26 February 2003


Sorry, one last post about the Devil Rays before we pack this issue away. Some months ago, I indicated that I had arrived because I received a reply from Clay Davenport of BaseballProspectus, but now I realize that I was mistaken.

This time, I have really arrived: I got Hate Mail.

From: "Stephen Clark"
To: tmutchell@yahoo.com
Subject: I suppose you never heard of the Angels
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 08:31:57 -0600

You are an idiot. I will never read your dribble again.

To which I responded:
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 08:58:18 -0800 (PST) 

From: "Travo"
Subject: Re: I suppose you never heard of the Angels
To: "Stephen Clark"


This is entirely possible. I accept that I may very
well be an idiot. I prefer to think otherwise, but
I'm open to being proved wrong. Two things, however:

1) Please give me a chance to defend myself. It's
only fair. With which of my many idiotic posts did
you take issue? I have, of course, heard of the
Angels, assuming you mean the baseball team from
Anaheim, but I'm not exactly sure to what your comment
refers. Please let me know, I'm always interested to
hear opinions.

B) I think the word you're looking for is "drivel",
not dribble.


Stephen did not respond. This bothers me. I don't mind being hated nearly as much as I mind being ignored. I really didn't know what the heck he was talking about, but looking back, I figured that he must have been offended by my Devil Rays post last week (despite the date on his email, I actually received it on Friday morning). So I wrote again:

Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 15:30:12 -0800 (PST)
From: "Travo"
Subject: Re: I suppose you never heard of the Angels
To: "Stephen Clark"


OK, I'm doubting that you've been raptured from the Earth, so I guess you're
ignoring me. I will take an educated (for an idiot) guess at the source of your
ire, and say that you're probably a Devil Rays fan who's upset about my
disparaging comments on their infield defense plan. If I have guessed correctly,
you mean to say that the Angels won the World Series with offensively-sub-par
infielders, and that therefore, the D-Rays plan may not be such a bad one.
(I give you credit, because you can apparently type whole words, for not
believing that they're actually going to the World Series themselves this year.)

Let's look:

Baseball Prospectus (maybe they're idiots too?) ranks Scott Spezio's 2002
season as 16th among ML firstbasemen, 23.1 Runs Above Replacement Position,
or 2.7 Runs Above Position. Or, as they say in France: average, serviceable,
mediocre. (This was an uncharacteristically good year for him.)
Travis Lee, however, is ranked 37(!)th in RARP, at 2.7, or 20.5 runs *below*
an average MLB 1B in 2002. In other words, the Phillies paid Lee $3 million for
the privelige of fielding a guy who did what any number of AAAA guys coulda
done for the ML minimum. This year doesn't promise to be any different for the
D-Rays, except that they're gonna get ripped-off for less dough.

Similarly, Adam Kennedy was 7th in the majors among 2B, with 29.4 RARP,
while Marlon Anderson, Jay Canizaro and Brent Abernathy were 16th, 53(!)rd
and 61(!!)st in RARP last year. Mediocre, terrible and terribler.
Who goes out and intentionally signs guys like this?

David Eckstein was also 7th in the majors among SS, with 32.3 RARP,
while Rey Ordonez was 40(!)th with -1.9. Who trades for a guy who's
ranked ten notches *worse* than the number of extant teams??? No
amount of defense would compensate for this kind of putrid offense.
And even if their defensive reputations (not Anderson's) were all they're
cracked up to be, saving ten runs and allowing 20, for a lot of low-scoring
defeats, doesn't seem like the way to inspire young pitchers to me.
Ordonez and Lee only saved 6 or 7 runs more than the average players
at their respective positions last year anyway. Hardly worth giving up all
that offense to help the young pitchers.

Besides this, the Angels had Garret Anderson, Darrin Erstad, and Tim
Salmon in the OF most days, as well as Glaus and Fulmer, who all could
hit at least somewhat above average for their own positions. The D-rays
have no such compensation from the remainder of their lineup, except
maybe Huff.

C'mon, Stephen, I'm desperate here. Argue with me. Tell me I'm wrong.
Send me an email laced with profanity and grammatical errors and
CAPITALIZATION, but don't just leave me hanging. This is my first real,
unsolicited hatemail from Boy of Summer, and I'd hate to think that I may
have lost one of the couple dozen or so Devil Rays fans out there just
because he doesn't like to be told that his team sucks.

People tell me that, and I'm a Yankee fan. Don't take it personally.

Your hero,

Alas, Stephen Clark has yet to respond. (I resisted the urge to give out his email address so people could flame him for being so narrow-minded and force him to respond. That wouldn't be very nice.) I'll give him credit for sticking to his word and not reading my "dribble" anymore...but that's about it. Whereas David Bloom, Tampa Bay D-Rays blogger extraordinaire, has actually agreed with most of my assessments, some folks just aren't sufficiently open-minded or free-thinking to accept the possibility that their favorite team, losers of an average of 98 games over the last five years, isn't any good, and with the same General Management, might not have any idea how to change that circumstance.


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