A conversation about MLB, on the field, off the field.

Friday, March 23, 2007

From the basement March 22 07

Tony LaRussa DUI. Good, maybe it will take some of the lustre off the "genius", but I doubt it. Why are reporters so impressed with him? Is it because he is a lawyer? Anyway, the DUI charge made me think of Billy Martin's ( a true baseball genius and helluva lot more fun ) comment about picking a coaching staff. I'm paraphrasing but it's along the lines of, pick 5 guys you like to drink with and a sixth who'll stay sober and drive everybody home. As we know, Martin was killed in a drunk driving accident. He was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a drunk who also happened to be his bartender.

Isn't Doc Halladay's reluctance to use his cut fastball and declining SO/IP ratio evidence that he is not 100% healthy?

More reports out of Arizona that Bonds is moving very well, an indication that his legs are healthier than the past few seasons. Look out. The guy nobody wants to talk about will be easily the story of the season.

Bud Black, the new manager in San Diego and longtime pitching coach, might be do something in San Diego that he did in Anaheim. The Padres might have a bullpen comprised solely of RH's. Most teams employ at least one "situational" lefty in the pen, but ultimately who cares which hand you throw with, it's performance that matters.

Rob Neyer recently started "blogging" on ESPN. I've made fun of him before, he being the most prominent "seamhead / SABR guy" in the mainstream media, but I like his blog better than his column. The blog so far is less about statistical arcania ( i.e. VORP ) and more about the day to day grist of the goings on in MLB. The guy does know baseball.


Good quote in Buster Olney's blog, courtesy of Andrew Freidman of the D Rays, on spring training stats. "There is very little correlation between spring stats and regular-season stats," said Friedman. "The level of competition is one reason, and sample size is another.

Since the recent passing of former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, the drastic escalation of player salaries and flourishing of the PA under his tenure has been widely mentioned. On that subject a quote from living legend Marvin Miller “His inability to distinguish between reality and his prejudices, his lack of concern for the rights of players, sections of the press, and even the stray unpopular owner—all combined to make Kuhn a vital ingredient in the growth and strength of the union. To paraphrase Voltaire on God, if Bowie Kuhn had never existed, we would have had to invent him.” Thanks to Maury Brown at bizofbaseball.com

Roger Noll, Economics Professor at Stanford, makes an interesting comment, and one that I wholeheartedly agree with, on the subject of MLB's approach to dealing with "PEDs". ( As I'm seeing them referenced more and more frequently. ) "Kuhn vigorously tried to cleanse baseball of hard drugs, which did not go down well with some owners when a valuable player was suspended. While his policies and actions may have been excessively harsh, at least they were clear and fairly implemented, unlike baseball's current policies and practices regarding performance-enhancing drugs." Management in pro sports use drug policies to punish players who step out of line. The story is not that the athletes take PED's, it's the politics of who gets tested when and if they are tipped as to when they will be tested and are the results of the test made public or ignored. What percentage of players in the NFL are juiced? What percentage of the same group test positive? To what do we attribute the discrepancy in the 2 numbers? I think the explanations run deeper than simply that the cheaters are ahead of the regulators in the doping labs.

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