Realized with my last post that I have had questions and comments disabled. I have remedied this problem and invite any and all questions, comments, or suggestions.
Realized with my last post that I have had questions and comments disabled. I have remedied this problem and invite any and all questions, comments, or suggestions.
So with the news of Donald Zachary Greinke being moved to the northern part of the Midwest to become a beer maker by the lake, I have decided to write a prelude to my tour of the MLB divisions by first discussing the anomalous NL Central and AL West and just how they came to be. The NL Central stands bloated with six teams, whereas every other division in baseball has five, that is with the exception of the AL west which conversely only has four of them. For some reason Major League baseball feels that it is more important to prevent an extended inter-league schedule than to have an even amount of teams in each league. Let me explain…
When the expansion year that brought to the world the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks came upon us, each League stood at 14 teams, and these two newcomers would make it so each league wound up with an odd number of them. While the advent of interleague play had already happened to MLB, the commissioner for some reason did not want to expand it to compensate having two leagues with odd numbered teams. The reason interleague expansion was called for in this instance was to prevent excessive amounts of off time for teams due to the odd number of them. Obviously it keeps all the teams in both respective leagues from playing at the same time, so on any given day one team from each league would have off.
(Bud Selig: the Commish)
Also obviously though is my interpretation of how the commissioner actually views interleague play, and that would be as a marketing scheme and not a way to promote the competitiveness or the cohesiveness of the game. Honestly ask yourself right now, isn’t more interleague play better? It is stupid to play the same teams so many times over and over, it sullies the potential to create an equal playing field and dilutes, or at least pigeon holes the competition. If each team played all of the other teams, then the records of these teams will be more accurate and a much better representation of how good each team actually is. Why isn’t it better to play all the teams than the same ones repeatedly? Wouldn’t it make divisional games that much more meaningful and rivalry’s less watered down? Wouldn’t it do much more to create an unparalleled integrity with the sport than say the alternative?
That alternative is actually how the Major Leagues currently conduct themselves, and that is by having 16 National League teams and 14 American League teams. Doesn’t seem quite right now does it? Why should it be statistically easier for a team in the AL to reach the playoffs than it is for an NL team? The situation is clearly unbalanced, and an over abundance of divisional play has watered down contention for the post season. A prime example exists in the AL east, whereas it is more difficult to exist there because teams have to play against the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox an obscene amount of times over the course of the season. However it should only be difficult to be in the AL East because it should require you to have a better record than those powerhouses after playing all the other teams in both leagues an equal amount of times.
Now is it me, or does this stuff seem really obvious to anyone else.? It makes me want to go up to the Commissioner and shake him and be like, “Hey! Fix this you jerk! Stop trying to distract us and sully the league with additional wildcard teams so you can further line your pockets!” I mean if the man would just fix the league as I have just instructed, there wouldn’t be competitive problems requiring additional wildcard teams creeping up anymore, like the anti-climatic race to decide the AL East and the winner of the wildcard did this past summer. I mean hell even bring on those additional wildcard teams for 2012 provided you fix the system, at least the result will be more playoff baseball and that should please the fan in all of us.
So who are the odd men out in the NL Central? None other than the Brew Crew themselves, and it is most interesting to me that they ended up in the Central, because as members of the AL they made their only trip to the World Series, and in this series who did they lose to? Oddly enough it was their own current divisional rival the St. Louis Cardinals. I can imagine being a Brewers fan (just barely hoho) and how much that would make me hate the Cards more. Now while the Brewers may have been the addition to the Central from the American League, the original franchise that existed in Milwaukee was the Braves, an NL organization. The only reason that the Brewers were in the AL in the first place is that for one quiet year in Seattle, they were the Pilots. However the Pilots went bankrupt in their inaugural season and were sold and moved to their current home and thus renamed the Brewers.
A few years ago MLB faced a decision that could have remedied this problem without the extension of interleague play, but it would have looked bad for baseball. The MLB had the opportunity to retract itself when the Expos stopped being able to stay afloat, but this retraction would have been an admittance of wrong doing by Selig allowing expansion in the first place. So the Expos did get what they deserved, they are no more, but not in the way that fixes things, because the franchise is now the Washington Nationals, I had hoped they would be the reincarnation of the Senators, but whatever I don’t mean to digress.
I believe there is a reasonable way to fix this current mess, and it doesn’t involve once again bouncing around the Brewers, but this move would turn the Houston Astros into an American league team and have them join the AL West. This move would not only facilitate expanded interleague play, which I have already mentioned creates more accurate representation in the post season, but it makes sense geographically and promotes a nice rivalry between two instate teams and on top of all this, there would be an equal amount of teams in both respective leagues and each respective division.
So what do you think of my plan, how do you think we should go about restoring the integrity of modern baseball?
Firstly, I went to my favorite thrift shop in Philly today and after a few moments of digging I was the proud owner of an unused gateway keyboard for the bargain basement price of $1.99. So alas, instead of being the avatar of Aimee Mann’s first band, I am here two days ahead of schedule, but I am not prepared to do a break down of any of the divisions yet. I will though write a tidbit about the second way in which I was wrong.
I thought there was no way possible that Zach Greinke was going to get traded, it just made no sense for him to, but then again neither do the Brewers. It seemed to me the asking price was too high, and quite honestly it was, but there are morons in almost every front office it appears (just look what they gave Randy Wolf in free agency), and the Brewers have sacrificed their future for a very outside shot at the playoffs this season. The deal would make sense with a guaranteed extension, but I have yet to read anything about that at all.
It seems as though a deal would have gone down with Washington had Mr. Greinke not used his no trade cause, and that news left the door open for Milwaukee to swoop in and snatch up the young ace, Yunieski Betancourt, and cash for four of the Brewers best prospects. While this move makes more sense now with so much personal being swapped than it does as a trade deadline, I still feel that the Brewers overpaid, even though not by much with the addition of Betancourt and cash. Really it all depends how Greinke plays, and I personally feel that he was a one season wonder and is a minor injury or mental setback from going the route of say Mark Prior.
However if Greinke pitches even half as well as he did his Cy Young season, then the brew crew are instant contenders, provided the offense doesn’t flop, but with Ryan Braun and the
obese overrated Prince Fielder, they should do OK. This actually reminds me of an interesting point I was going to make. Since I got no input, which isn’t surprising but whatever, about which division to start my analysis of I was either going to begin with the AL West or the NL Central and I was going to bring up the point that the Brewers were originally an American League team and the leagues are lopsided.
This is something about baseball that really pisses me off, the fact that there are 6 teams in the NL central and 4 teams in the AL west, wish they could just go back to the way it was, I like symmetry and maybe if I’m feeling more motivated I will go into much further detail about this after I do a bit more research and figure out exactly why they fucked it up in the first place.
Taylor smashed the shit out of my keyboard in a fit of rage… Yes, I suppose living with me can be that frustrating. It seems that she not only hates baseball, but she hates me and my having the ability to blog as well. A new one is on the way, but I have no access to my ‘puter until it arrives.
For Tuesday, I plan on doing my first divisional breakdown, I will accept requests, and in the mean time, shoot any questions or comments you guys may want a unique response to my way.
Welcome to Detroit, Home of the Pistons and the Lions who are a combined 11-28 in their disgraceful yet respective seasons. While I do suppose that Detroit, in spite of being the burnt out abandoned shit hole we know it is, is close enough to Canada to have it’s spirits lifted by the NHL contender that is the mighty Red Wings, but alas my few readers, this is a baseblog and I am not about to waste my time writing about the merits of Detroit’s hockey team, nor how it is possibly the only thing those poor bastards stuck there have to get them through the bleakness of their day to day. That is because not only is this a baseblog, but a new contender has entered this dark town, and they are the Tigers.
I hinted at this in an earlier post that I think the Tigers will represent the American League in the World series this year. I didn’t want to go into further detail about it until the signing of Magglio Ordonez, which any informed person knew was going to happen, but my feeling about Detroit this year rode on the certainty of his participancy for some reason. It also rides on another pretty big factor, they need to land a solid front of the rotation arm or two middle of the rotation arms.
My thoughts on their pitching situation is that they are definitely trying to make something happen in that department. Earlier today rumors spread that they were linked to the Royals and have the depth within their farm system to try and make something happen with Zach Greinke, but we all know that isn’t going down, as I mentioned before, Greinke won’t be traded this off season. However with that kind of organizational depth, I can easily see the Tigers either trading for Fausto Carmona or Matt Garza, or possibly being the team to overpay Carl Pavano. They would also be a good suitor for Philadelphia’s Joe Blanton if they ended up signing Pavano or not getting any of the previous three.
Now keep in mind I know I could be wrong, but I’m just expanding on my gut feeling, and in my attempt to be prophetic I must say that the Tigers will make some sort of move between now and spring training, and possibly multiple moves before the trade deadline that will involve upgrading their starting pitching. So if this team patches up their starting situation and Armando Galarraga breaks out like I think he may the Tigers will be dangerous.
Check out the offense, this team can score some runs! With the free agent addition of Victor Martinez and Thursday’s resigning of Magglio Ordonez, the Tigers have three players in the middle of the order that all have a .300+ career average and can hit for power. They also have the runner up in the rookie of the year balloting: Austin Jackson, who is going to steal a lot of bases and score a lot of runs in front of those three gentlemen. And while Scott Sizemore may have jeopardized my fantasy baseball team last season, I wouldn’t rule him out as a possible candidate to break out offensively too.
Regardless of how you slice it, this team is going to be dangerous, with a little luck, a little tweaking, and a hot streak or two at the right time, they are going to win the whole damn thing… Just watch them.
(Lee’s impression of a Rangers fan)
As difficult as it may be at this moment in the off season, I am going to try to keep my status as a resident of Philadelphia out of my blogging. It just so happens that the press conference to officially announce Cliff Lee as a Phillie is about to happen, in fact it’s starting right now.
Well, I was hoping to type while listening to the conference, but for some reason I had audio problems and had to hold my speaker to my ear just to hear anything at all. Some points that stuck out to me:
Jason Werth really regrets being so greedy. He removed himself from a situation where he would have been surrounded by friends and gave up any hopes of making it to the playoffs again. He chased the money to the basement, and had the epiphany that real ball players want to win. Jason seemed to have lost sight of this until Cliff signed back in Philly. The main reason that Washington was in on Lee probably wasn’t because it was the organization he started with, but perhaps due to Lee’s agent approaching them because of his friendship with Werth. This also shows Washington’s philosophy on why they had to give Werth so much money, cause it takes a whole lot of it to lure anyone to the Expos.
The situation with the Yankee fans and Lee’s wife was a non-issue. In Lee’s own words, nothing happened. The lady wasn’t spit on, and the only thing thrown were probably a few harsh words. In defense of the Yankee’s fans, if some blonde chick was cheering for the opposing team during the NLDS while I was watching it at Citizens Bank Park, I would tell her to keep it to herself too (or at least give her the frowning of a lifetime). This was obviously one of those stories completely embellished by douche bag writers without the chops, or perhaps even the permission, to properly express opinion and say anything interesting about baseball without resorting to yellow journalism. I may not be any better, but this is not my job, it is a blog on tumblr and there are only 5 of you following this… of which how many actually read this far?
The draw of the NL. Cliff Lee is the first pitcher I’ve ever heard mentioning how he enjoys batting, they usually don’t talk about it or have a self-deprecating approach to the subject. However with Lee as I’ve mentioned many times before, in exchanges and even in this young blog, about how people forget that he is a really good batter. With the only exception being his stint with the Phils, he has spent the rest of his time in the American League. He even mentioned his preference for facing pitchers, and I don’t think completely has to do with it being easier to make them look silly than a professional batsman. I think it may be this mans extreme competitive edge, he wants to stare down the opposing pitcher and both get a hit off of and strike the guy out.
In the coming weeks I will break down all the divisions in baseball. There are still some moves to be made and a few free agents out there, but I’d say 90% of the off season action has happened and it’s time to hunker down and pass the time until spring training.
In recent times, I have often contemplated how uber-agent Scott Boras will be remembered in the annuls of major league baseball. My mental image of the man was always that of a tyrant and a money grubbing monopolizer who exposes one of the major flaws in free market capitalism: that it facilitates the greed of men, and the greed of men will ultimately be their untimely undoing.
Enough liberal politics for now, this is a baseblog, but it is difficult to not think of the socioeconomical implications that a man like Scott Boras, and his savant-esque ability to manipulate the market into garnering his clients obscenely more than they could find with any other agent, has on the sport of baseball. With the labor agreement expiring after this season, Boras begs the question, is the age of the salary cap being thrust upon the MLB?
Scott Boras represents 175 baseball players out of the possible 750 active roster spots in MLB. Considering a +/- for his clients in the minor league system, it is still safe to say that Mr. Boras controls 15% of the active players in MLB, including most of the elite players in the game today. When you really think about it you have yourself a viable anti-trust case against the man, because he has created a monopoly of talent thusly cornering the market and forcing prices to their highest possible level and sometimes past what some teams can really afford to pay for players. Sound familiar?
He is a modern day robber baron and the people that are paying the price are the fans of major league baseball. The ticket prices, cost of parking, concessions, beer, and souvenirs all go to paying those bloated salaries. This past season was the first time in years I have not been able to catch a Phillies game, and it was purely due to the fact that I could no longer afford a seat, let alone something to eat there, or any form of intoxicant to help make the downtime nicer (I have no friends that like sports, so I mostly go alone and the alcohol helps with that). Cross this with the fact that I live on Broad Street, I am three subway stops from Citizens Bank Park. I can see and hear the fireworks after the games in the middle of summer, the blimps fly over my neighborhood, I am right there and I can’t go, I can’t enjoy my past time in person.
I know this isn’t all Scott Boras’ fault, but he certainly has done nothing to help the current condition of the major leagues, except one thing. He is unwittingly forcing the hand of MLB to implement a concrete salary cap for the game to keep it competitive, and to keep these outlandish salaries from getting so outrageously out of control that the whole institution collapses under its own indulgence and greed. It will cause a strike that may last a long time, and no one will make any money, this will make Scott Boras sad.
It will be a dark and sad time for us all if the reaction from the players union to a salary cap will be to strike, because a strike over something of this magnitude could last more than a full season, and that is a scary scenario indeed. However, once the dispute is settled (even with amateurs and scabs), the MLB will be able to rise up from the darkness and restore its purity, competitive integrity, and return itself to the people. Scott Boras’ greed brings us hope, and his tears shall pave the way to our future joy, because something that was once beautiful has been ruined, and it must be destroyed in order to be saved.
So it appears that Scott Boras is actually the unwitting savior of baseball, because the system is broken and his pushing the envelope the cracks grow and showcase how damaged the current market for baseball talent really is. Mr. Boras is sort of an Ozymandias by mistake. He is an anti-hero, of the real life variety, and I wonder if he has any inkling where he is taking the baseball world, and I wonder whether if he did, would he even care?
Baseball is the only game you can see on the radio.
So I hate to say it, but I will anyways because this is anonymous and I have no followers, I sarcastically/wishfully predicted this possible outcome on the philly.com message boards as a reaction to the Lee trade last off season. This fact however does little to assuage the general feeling of shock that this news has instilled upon me. It’s mind-boggling really.
Mr. Lee gave up in the tens of millions of dollars to play for the team that traded him for a delinquent and a couple of terds, the team he only spent three short months with (even though that span was arguably the most dominant and entertaining part of his career), and the team (other than the Mets) that seemed to have little to no money at all to spend this off season, but this too was the team that he once believed he would finish his career with, Cliff was quoted as saying so in his own reaction publicly to the trade that just as shockingly took him away from Philadelphia a year ago, and it now appears he just may.
After today I have nothing but respect for Cliff Lee. As a younger man I was a Cleveland Indians fan, as my family has some roots there and they were awesome to watch in the 90s. I followed his progress after he was acquired from the Expos in the Bartolo Colon trade. He has been my favorite pitcher since joining the league and for the last year I have been upset with the Phils brass for what I thought was sealing Lee’s fate by setting him down the path towards the dark side, in other words: signing a free agent contract with the Yankees. This too when they should have been signing him to an extension, which would have run about 15-20 million a year last off season, in contrast to the 24 million this contract garners.
I was kinda bummed because as this off season progressed, after all the media and hype, I found myself not liking Lee anymore. I didn’t want to hear about him, I didn’t really want to think about him or where he would end up, because I believed it was a forgone conclusion that he would sign with the Yankees and tarnish his good name with me forever, much the same way his buddy C.C did a few years back. I thought the man was going to take the money, but he didn’t, and as cool as that is, it still begs the question why?
Did Cliff really hit it off and get along with the rest of the team so well that he would give up so much to rejoin them? It makes me wonder if maybe he is actually gay and having an an affair with one of the other Phils? I hear he and Victorino are real close, but seriously have you ever seen his wife?
On a not much more serious note, perhaps the man is having Lebron James type notions of stacking his team and creating what is quite possibly the most dominant pitching rotation in the history of baseball? Perhaps he likes batting? I mean the man is a natural, he shoots the gaps and had over a .250 average while in the National league. Maybe he is just trying to recapture the the flame and brilliance of what was his ‘09 post-season? Sadly for him, you can never go home again, but luckily for Philadelphians, some people will always try.
Really even though Lee took less money, this contract is still the 23rd most lucrative contract in the history of baseball. Few other people have made more money pitching than this man, but still I say kudos to Cliff Lee for having the balls to do what no other baseball player has done in free agency, and that is to not simply accept the highest bid. Kudos to him for believing that happiness is more important than what people expect of you like acquiring as much money as possible or having the prettiest wife. However most of all, I believe kudos is in order to Mr. Clifton Phifer Lee for not just turning down their offer, but telling the Yankees to go fuck themselves. He waited to sign with the Phillies until all the other major free agents had signed with other teams, knowing full well that he solely had the attention of the Yankees front office. Coincidence? Doubtful, considering how his wife was treated in New York, and the fact that he personally informed the Rangers of his decision, but he had his agent deal with the Yankees to let them know he had rejected their, the most generous, offer.
Anyhow, thanks for not reading
Tigers Vs Phillies 2011 World Series
Cliff Lee: I predicted in 2009 that Lee would inevitably be lured to the Yankees by a combination of a 25 million a year contract and his friendship with C.C Sabathia. I don’t know what to make of it right now. I read today that C.C. is keeping to himself and not going out of his way to recruit his pal Cliff, and if you combine this with the fact that Lee’s wife has that over weight debutante look about her, he may actually be the kind of man to prefer it in Texas, even though he really doesn’t pitch so well there.
Adrian Beltre: Will sign a 2 year 35 million dollar deal with the Angels and under-perform as seems to frequently happen with the players the Angels manage to aquire.
Zach Greinke: Will not be traded during the off season; will have a sub par year due to the anxiety of trade talks, and at the trade deadline his name will come up in speculative jibber-jabber only to have nothing happen yet again.
Scott Downs: It was just announced that there is an agreement in place between Downs and the Angels for a 3 year, 15 million dollar contract. I saw him going to Boston, but how much money do they really have left?
Rafael Soriano: My gut tells me it’s between the Nationals, the Tigers, and the White Sox. Also until a moment ago I would have included the Angels on this list, but with the signing of Downs it seems as though they are out on Soriano.
Matt Garza: Nothing will come of him in the off season, but expect to hear his name a lot come trade deadline as long as he doesn’t devalue himself with a lack luster start to the year.