30 May 2003


Alex belth, he of the contacts with important people, has a couple more interviews available for your reading pleasure over at Bronx Banter. One is with NY Times sportswriter Allen Barra, and the other is with Ethan Coen, who has written some fantastic movies like Raising Arizona, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Big Lebowski, as well as at least one terrible movie in The Man Who Wasn't There. Gives a damn funny interview too.

Also, I got this in my Inbox yesterday, and I suspect that Mr. McLean wouldn't mind if I posted it here. Any thoughts?

Dear Commissioner Selig and Bob Watson,

I've long admired Curt Shilling as a stand-up guy, but I hope he is disciplined by MLB for destroying QuesTec's umpire/strike zone analysis equipment. For the good of the game, this discipline should certainly exceed the cost of the equipment.

I'm a baseball guy, my son is a current collegiate pitcher, and for years it has been obvious to me that the existing strikes zones are not reliable, but instead liberally-customized interpretations. Most of my adult life, the in-game MLB strike zone has been a distortion compared to the MLB rule book. It was too wide, too short and for whatever reason, most MLB umpires felt compelled to have their "own zones".

There is no room for lose interpretation here. Rewarding pitchers for hitting out-of-the-strike-zone spots that are physically impossible to reach is unfair. It is wrong that "established pitchers" should get three fists on the outside corners. If, as the rules state, Home Plate is: Five-sided, 17 inches by 8 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches, cut to a point at rear, there are no exceptions. If MLB wants a functionally wider zone, to change the offensive/defensive balance, then make the wider zone official.

Watching my team (The Royals) play home games without QuesTec review, I observe extreme strike zone changes during nearly every series. Watching certain TV games, where the more consistent zones are higher-than-wide, its obvious when the QuesTec review system is already in place. There will always be real borderline calls, but just getting close to the strike zone is not a strike!
Of course there will be some rough spots. I'm sure Schilling, Smoltz, et al will continue to protest, because they have clearly benefited from the wide and short zone. Simply put, the rules are the rules. The strike zone should be a standard size, rather than changed daily like a golf course pin position.

Every regular Joe, has some form of employment performance review. To be effective, these reviews should be as impartial and objective as possible. Computer technology is a natural ally in this effort. We already trust computer systems with such critical life issues as bank accounts, medical analysis, air traffic control and national defense. We can certainly trust hardware and software as a component of a MLB umpire's performance review.

Please, don't be bullied by any person or group, especially those driven by selfish self-interests.
Do the right thing. Universally deploy the QuesTec system ASAP. Ten years from now the game will be better for it.


Anthony Mark McLean

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29 May 2003

Morgan to the Rescue...

Baseball is such a great game because as soon as you think you have it figured out, it throws you a curve.

Baseball writing is such a great gig because as soon as you're convinced that you'll never have anything to write about again, Joe Morgan rattles off a column that begs to be shredded. Oh goody.

Joe: One month into the season, it looked like the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants were the class of their respective leagues. But as Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over till it's over." Baseball's unpredictable nature is why I never predict a World Series winner at the beginning of a season. Now it appears that the Atlanta Braves -- with baseball's best record at 35-17 -- are head and shoulders above everyone else. We'll have to see if that lasts.

I gotta hand Joe this, sorta. He didn't actually pick any winners, just teams he thought would be in the mix, and even that was pretty funny at times. Depending on your bent, this was either wise if him or wishy-washy and non-committal. You pick.

Joe: Over the long haul, those ups and downs even out, which means the best team usually finishes first in the end. The Kansas City Royals started 16-3 and looked like one of the best teams in baseball. But you're never as good as you look when you're playing well, and you're never as bad as you look when you're playing poorly.

Well, actually, you didn't have to be psychic to tell that the Royals weren't going to keep that pace up. That great record, built on beating AL-Central powerhouses like Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland, was pretty obviously a mirage even then.

It didn't require a mystic to determine that Mike MacDougal, who had all of 24 major league innings under his belt coming into 2003, wasn't going to finish the season with 77 saves and a 1.64 ERA, or that Joe Randa and Raul Ibanez weren't going to hit over .325 all year, and Brent Mayne sure-as-hell wasn't going to hit .378 all year. Runelvys Hernandez wasn't going to finish the season 34-0 with a 1.10 ERA. Albie Lopez wasn't gonna finish the year 26-0 in relief with a 2.30 ERA.
Sorry, Joe, but even at 16-3, the Royals looked like a fluke.

Joe: The formula for MLB success is simple: The best team that plays most consistently will win over the long haul. Consistent, quality play is rewarded.

Oh CRAP!! And I've been measuring baseball teams by Average Road Attendance on Odd-Numbered Sundays all these years! This changes everything!

Joe: The Giants roared to a 15-2 start, and all the so-called experts in the Bay Area had given them the NL West. The Los Angeles Dodgers were playing poorly and the Arizona Diamondbacks were off to a slow start, and the Bay Area media said they wouldn't be able to challenge the Giants. Well, on May 9 the Giants were 25-9. Since then, they've gone 6-11 while the Dodgers ran off 10 straight wins. The Giants (31-20) now lead L.A. (30-21) by just one game.

Yeah, but LA is still last in the NL in Run Scoring, and are gonna have a hard time keeping that team ERA under 3.00 all season, which is what they're gonna hafta do to keep pace with the Giants if their hitting doesn' pick up.

Joe:The Yankees jumped out to an 18-3 start. On May 8, they were 25-9. Since then, they've gone 5-13, and now they're in second place in the AL East, trailing the Boston Red Sox by 1-1/2 games. In one of my ESPN.com chats earlier in the season, someone asked me if the Yankees would win 120 games. Because I've been in this game so long and realize there are ups and downs, I said, "No way." I don't think anyone will be asking that question anymore.

Of course they will! Just wait till next year when the Milwaukee Brewers start out 9-1, or the Braves start out 15-2, and some Brewers or Braves or other team's fan will undoubtedly ask you, like a kid that doesn't want to leave the amusement park, "Gee Wally, ya think we can keep this up all year?" It is the very nature of sports fans to hope against all reasonable logic until their team is mathematically eliminated from relevance. And even then, sometimes, it's tough to talk a guy down. I used to work with a guy who was convinced that the 2000 Phillies could still "surprise people" and contend for the Wild-Card, despite the facts that

A) There were 19 teams in front of them in the NL WIld Card race and
2) It was November when he said this.

Joe:I still believe the Yankees will win their division. But the Red Sox are a better team this season because they don't rely on Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez alone. Shea Hillenbrand, Trot Nixon and others make Boston's lineup more capable. And I've always felt that the bullpen-by-committee has promise, and it is holding its own.

Yep, the Red Sox are much better off now that they've got those new guys helping out Nomar and Manny. Of course, I guess the Red Sox offense is gonna go back in the tank now that they've traded Hillenbrand away, right?

It surprises me a little that Joe would be a fan of the Bullpen-by-Committee experiment, but it astounds me that he can look at the Red Sox bullpen's 5.38 ERA and say with a straight face that the experiment is "holding its own."

Joe:I expect the Giants and the Dodgers to have a close pennant race, but don't count the Diamondbacks out yet -- especially if Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson get on a roll. I viewed L.A. as the favorite heading into the season, followed by San Francisco and Arizona.

I think the Diamondbacks would be happy if the Big Unit could just get on a treadmill, much less a roll.

Joe:In baseball, the long haul counts. Short bursts, which sometimes are related to favorable or unfavorable matchups, become less important. And the beauty of baseball is that you can't ever predict what's going to happen. Just ask the Anaheim Angels.

Would those be the same Angels that you kept saying everyone was going to try to emulate this year? Playing scrappy, NL-style little-ball, taking the extra base, getting clutch hits, whatever happened to that? Doesn't seem like it's working so well for them this year.

Joe: I asked Ichiro about the difference between playing in Japan and here in America, and he told me that it had nothing to do with baseball. It was a question of how comfortable he was 24 hours a day, not just how comfortable he was at the ballpark. The cultural change was the biggest adjustment he had to make. There's a marked difference between how he lived in Japan -- from cuisine to cultural customs -- and how he lives here in Seattle. It's the same with Latin players who come to play in the major leagues. We live so differently here in the United States than people do in many other countries.

Yep, it turns out that baseballs on both sides of the Pacific Ocean are round and white with red seams. Go figure.

Oh, and it's different from, not different than. Than is comparative (more than, less than, uglier than, etc.), while from is contrasting (varying from, straying from, changing from, etc.) I actually had a Religion professor at Lehigh who would take off points for that. Of course, he also came to class barefoot sometimes too, so...

Joe:Ichiro's command of the English language is also much better than people realize. When he walked in, I was prepared to use the Japanese greeting "konnichiwa" -- which means "hello" or "good afternoon" -- because we were meeting in the afternoon. But he walked in and said, "Hey Joe, how are you doing?"

I wonder if Ichiro gets annoyed with people making attempts to speak to him in Japanese with phrases they learned from watching Shogun, but actually butchering some word or phrase in his native language. (I had a friend who was working at a Christian camp for high school students with me in 1993, and spent significant portions of the summer telling people that his stomach was a watermellon when he meant to say that he was hungry. Leo also spent half an hour explaining to one of the japanese students, on a trip back from the beach, that while swimming, a "cat" went up his nose. And by "cat" he meant "water".) I would get annoyed about that. But maybe Ichiro's nicer than I am.

Joe:What's the secret to Jamie Moyer's success? This year, the Mariners starter is 7-2 with a 3.66 ERA. (BoS note: now 8-2, 3.55) Since coming to Seattle via a trade with Boston in mid-1996, Moyer is 105-50. In all but one of those seasons, he's had a sub-4.00 ERA. My theory has always been that left-handers who are able to throw strikes and change speeds can win in the major leagues -- even if they can't throw hard. If Jamie Moyer were right-handed, he wouldn't be nearly as successful.I can't see a right-hander throwing in the low-to-mid 80s (like Moyer) and having the same success. For instance, Greg Maddux is not a power pitcher at all, relying on his control and location. But he throws harder than Moyer (upper 80s to low 90s). Hitters don't need to look for Moyer's fastball, but Maddux can keep them honest. I don't believe a right-hander can win the way Moyer wins.

True, Jamie Moyer is that rarest of birds: The Pitcher Who Gets Better As He Approaches 40. There aren't many of them (Randy Johnson, Warren Spahn) but he's one. But to say that a righty can't have success because he doesn't throw hard? C'mon, Joe, if a guy gets outs, he gets outs. John Burkett, Bob Tewksbury, Mark "Same-Up" Portugal and a boatload of other guys would argue with you vehemently about that contention.

Chat Reminder: I'll answer your questions in an ESPN.com chat Friday at 10:45 a.m. ET.

Reminder from Boy of Summer: Go check out Mike Carminati's send up of last week's Joe Morgan Chat session, a cheesy 1970's themed post in which he lists the most screwed up shows of the seventies and somehow omits The Magic Garden. Tisk, tisk. But the rest of it is pretty good.

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22 May 2003

Rocket Redux

On the cusp of his 300th career win, Roger Clemens evidently sat down with the New York Times for an interview, which ran in Sunday's papers, regarding his career and the prospect of his entering the Hall of Fame as a New York Yankee. Clemens was quoted as saying,

"It's pretty simple, the way I look at it. I became a Hall of Famer here [NY], with my numbers here and what I've done here, and hopefully 300 will be another big part of that. When Duquette said that I was done, if I'd have taken his advice and went home, I wouldn't have been a Hall of Famer. So it's a no-brainer. It's definitely pretty easy. Reggie spent five years here, and this will be five for me."

He's referring to Reggie Jackson, who bears the similarities to Clemens of having played only 5 seasons of his 20+ year H-O-F career with the Yankees, and being responsible for a LOT of strikeouts. Of course, Reggie was 'the staraw that stirs the drink' but technically only one of his five seasons in Yankee pinstripes ranks among his best five seasons of his career: 1980, when he hit .300 for the only time in his career and led the AL with 41 homers, but finished 2nd in the MVP voting to George Brett, who happened to hit .390 that year. BBWAA always did like batting average. Reggie probably should have gone into the Hall in an Oakland A's cap, too, but then they never ask me for advice.

Clemens' contention that he "became a Hall of Famer here" is almost laughable. HA! Well, I guess it is laughable. Take a look:
Yrs  TM   GS    CG  CG%  SHO   IP     IP/GS  BB/9    SO   K/9   W    L   W/Yr   W%   ERA  *ERA+

13   BOS  382  100  26.2  38  2776.00  7.27  2.78  2590   8.4  192  111  14.8  63.4  3.06   151

 2   TOR   67   14  20.9   6   498.67  7.44  2.82   563  10.2   41   13  20.5  75.9  2.33   203

 5   NYY  133    2   1.5   1   851.00  6.39  3.47   816   8.6   65   29  13.0  69.1  3.94   119

20   ---  582  116  19.9  45  4125.67  7.09  2.92  3969   8.7  298  153  14.9  66.1  3.15   142

*NOTE: *ERA+ is park adjusted, relative ERA. That 142 means that Clemens' career ERA is 42% better than the park adjusted league averages for that span of time.

When the Rocket blew out of Beantown after 1996, he had 192 career wins, 2500+ innings, 2500+ strikeouts, had won more than 60% of his decisions, and had an MVP and three Cy Young Awards to boot. He had led the league in shutouts and adjusted ERA five times each, in ERA four times, in strikeouts three times (including 1996, after which then- Boston GM Dan Duquette said that he was in 'the twilight of his career'), in Wins and Complete Games twice each, and in starts, innings, and winning percentage once each.

Want to know how many other pitchers had the wins/innings/strikeouts/winning percentage stats like that as of 1996?

Five, all Hall of Famers: Bob Feller, Christy Matthewson, Tim Keefe, Tom Seaver, and Cy-Freaking-Young. [Currently Randy Johnson, David Cone and Greg Maddux also meet those statistical criteria, and only Cone has a marginal case for Cooperstown. The other two are locks.] In case you've never heard of him, Tim Keefe was a 19th cantury pitcher who won 342 career games over 14 seasons with five different teams. I hear that girl Christy was pretty good too.

Want to know how many other pitchers had garnered at least three Cy Young Awards at the time?

Five, four current, and one future, Hall of Famers: Steve Carlton (4), Greg Maddux (4) Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, and Sandy-Freakin-Koufax. (Big Unit and Pedro Martinez meet these criteria now as well, and will also be in Cooperstown when their time comes.) Of course Clemens has added three more of these to his display case in the den, but only one of them came with the Yankees.

So it's ridiculous to think that he somehow had not earned his ticket to Cooperstown on the merits of his first 13 years in the Majors. Maybe Clemens meant that he just hadn't pitched enough? 13 years was plenty of time for Amos Rusie, Dizzy Dean, Sandy Koufax, John Clarkson, Bob Lemon, and others, but now the baseball writers are gonna start counting "only 13 years" as a mark against you? No.

I don't think so, but then we've already established that my opinion doesn't count for much. But let's say that this is what Roger believes. What happens? He pitches two more years as a (yuk) Toronto Blue Jay, with those bright blue uniforms and fluorescent lights in the SkyDome and that fluorescent green turf as a backdrop. Not exactly the classic, nostalgic baseball of lore, but hey, he becomes the first right-hander to win pitching's triple crown (Wins, ERA and Strikeouts) in like fifty years, and he wins two more Cy Young Awards.

Now with fifteen years of pitching, 233 Wins, six ERA titles, five Strikeout titles, and a then-record five Cy Young Awards, Clemens has definitely paid his dues. There could be no arguing about his Cooperstown Credentials now. So by Clemens' own logic, if he didn't become a Hall of Famer in Boston, then he absolutely became one as a (fluorescent) Blue Jay. Right?

Except that

A) He only pitched two seasons there, and

2) The uniform's kinda tacky. So no dice.

So now Rocket's gotta convince himself that the last five seasons of his career, the span in which he has the highest ERA, the highest walk rate, the lowest innings/start average, the fewest complete games, the fewest wins per season, and one lousy shutout, is what made him a bonafide Hall of Famer? Just because he was on a few teams that won the World Series and he amassed some career numbers that look nice but wouldn't have been possible if he hadn't been so awesome the first 15 years? Just doesn't make any sense.

On the other hand, if you attribute Clemens desire to go into the Hall as a Yankee, and his meandering logic to support said contention, to his grudge against the Red Sox for how he was treated, it all makes perfect sense.

Hey, maybe we can get Wade Boggs to go into the Hall as a Yankee too?

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14 May 2003

Catching Up...

I am pleased to announce the first Boy of Summer Book Review in nearly two months! Harvey Frommer's Rickey and Robinson: The Men Who Broke Baseball's Color Barrier, has been re-released in paperback this month, and I had the pleasure toread an advanced copy. You can read my take on it here, or by clicking on the link to the left.

I'm hoping to publish an as-yet unconducted interview with Harvey Frommer next week. Stay tuned...

In the meantime, if you'd like to read another famous author's ideas about lotsa stuff, check out Alex Belth's interview with Rob Neyer over at Bronx Banter. Part I and Part II of the interview are both pretty cool reading.

As always, Mike Carminati has some weekly fun at Joe Morgan's expense. His Mothers' Day edition is here, and last week's is here. Mike's gotten pretty creative lately, adding graphics into the chat roundups, making them that much more fun to read. Didn't need them to mak it fun, but it's a nice touch.

And while, by his own admission, Christian Ruzich is not Mike Carminati, he does have some fun at Mike Kiley's expense on his Cub Reporter site, here. And while you're over there, check out his interview with the seemingly tireless Will Carroll, formerly of Under the Knife, currently of Baseball Prospectus, and perpetually in the inner circles of baseball injury news.

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13 May 2003

Other News...

Yankees SS Derek Jeter is expected to make his return from rehabbing a dislocated non-throwing shoulder, after missing six weeks. Jeter reportedly went 8-for-18 at AA Trenton during the rehab stint, according to the extremely useful Prospect Report.

Erick Almonte will reportedly be sent back to Columbus, having hit an unspectacular .272/.337/.373, which is roughly what Angel Berroa and David Eckstein have done this year. Not horrible, but not really helping. And his defense, by most reports, has been atrocious (Nine errors in 28 games). Can't say he'll be missed much. With more playing time, he'd have probably found the power he displayed in the minors, but probably would also have lost about 40 points in batting average. Now he'll likely do that for some other team. Suckers.


The Florida Marlins finally fired Jeff "Shut Up and Throw" Torborg and a boatload of his henchmen this weekend. Currently the Marlins have three starting pitchers on the DL, though you can hardly blame Torborg or former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg for breaking Mark Redman's thumb, or even for Josh Beckett's elbow sprain, as Beckett has rarely thrown more than 110 pitches in a major league start, and has never thrown 120.

However, I think that enough blame can be heaped on this dynamic duo for A.J. Burnett's injury to more than compensate for Beckett and Redman. The reckless abandon with which Torborg treated the 25-year old Burnett during the last year is perhaps only surpassed in creating bewilderment by the irrelevance of the games in which the atrocities occurred. The Marlins have not been a 'competitive" team in any real sense of the word, since 1997, and yet Torborg felt it necessary to repeatedly leave Burnett in far longer than was really necessary for such a young talent. And now Burnett's missing a year.

Baseball Prospectus has done quite a lot of research and found that excessive pitch counts can be directly connected to both long-term injury probability and short-term inneffectiveness. Rob Neyer has said that there isn't much evidence to support the notion that high pitch counts lead to such problems, but until I see someone de-bunk BP's research, I think I'd rather err on the side of caution, wouldn't you?

Ironically, the Marlins hired Jack McKeown, who has a reputation for riding relief pitchers too hard...

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12 May 2003

Palmiero Piloting His Path to Cooperstown

Rafael "Emerson, Lake &" Palmeiro hit career home run #500 on Sunday, in a 17-10 beat-down of the woeful Cleveland Indians. There is significant debate about whether or not Palmeiro is really a "Hall of Famer" and I expect that the debate will continue until (or even after) he is, in fact, given a plaque in Cooperstown.

And make no mistake: He will, someday, be presented with a plaque in Cooperstown. No player with 500 homeruns has yet been denied. In fact, only three eligible players with at least 400 homers have been denied so far: Andre Dawson (438), Dave Kingman (442) and Darrell Evans (414). The real question is "Should Raffy's 500 homers get him into the Hall of Fame without paying the price of admission?"

I don't know. I know he's got impressive career numbers: 500 homers, maybe 550-575 by the time he's done. Sixteen-hundred RBI, maybe 2000 RBI, before he retires. Maybe 3000 hits (he has 2666 now)? No question that numbers like that have always been an automatic Ticket to Immortality in the past, but if there's one thing we know always stays the same about the Game of Baseball, it's that it's always evolving.

Twenty-some years ago, there were twelve guys in the 500-Home Run Club. That number could be doubled by the end of this decade, since Fred McGriff, Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas are all potentially within striking distance. And I hear that there's a shortstop in Texas who hits OK too. None of these guys is guaranteed, but there's a distinct chance that there could be quite a few more in this club within the next five years or so. So that makes:

1868-1980 (112 years): 12 guys
1981-2010 (30 years) : 12 guys

What's up with that? Well, offense, especially the home run, is cheaper now. With that said, it should be noted that Palmiero has been much more than just a slugger over the last 15 years. While he's rarely led his leagues in any offensive categories of consequence, he's been a model of consistency and durability, with an adjusted OPS (Onbase Plus Slugging %) better than the league average every year for a decade and a half. With the exception of 1989, when he was only about 4% better than average, he's been between 21% and 60% better than a league average hitter every season since 1987. That's pretty damn impressive.

His career adjusted OPS is 35% better than the league average (thanks, BaseballReference.com), which is better than Hall of Famer outfielders Dave Winfield, Al Kaline, and Carl Yastrzemski, to name a few, and HoF first basemen Tony Perez, Eddie Murray, Orlando Cepeda, George Sisler, and others. That +35% mark is like hitting .290 with 30 doubles, 40 homers and 100 walks in today's game. Except for sixteen years, and he's not even done yet! Plus he's played good defense and even stolen bases successfully, on occasion. Mark McGuire, eat your patellar tendon out.

So, back to our question:

"Should Raffy's 500 homers get him into the Hall of Fame without paying the price of admission?"

No. If he had hit .260 with so-so walk rates, piles of strikeouts, a sharp decline in playing ability and a reputation asa numbskull, the 500 homers might not be enough to make up for all of that. 462 homers definitely isn't, but that's a discussion for another time.

But his other career numbers probably merit the honor now:
500 homers
1600 RBI,
1400 Runs
2600 Hits

His in-season accomplishments, despite the general lack of having led the league much, are also significant:
Eight seasons with at least 95 runs scored
Nine seasons with at least 104 RBI
Six seasons batting .300+
Nine seasons getting on base at a .379 clip or better,
Three Gold Gloves as a firstbaseman (OK, two as a 1B and one as a DH)

In two or three years, when Palmeiro hangs up the spikes for good, and has 550 dingers, 1900 RBI, 1600 runs, maybe 3000 hits, and maybe 1500 walks under his belt, there will be no more debates. But he gets my vote now.

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07 May 2003

Stark's Ravings...

Jayson Stark churned out his weekly useless info column, and he details some of the inneptitude of the Tigers, which is kinda fun to look at, as long as you're not a Tiger. The comparisons with the 1962 Mets aren't really fair...to the Mets. In fact, calling this team 'bad' is almost an insult to bad teams. They may have to make up a new word to describe how horrendous the Tigers are, if they keep playing like this. Astonishingly, their pitching is not completely awful: The team's 4.53 ERA is 9th in the AL and 20th in the majors, better than a third of all the teams.

It's their offense that's really killed them: the entire team is hitting only .202 coming into tonight, and has scored fewer than three runs per game.

Stark makes a comparison with the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, which is also a fun team to look at, but he says that their record, "...an almost hilarious 20-134, thanks to kind of a tough finish (i.e., 1-40)." Actually, it's a bit more involved than that, and I'm not sure Jayson realizes it. This isn't the first time he's mentioned this Spiders team, and he's never really explained why they were so bad, so maybe I will, a little. Or maybe not: you can read where I explained it here: In a response to a previous Stark post. Only you should know that I was wrong: The Cleveland Owners were the ones who purchased the St. Louis franchise, not the other way around.

Stark also discusses Kevin Millwood's no hitter (a little late, dontcha think?), which I already did, so I won't get into that, except for:

Kevin Millwood and Jim Thome demonstrate 

the Phillies' new calisthenics program.

Cy Young vs. Cy Old

In a relatively unrelated note (F#)...

Last week's matchup of 2001 CYA winner Roger Clemens and 2002 CYA winner Barry Zito did not disappoint, providing a great pitchers' duel. I found it amusing that in the post game interviews, when asked what he thought of Zito, Yanks' Manager Joe Torre said, "He really gonna be something special when he grows up a little..."

Umm...excuse me? Isn't this the guy who just blanked your team for eight innings? Isn't this the guy whom the clueless sportswriters dubbed the best pitcher in the Al last season? What's left to grow up? The guy's pretty damn special now. Silly Joe.

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