Tag:red sox
Posted on: August 5, 2009 12:28 pm
 

The Steroid Band Aid

Hank Aaron has stated that all the names on the 2003 steroid list need to be released for baseball to move forward and I completely agree with him.  To have another name come out every six weeks or so only brings the issue to the forefront of people’s minds just as it was starting to subside.  We are at the point where everyone probably has a good idea of who will be on the list and short of a few names there will be little surprise.

There was an unconfirmed list floating around the internet a few weeks back.  Not only was every player on that list not a surprise, but there were connections between most of the players, such as confirmed names Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.  Most players had at least one or two teammates on the list.  There were a few Giants, a few Cubs, a few Blue Jays, a few Dodgers, etc.

With the exception of a handful of players everyone on the unconfirmed list was a notable or recognizable name.  Not necessarily all super stars like Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, but players that most fans who follow the game somewhat closely would know. 

While that list may be unconfirmed, in my opinion it is probably pretty accurate.  When I read the list about a month ago both Manny and Ortiz were on it.  Now they are confirmed. There was also one player on the list who is an Arizona product that was a known user among Arizona community college players. The information is out there.  Baseball would behoove itself by taking care of the problem with one big blow.  There are no real surprises and only people benefiting from the gradual release of the names are the people who are selling that information piece mail to the media.  Just like in a twelve step program the first step to baseball’s rehabilitation is admitting they had a problem and condemning the guilty players.

If baseball was smart they would recognize that they have a great group of exciting and talented players who have come up in the last three years and can bring baseball out of the steroid era.  These players deserve to compete in an environment that is devoid of steroid suspicion.  Players like Ryan Braun, Jason Bay, and Tim Lincecum can give baseball the fresh start that they need.  Releasing the list could also relieve suspicion that is now surrounding its best hitter, Albert Pujols, who was not on the unconfirmed list, and allow him to pursue the Triple Crown with the genuine support of fans.

Posted on: August 3, 2009 11:09 am
 

The Real Moneyball

The trade deadline has passed, effectively ending the hopes of many teams for another year as they come to the realization that they are better off dumping their players than trying to compete.  The Pirates, as usual, traded anyone of any value.  The Orioles, Indians, and A’s were also again on the seller’s side of the ledger.  The rich continued to get richer, with the Dodgers acquiring George Sherill, the Phillies dealing for Cliff Lee, and the White Sox getting Jake Peavy.

It is obviously frustrating for fans of teams like the Pirates, who continually give away their players year after year, but it is also frustrating for fans of teams competing with the trade deadline gluttons.  If you are a fan of a mid or small market team that is in the division race but not necessarily a buyer, and a rival team gets an impact player at the deadline, it is very deflating.  Especially when they seem to do it every year, as is the case for the Red Sox and Dodgers.

In the AL Central the Twins are only two games behind the Tigers, who just obtained Jarrod Washburn, a great addition to their rotation.  Meanwhile teams like the Rockies, Rangers, and Twins are forced to stand pat and try and wedge their way into the playoffs with what they have.  They compete every night and battle all season only to have the teams around them get a giant shot in the arm with two months to go.

It is fortuitous that baseball has the wild card though, because it does give teams in secondary markets an opportunity to make the playoffs.  Right now there are no division leaders that are in mid or small markets, and no division leaders with a payroll below $100 million.  In 2008 there was only one smaller market team that won their division, the Tampa Rays; the other division winners were representing Chicago, Philadelphia, and LA. 

In addition to every division being led by a $100 million team, there is only one $100 million dollar that is even under .500, the Mets.  The $100 million dollar teams include the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Tigers, Mariners, Angels, Phillies, Astros, White Sox, and Dodgers.  The statement the rich got richer definitely rings true, as six of those teams made major acquisitions

If you don’t think that money equates to winning consider this.  Four of the past five World Series have been won by teams in the $100 million club.  It doesn’t mean that the team who has the highest payroll always wins, but it does mean that to win you do have to pay.

Posted on: July 27, 2009 6:08 pm
 

American League vs. National League: The Facts

The National League has been much maligned in recent years as being vastly inferior to the supposedly dominant American League. The All Star Game was over two weeks ago, however still the media is using the AL victory as justification of the American League’s dominance. The pitching is better, the hitting is better, and the American League trumps the National League in every possible aspect of the game.  Or does it?

The NL has lost every All Star game since 2002, when they were able to somehow match the incredible AL and tie it.  So the argument prevails that the AL is better based on the fact they have won those All Star games. However, since 2002 the game has been decided by only 1 run 5 times.  To say that because the AL has won the All Star games they are superior is putting a lot of stock into the once a year exhibition game. 

AL supporters also argue that the AL dominates inter-league play and therefore it is a better league.  Since 2002 the AL has won 53.5% of inter-league games.  Is it reasonable to think that because the AL teams have a professional hitter to hit for the pitcher while the NL team must use a bench player when they adhere to the DH rule that it may allow for the AL to win a slightly higher percentage of games?  

Despite the American League winning 53% of inter-league games it has not led to American League domination of the World Series.  Since 2000 the AL and the NL each have five wins.  Exactly equal.

When you look at the individual player stats for this season it shows equality between the leagues as well.  Both the AL and NL have 5 of the top 10 players in batting average ranks and 10 of the top 20.  The NL has 6 of the top 10 in HR, and 9 of the top 20, 5 of 10 in OPS and 11 of the top 20.  The consistency shows in pitchers as well.  The NL has 5 of the top 10 in ERA and 13 of the top 20.

Is there a great dominance by the American League?  Not really.   

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 21, 2009 11:25 am
 

The All 25 and Under Team

The All 25 and Under Team

The past decade has not been a bright spot in baseball’s history.  A large number of the games biggest names are either admitted or suspected steroid users.  Players who have achieved some of the games greatest milestones such as Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Mark McGwire, will most likely not be admitted to the Hall of Fame.  Thankfully there is an emerging group of stars in baseball that will have never played during the steroid era, and we can enjoy watching them and celebrate their accomplishments without doubting their authenticity. I present to you the All 25 and under team.

C Brian McCann, 25:  Playing a defensively oriented position, McCann provides consistent offensive numbers.  He has a career batting average of .297 and SLG of .499.  There isn’t a team in baseball that wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to have a catcher with that type of production.

1B Prince Fielder, 25:  Already a two time All Star and recent home run derby champion, he has emerged as one of the premiere power hitters in the game today.  Just how much power you ask?  His SLG % for the season is .615, a ridiculous number, and.546 on his career.  He’s also not too shabby with the glove either, having a career fielding percentage of .991.

2B Dustin Pedroia, 25:  Pedroia hit the ground running when he entered the league, earning the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year.  One of the top second baseman in the game today, he has a career batting average of .311.  Last year his 54 doubles, .326 batting average, and high energy attitude earned him the 2008 AL MVP.   

3B Evan Longoria, 23:  There are a few other third basemen that you could argue should be here, but in total Longoria provides the best all around choice.  He currently has a batting average of .280, 19 home runs, and an OPS of .892.  His fielding percentage also ranks in the top half of starting MLB third basemen.  

SS Hanley Ramirez, 25:  This is not even close.  Not only is he the best shortstop among 25 and under players, but he is arguably the best shortstop in baseball period. He leads the NL in batting average this season with .345, has an OBP of .408, and an OPS of .969.  In short, Hanley Ramirez is really good and it will be exciting to watch him for years to come.

LF Ryan Braun 25:  Braun is in only his third full season but has already been an All Star starter twice.  He has hit over thirty home runs in each of his two prior seasons and is on pace to do it again this season.  His rookie year he had 34 HR and 97 RBI in only 113 games and he’s continued to show why he’s one of the top outfielders in the game today.

CF Jacoby Ellsbury, 25:  This position was a tight race between Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, and Adam Jones, but ultimately the speed of Ellsbury won out.  He has 41 stolen bases already this season, second in the AL, and a very respectable .293 batting average. 

RF Justin Upton, 21:  Upton, in only his second full season, is the youngest player on the list.  He’s batting .292 with a .524 SLG %, an OPS of .887, and has 13 stolen bases.   He’s not quite there yet defensively but at only 21 he’s got time to develop that part of this game.

Starting Pitcher Tim Lincecum, 25: Currently has a 2.27 ERA, and at only 25 he has already won baseball’s highest pitching honor as the 2008 NL Cy Young winner and is the front runner to repeat again in 2009.

Relief Pitcher Jonathan Broxton, 25:  One of the best closers in the game today, Broxton has a microscopic WHIP of .94 and has struck out 71 in only 43.2 innings, showing his utter dominance on opposing batters.  Eric Gange who? 

Posted on: July 15, 2009 11:31 am
 

25 Reasons Baseball is Better than Football

1. Baseball players who are not on the field are in the dugout leaving the fans with a view of the game.  Football players who are not on the field are standing on the sidelines leaving the fans with a view of their backsides.
2. Baseball on the radio is far more enjoyable than football on the radio. 
3. Baseball has a statistic to analyze every aspect of the game and determine the effectiveness of the players. 
4. Baseball players are required to play offense and defense.
5. Baseball parks are characters; football stadiums are clones.
6. There are only two ballparks that use artificial turf, next year there will be one, and none in the United States. 
7. Baseball requires the leading team to give the opposition a chance to comeback.  Football allows the team to sit on the ball and run the clock out.
8. The baseball season is broken into mostly three game series.  It’s like having a micro playoff series twice a week.
9. Baseball’s playoffs are decided by a series, ensuring the better team will always prevail. 
10. Baseball is built on accuracy; if a pitch is off by the slightest amount it can cost a team the game.  Football is built on force.
11. Baseball is a game of anticipation; football is a game of instant gratification. 
12. Vin Scully.  Anybody in football come close?
13. The baseball season has two distinct acts and a short intermission in between the two.  The football season just runs together.  
14. Baseball still uses wood bats. 
15. The oldest football stadium is 52 years old.  The oldest ballpark is 97 years old.
16. Baseball has a two seam fastball, four seam fastball, splitter, changeup, curveball, slider, sinker, and knuckleball; Football has a spiral. 
17. Baseball requires runners to be within a six foot base path.  Football requires them to be within 160 feet between the sidelines.
18. Football has TV timeouts.
19. You get to keep score in baseball.
20. A baseball game can be infinite.  A football game is limited to 60 minutes.
21. In baseball once a player goes out of the game they don’t get to come back in.
22. Baseball has Take Me Out to the Ball Game.  There is no song dedicated to football.
23. When a player signs a five year contract in baseball, they do not come back the next year and demand a new contract threatening that they will hold out of spring training.
24. Baseball’s records can be retrieved from memory; football’s records need to be retrieved from an almanac.  
25.  People actually watch baseball’s All Star game.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com