Category Archives: Baseball

The case AGAINST Derek Jeter

Would Derek Jeter seriously get so overrated if he didn’t play in New York?

I highly doubt it. Don’t get me wrong, he has had a good career but to call him an all time great is a joke. The guy hasn’t even been the best player on his own team throughout the career. A year by year breakdown shows one maybe two years where he was the best player on his own team. I have felt for a long time that there are three primary reasons why Jeter gets so overrated. 1) New York City 2) Rich Garcia making a horrible call in RF 3) Jeremy Giambi not knowing how to slide (he should have still been called safe because the play was a tie at worse).

In casual conversation yesterday I was coming up with a list of position players in the American League alone who I would take ahead ahead of Jeter from the past 15 years. I came up with the following list that included the likes of Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. Going a bit down to the next level and guys like Jim Thome, Ivan Rodriguez, David Ortiz make real strong cases. I’m sure if I put more thought to I’d come up with a longer list. All this is even before we start to get into pitchers like Roy Halladay and Pedro Martinez. Again, this is before going into a list of guys in the National League.

Please don’t give me any b.s about “playing the game the right way”. Jeter’s not the only guy who goes into stands to make catches or back up throws from the outfield. Don’t give me the garbage about him being a loyal guy either. Just because he’s played his entire career with the Yankees doesn’t make him a loyal guy. If he had this loyalty to the Yankees and New York he wouldn’t have held them hostage for every last penny last off season after the Yankees had overpaid him the last time around. Don’t give me any crap about him being a leader or making others better. Just where has he shown any of those characteristics? The guy made A-Rod’s life miserable when he first arrived in New York. Heck, if Jeter was this big team guy wouldn’t the best shortstop on the team (A-Rod) be playing shortstop?

I went year by year from 1996 to 2010 to look at guys on the New York Yankees who outplayed Jeter in that particular year. Here is what I came up with.

Derek Jeter

1996 – O’Neil, Tino, Bernie, Pettitte, Wetteland and Rivera
1997 – O’Neil, Tino, Bernie, Pettite, Cone and Rivera
1998 – Bernie and Rivera
1999 – Rivera
2000 – See Below
2001 – Mussina, Clemens, Rivera
2002 – Giambi, Soriano, Bernie,
2003 – Rivera, Giambi, Posada, Soriano
2004 – A-Rod, Matsui, Sheffield,Rivera
2005 – A-Rod, Sheffield, Rivera
2006 – See Below
2007 – A-Rod, Posada
2008 – A-Rod, Abreu, Mussina and Rivera
2009 – Sabathia, Rivera and Teixeira
2010 – A-Rod, Teixeira, Cano, Swisher, Sabathia,

In 1997 I left David Wells off the list despite him winning 16 games because his ERA was high. Heck, Chad Curtis in 334 less ABs hit for the same average, more HRs, just 20 less RBIs and significantly higher OPS. No, I’m not saying I’d take Chad Curtis over Jeter but just put #s into perspective.

In 1998 I left off Tino off the list despite him driving in 123 runs and O’Neil despite him driving in 116. I’ll leave Cone off despite him winning 20 games. I left Wells off despite him going 18-4 with a 3.49 ERA. I left off Orlando Hernandez and his 3.13 ERA because he only started 21 games. I’m being pretty generous with 1998.

In 1999 I say he’s a push with Bernie and you could make a strong case that Jeter’s .349 with 24 HRs and 102 RBIs deserves top spot but Rivera had 45 saves with a 1.83 ERA and a WHIP of .883 I probably won’t complain if someone wants to give Jeter 1999 but Rivera was definitely better.

In 2000 yes Jeter his .339 and you could make a case for him but a case for Bernie can easily be made. He hit 30 HRs with 121 RBIs despite only playing in 141 games.

In 2001 I left Tino off the list despite him getting 34 HRs and driving in 113.

In 2002 I left Pettitte and his 3.27 ERA off because he only pitched in 22 games.

In 2003 I left off I left Mussina and his 17-8 record with a 3.40 ERA off the list.

In 2004 I left Posada off the list despite him having a significantly higher OPS and more RBIs in 200 less ABs just because he hit only .272. I also left off Orlando Hernandez who went 8-2 3.30 ERA because he only started 15 games.

In 2005 I left off Giambi and his 32 HRs because he drove in just 87 and hit for a low average. I even left off Matsui’s 116 RBIs because he “only” hit .305 and had only 23 HRs. Matsui still had a better OPS and more extra base hits. Again, I’m being fairly generous here.

In 2006 there is a strong case for Jeter again. He hit .343 and drove in 97. Arguments against Jeter? Cano hit .342 and drove in 78 despite having 140 fewer ABs. A-Rod also hit 35 HRs and drove in 121. Giambi ht 37 HRs and drove in 113. Rivera, Mussina and Wang also had great years. I’d give Jeter a push with Cano but people can make a case for A-Rod being right there too.

In 2007 you could make a case for Cano as well. I’m leaving 100+ RBIs from Matsui and Abreu off the list.

In 2008 I am leaving off a 32 HR season from Giambi.

In 2009 Jeter hit .334 and you can make a case for him but 5 other guys in the starting lineup alone matched his OPS. How can argue against Teixeira hitting 39 HRs and driving in 122? I’ll leave A-Rod off the list because he only hit .286 to go along with 30 HRs and 100 RBIs. Every other player in the starting lineup drove in more runs then Jeter despite having fewer Plate Appearances (Cano was only one with more ABs and he had just 3 more ABs). Everyone but Melky Cabrera had more HRs. Everyone but Cabrera had more extra base hits as well. How can you hit .334 in over 600 ABs and only drive in 66?

In 2010 I am leaving off Pettitte’s 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA because he only started 21 games. Heck, someone could make a case that Gardner and/or Posada (edit: also editing in Granderson here) had years that were just as good if not better.

Biggest reason I couldn’t care less about Jeter is because how ridiculously over the top Yankees fan get with him. Jeter was almost never the best player on the team. He spent few years being at best the 3rd or even 4th best SS in the American League alone (no matter how much Yankees fans want to claim that he was better then Nomar those years). Yesterday Yankees beat writers were posting quotes placing Jeter in the top tier of Yankees historically. Have these people heard of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle? At best he is on the 3rd tier of Yankees.

Being a good player is not a knock on a guy. Yesterday YES Network guys were already taking about him getting to 4,000. Can we settle down please?

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Fan dies at Rangers game

By now you’ve probably heard about the Texas Rangers fan who dies last night at the Ballpark in Arlington. I won’t embed the video here because not everyone wants to see it but it is available here.

Shannon Stone was reaching out to catch a ball tossed his way by Josh Hamilton when he reached out just a bit too far and fell about 20 feet onto concrete. He died on the way to the hospital according to reports. He was alive and aware on the ground asking the paramedics to check on his six year old son (there is a video of the fall in this link) who had come to the game with him.

It is a really unfortunate incident but what can really be done to avoid it? People do go crazy reaching for foul balls pushing everyone and everything in sight but this was just a freak accident.

There is a transcript available of what Josh Hamilton had to say about the incident.

Shannon Stone was a firefighter in Brownwood, Texas. There has been a fund established for the family by the city of Brownwood. You can find more information here. The Texas Rangers have also created a fund. There is more information available on their website.

Kudos to MLB and ESPN for respecting the wishes of the family in not airing footage of the fall.

Major League Baseball released this statement last night.

“All of us at Major League Baseball are shocked and saddened over the tragic death of Mr. Stone last evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with his son and his entire family. Major League Baseball has the utmost sensitivity to the safety of all the fans that come to our ballparks. Our players are encouraged to be fan-friendly and we will carefully review this incident with our clubs to continue to ensure a safe environment for our fans.”

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WSJ: How to Visit 30 Ballparks in 35 Days This Summer

Starting on June 6th are you up for a 18,000 mile road trip over the next 35 days?

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a story about a man who built a program to map out the ideal way to watch baseball games in all 30 MLB stadiums this year. The program built by Ben Blatt of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective takes into account an eight hour rest period after roughly twelve hours of driving.

What is the ideal road trip schedule this year?

GAME/DATE/MILES TRAVELED GAME/DATE/MILES TRAVELED GAME/DATE/MILES TRAVELED
TOR@KC, 6/6, 7pm (0) DET@COL, 6/19, 1pm (6,620) NYM@DET, 6/30, 1pm (12,248)
DET@TEX, 6/7, 7pm (563) TB@MIL, 6/20, 7pm (7,667) NYY@NYM, 7/1, 7pm (12,863)
S TL@ HOU, 6/8, 7pm (821) BAL@PIT, 6/21, 7pm (8,219) CLE@CIN, 7/2, 7pm (13,502)
KC@LAA, 6/10, 7pm (2,351) SD@BOS, 6/22, 1:30pm (8,808) CWS@CHC, 7/3, 1:20pm (13,798)
WSH@SD, 6/11, 5:30pm (2,448) SEA@WSH, 6/23, 1pm (9,257) TB@MIN, 7/4, 1pm (14,206)
CIN@SF, 6/12, 5pm (2,950) COL@NYY, 6/24, 7pm (9,483) PHI@FLA, 7/6, 7pm (15,981)
SF@ARI, 6/14, 6:40pm (3,705) OAK@PHI, 6/25, 7pm (9,580) COL@ATL, 7/7, 1pm (16,642)
CIN@LAD, 6/15, Noon (4,078) CIN@BAL, 6/26, 1:30pm (9,678) MIN@CWS, 7/8, 7pm (17,360)
KC@OAK, 6/16, 12:35pm (4,448) CIN@TB, 6/27, 7pm (10,647) TOR@CLE, 7/9, 7pm (17,705)
PHI@SEA, 6/17, 7pm (5,250) PIT@TOR, 6/29, 7pm (12,004) ARI@STL, 7/10, 1pm (18,267)

I would love to have the opportunity to do this one of these years as it is definitely one of the major items on my bucket list. As it stands right now I have watched baseball in at the Skydome in Toronto (now known as Rogers Center), Citi Field (home of the Mets in Queens), Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia as well as both old and new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. I also visited Wrigley Field in Chicago once but the Cubs were off that day but I still have a Mark Prior t-shirt from that trip.

How many stadiums have you been to? Would you ever want to take a road trip like this?

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Jorge Posada is a joke

Jorge Posada is an idiot.

There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. When you are making $13.1 million to play baseball and you ask out of the lineup because you got demoted in the lineup you need to get in touch with reality in a hurry. Reports out of New York are saying that an hour before the start of the game Jorge Posada asked out of the lineup for tonights game against nemesis Boston Red Sox because he got dropped down to 9th in the batting order. Just what was going through his head? In 109 at bats this season Posada is hitting only .165 (he is 0-24 against left handed pitching) and being in the last year of his contract likely would not play next year. According to Buster Olney of ESPN the Yankees are keeping all options open and that includes a possible suspension. Jack Curry of the YES Network quoted Posada’s father saying that Posada should have played today.

Posada’s 2011 stats

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP SH SF
2011 32 125 109 12 18 2 0 6 15 15 30 .165 .272 .349 .621 70 38 4 0 0

Late in tonights game word came out that he asked out of “back stiffness” but several baseball reporters are quoting sources who are denying that. The Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman himself went on the record earlier tonight and said that it was not an injury issue.

“There is no injury, obviously I’ve talked to Jorgie. I’m not going to comment on my conversations with Jorgie on it. That’s the only thing I’ve got to tell you.”

Posada’s wife got into the mix too commenting on the story via twitter.

Jorge loves being a Yankee > anything. He’s trying his best to help his team win. Today, due to back stiffness he wasn’t able to do that.

Yes, the Yankees are being hypocritical in demoting him when guys like Jeter and Teixiera are also struggling but being a major star does earn you that pass. Everyone has heard stories about him and Joe Girardi not getting along but again that doesn’t excuse this at all. It is only fitting that this game was against the Red Sox and Jason Varitek was on the other side. There is a veteran catcher who has handled things the right way the past few years. Keith Olbermann posted a picture from the press box showing Posada’s name penciled into the lineup in the lineup card that reporters got in the press box at 6:30 PM.

I am not discounting the great charitable work he has done on behalf of the “Jorge Posada Foundation” but him asking out of the lineup tonight is inexcusable.

Edit: Just watched the post game stuff. Posada is looking worse by the minute. His story is all over the place. He says his back was stiff but he didn’t mention it to Girardi. Um…why? Seems like revisionist history to me.
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Mel Queen

Mel Queen passed away today at the age of 69.

While he may not be a household name for all baseball fans he was responsible for rescuing the career or a future first ball Hall of Famer. Roy Halladay (circa 1998-2000) didn’t always look like the dominant pitcher he has gone on to become. In fact he had pretty much hit rock bottom after showing some early brilliance (was one out away from pitching a no-hitter in his 2nd career start). His 10.64 ERA in 2000 got him a demotion all the way down to Single A where Mel Queen worked with him and turned his career around. Tom Verducci wrote a great article for Sports Illustrated last year that documented Mel Queen’s work with Roy Halladay.

As a Scouting Director for the Blue Jays he oversaw the development of the likes of David Wells, Jeff Kent, Chris Carpenter, Shawn Green, Woody Williams, Mike Timlin and Pat Hentgen. He later served as the pitching coach for four years during which Pat Hentgen and Roger Clemens combined for 3 Cy Young Awards.

It is hard to predict no-hitters but I wouldn’t question Halladay coming close in his next start. Mel Queen had that kind of impact on him.
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2011 MLB Predictions

Here is how I see all the 2011 MLB Season playing out.

AL 

East
Red Sox
Yankees
Blue Jays
Rays
Orioles

Central
Twins
Tigers
White Sox
Indians
Royals

West
Angels
Rangers
Athletics
Mariners

MVP – Adrian Gonzalez
Cy Young – Jon Lester
Rookie of the Year – Kyle Drabek
Manager of the Year – Mike Sciosca

NL

East
Phillies
Marlins
Mets
Braves
Nationals

Central
Brewers
Reds
Cardinals
Cubs
Astros
Pirates

West
Giants
Rockies
Diamondbacks
Dodgers
Padres

MVP – Prince Fielder
Cy Young – Roy Halladay
Rookie of the Year – Aroldis Champan
Manager of the Year – Ron Roenicke

Playoffs
Angels over Yankees
Red Sox over Twins

Phillies over Brewers
Giants over Reds

Red Sox over Angels
Giants over Phillies

Red Sox over Giants

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MLB 11: The ShowMajor League Baseball 2K11

Average MLB game has only 14 minutes of actual action.

This past summer we heard a lot of talk from American sports fans saying things along the lines of “soccer is boring because there is no action.” The next time you hear that from someone, just send them this Wall Street Journal article. This study shows that the average Major League Baseball game only has 14 minutes of actual action.

The stopwatch would start when a pitcher lifted his leg to begin his pitching motion. The timing would stop when the ball hit the catcher’s mitt or, if it was put in play, when the presiding umpire made a call or the players all stopped moving (pickoff attempts and steals were also counted as action).

The result is that during these games, there was a nearly identical amount of action: about 14 minutes. To put that in context, that’s about 10.9% of the total broadcast time (excluding commercials). It’s a fraction of the roughly 88 minutes the players were shown standing around between plays, nearly 45% more than the 10 minutes of replays that are shown and almost four times as much as the cameras show players lounging in the dugout.

Seriously, 14 minutes of actual game play during the average Major League Baseball game. A lot of us will stay up until past 1 AM Eastern on most nights during the baseball playoffs thanks to games that take close to 3 hours to finish. 
 This comes on the heels of an earlier study which reported that the average NFL game only had 11 minutes of action
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