Friday, April 30, 2010

How about this for a big San Francisco Giants What If!!!

Look at the picture on the right and click on this link: The Sporting Orange. You San Francisco Giants fans out there (Yes, that includes you Justin, Rhea Allie and Tony) have a good laugh, because in 1992, the Giants were moving to Tampa Bay. Send your thanks to Peter McGowan who bought the team and kept them in San Francisco and MLB for blocking the sale of the Giants to Tampa Bay. Read on.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Few Thing I Want to Touch On

I have a few Baseball related things on my mind that I want to share. Here goes.

1. A-Rod breaking the unwritten rule

So Dallas Braden of the Oakland A's takes offense to A-Rod walking across the pitchers mound after running from first to third on a Robinson Cano foul ball during the 6th inning of Wednesday's game. After he yelled at A-Rod while on the field and taking his anger out on his glove and gatorade cups, here is what he said after the game:

"He should probably take a note from his captain over there and realize you don't cross the pitcher's mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind — being someone of such status."

"I don't care if I'm Cy Young or the 25th man on the roster, if I've got the ball in my hand and I'm on that mound, that's my mound ... He ran across the pitcher's mound foot on my rubber. No, not happening. We're not the door mat anymore."

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I have never heard about this unwritten rule about non-pitchers walking on the mound. I'll make sure to watch closer to see if anyone else does it. A-Rod has done questionable things on the field such as the glove slap in the 2004 ALCS against the Red Sox and the "HA!" incident in Toronto a few years back, but do I think it was intentional. No, not really and its not because I'm a Yankees fan but in reality, I didn't know that you couldn't walk on the mound. I've read online how A-Rod is this and that but a choice few say that Braden was out of line for his childlike rant on and off the field. A-Rod's retort was condescending, which I believe was the tone he wanted to use. Here it is:

He just told me to get off his mound. I was a little surprised. I'd never quite heard that. Especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career ... I thought it was pretty funny actually."

Could have A-Rod taken the high road, probably. But you know what, he is who he is and if he didn't think he should have apologized if he didn't feel that he had to. If Braden had an issue, he should have addressed it face-to-face like a man as K-Rod did when Bruney gave his two-cents on K-Rod's post-save ritual. Plus, imagine a young pitcher mouthing off to a veteran player like Reggie Jackson or Pete Rose in that manner back in the days. What happened to that unwritten rule?

2. David Ortiz and his future in Boston

I asked my friends Harper and Barry on how long David Ortiz has in Boston if he is still struggling. Ortiz is in his last contract year with the Red Sox and it seems to me that if he is playing next year. It won't be in Boston. Would Boston GM Theo Epstein trade one of the Bosox's favorite players? He did it in 2004 by trading Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs. If a team that is in contention needs a DH and the Red Sox are far enough out of it, maybe Theo will trade Big Papi for a couple of minor leaguers. The most he'll get for Ortiz is a draft pick (if the Red Sox offer him a new deal and he signs with someone else). Ortiz is not the same player he once was before the wrist injury. We'll see how this plays out.

3. Cliff who?

While Cliff Lee is on the DL for the Seattle Mariners until May, Roy Halladay is helping the Phillies faithful forget him. Halladay is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA, 28 strikeouts with only 3 walks and a WHIP of 0.88 in 33 innings pitched. Halladay's current dominiance of National League hitting is further cementing his status as the best power pitcher in the game today. I have two words for the Philly Faithful: CLIFF WHO????
Any issues, queries, questions or comments? Let me know.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Orlando Hudson and the Race Card

It really irks me when people pull the race card unnecessarily. I'll be the first to admit when there is a racial injustice but damn, this pulling of the race card in a cavalier fashion has to stop.

This past Tuesday I read Jeff Passan's article on Yahoo named Hudson hints at racism for blacks in free agency how Orlando Hudson of the Minnesota Twins alludes to the reason why older black players such as Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield are without a contract this season. Here is what Hudson was quoted as saying in the article:

“You see guys like Jermaine Dye without a job,” Hudson told Yahoo Sports earlier this week, citing Dye’s 2009 statistics. “Can’t get a job. Pretty much sums it up right there, no? You’ve got some guys who miss a year who can come back and get five, six million dollars, and a guy like Jermaine Dye can’t get a job. A guy like Gary Sheffield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can’t get a job. “We both know what it is. You’ll get it right. You’ll figure it out. I’m not gonna say it because then I’ll be in [trouble].”

What he doesn't mention that maybe Sheffield is at an age where he is no longer the dominant and productive player that he once was. Nor does he touch on the fact that though Dye hit 28 hrs and 81 RBI this past season, Dye did most of it during the first half of the season (he slugged .567 and hit 20 homeruns)while slumping badly both at bat and in the field during the second half (batting .179 and slugging .297 with 8 homeruns). Not to mention that Dye did receive offers from both the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs but since the offers were less than the $11.5 million he made last year, Dye was uninterested. No, the reason Hudson chose to highlight for both players being unsigned was their skin color. The article also highlights Kenny Lofton and Ray Durham as older black players who have been largely ignored by baseball despite still being productive in seasons past.

In the case of Jermaine Dye, I believe he should have learned from the mistakes his from former Oakland A's teammate Johnny Damon made during his contract negotiations with the Yankees. Damon priced his way out of New York with a ridiculous contract demand and had to settle for a lesser contract from the Detroit Tigers. Both Bobby Abreu (last season) and Adrian Beltre (this season) accepted less than market value to play for one year with the Angels and Red Sox respectively. Abreu parlayed his productive season in Anaheim into a multi-year contract as Beltre is probably hoping to do with Boston or another team.

Ownership has taken the stance that with the current state of economics (both in the game and the nation as a whole) they are willing to invest in younger players and sign veteran players at lower amounts than in previous years. Why would you pay a player 11.5 million per year in his late 30's when you can get one or two young players for half of that combined or sign a veteran willing to make less and have some added versatility in your lineups. The article shows that white players Garrett Atkins, Aubrey Huff and Xavier Nady had less productive seasons than Dye and were signed to contracts ranging from $3 to $5 million per year. What the article fails to emphasize is that these players are younger and fill a need on the teams that they signed with and not because of the color of their skin.

If racism was the case, how do you explain Mike Cameron signing for 2-years $15.5 million with the Red Sox at the age of 37 and LaTroy Hawkins signing for 2-years $7.5 million with the Brewers at the age of 37. It was because these players filled a need for the team that signed them within the price range both sides were willing to agree upon rather if the player was black, white, green or blue.

In the case of Jermaine Dye, I have nothing against trying to make as much money as you can (more times than not we'd leave our jobs for a different one if there was a substantial raise offered) but as it is in sports, the older you get, the less you make. I believe that it is all about production of the field rather than the color of someone's skin. What do you think.

For Further Reading
- Click Here for the Jeff Passan's article on Yahoo

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Baseball Talmud

I recently finished looking through The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players by Howard Megdal and I found his All-Time Jewish team to be interesting. Before I touch on it, there are a few things I want to comment about.

First the Jewish-isms (Is this correct to say?) were hilarious. I'm not sure if Megdal was writing the book with a specific reader in mind but I found his descriptions of Jews and Non-Jews alike to be entertaining.

Second, I guess I'm not really surprised that only 3% of all Major Leaguers throughout the years were of Jewish decent (As of 2008, 16,696 players of which less than 160 were Jewish). With the exceptions of major Urban centers like New York and Los Angeles that were major centers of Jewish culture and representation, people in this country could be Anti-Semitic in both thoughts and actions. I would have thought the percentage of Jewish players to be higher since Major League Baseball has been integrated since 1947 but I'm not surprised with the 3%.

Third, I find it amazing how fully dependent some people are on Metrics to compare players. Thanks to Mr. Bill James for introducing the world of Baseball to Sabrmetrics. The author heavily relies on such statistical categories as WARP3 (determines season value in terms of wins over a replacement-level player, adjusted for park and era), EQA (offensive production expressed as an average), ERA+ (adjusts a raw ERA for park and era, relative to the league average with 100 being average) and OPS+ (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage adjusted for era and park, and expressed relative to average) among others. Though I think these usage of metrics can be exaggerated, I do believe that they can be a valid for comparison sake.

Baseball players from different eras differed in methods of training, facilities, economic, educational opportunities and life experiences. For example, a player from the late 30's and early 40's most likely lost between two to four years of prime baseball years to military service in World War II, while no other players from later eras lost that much time to military service (except Ted Williams who served as a fighter pilot in both World War II and Korea earning kills in both).

In addition, players today are better off economically than yesterday's players so they spend their offseason training instead of working second and third jobs to make ends meet. I can go on but I think you see what I mean. Statistical measurement can help to bridge the generational gaps between players of different eras. Now on to the list.

Here is his list of the best Jewish players (The Link takes you to the player page on

1. Hank Greenberg
2. Sandy Koufax
3. Lou Boudreau
4. Shawn Green
5. Buddy Meyer
6. Al Rosen
7. Sid Gordon
8. Ken Holtzman
9. Harry Danning
10. Mike Lieberthal

I have no quarrels with his list, especially with his choices for one and two: Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax. I was surprise with number his choice for number three: Lou Boudreau. I had no clue that he was Jewish and the statistic that stood out the most for me was in 1948, while playing SS for the Cleveland Indians, Boudreau struck out a total of 9 times for the whole season (560 At-bats). Nine times!!! Amazing!!!BTW, in 1947, Boudreau struck out 10 times in 538 at-bats. Some players of the list are unknown to me such as (list players) and I was able to watch some like Shawn Green and Mike Lieberthal. The one player that the author describes fondly was Moe Berg. This gentleman was truly amazing.

Berg was not much of a ballplayer though he was able to play for 12 years, it was his extra-curricular activities that were astounding. He was a linguist, studied at the Sorbonne, he was a lawyer, a spy during World War II for the OSS (the early form of the CIA) and an avid reader of newspapers and other forms of information. The story of Mr. Berg does have a sad ending but I recommend that you read The Catcher Was a Spy by Nicholas Dawidoff. (Photo credit The Jewish-American Hall of Fame Website)

The author also has a list of the best Jewish players to reflect players that are currently active in the majors. Here is the list for 2018 (The Link takes you to the player page on

1. Hank Greenberg
2. Sandy Koufax
3. Ryan Braun
4. Lou Boudreau
5. Shawn Green
6. Kevin Youlikis
7. Ian Kinsler
8. Buddy Meyer
9. Al Rosen
10. Sid Gordon

So there you go. Any opinions, disagreements, additions or subtractions?

For further reading
Dawidoff, Nicholas The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg (Vintage Press, 1995)

Levine, Peter Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and Jewish Experience (Oxford University Press, 1993)

Megdal, Howard The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players (HarperCollins Publishers, 2007)

- Click here for the Howard Megdal's personal blog page

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eri Yoshida's Knuckleball and the Golden Baseball League

I came across an article that I found intersting. The Japan Times online reported that Yoshida signs with GBL team. This got me thinking on two fronts: Who was Yoshida and what is the GBL. Upon further review, here is what I found out. Yoshida is an 18-year old female sidearm knuckleballer called Eri Yoshida. To continue with her dream to play Baseball professionally, he decided to sign with the Chico (California) Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League (GBL). The GBL is a 10-team independent league that plays a 90 game season in 100 days, the league stretches from western Canada to Hawaii, through California and northern Mexico and into Arizona and Utah. (Photo Credit

Yoshida opted to play in the GBL rather than playing for the Mie Three Arrows of the new independent Japan-Future League. According to the GBL website:

Yoshida had already pitched in the Arizona Winter League in February of this year, where she had good success in the top winter development league for pro players in the U.S., including throwing 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball against Team Canada. She went on to spend some time at the Boston Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Florida in March and had a chance to throw with Wakefield, who gave her instruction and was very positive regarding her knuckleball

Yoshida will be the first female to pitch for a pro team in the U.S. since Ila Borders retired over 10 years ago (Ms. Borders played for played for the St. Paul Saints, the Duluth-Superior Dukes, the Madison Black Wolf, and the Zion Pioneerzz) and the only female to ever pitch in pro leagues in two countries. Good luck to Ms. Yoshida in her quest to play professional baseball. I've always said that Baseball is probably the professional sport where women and men can play as equals. She may not be as strong as the men in terms of velocity of her pitches, but if a pitcher like Tim Wakefield can have an almost 20-year career (Wakefield's debut came in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a power pitcher winning two complete games as a rookie in the 1992 postseason. Go figure) why can't Ms. Yoshida succeed. More power to her. I'll keep an eye on her and keep you guys posted.

For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Ms. Yoshida's personal blog page in Japanese
- Click Here for the Golden Baseball League's Webpage
- Click Here for the Chico Outlaws page on the GBL site

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Red Sox's Rotation is set and stacked

Sometimes you have to give the devil his due. My friends who are Red Sox fans would say that the "Devil" tag belongs to the Yankees but hey, it's my blog and I'll say what I want to, LOL. Anyway, the Red Sox on Monday announced that they have extended Josh Beckett's contract by four-year $68 million dollars. Now that he's signed until the end of the 2014 season, this gives the Red Sox tremendous stability in their starting rotation. Both Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are signed for another five seasons. John Lackey was this past off-season's big signing for Boston and has him side-by-side with Lackey until 2014. This is not even taking into account that Daisuke Matsuzaka is signed until 2012 and Tim Wakefield until 2011.

I know some of the Red Sox faithful have complained about Dice-K in the last two seasons but there is no denying that he paid dividends in his first two seasons when he went a combined 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA (18-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 2008). Sure that gives the Bosox a decided edge in pitching against the rest of the majors for years to come. Lets see if the bats can produce enough runs to outscore what the pitching gives up.

For Further Reading:
- Click Here for the New York Times article on the Beckett Signing

Sunday, April 4, 2010

2010 MLB Season Standings Predictions

With the start of the season, here are my predictions:

AL East
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay
Boston Red Sox .
Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central
Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians

AL West
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics

NL East
Philadephia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
New York Mets
Washington Nationals

NL Central
St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs
Milkwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

In the ALDS, Tampa Bay (as the Wild Card) will play Twins, the Yankees will play the Mariners. In the NLDS, the Braves (as the Wild Card)will play the Dodgers while the Phillies will play the Cardinals.

In the ALCS, the Yankees will play the Twins while the NLCS will be a 3 time rematch between the Phillies and the Dodgers setting up a World Series rematch between the World Champion Yankees will successfully defend their title against the Phillies.