Some stellar and not exclusively baseball stuff from the great Bill James.
I am not saying that we should not admire Babe Ruth, that we should not respect him, that we should not honor him. What I am trying to get people to face is the cast of mind that made Babe Ruth what he was. It was not very different from the cast of mind that made Barry Bonds who he was, or made Roger Clemens or Ted Williams who they were. I myself am a stubborn, sometimes arrogant person who refuses to obey some of the rules that everybody else follows. I pay no attention to the rules of grammar. I write fragments if I goddamned well feel like it. I refuse to follow many of the principles of proper research that are agreed upon by the rest of the academic world. An editor said to me last year, "Well, you've earned the right to do things your own way." Bullshit; I was that way when I was 25. It has to do with following the rules that make sense to me and ignoring the ones that don't. It doesn't make me a bad person; it makes me who I am.
I've added the emphasis above. The philosophy encapsulated in that final sentence. It reminds me entirely of Robert Heinlein's Professor Bernardo de la Paz character from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The Prof espoused the idea that rules could only be self-imposed. A few quotations from the book:
A rational anarchist believes that such concepts as ‘state' and ‘society' and ‘government' have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame... as blame, guilt, responsibility are taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else.
I would be satisfied to have the Golden Rule be the only law; I see no need for any other, nor for any method of enforcing. But if you really believe that your neighbors must have laws for their own good, why shouldn't you pay for it? Comrades, I beg you - do not resort to compulsory taxation. There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
To be honest, Prof strikes me as a futuristic sabermetrician:
Distrust the obvious, suspect the traditional... Whatever you do, do not let the past be a straitjacket!
The impact of Heinlein on sabermetrics is not exactly a secret, either. Gary Huckabay, one of the founders of Baseball Prospectus was said to have coined the term TANSTAAPP - There Aint No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect - a direct derivative of TANSTAAFL, which appeared first in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The freed minds who examined baseball and found the existing metrics wanting are so far from the constricted ones that triumph either the role of tradition, the so called purists, or the managing hand of elites in the game. With James, our Prof, continuing to produce innovative ideas the movement will continue to attract those willing to question assumptions in the crucible of critical thinking.no comments
Logan Mankins. Last week I tried to stretch out his name to match his holdout. Best I could do was: Loooooo-Gan Mannnnnn-kins. Not quite enough. Then I got to thinking what was longer than Mankins holdout.
Over at Foxboro Blog, I count down the Patriots-centric things that cannot compare with Mankins' holdout. A big thanks to Derek Hanson for the weekly spot over at Foxboro Blog.no comments
Amazing the amount of good will a bad season will chew up. Last offseason, Jack Zduriencik was the toast of the baseball commentariat, including your humble correspondent. The decision to lock up key young performers Franklin Gutierrez and Felix Hernandez remain eminently praiseworthy. As are both Cliff Lee trades. Acquiring him without sacrificing the top system prospects and taking a top prospect from a divisional rival after two months of lustrous pitching is fine. But the failure of the team to succeed, the poor handling of Don Wakamatsu's final days at the helm and now the Josh Leuke debacle have worn some of the shine from Jack Z.'s reputation.
Premium Calcaterra snark follows:
To sum up: either the Mariners' President lied about not knowing of Leuke's past, or else no one thought it was a good idea to tell the Mariners' President information that he really should have known. And then Zduriencik lied about trying to send Leuke back. And then Zduriencik fired a guy who has now dropped the dime about all of this to Geoff Baker.
Doin' a heckuva a job, there, Jack Z.
This is not to say that the Mariners failures are solely and wholly the responsibility of the GM. He bears the burden of poor roster construction, to the extent that the failures on the field are the fault of the poor planning. But with the firing of Wakamatsu and parts of his coaching staff and this situation with Lueke both land on his desk and his desk alone.
Both incidents are part of doing business in baseball. But not getting Rick Adair and really all of the former coaches to sign bulletproof Non-Disclosure Agreements is an absolute failure that binds both issues. Firings are unpleasant. I have been both the guy fired and the one sitting across the table as my boss fired a colleague. They are stress laden affairs that truly sell the goal of working for oneself better than any other perk of that particular position. How difficult would it have been to guarantee an extra year of pay in exchange for a year of silence? At the least it would have mitigated some of the stress felt by all concerned.
Adair's interview with Baker illustrates that Zduriencik failed completely to insure that the integrity of the organization was protected from disgruntled employees. That failure should be of paramount concern to Mariner's President Chuck Armstrong who now has egg to clean from his face. The fiction that both Zduriencik and Armstrong perpetrated regarding Lueke is part of our broken media based discourse. But it remains far better to either not comment or just own the truth than to lie and then be called out later.no comments
Jerry Manuel recently addressed his contract situation with the press, because both Mets fans were wondering when Omar was going to whip out the checkbook to retain the tactician most responsible for the epic Mets collapses of Septembers past.
Jerry Manuel admitted yesterday that he would 'love to know' if the organization plans to bring him back next season, but he also isn’t about to seek out GM Omar Minaya or Jeff Wilpon for an answer. Manuel, whose contract expires after the season, said he’ll refrain from asking because he doesn’t want to become a focal point – especially if the organization has already decided to dump him – in this final month.
This prompts me to recall the wise words spoken by Inigo Montoya. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
It's not that Manuel should not wonder about his job status. he surely should. And with notepads and microphones before him, the offhand comment is bound to be made -- something like "yeah I'd like to know if I should plan for next season." But that's not what Manuel did with the excerpted comments above.
See Manuel could easily avoid becoming the focal point, by not addressing the subject in public. You see, by telling reporters that he isn't going to ask Minaya or Wilpon what his status is does not preclude the topic being addressed by the media. A curt response would succeed at that task. "Listen guys, I'm not going to talk about my contract. Nobody cares about whether I'm back next year. They care about what we're going to do to get better this year."
But it's more likely that Manuel does want resolution, so he can burnish his credentials to get a gig someplace else next season in the final month of the season. Using the press, who are happy to run Manuel's quote, and then use his comments as the basis of inquiries when next they speak to Minaya or Wilpon, so they can get not just one, but at least two and possibly many more stories out of it.
Jerry Manuel denies that he has self-interest and purports to be selfless, while implicitly demonstrating the contrary. Pre-packaged media-friendly comments often cloud truth. Which is why despite the abundance of printed, spoken and posted words, we communicate less and less effectively. Object lesson over.
HT-Matt Cerrone, who has a calm, measured and entirely reasonable take on the situation over at Metsblog.comno comments
September commences with expanded rosters and dwindling playoff hopes. Walk with me around the network.
- Paddy McMahon of the Braves-centric Chop-n-Change focuses his attention on the league-wide limits on innings young pitchers throw. As bloggers we tend to be understandably skeptical of conventional wisdom. While pitch counts and innings limits have been in practice in some or another for more than 20 years, pitchers still get hurt, even when a team treats the pitcher as delicately as one would treat an orchid. Look at Stephen Strasburg. He never threw more than 99 pitches in a start. he never faced more than 28 batters in a start. He never pitched on fewer than four days rest. You can make the case he tried to come back from his DL stint too soon, but I suspect that is an instinct endemic to world class athletes and not the team rushing him back. The care and handling of young arms is nowhere near settled science. If nothing else comes of the Greenberg-Ryan acquisition of the Rangers it provides us with a laboratory experiment on handling pitchers. If Texas succeeds, I hope we are open enough to accept the possibility that all we think we know about PAP, Verducci Effects, Joba Rules and inning limits may very well be wrong.
- Pat Lackey lauds the responsiveness and accountability of the truly fantastic Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, who responded directly yo Pat's earlier criticism of vagueness by the beat writer. I'm going to quote Pat because he positively nails the significance: "I'm not sure that many beat writers would respond to a direct criticism from a blogger like this and we're lucky as Pirate fans to have one that does." Quite right. Responsive, intellectually curious writers do a far better job of informing the public than their careerist sclerotic counterparts. And so you can have the full blessing of context, here's Pat's initial post and Dejan's response.
- Rob Muntis examines The Bottom Line of the Red Sox-Rockies deal that sent Manny Delcarmen to Denver. I disagree with one of the questions raised. Writing elsewhere I commented that "Balcom-Miller is an extreme groundball pitcher.... He put up a 3.31 ERA in 19 starts for Colorado's A ball affiliate. His strikeout numbers and hit numbers are both also very strong...." The combination of great groundball numbers, a K-rate north of one strikeout per inning pitched and just 19 walks on the season is a stunningly good return on a pitcher who flashed signs of being a stellar seventh inning guy, but was rarely consistent. Matt O'Donnell of Fenway West finds a gem of a quote about Balcom-Miller that bears notice. His stock could not be higher than it was right now. Win Red Sox all day, everyday and twice on Sunday.
- Matt Lindner went, because they built it
- Lar from Wezen Ball tackled the topic of the no-hitter superstition of not mentioning it for fear of the almighty jinx. My take is that the only "Superstition" I want at the ballpark are the Stevie Wonder original and the Stevie Ray Vaughan cover.
- This is from a few days back, but I wanted to highlight it as the post refutes a meme slowly coalescing into conventional wisdom. MB21 the fine proprietor of the self-proclaimed 32nd best Cub Blog on the Internet, Another Cubs Blog where the operational reality is that Joe Girardi will NOT be managing the Cubs in 2011. Girardi is not likely to bolt New York. He may surprise us, but the arguments favoring his departure reflect sentiment, perhaps a profound pull, but one overrated by sportswriters and commentators seeking to fill column inches and air time.
- Erik Manning has turned Pale Hose Pariah into a destination baseball blog in record time. His latest examination uncovers the Don Cooper effect, which is not the strange love-child of Don Draper and Bert Cooper fellow Mad Men devotees, but rather an acknowledgement that the White Sox pitching coach gets the best from his pitchers while keeping them relatively healthy, omitting the recent injuries to J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton.
- Blake Kearny wonders whether the Yankees successful waiver claim for Ted Lilly, which was awarded yesterday, will allow them to put Lilly on the postseason roster, even if he arrives in New York later this week. If the Dodgers decline to deal, then the question goes unanswered until next season.
- Jaymes Langrehr looks at the long road of redemption from self-inflicted damage that Jeremy Jeffress has trod to reach Milwaukee at last. The Brewers decision to maintain their core intact for one more run may be particularly wise with Mat Gamel hitting a ton and live arms like Jeffress, Zach Braddock and John Axford up.
- Andrew Kneeland takes the time to dismantle the faulty logic that animates the Manny naysayers, noting quite correctly that Manny Ramirez is more than a marginal upgrade. Kneeland tempers his concerns about the improved White Sox lineup with the positive affirmations of the Twins are a better hitting club and have better pitching, and gosh darnit, people like them. Until Justin Morneau is recovered from his concussion, the Twins remain vulnerable, and the improvement Ramirez represents, even in the short run may be a difference maker.
- When it's just straight cash, Homey, the price is always right, as Paddy McMahon details when he goes Around the Majors.
- Metstradamus has the skinny on the one little red paper clip that Omar Minaya was able to turn into a steaming pile of excrement. It makes sense when you remember it's the Mets and read the whole thing.
- Mets inspired despair is not limited to Metstradamus, as Nikki DeMaio is discovering. She concludes with some evidence, that of the Suckers born every minute, "most of them grow up to be Mets fans." Nikki's woes are echoed in the clubhouse as evidenced by this tweet from Mets beat writer, Steve Popper.
- Pitching success? Your wish is my command, saith Mariano Rivera. Well actually it's Josh W. at Pending Pinstripes who posts a pair of charts highlighting good command and meatball tossing.
- Another older post, this one from Matt Turner who peaks at some Encouraging if small sample size numbers that Jacob Turner is posting down in the Florida State League. Turner is the Tigers top pitching prospect, and while his season has been lightly regarded, at 19 to post the k-rates he has in both A-ball and Advanced A are phenomenal.
- Nancy celebrates the Altoona Curve, winners of the Eastern league's Western Division title.
- The Minor League seasons are drawing to a close, so Jay Yencich's system recaps will soon draw to a close and the analysis of the Mariner system will begin in earnest.
- Hooks has declared it to be, thus it must be so. The 2010 Cards are Dead. Long Live the 2010 Cards.
- One would think that Stephen Strasburg's injury would cause waves of despondency to flood the District of Columbia. But hope comes in the evening, at least the evenings when Jordan Zimmermann demonstrates his new and improved post-TJS arm. Will Yoder found the performance inspirational.
- Packey writing at the rebooted Awful Announcing would like us to know that Rob Dibble is "a bit of a hypocrite. I would like to add that the one redeeming aspect of Strasburg's injury is that it accomplished the ever joyful task of making Dibble look like even more of a chucklehead than we thought possible.
- Aroldis Chapman joined Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson in much heralded debuts. But unlike his predecessors, Chapman was able to air it out in one inning of relief, to the tune of a 102 MPH heater and a slider that prompted jaws to drop around the baseball blogosphere in unison. Dave Biddle has the take of the resounding success along with a hot bowl of Three-Way Chili.
- The end of the season, like the end of the post is a time for reflection and dissection. Consider what went right, what went wrong, and where was luck the dominant force. Musings on luck's fickleness propelled Charlie Saponara to the keyboard
The Bloguin BRU is an occasional, though hopefully soon to be daily, glance at the latest and most thought provoking baseball writing from around the Bloguin Network. Bloguin was founded in 2008 to empower bloggers by ensuring consistently high-quality blog design, maximum site functionality and responsive advertising and revenue maximization programs. With over 150 blogs comprising the network, there is never a shortage of conversation. n
The writer of the Bloguin BRU requests mercy for his absenteeism. Life's been harried. I'm hopeful to have consistent BRUs as well as plenty of other new stuff appearing between now and the end of the baseball season.
- Mike Cardano poses a daunting question tonight at Around the Horn Baseball: are the Rangers overusing Cliff Lee? My short answer is no. But for Mike's click on through. Thoughtful and thought-provoking as always.
- Sticking with Lee, Paddy McMahon rips Colin Cowherd a new one over the radio hosts remarks about Lee mailing it in for the Rangers. Up above is point, at Around the Majors we have counter-point. I hope to have time to weigh in with my thoughts tomorrow.
- Larry Granillo is among my favorite writers out there. Though in my bleg below, I politely disagree with one of his assertions. One of the reasons is that on top of a wealth of baseball knowledge, Lar infuses Wezen Ball with appropriate measures of whimsy. You'd be well advised to enjoy the whimsical addition to his Tater Trot Tracker.
- Bill Ballew is blogging up a storm at Chop-n-Change these days, including two pieces worthy of your time. First is a look at the race with the Phillies, which Bill rightly hopes the Braves can put away before the season-ending set in Atlanta. Strength of schedule favors the Braves, but the head to head matchups allow the Phillies the chance to pull out the division. Bill turned his attention farmward to discuss the club's decision to advance Edward Salcedo to Rome. Salcedo is going to be good, but this stumble needs to be righted.
- The lovely and talented Blythe of Guysgirl.com (who's got a book out) turned her attention on the Red Sox recently, and what she found prompted her to rip her favorite ballclub for trolling the waiver wire hoping to hook up with an old flame. She rightly calls them out for begging Johnny Damon to love them again for the good times.
- Frankie Pavia writing at SeaTown Sports has got his dander up and needs to vent. His Rant about Irony in the Clubhouse covers the lows and lowers of the lost season on Puget Sound.
- Dave Biddle of Three Way Chili ponders the wild ride the Reds are on and also the triple crown aspirations of the best first baseman in the NL, Joey Votto.
- Boston lost a chance at a sweep of a double dip against the Mariners putting our triple threat of Sawx bloggers in gear, Ian of Sox and Dawgs breaks down game one. Rob Munstis of The Bottom Line comments on the night cap. Including what was going on with Adrian Beltre getting run. About that ejection, shelley from Fenway West busted out the Caps Lock to call it "RIDICULOUS."
- When the season starts winding down, the topic becomes hot stove, even when it's still scorching hot outside. MB21 of Another Cubs Blog starts looking at Options and Arbitration candidates for the Cubs in advance of the offseason. Many decisions will need to be made on the North Side of Chicago. Plenty of reason to bookmark or add Another Cubs Blog to your RSS Reader of choice.
- If I asked how important Ramon Castro was to the ChiSox none would dare answer. Because I ask random questions like that and people have learned to ignore me. But when the Pale Hose Pariah Erik manning asks, you better listen up, because there's a lesson here.
- Is it time to re-up Rickie Weeks longterm in Milwaukee? Jaymes Langrehr says making a deal is smart for both sides over at The Brewers Bar.
- Not an advertisement: Behold! The new comedy line from Metstradamus! You might be mediocre if... Well it pretty much boils down to you're the New York Mets.
- Ross the New York Yankee Stadium Insider has provocative video of an incident in what he believes (and he is the expert on such matters) is section 420B of the Stadium. He's looking for context. If you have some click on through and help the man out.
- The ability of Jose Tabata was in doubt when he was sent to the Pirates from the Yankees. Like many Yankee prospects who are dealt awya (and Red Sox prospects for that matter) the hype machine that focuses on their progress vanishes, leaving a void of scouting reports and positive analysis. Pat Lackey notes over at Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke? that Tabata is en fuego.
- Quick, head out farming with the Mariners Minors./
- The Mad Librarian strikes again over at Cardinals Diaspora heralding doom, doom, which incidentally is may be poaching on Metstradamus' territory. Unless the Cardinals pull it together in a hurry.
- Bryce Harper has come to Washington to chew bubblegum and kill baseballs. And according to Will Yoder, of The Nats Blog (accept no substitutes) Homeboy left the bubblegum back in Vegas.
- Charlie Saponara ponders the Cy Young award and the ranking criteria used currently, along with some thoughts on what should be used. The twitter and blogospheric battle that prompted the post over at Fantasy Baseball 365 is recapped briefly by Charlie and worthy of a fuller exposition in this space. No later than the weekend.
- A fond farewell in order for Matt Wallace, the soon to be former proprietor of Take 75 NorthTake 75 North who departs Bloguin shortly to assume the minor league beat for Tigers Blog Bless You Boys.
- This is not baseball specific, but it touches on something important to all sports bloggers. Ballhype is dead. Long live Ballhype. Ben Koo, Bloguin's CEO and the man who dissects the sports new media landscape with the skill of a virtuoso surgeon, pours some liquor for the departed, and then brings the analysis that his readers describe as mad crack for their inside blogging habit.
- Finally a plea for help. No not that kind. I'm beyond help in that sense. I'm looking for objective ways to measure franchise health. Click here to read about the project and please comment.
Contra the opinions of the Midwest centric titans of baseball analysis that I listen to every other week and read daily, the discussion of morbidity amongst Major League Baseball teams does not reside amongst the Royals, Marlins or Astros. The gents of whom I speak are Larry Granillo of Wezen Ball and the Common Man and Bill of The Platoon Advantage. They tackled the dysfunction game during their bi-weekly podcast of baseball excellence. The discussion focused on the previously mentioned teams along with a dollop of Mets trashing, which was well-deserved in your humble correspondent's not so humble opinion.
But what constitutes dysfunctionality. More than that, what constitutes morbid franchise failure on a scale unheard of since the times of Babel Tower Makers. Let us ponder that complex question. To do so, think of a train wreck. Twisted metal, sparks, perhaps a conflagration from the bowsers brimming with fuel, acrid smoke belching from the wreckage. In our hypothetical robots drive trains, so fatalities are removed. But the destruction of useful and productive assets is immense. However, the death of SkyNet's robot army is a positive. Unless you are a terminator robot from the future, of course, though their interest in the study of baseball is limited at best. Destruction of baseball played by humans on the other hand well that would be much greater. But I digress. Back to our wreckage. Now, quickly, think of baseball. Where are you?
Probably someplace different than me.
Contemplation of such topics is inherently subjective. And while subjectivity makes the world go round, such as the discussion of whether a hurricane named Ditka would top Ditka himself, there can be no accurate answer, merely the ruminations of Bears fans and hurricane aficionados.
Here's where science enters the picture. The branch of statistical research devoted to baseball has a proud history and tradition. And also has drawn the scorn of all the right people. So the careful application of data should yield us a relatively definitive answer as to what team is least ably run.
I've considered twelve distinct metrics that over a period of time should point to the overall health of a franchise. Those metrics are:
- Winning percentage
- Losing Seasons over the period in questions
- Length of consecutive losing season streak in the period
- Cost per win
- Playoff Appearances
- Pennants won
- World Series won
- Average Seasonal WAR (Average of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs)
- Average Draft Bonuses
- Average International Bonuses
- Top 100 Picks
Here's where you come in. What criteria do you measure your favorite team against all others. Height will not be accepted as an answer. The metrics examine different aspects of success as an idea. Winning is clearly the most obvious factor and a full seven metrics are directly tied to on field performance. Cost per win measures efficiency, which is important as a subset of winning. The bonuses for signees and draft picks reflect player development. I thought of considering top 100 prospects, but the ranking of prospects is a highly subjective measure due to differences in leagues, ballparks, player ages and so forth. Valuing draft picks by accumulating them, and large signing bonuses prioritize player development, a sign of a healthy franchise. Finally attendance matters, because the ultimate success is getting people to visit the stadium.
But what am I missing? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Then at year's end after the Series is completed and a new victor crowned, we'll hash this out over the offseason. I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.no comments
Big Baseball news with a Sunday document dump and a pair of legends deciding what they will be doing in the future.
- My boss over at my other baseball blogging gig has been all over the document dump first at The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and today at Deadspin twice witht he promise of another one coming later today. Pat Lackey, who covers all things Pirates over at Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke? has a cursory look, with the promise of more. I'll be watching and so should you.
- The crew of Cubs bloggers at Another Cubs Blog took time out Sunday to bid farewell to Lou Piniella as he rode off into the sunset to care for his ailing mother. Such momentous events did not escape the attention of other Bloguin bloggers, like Will Yoder of The Nats Blog who serves up video from Piniella post-game presser. We'll miss you, Lou.
- More on the Piniella retirement from Matt Lindner at < a href=http://www.groundruletriple.com/2010-articles/august/lou-piniella-out-mike-quade-in-as-cubs-manager-wait-who.html>Ground Rule Triple who looks at the International (League) Man of Mystery who steps into the very big shoes of Lou Piniella, Mike Quade. Matt's on the money when he asks, "Wait, who?" Thankfully, Matt has the answers.
- It's still gauche to promote one's own gibberish in these links, but without a dedicated Dodger blogger in network and most of our national writers focused on the field, your humble correspondent takes to these pages (heck, just scroll down) to remind us all of why Vin Scully is a national treasure
- Keith Baker has a piece over at Around the Horn Baseball that pens the definitive end of an era in Los Angeles. Thankfully Vin Scully announced his return, so we can focus exclusively on where Manny Ramirez is going to finish up 2010.
- On Saturday, I said that Josh Bell had arrived. The gold folks at The Oriole Post declared is a coming out party. Three hits, two home runs, five runs batted in, and three scored makes for a very big day. And it was all off Cliff Lee. Do you recall the player the Orioles dealt to get Bell? George Sherrill, who has struggled mightily this season at age 33. Ned Coletti loves giving up youngsters for old relievers, doesn't he?
- Despite predictions of doom, the Red Sox took two of three from the Jays. In particular the dominance of Clay Buchholz has stoked Sox fans far and wide, included Shelley over at Fenway West who calls Buchholz the Red Sox best starter all year long.
- Aramis Ramirez struggles in the first half of the season sent the Cubs into a tailspin from which they would not recover. But as mb21 over at Another Cubs Blog happily demonstrates, Ramirez has recovered nicely, so much so that the possibly of him opting out of his contract, thought absurd in June, is again becoming a distinct possibility.
- Umpire (and Cowboy) Joe West ruffled feathers in the BosNY corridor of baseball calling out the Red Sox and Yankees for the length of their games at the start of the season. West's criticism has prompted more scrutiny for the men in blue this season, who seem to consistently botch calls in the most fantastic way. Erik Manning demonstrates the poor performance of West in calling balls and strikes in yesterday's Royals-White Sox game over at Pale Hose Pariah. West might find games progress quicker with accurate and consistently called balls and strikes.
- Manny Parra has serious stuff. But the results are nowhere to be found. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar examines his mechanics and compares release points with Jon Garland. The prognosis is not good for Parra if he can't gain more consistency in his mechanics. Certainly he's a non-tender candidate, especially so if he loses his place in the rotation in September.
- Doom. Gloom. Sorrow. The Mets. Which doesn't belong and why? Oh wait, somebody slipped the Mets in in place of puppies. No, all of these belong. Ask Metstradamus.
- For the Pirates the good news is in the future,a nd as always, Nancy of Sandlot Swashbucklers has her eye on the prospects who will bring cheer to baseball fans in Pittsburgh.
- The gang over at Cardinals Diaspora have welcomed a new writer to the fold, who debuted this weekend with a brief and biting evisceration of Rays manager and fashionista (fashionister?) Joe Maddon and his magnificent, marvelous, mad, plaid, BRaysers. TetreaultVision is happy to welcome The Mad Librarian to Bloguin and look forward to reading more from her.
I typically take to this space to condemn the writers and broadcasters who cover the greatest game played by grown men in attire that closely resembles pajamas. But today, the day after the announcement below, I have nothing but kind words for the true master of the field.
Vin Scully's return is an extension of all that's truly wonderful about baseball broadcasting. With the deaths of Harry Kalas and Ernie Harwell in recent years, Scully stood apart as the living legend and elder statesman in the booth, a throwback in an era of shameless self-promotoers like the rightfully lampooned John Sterling, Hawk Harrelson and even the excessively advertising laced Red Sox radio broadcasts with which I am most familiar.
Scully's ability to follow the progress of the game, even as he digressed to discuss another important topic, such as his on-air eulogy in remembrance of Harwell, where not a pitch was missed, or a second of game action overlooked while he paid tribute to his friend, is at the heart of his devotion to the craft of bringing a game to his audience. The fans who tune into a broadcast with Vin Scully on the call are treated to more than six decades of experience.
His cadence and style are mimicked by every young broadcaster looking to break into the baseball biz, a safe haven until he or she develops a unique voice to call games. Sometimes that mimicry becomes part of the on-air style, such as Jon Miller's famous impersonation/homage of the master.
Baseball, the sports that shows the greatest fealty to tradition, retains the broadcaster who introduced my contemporaries to the game through NBC's game of the week, alongside Joe Garagiola. He called the 1986 World Series when the Mets to Red Sox thansk to the notorious Mookie Wilson grounder through Bill Buckner's legs as well as the Kirk Gibson walk off home run in the 1988 Series between the Athletics and Dodgers. As a youngster just learning the game, I could ask for no greater guide for nine innings of pitch-perfect precision. And thanks to MLB.tv and the At Bat app on my iPhone, I need not visit LA to hear Scully call a game. It's a pleasure I return to often. The progress of seasons will someday claim Scully, who will retire from his abbreviated schedule to enjoy more leisure, time at home, and rest. At age 82, the number of summers we have left are unknowable, but few. And like all rare commodities worthy of our appreciation and reverence. Thanks for another season, Mr. Scully. We'll be listening.no comments