more handwriting on the wall, and perhaps that’s true. But the important thing is that the Mets dumped an ineffective relief pitcher in exchange for upgrading a position that sorely needed it." (Betty's No Good Clothes Shop And Pancake House)

Lowe, Red Sox get rare shutout at Coors. Boston 11, Colorado 0. In his last two starts, Lowe has pitched 14 scoreless innings and lowered his ERA from 6.55 to 5.25. (Yahoo!)

Rocky Mountain Win. "What more is there to say? Where are the negatives? I had to dig deep to come up with any, but the fans chanting 'Yankees Suck' at Coors, with the Yanks still leading the east just doesn't cut it for me. 'New York, New York' blaring over the loudspeakers at the game's finish was bushleague at best. Stick to brewing mediocre beer, guys." (Surviving Grady)

Cards rally for three in ninth, beat A's.
OAKLAND    100 030 000 - 4
ST. LOUIS  000 001 103 - 5

Celebrate Good Times, C'Mon! "I confess: somewhere around the 5th inning I had this game written off as a loss. We’d already won the first two games of the series, we were facing Tim Hudson, and as the game went on you got the distinct impression that our best chances had been either booted or thrown away (usu. by Marlon Anderson or Edgar Renteria), especially going into the bottom of the ninth down by two and Renteria (fine), McKay (ugh), and Lankford (uninspiring) due up. But sometimes strange things happen..." (Redbird Nation)

McGriff, Devil Rays win eighth straight. Tampa Bay 4, San Diego 1. The Devil Rays are now 29-34, and only eight games behind the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race. (Yahoo!)

Thursday, June 17, 2004
Cheering for the Yankees and Red Sox at the same time. "It is hard to hate the Orioles. The team is going through its 7th straight losing season, three fifths of the starting rotation would be in AA in any other franchise, and the top hitters like Palmeiro, Tejada, and Mora are all fairly likeable. But the fact that their owner is trying to force me to drive three hours in Beltway and I-95 traffic in order to see a live major league game makes me enjoy every one of their losses. I now find myself happy when either the Yankees or Red Sox win, because I want to see Angelos' losing streak continue." (Senators and Sabermetrics)

Time to look towards future is now. "I will admit, the Royals still have a chance to come back. But to be completely honest, I wouldn't bet Carlos Beltran on it. If the deal that we could get in return for Beltran is better then the compensation picks that we would get for Beltran if he was to sign with another club, I would trade him away in a heartbeat." (Powder Blue Pinetar)

Ex-Mariner Podsednik one who got away.
From the Seattle perspective, Scott Podsednik is playing for the wrong Melvin.

Instead of manning the outfield at Safeco Field, under the guidance of Mariners manager Bob Melvin, Podsednik is a major highlight on the résumé of Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin.

"Nope, I think he's with the right Melvin," said Doug Melvin, who claimed Podsednik off waivers from Seattle as his first act after assuming his position in October 2002.
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Chat wrap: Rob Neyer, Bill James.
Jared (Dallas): R.A. Dickey recently added a new pitch which he calls "The Thing" or, "The Thang." It is supposedly like a mix between a splitter and a curve and who knows what. What are some of the better made-from-scratch like pitches and who are the pitchers that threw them?

Bill James: Well, there was Harry Dorish's "Cosmic Pitch". . that was a good one. Tommy Byrne threw a "Kimono Ball"--a pitch thrown from behind his back--a few times in spring training, although I don't think he ever threw it in legal competition. Dave LaRoche's LaLob would be a good one.

Rob Neyer: For what it's worth, Brent Strom recently told me that Dickey's "Thing" is exactly the same pitch as Burt Hooton's knuckle-curve.

Enough Already! "Once Twins fans take off their rose-colored glasses...I would hope it becomes apparent that [Jacque] Jones has proven, time after time, season after season, that he just cannot hit left-handed pitching. I wonder why people seem to have a problem -- and I'm talking both Ron Gardenhire and Twins fans -- recognizing the need for him to not play against lefties. I mean, you wouldn't play Rey Ordonez, Neifi Perez, Mike Matheny or Rey Sanchez in right field against lefties, so why would you play someone who hits like they do?" (The Hardball Times)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Prior, Cubs hand Clemens first loss. (Yahoo!)

The List: Week #10. "2-1. 5-3. 3-2. 7-5. 4-3. Those are the scores by which the Mets were beat in five consecutive games against the Twins and Royals. Three times the bullpen blew it in the final at bat, and once in the 15th inning." (

Prospectus Triple Play: Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, New York Mets. "Rafael Palmeiro passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list Saturday (which game was also only the third in baseball history to feature home runs by two members of the 500 Club). That news may make you blink: you knew that Raffy had 500 homers, and you knew that he's been a very good player for a very long time. But passing Mickey Mantle? Palmeiro is almost certainly the least prominent player to surpass the Mick." (Baseball Prospectus)

(Vic) Power for the People. Stephen reminisces about Power and Mudcat Grant. (Mariners Wheelhouse)

Monday, June 14, 2004
Yankees ruin Wells' return with wild win.
SAN DIEGO  001 000 100 003 - 5
NEW YORK   000 000 002 004 - 6

Miracles on Grass. "The Yankees are extremely overdue for a slump, but the way they've been playing lately, winning despite poor efforts, you have to wonder if it'll ever come. A playoff spot looks like a lock at this point, 100 wins probable, and a historic win total is, at this point, conceivable." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

We Were Going To Win......Right? "It is easy to see the accident in the rear view mirror, but no one could have predicted just how horribly wrong this season would go for the Royals. Sure, if we had taken off the rose colored glasses prior to the season we might have realized this team was not truly built to make a playoff run, but there was no reason to think that the Royals would be one of the worst teams in baseball." (The Pine Tar Rag)

2004 NL Central Established Win Shares Report. (The Baseball Crank)

Hurricanes Advance to College World Series for 21st Time. (The Book of Mike)

Thursday, June 10, 2004
Nomar returns, but Red Sox lose to Padres. (Yahoo!)

In first at last. "For the third consecutive night, Oakland manhandled the Reds' pitching staff, this time reeling off a 17-8 victory with Damian Miller supplying a grand slam. At the same time, Anaheim dropped its second in a row to Milwaukee, leaving the A's alone in first place in the AL West for the first time since April 23." (SF Gate)

A's hitting their stride. Rob Neyer: "June the 9th, 2004. It might be a date that means nothing at all. Or it might be the date on which the Oakland Athletics grabbed first place for good." (

Back to first! "A particularly happy note for the offense, at least for me, is that Bobby Crosby has really been turning it up lately. He had a slow start, as you might expect, being a newbie to MLB, trying to play a tough defensive position on a contending team, but he's raised his batting average to .258, which has brough his OBP to .316 and his nine homers and eleven doubles add up to a .472 slugging percentage. How many major league shortstops, 24-years old or not, have a .214 ISO? He's still not walking nearly as much as his minor-league records indicated he would, but maybe that'll come now that the other aspects of his offense are coming around." (Beaneball)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Rolen, Carpenter lead Cards over Cubs. "Rolen made up for the ailing Pujols' absence with a three-run homer, Edmonds threw out what would have been the tying run and the Cardinals held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 Monday night for their 10th victory in 12 games." (Yahoo!)

One down, three to go. "This wasn't a must-win game for the Cardinals, but it was certainly a 'should-win,' with Rusch on the hill and Clement, Prior, and Zambrano in the queue (Jesus, the Cubs rotation is like a box of Kleenex -- every time they use a great pitcher, another one pops up right after)." (Redbird Nation)

Al Yellon: "The Cub offense was fairly moribund again today. Carole's favorite player, Corey Patterson (Carole has been yelling 'Corey sucks' for several weeks now, and Mike, who works at an art studio, made her a "Corey Sucks" sticker for her clipboard, matching the 'Yankees Suck' one that has been there for several years), actually hit a homer today, into the LF basket, and of course, this is about the worst thing that could have happened to him, since that convinces him that he's a home run hitter, and he promptly had one of the worst at-bats of his season (and that's saying a lot), popping up weakly to right with two runners in scoring position in his next at-bat, and then striking out on a terrible pitch in the dirt in the ninth." (and another thing!, June 7)

Chris Dial reviews Leigh Montville’s Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero. "The cursing in Ted Williams’life was evidently a constant and so it is when Montville quotes everyone. I haven’t seen the f-word in print this much since I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I take that back – Fear and Loathing has it less often. Some of the language is going to offend all but the heartiest of sailors. (Baseball Think Factory)

There's A Beer Riot Goin' On. Jay Jaffe on the 10-Cent Beer Night Riot of 1974. (Futility Infielder)

Monday, June 07, 2004
Padres select high school shortstop Matt Bush with No. 1 pick. (Yahoo!)

Rivals in Exile: Cry Me a River. Ben Jacobs and Larry Mahnken on the Red Sox and Yankees. (The Hardball Times)

With Prior, Cubs in good hands. Rob Neyer: "Am I bearish on the Cubs? No, but I'm not bullish, either. Call me cubbish." (

Friday, June 04, 2004
Who's Your Yady? Brian on Yadier Molina, who made his debut for the Cardinals this week. (Redbird Nation)

The Unknown Franchise Player. Mike on Bobby Abreu. (Mike's Baseball Rants)

Cooperstown Confidential. Bruce Markusen on the Pirates, the Mets, and more. (Bronx Banter)

Thursday, June 03, 2004
Guerrero's nine RBIs lift Angels. The Red Sox have lost three straight, and have given up 67 runs in their last 8 games. (Yahoo!)

Clemens nails down Cubs. He's 8-0. (Houston Chronicle)

Cable show helps prove man innocent of murder.
LOS ANGELES -- "Curb Your Enthusiasm," an HBO show known for its acerbic wit, accidentally helped deliver a happy ending to a man who had been charged with murder.

Juan Catalan spent 5½ months in jail on murder charges before his attorney found video footage taken by the show at Dodger Stadium that backs up his client's claims of innocence.

Notebook city. Assorted Dodger thoughts. (Dodger Thoughts)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Dunn, Reds power past Marlins in Miami. Dunn broke out of a 1-for-29 slump with two homers. (Yahoo!)

Giants win streak ends at 10 in Arizona. Steve Finley homered twice to tie Albert Pujols for the major league lead (16). (Yahoo!)

He's Not Quite Dead! Larry Mahnken on Derek Jeter. (The Hardball Times)

The List: Week #8. "Not that April was bad (.300/.462/.586), but May was punch-drunk love (.387/.521/.785) for Lance Berkman. So far this young year he’s flown past his fellow Astro Killer B’s and has joined the strata of the Killingest “B” of them all: Barry Bonds." (

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Bonds powers Giants to 10th win in a row. They're now 26-24, and just 1½ games behind the Dodgers and Padres. (Yahoo!)

Marty Cortinas: "I don't want to rain on the parade too much, but the Giants aren't exactly presenting a good case for teams to pitch to Bonds. Behind Barry tonight were Feliz, Pierzynski, Minor, Perez, and the pitcher's spot. Those five slots went 1-for-19 last night, and that hit was Kirk Rueter's." (Across the Seams)

Prospectus Matchups. Jim Baker: "Man! I would have bet anything that Juan Gonzalez would get through 2004 without going on the Disabled List. I’m just shocked and astounded to find him there. What if Gonzalez had been able to assimilate some of Cal Ripken’s DNA back in 1990? How many home runs would he have by now?" (Baseball Prospectus)

Just Re-Ward? Mike's thoughts on Daryle. (Mike's Baseball Rants)

Rivals in Exile: Back and Forth. Ben Jacobs and Larry Mahnken on the Red Sox and Yankees. "New York clearly has the easier schedule the rest of the way -- lesser interleague opponents, and fewer games against the tougher AL teams than Boston. But I have to agree -- no offense to the fans of other AL teams, but they're simply not in the class of Boston and New York when they're healthy. It doesn't mean that the pennant is going to go to one of these teams, but a playoff berth looks pretty assured to them both." (The Hardball Times)

Boys of Summer Reading: Summer Grab Bag. Book reviews from Sean McNally. (Baseball Think Factory)

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