Archive for the 'Hall of Fame' Category
The NY Daily News’ Bill Madden is in the minority when it comes to common sense:
all of Fame’s Great Dilemma: It continues to bill itself as a museum, and the custodian of the game’s history, and records. But down the road, how does the Hall justify that if it excludes the holders of the most significant of those records?
…. with 15 MVP and Cy Young Awards between them, Clemens, ninth all-time in wins and third in strikeouts, and Bonds, the all-time home run leader, are the two most decorated players in the history of the Baseball Writers’ awards voting — and yet those same writers, many of whom are of the opinion they have an obligation to abide by the “integrity and sportsmanship” clause, feel compelled to say “No” when it comes to a plaque in Cooperstown.
…. “The problem you have now is that the Hall of Fame is supposed to tell the history of the game, good and bad,” said a baseball official, “and unfortunately there is this inconsistency between the records and the people elected to the Hall. If you’re going to keep out the suspected steroids players, don’t you then also have to put an asterisk or something on their records? You can’t have it both ways. Obviously, the commissioner has no intention of putting an asterisk on the records, and so, if they’re going to stand, Bonds and Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame. And, frankly, so, too, should Rose.”
Um, yeah. I’ve been saying that for going on a decade. Better late than never.
Meanwhile, Mike Lupica, (savior of children, baseball and integrity, though maybe not in that order) still wants us to know he’s got it right about Bonds and Clemens:
…. You break no laws, by the way, if you don’t care whether Clemens and Bonds and Sosa were shooting up in the dugout.
You don’t have to care.
But if you do, ask yourself a question:
Do you believe Clemens was clean over the second half of his career?
Once again, we see how it is with guys with a computer, a newspaper and am axe to grind. “Apologize.” Done. “Not enough.” “Gotcha, now go on trial.” Beat it. “Not enough.”
On and on. Just remember that Clemens was better than Lupica’s boyhood idols, Bonds was better than Lupica’s boyhood heroes, and that’s why he won’t let up. Guys like Palmeiro, guys like Ramirez, those guys he’s already forgotten about. Jason Grimsley? The only time Jason Grimsley will be in a Lupica article is if he shoots somebody. He didn’t beat an immortal.
UPDATE: In a related article written by Murray Chass, I came across this Buster Olney quote:
“The institution of baseball condoned the use of performance-enhancing drugs for almost two decades with inaction. To hold it against a handful of individuals now is, to me, retroactive morality.”
Again, not to belabor the point, but I have been saying that for going on a decade. At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll also mention that Pete Rose is in the same boat with these moving target assholes.. The sportswriters who now champion his permanent exclusion from baseball absolutely knew he was betting on sports for years; and at least a couple of them suspected he was betting on baseball. They said, wrote and did nothing, until it was politically expedient to act shocked and horrified.
On and on…. They demanded that Rose admit what he did, come clean, and apologize. The minute he did, they jumped down his throat insisting that he didn’t apologize the right way. Jason Giambi went through the exact same thing. So did A-Rod. Only Andy Pettitte appeared to handle his apology the right way. Of course, the writers already didn’t believe he was cheating anyway. He was an acknowledged “good guy,” which meant that he was a good interview for the sycophants.
Dan Lependorf, over the Hardball Times, puts together a graph detailing how impressive Matt Cain’s Perfecto really was:
blockquote>…. If a pitcher strikes out 14 batters in a single game, it’ll be the lead story on every sports news program of the night. After all, it’s only happened a few hundred times in baseball history. If a pitcher throws a perfect game, it’s one of those landmark events that’ll be sold on DVD in the MLB.com store. And people will buy it, because hey, it’s a perfect game. Only 22 of those.
But both of them at the same time? Congratulations, Matt Cain. You just had one of the best nights from any pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.
But then Bill James –who Lependorf cites in his article– writes (subscription required) that Cain’s game, while very impressive, isn’t even close to being the best pitched game of all-time:
…. The Game Score for Joe Oeschger, when he pitched 26 innings one afternoon, was 153, a feat beyond the understanding of modern fans. But in the last 60 years, Dean Chance against the Yankees on June 6, 1964, had the highest Game Score on record—116. 14 innings, 3 hits, 12 strikeouts, no runs.
James then goes on to chart the best games, seasons and careers using his Game Score method. It’s a great read, and well worth the $3 bucks a month you have to pay for access to Bill James Online.
The government has been given more time to decide whether they want to retry Bonds on the hung jury charges in his perjury case.
…. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston granted prosecutors’ request for more time to decide whether to try the case again, over the objections of Bonds’ attorney, Allen Ruby. Ruby wanted to know immediately whether the government would continue its yearslong pursuit of Major League Baseball’s career home runs leader.
But the judge testily told Ruby that prosecutors had no obligation to announce their intention until the court resolves Bonds’ motion for outright acquittal or a new trial on the obstruction conviction. Bonds’ attorneys say that the jury erred in concluding the slugger’s rambling answer to a question about injecting steroids was meant to mislead a grand jury’s investigation
into sports doping.
Really? What did she do, give them the evil eye? Who the fuck is she kidding? Under no circumstances should this group of complete assholes be given one ounce of leeway. What a joke. They’ve only been investigating Bonds in this absolutely disgraceful display of ineptitude, waste and vindictiveness for over seven years now, and she testily allows them more time. She is as big a complete sham as everyone else the government has paraded around as they attempt to save the world from Barry Bonds.
Shameful. Truly and totally shameful.
Every person involved in this witch hunt will forever have their names and reputations besmirched by their corrupt participation.
As in, a hitter with a .300 batting average is usually going to be considered for the All Star team. Barry Zito won his 30th game as a Giant last night…. in his 100th start. A .300 batting average for a pitcher is nowhere near an All Star. Consider Lincecum, who is an All Star. He’s won 42 games in his 92 starts, which would translate to a .456 batting average using this obscenely simple metric.
Chris Carpenter would be a better comp for Zito. Carpenter has started 262 games in his career, and won 118 of them. That translates into a .450 batting average, again, a powerful winning percentage. Or, you could look at what Zito did as an Athletic. 222 starts, 102 wins, a .450 batting average. Which means, obvioulsy, that Zito, as a Giant, has been unremarkable at best, and a tremendous disappointment at his worst.
That said, he’s now 2-0 for the first time in his Giants career, and he has pitched well this season out the gate; the two wins aren’t especially fluky. The Giants continue their torrid offense, now Sandoval and Molina are raking, although Renteria has come crashing back to earth (0 for his last 10). Huff reached base all five time last night, (that’s eight straight plate appearances reaching base), and the relief pitching last night was stellar. Romo was especially sharp, his two strikeouts last night were simply filthy.
Speaking of Lincecum, Sunday night was the 20th time he’s struck out at least 10. Henry Schulman looked up who’s struck out that many batters in their first 100 starts, and found a pretty damn impressive list:
1. Dwight Gooden (31)
2. Herb Score (25)
3. Kerry Wood (23)
T4. Mark Prior (21)
T4. Hideo Nomo (21)
T6. Tim Lincecum (20) — (in 92 games, not 100)
T6. Bob Feller (20)
T8. Roger Clemens (19)
T11. Randy Johnson (16)
T14. Nolan Ryan (14)
He has a realistic shot to get into the top three, but no chance to catch Dwight Gooden.
I was living in Manhattan when Gooden exploded onto the baseball scene as a 19-year old fireballer. His 1985 season ranks as one of the top five pitching performances in the modern era, and he was 20 years old. It ranks as one of the greatest season a 20 year old has ever put together, if not the greatest. As great as Lincecum has been, (and he has ben spectacular) I can safely say Gooden was better, (before he became a coke fiend, obviously).
It isn’t bad enough that the Giants organization is run by people who still think it’s 1940. But when I read this kind of horseshit, I can’t help but think that Schulman is essentially parroting the company line in an effort to maintain access to the team. In other words, he’s being blackmailed. Because, if he’s not being blackmailed, he’s not competent to cover this team, or any team for that matter.
…. This is going to be an anti-Sabermetrics screed, specifically the notion that Lewis needs to be the Giants’ everyday left fielder because his .348 on-base percentage last year was 90 points higher than his .258 batting average. In other words, Lewis can take a walk.
I get e-mails like this all the time. I see this sort of comment on Internet boards. I’ve ignored them, hoping they will go away.
Um, we’re not going away, Henry. In fact, it’s people who think like you do who are going away. Sabermetrics are currently sweeping through baseball, basketball, and, in fact all sports. Thoughtful analysis, incisive research, and careful consideration of the many so-called “truisms” that lazy sportswriters, baseball men, and old-timers –like you and Brian Sabean– spout like veritable pearls of wisdom, are being systematically torn apart by men who sit around and analyze thousands upon thousands of fact-based results to discover whether, in fact, for instance, a strikeout is any worse or any better than any other kind of out.
It is sabermetrics and the men who use sabermetric principles to advance their understanding of this great game of baseball that are the foundation of baseball analysis for most, if not all of the top organizations in the game, and it is teams like the Giants, mired in the past, who are the bottom dwellers that these top organizations feast upon. Quite frankly, your comments are laughable.
Just last season, for example, the list of the top scoring teams and the list of the top teams in getting on base were mirrored each other remarkably well. In the AL, the top four in both categories were the Red Sox, Yankees, Twins and Angels. I guess it was just a coincidence that these were the four playoff teams. In the NL, only two of the playoff teams made the top four in both lists, but the other two playoff teams just missed in OBP (.334 and .332, with .340 being the fourth best total in the league), while three of the top four runs scoring teams made the playoffs. Go back through the years, and you will see a very strong correlation between OBP and scoring runs, and, incidentally, making it to the post-season.
And to think, for fifteen years, the Giants watched the greatest player of all time, the player most perfectly representative of the very best possible application of every single axiom that sabermetricians have discovered these last several decades, and after watching Bonds; these men still think the way they do. Words fail me in an effort to capture this absurdity on paper.
But, anyway, Henry, keep up the good work.
Here’s what quality, well-run teams do when they realize that they have a once-in-a-generation player:
…. AL MVP Joe Mauer has agreed to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension to stay with the Minnesota Twins.
The deal announced Sunday covers the 2011-2018 seasons and includes a full no-trade clause. It’s the culmination of a months-long negotiation between the Twins and their hometown star.
Mauer has won three AL batting titles and an MVP award. He is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game. Last year he hit .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs to help the Twins win the AL Central division.
That’s how you handle a once-in-a-generation talent. Teams that are run by real general managers, and owned by real men who know what the hell they are doing, understand this.
The Giants, on the other hand, spread rumors and innuendo about the physical limitations of their once-in-a-generation players, making it clear that they don’t trust them, and that they prefer to fuck them around for years, instead of locking them up.
Not to belittle the accomplishments of our venerated commissioner of baseball, but the news from Milwaukee –the Brewers are planning to erect a statue of Selig– is really disturbing.
First off, is there anyone who doubts that this idea could only have come from the team’s “owner,” who just happens to be his daughter. I mean, who else is gonna come up with a horrible idea like this? It certainly isn’t the fans, who have watched as the Selig family has gotten rich beyond their wildest dreams –mostly due to the tens of millions of dollars the team receives through revenue sharing, money that Selig has refused to spend on the team for as long as revenue sharing has been going on– and the increase in revenue due to a taxpayer-funded new ballpark.
Now there’s an accomplishment worthy of a statue, mooch millions upon millions of dollars off of the other teams in baseball, and off your fans and your local community, and then refuse invest in the team for decades.
But, besides some of these obvious issues, you put up statues for the great players in your franchise’s history, as opposed to filthy rich guys who charge ten dollars for a Miller Lite; the idea is off-putting for a variety of lesser concerns.
Selig’s legacy is stained by his complicity in the steroids issue. He cannot distance himself from what happened on his watch, whether you think it was a true scandal, or simply an overblown media creation. He was there, as commissioner, when Sosa and McGwire “saved” baseball, and there were people in his office that were whispering in his ear that there was a problem. He knew, and he did nothing, well, if by nothing, you mean, ignore the issue.
He’s handled several other issues rather poorly as well, don’t you think?
He tried to contract teams out of existence. That didn’t go so well, you might remember.
You could say I’m being unkind. OK, forget, for a moment, all of the things he did poorly. What has he done well?
Really, what has he accomplished that you could say is remarkable? What would you say is Bud Selig’s legacy?
Owners and players making lots of money?
The Pete Rose fiasco? Yeah, he handled that one well.
How about shunning Bonds and McGwire for alleged PED use while standing behind David Ortiz? Yeah, very well though-out.
You do remember that he was the commissioner when the players went on strike, just about killing the game.
Oh, and he was commissioner when the owners colluded against the players, resulting in a hundreds of millions of dollars lawsuit that the league lost.
These are just a few of the reasons the idea is terrible. The most obvious one I haven’t even mentioned:
He’s still alive. His “legacy” could hardly be a known commodity, even now, towards the end of his career. You wanna honor the guy when he retires, throw a parade. Have a big dinner, and give him a car. A bronze statue? When he finally brings the team a championship you might want to consider a statue, maybe. It’s quite a bit early in the story of his life to build him a bronze statue.
Only in a sports town so bereft of real baseball heroes and champions could the idea of a statue of Seligula be given consideration.
Grant over at McCovey Chronicles wrote a simply outstanding article about the McGwire situation, and the whole steroids and baseball issue, and comes away with a doozy of a piece:
…. This isn’t to imply that it was just fine that a large percentage of the players were using. It’s not something that’s inconsequential, and it isn’t something that can be laughed off because a lot of players were using. But, good gravy, please stop the good vs. evil, hobbits vs. orcs, black and white discussion. Stop the false dichotomy of players from THE STEROID ERA vs. the OLD-TIMERS who did things the right way and who, if offered a way to extend their careers and improve their numbers with some chemicals, would have said “No way! I’m an old-timer who does things the right way!” I’m not sure if Rod Carew, Robin Yount, or Paul Molitor would have used steroids if they played in an era saturated in chemical enhancements, but the odds are that one of them would have. I say we kick them all out using the “Fallibility of Man” clause, just to be sure.
So when I hear or read that McGwire shouldn’t get in the Hall of Fame because he didn’t apologize the right way, it makes me stabby. Apologize to whom? To me? I had an idea he was using at the time, and I didn’t really care.
Makes me stabby? Nice. Very nice.
Go over there, and read the whole thing.
Super-duper busy around my place this time of year, so I haven’t even had the desire to sit down and write, let alone the time. However, I have been reading. I’ve noticed that there seems to be a lot of hand-wringing about the fact that Lincecum beat out the two St. Louis players, especially around the voting of two of the newest BBWAA members (Will Carroll and Keith Law). Now, while it seems to me that what happened was obvious, that the two players from the same team split the vote, it appears clear that nothing about what happened was obvious to everyone. I just read Bill James’s terrific analysis of the Cy Young Award voting, and he and I are in complete agreement (very convenient, no?), and he’s much more eloquent and detailed than I will ever be:
…. (Brian) Burwell, writing for a St. Louis audience, is trying to smear sabermetrics by saying, in essence, that we were responsible for taking the award away from St. Louis pitchers. Setting aside the position that it may be better not to personalize the debate, is that even what happened? Isn’t what happened here more like two St. Louis pitchers split the vote and allowed the San Francisco pitcher to win it?
…. exactly like the American League MVP Award in 1954, when two Cleveland Indians split the vote (Larry Doby and Bobby Avila), and allowed a Yankee to win, or 1965, when two Dodgers split the vote and allowed Willie Mays to win, or the Cy Young vote in 1970, when three Baltimore Orioles split twelve first-place votes and allowed a Minnesota Twin to win with six. Et cetera.
Well, yes, exactly.
He then expounds, as he is wont to do, for about 15000 words, and finally comes to this:
…. here’s what I would say. In the National League, the vote was split three ways, it was a very close vote, and it’s been a controversial vote. In the American League Greinke won easily, and this vote has been uncontroversial, and this vote has been celebrated by the analytical community as a victory for reason and logic.
But actually it seems pretty clear to me, under the most careful analysis that I can do, that Lincecum was the best pitcher in the National League and deserved the award—whereas in the American League, under the most careful analysis that I can do, it is unclear to me whether Greinke or Hernandez is more deserving.
I love Bill James.
UPDATE: Rob Neyer gives us even more thoughtful analysis:
…. I’m not going to run through every basic statistic (and yes, K/BB is a basic statistic), nor will I run through every advanced metric. I will say that according to FanGraphs, the most valuable pitcher in the league was Lincecum, the second most valuable was Vazquez, and the third most valuable was Haren.
Which isn’t necessarily how I would have voted. Value-wise — as theoretically measured by dollars — there’s virtually no difference between Haren, Wainwright, Carpenter, or (gulp) Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Johnson. My point is that among the five candidates who wound up on at least one voter’s ballot, only Lincecum’s fundamental performance truly stands out.