Friday, November 30, 2007

Surrounded by stupidity

Sometimes it just feels like we, as a culture, are just getting stupider thanks to powerful people spreading ignorance. I'll let my friend Dan explain why --

This morning, ESPN's Colin Cowherd made the unfounded assertion that "Outside of Boston and St. Louis, fans are much more passionate about their pro football teams than they are about their MLB teams."

Colin has obviously never been to a game at Mays Field, Shea Stadium, or Yankee Stadium, just to name a few. The fans there are dead serious when it comes to baseball.

Cowherd is a prime example of what is wrong with sports talk radio: the announcers think they have to spout their unfounded assertions without any regard for the truth; they detract from any serious discussion of the issues, just as Fox "News" cheapens our political discourse.

The LA Times keeps embarrassing itself

Ken Tremendous at Fire Joe Morgan ("Where Bad Journalism Comes to Die") does an impressive deconstruction of Kurt Streeter's awful column in the LA Times, which gushed with praise for Angels owner Arte Moreno for signing a 5-year $90 million deal for Torii Hunter -- a 32-year-old guy who's got a .327 career OBP, isn't any good as a base stealer and will be 37 when the contract's over.

Here's a particularly noteworthy response to Streeter's stupidity (boldfaced) -- One more thing, Arte. Please don't forget that getting Hunter was only half smart. The other half was who you didn't get.Alex Rodriguez, for example.

Amen, brother. Who the hell wants to lock up the best or second-best hitter in all of baseball? That would be insane. How would ARod protect Vlad in the line-up, what with all his post-season choking and therapy-going? Fuck that. Take Torii Hunter and his .327 OBP, and his 28 HR in a career/walk-year, and protect your line-up that way. You don't need ARod and his like 54 HR and .994 EqA and 108 walk-off HR and 3.456 SLG and runaway-wins in MVP voting. You need a moderately good hitter who never ever walks, and who missed more games in 2005 than ARod has this entire millennium, and whose career high in HR is a decent All-Star-Break total for ARod, and whose 37 year-old hitting totals are going to make you long for the days of this guy. Only Hunter's speed will be gone, too.ARod? A-no-thanks, if you get my drift.

The ugliest baseball card ever

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why I despise Maury Wills

Every now and again, some stupid Los Angeles sportswriter will go back to the 1962 rip-off MVP award to Maury Wills and proclaim that Wills should be in the Hall of Fame. It's this kind of idiocy that makes Dodger fans the stupidest in MLB. This idiotic fan site even has a positive comment from resident SF Chronicle dingbat Bruce Jenkins -- America's most embarrassing sportswriter after the LA Times Bill Plaschke.

I got to thinking about this while writing on another board about why Tim Raines should be in the Hall of Fame. One of the reasons why Raines is the best candidate this year is that he was a great base-runner. As you probably know, I think that caught stealing is a very ignored stat; if you're not successful at least 75% of the time, you're actually harming the team by creating too many outs.

Rickey Henderson stole 1,406 bases but got caught 336 times -- leader on both lists; Raines stole 808 bases (5th highest) but got caught only 146 times (23rd highest). Raines had six straight seasons of stealing at least 70 bases. He also scored over 100 runs six times. He's 46th all time in runs scored -- even though he played on mostly crappy teams.

After Henderson and Lou Brock, two over-rated Dodgers are the next two leaders on the caught stealing list -- Brett Butler is third in caught stealing with 258 but only 24th on the SB list with 558; and Maury Wills is 4th with 206 caught stealing and only 19th on the SB list with 586. In other words, these guys ran their teams out of a lot of innings. The very under-rated Davey Lopes was a far better base runner than either Wills or Butler. He stole 557 bases (25th on the list) but was caught only 114 times (70th on the list).

I realize Butler was a Giant for 3 of his 17 seasons, but I remember him as a real rally-killer while in the Orange and Black -- getting thrown 16 out 47 times one year and 20 of 63 times another.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Something to look forward to

Artolog shot this great photo at Mays Field in June, 2006

Lowry for Hamilton?

photo of Josh Hamilton homering by Johnny Nikon

Rather than obsess over Brian "Dingbat Weasel" Sabean possibly being stupid enough to consider trading Matt Cain and/or Tim Lincecum, Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye got cooking with a fine post reviewing the trading activity and suggesting two thirds of the way down that if the Reds are willing to move Josh Hamilton, the Giants should offer Noah Lowry right now. I agree with Paulie --

Speaking of the Reds, there was a small rumor that they might be open to trading Josh Hamilton in order to clear out some of the crowd in the outfield. I'm going to say it right now: Noah Lowry for Hamilton. Hamilton's history of injury and personal problems make him a risk, but he can flat out rake (.292/.368/.554 in his rookie season) and the Giants need some young power hitters. He's a 35-homer guy if he can stay out of the trainer's room and out of the back of a squad car.The question is, would the Reds do it? I'm not so sure. Any baseball front office-type should be able to look at Lowry's numbers and see that a lot of his good fortune last season came because he was very stingy with the home run ball. Now take him out of Mays Field and put him in Great American Ballpark, a much more homer-friendly ballpark, and it's not hard to see Lowry's ERA ballooning. Suddenly, you've traded a young, All-Star-caliber slugger for a cheaper, marginally less-shitty version of Eric Milton.I'd take the risk if I were the Giants, mostly because I'm very down on Lowry at this point, but I really can't see the Reds willing to go for it, especially when they have two near-frontline starting pitchers already and a couple of other potential aces on the horizon. Of course, the Reds aren't exactly the paragon of intelligent baseball decision-making, so stay tuned.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nen, Beck on Hall of Fame ballot

Dayn Perry is a dingbat

Hard to believe this Fox Sports guy gets paid to write sports coverage when he's so poorly informed. He's claiming Pedro Feliz is one of the top 10 under-the-radar bargains as a free agent -- whatever that means -- for a team "without prexisting OBD issues."

In other words, if you want production from a power spot in your lineup to suck, sign this guy. Let's hope someone besides Brian "The Brain" is delusional enough to agree that having a sub-.300 OBP from your third baseman makes sense.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The 1962 MVP rip-off

In my Wednesday rant about Eric Byrnes, I completely forgot the insanely awful voting in the 1962 MVP award in the NL in which Maury Willis won over Willie Mays. Richard Lally of Baseball Library notes that Wills made the third highest number of outs in the NL that year as part of a larger discussion about bad MVP decisions.

Lally also has a longer piece about how Wills managed to score 100 runs only once -- in 1962 and how he never got enough walks to be a decent lead-off hitter. In other words, he's over-rated because he had the good fortune to play on teams with Sandy Koufax.

"Acting stupid is contagious"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Over-rated = Eric Byrnes

Jimmy Rollins is a good choice for MVP but I could not help but notice that no Giant received a single vote, while the incredibly over-rated Eric Byrnes wound up at No. 11 with 43 points. Give me a damn break.

Here's Byrnes line -- 626 ABs, 103 runs, 179 hits, 21 HRs, 83 RBIs, 57 walks, .353 obp, .460 slg

And here's Bonds -- 340ABs, 94 hits, 28 HRs, 66 RBIs, 132 walks, .480 OBP, .565 slg

If Bonds weren't named Bonds, don't you think a few writers might have given the second guy some votes instead of Byrnes, just based on the MLB-leading .480 OBP? That's why these elections are shady and always have been. The worst of all was Ted Williams not winning in 1947 but Jeff Kent winning in 2000 over Bonds is also something of a travesty. Kent's season was excellent but Bonds was better. He was clearly the more productive player, but that's not something that many sports journalists care about.

Here's Kent's line -- 587 ABs, 114 runs, 196 hits, 41 2bs, 33 HRs, 125 RBIs, 107 walks, .334 ba, .424 obp, .596 slg
Here's Bonds' line -- 480ABs, 129 runs, 147 hits 28 2bs, 49 HRs, 106 RBI, 117 walks, .306 BA, .440 OBP, .688 SLG

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mig returns to the Bay Area?

photo of Miguel Tejada at Camden Yards last May by hoodwinks

Matthew Pouliot of the Rotoworld site is predicting that the Giants will make a trade for the Orioles' Miguel Tejada, giving up Jonathan Sanchez, Brad Hennessey and Manny Burris. The Giants would have to take on his $13 million a year salary for the next two years. Here's his take --

With Tejada apparently willing to play third base for a contender, it looks like a good time for the Orioles to move on. The Cubs, Angels, Dodgers, White Sox, Giants, Blue Jays, Indians, Astros and Phillies all have fits on the left side of the infield and could conceivably afford Tejada's $13 million salary for each of the next two seasons. The Orioles should be looking for a young shortstop and pitching in return.

I'd say go for it. Tejada missed about a month last season and still had a decent season. He's going to be 32 and has shown that he can hit with power year in, year out -- 258 HRs in 11 seasons. He'd be huge upgrade on Pedro Feliz.

Pouliot also predicts that the Giants will move Noah Lowry and Brad Hennessey to Mariners for C Jeff Clement and OF Wladimir Balentien.

I should add that Pouliot also predicted that the Chisox would trade Jon Garland to the Dbacks; instead, he went to the Angels today for Orlando Cabrera. But he was right that Garland was going to get moved.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tyler Walker will be back

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Dubious at best"

David Pinto's excellent Baseball Musings has posted a link to a thoughtul and unhysterical take on the Bonds indictment by Baltimore Sun columnist Rick Maese. Here's one of his best points--

Catching Bonds is a symbolic victory - for prosecutors, for baseball, for the president - but ultimately, it's also an empty one.Four years is a long time. Maybe you can justify chasing a mob boss, a corrupt politician or a dirty CEO for that kind of time. But an egomaniacal ballplayer who just wanted to hit a baseball farther than anyone else?Consider this: The longest-running grand jury investigation into clerical abuse ran for three years. It revealed hundreds of children had been abused by 63 priests over a 35-year period. With yesterday's indictment, in four years' time, all we've learned is that Bonds isn't the best role model and he might not be very truthful. That's not a good return on our investment. In fact, I suspect if you devoted four years to similarly focused crusades, we might learn that much of corporate America, a good chunk of the legal world and many of our elected officials are guilty of similar character crimes.

I was particularly impressed with a similar comment by a poster named Kent, in response to a dismissive putdown of Kent's assertion that the charge is on shaky legal grounds and a waste of government recources -- I'm in federal law enforcement and I'll tell you that a four year grand jury that culminates in a charge of perjury against a baseball player is dubious at best. It's also a tremendous waste of money and time. Attacking and dismantling Balco is one thing; attacking and dismantling one asshole baseball player thumbing his arrogance at you is something different. What scares me about people like you and so many others is that you have a personal axe to grind with someone that you don't know. And then, when that person is brought to face charges against him you celebrate like you're at the Roman Coliseum. Is your life really so pathetic? All the real and serious problems around you, us, this country and you're celebrating millions of dollars spent on catching-that-son-of-a-bitch-for-lying-how-dare-he? Man, too bad. And you have the balls to think that I'm the unhinged one?

Friday, November 16, 2007

No, Bill. It's Michael Vick who brings shame to the game

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Well, this should bring his asking price down...

From the Associated Press 2:13 PM PST, November 15, 2007
Barry Bonds was indicted today on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, culminating a four-year federal investigation into whether he lied under oath to a grand jury looking into steroid use by elite athletes.The indictment came three months after the 43-year-old Bonds passed Hank Aaron to become baseball's career home run leader. Bonds parted ways with the San Francisco Giants after the season.While Bonds was chasing Aaron, a grand jury was working behind closed doors to put the finishing touches on the long-rumored indictment.

My comment -- I suppose that Bonds can now be had for much cheaper for 2008. He may be thinking "If I cop a plea and apologize, maybe I can get a deal."My early guess for his destination -- Tampa Bay.

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

MLB announces a celebration in 2008 for the 100-year anniversary of one of the greatest songs ever written. I always sing the song; it's the only thing that Dodger fans do right.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why Sabean and Magowan are idiots

The thinking man's sport

Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio said "Football has replaced baseball as the thinking man's sport."
Sorry, Colin. Football is the equivalent of kindergarten when stacked up against baseball.

Many thanks to Dan!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The SF Giants worst hitter ever

When you think of bad hitters, you think of good field-no hit shortstops like Mario Mendoza and Mark Belanger. So -- with Omar Vizquel and his lousy bat back for another year -- it's time to explore who was the worst hitter ever for the Orange and Black since the team came to San Francisco. The answer -- supplied recently by the Recondite Baseball blog -- surprised me.

It's not Neifi Perez or Royce Clayton or Johnnie Lemaster or even Omar Vizquel, even though his OPS was the lowest of any regular this past season. No, it's Hal Lanier by a wide margin. He put up the worst OPS season ever for a starting shortstop with enough ABs for a batting title in 1968; the fourth-worst in 1967; and the 13th worst in 1969. I remember him being a pretty good fielder but the guy could not hit worth a damn. Since 1920, all MLB shortstops have recorded only four seasons with OPS under .500 -- and Max Lanier's son had two of them. I noted with some satisfaction that the 9th worst season ever for a SS was logged by Alfredo Griffin of the 1990 Dodgers.

Looking at Lanier's record, it's truly stunning that he managed to last 10 years in the show. He had 8 homers and 11 stolen bases and 11 caught stealings and walked a total of 136 times in over 3,700 at bats. It's just bad, bad, bad. One of the bizarre things I just noticed -- in the four seasons between 1966 and 1969, he scored 37 runs in each of those season. What are the odds?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Home opener -- April 7, 2008

Photo of Mays Field by Zuhaib
The 2008 home opener is against the Padres. Giants Win will make every effort to attend.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Trading Cain or Lincecum

Martin Lee at ObsessiveGiantsCompulsive has an excellent post in response to a talk radio suggestion that Cain or Lincecum be traded --

Still, I cannot agree with trading either of them. Trading them is a similar to the dog trying to get the bone in the water, but ending up losing the bone in the water: you lose what you had before, trying to get something illusionary. We have a great situation with our pitching rotation with Cain and Lincecum in our rotation: two starters who can totally dominate the other team, both in keeping hits (and thus runners) down plus striking out a lot of batters.It is idiocy to suggest that we trade off either one. If trading one of them would suddenly make our offense above average, then I would be for it, but even if we added Delmon Young and Carl Crawford to the team for Lincecum, we still have nothing at 3B (with the ugly thought that Feliz might return - <>) and 1B will be unproven, as well as 2B, with either Durham or Frandsen there, plus we will have an offensive sinkhole at SS again with the return of Omar Vizquel, who at age 41 for next season, can not be expected to have a rebound year, only players like Ted Williams can do that, and Omar, you are no Teddyball.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Time for a big deal

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters makes a convincing case for trading prospects to the Fish for Miguel Cabrera. Here's how he starts --

OK, so obviously the A-Rod express isn’t gonna land in SF, but how about Miguel Cabrera? It’s hard not to love the idea of adding a 24-year old with 138 career home runs, who posted a .400-plus OBP for the last two seasons, with a career line of .313/.388/.542 .929 OPS.

He also notes that the John Sickels Minor League Report says the Giants are lousy in terms of having useful prospects with only 7 better than a C level --

2007 San Francisco Giants Prospects
Tim Lincecum, RHP, Grade A (terrific)
Jonathan Sanchez, LHP, Grade B (a solid pitcher if he stays healthy)
Marcus Sanders, 2B, Grade B (this assumes that his shoulder injury was the cause of his problems last year. I am not certain of this grade and am open to arguments either way).
Billy Sadler, RHP, Grade B- (I like him best of all the middle relief candidates)
Kevin Frandsen, 2B, Grade B- (is this too high?)
Eddy Martinez-Esteve, OF, Grade B- (this assumes good health)
Emmanuel Burriss, SS, Grade B- (borderline C+ but draft status boosts him a bit)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Feliz robbed

photo of the Big Swing by Costa Rica Music Man

Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye has an interesting post about how Pedro Feliz got overlooked in the Gold Glove voting this year. The award went to David Wright.

Paulie and I agree that Pedro's fine as a fielder but a joke as a hitter in a power position.

A-Rod pro and con

photo by yankeeman515

John Shea, who I've hammered from time to time, does an OK job of exploring whether it's a good idea for the Giants to get into the A-Rod business. I think it's a moot point -- someone like the Cubs, Angels, Dodgers or Bosox will step up -- but it's a discussion worth having. Shea's best point for getting him --

He fills a need. The Giants have no legitimate 3-4-5 hitters in the organization. This year, Bonds was it. Rich Aurilia and Ray Durham, who were supposed to be the other guys, combined for 16 homers.

It also shows what an incredibly crappy job Brian Sabean has done, which Shea doesn't point out. So I will.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This old team

Photo by Ben Lei taken at Petco Park

Even without Bonds, the Giants continue to show the love to old players. They just signed Omar Vizquel, 40, to a one-year deal.

Michael New Jr., who runs the San Francisco Giants Blog, thinks this is pretty good news -- Let it be known that I am a HUGE Vizquel fan. So, needless to say, I am very excited to have him back. I’m also glad that they are only signing him to a one year deal. This gives us the opportunity to look for a new quality shortstop in free agency after next season, and continue to groom our minor league sensations. I think it was the appropriate move for the Giants given our options.

I do love Omar's glove, too, and it probably will help the Giants take advantage of just how good Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum are. But I'm a bit mixed as to how good an idea it really is, given the absence of Bonds, Omar's subpar 2007 season and the general offensive lousiness of the remaining players. When Randy Winn is your best offensive player, you've got some real problems.

I just discovered Michael's site, thanks to him posting a positive comment about Carney Lansford coming on board. He's posting from Provo, Utah and is obviously a huge Giants fan with some nice insights. And his site is one of the very best-looking Giants blogs.

Vizquel coming back?

The SF Chron's reporting that he'll probably be back at $5.5 million for one year.

As long as he bats in the 7 or 8 slot in the lineup, that sounds good to me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lansford comes on board

Carney Lansford -- who always seemed like a pretty normal guy in his playing days -- is the new SF Giants hitting coach.

He's got his work cut out for him. It seems like he'll be dealing with the same kind of player that he was -- given that he put up only 151 HRs in 15 years, an astoundingly low total for a full-time player at a power position (third base). And it's certainly worth noting that Lansford is a winner of the Hutch Award, honoring competitive spirt and named after former pitcher and manager Fred Hutchinson, who died of cancer at the age of 45. Jim Brosnan's excellent book, "Pennant Race," gives some nice insight into how respected Hutch was. Giants who have won the Hutch Award include Omar (as an Indian), Stretch, Big Daddy Reuschel, Don Robinson and Dave Dravecky.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Calm down, Dodger fans

The LA Times Jerry Crowe points out that Joe Torre wasn't much of an NL manager --

It's probably worth noting amid all the hoopla that before Joe Torre was hired by the free-spending New York Yankees, won four World Series championships in 12 seasons and developed a reputation as a calm and steady skipper, he managed for 14 seasons in the National League with little success. . . . His only division title was won with NL most valuable player Dale Murphy, 17-game winner Phil Niekro and the Atlanta Braves in 1982. . . . He won no playoff games. . . . Torre's overall National League winning percentage, including below-.500 stints with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, was .471. . . . Grady Little's was .525. . . .

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Another reason why Brian Sabean is an idiot

Bill James identifies the 50 top young MLB players, starting with Prince Fielder. The Giants have exactly one guy on the list -- Matt Cain at No. 8. That's how badly run the Giants farm system has become. Here's James' comment:

His 7-16 record disguises one of the league's best pitchers; his slider is probably his best pitch. He had the same number of quality starts last year as Brandon Webb (22), but whereas Webb was 17-2 with three no-decisions in those games, Cain was 6-8 with eight no-decisions.

Bonds won't show at Cooperstown

Barry Bonds is telling the Hall of Fame to go to hell for accepting the defaced baseball for HR 756. I'm still disgusted with the Hall for not having the guts to tell the weasel Marc Ecko to forget about Cooperstown taking in a deliberately vandalized piece of history.

Friday, November 02, 2007

You'll be sorry, Joe

Joe Torre doesn't realize that he's now working for a seriously incompetent owner and playing in front of the stupidest fans in baseball. My prediction is that he won't make it to the end of his contract; my guess is that he wanted to take the first available offer after being treated so shabbily by George Steinbrenner. In any case, New Yorkers are depressed over Torre and I have no sympathy for them -- given the massive amount of winning the Yanks have chalked up.
Still, Roger Angell of the New Yorker has a pretty good essay about why Yankee fans are sorry to see Torre go. Here's a good excerpt --

The shock of Torre’s departure will not soon go away, but of course we should have known how it would play out. Only the owners, down in Tampa, seemed startled (at times, anyway) by his decision, but if they knew anything about him how could they not have known what would follow? Is it possible that they have no sense of the calamity to the franchise and to the fans and to baseball itself that the departure of Joe Torre from New York represents? He, at last, supplied the touch of class, the Augustan presence, that the Yankees had so insistently proclaimed for themselves and have now thrown away.