Baseball history, analysis, and commentary from John J Perricone; born in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. Oh, and Barry Bonds. Lots of Barry Bonds.

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Only Baseball Matters

First visit? Drop me an email @ John J Perricone, or pin my Guest Map.

.... More ideas from abroad

Continuing in the vein of bloggers beating the beat writers and the team's management to the punch, David Pinto suggests the Giants could sign Ivan Rodriguez. Interesting.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 29, 2002

.... Toot toot

Earlier this week, I posted a link to an article that talked about Russ Ortiz being linked to rumors involving a trade for JD Drew. At the time, I suggested that a better deal would involve Pittsburgh's Brian Giles, a far more productive and durable hitter; something I argued was imperative if you were going to trade away a 200 inning, 15 win a year 28 year old power pitcher.

In today's SF Chronicle, Henry Schulman reports that the Giants have inquired about the possibility of such a deal. It's too early to be excited, according to Schulman, since whatever dialogue that's been had is very premature, but it does suggest that Giants fans have something to hope for. At the least, it appears that Sabean and Colletti are treating the situation with the same urgency and concern that many of the fans feel is needed.

Stay tuned.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 29, 2002

.... Trains, planes and automobiles

I made the incredibly stupid, poorly planned, but well-executed Thanksgiving Day cross-country flight to visit the famblies in NY. Just got in, pounded some gobble gobble, and now we're maxin' and relaxin'.

I'll do some odds and ends tomorrow, 'til then, Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 28, 2002

.... All quiet on the baseball front

Not much going on in the Bay Area regards baseball, but Mike Carminati has a post in which he argues that teams should tell Glavine and his agent to suck wind and go after the better bet, Greg Maddux. I too am wondering why Maddux is being ignored while Glavine has been invited to every dance in town.

Over at Bambino's Curse, the great Edward Cossette weaves a Wizard of Oz reference into a Bart Giammatti quote and..... well, go take a look. He's right, of course. The Wizard of Oz is a stunning film, easily one of the five or ten best of all time.

In case you'd never heard of it, a couple of years back there was this big deal being made of the fact that you could turn off the sound on The Wizard of Oz and play Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon back to back to back, and that there was an eerie coincidental connection between the two.

There is. I did it, a couple of times, and let me say, it is spooky. It helps to play the music real loud, and any ambiance assistance goes a long way, ;-) But it's there. Check it out if you have some time, and drop me a line to let me know if you agree or not.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 27, 2002

.... Third in line

Over at, there is this article about the Giants third base situation. The part that scares me the most?

.... the team seems intent on giving long-touted prospect Pedro Feliz a chance to prove he can play at the Major League level. "All we know right now is that Pedro Feliz can play third base," said [assistant GM, Ned] Colletti. "[Manager] Felipe Alou is in the Dominican Republic watching him play and he's encouraged by what he sees. He may be the third baseman."

Yeah, and I might be Barry Bonds. Kudos to the Southpaw for turning everyone on to the story.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 26, 2002

.... New friends

Found a new blogger, located in Canada! If you need news from the second country in North America, check out Glyndwr. Cool name, too.

Actually, I've added a slew of links lately. Take the time to run down the left there, you'll see some new stuff, some friends in new places; and the part I am especially proud of, a link to the local newspaper coverage of every team in baseball. Now, you can make Only Baseball Matters your home page.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 26, 2002

.... emails and details

Reader Anonymous D sent in this seasons free agent listing for the NL third baseman:

Class A NL Third Basemen

Scott Rolen 92.063

Mike Lowell 86.243

Phil Nevin 80.423

Edgardo Alfonzo 73.016

Aaron Boone 71.958

Placido Polanco 71.429

Craig Counsell 66.138

Aramis Ramirez 65.608

Adrian Beltre 64.021

Class B NL Third Basemen

David Bell 60.847

Bill Mueller 58.730

Geoff Blum 57.672

Matt Williams 57.143

Vinny Castilla 56.614

Mark Loretta 53.968

Tyler Houston 52.381

As you can see, Bell was right on the line, missing it by a tiny amount. You can also see that the difference between Bell and Mueller is minimal, suggesting, as many of my readers have noted, that Bell is more replaceable than I think. Thanks to Anonymous D for the info.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 26, 2002

.... I've got friends in high places

My good friend Dan Lewis, has discovered that the Baseball America free agent list I linked to regards David Bell is last years model. That makes sense, since Baseball America charges 42 bucks for access to all of their stuff, which I cannot spring for right now. Anyway, Dan wonders whether Bell is a top 30% third baseman, which would get the Giants a first round pick in compensation.

Looking at all of the third baseman in the majors, I see that Bell ranks as follows:

At Bats 9th

Runs 10th

Hits 12th

2B's 10th

HR's 12th

RBI 15th

TB 10th

BA 13th

OBP 16th

SLG 15th

OPS 16th

And over at the Baseball Prospectus Equivalent Average page, he ranks 11th in Runs above Replacement, and 14th in EQA among starters. David Pinto has a post in which he says that Bell put up 19 wins shares at third, well behind players like Rolen and Pujols. I'd say he wouldn't be better than 10th or so in win shares, although I've yet to see somebody post them by positions or for all players.

So, all in all, he's probably somewhere near the 12th or 13th best third baseman in baseball this past season. With 30 teams, that would put him just below the 30% line, I'd guess, although I think defense might push him a bit. He either is or isn't by the slimmest of margins.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 26, 2002

.... Oh, and another thing....

Travis Nelson, over at Boy of Summer, has a terrific take on the David Bell signing, in which he rips Philadelphia management. And me, for that matter :-(

Seriously, I'm not saying the Giants should have given Bell 4 years and $17 million. But he was terrific this past season, and with the team almost certainly losing Kent, he's worth 4 years and say, $13 million, which I believe he would have signed for if the Giants had offered it to him right away.

And yes, I do agree that Alfonzo was better and is better, and younger. However, he wants so much more money than Bell that it's really apples and oranges. You're really talking about signing Jeff Kent or Edgardo Alfonzo, and then it's not so clear cut. Kent is older, but is quite a bit more productive, and he has been very durable throughout his career. Alfonzo is younger, but will need to get his back completely healed to return for the form he demonstrated in '99 and 2000. Tough choice, but really, with his injury history, only a very stupid team will give Alfonzo the deal his agent is posturing for.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 26, 2002

.... Are we clear?

I'm noticing a trend here. I have now gotten a pretty decent number of emails letting me know that I am being far too alarmist and reactionary. I have gone and re-read some of my last few posts, and I have to agree. Reader Aaron Loomis sums up my failings well:

John, no offense, but it seems like your recent slant has been to create drama for drama's sake. I mean the comment of letting starters walk away? Two were sent away and for good reason. Shinjo is absolutely worthless, I know you'd have to agree with me there. And right field is just a place where worn out hitters come to die (Sanders and Burks). You're going against your whole argument of having a few solid players and the rest scrubs by worrying about the losses of some of these players.

Do you think that it might be possible that the pickup of Perez is for the reason of trade? I mean from the rumors last week of the two NY teams and the Rockies, the Mets would be sending Rey Ordonez packing. Hey, that sounds like the Mets need a SS and look who we have lying around. And hey, Perez is even a better hitter than Ordonez. And who could we get back in a possible deal with the Mets? Maybe Alfonzo.

As for Bell going to Philly, I have a feeling it was more the money than the management. Philly is spouting off about all this money they have to get free agents, but remember, they're still the Phillies, and that's why Glavine won't go there and I doubt that Thome will. What will happen is that Bell will be wallowing in the pool of crap that is Philadelphia.

The parting of Dusty doesn't bother me. He wasn't a good strategic manager. He may have been the players friend or what not, but that just doesn't get things done. You need an all around manager, and I think that Alou just might be the guy who can get it done. I'm pretty sure he'll be better than Dusty. We'll just have to see if any players hold out against Alou or if their smart enough to see the big picture.

And finally, I hope that the trade rumors of JD Drew are just that. I agree that he is very talented, but he is going to have a career plagued by injuries, and that is just not what the Giants need.

Thanks Aaron. You're right, and I'll get my act together. But I do stand by some of my comments. I do feel that losing Bell to Larry Bowa and company does not bode well for the management of this team, and I am concerned that we have so many holes to fill. As for the other issues you've raised, let's see....

I did touch on David Bell yesterday. You and I are in complete agreement here. It's still Philadelphia, and if he thinks he's gonna be playing in the postseason annually there, he's out of his mind.

The post you're referring to, in which I talk about surrounding a superstar with scrubs, shouldn't be thought of as some position I've taken. I was simply commenting on an interesting piece written by Keith Woolner, not contending that that's what I believe.

Edgardo Alfonzo is a free agent, so the Giants wouldn't need to trade to get him. I just read in the NY Daily News that Alfonzo is looking for considerably more than the 4 year, $17 million dolar deal that Bell just signed, but would consider a two-year deal for probably close to $10 million per. Well, good luck. After posting 52 home runs and 202 RBI's in 1999 and 2000 combined, he's had just about half that over the last two seasons combined. I just don't see him getting anywhere near that much in this market, especially when Kent is out there looking for essentially the same deal. But unless he were to drop to about $6 million per for three years, I think Alfonzo is out of the Giants price range, (and that's what they were just paying Jeff Kent, for crying out loud)

Dusty wasn't a great strategic manager, you're dead on there. But I can't remember hearing a player say they wanted to go to another team for any reason but money when Dusty was here, and that's all I was trying to say. Dusty was a draw, and until Felipe Alou proves that he is too, Dusty's loss will be on my mind, and the minds of any players considering San Francisco as a possible destination.

JD Drew has been injury prone throughout most of his career. So far, he's never played more than 135 games in a season, but when he's played he's been very good. His OBM TC numbers are very strong, .281/.378/.496, and he just turned 27, which means he's entering what should be the most productive phase of his career. Will Carroll, who runs the injury update site, Under the Knife, says that the Giants have one of the very best trainers in the game in Stan Conte; and Stan and his staff have done a phenomenal job at keeping the fairly old Giants team on the field during the last several seasons. If the Giants give him a physical and if Stan says he can keep Drew on the field for 150 games a season; he wouldn't be the worst player to take a risk on.

The issue that you didn't mention, the rumors of Russ Ortiz being the pitcher included in these trade deals; is also a big concern. I guess it must be hard to get teams to even think about taking Livan off the team's hands, but come on. You can't trade Russ, who is much more valuable. Somebody can use a 200 inning horse who makes $3 million dollars, can't they? Sabean would have to get a lot in return for Ortiz, like say, Brian Giles, or somebody else who is flat out one of the top ten at their position, because Russ is certainly in the top ten of 28 year old pitchers, with 63 wins and over 800 inning pitched the last four seasons.

Once again, thanks to Aaron Loomis, for smacking me upside the head.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 26, 2002

.... The right stuff

Some of my long-term readers have heard me say this before, but those of you new to OBM, pay attention. If you look there on the left, you'll see a link to Get Papyrus. Go there, and you can download a free version of the font I use on this site. Without it, the site looks pretty weak, with it, I think OBM rocks, (obviously). The Papyrus font is a true-type, but not all computers come with it already installed. You can get it here for free, and if you do, you'll see OBM the way I intended.

Until I revamp the whole thing, I strongly urge everyone to take the five minutes and get the font. You'll like OBM a lot more.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 25, 2002

.... Crystal

Some of my readers have wondered why I am being so "Chicken Little" about the Giants. So I thought I'd take a moment to clarify my concerns with the Giants. While it's true that Sabean and company haven't really done that much to complain about so far, the fact is that they've hardly done anything at all. Sure, sometimes doing nothing is better than doing the wrong, or premature anything. I'll concede that Sabean rarely errs on the side of rushing to judgement.

But this is the team that was 6 outs from a championship a month ago. All that's happened since then is we've lost our manager, [who'd only been with the team for a decade], watched four of our eight regular starters walk away from the team, at least three of them for good; and picked up one of the worst offensive players in baseball for "insurance." In the meantime, we have hired a new manager, invited exactly no free agents to San Francisco to talk to them about maybe coming to SF, and we have proposed exactly no trades to other organizations.

Is it early to get worried? Yeah, maybe. But I'd sure feel better if we were talking about players that push a team towards a chamionship, rather than about players who are supposedly "insurance" in case another player we want decides the grass is greener somewhere else.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 25, 2002

.... You can't handle the truth!

My intrepid reader, who we'll refer to as Anonymous D, offers the following correction:

John, thanks for the info, but I believe it is presumed that a team has offered arbitration, unless it affirmatively declines to do so or fails to do so by December 7. Since the Giants did not "non-tender" Bell, to use a double-negative, they are entitled to receive Type B compensation. I'm counting on Sabean to get Lowell, so (since given that I think Bell was asking for too much) [the Giants] come out ahead on two fronts.

Thanks D. The Lowell that D refers to is the Florida Marlins Mike Lowell, who D believes is available. I have contacted the Marlins beat writer in hopes of finding out what is going on regards Lowell, as I can't find anything that says he's staying or going. According to MLB Contracts, Lowell is due to make just over $3 million in 2003, at which point he's a free agent, so maybe they want to move him now because they know they won't be able to afford him at the end of next season and figure they'll get what they can. I'd take him in a heartbeat, and if they could trade, say, Livan Hernandez and some swag for him, they damn well better. I'll keep everyone posted.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 25, 2002

.... Type A personality

One of my readers asks whether David Bell was a Type A free agent, and if so, what do the Giants get for him. I found the answer at Baseball America, and no Bell is not a Type A, he is a Type B free agent, but it doesn't matter anyway.

If a player and team don't go to arbitration, the team signing him away is not required to compensate the team losing him in any way. Since Bell was negotiating in good faith with the team, they never needed to offer to go to arbitration. Only if Bell had signed with Philadelphia after arbitration had begun, would the Giants have been awarded a first round draft choice, (if the Phillies top pick was not on the first half of the first round, otherwise they would have gotten the Phllies second round pick).

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 25, 2002

.... Clarifying

Kansas City Star sportswriter Bob Dutton answers my final question regards the Neifi Perez pickup. Here's the exchange:


You wrote: I’m betting the Giants will try to convince Perez to sign for less than $3.28 million, then release him. Don't you mean that they will release him if he won't sign a contract for less?


What I expect to happen is they will try to get him to agree to a lower contract, then release him, then sign him to that lower contract. Without releasing him, they can’t sign him for less than $3.28 million even if Perez agrees. But who knows? I didn’t expect the Giants -- or any team – to claim him.

So there you have it. The team can get Perez to agree to a lesser amount, but they have to release him to void the terms of his existing contract. Only then can they finalize any new deal with him. That means that they are on the hook for the $3.28 million only if he is still with the team after December 20th.

Given Perez's complete inability to produce at even a marginal level offensively, his age and his decline in defense; this pickup is just one more in a string of inexplicable and poorly thought out moves by Sabean and company. Are you trying to tell me that a renegotiated contract for $1 million a season is reasonable for Perez? For a team with such a limited amount of cash available to fill a large number of holes in their lineup, anything over the major league minimum would be too much for Neifi. In fact, I'd bet that there is an almost unlimited number of Triple AAA infielders who can pick it up and throw it and produce the .236/.260/.303 he produced last season, or even the .272/.303/.388 he's managed over his career (with the help of playing a couple hundred games at Coors Field).

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 25, 2002

.... That's the fact, Jack!

Reading the local coverage (or lack thereof) on the David Bell signing, I am struck by two things.

First, I am pretty surprised to hear Bell telling reporters how much he's looking forward to playing for Larry Bowa, and how he feels the Philadelphia situation is best for him and his family. Philadelphia? A team that has finished above .500 once in the last eight seasons? (He actually reminded me of Mike Hampton talking about Colorado after he signed his mega-deal) Bowa's reputation as somebody who prefers to talk to reporters rather than to his players when he has a problem, as a reactionary and frequently unprepared manager, and as a real prince of a human being whose relationship skills, (or lack thereof) leave a lot to be desired seems to have vanished in the haze of a cushy four day visit to the city of brotherly love. Too bad for Bell, he's really made a poor decision, and there is nothing he can do about it now.

The other thing that has me taken aback is the comments attributed to the Giants team management, particularly Ned Colletti, who seems to have conveniently forgotten that the team is in the midst of a losing streak that needs to end.

"In the end,'' Colletti said, "I got the sense that the Larry Bowa factor was something we could not overcome.'' For now, Pedro Feliz becomes the everyday third baseman. Feliz has never been a starter in the big leagues, and hit .253 with two homers and 13 RBI in 2002. "Pedro deserves a chance," Colletti said.

The Larry Bowa factor was something we couldn't have overcome? Larry Bowa? Let me tell you something, when Larry Bowa is beating you out for attractiveness, something's wrong in Denmark. When Mr. Personality is winning over your third baseman, you are failing to do your job.

The Giants management acted like they could care less that Dusty wanted to go somewhere else, that he felt unappreciated. Fine. I could care less, from my standpoint, I agree with Sabean, who apparently concluded that Dusty over-reacted to all of the so-called preceived slights, and that he shouldn't have needed to continue to kill himself proving that he cared whether he left or not. But the point isn't whether Sabean or Baker was right, the point is that we have just seen the first salvo in the Dusty was able to get players to want to be Giants and now he's gone war, and it didn't go Brian's way.

It is not OK to lose a player to Larry Bowa, I don't care what the reason, it is not OK.. If Colletti and Sabean and Alou are going to keep the train on the tracks, they need to something, anything; they need to do more, and they need to do better, a lot better. So far, they've done nothing. They've made phone calls, and they've waited. Pedro Feliz? Neifi Perez? Are you kidding me?

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 25, 2002

.... Ouch!

Continuing an off-season of losses, the Giants learned today that free agent third baseman David Bell has agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Phillies on a four year, $17 million dollar contract. I don't believe that Bell is a Type A free agent, so the Giants get nothing in return for him leaving.

Bell's departure further depletes the already thin San Francisco offense, and puts the team in the precarious position of having to replace at least one of the team's leaders/ Bell was awarded the Willie McCovey award by his teammates this past season, given to the player who best exemplifies courage and leadership each season.

The Giants have already released Tuyoshi Shinjo and Reggie Sanders, the teams starting center and right fielders, repectively, and also seen manager Dusty Baker sign a four year deal with the Chicago Cubs a week ago.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 24, 2002

.... Round mound of rebound

Peter Gammons, bouncing back from his horrible things wrong with baseball piece, has a column filled with trade and free agent rumors and speculation. Among the tidbits that we Giants fans get all lathered up about:

Russ Ortiz for JD Drew

Russ Ortiz for Jose Cruz Jr.

(How come no Livan Hernandez for a case of beer and some buffalo wings?)

Steve Finley in center field

Ray Durham at second base

The Giants are also being reported as front-runners for Bell now that they seem to have added the fourth year. Meanwhile, Gammons reports that Felipe Alou is in the Dominican Republic working with both Neifi Perez and Pedro Feliz. Scary.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 24, 2002

.... If I read it in the newspapers, it must be true, right?

Two of our most widely-read and well-respected sportswriters chime in on a few baseball issues this weekend.

Mike Lupica gets it right when he says that it's easy to see how baseball got into this financial mess when he hears that the Mets and the Phillies are essentially being blackmailed into a fourth year for Tom Glavine. Glavine, who would be 41 years-old in that fourth year, is looking for a guaranteed spot in the rotation, as he believes he will be going for his 300th win that season. Besides the fact that it is less than likely that that scenario will come to pass, (regardless of how great Glavine is and has been), the fact is that most teams would rather pay too much for established 30-somethings (Glavine, Thome, Mike Hampton, Matt Williams) than work at finding and coaching 20-somethings.

Peter Gammons has a long and sometimes ridiculous 25 things that are wrong with baseball piece. Parts of it are so bad, I just have to take a sledgehammer to it:

The good:

2. The notion that a team absolutely has to have a closer, which gives a manager a crutch in the late innings. Save totals are selfish, individual stats.

(He's simply echoing Bill James and a host of other analysts, but he gets a pass because somebody's got to start talking about it)

3. No-trade clauses.

(More evidence of teams demonstrating their fear and inability to develop young players.)

7. Players who slide into first base. Dumb and dumber. (Amen)

8. "The entire Montreal situation continues to embarrass baseball," offers one executive. (Bud Selig embarrassing himself?)

The ridiculous:

4. American League teams that bunt before the seventh inning. (I don't really have a snappy comeback for this, but it's stupid enough on its own.)

5. That baseball allows pennants to be decided by minor leaguers. How in the world can the tradition of September callups decide pennants? There should be no time during the season when the 25-man roster should be more strictly enforced than September. (The reasons for September 25th callups for teams in the hunt for a playoff berth include allowing for injury substitutions, roster flexibility, playoff stability. For also-rans, it offers them an opportunity to audition possible future players, or to showcase a player. Is he seriously suggesting that teams roll into the post-season marathon with the same 25 guys that have played 162 games?)

6. "While we're at it," adds one AL executive, "how about enforcing the rules on transactions? How does Francisco Rodriguez, who wasn't even on the (Angels') 40-man roster on Sept. 15, manage to get on the playoff roster?" (Memo to everyone working for the Yankees, Twins and Giants: read the paper. F-Rod's transaction was legal)

11. One NL GM asks why have a tie game when rain is an issue? Pick it up to conclusion the next game, and avoid a possible scenario such as this season involving the Giants and Braves. (The Giants/Braves tie-game was due to the fact that it was a rain-out during the last game in which the two teams faced each other. There was no, "next game" in which to pick it up in.)

17. Teams not taking infield practice, at least four times a week. (Who cares what a manager does or doesn't enforce regards infield, or shagging fly-balls or whatever. Every single tool and statistic used to measure defensive performance indicates teams are better defensively than they've ever been. Why is that?)

23. "Uniforms," says one AL executive, "that aren't uniform. What's the definition of 'uniform?' " (Who cares?)

24. One National League GM insists "we need stricter consequences for an intentional walk. (Yeah, brilliant idea. Let's change the rules that have been in effect for seventy years because of Barry Bonds. Here's an idea, do whatever you want according to the rule book. If Brian Sabean and the Giants cannot figure out a way to make sure Barry isn't neutralized, too bad for them.)

The confusing:

25. The notion that shortstops must be plus runners with guns for arms. (Huh? How is this bad for baseball?)

21. National League managers who intentionally walk the eighth hitter. (Again, how is this bad?)

20. The notion that a leadoff hitter has to be fast. It's all about on-base percentage and pitch counts and situations. (Uh, since the leadoff hitter is only guaranteed to lead off once in a game, situations and pitch counts are completely irrelevant. And there is some trade off in double plays if you lead off an inning with a slow guy, as Jeremy Giambi proved during his short time as the Oakland A's leadoff hitter.)

10. Empty dugouts during close games. (Huh?)

9. Meaningless steals of third base. (All bases are meaningful. All games are contested until they are over.)

I'd guess this column was written in about a half hour, because it is practically worthless. He quotes team executives complaining about Francisco Rodriguez's eligibility (Yankees), Barry Bonds having the bat taken out of his hands via the intentional pass (Giants), incomplete tie-games and their consequences (Braves and Giants, again)... I mean, are you kidding me? A story based on the complaints of someone who feels that they were the injured party because of some rule or interpretation that went against their interests, that deserves respect? That deserves notation and investigation and evaluation?

Normally, I wouldn't even address this, but Peter Gammons is one of the most widely-read baseball writers in the country. He validates this crap just by writing it. He should know better. ESPN should know better. His editors should know better. If you want to know hwy there is a fast-growing cadre of baseball writers operating outside the confines of traditional media, this kind of story is exactly why. Lazy, thoughtless, sloppy writing; that someone is being paid to do, that is based on personal feelings and opinions, formulated in an attempt to both misinform the fans and influence the decision-makers.

Thank God just enough people read this kind of crap and say, "what the hell is he talking about?" Then they and go read David Pinto or Will Carrol, or Dan Lewis or Mike Carminati, or Travis Nelson, or me for crying out loud, and they remember that the people who are paid to write aren't necessarily the only people who have opinions that matter. Peter Gammons has been a baseball writer for decades, and he deserves a lot of respect for the body of work he's given us. He is not always right, or even mostly right. He's a well-known, experienced voice in the baseball landscape; no more, no less. And he should be embarrassed for this column, because it's so far below his standards, it wouldn't surprise me if his kid wrote it.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 24, 2002

.... News and notes

The San Jose Mercury is reporting that the SF Giants' assistant GM, Ned Colleti, has 'adjusted' the teams offer to free agent third baseman David Bell. Seems that the adjustment probably includes the fourth year that the Phillies have already added to their offer, now believed to be 4 years and $16 million or so.

Other SF Giants rumors include a failed Raul Mondesi for minor leaguers salary dump deal with the NY Yankees; and there are bits and pieces about the Giants possibly trading, say Pedro Feliz for 33 year-old Joe Randa of the Kansas City Royals if Bell signs with Philly.

I have already written about Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo, who represent two of the better third basemen, Joe Randa hit .280/.341/.426, with 11 home runs and 80 RBI this past season, although he's a bit older, he fits the profile of a Giants guy. His career numbers, .285/.340/.423 are pretty good. For the Giants, that'll do at third, especially if we can get Kent-level production from one other spot, whether it's an outfielder or Kent.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 23, 2002

.... Read and learn

Over at the Baseball Prospectus, Keith Woolner has an article in which he considers whether it is better to have a team with a couple of superstars and some scrubeenos (like the Giants), or a team filled with just at or above replacement value players top to bottom (sort of like the Angels). His conclusion is that the balanced-team approach (Angels), is just the tiniest bit more effective historically, but when it comes to building a team, he'd lean towards the superstar-surrounded-by-scrubs-approach (Giants), reasoning that replacing the scrubeenos is easier and less expensive.

I'd suggest that the Giants are a pretty good argument for that conclusion. Even though they didn't win the World Series this season, they were able to bang out 90-plus wins the last three years on the strength of Bonds, Kent, and Aurilia, league average pitching, and a bunch of, to put it nicely, nobodies.

In 2002, Sabean swapped out Armando Rios and John Vanderwal for Reggie Sanders, Shinjo and Lofton for Benard and Murray, Bell for Feliz and company, and got essentially the same production while winning four more games than in 2001. He appears ready to take a similar approach this off-season, and who's to say Bonds, Aurilia and perhaps Santiago (or whoever he gets in right field) can't keep it going.

On the other side of the coin, if the Angels don't get some fairly consistent performances from their regulars, they won't have the easiest time of repeating. Swapping out, say, a Darrin Erstad, or Tim Salmon, or Scott Spezio, or Troy Glaus or whoever would be a lot tougher, because these guys are better players than the Giants scrubeenos, and they are more expensive. Therefore, they would, logically, be more expensive to replace.

Interestingly, this line of thinking is contrary to the current trend being espoused by some of the ESPN guys, most notably Peter Gammons, who argues quite convincingly that a team cannot afford to tie up 20% or more of it payroll in one superstar. Unless, of course, that player is Superman.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 22, 2002

.... emails and details

New best friend Bill Simms asks where the great LA Dodger blogs are, and well, since I hate the Dodgers, I could care less. ;-) But, over at the Twins Geek, John Bonnes has a link to Sarah's Dodger Place. Check her out, and if enough people tell me it's good, I'll add a link on the left.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 22, 2002

.... History

Well, well, well, I have just passed the 20,000 visitors mark. I must say, when I began Only Baseball Matters, I never dreamed I'd have the kind of site that would result in such a huge response.

Thanks to everyone who's supported me, the other writers, bloggers and web-geeks who have plugged and linked and referred readers; thanks to my fans and readers and friends who have generously spread my address around; and thanks to everyone who's ever taken the time to email me, to tell me I am brilliant, and to remind me that I'm an idiot. So far, it's been among the most fun things I have ever done, and I am looking forward to more great writing, research and interactions.

John J Perricone

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 22, 2002

.... Just can't get e-Neif

Dan Lewis explains why it's OK for Sabean to pick up the black hole known as Neifi Perez. The point is that Perez's salary can't be cut by more than 20% via arbitration. So I was sort of right (although I wasn't sure on the hows and whys) when I said that the Giants would keep him if he agreed to a reduced salary, and that they'd just waive him if he balks. That's why Dan is one of my Smart Guys.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 22, 2002

.... emails and details

I had the following exchange with sportswriter Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star:

Bob, I was reading your article on the Neifi Perez release, and I was wondering if you could clear something up for me. I thought that baseball contracts were essentially guaranteed, so if the Royals release him unconditionally, shouldn't they be responsible for the remainder of his contract?

If not, what is the time frame for him to clear waivers? I read in the SF papers that he was already claimed by the Giants, but knowing how fiscally conservative they are, I don't see how they could possibly justify paying him almost $4 million dollars. Is there a loophole that I don't see here? Any help clearing this up would be appreciated.

John, you’re right, virtually all contracts are guaranteed. But Perez’s contract expired after the season. The Royals still held his rights because he didn’t have enough service time to be a free agent. But rules don’t allow you to cut a player by more than 20 percent of his salary, which is why the Royals put him on waivers. (Actually, after his performance, I think they would have put him on waivers regardless of what he was making).

The Giants claimed him off waivers, which is interesting because it puts them in the same position as the Royals once occupied. Now, they can’t cut him more than 20 percent (he made $4.1 million last year, so a 20 percent cut would be to $3.28 million) if they want to tender him a contract by the Dec. 20 deadline. But claiming him allows them sole negotiating rights until they sign him or release him.

I’m betting the Giants will try to convince Perez to sign for less than $3.28 million, then release him. If he clears waivers, he becomes a free agent and can be signed at any price. I’ll be astounded if the Giants tender him a contract for $3.28 or more (but I’ve been surprised before).

Hope this clears things up,

Bob Dutton

The Kansas City Star

Well, it does, at least a little bit anyway. I guess Sabean figured he could use a little insurance in the infield, but I think what Bob is saying is that the Giants will keep him if he agrees to a reduction on the $3.28 million. If he won't then they'll release him. I sent Bob another email asking him to clear that up, but that certainly makes sense.

He's worth, say, $750,000 or maybe even a million dollars simply because of his experience level, but more than that seems insane.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 22, 2002

.... Diamond mines

Over at Diamond Mind, Tom Tippet does a ranking of OPS by position for each team in their league and in the major leagues. One of the first articles I did was based on Tom's 2001 rankings; in which I reviewed the Giants, what the teams strengths and weaknesses were, and looked at how Brian Sabean had attempted to address the team's needs.

Here's the Giants rankings by position for 2001 and 2002:





So what do we see here?

We see that even with all of the work Brian Sabean did in the off-season last year, the Giants strengths remained essentially unchanged. Top of the line production at second base, shortstop, left field, (obviously), and from their pitchers, and bottom of the barrel production (or lack thereof) at first base, center field and right field.

In '02, the team saw Benito Santiago have a career renaissance at the plate, and David Bell provided somewhat of a boost at third base. This proved to be just enough to offset the poor production of CF and RF. Amazingly, Shinjo was so bad at the plate the team was worse off than just continuing with the awful Benard/Murray platoon, and Reggie Sanders didn't even allow the Giants to maintain their substandard standing of '01. JT Snow continued to struggle with injuries and ineffectiveness; at this point in his career, with the money he's earning, he couldn't be more of a liability. There is really no way to overstate the damage to the team his four-year, $24 million dollar contract, signed in July of 1999, has been. Let's take a closer look at Jack Thomas:

1997-98-99 456 games played, 90 2B, 67 HR, 281 RBI, 413 hits

2000-01-02 399 games played, 71 2B, 33 HR, 183 RBI, 326 hits

2001/2002 244 games played, 38 2B, 14 HR, 87 RBI, 174 hits

That's abysmal production, really, and the last two seasons are a complete wash. He's set to make $6.85 million this season, and realistically could be replaced for about 15% of that if Sabean could find a team to take him off his hands.

In fact, first base and right field continue to be the primary weak links in the offense. If the Giants had gotten league average production from just those two alone, they more than likely would have won their division handily, I mean, just look at how much more effective their opffense was in the postseason with Snow just hitting the occasional single. Who knows, if Sanders would have had more than one game of offense in the series, the Giants probably don't go back to Anaheim, and if Santiago calls for a slider instead of a strike against Spezio.... Sorry, kinda lost myself there.

Looking ahead to 2003, with just four everyday players in the fold, everything Brian Sabean does depends on whether he can re-sign Jeff Kent and/or David Bell. If Bell and Kent come back, or even if just one of them do, his options for center field and right field are essentially limitless, because he will be getting significant production from at least two and possible three of four spots in the infield.

If the team loses both Kent and Bell, there is almost no chance for the team to defend their National League championship. Production from second and third base is vital to the Giants, primarily because they are at such a huge disadvantage at first base (a position that most teams get significant production from). If they are forced to go with, say, Pedro Feliz and Ramon Martinez (or God forbid, Neifi Perez) as starters, then it becomes imperative that they replace Sanders and Shinjo with big bats, which the financially limited Giants will find next to impossible.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 22, 2002

.... emails and details

Reader Mike Bowden sent in this article detailing Dusty Baker's move to Chi-Town and some of the things he's got up his sleeve. The punch-line is that he intends to bring Shawon Dunston with him to be a bench coach or something. Yeah, that's a good idea, a coach who never learned to take a pitch or work the count, never figured out what pitches he actually had a chance to hit, never mastered the nuances of defensive positioning, and never saw his talent and skill progress beyond that of a rookie even after seventeen years in the league.

That's fine really. He can sit next to Gene Clines and the two of them can yell encouragement at the Cubbies who run real hard after they hit ground balls to short on 0-2 splitters in the dirt.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 21, 2002

.... You can't handle the truth!

I incorrectly concluded that the release of Neifi Perez was costing the Royals the $4 million or so he's owed for 2003. Reader John Corcoran sent me this Kansas City link, which explains that Perez's contractual obligations are assumed by the team picking him up, in this case, the Giants.

Procedurally, Perez is being placed on release waivers, meaning any club -- in the reverse order of their 2002 finish -- can claim him under his current contract terms. That seems unlikely because Perez is eligible for arbitration after making $4.1 million last season and can be cut by only 20 percent -- or to $3.28 million. If Perez clears waivers, he becomes a free agent and can be signed by any team at any price at or above the major-league minimum of $300,000.

Now, I don't claim to be a rocket scientist, but are you kidding me? This guy couldn't out hit Ramon Martinez if you cut off his arms, and we're on the hook to him for over $3 million dollars? There has to be more to this than we're seeing right now, because I'm pretty sure that Sabean really isn't an idiot, and there's no doubt that giving Perez anything above a half million is something that only an idiot would do.

If anybody finds more info, please send it to me.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 21, 2002

.... I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to

So this is what we get, Neifi Perez? The Diamondbacks get Larry Walker, and Sabean picks up Neifi Perez? That's the start of the big plan to get back to the World Series, a player Aaron Gleeman describes as perhaps the worst hitter in all of baseball? A player who was given his unconditional release by the Kansas City Royals? That's right, the Royals gave him money to go away.

And given that the Giants had a couple of games last year in which they started Tsuoshi Shinjo, Shawon Dunston and Tom Goodwin in the outfield, all at the same time, to say that Neifi will immediately become the worst hitter ever to play with Barry Bonds is saying something.

Speaking of saying something, here's what Brian (I'm not an idiot) Sabean had to say while shopping at the Salvation Army for free agents:

"Neifi is an accomplished major league middle infielder who increases our pool of choices at second base while we wait for the free-agent market to further define itself."

In other news, the Detroit Tigers just released Damian Jackson, who batted .257 with 20 doubles as an outfielder/infielder/guy who can play anywhere. Am I crazy, or is he next on Sabean's wish list, which apparently starts with "Any player without a job who is alive."

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 21, 2002

.... Reading is fundamental

I have two new books featured in my Bookstore:

A Goomba's Guide to Life

1918 : Babe Ruth and the World Champion Boston Red Sox
, which I found at Rob Neyer's home page. You can see the home page for the book here.

Head over to the Bookstore to read my review, and if you have the time, you can head straight into Amazon.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 20, 2002

.... And the hits just keep on coming

Negotiations between the Giants and David Bell have apparently hit a snag, as Bell's agent has correctly advised him to take full advantage of his current status as the most desirable free agent third baseman avaibable. Now he's asking for a fourth year, something the Giants are wary of, even given he's only 30 years old. Other options include, apparently, handing the job to Pedro Feliz, or tendering an offer to Bill Mueller.

Neither of these is very appealing, especially with a younger, better option sitting at home staring at the phone. You know who I'm talking about, Edgardo Alfonzo. Even in the last two seasons of the worst production of his career, he is the equal of Bell, at least statistically. But by allowing Bell and his agent to know that they are the only real option for the team, by not even showing interest in trying something else, the team has given away all their leverage.

By the way, did you know that Bell and Alfonzo had the exact same number of at bats at third base this season? Yup, each had 487. Let's take a closer look:

Alfonzo 78 runs, 150 hits, 26 doubles, 16 home runs, 55 RBI, 61 walks, .308/.391/.460

Da Bell 71 runs, 123 hits, 26 doubles, 18 home runs, 67 RBI, 49 walks, .253/.328/.425

I mean, that's pretty damn close. And that's one of the worst seasons Alfonzo's ever had, while Bell posted career high's in several categories. For the season, Bell had 552 at bats, Alfonzo only had 490, so I'd guess Edgardo's injured back remains a concern. Nonetheless, he is a viable option that the Giants are basically ignoring.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 20, 2002

.... Sticky and sweet

Here's a nice soft-pedal on Dusty Baker, published on MLB's site, courtesy of The Southpaw. Let's just say that here at OBM, we've had our fill of hearing about how Dusty was the reason Barry and Jeff didn't light each other on fire, the veterans got along with the rookies, PacBell was beautiful, we routed Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Dubya won the election, San Francisco has avoided earthquakes lately....

Come on guys, he was the manager! It's part of every managers job to communicate with the players, that's why human beings have mouths, so we can communicate. Jeez, you'd think he invented words.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 20, 2002

.... Almost dry

The ink, that is, on a deal between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies that would send Larry Walker to the Snakes. All that's needed is for Matt Williams and Larry to waive their no-trade clauses. I wish I had Williams' phone number, I'd try my damndest to make him stay in the desert.

Hey, Sabean!! We have no second baseman! No third baseman! No right fielder! Marvin Benard is the only centerfielder on the roster!!! Do something!

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 19, 2002

.... emails and details

Smart Guy Dan Lewis (there on the left, of course) sent me an email with the link to this MSNBC article on weblogs in which we are mentioned. Thanks go out to reader Eric Peterson of Miami, Ohio, for taking the time to suggest OBM as newsworthy.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 19, 2002

.... Out there

I must say that I am concerned by the lack of stories, rumor, innuendo and/or news out of the San Francisco Giants as the off-season progresses. The Giants currently have two starting outfielders, and if Sabean thinks Ramon Martinez and Pedro Feliz qualify as adequate replacements for David Bell and Jeff Kent, Giants fans are in for a long and difficult 2003.

As much as I understand the need for fiscal resposibility in these difficult times, the Giants have a fan base that supported the team to the tune of over 98% capacity at PacBell, and frankly, if they were going to sit here and put a Triple AAA lineup on the field next season, then why the hell did they bother re-signing Bonds? For the draw? If that's the case, that's disingenous at best. At worst, it's a farce, and it's doomed to fail. Bonds' quest for Mays, Ruth and Aaron will not be enough to sustain that kind of fan support, day in and day out.

I keep waiting for a rumor, a story, from anywhere. I check the newspapers in just about every baseball city, and the Giants are doing nothing anywhere, or at least, whatever they are doing, they're doing it by themselves.

.... Read and learn

Jay Jaffe, the Futility Infielder, has a terrific article on the New York Yankees pitching staff, utilizing Voros McCracken's defense independent earned run average calculations. I am sending an email to Jay asking him for the spreadsheet he designed so that I might look at the Giants pitchers without having to use my tiny brain too much. Hope he says OK.

And over at The Southpaw, Matt has gotten his first reader email. Cool. His site is brand spankin' new, but he's gotten a good start.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 19, 2002

.... In the land of the blind, the one eyed-man is king

Alan Barra, who certainly can see out of at least one of his eyes, has a quick interview with new Red Sox guy Bill James today. It's nothing too deep, just two friends discussing baseball and stuff.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 18, 2002

.... New and improved

One of my readers sent me the link to The Diamond Angle. If I keep adding links this excellent, people are going to stop coming here. Seriously, these guys have it down, their site is top notch, great writing, and lots of it. They've been added to my featured links there in the left.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 18, 2002

.... What about Felipe Alou?

That's what everyone wants to know. Is he a good manager, bad manager, can he handle a pitching staff, Barry, etc.? Michael Wolverstein has a mailbag today, and a fan wrote in asking about Alou as the Giants manager. Here's the exchange:

Michael, what are your thoughts about the Giants' hiring of Felipe Alou? My memory/impression is that he was an outstanding handler of the pitching staff, both in terms of protecting young starters' arms and in creating effective bullpens out of thin air, but that he built very undisciplined offenses. He's also 67. Has the game passed him by, or can his recent "failures" be attributed to the general low quality of the Expos organization? --David Goldstein

David, Alou's OK. I think his reputation as a miracle worker with pitchers is overblown, but he did get a fair amount out of the talent he had in Montreal. It's interesting that, despite Alou's many years of experience, we really don't have a great idea how he's going to do in SF. His experience in Montreal was exclusively with young teams, and the Giants won't (and probably shouldn't) have a young team in the foreseeable future.

Bottom line: the Giants could have done better (Davey Johnson), but they also could have done worse (just about all the other candidates mentioned). Solid hire.

Many of you know what I think about Davey Johnson, who has cursed and fought his way out of a half dozen organizations in his career, so I'll leave that part of the email alone.

I've heard a lot of stuff about Felipe Alou, and most of it suggests not that he's an excellent handler of pitchers, but that he is a low-OBP, swing at everything manager, how he has never had a winner, been to the playoffs, all that. In fact, over at Oakland A's Blog, David Levens has a short article on the subject of his mis-handling of his pitchers, his poor managerial style, etc.. I have worked with David before, and I have a ton of respect for his opinion, so I decided to do a little research.

In 1993, Alou's first full season as manager of the Expos, the team finished 94-68, good for second in the NL East, behind Jim Fregosi's Philadelphia Phillies (How's that for irony?), a team that eventually lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series. His starting lineup consisted of some of the best players in baseball that season. Let's look at a few of them:

Larry Walker .265/.371/.469 22 HR

Moises Alou .286/.340/.483 18 HR

Marquis Grissom .298/.351/.438 53 SB

These three guys were all 26 years old. His pitching staff that year was led by Dennis Martinez, and he also got steady work from Ken Hill, Chris Nabholz, and a young Kirk Rueter, who went 8 and 0 in 14 starts. His closer was John Wetteland, with 43 saves, and he also had Jeff Fassero and Jeff Shaw eating innings in the pen.

In 1994, as everyone knows, the Expos were in first place when the strike hit, with a 74-40 record. The team was a year older, and the young stars were beginning to hit their strides, remember these are totals from 114 games:

Larry Walker .322/.394/.587 19 HR

Moises Alou .339/.397/.592 22 HR

Marquis Grissom .288/.344/.427 36 SB

The pitching staff changed quite a bit, as Dennis Martinez was no longer there, but a new Martinez stepped in to replace him, you may have heard of him, his name's Pedro, and he went 11 and 5 in 24 starts. Ken Hill led the team with a 16 and 5 record in 23 starts, and our friend Woody went 7 and 3 in 20 starts. Wetteland again led the staff with 25 saves through 114 games, and a lot of relievers threw a lot of innings as the starters were young and probably a bit wild.

For Felipe Alou and the Montreal Expos, the 1994 strike turned out to be the straw that broke the camels back. After having the best overall record in baseball during 1992-3-4, the Expos apparently were unable to handle the financial stress of the strike, Major League Baseball, miscalculating the resolve of the players and the cost of the standoff, did virtually nothing to help teams like the Expos, and when the games began again, the Expos were never able to recover their fan base or their momentum.

In 1995, the exodus began. Grissom went to Atlanta, Walker went to Colorado, Wetteland went to the Yankees, Ken Hill went to St. Louis. In one off-season, Alou lost two of his best hitters, his number one pitcher, and his closer. Adding to the teams' woes were injuries to key young players like Cliff Floyd, who ended up with less than one hundred at bats for the season, and the Expos slumped to a 66-78 record, fifth in the NL East.

As bad as the teams record was, the loss of these players allowed at least one new star to emerge.

Rondell White .295/.356/.464 23 years old

In 1996, Alou lost some more of his guys, but managed to bounce back to an 88-74 record, good for second place. Shortstop Will Cordero was replaced by Mark Grudzielanek, who responded with a .306/.340/.397 rookie campaign.

The pitching staff, led by old Jeff Fassero and young Pedro Martinez, was strong, and Alou oversaw the emergence of several young arms, Omar Daal (24 years old), Jose Paniaqua (22 years old), and Uqueth Urbina (22 years old).

In 1997, Felipe watched his son Moises go to Florida to win a championship. The Expos dropped in the standings to 78-84, but continued their amazing run of development by debuting the soon to be devastating Valdimir Guerrero (21 years old) and Jose Vidro (22 years old).

But the constant roster turnover was proving to be too unsettling, as even Pedro's ascension to superstar status wasn't enough to keep the team progressing.

1997 Pedro Martinez 25 years old 17 wins, 8 losses, 1.90 ERA, 241 innings pitched, 158 hits allowed, 51 earned runs, 67 BB, 305 SO.

Urbina moved into the closers role, finishing with 27 saves.

In 1998, the exodus continued. First baseman David Segui, second baseman Mike Lansing, left fielder Henry Rodriguez and superstar Pedro Martinez left. Nowhere was this exodus felt more than in the pitching staff, where the oldest starter for the Expos in '98 was Carlos Perez, at 27 years old.

Alou's starting lineup wasn't much more experienced, and the more experienced players were his least effective contributors. He had 27 year old Chris Widger behind the plate, 23 year old Brad Fullmer at first, 23 year old Jose Vidro at second, 28 year old Mark Grudzielanek at short, 26 year old Shane Andrews at third, and an outfield of FP Santangelo (30), Rondell White (26), and Vlad the Impaler (22). Not surprisingly, the Expos faltered badly, falling to a 65-97 record.

1999 came and the Expos lost some more players. Grudzielanek, Carlos Perez and a few other pitchers left, by now the Expos average age had dropped all the way down to a Triple AAA-like 25.6 years old. 26 year old Dustin Hermanson led the staff with a 9 and 14 record.

2000 brought still more change, as Lee Stevens took over at first, Mike Mordecai at third, Orlando Cabrera at short, and Peter Bergeron in center. Urbina took his 45 saves to the American League, Rondell White was traded to the Cubs in mid-season, and the Expos stayed in the cellar with a 67 and 95 record.

That's a lot of change, I mean, come on. Who could overcome the loss of All Star after All Star, year after year? Keep that team together, and you've got a contender for a decade. Lose them all, well, can you even imagine the disappointment and frustration? Year after year you work with young players, helping them become All-Stars, only to watch them leave and have to start over. In most cases the players left and were replaced by either journeymen or 20 year olds, especially in the later years of his tenure as the Expos continued existence in Montreal began to be brought into question.

The Montreal Expos, under Felipe Alou, had, at one time or another, Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Rondell White, Brad Fullmer, Cliff Floyd, Mark Grudzielanek, Jose Vidro, Valdimir Guerrero, Wilton Guerrero, Ugueth Urbina, Pedro Martinez, Ted Lilly, Kirk Rueter, Carl Pavano, Javier Vasquez, Orlando Cabrerra, Carlos Perez, Jose Paniagua, Will Cordero, Gabe White, John Wetteland, Delino Deshields, Greg Colbrunn, John Vanderwal, Kent Bottenfield, Matt Stairs, and Mel Rojas, I mean, jeez, these were some of the very best players in baseball over the past decade.

That's a hell of a team, no? Of those 27 players, just three were still with the team when he was fired, Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Vidro and Orlando Cabrera.

I don't know what type of manger he was, in terms of strategy or philosophy or whatever. I'd say that the way the Expos were run during his tenure would suggest that maybe no one does. How could you? How could you know that he is a swing away manager? His son Moises is one of the top OBP guys in the league, so was Larry Walker. Vidro is pretty good at getting on base. Guerrero doesn't walk a lot, but he's a hacker, and he can hit anything. Most of the players who you could categorize as free swingers are also exceedingly young, some as young as 21 or 22. Aren't most young players free swingers? In 1994, when he had a few guys with some experience, his starters did OK in OBP, and his first four guys off the bench all clocked in above .350. In 1993, his guys did even better than that. He had Deshields at .389, Walker at .371, Alou at .340, Grissom at .351, Berry at .348, Vanderwal off the bench at .372.

Looking at the team's statistics, it appears (to me, at least), that it was only after the team started watching all of the experienced, top-level talent leave that the hitters devolved into free swingers, and that's why he started to develop a reputation as a manager who ignored the benefits of a high on base approach.

As for being a manager who shreds pitchers arms, well, the list of pitchers that came up under his watch is almost as impressive as the roster of hitters. I'd like to hear from anyone who can talk about the injury history of pitchers under his watch, with some facts and stats, because I just don't know about it.

But I'd suggest that we do have an idea how he'll do in San Francisco. Prior to the 1994 strike, the Expos were 238 and 163 under Alou, a .593 winning percentage. They were the best team in baseball. In my humble opinion, Alou will do fine in San Francisco, as long as Brian Sabean can get the holes in the lineup filled.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 15, 2002

.... Re-he-he-ally

Mike Carminati has a terrific piece on Davey Johnson, erstwhile "best manager without a job." He wonders why Sabean chose Alou over Johnson, as Jayson Stark apparently reported that Sabean considered Johnson and decided that their was only one man for the job.

I was in NY during the NY Mets heyday, when Johnson ran the club, and while he was a fiery and sometimes brilliant tactician (He was noted for being one of the first managers to openly use a computer to analyze statistics and matchups), he was also arrogant, mean, nasty, sometimes disgusting and profane. There was no end to his willingness to use the press to attack his general manager, players, other coaches and managers, whoever happened to piss him off. He has worn out his welcome every where he's managed, and for the Giants, a team that prides itself on hiring good people, he would have never worked.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 15, 2002

.... Local news

I just don't know what to make of this Skip Bayless article. On the one hand, he seems to say that Dusty Baker will miss how good he had it here, and I agree with that. He explains how Bonds made everything Dusty did or didn't do work, and I agree with that too. I guess it bugs me to hear all these writers ragging on Baker now that he's gone. How come nobody did it while he was still here? How come no "clubhouse insider ever said: "The great unwritten story was that Dusty wasn't nearly as popular in the clubhouse as fans always heard.'' when Dusty was still here?

I always got the impression that the writers covering the Giants were too willing to cover the team with a positive spin, instead of writing more factually and allowing the reader (me) to come to my own conclusion. Reading Bayless' piece reinforces that feeling. Plus, it's unseemly.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 15, 2002

.... Opportunity knocks

Reader Mattew Durham has decided to contribute a guest column, and while he was writing it, he decided to start his own site. So, here is a preview of the kind of analysis you'll see over at The Southpaw.

Free Agency & The Giants: The Best of Both Worlds


Here at Only Baseball Matters John suggested that a Giants 2003 Opening Day Lineup, with all vacancies filled internally, could look like this, barring some serious work by Brian Sabean and Peter Magowan:


CF Tyuoshi Shinjo

2B Ramon Martinez

SS Rich Aurilia

LF Barry Bonds

C Benito Santiago

1B JT Snow

3B Pedro Feliz

RF Tony Torcato

SP Jason Schmidt


Now that the managerial situation is settled (they definitely got the best man available), Sabean and Alou need to get in gear to fill the holes that are opening up.  They are currently having talks with David Bell and Bill Mueller, but where do they go from there?  Here's my two pennies.


First of all, I think that re-signing David Bell is a priority.  He is the most underrated Free Agent on the market, and from all indications wants to stay with the Giants (although the Phillies have made an offer, Bell seems to be their number 3 Free Agent priority after Thome & Glavine, which is good news for the Giants).  Signing Bill Mueller is also a good start (if Kent walks, the infield is still set WITHOUT the need for Ramon Martinez and Pedro Feliz).  This kind of stability would allow the Giants to move forward with IMPROVING the team, instead of just playing catch-up.


The next step would be IMPROVING.  The Giants needs are as follows: a good leadoff hitter, a slugger, and some help in the OF (not necessarily in that order).


One possibility is Ray Durham, as noted by Jason Stark.  It's been said that he may need to move to the outfield wherever he signs, but he has continued to express his desire to play 2B.  This could work out for the Giants twofold.  First and foremost, they'd have a legitimate leadoff hitter on their Opening Day lineup for the first time in years.  That said, they could either fill a whole in the OF OR have a second option at 2B.  Either way it's a bonus for the G-men (and a bonus for me so I can finally get a Giants jersey with my name on the back!  But I digress).


After the leadoff slot is filled, the only other NEED position to fill would be a slugger to protect Bonds in the lineup (or vise versa).  If Kent stays, then they just need to find a decent all-around OF.  Durham could still play 2B, and Kent could move to 1B (eliminating the SNOW factor from the Giants lineup, and perhaps even giving them some trade bait if anyone would bite on a defensive 1B with no bat. Bueller, anyone, anyone?).  If Kent leaves, then they need a bat that is at least as much of a threat as Kent's was.


Rumors have been flying that Bonds is trying to recruit Japan's GODZILLA (Hideki Matsui) for his debut in the MLB.  The upsides are plenty: Power Hitter, Left Handed, already wildly popular in Japan, a Veteran Rookie, fills a much needed position in the OF.  A "Veteran Rookie" (which as Nomo, Ichiro, and Ishii have shown us) is ready to play on Opening Day because they have been playing "professional" baseball for years.  From what we have seen, they even play much better then expected because opponents don't have a lot of scouting information about them (see first year dominance of ROYs Nomo & Ichiro, as well as Ishii would could have won had he not been hurt).  There's also the counter-balance of dollars coming in from Japanese TV rights, as well as a boom in tourism for SF similar to that in Seattle with Ichiro.  This could help offset some of that $20 million debt service for Pac Bell Park that they Giants owe every year.  And while everyone is pointing to Matsui starting Opening Day next year in pinstripes, I remind you that these are the same people who said that Ishii would either go to Seattle or to the Mets, and look where HE is.  San Francisco is a LOT closer to Japan then New York is, that's all I'm saying.


Now if the Yankees do in fact get their 'zilla, then the Giants will still need to find a quality bat to compliment Bonds.  In talking with John he mentioned a possible acquisition of one Vlad the Impaler (Vladimir Guerrero).  I'll leave the details to him, but let's just say that I'm VERY excited about this possibility.  Alex Belth, over at Bronx Banter had this (among comparisons to Stan The Man) to say about Vlad:


"Vlad G of course takes it to another level. He doesn't concern himself with balls and strikes. I'm not sure what game he's playing inside his own head, but he sure does know how to knock the shit of the ball."

Isn't a player like the the PERFECT compliment to a player like Bonds (and vise-versa)?  Bonds will work a pitcher until he either gets walked, or gets the pitch he wants and CRUSHES it.  Guerrero will hit just about ANYTHING, putting the ball in play on almost every at-bat.  When Bonds is getting on base 50% of the time, the ONE THING you could ask for would be that the next batter at least gets the ball in play (which didn't happen enough last year - too many HR or bust at-bats).  And if anyone gets on base BEFORE Bonds, then pretty much anything in play is a possible RBI, because turning a Bonds-Guerrero double-play is DEFINITELY not a freebie.  Let's just say (for the sake of an obvious pun and segue) that they'd be Barry-Vlad to see this happen:


2B Ray Durham

SS Rich Aurilia

LF Barry Bonds

RF Vladimir Guerrero (alternatively: Godzilla)

C Benito Santiago

3B David Bell

1B JT Snow

CF Shinjo/Lofton

SP Jason Schmidt


I would be very comfortable with a 2003 Opening Day Lineup that looked like that.

There you have it. The very first column by The Southpaw. Great stuff, although I'd remind everyone that both Matsui and Guerrero are big-time longshots.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 15, 2002

.... Baseball been berry berry good to me

The local beat writers are, to a man, (and woman), ecstatic about the Felipe Alou signing.

Scott Ostler likes the Felipe Alou move very much. So does John Shea, who, in fact, likes it so much, he wrote not one, but two columns. Gwen Knapp is also pleased.

Jorge L. Ortiz talks about the possibility of the Giants getting Moises Alou to take over right field. Please God, no. Moises makes almost $10 million per year, and he is breaking up, he's breaking up....

Neil Hayes chimes in with another positive spin. The inimitable Skip Bayless has an interesting way of saying that he was wrong. And finally, Joe Roderick puts it all into perspective.

.... emails and details

Reader Larry Koen, in response to the question, why was Don Mattingly treated like baseball royalty while Barry Bonds has spent most of his career being villified? has this to say in response.

Because he commits the cardinal sin of sports: He refuses to hustle. Loafs to first on grounballs, admires long drives that don't go out, and generally plays hard at his whim. And admits it. MJ played the best defense in the league. He was what people wanted to be. Barry takes advantage of his position and talent to stick his finger in the eye of the fans.

Normally, I walk away from these arguments, especially with my boss, who says the same thing all the time. But since no one can shout me down here, and I'm not risking my job disagreeing with Larry, here goes.

Larry, you commit the cardinal sin of all fans, having a short, rose-tinted memory.

Mattingly suffered a career defining back injury before he was thirty. It limited him in his mobility and power, and he was allowed, in fact, allowed isn't the right word, no one even mentioned the fact that his pre-game preparation was alone, completely separated from his teammates, with his own trainer and back specialist. After the injury, Mattingly frequently jogged to first on grounders to second and short. On defense, he lost a step or two each year, as the degenerative effects of the injury worsened from playing, but no one noticed because as a first baseman, he didn't have to run.

Barry has had lower back and hamstring problems for several years now, at least four or five. He spends probably 2 hours per day working out during the season, and up to 6 per day during the off-season. Listening to people like you say "Look at him, he doesn't hustle after that ball, look at how he jogs to first," always amazes me. Would you rather he pull his hamstring again on some meaningless play in July?

Oh, and by the way, he's 38 years old. He has just shy of 500 stolen bases, over 500 doubles and 8 Gold Gloves. How does a universally disliked player who doesn't "hustle" get those Gold Gloves? How does someone who jogs to first manage to accumulate over 500 doubles? How does such a lazy player get five MVP awards?

My point isn't to suggest that Barry is perfect, or that a player like Mattingly was a jerk. My point is that the negative articles, [like this one by Filip Bondy, published today in the NY Daily News], published day after day, year after year, color our perceptions of these men, men who we've never met, or spoken to, or never worked with or even seen up close. How do you know he doesn't hustle, because of what you see watching the games? Please. Barry Bonds knows more about baseball, and his own ability and physical situation than you or I could ever imagine. If he thinks he should jog at this moment and run at that one, remember, he's the baseball genius, not you or I.

To presume that his efforts are designed to poke his finger in your eye rather than to enable him to participate at the highest level for as often and as long as possible is ridiculous. Michael Jordan took plays off, games off. If you think he played at his 100% every play, every day, you're crazy. DiMaggio was held in esteem for his supposed unwillingness to take a play off. Let me ask you this, you think Joe might've wanted to trade a couple of those days he played on injured knees and ankles for two or three more seasons of health and production and fun? He didn't know what we know now, that injuries are serious, that maintaining your health for 162 games requires a commitment not only to playing when you are at your best, but the intelligence to know when to risk injury and when not to.

People who presume to know what's best for Barry Bonds should just stay home. They don't deserve to enjoy his talent and ability.

For more on this topic, you can read Alex Belth over at Bronx Banter, and Travis Nelson, at Boy of Summer.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 14, 2002

.... Giants name manager

The San Francisco Giants have agreed to terms on a three year contract with Felipe Alou to become manager of the club, officials announced this morning. Alou, who last managed for the Montreal Expos, has a long history with the team, and should bring the team exactly what they are looking for to replace Dusty Baker.

Oh, and by the way, he was the number one choice from my perspective, when I wrote:

Pros: Widely acknowledged as the real deal as a manager. Terrific overall record of developing players in Montreal, and getting the most out of a very limited roster. Lots of experience, knows the National League well. Not just a former Giant, something the history conscious Giants take very seriously, but one of the three Alou brothers who all played together in San Francisco. Would be a terrific replacement for Dusty as a lifetime baseball man, someone with the charisma and the leadership to be the face of the team. As an experienced manager, as well as a well-known ex-player, should be able to handle the veteran team well. He's in his 60's, so this would be a three year at best signing, perhaps a good move, given Bonds contract status and age. Has already indicated would be interested in the job.

Cons: He's old. Might be a little expensive. Sabean isn't familiar with him.

I'd say I pretty much nailed that on the head, wouldn't you?

Here's what Brian Sabean had to say:

"We're obviously thrilled we're able to welcome Felipe back. Everybody in baseball realizes what he's done in the game. It's thrilling because he's a Giant at heart. He's returning to manage a team we're still going to be excited about for years to come. To hire someone of his pedigree is exciting. He calls himself a baseball soldier in conversation. He's more like baseball royalty to us."

So, the Giants got the best man for the job, now it's time to put the team back together.

Check out what Mike Carminati has to say about the signing.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... New new new

Found a new site today, and it lists the Japanese Leagues, Mexican Leagues, A, AA, and AAA leagues, teams, etc.. All in all, wow.

Baseball Talk

It's there on the left.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... Booh hiss

And then there's the lazy, irresponsible writers employed by some of the more reputable magazines. Alan Latak, jumping into the fray at Slate's Sports Nut, lowers himself to the same "Barry's a jerk" level we've seen over and over. How about a new angle, Alan?

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... More more more, Part II

New guy Alex Belth adds a good deal to yesterday's Barry Bonds dialogue. He suggests that contemporary Rickey Henderson offers a terrific aside to my Mattingly comparison. Good stuff.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... More more more

Mike Carminati says the Phillies can't win in the free agent chase, as he reviews their horrible history of bumbling and burning of the large amounts of cash.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... Are you paying attention, Part II?

I have added a new feature designed to help me generate some revenue to defray some of the costs of managing this site. If you scroll down on the left, you'll see a Bookstore. If you click on the link and purchase one of these books through Amazon, I get a royalty. I'll change them every once in a while, so for the most part, they'll only be books I've purchased and read. If they're not good, they won't be there, I promise.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... Giants name manager

The San Francisco Giants have agreed to terms on a three year contract with Felipe Alou to become manager of the club, officials announced this morning. Alou, who last managed for the Montreal Expos, has a long history with the team, and should bring the team exactly what they are looking for to replace Dusty Baker.

Oh, and by the way, he was the number one choice from my perspective, when I wrote:

Pros: Widely acknowledged as the real deal as a manager. Terrific overall record of developing players in Montreal, and getting the most out of a very limited roster. Lots of experience, knows the National League well. Not just a former Giant, something the history conscious Giants take very seriously, but one of the three Alou brothers who all played together in San Francisco. Would be a terrific replacement for Dusty as a lifetime baseball man, someone with the charisma and the leadership to be the face of the team. As an experienced manager, as well as a well-known ex-player, should be able to handle the veteran team well. He's in his 60's, so this would be a three year at best signing, perhaps a good move, given Bonds contract status and age. Has already indicated would be interested in the job.

Cons: He's old. Might be a little expensive. Sabean isn't familiar with him.

I'd say I pretty much nailed that on the head, wouldn't you?

Here's what Brian Sabean had to say:

"We're obviously thrilled we're able to welcome Felipe back. Everybody in baseball realizes what he's done in the game. It's thrilling because he's a Giant at heart. He's returning to manage a team we're still going to be excited about for years to come. To hire someone of his pedigree is exciting. He calls himself a baseball soldier in conversation. He's more like baseball royalty to us."

So, the Giants got the best man for the job, now it's time to put the team back together.

Check out what Mike Carminati has to say about the signing.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... Are you paying attention?

I have made some cosmetic changes to the links section there on the left. One of the things you'll notice is the expanded roster of Smart Guys. Basically, I have added links to the columnists I read daily, or at least as often as they take the time to post. I've also added an Odds and Ends section, which is for stuff that I read, friends who have sites, basically, everything not related to baseball that I would read, enjoy, or endorse, should my opinion matter.

As for my opinion, (since you asked), everything I put in my Featured Links is something that I read every day, many times, in fact. If a site that is there starts to slow down, or is subject to breakdowns, poor loading, or if the host simply puts it in mothballs for an extended period of time, I will bump the site down into More Baseball. If it continues to be a poor performer, I will drop it completely. I say this for a specific reason. I want you, my readers, to know that I consider every part of this site a part of who I am.

If I write it, it's because I feel strongly enough about it to take the time to tell the world, so to speak. If I put a link in my roster, you can rest assured that the quality of the writing and information at that site meets my standards, for what they're worth. If it's there, I read it. I assume you appreciate my standards, or you wouldn't be here.

"nough said. Soon, I'm going to add the newspapers I read every day, and we'll see how that works.

Remember, if you like this site, and you have a spare buck or two, you can donate whatever you can spare and help defray some of the minimal costs of running this show. Thanks for checking in, and anybody wants to tell me to go to hell, you know how to reach me.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... News and notes

Miguel Tejada won the American League MVP award yesterday, beating out Alex Rodriguez, who is quickly becoming the greatest player never to win one. A-Rod got his first Gold Glove, however.

John Shea and Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle say the Giants are working on re-signing David Bell and Bill Muelller in the hopes of solidifying their infield. The money saved on Kent and Baker might be enough for the Giants to surprise everyone in the Bay Area:

If Kent leaves (and Mueller returns as a starting infielder), the Giants could compensate for his loss by acquiring a power-hitting outfielder and hope shortstop Rich Aurilia adds more pop, as he did in 2001. It's conceivable they won't re-sign right fielder Reggie Sanders or center fielder Kenny Lofton.

On his All-Star tour of Japan, five-time MVP Barry Bonds offered a suggestion: Hideki Matsui, a slugging outfielder who wants to play in the U.S. next year and will be heavily courted by the Yankees. "I'm trying to persuade him to go to San Francisco," Bonds said. The Giants are a longshot, though without Kent and Baker in the fold, the money saved from their projected salaries could help the Giants make a run at Japan's best player.


Comment on this   [0]  »  November 13, 2002

.... emails and details

Reader and new writer Alex Belth has this to say about Barry Bonds:

John, I've been working at Time Inc. for the past several months and never pass up the chance to bullshit about sports---particularly baseball with any Joe Blow who looks like he'd be interested. As the announcement that Barry Bonds' has won his fifth MVP Award has filtered out, I am amazed to see just how much ill-will Bonds has accrued. It's gotten to the point where I like to bring him up just to see what kind of reaction it will illicit. Especially if I half-jokingly provoke the debate by introducing Bonds as "the greatest player we've ever seen".

I have to admit I never cared for Bonds too much over the years. Being an American League guy, I also didn't focus on him in the same way I would a Junior Griffey or Juan Gonzalez or the Frank (Big Hurt) Thomas. I was aware of how good he was, but there wasn't much about his disposition that was attractive. But I've also reached the point in my career as a fan, where my appreciation of athletic greatness conquers my personal feelings about a player. I would feel like less of a fan if I couldn't get over myself enough to take in what this man has accomplished in the past two years.

He still isn't my favorite player to watch, although he is the greatest player to watch. Does that make sense? Even if I don't adore him, it won't prevent me from bowing down to the King. Personally, it doesn't matter if he's a good guy or not. Were Joe DiMaggio or Willie Mays or Rogers Hornsby good guys? He doesn't need to be Stan Musial. The one thing I've always liked about him is that he's been consistent. He's always been surly and removed. There was an excellent article on him in the New York Times magazine this past summer, which outlined his early experiences in the game with his dad and godfather. I'm sure it isn't anything you don't already know, but it made me feel more empathy for what Barry's make up is all about.

Still, it was good to see him suffused with a big smile and a healthy degree of lightness over the past week in Japan.

Alex, I did read that NY Times magazine piece. It was illuminating, to say the least. Let me tell you something. I'm a transplanted New Yorker, interestingly enough, I came here at essentially the same time as Barry Bonds. All he's done since arriving is set new single-season records, for home runs, walks, intentional walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, win 3(!) MVP awards, finishing in the top-ten eight of his ten San Francisco seasons, and quite simply, establish his place within the inner circle of greatest players of all time.

The other players who have won at least five MVP Awards are Michael Jordan (5), Bill Russell (5), Kareem Abdul Jabbar (6) in the NBA, and Wayne Gretzky (9) in the NHL. Today, when Bonds was asked to compare himself to some of these players, the player who can be surly sounded like a cheerleader who never made the varsity.

"I probably wish I was liked as much as them," Bonds said. "That would be nice. I wish I had the same form of respect that they have. They're all very admired. People really admire their achievements and accomplishments. Everyone has had their ups and downs through the media. I wish my career could be respected as much as theirs. Unfortunately, that's never going to happen." Courtesy of the NY Times

As if that weren't enough, he was the centerpiece free agent acquisition for the new ownership, a critical piece of the plan put together to keep the Giants in San Francisco, as Peter Magowan has stated repeatedly. Add in the fact that he accepted less money to come to SF, turning down the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves' bigger offers, and followed that up by accepting less money than he would have gotten both times his contracts were up for renegotiation. Oh, and by the way, his baseball lineage traces through some of the greatest players of all time, as well as some of the greatest Giants of all time, something that has been essential to the new marketing strategy of the Giants, who place as much emphasis on history as any team other than the Yankees.

He has worked harder than any player in the game to not only stay in great shape, but in fact, is in much better shape today at 38 than he was when he was 28. He has played hurt, won Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers; he's won more player of week, month and year awards than anyone in history.

He's never been arrested for shoplifting, drunk driving, beating his wife or kids, drugs, nothing. He's got more charities than I could list, and almost all of them get virtually no publicity at all, on his direction.

Even with such an amazing list of accomplishments on and off the field, the fact is that he is a lightning rod of a person (Not unlike Bill Russell) the likes of which we're not likely to ever see again in our lifetime. If I talk to a hundred fans, maybe ten have positive opinions about the man. I go to a bar near PacBell, and start a Barry's the best ever argument, and people sit there and just pour venom out on him to a degree that is astonishing! My boss hates him, many, if not most of the biggest Giants fans I know hate him too. You mentioned another Hall of Famer known as a real prince, Joe DiMaggio. You know what's interesting, DiMaggio's from here too, and around here, he's God, even though everyone knew that being in the same room with him was like walking on eggshells, something that has been written about Barry for years. Why does Joe get a pass, while Barry gets the spotlight?

Here's another comparison. For the ten years prior to moving here, I was a huge fan of Don Mattingly, (who was roughly half the player Barry is). Mattingly walked on water as far as New Yorkers were concerned. Did Donnie Baseball do anything different than Barry? Not that you or I could see. All we had to tell us the type of person each man was were the stories in the paper. On the surface, they were identical. Both were great hitters, great fielders, MVP winners, both had led teams that failed to do anything in the postseason. Both players wore the mantle of "hardest working player in baseball" as well as "best player in baseball" during their careers. When Mattingly's career was over, the New York sportswriters wept for their loss. Why? He went back to Indiana, left it all behind, didn't call or write or anything. He went home every off season, he wasn't a New Yorker in any way. He didn't save any babies from a fire. Why was Don Mattingly treated like baseball royalty while Barry Bonds has spent most of his career being villified?

I'd say envy has to have some part in any attempt to answer that question. Bonds has never once taken on the "aw shucks, I'm just a hard-working guy just like you." persona. In fact, he's been the exact opposite; brutally honest in his self appraisal as talented in a way most people, sportswriters included, could never comprehend. His family had plenty of money, he was brought up in a nice home, his family is essentially baseball royalty. He always acted like it too. He was branded a prima donna by the Pittsburgh media almost as soon as he started his career.

I'd also say that racism has something to do with it as well. Not racism on the part of the reporters, but racism in our society. Barry is an arrogant and imperious black man, and it has been my experience that many people have been quick to believe what they read about him in a way that they would never have been with a Mattingly or a DiMaggio. I have heard him referred to as that n@#$! more times than I can count, yes, even here, in what is widely acknowledged as one of the most liberal places in the United States, if not the world.

As a "voice in the wilderness" trying to find a place for my thoughts and opinions, I am careful to not allow myself to do what so many sportswriters and columnists (see, Rick Reilly) have done with Barry over the years; lower myself or my standards to generate controversy or a buzz. I think it's a travesty the way the media has covered him over the years, and the standards used in writing about him have deprived fans the opportunity to watch one of the all-time greats without a poisoned light played across his features.

I don't mean to suggest that I am above all that or better than anyone else. I mean to say that there is no excuse for the constant stream of stories written about his extra lockers, his TV, his recliner, his history of not appreciating the reporters; it's shameful. Talk about beating a dead horse. Get over it. There are countless artists, performers and actors, dancers, painters; people who've been notable for their utter disregard for their fellow man, for their shameless behavior, criminal actions or greed and avarice. Not one of them has received the treatment Barry has here in his hometown.

Good for you for seeing past all of the "stories" and taking the time to appreciate his greatness. I wish more of my friends could do the same.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 12, 2002

.... Sporting News

Reader Tom Germack sent me this Ken Rosenthal column. Other than the inexplicable "emerging Pedro Feliz" comment, Ken has a pretty good handle on the Giants' situation. Well, that, and the Ramon Martinez replacing Jeff Kent idea.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 11, 2002

.... A Rose by any other name

Travis Nelson, over at Boy of Summer, followed our Rose work with a nice summary. Thanks Travis, but one thing I wanted to mention. It's not true that nobody on the permanently ineligible list has ever been re-instated. That has happened several times, including with Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker, in, I believe, the 1930's.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 11, 2002

.... Unanimous

Barry Bonds won his fifth MVP award today, and it was unanimous for the first time. Congratulations to the best player of all time, (in my book).

Also in the news today, Robb Nen exercised his option with the Giants and will be back next season for $8.6 million dollars. This is not as good a thing as one might expect, regardless of how good a closer Nen is. His salary really hamstrings the team in their efforts to make it back to the World Series.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 11, 2002

.... FNG

My new best friend, Alex Belth, just put the finishing touches on his new site, Bronx Banter. He will be covering the Yankees and any other New York baseball-related stuff. Check him out, he's also gonna be in the starting lineup there on the left.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 11, 2002

.... News here! Get your hot off the presses news here!

Billy Beane says no to the Boston Red Sox, turning down a reported 5 year, $13 million deal. Here's what the NY Times Murray Chass has to say about it. The San Francisco Chronicle had this piece this morning.

In the Boston Globe, Dan Saughnessy's persepective is that Red Sox owner Larry Luchino failed in the negotiation. Bob Hohler can see how Beane wouldn't want to move from one side of the country to the other.

Bay Area baseball fans couldn't be happier. Billy Beane staying means that we will continue to enjoy watching two of the best GM's in the game work their magic. Let's hope Sabean is hard at work spinning some right now. Because if the best he can do is Jim Fregosi, well, that ain't so magical, if you get my drift. In his column today, Skip Bayless seems to think Fregosi is the right man for the Giants.

Jeez, I sure hope I'm wrong here, but I just don't see it. I'd really like to see Sabean interview some new blood before we hire a guy who's had, what two winning seasons in fifteen tries? I mean, yeah, he took the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series, but wasn't that more the law of averages than his skill? Isn't he just another Jeff Torborg?

.... Don't tug on Superman's cape

And now for the good news. Barry Bonds will win his fifth MVP when it is announced this afternoon. The only question is whether it will be unanimous. It's not the hardware he had in mind when he took the field in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game Six, but still, he'll join Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the only players to win five Most Valuable Player Awards in team sports history. Of course, no one else in baseball history has won more than three, and don't forget, it's the second time he'll have won two in a row, another first, of course.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 11, 2002

.... Danny Boy

Our good friend Dan Lewis has added a new feature on his site. It's a discussion forum, sort of a meeting place for people who have opinions about what he writes, what they think, or just about anything. Cool.

He also chimed in on the baseball off-season, noting that it looked like we were in for a lot of nothing. For the most part I think he's right, but he missed the boat on the Giants, who face an offseason of substantial change, with the very real possibility that half of their every day lineup could be different on opening day. Maybe that's not due to a bunch of flashy deals, but you'd have to look really hard to find a team that went to a seventh game of the World Series one year and came back with four new starters the next. (Other than the Marlins, whose owner sold them out to the devil)

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 11, 2002

.... The replacement

The search for Dusty Baker's replacement continues. As I mentioned last week, I was stunned by Brian Sabean's admission that he was taken by surprise. So was Henry Schulman, of the Chron. Here's some gravy:

Rare is the day when Giants general manager Brian Sabean confesses he was caught unprepared. His history of one-sided trades in San Francisco's favor speaks volumes about his studiousness and intuition.

Yet on Wednesday, the day he decided to set Dusty Baker adrift, Sabean admitted he was unprepared for the moment and insisted he had no list of successors floating in his gray matter.

"I was in denial," he said, "and I think it's almost bad luck to put the cart before the horse. I didn't think it would come to this."

It has come to this, and now an executive widely regarded as one of the best in the game faces his greatest challenge yet, his first managerial hire.

And talk about stunning, it looks like the Oakland A's are on the verge of losing Billy Beane to the Boston Red Sox, after signing him to a six year deal intended to prevent just that. Let me be the first to say, (at least in my own little world), that if Beane goes to the Red Sox, we could easily see the two best components of Bay Area baseball, (Beane and Dusty Baker) settling in Boston trying to end the Curse of the Bambino.

Wow, this is turning into a tough off-season for Bay Area baseball fans.

Here's some good news, the Giants are close to a three year deal with David Bell. Hey, every little bit helps.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 10, 2002

.... Toot toot

I've been accused of tooting my own horn on occasion (mostly by my wife), so I thought I'd set the record straight. I am very proud of the work I do here at this little site. I think I take the time to look closely at these baseball related topics, I try to make sure my writing is intelligible and thoughtful, I make sure my site looks a certain way, I don't feature links that I don't like, in short, I do my best; and I am proud of the results.

I have also received a decent amount of mainstream media recognition, of which I am also proud. Just recently, I was mentioned in a Chicago Tribune column about blogs, and given that I am covering a team on the other side of the country, I thought that was pretty cool.

Earlier this week, I linked to a Betting Fool column that I highlighted as saying some smart things. I received this email today, I will leave the author anonymous unless he writes back and says it's OK:

John, you thought the Betting Fool said some smart things because I am a co-worker of his, and I read your blog semi-regularly. He was asking the assembled in the room what we thought some of Dusty's good and bad points were, and I immediately brought up your "loyalty as both a good and a bad thing" column. I think it's been your most salient point all summer. So if you liked what the Fool said, it's partly because you were looking in the mirror.

Now that's cool. I believe the piece he mentioned is either this post or this one, at least I think so. I wrote so many things about Dusty that it's hard to keep track. These are pretty good in terms of summarizing my thoughts.

.... New and improved

I was at Barnes & Noble today, and I made a new friend, Nancy. Hi, Nancy. The book you are thinking of, I believe, is by Daniel Okrent, entitled Nine Innings. It's about a game played on June 10, 1982, Baltimore Orioles at the Milwaukee Brewers, whom, you'll recall, used to be in the American League.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 9, 2002

.... Very interesting

Robb Nen had surgery on his throwing shoulder today. The procedure, attended by Giants trainer Stan Conte, was deemed a success, and Nen is expected to be ready for spring training.

Of perhaps greater importance is the option on his contract with the Giants. Nen has until Monday to exercise his option for 2003 at 8.6 million, or accept a $2 million buyout and become a free agent. Not that I don't think Nen is a terrific pitcher, but it probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for the Giants if he decided to take a swing at free agency. That would free up a large chunk of change for the team to pursue some marquee free agents, and the Giants would then be looking at a Zerbe/Witasik/Aybar/Eyre middle relief corps, with a Tim Worrell/8th inning and a Felix Rodriguez/9th inning. Lots of teams would love to have that, and there's almost no doubt that the drop off would be marginal.

Or let me put it another way, Nen blew 8 saves last year. Are you telling me that Rodriguez as the closer would do worse? I don't think so. Over the next two seasons, Nen is just as likely to miss significant time due to injury as he is to have 40 saves a year. His effectiveness has been declining for the last two, three years, he'll be 33 when next season starts.....

The Giants should be hoping somebody is whispering in Nen's ear, and that he tests the market.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 8, 2002

.... You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

The Yankees, apparently unwilling to leave anything to chance, are reported to already have a two year, $24 million dollar contract arranged with Hideki Matsui, the Japanese slugger better known as "Godzilla."

This would mean that several Yankee outfielders would become available through trades, and the Yanks would more than likely be willing to take on cash to help facilitate the moves. Raul Mondesi in right field for the Giants? If they could get the Yanks to take on half his salary, it could be a good deal for the Giants. Or am I dreaming?

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 8, 2002

.... What have I said about comparing your sister to the Devil?

Over at USA Today, they have a nice Top Twenty Free Agents list, with notes on possible suitors, and where they think they might end up. What's not nice about it, is that none of the top twenty guys seem likely to end up with the Giants. In fact, if you take a look at all of the possible free agents, none of them seem likely to end up here.

Now, I am not running around in a circle yelling my head off, but who exactly is gonna be in the outfield along with Superman next season? Half of the infield is currently made up of Pedro Feliz and Ramon Martinez instead of David Bell and Jeff Kent. You think losing Baker is a problem, what the hell are the Giants gonna do if their Opening Day lineup looks like this:

CF Tyuoshi Shinjo

2B Ramon Martinez

SS Rich Aurilia

LF Barry Bonds

C Benito Santiago

1B JT Snow

3B Pedro Feliz

RF Tony Torcato

SP Jason Schmidt

That's a hundred loss team right there, by the way, and I have looked high and low and haven't seen a single article suggesting that the Giants are interested in this guy or that. Forget about Thome or Glavine, how about David Bell? The Phillies are making a big push, what about Sabean? How about trying to steal Ray Durham from the A's? That would solve two problems at once. Edgardo Alfonzo could play third or second, what about him, he's under 30 years old, but he's a veteran? Cliff Floyd could solve our right field problem. Tyler Houston is a free agent.

I don't know which of these guys are really interested in San Francisco, but jeez, I haven't heard one of the mentioned in connection with the Giants at all. Sitting around saying that it's a buyers market might make for good press, but wouldn't having a whole team be more important than being a glib quote machine?

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 8, 2002

.... Things that make you go hmmm

Here's a quick rundown on the local Giants and Dusty Baker coverage.

Henry Schulman talks about the possible choices for his replacement.

Brian Sabean's ideas on his new manager are revealing."In my mind, (the new manager) is going to have to have some kind of extraordinary blood line within the game as well as, hopefully, experience," said Sabean. I'd take that as a pretty good indication that Sabean would see Felipe Alou as a real strong candidate, something all Giants fans should feel good about.

The Betting Fool says some smart things today, and Skip Bayless agrees. Both men point out some of the elements of this little drama. One, that Baker had it better here than he realized. Two, that there is a discrepancy between the perception of Baker as some managerial Aristotle and reality, and three, that the Giants success during his tenure had more to do with penciling Bonds' name into the lineup every day than with Dusty's sometimes mind-boggling hunches.

Of course, he did get them to the seventh game of the World Series, and really, they came within an out or two of winning it all in Game Six. But they didn't win, he didn't become a World Series winning manager, and the now the Giants are as far away from winning it all as everyone else, after having it right there for the taking.

How different would everything be today if Felix strikes out Speizio, if Nen strands Salmon and Anderson? There's no way the Giants don't re-sign both Baker and Jeff Kent if they hold on to that lead. There's no way.

They didn't, he didn't, it all went bad. In the space of some 25 pitches, some eighteen minutes, a lifetime of working and practicing and planning and trades and signings and compromises and sleepless nights and pain and injuries and comebacks to get to that point, to win it all.... gone. As Cypher said to Neo in the Matrix, "Man, what a mind-job. How do you handle that?"

Will the Giants be OK next season? Sure, nobody died. But there's no doubt that the best way to sweep out the demons from that game is to start anew. A new manager, preferably someone who wasn't there that night, will go a long way towards helping evreyone put it behind them.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 8, 2002

.... Dust up

I found this Dusty Baker Q&A from November of last year. There some pretty illuminating stuff in it. Here's a few that stand out:

QUESTION: What has been your biggest achievement in coaching?

DUSTY BAKER: Having Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell and Matt Williams win RBI titles in successive years.

Huh? That's your biggest achievment in coaching? How is that related to a coaching principle, technique or whatever?

QUESTION: What is the biggest difference between today's pro and those that you played with?

DUSTY BAKER: We were held accountable for our performance. Now a coach, teacher, professor, etc., are accountable for the failure of his pupils' performance.

That's a revealing answer, isn't it? That sort of sums up Dusty's overblown bitterness over the tiny little bit of criticism he would get here in San Francisco. In Chicago, he's gonna be very unhappy.

QUESTION: What are the best and worst stadiums in baseball today?

DUSTY BAKER: Best - Pac Bell Worst - Chicago and Cincinnati

Interesting, no?

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 7, 2002

.... Booh Hoo

So, now Dusty's on his way to Chicago, right? Well, not so fast. One of the repercussions of the Sabean announcement is that Dusty no longer has teams competing for his services. In fact, after the Mariners announced that they aren't interested in Baker to take over for Sweet Lou, Dusty is left with just the Cubs to negotiate with, a team with a history of mishandling negotiations with top level managers. Christian Ruzich, the Cub Reporter, has a little insight on the subject today, check him out.

What about the Giants? Let's look at some candidates, in order of whom I think would be the best fit, and why they may or may not be the man:

Felipe Alou

Pros: Widely acknowledged as the real deal as a manager. Terrific overall record of developing players in Montreal, and getting the most out of a very limited roster. Lots of experience, knows the National League well. Not just a former Giant, something the history conscious Giants take very seriously, but one of the three Alou brothers who all played together in San Francisco. Would be a terrific replacement for Dusty as a lifetime baseball man, someone with the charisma and the leadership to be the face of the team. As an experienced manager, as well as a well-known ex-player, should be able to handle the veteran team well. He's in his 60's, so this would be a three year at best signing, perhaps a good move, given Bonds contract status and age. Has already indicated would be interested in the job.

Cons: He's old. Might be a little expensive. Sabean isn't familiar with him.

Jim Leyland

Pros: Has managed a World Series Champion. Has managed Barry Bonds, as well as many of the ex-Marlins, Hernandez, Nen, etc.. Widely acknowledged as one of the best managers around. Has almost equal stature as a players manager as Baker did, could be the right man at the right time, as the Giants are a veteran team and need someone with little or no ego to get in the way of continuing to play for a championship. Excellent at handling the media, and has the charisma, pedigree and leadership to take over as the front man for the organization, although perhaps not quite as much as Alou. Has indicated some interest.

Cons: A little old, may not be willing to take on the grind of managing again. Not familiar with the Giants organization or many involved in it. No connection with the team, something that the history conscious Giants take seriously.

Dave Righetti

Pros: Currently employed by the Giants. Familiar with all the players, including Mr. Bonds. When interviewed on 680 KNBR last night, Righetti said he was surprised anyone would conclude that he wasn't interested, since he had never been approached. He further stated that he would happily consider taking the reins if it were offered to him. Excellent baseball pedigree, including championship experience. Handled the Giants pitching staff extremely well over the last three years.

Cons: No managerial experience at all. Forces Sabean to have to replace two positions in management at the same time, because someone would have to take over as pitching coach.

Willie Randolph

Pros: Has coached on a World Series Champion four of the last seven seasons under Joe Torre, who knows a little bit about handling players. Has won a championship as a player. Widely acknowledged as one of the best managerial prospects around, having been involved in championship baseball for almost three decades with the Yankees. Knows Sabean through the Yanks. Lifetime baseball man. Minority coaching prospect, something that matters to the Giants.

Cons: No experience as a manager. Not familiar with the Giants organization or many involved in it. No connection with the team, something that the history conscious Giants take seriously.

Bob Melvin

Pros: As coach for Arizona last couple of seasons, knows what the postseason is like. He is familiar with the Giants organization. As an ex-Giant, has a connection with the team, something that the history conscious Giants take seriously.

Cons: No managerial experience. Young.

Jim Fregosi

Pros: Has managed a World Series participant. Has finished first twice in 14 seasons of managing. Lots of experience, knows the National League well.

Cons: A little old, may not be willing to take on the grind of managing again. Not really known for anything special as a manager, not a players guy, not a tactician, really just another retread. Not familiar with the Giants organization or many involved in it. No connection with the team, something that the history conscious Giants take seriously.

Ron Wotus

Pros: Currently employed by the Giants. Well respected in the organization.

Cons: No experience. Limited baseball pedigree, lacks the charisma to handle being the face of the Giants. Dark horse at best.

I don't see the Giants hiring Bud Black or somebody like him, somebody so far off the radar. Of the men I did look at, I can't imagine the Giants hiring Fregosi; he's just too nothing, although that's pretty much what everyone said about Joe Torre when the Yankees signed him to replace Showalter. Torre made sure he was allowed to bring in Don Zimmer as bench coach, to help him with his in-game decisions, something that he had correctly identified as his primary weakness during his earlier tenure as a manager. Is Jim Fregosi bringing that level of honest self-appraisal to the table? I might re-consider if I knew that was the case.

Barring that, I'd bet on Sabean wanting the experienced guy, so I think it would come down to which of the two big dogs wants it more, Alou or Leyland. For a manager, the Giants are a tempting prospect. One of the highest profile teams in the country, one of the best places to live and work, the best player in the game... there's a lot to be said for managing this team.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 7, 2002

.... Things that make you go, Doh!

Brian Sabean called a press conference yesterday afternoon, right around 4:50 pm, and announced that the Giants were withdrawing from the negotiations with Dusty Baker. OK, so I'm an idiot. No sooner do I let the world know that I don't believe for one second all the who-how BS coming out of Chicago, Sabean calls a press conference and says it's over. Listening to Sabean, I got the impression that he was pretty pissed off about all of the Dusty said this and Dusty said that coming out in the papers, and that he wasn't going to allow himself to get drawn into a newspaper clippings war.

Here's what John Shea, Ray Ratto and Gwen Knapp of the SF Chronicle have to say about it.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 7, 2002

.... Things that make you go hmmm...

I spent the last two days driving hither and thither, (is that right?), and listening to way too much sports radio. Do any of these guys read anything? The constant stream of inanities, the clueless comments, the irrational, thoughtless suggestions, it's amazing that anyone listens at all. The only reason I stick it out is that these talking heads will often have real people on the phone, coaches, managers, players, etc., and they actually say things that make sense, are important, accurate.... you know, interesting.

Jeff Moorad, Dusty Baker's agent, said into a microphone that as far as he and Dusty are concerned, the deadline for getting a deal done with the Giants is not constricted by the existig contract's expiration date. Specifically, he said that he would continue to work with the Giants until such a time that a deal is either done, or obviously not going to get done. He also said that a period of two to five days would be likely.

This is what we refer to as facts. The man responsible for negotiating Baker's contract with Brian Sabean stating that he intends to work diligently for a week to try and get something resolved. Fact. Brian Sabean stating that he wants Dusty back, and that he will negotiate in good faith to bring that to fruition. Fact. Chicago Tribune sportswriters blathering about how Dusty wants to be in Chicago, or wondering how he could be treated so poorly, or how unhappy he is to have made only 10 million dollars over the last three years, that's all bullshit. That's a bunch of knuckleheads on the outside looking in, hoping and wishing and praying that they might have a real manager for a change, a real team leader to take charge of this wayward franchise.

Reading Henry Schulman's article in the SF Chronicle this afternoon, you'd get the same impression; that the negotiation tactics used by the Giants and Baker had led to a stalemate, that Dusty felt unwanted, and that he was ready to move on. Well, I don't buy it. Schulman's piece looks like a bunch of separate comments glued together to make the point that Dusty's unhappy and wants to leave. But there's little doubt that Brian Sabean is one of the very best GM's in the game, and he's pretty unlikely to have misread this situation so completely. Remember, everyone and their brother thought Barry Bonds was a goner after last season, and the issues revolving aorund Bonds' re-signing were much more difficult to resolve, namely wheelbarrow's full of cash. Last year and this, Sabean has taken the same stance; I want my man, and until I say it's done and he's gone, he ain't.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 6, 2002

.... Election Day

David Pinto, over at Baseball Musings, posted a Which Founding Father would you be? link, and here's me:

Great stuff....

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 5, 2002

.... A Rose by any other name

Over at Mike's Baseball Rants, Mike posts a quick rebuttal to this letter sent in to the NY Times by John Dowd, who wrote, of course, the Dowd Report. I'm probably not supposed to do this, but here's the whole letter:

To the Sports Editor:

I take issue with "Dear Bud: It's Time to Forgive Pete Rose" (Oct. 27) because Dave Anderson takes the liberty of suggesting that Commissioner Bart Giamatti might have readmitted Pete Rose after 13 years. I doubt it, but Bart is not with us and not able to respond. However, the commissioner left a legacy that might help your readers understand where he might have come out on this question.

But first a few facts about Rose are in order. Rose agreed in writing with Giamatti to be placed on the permanently ineligible list and was thus banned from participating in baseball. The present commissioner violated the Major League Rules when he allowed Rose to appear on the field for MasterCard before Game 4 of the Series. I am afraid Commissioner Bud Selig did it because he can't stand being booed by the fans.

In addition, Rose has never applied for reinstatement in the game during the 13 years; he was first permitted to do so after one year of exclusion. There is an obvious reason for this failure to apply. The application would lead to an investigation of his activities; his false denial of betting on the Reds and his gambling with the mob. Instead, we are treated annually to his attacks on the integrity of Giamatti and Fay Vincent, who became commissioner after Bart died.

But what of the integrity of the game? Giamatti would not be impressed by the public relations stunts that so impress Anderson.

Commissioner Giamatti understood that Rule 21 does not require that the bet be against your team. He understood that Rule 21 requires only that the participant bet on his own team. The wisdom of the rule is that when the participant places his own financial interest on the game, he corrupts baseball.

Finally, Commissioner Giamatti understood and respected the history of the game. It was the reason he turned down the posthumous petition from the South Carolina Legislature on behalf of Shoeless Joe Jackson, who unlike Pete Rose was honest about his conduct in a letter to Charles Comiskey. No one in the history of baseball who has been declared permanently ineligible has ever been readmitted to the game. That history and that discipline imposed on the game is what keeps baseball honest and uncorrupted by those who place their own interests ahead of the game.



The writer was special counsel to Peter Ueberroth, Bart Giamatti and Fay Vincent during their terms as commissioner of baseball.

First things first. Read Mike's rebuttal, because it nails Dowd right between the eyes. I'm going to leave off on this for the time being, because I'd just be repeating myself. But reading Dowd's letter, you can see his bias and how he manipulates the truth to meet his needs, just like any prosecutor, or for that matter, any defense attorney.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 5, 2002

.... Back to the future

I've been off the page for a bit while my friends have had the mike, figuratively. I hope everyone enjoyed the excellent work put forth by all of the guest columnists, I know I did. Thanks to all for making a big splash here at OBM.

Before I put together my final thoughts one Rose, let's get up to date:

The San Francisco Giants are going through a tough time right now. They have just today and tomorrow to re-sign Dusty Baker, and since Dusty is actually hanging out in Chicago as we speak, things don't look too good. That said, Brian Sabean has made some strong statements regarding bring Baker back. There has been much speculation but little concrete indications who Sabean might bring in to replace Baker should the Giants fail to re-sign him. I'd love to see the Giants consider someone like Willie Randolph, but that's just a personal choice.

Also of concern is the status of some 260 RBI worth of production, in the form of Reggie Sanders, David Bell and Jeff Kent; who are all free agents at the moment. None of the three are a lock to return, so the Giants could find themselves with a starting lineup next year featuring Pedro Feliz at third base, Ramon Martinez at second, and Tony Torcato in right field. Ouch.

Bruce Jenkins, at the SF Chronicle, has the final word on the Giants season. I'm not gonna do a Dusty should have, shouldn't have. I just don't think it's there. They had a five run lead with eight outs to go, and the best 7-8-9 inning relievers in the business. The Angels beat 'em. Simple as that. They beat 'em. Heart-breaking? Sure, no doubt. But it's nobody's fault.

.... Well, one thing. Baker blew it in Game Seven when he allowed Hernandez to give up those four runs. That was an all-time, "What the hell is he doing?" moment, one where you could practically feel the Angels sitting there willing Dusty to just leave him in for one more hitter.

As for Baker, he's miffed that some people have the audacity to think along with him and actually wonder out loud if there could be an alternative to his moves. Well, too bad. There are many options available during the course of a game, a series, or a season. He needs to understand that intelligent people can disagree with him and still appreciate his intentions and strategies.

Just because it's well written, here's Peter Gammons take on the bitter ending for Barry and the Giants.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 5, 2002

.... Something wicked this way comes, completely

[Semi-opaque outline of obese man, left profile. The enshrouded image of a man perfectly fitting that profile enters stage right. The outline is removed and the stage lights are turned up to reveal Alfred Hitchcock. He is dressed in a cricket widget-keeper’s uniform and equipment. He speaks.]

Hitchcock: Good Eave-ah-ning. You may be wondering why I am so attired on this evening. No, the source is not a dyspeptic one—hopefully—as it’s tonight’s narrative that is the impetus. We prepare to present to you the story of Steve Austin, a man barely alive…No wait, that was last week’s story. Try the next cue card if you would. No, that’s next week’s story about a man named Jed.

Obviously, ladies and gentlemen, my attire was to educe to the viewer a tale related to your American game of base. The cricketeer’s equipage were the best that we could produce. Anyway, the story was to be the strange case of one Peter Edward Rose, Sr., a man who was exiled, as it were, from the baseball community that he was so integral a part of for so many years.

The network in its inimitable way has proceeded to thwart any such attempt. What is the reason? Well, almost any word that you hear, read, or see on the telly was produced by some entity, who somehow has ownership of or a business agreement with Major League Baseball. I’ve been prattling on about the foibles of my sponsors for years when I should have been worried about the bed partners of the representatives at my network. Ahhh!

[Arrow is shot from off-camera right. It pierces Hitchcock’s chest and he crumples to the ground immediately. John Cleese enters stage right dressed as a Medieval knight. With a slightly surprised and somewhat put out expression. Grabs note attached to arrow.]

Cleese: Ah, good evening. We at Mike’s Baseball Rants would like to thank our gracious host, John J Perricone, who has allowed us to insert, oh well, a few thousand words on the matter of Pete Rose in our own…oh, what’s the word? Uh.

Hitchcock [on floor]: Idiom, sir?

Cleese: Yes, idiom. O, poor sweet Hitchcock, your death will not go unavenged.

Hitchcock [now sitting up with arrow still in chest]: I think I’m alright sir.

Cleese [annoyed at the interruption]: Oh well. I shall now sally forth to present hereafter the particulars in the case of said Mister Charles Hustle. Tonight we will present for your approval the Defense of Pete Rose.

[Now running towards camera with camera keeping pace backwards.] We start with the assumption that this is something that would be adjudged in a court of law. Next we proceed to the skipping of the prosecution. That we assume was presented by the contents of the Dowd report sans objection by the defense. The defense’s case is presented from opening statement through calling witnesses to closing arguments in one swell foop, er, fell swoop. Finally, we people the defense with an inordinate number of fictional defense lawyers for our own amusement and cheap laughs.

Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts:

Into a thousand parts divide one man,

And make imaginary puissance;

Think, when we talk of baseball players, that you see them

Printing their proud hoofs i' th' receiving earth;

For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,

Carry them here and there, jumping o'er times,

Turning th' accomplishment of many years

Into an hour-glass; for the which supply,

Admit me Mike’s Baseball Rants to this history;

Who prologue-like, your humble patience pray

Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

[Still running, unrolls note and holds up to camera. Camera stops and note fills screen as sound of a crash is heard. Followed by a trumpet flare.]

[Note reads the following words. Read by voice over]:

Quincy—Starring Jack Klugman, A Quinn Martin Production

[Dissolves. And new words appear.]

Tonight’s Episode: Strike Three, You’re Dead

[Dissolves. And new words appear.]

Phase One: In which Doris gets her oats.

[Dissolves. And new words appear.]


Peter Edward Rose, Sr.

Defense Lawyers—

Jimmy Stewart from “Anatomy of a Murder”

Perry Mason

Perry Masonary from the episode of the Flintstones involving the custody battle over Bam-Bam

Mr. Slick from “The Jetsons” episode involving the custody battle over the family dog, Astro/Tralfas.

Tom Cruise and Demi Moore from “A Few Good Men”

Daniel Webster from “The Devil And” fame

Marcia Clark and Johnny Cochrane

Al Pacino in “And Justice for All…”

Joe Morgan (why not?)

Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Joe Pesci in “My Cousin Vinny”

Lionel Hutz from “The Simpsons”

Lara Flynn Boyle as A.D.A. Helen Gamble in “The Practice” and Stacy in “Wayne’s World”

Prosecuting Attorney—John Dowd (who I have never seen so I will insert John Dowd, a guy with whom I went to high school, whose lisp was often confused for an English accent.)

Judge—Ray Walston, as a combination of Mr. Hand from “Fast Times”, Judge Henry Bone from “Picket Fences”, and the devil in “Damn Yankees!”

Various witnesses, investigators, juries, bailiffs, and courtroom personnel.

[Note disappears. Slow dissolve to the corridors of a judicial-looking building. Quincy is pacing nervously. Barnaby Jones and his sidekick Betty appear.]

Quincy [hunched over, grabbing them, and gesticulating wildly]: Oh how great it is that you could be here. Sam and I did the forensics for the handwriting piece. What are you doing here?

Barnaby: Well doggies! We did this here polygraph analysis and some of what you might call developing theoretical frameworks for the motives and actions of the various individuals involved based on our investigations. Nothing atypical. Well now, we’d better take a seat. It looks like they’re plumb fixing to start.

[Exeunt All.]

Ray Walston [Banging gavel]: Order! Order! Mr. Stewart, are you ready to present your defense?

Jimmy Stewart: Hold on there, judge. I might be a small-town lawyer without the wherewithal as our well-informed friend over there on the prosecution. But by cracky, I have an opening statement to present.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury you’ve heard the case for the prosecution and it seems pretty damning. I am half-convinced myself to have a seat and just allow you fine citizens to adjourn to find my client guilty.

Lionel Hutz [Interrupting]: But Jimmy we won’t get paid.

Stewart: Damn it, Hutz. That was for dramatic effect and now you’ve gone and ruined it. I'd say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider! [Looking up] Clarence! [Hutz disappears in a cloud of smoke and is quickly forgotten.]

Ladies and gentlemen, we, the defense, are prepared to concede that our client, Mr. Rose, is a recidivist gambler, a tax evader, a felon, a trafficker with lowlifes and gamblers, a man who lied to Mr. Dowd’s investigative team, and an extremely poor judge of character. We concede all of it. Take it all. It doesn’t matter. He’s been found guilty of his crimes and has served his time.

What is the accusation that Major League Baseball has against our client? That he gambled? No. That he even gambled on baseball? Even though there is gossip to the reverse, no. In baseball’s own rules, Rule 21 section d, it says and I quote:

(d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year.

Mr. Rose has already been ineligible for well over 12 years.

The accusation is that Mr. Rose gambled on his own team to wit, the remainder of Rule 21 section d:

Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

That is the means that they have to keep Mr. Rose out of baseball. Did my client bet on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds, while he was their manager?

We are prepared to say emphatically, “No.” Mr. Rose has continually denied this accusation at every opportunity for the past 13 years, you see. He accepted an agreement based on Rule 21, that goes on to state in section f—and here it is, don’t miss it:

OTHER MISCONDUCT. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as exclusively defining or otherwise limiting acts, transactions, practices or conduct not to be in the best interests of Baseball; and any and all other acts, transactions, practices or conduct not to be in the best interests of Baseball are prohibited and shall be subject to such penalties, including permanent ineligibility, as the facts in the particular case may warrant.

My client signed an agreement because he knew that his past would fit this “Other Misconduct”. But he and his lawyer Rueven Katz, —that’s the man’s name—made sure that their agreement stated emphatically:

c. Nothing in this agreement shall be deemed either an admission or a denial by Peter Edward Rose of the allegation that he bet on any Major League Baseball game.

The chain of evidence that the prosecution has provided is so poorly constructed that we will show that they are nothing more than fabrications and that they not only knew this but agreed to it in writing.

They rely on the testimony of men who have grudges against Rose and would do anything to ruin him or men who have provided false evidence to cop a plea. The physical evidence is inconclusive and was supplied by one of the men I just mentioned. This man, Paul Janszen, used Rose’s name to place bets, some of which were on baseball, with bookies who would otherwise not have given a small player such as him the time of day. He lived with Rose and did his bidding, and when Rose had a falling out with him over his drug involvement, this man did everything in his power to ruin Mr. Rose.

That is what the defense is prepared to show. You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here; you just have to see them again!

[Tumult in the courtroom. Walston bangs gavel.]

Walston: Order! Order!

Al Pacino: Order?!? You’re out of order! The whole courtroom is out of order!

[Pacino is dragged from the courtroom by two armed guards.]

Walston: Defense, you may now call your witnesses.

Stewart [To Cruise]: Tom, you handle the witnesses. You’re great at that.

Tom Cruise [doffs Red Sox cap]: We call Ron Peters. I need my bat. I think better with my bat.

Demi Moore [with bat, whispering and looking at Rose]: Why do you hate him so much?

Cruise: He inserted himself in the lineup to break Ty Cobb’s hits record even though he had no business still being on a baseball field, that's all he did. The rest is just smoke filled coffeehouse crap.

Moore: Oh. [Gets up on defense team’s table and starts to strip. Is removed.]

Cruise: Mr. Peters, in your previous testimony you stated that you placed bets on baseball games, including Reds’ games, for Mr. Rose either directly or through Mr. Gioiosa or Mr. Janszen. Is that correct?

Peters: Yes.

Cruise: You also testified that you recorded the entries in a betting log. Is that correct?

Peters: Yes.

Cruise: How were entries made in this log?

Peters: Well, I got a call and wrote down the bettor, the amount, and the game involved.

Cruise: Just you?

Peters: Yep.

Cruise: Didn’t you say in your testimony that your girlfriend, Dave Morgan, wrote in the log as well.

Joe Morgan: That’s my long-last cousin Dave. We named her after Dave Concepcion who we are going fast-track into the Hall of Fame this year on my recommendation.

Cruise: Sit down, Joe. [Gestures with bat.]

Peters: Well, yeah, Dave took a few calls.

Cruise: Didn’t you state in your deposition that others who worked at your restaurant and who answered the phone had access to the log?

Peters: Sure, I…

Cruise: How many people was that. This is in 1987 of course.

Peters: I don’t know ten, twelve but they only wrote down what the person on the phone said.

Cruise: So they all knew Rose by hearing his voice?

Peters: Nah, probably not. They just wrote down what the person said.

Cruise: So Rose would identify himself?

Peters: Nah, he used “Pete” or “PR” or something.

Cruise: But if he said “Pete Rose” they would write it down.

Peters: You bet.

Cruise: So if someone else said they were Pete Rose or that they were calling for him, they would just write down his name, right?

Peters: Nah, I think they’d know. Anyway…

Cruise: Never mind. You had this log and the phone area in general under very tight security, I assume?

Peters: Whadja mean?

Cruise: Well, could anyone have walked in off the street just written in the book.

Peters: Nah, somebody’d see ‘em. Besides nobody’d know what it was.

Cruise: Wouldn’t someone who has placed bets with you, say Paul Janszen, have known where the book was?

Dowd: I Objwect. Speculation.

Cruise: I withdraw the question. Mr. Peters, you stated that you typically would destroy your record, but in Rose’s case you didn’t. Why?

Peters: Well, he still owed me from a way back, so I thought this was good insurance.

Cruise: So you don’t have a lot of other entries for other people. Isn’t it true that you have only one entry in the record book that could be interpreted as pointing to Mr. Rose, a line reading, “Pete -41800”. This the prosecution took to mean that Mr. Rose, owed you 41800 dollars. Couldn’t it mean another Pete?

Peters: Nah, I knew it was Rose. I didn’t need a last name wid him.

Cruise: So you’re basically saying it’s your word against Rose’s?

Peters: Yeah, wait… No. It’s written down!

Cruise: You state that Rose won $27,000 in the first week of May 1987 betting on baseball. Correct?

Peters: Right.

Cruise: Are you aware that Mr. Janszen, who acted as an intermediary, reported that he collected $25,000, 23 for Rose and 2 for himself?

Peters: So, I don’t know where he gets his numbers.

Cruise: You got your numbers from your log, right?

Peters: Right.

Cruise: So where are they now if you were saving all of the Rose information?

Peters: Uh…

Cruise: Never mind. Mr. Peters, is it true that you attorney offered your story to Sports Illustrated on March 13, 1989, in the middle of this investigation?

Peters: An opportunity presented itself. You make it seem so… dirty.

Cruise: I’ll take that as a yes. You indicate that Rose owed you $34,000 in 1986 and you wouldn’t take any bets from him until it was paid. When Rose showed you a canceled check in the amount of $34,000 cashed by Tom Gioiosa, you allowed him to re-open his “account” with you, correct?

Peters: Yeah. So?

Cruise: Well, you indicate several times in your deposition that you still considered that debt unpaid.

Peters: I can’t spend a canceled check.

Cruise: So you continued to hold a grudge over the amount?

Peters: I wouldn’t say a grudge. I just wanted my money.

Cruise: During the investigation, did you ever feel like the prosecution wanted you to say certain things about Rose even though you knew they weren’t true?

Peters: What kinda things?

Joe Pesci: Enough a dis. Ask him if he ever bet on any Utes!

Walston: Ute? What’s a Ute?

Pesci: It’s a Utah college basketball player. [Walston points finger at Pesci and just strikes him dead on the spot. He slumps over and smoke billows from Walston’s finger. He blows the smoke away.]

Cruise: Well, did you ever feel that they wanted you to say Rose bet on baseball and on the Reds?

Peters [Nervously looking down and up at the prosecutions table]: No, no, no.

Cruise: Well, you were being investigated by the FBI. I quote:

Late in 1988 Janszen began to cooperate with the government in its continuing drug and tax investigation As part of this cooperation, Janszen agreed to wear a hidden microphone in a meeting with Ron Peters. This transaction lead to Peters' being charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Needless to say, since that time, Peters has not considered Janszen a friend.

Peters: So?

Cruise: So, you were helping the investigators so that they would put in a good word at the FBI, right? John Dowd is quoted in your deposition as saying, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but in exchange for you full and truthful cooperation with the commissioner, the commissioner has agreed to bring to the attention of the U.S. District Judge in Cincinnati the fact that you were of assistance to us and that we believe that you have been honest and complete in the your cooperation. Is that the understanding?” You answered, “Yes it is.”

Peters: You see it was based on me tellin’ the truth.

Cruise: When you relayed a story about Gioiosa and Rose visiting your restaurant to collect their winnings, didn’t the following interchange occur at the deposition: Dowd: “Wouldn’t that be winnings on baseball?” You: “Well…” Dowd prompting you: “Summertime?” You: “I believe it was, yes. It most likely was.” Why did you change your answer?

Peters: Well, you see, I thought about the question a little more.

Cruise: So you weren’t being badgered by the prosecution?

Dowd: Your honor!

Cruise: I withdraw. Your witness.

Dowd: No furwther qwestions, you honorw.

Walston: You may step down. [Casually points finger at Peters. A bolt of lightning reduces him to ash and smoke.

David St. Hubbins [standing up in court]: Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It's just not really widely reported.

Nigel Tufnel [next to him]: That’s true

Walston [banging gavel]: Order! [St. Hubbins and Tufnel are seated.] Call your next witness [to the defense team].

Perry Mason: Our next witness is a surprise. Someone who when he showed up today never suspected that we would be call on him as a witness. I have the handed the subpoena to the bailiff and he will be delivered to the witness stand in seconds.

Perry Masonary: Mason, you’re nuts. The next witness is Michael Bertolini. He’s on the witness list. He’s standing here waited to be called. Everything has to be so dramatic with you. Can’t you just have a normal trial? Besides, none of your characters have names that end in “rock” or “stone” or sound the least bit Bedrock-like.

Mason: Masonary, you nothing but a two bit hack stealing my act.

Masonary: Oh yeah. [Grabs Mason in a choke hold and the wrestle on the floor in front of the defense table with their hands on each other’s necks. They both stop moving at the same time and shuffle off the mortal coil. The scene continues with the characters stepping over their bodies throughout.]

Stewart: All right now, we call Michael Bertolini to the stand. [Pause] Mr. Bertolini, you were a friend of Mr. Rose’s and an acquaintance of sorts of Paul Janszen’s, correct?

Mike Bertolini: Well…

Stewart: You see, Mr., Bertolini, as you know Janszen recorded a conversation between you two April 4, 1988. In that conversation Janszen says, “He still owes me about 12 grand.” You respond, “So, he paid you about 38?” Janszen, “Huh?” Why did you ask if he had $38,000 left unpaid? Did you think that Janszen was at one time owed $50,000 by Mr. Rose?

Bertolini: That was what I though, yeah so?

Stewart: Well, you see, what led you to believe that?

Bertolini: Janszen told me that, maybe six months before.

Stewart: Now, you are certain of that?

Bertolini: Yes, I am.

Stewart: Nothing further. [Bertolini leaves with a confused expression.]

Daniel Webster [To Stewart]: I shall take a hand in the next witness bearer. [To court] We call one, Steve Crevashore.

Walston: Webster, is that you?

Webster: Why yes ‘tis, your honor [bowing].

Walston: Your honor? Take that! [Points a finger at Webster like a gun. Fires. Webster is reduced to a pile of ashes. To camera:] That’s the last time Webster outsmarts me in a courtroom!

Wayne Campbell [standing with Garth Algar next to him]: Ya-hah? Time out. Only Garth and I can speak directly to the camera. [Garth shakes head happily]

Lara Flynn Boyle: Wayne? Hi, it’s me.

Wayne: Ah, we broke up over 2 months ago. You’re mental. Move on. [Leaves courtroom]

Boyle [grabs gunrack from under table and chases after him]: Wayne, I have an anniversary present for you.

Garth [all eyes now shift to him, still standing. Shrugs. Says meekly]: Game on. [sits down quietly].

Bailiff: Steve Crevashore to the stand.

Stewart: Mr. Crevashore, you—now feel free to correct me if I’m wrong—you placed bets for Paul Janszen in 1987 with a bookmaker in New York identified only as “Val”—that’s quite a mysterious name, now isn’t it, Val? Now, Mr. Crevashore, on December 27, 1988, Mr. Janszen taped a conversation between the two of you, I have a few…questions about that conversation.

Steve Crevashore: Go ahead and ask.

Stewart: Well, let’s not get too anxious, Mr. Crevashore. Now, in this conversation, Paul Janszen and you discuss an incident in which Janszen’s girlfriend, Danita Marcum, accidentally told you to place a bet for $3000 (3 dimes in your colorful vernacular) instead of $300 (3 nickels). Right?

Crevashore: That’s what the man said.

Stewart: Well, throughout these proceedings Mr. Rose’s acquaintances and Mr. Rose himself have said that Mr. Rose placed bets consistently for $2000 (or 2 dimes in your quaint language).

Crevashore: So?

Stewart: So didn’t you think that $3000 or even $300 was out of character for my client? Could someone else have placed the bet?

Crevashore: Look Rose said that he was placing bets for him, so it was none of my business, but to tell you the truth, I assumed the bet was Paulie’s, uh, Mr. Janszen’s.

Stewart: But he told you it was Rose’s?

Crevashore: People do that. They use a bigger player’s name to place bets that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get action on.

Dowd: Objwection.

Walston: Sustained. Strike that last statement.

Stewart: Later in the conversation, didn’t you ask Janszen: “He [Mr. Rose] didn’t say that you were betting under a false pretense, under ghost bets.” Were you asking if that was true or making a statement?

Crevashore: Well, I was feeling him out, where he stood. He never answered.

Stewart: But you doubted?

Dowd: Objwection.

Walston: Sustained.

Stewart: Nothing further.

Marcia Clark: Your honor, we call Dr. Quincy.

Walston: Dr. What Quincy? Does he have a first name?

Johnny Cochrane: Here’s the deal, your honor. It’s one name—Quincy, that’s it.

Walston: OK, I’ll allow it, but he better not be so evasive on the stand.

Clark: Dr. Quincy, I’d like to ask you—

Dr. Quincy: It’s Eugene. I admit it. I can’t lie anymore. The name’s Eugene.

Clark: Dr. Quincy, I don’t care about your first name—Eugene?!? Anyway, Dr. Quincy, you reviewed the handwriting samples and what did you find?

Quincy: Sam and I took a gander and you know, can I have a drink? Hey, you’re kinda cute. What are you doing after the trial? Have you ever seen a morgue?

Clark: Dr. Quincy?!?

Quincy: Anyway, the first thing we noticed was that Mr. Rose was asked to copy the betting slips. That’s not usual.

Clark: Oh, No?

Quincy: No, since the results will too closely match the original. That’s bad. Besides the slips we reviewed were a copy of the originals. The writing was in block letters, making a match easy. The style changes. There is no way to know what the intention of the note is out of context. Is it a betting slip, a record of actual bets, theoretical bets, results of games from a sports line, etc. Who knows? Besides on April 9, 1987, the date of the first slip, three entries are marked as “B” apparently for baseball. Of the three games: Atl-Philly game was also an NBA game. There was no LA-Hou or Cin-Mon game. They did play April 8, and that game was in Cincy not Montreal as the slip said. We thought that was suspicious since Rose would know the site of the game. In my opinion, there is no evidence that the original was made by the hand of Pete Rose nor that if it was Rose, that it reflected major-league games let alone Reds games.

Cochrane: If the note isn’t great, you must exculpate.

Stewart: All right. That’s all, Dr. Quincy.

Mr. Slick: We call…hmm…ah… Paul Janszen?

Stewart: That was a terrible read.

Slick: But it’s my only line [falls into seat sobbing].

Stewart: Now then, Mr. Janszen, you claim that during the 1987 baseball season, Rose utilized you to place his bets. Is that correct?

Paul Janszen: Yeah.

Stewart: Would you say that prior to the investigation your relationship with Rose was good?

Janszen: Sure.

Stewart: But didn’t the Roses throw your girlfriend, Danita Marcum, out of their house? And didn’t Mr. Rose severe all ties to you after he found out about your cocaine use?

Janszen: Look there’s a lot of water under that bridge. I have no hard feelings though.

Stewart: You claim to have taken a loan out to pay off Mr. Rose’s debts with Val and yet he failed to pay you back? How did that make you feel?

Janszen: I wasn’t happy if that’s what you mean, but it was only business.

Stewart: But wasn’t your life threatened by threats made to your mother over the phone?

Janszen: I didn’t take those seriously.

Stewart: You have a recording of Steve Chevashore saying that you were owed $50,000 from Rose.

Janszen: He was confused. It wasn’t that much.

Stewart: Right, you claimed Rose owed you $44,000 in July 1987.

Janszen: That sounds about right.

Stewart: And Rose wanted you to go to Peters to collect his $40,000 in winnings with him. Right?

Janszen: Yeah, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, it just wasn’t good business.

Stewart: Peters only paid you $6000, the difference between Rose’s winnings and the original debt to Peters that was still in question?

Janszen: Yeah, that’s it.

Stewart: So you went to Rose’s attorney, Reuven Katz to ask for some money without telling the FBI,who you were by then working with. You told Katz about the gambling you had done for Rose, including betting on the Reds and you volunteered that he would "protect" Rose with the federal authorities. At this point Katz, by your account, merely put his head down, made a gesture with his hands and said, "That's it; it's over." You asked for $20,000 but Katz gives you a $10,000 check marked “For loan” and that was all. Is this true?

Janszen: I was just trying to get my money back.

Stewart: But could you see how someone might think this was blackmail—saying I have this information but I’ll protect you for a certain amount of cash?

Dowd: Objwection.

Walston: Sustained.

Stewart: Apparently you didn’t stick by your word and protect Rose anyway, did you?

Dowd: Objwection.

Walston: Mr. Stewart, tread lightly here.

Stewart: Yes, your honor. So you claim to be owed $44,000. You get $6,000 from Peters, and $10,000 from Katz. So you are now, if my grade school math doesn’t fail me, $28,000. Am I correct?

Janszen: Sure, you seem like a smart guy to me. I’ll take your word for it.

Stewart: But on March 2, 1989, your lawyer, Mr. Shivedecker, wrote a letter to Robert Pitcain, one of Rose’s lawyers, stating you were owed $33,850. Where did the extra $5,850 come from?

Janszen: Uh, I don’t know I’d have to look at the numbers.

Stewart: And yet in an April 4, 1988, conversation you had with Mr. Bertolini, you claim that Rose owes you as little as $10,000—“Anywhere from $10-$12,000” you are recorded as saying.

Janszen: Look I said I have to look at the numbers.

Stewart: It seems that your numbers can be changed to fit whatever situation you want them to.

Dowd: Your honor.

Walston: Mr. Stewart, I suggest you move on here.

Stewart: Yes, your honor. When you bet by for yourself, did you let the various bookies and middlemen know it was for you?

Janszen: Yeah, sure.

Stewart: On December 27, 1988, didn’t you and Steve Chevashore have this conversation?:

CHEVASHORE: Because you know what they said, if you were the culprit and wrong, he [meaning Rose] is supposed to take care of it because we did everything under his merit.


CHEVASHORE: If you were doing something wrong, which you're telling me you didn't..


CHEVASHORE: ...he's still supposed to take care of this because, you know, we did everything under him. We figure, well we'll never get in trouble anything that's called up by you, he's got to stand by.


CHEVASHORE: Do you understand?



JANSZEN: That's absolutely right.

Chevashore basically tells you that he suspects that you were to blame but Rose still has to take care of the problem because he designated you to be his go-between.

Janszen: Look I was just trying to calm him down. I don’t know what he meant.

Stewart: How about when Steve Crevashore told you that Rose said, “Stevie, I stopped betting when we were in New York on the last trip. He said I’m not betting any—I haven’t bet in over 10 days. I said so who was betting this. So we thought it was you making…” You interrupt, “No, no.” Him, “…betting everything under him.” You still claim that all the bets were by Rose?

Janszen: Well, the big ones at least and ones on baseball.

Stewart: On May 13, 1987, “Val” told you that Rose could no longer bet with him because of his outstanding debt. Rose still insisted that you call to place a bet. “Val” refused. Here is what happened next according to the prosecution: “Rose became furious, and told Janszen that he would have been "up" had Val taken the action…” When Chevashore soon called asking for payment, Rose said, “Rose told Chevashore that Janszen was betting for himself in Rose's name and to seek payment from Janszen. Rose then turned to Janszen and told him not to worry, Chevashore was afraid of him. Thereafter, Janszen's mother received a threat on Janszen's life.” Rose knew that you were betting in his name but said he would protect you. But he didn’t, did he, Mr. Janszen? That made you angry.

Janszen: Look, I told you it was all business! I don’t get angry—it’s bad for business.

Stewart: Let’s take a look at the first week of the season. Ron Peters says that Rose won $27,000 but you state that you only received $25,000. $2000 was yours and $23,000 was yours. Why the discrepancy?

Janszen: Look, I can only tell what I know. I know that I got $25,000 from Peters.

Stewart: But wasn’t this recorded in your betting log for Rose? Let’s discuss that log, Mr. Janszen. Let’s see… Did you only record Rose’s bets here or did you include your own?

Janszen: Uh, that was just for Pete’s stuff since he had so many more than me.

Stewart: So since you were so diligent, where did you record your bets? Or did you only concern yourselves with Rose’s bets, given that you borrowed money to help him repay the bookies when he lost?

Janszen: I had a place, in the back of the book.

Stewart: So you could tell because it was in the back of the book. Did you ever make a mistake—make an entry in the wrong place? What about having the bets grouped by sport? Did you ever get one under the wrong heading?

Janszen: Nope, it was a great system.

Stewart: How about you girlfriend? She made entries too, the prosecution concedes this. Did she ever make a mistake?

Janszen: Nope, she’s great like that.

Stewart: Clearly people of such high standards were meant for each other. Let’s talk about the calls to the sports telephone line and to the bookies. My distinguished colleague on the prosecution uses these calls as proof of gambling and especially of gambling during baseball season. And yet there are many examples of days on which calls were made and yet according to your records no sports bets were placed. On April 23, 1987. On May 7, 1987, hmm…you called the infamous sports line 8 times. May 13, 16 times. May 14, four times. On May 26, 10. On May 28, 21 times. June 22, four times. But my favorite is May 30: 9 calls to Ron Peters, one to Mike Bertolini, 25 calls to the sports line, and I’m not sure how many between you and Rose. And yet according to you no bets were placed any of those days. It seems like calls were a separate entity from the betting.

Janszen: Well, most days weren’t like that.

Stewart: Uh-huh, Mr. Janszen, you gave the court copies of slips that you received from Mr. Rose’s home, correct?

Janszen: Right.

Stewart: Where are the originals?

Janszen: You gotta ask the FBI about ‘em.

Stewart: So no one here has seen the originals, right?

Janszen: There just the same.

Stewart: Didn’t your girlfriend, Danita Marcum, claim that the slips were legal-sized? Our copies are nothing near that size.

Janszen: She said legal size? She don’t know about legal size. She don’t know her ass from her elbow. Them’s the same size as what I gave the FBI.

Stewart: I have one more question and then I’ll let you go. Didn’t you fail a polygraph for how you acquired the betting slips…

Dowd: Youw, Honow?

Walston [banging gavel]: Mr. Stewart!

Stewart: You failed when you claimed you saw Rose write his bets down in the notebook you claim was the source of the betting sheets. You failed when you claimed Rose placed major-league baseball bets in 1987 through you.

Walston: Mr. Stewart, one more and I’ll hold you in contempt! [to jury] You are to disregard that. Polygraph tests are inaccurate and inadmissible.

Mr. Stewart: That’s all I have for this…[eyeing Janszen] “witness”.

Gregory Peck: Your honor, we call Peter Edward Rose. [Shocked amazement permeates the room.]

[Pete Rose appears in #14 Reds uniform, runs to stand, slides headfirst to seated position, and begins rocking his batting helmet back and forth on his head.]

Peck: Pete, did you ever bet on baseball?

Rose: I did not, sir.

Peck: Did you ever bet on the Cincinnati Reds baseball team?

Rose: I did not, sir.

Peck: The defense rests your honor.

[Scene outside the courtroom a few hours later. The jury returns to present its verdict]

Walston: Have you reached a verdict?

Juror #1: We have your honor. In the case of Major League Baseball v. Peter Edward Rose, we find the defendant—

Walston: Wait a moment…[Zaps Rose with his finger. All that remains is a pile of dust. Two antennae appear behind Walston’s head. A spaceship crashes through the ceiling piloted by Kang and Kodos from “The Simpsons”.]

Walston [as he boards aircraft]: Foolish earthlings, while you were worrying about such trivialities we have invaded your planet and are set to take control.

[Kang and Kodos fighting over controls send the spaceship reeling directly for the camera as all scream. As the camera pulls back the earth is a smoldering waste. But high in the sky is an embryonic superbeing being tended by a motherly humming monolith. The super-embryo is chewing chaw, has a Moe Howard haircut, and is wearing a #14 jersey. Dissolve.]

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 3, 2002

.... New amd improved

Bruce Allen runs the Boston Sports Media site, a veritable cornucopia of Boston Sports coverage, something my many transplanted East Coast readers should appreciate. Unfortunately, due to size conatraints related to the style of my site, he will be listed only as Boston Sports. Sorry, Bruce.

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 1, 2002

.... Bang bang, you're dead

Derek Zumsteg, esteemed writer over at Baseball Prospectus, wrote two separate articles on Pete Rose, (And he never even considered participating in my roundtable, sniff), both of which fall on the Rose is guilty side of the argument. You can find the first one here, it is a detailed refutation of the argument Bill James presented in his New Historical Baseball Abstract. The second article, found here, addresses the thorny issue of how baseball has been using Rose, and how it should.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Derek, I consider myself one of his biggest fans, in fact, the guys over at BP are the 1998 Yankees of baseball analysis, as far as I'm concerned. Nonetheless, I disagree with Derek on this issue, as many of you know. I am waiting for Mike's Baseball Rant's to send me his take, and after I publish that, I am going to hole up in my house with some beers and a bunch of books and the Dowd Report, and I'm gonna finish this turkey.

.... No news is good news?

The Giants have apparently agreed to a new deal with Brian Sabean, which is great news for the team and its fans. His signing comes not a moment too soo, as he has his work cut out for him. The Giants are currently without the services of a manager, third baseman, second baseman, center fielder, and right fielder. Another way to look at it is that they are without a leadoff, three, five and eight hitters, as well as somebody to write those blanks on a lineup card. Sabean will have ample opportunity to prove that he is "Not an idiot."

Comment on this   [0]  »  November 1, 2002

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