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Random thoughts

Posted by Andy on October 5, 2011

Just a few random thoughts to put out there:

  • I rarely think all that much about race in baseball, but my gut says that it's good for the Miami Marlins to have a Latino manager, given the large Latino population in southern Florida. I hope that Ozzie Guillen does lots of interviews in Spanish with the local media. The Marlins have had a Latino manager for most of the last 5 seasons and have several good Latino players, plus Gaby Sanchez who is from Miami. I like the strong cultural link and hope the Marlins find some firmer footing in Miami.
  • Kevin Youkilis likely needs hip surgery this offseason. The last time a third baseman for the Red Sox needed hip surgery, his career was pretty much over. Youkilis may never play third base again, and first base is not an option any more. So that means Youk takes over as DH or gets traded. I heard a few Boston media members complain in the last week about all the bad big contracts (Lackey, Crawford, Beckett, Drew, Matsuzaka, Jenks, ) and why they don't give a long-term contract to a guy like Adrian Beltre instead of signing him for just one rebound year. And that was before Beltre's 3-HR day yesterday. (For what it's worth, it was tough to predict Beltre having a good year in 2011 given his track record.)
  • If Theo Epstein becomes Cubs GM and the Cubs go on to win the World Series, will he go down as one of the best general managers ever, having ended two different historically-long title droughts? That's a lot of "ifs" but I'll say this much--Epstein to the Cubs is intriguing. I don't see Theo and Larry Lucchino continuing to co-exist in Boston.
  • Jim Leyland knows how to manage. Check out his comments about the schedule problems caused by the rain. In particular note "I think when the manager makes a big deal about something like that, it affects the players. It is what it is." This is in pretty stark contrast to how some other managers have handled things recently, including Tony LaRussa saying on air he knew he'd get fined for criticizing the umpires, when he was making excuses for his players.
  • Love or hate the Yankees, you gotta read Jerry Crasnick's column about A.J. Burnett's start last night. It's a gem. On that link, check out the video to watch Granderson's TWO awesome catches.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 at 8:45 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

65 Responses to “Random thoughts”

  1. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Let me begin by saying that, as a Reds fan, my views of LaRussa were usually tainted; but the way he responded to this situation has made me aware of just how valuable he is, as an example to his charges. LMy hat goes off to his -- at least until the Cards play the Reds the first time next year.

  2. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Please ignore the typos; my fingers are already preparing for Winter league ball in Saltillo.

  3. The pitching lines for last night's NY/DET show how big a disjunction there can be in one game between something like xFIP and actual results.

    If you looked at the pitchers' lines without the Runs figure, you'd assume that Detroit got the better performance:
    Burnett -- 5.2 IP, 4 hits, 4 walks, 3 Ks, 1 HR.
    Porcello -- 6 IP, 5 hits, 1 walk, 5 Ks, 0 HRs.

    But their results diverged in two plays initially misjudged by the CF:
    -- Granderson recovered to make a spectacular grab of Kelly's straightaway drive in the 1st, saving Burnett 3 runs;
    -- Jackson took a bad route on Jeter's drive in the 3rd and just missed it, costing Porcello 2 runs (if we assume Granderson still grounds out afterwards.

    I don't mean to detract from A.J.'s performance, though. He had opportunities to sink himself the way he so often does, but he avoided them -- no wild pitch in 2 chances with a man on 3rd; no error in 2 fielding chances.

  4. Am I the only one who thinks that A-Rod is actually having a good series, even though his 2 hits were both pretty meaningless?

    True, he has no hits in 5 times up with RISP. But in 3 of those chances, he delivered a runner from 3rd with less than 2 out, including once after Cano had whiffed for the 1st out. And one of his RISP failures came with an 8-run lead.

    And he's made a ton of plays in the field -- 15 ground balls in 4 games, by my count. I don't recall any really tough chances, but just the fact that he's handled everything without an error seems key; you had to have some doubt about his fielding ability, given his late-season injuries.

  5. I don't fundamentally disagree with you, JA, although A-Rod's WPA values for these 4 games have been -.057, -0.046, +0.043, and -.005. Those are all pretty close to zero, so if he's made a positive contribution with his glove then there's no doubt he's been valuable.

    The guy is clearly injured, in any event.

  6. Andy-

    I do think about race a lot with regards to sports and baseball. And I concur with your feelings on Ozzie. Hopefully it works out.

    The interesting thing about Theo-as-savior is that the notion of a Cubs win catapulting him into the "best GM ever" conversation is predicated upon the assumption that it is harder for long-suffering teams to win the championship. While I do think there is a degree to which players feel outside pressure, I don't know that it is enough to consider his (hypothetical) championships as more meaningful than what other GMs have done. He might get some love as such, but will 3 championships won for 2 high-spending teams really justify it?

  7. Great topic BSK. I think many fans of those two teams will tell you that it's harder for those teams to win because of the years and years of failure that adds a lot of pressure and contributes to further failure. But I'm not so sure that the players themselves feel the years and years of failure, and as you mention the very high payrolls would seemingly make up even more than any pressure effect.

  8. I watched the recent Steve Bartman doc on ESPN. Some players did speak about the pressure they felt as a result of their franchises' futility. Of course, the interviews were conducted after the fact, when the narrative was already constructed. My hunch is that, at the time, they might have been upset about another failure but they were not thinking the same way then that they are now. An interview with Buckner after Game 6 showed this quite effectively.

    If a team really folds under the pressure of the franchise's previous struggles, they probably were not equipped to win in the first place, outside of simply blowing people out of the water.

  9. Agreed, BSK. Somehow, when David Ortiz was hitting against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, I don't think he was thinking about Babe Ruth and Bill Buckner.

  10. Granderson's 2nd catch was Swobodaesque.

  11. Thomas Court Says:

    @10

    Beautiful! Add that word to The Official BR Dictionary immediately!

  12. Baby Ruths were likely dancing through Big Papi's head, but Babe Ruth is doubtful.

  13. Maybe Kevin Youkilis will return from his hip surgery more like Tim Thomas than Mike Lowell. I don't know if any of you follow hockey...

  14. phillies are 5-1 since 2008 when they have had the chance to close out the series, this team has killed their old demons pretty well.

  15. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    Cubs dont win it all until the entire city conducts a formal ceremonial apology, on the field, to Bartman.

  16. Evil Squirrel Says:

    @15 - Couldn't agree more with that sentiment. I want to see Moises "The Whiner" Alou there as well....

  17. @3 and 4, JA...I do think Jackson misjudged his ball and took a less-than-perfect route to the ball, readjusting twice in mid-run to try and line it up. He can usually outrun his mistakes, but not this time. I'm not so sure I can term Granderson's as a clear misjudge. Hard hit line drives right at the CFer are the hardest to read because there is a depth-perception issue, causing the CFer to pause for a second (hopefully less) to get a true read. Granderson did take a step to his left while positioning his body to go back if needed and then had to retreat and then leap once he did. This might be a case of semantics because a misjudge implies a error in the process, while I'm not sure that fits Granderson's play, although I seem to be in the minority on this.

    As for A-Rod, it reminds me how the media focuses so heavily on small sample sizes in postseason games, or only one aspect of a player's game. During the regular season, it wouldn't be noticed if A-Rod didn't get a hit for a few games, in the postseason it becomes the focus. Taking into account his fielding, I'd say he's been a plus in the series, and if he goes 3-5 with a couple HRs on Thursday, no one even remembers the first few games.

  18. I wonder what the ratings are on the Arizona-Milwaukee series. It might be because I'm now firmly planted on the east coast, but that's the one series our of the four I seem to hear the least about. Maybe I just don't know any Brewers or Diamonback fans!

  19. MikeD-

    Jackson's miscue was on a ball hit similarly to Granderson's "miscue". It had a bit more loft to it, but was similar in that it was hit almost directly at him making for a tough read. Having to turn and run on a ball hit directly over your head can easily lead to taking a wrong turn, since you have to take your eye off the ball and, in doing so, lose certainty as to which way to turn. So, while he did misplay it, I wouldn't say the mistake was egregious. This was simply a matter of Granderson being able to recover and Jackson not (though he was incredibly close and still made a great play on the ball once it bounced to even give them a chance of Martin at home).

  20. i thought the same thing about ozzie in miami. however, he has no problem "standing up" to management. am i right in thinking that the marlins' upper management hasn't always been receptive to bristling managers?

  21. Re: Theo as savior

    While it's true that it probably isn't fundamentally harder to win with the Cubs or the pre-2004 Red Sox than any other team, in terms of public perception, that won't matter. If Theo goes to the North Side and is a part of a championship Cubs team, then every barber-shop, water-cooler, or bar-stool conversation about the greatest baseball executives ever will include Theo's name.

    That may not be an adequate baseball-reference.com answer, and therefore, in his heart as a stathead, Theo Epstein might not believe it himself. But you can bet he'll still be chasing that, if given a chance to talk to the Cubs ownership.

  22. (Full disclosure: I am preparing to jump ship on the Red Sox. I learned way more about the team than I wanted to during the Francona debacle. The thought of switching allegiances to an Epstein-led Cubs team is very, very alluring to me. So I have biases in this topic.)

  23. John, that's a good point. I think on this blog we sometimes get bogged down by fact and forget that perception doesn't always match fact, and in fact often deviates considerably.

  24. John-

    Agreed. Public perception will be huge. Objective analysis will probably still rate him well, but not sure about best ever.

    I have not really been following the drama that is the Sox end-of-season. Is it really that ugly? Do you have any links discussing what happened behind the scenes? It seemed fishy, but I sort of took things at face value and hoped/assumed the best.

  25. I don't have links handy, but look up John Tomase. He's the journalist who broke most of the stuff.

  26. Regarding the 2010 Red Sox, and how awesome they were in the 2011 playoffs (Beltre 3 homers, Victor 1):

    As bad as the season turned out for Boston, I still have no problem with either of those two non-signings. Detroit paid V-Mart like he'd be a star four-year catcher. and Texas paid Beltre like he'd be Mike Schmidt. Victor has a track record of consistently excellent hitting, but he's already a DH/1B, and that means he's a little overpaid now, and will be more overpaid as the contract continues.

    Beltre, to his credit, has just completed an outstanding season in a non-contract year. That's his first.

  27. BSK,

    I don't have time to look for links. I apologize. But...

    - Tomase reported that sources have revealed that starting pitchers were drinking during games (between starts) in the clubhouse. Youkilis complained in a radio program that the report was cowardly, but nobody has refuted the story. (More disclosures: Tomase has been torn apart in the local media for scooping a damaging story about the Patriots -- the infamous "Rams walkthrough tape" story -- which later turned out to be untrue. While I tend to doubt he'd do it again -- your home paper is not going to offer front-page apologies for your bad plays too often before they just let you go -- he does have a history. Another disclosure: I'm a fan of Tomase's, in part because I went to high school with him, although I don't know him personally.)
    - Theo said, in the first presser of the early-arriving offseason, that they saw problems, to the point where the manager AND Theo himself ran team meetings in close succession. They haven't specified, but indications from Francona suggest that the team never had each others' backs during the year.
    - Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston reported a continuing icy rift between Youkilis and Ellsbury that, if true, demonstrates a pretty juvenile attitude from Youkilis. (Youkilis has denied MacMullan's contention.) Youk is allegedly still mad that Ellsbury disappeared during his injury last year, selfishly turning himself into an MVP instead of rah-rah-ing the team from the clubhouse.
    - There are numerous reports of a starting-pitcher clique in the clubhouse, with mounting alienation from the rest of the team.
    - A local sportstalk radio host has recently reported a source indicating that Josh Beckett pretty much quit on the team once he dropped out of Cy Young contention. I haven't been able to find a corroborating source on that.
    - I'm still miffed that exactly one player (Pedroia) has had anything to say (from what I've heard) about Francona's firing/resignation. (The official party line is that he resigned. He says he resigned. I would say a majority in Boston are pretty skeptical.) Considering that, by all indications, he was driven out (one way or the other) by chaos in the clubhouse, the silence is pretty deafening to me.

    I've been a Red Sox fan for (ugh... I'm old... I have to say it) a quarter-century, and besides Joe Kerrigan's two-month circus of horrors, I've never quit on them, as a fan. But I find the team completely and thoroughly unlikable right now.

  28. John and Andy-

    Thanks. I heard whiffs of the drinking allegations, but not much else. I sort of stuck my head in the sand, hoping this collapse had more to do with the unpredictability of baseball than anything you've discussed. Francono's departure was alarming, but I never looked past the headlines, partly because I didn't want an already-terrible-ending to the season get even terribler. Sounds like the culture is simply bad. Who is ultimately responsible for that, I don't know (both in terms of who ought to be responsible for ensuring a positive culture and who was directly responsible for what resulted). I'll look into what you guys offered here and will have to see for myself where I fall after it is all said and done.

  29. And yes, before you say it, it IS a soap opera. I don't usually get into these sorts of things, but it's like a car crash, after a month-long train wreck.

  30. Brew Crew!!!!! Beast mode returns tonight with Wolfie & co. A wolf can take a snake, right?!

  31. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Sounds like the culture is simply bad. Who is ultimately responsible for that, I don't know

    Clearly, it couldn't be that fat DH and the fellow with the gigantic "C" hanging off his uniform. For we know they are brilliant leaders who can unite a clubhouse through any struggle.

  32. John Bowen Says:

    Love comment 30, hope the Crew can end it tonight!

  33. Regarding Epstein (sounds like a Woody Allen movie title), if the Cubs win it with him, it won't be with the current crew on the field-and, therefore, probably not for a long time.....where's the magic in that?

    Re Ozzie and Miami, it kind of reminds me when the Phillies hired Bowa to draw fans...probably a good idea to win 90+ games first. in the same vein that Ozzie appeals to Hispanics, would it help Tampa draw if Joe Maddon was 75 + years old ?

  34. @31 Johnny Twisto:
    Dude, nobody is as sick as the "tek" leadership BS as me. For crissaskes, why not knock in 110 runs or hit 30 HR's in that little league bandbox? Almost reminds me of Jeter's failure to get A-Rod's back in the press when questioned about post-season failures....must be the "C".

    On another note, if teams like Tampa and Miami can't draw, let the rest of the other 28 teams draft their 40 man rosters and minor leaguers. Go with two 7-team divisions in each league, do away with inter-league play, and the wild card. Best of 9 for the LCS and best of 11 for the WS. Case closed

  35. Twisto,

    I agree that the two of them share part of the blame. In defense of Varitek, I'll point this out, though. According to conventional wisdom, one of the primary malcontents in need of some stern... "leadership"... was that pudgy sack of historical pitching incompetence known popularly as John Lackey. On at least two occasions, Lackey responded to a pounding by mocking and belittling one of the hitters who knocked him around -- Toronto's John MacDonald and New York's Francisco Cervelli -- as having less-than-substantial careers. If Lackey has that mindset, is he REALLY capable of taking leadership from a backup catcher?

    (If your contention is that a backup catcher can't possibly lead a team, then yeah, I agree.)

    Regarding Ortiz: you'll get zero argument from me. I lost a huge amount of respect for him when, a few weeks ago in the midst of Francona's most difficult month in seven years in Boston, Ortiz publicly questioned his manager for not inserting Aceves into the rotation.

    You remember Aceves, right? He was the reliever that actually got outs for the Red Sox, during September. Ortiz didn't elaborate on his genius pitching plan, so I'm not sure how he was going to rescue the season exactly. He never revealed how he would make up the innings deficit from his plan, evidenced by this handy chart of a typical five-day stretch for Boston in September:

    Aceves: 3 innings, 2 innings, day off, 2 innings, 3 innings.
    Typical Red Sox starter: 4 innings, day off, six pack, six pack, day off

  36. Wow. I didn't expect my "handy chart" to be so close to correct.

    Aceves pitched 12 games, all in relief, and threw 25 innings. 2 innings per appearance, 12 games in the month. He was SECOND on the team in innings, 6.2 behind Lester. (Lester's first couple starts of the month were actually decent, so over the last three weeks of the season, I'm betting Aceves actually led the team in innings.) He had a 1.80 ERA on the month, while the team's ERA was at 5.84.

    Throw out the numbers: just from an eyeball test, Aceves was as close to team MVP as you could find on that sad-sack roster.

  37. Paul E,

    Even as a (soon-to-be-former) Red Sox fan, I have to say that we'll agree to disagree on the topic of Jeter's leadership. He's nowhere near the player he was, but there's a lot to be said for a player of his stature walking to your locker and saying, "Hey, I heard what you said, and saw what you did. Not the Yankee Way. Don't ever do that again." Stories have it that he's done that over and over. I wish the Red Sox had a player like that in their clubhouse this year. They might still be playing.

  38. Twisto-

    I don't doubt that Tek and Ortiz (among others) had a role in what happened to the club house culture. But isn't there more required from the top? If Luchino and Henry create an organization-wide culture that does not demand respect or accountability, why would we expect the players to do that themselves in the clubhouse? Yes, we like to assume that athletes are noble and blah, blah, blah. But how many of us are going to bust our asses at work if our bosses make it clear that slacking off is acceptable? Some of us will take pride in our work and do the right thing, but a great number will just go with the flow. Even the hardworkers will probably succumb to it eventually, at least in part.

    I'm not saying this is on Luchino or Henry or Epstein or Francona or the players or whatnot. I'm asking more a hypothetical question: Ultimately, who is responsible for the culture of an organization?

  39. It's funny how much baseball and politics are alike. When you are going good, no one hears a peep of dissension. The press is the same way-they need access to the clubhouse, so they play along, forget what they see and keep up the image. And the pols are like the stars. It's all there for them, limos, adulation, beautiful women, never have to buy a drink or a meal. It's like a banquet, laid out, every door is open, and it's great. Then something happens: the campaign is lost, you blow the big lead, and the carefully groomed image comes apart.

  40. BSK,

    Completely agree with you there: if a place of business is run completely unprofessionally, then sooner or later, all the employees will devolve into "unprofessional".

    To my mind, Francona's a good manager, but it's possible that the Red Sox, with their ever-larger constellation of superstars, super-contracts and super-egos, devolved into a situation that is unmanageable by a manager of Francona's laid-back style. (This isn't to say that ANY sort of manager is capable of managing that particular roster successfully. I don't know.)

    He's not the first star AL East manager to hear these sorts of complaints. Joel Sherman of the NY Post asked around just before the season ended, expecting to hear that Francona was bulletproof, and was surprised to learn that he wasn't. When he heard the complaints of Francona's laid-back approach not cutting it anymore with higher-maintenance players, he was reminded of the same grumblings in Joe Torre's last few months in New York.

    It's possible that the Red Sox' hand was forced, and they had to fire a manager who they know, in their hearts, they won't be able to replace. Still... I don't like what I saw.

  41. And another thing...

  42. (No other thing, really. Trying to get gravatar to work. And failing, apparently.)

  43. (Or not. Maybe it takes a while?)

    Mike L (#39), that's true, but it sounds like things were coming apart at the seams before they (the Red Sox) were in full-scale tailspin mode. The team meeting Francona called was one September 6, folllowing the 14-0 win in Toronto. They WERE scuffling, and they'd lost first place for good, but they were still 8 games ahead of Tampa. There was no panic yet, but Francona felt the need to attempt to clear some air. (It didn't work, obviously, with their 5-16 record the rest of the way.)

    Francona was asked why he called the meeting in the initial post-mortem presser, and as an answer, he said something to the effect of, "You don't need the players to be going out to dinner together every night, but I feel a team needs to be fiercely loyal to each other on the field."

  44. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Don't take my #31 too seriously. 98% of its purpose was just that I find it extremely enjoyable to get a jab at two of my least favorite players on my least favorite team. I don't really know who's most to blame. I'm sure the responsibility lies with many.

  45. Not at all, Johnny... although if you set me up for too much more soapboxing, Sean might ban me. :-P

  46. oneblankspace Says:

    The fourth bullet point contrasted reactions of Leyland and LaRussa. Before he managed Pittsburgh, Leyland was LaRussa's third base coach at 35th & Shields on the south side of Chicago.

  47. The manager who made the most excuses for his players this year was, of course, Francona. The big one was complaining that interleague play is unfair because he couldn't play both Gonzalez and Ortiz.

  48. @6 I do think about race a lot with regards to sports and baseball And you like to call people racists that disagree with you. You like to use race as a weapon to get where your going.

  49. Ozzie is one of my favorite baseball personalities, but he is still learning English.

  50. Johnny Twisto Says:

    You like to use race as a weapon

    First permutation of those words used in the history of the InterWeb! According to Nikolai Google.

    Anyway, I think our young BSK is recently married, so he may be mellowed. But I hope not. We need a good tussle. These things gotta happen every five threads or so, ten threads. Helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been ten threads since the last one.

  51. Johnny Twisto Says:

    TIMMEE: Were you a Cubs fan when attending Boys Toys out in Nebraska?

  52. I have always been a Cub fan, and tonight while at the gym ESPN was showing a program about Bartman. The Cubs misfortunes coincide closely with my life. 1984 was the year I was suppose to graduate from high school and the Cubs had a great team that year. Well I had to get a job instead of finishing high school, and Steve Garvey and Leon Durham broke my heart. In 1989 I was on my way to a promotion at work and the Cubs were flying high. Instead they gave the promotion to someones ass-kissing nephew and Will Clark sent the Cubs packing. In Feb 1998 Harry Caray died and it was our year. The Cubs survived Brandt Brown's 4 base error and beat the Giants to get into the playoffs only to be swept by the Braves. I was divorced again that year. 2003 takes the cake though!

  53. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Timmy, you're holding back. How did your life turn sideways in '03? Or is it too personal to share with your Brefren?

  54. Johnny Twisto Says:

    And how did you become a Cubs fan? I guess the Cubs were about as close as anyone, pre-Rockies. Was there a favored team in your area? I'd guess the Cardinals had a lot of fans.

  55. And you like to call people racists that disagree with you. You like to use race as a weapon to get where your going.

    I'd like to see even one concrete example of this, Timmy--can you link back to a previous comment on an old thread where this happened?

  56. Timothy P. Says:

    @55 Ok Andy, I'll find it.

  57. Geez, Andy. Why do you have so many haters here?

    Regarding Francona making excuses: he's sorta being accused of that again, after his close-to-the-vest interview on a local radio station last night. I personally think he's demonstrating his unwillingness to air dirty laundry. (He does want another job, after all.)

    Although I'll say: he's complained about interleague play almost throughout his time in Boston. He finds it ludicrous that his team is constructed for one set of rules, and then they play with another set of rules for a dozen or so games in the middle of the season. The argument does have a logic to it.

    (Personally, I like interleague play, although I think the DH rule should be used according to the VISITING team, not the home team, so that the fans get to watch the other style.)

  58. Timothy P. Says:

    In 2003 I was working for a large agribusiness outfit in Kansas City and it was a great year by the time October rolled around. I had a fancy title, but really I was a salesman. I and others in the office would often work into the evening as was necessary, even when the Cubs were playing the Braves in the playoffs. I think it was game 1 between the Cubs and Braves that found us still in the office that night when a screaming match started among the staff because of my insistence on having a television brought into the office to watch the game. It was an incredibly competitive workplace and on occasion fights broke out for what to outsiders must have seemed like the dumbest reasons. This was an office where your manhood was measured everyday on whether or not you were able to sell. This night I prevailed and was rewarded when Kerry Wood destroyed the Braves. Wood pitched great, but when he doubled to drive in the go ahead runs I was forced to stand up and parade around the office taunting my fellow salesmen and a few secretaries left at that late hour. It was our year! The rest of the series went the Cubs way and we were on our way the series. Before the NLCS started with the Marlins I was playing golf on a course in eastern Kansas not too far from the Leavenworth federal pen when I fainted on the course. Talk about your bad timing. The next day I went into the doctor and told him about what happened and he sent me to the hospital. He and I argued about whether or it was necessary I go to the Hospital right away and I explained to him that the Cubs were getting ready to play the Marlins to see who was going to the world series. He insisted so I went to the emergency room. Needless to say the other men at the office were now actively cheering against the Cubs in the hope that I would be humiliated. In October in the mid-west, baseball takes a back seat to football, but because of me and the fact I was the number one salesman for 4 years in a row the series between the Cubs and Marlins became important at our office. I was subjected to taunts about the Cubs past misfortunes. The people at my office were whispering about me missing work so I could watch the Cubs play the Marlins, but I was really in the hospital. Some of my coworkers even started calling around to all the area hospitals to find out if I was really sick. Lucky for me Dr. Sandeep Palkar was on loan from a hospital in London the day I went into the ER. Dr. Palkar is a fantastic cardiologist and was also at a fellow at a local Catholic college in the area and was the first to see me in the ER. Dr. Palkar and I were arguing about the need for me to stay in hospital when the lab results came back. The Dr. explained that I had recently had a heart attack and that must stay regardless of any baseball games. Dr. Palkar was not familiar with baseball because he was a foreigner.

  59. #57, I think this sort of topic just brings out a lot of strong emotions in people--it's not that there are so many haters, per se.

    I certainly agree that there are problems with interleague play, just like there has been a fundamental problem with the World Series since the DH was adopted in 1973. Just like with so many off days during the playoffs allowing teams to mainly go with 3 starting pitchers, it irritates me when the rules deviate from the way the majority of games are played during the regular season. The idea that an AL team cannot use its DH in NL-based interleague or World Series games, or that the NL team is forced to find a DH in AL-based interleague or World Series games, is simply ludicrous.

    I agree with Francona there.

    The problem is him whining about the specific disadvantage to his team when all of the AL teams face the same thing with road interleague games. He started making excuses before those games and continued making them during games, all while his club pissed away 4 out of 6 games against the Pirates and Padres. I have a very hard time believing that his players tried their absolute best and were as focused as they could be when their manager is leading then down the Canyon of Whiners. If he shuts up, or simply says "those are the rules and we simply have to do our best with the situation", maybe his team goes 4-2 or 3-3 instead of 2-4 and gets to the playoffs.

  60. Very true, Andy. I believe it was Bill Parcells who said, "You give a team an excuse to lose, and they will."

  61. I'm with Andy on this.

    Francona whined-the fact is that everyone plays the same amount of interleague games, and all AL teams have to give up the usage of the DH, and that's the way it is. He's at no comparative disadvantage to the only group that matters-all the other AL teams. And if whining creates a depressed atmosphere, than maybe he could cost his team.

    Andy is also touching on another key point, which is the distortion that the playoff schedule creates. Watching the Yankee-Tiger series, I found it appealing that the rain-out forced the Yankees to trot out Burnett. The playoffs should be like the regular season, only more intense. We shouldn't make it easy for teams to use a three man rotation. Part of the drama is having unexpected heros.

  62. Yeah, we've touched on this on another thread, but the NYY-DET series is the most interesting post-season series I've seen in a long time, all because of the skipped off day. I wish to hell that they would play it like this every year. Make the DS 5 consecutive days, and make the LCS 9 games with 1 or 2 off days, and the WS 11 games with 2 or 3 off days.

    Baseball also has, I think, the fewest post-season games relative to the length of its regular season to determine the winner. Think about it--NFL seasons are nearly exactly 1/10th the length of MLB seasons. An NFL team plays 3 or 4 post-season games to win the title (depending on whether they have a bye) which equates to 30 to 40 games of MLB. But an actual MLB team can play a maximum of 5 DS games, 7 LCS games, and 7 WS games, or 17 games, and more likely even the champion will play only 13 or 14 games. That's a hell of a lot less than 30 to 40. So the post-season fate of a team hinges on a very small number of games. What's the point? Give me 7/9/11 instead of 5/7/7.

  63. Hold on, let's back up. I don't remember his ever framing the interleague question that "the Red Sox are at a disadvantage." I'm pretty sure he consistently pointed out that BOTH sides are forced to play several games a year by a different set of rules, than those for which they constructed their roster.

    He has a philosophical issue with interleague. He IS allowed to have that opinion, correct? Now, perhaps he voices it more stridently than others, and perhaps that's because he's been one of the few AL managers with a full-time DH in the middle of the order. (I guess we'll see, if his next team has a less league-specific construction...) But his objections haven't been "this isn't fair to us" as much as they've been "this system is flawed."

    At least, that's always how *I* heard it.

  64. John, he has certainly said many things along those lines, i.e. that he doesn't like the overall framework, doesn't think it's good for the game, needs to be looked at, etc. But this year he also specifically whined about not being able to play Gonzalez and Ortiz in the same game, ignoring the fact that it's the limitations of his own team personnel that cause the problem. (In other words, if they could really play Gonzalez in RF consistently, et al, they could get both into the games.)
    I'm not sure if he was whining to make excuses for his team, or if he was actually criticizing Theo Epstein for the makeup of the team, but either way it was a mistake.

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